Frozen Fresh Alaska Seafood is Making Waves with Top Quality and Sustainability Practices

Frozen Fresh Alaska Seafood is Making Waves with Top Quality and Sustainability Practices
  • Alaska frozen fresh seafood maximizes sustainability, availability, and flavor of fish and shellfish supply.

  • Chefs Dustin Trani and Drew Johnson "slack it out" teaching C-CAP students how to properly prepare frozen fresh Alaska seafood.

Ever heard of cryogenic or blast flash freezing?

This process helps to preserve seafood at the peak of freshness.

“Flash freezing is able to prevent damage or breakdown of proteins and lipids, two major things we need to keep in our seafood in order to preserve quality,” Michael Kohan tells a class full of culinary students.

Kohan is the technical director for Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) and flew down to Long Beach, Ca. to help educate young students participating in a culinary training organized by Careers through Culinary Arts Programs (C-CAP).

In these trainings, like the one featured in this episode of On Foodable Side Dish, mentors like Dustin Trani, Executive Chef for J. Trani’s Ristorante in San Pedro, Ca., and Chef Drew Johnson of Kincaid Grill located in Anchorage, Ala., come together to give back and share their wisdom with the future generation of culinary professionals.

Read More

More than Popcorn: iPic Theaters Brings the Restaurant Dining Experience to the Movies!

In this episode of "On Foodable Side Dish," we're going to the movies!

And pop corn and hot dogs are no longer the only staples you'll see at the big screens — major movie theater chains have been ramping up the culinary level in cinema, bringing in elements of fine dining for a flavorful food experience as high-definition as the films guests are watching. (In fact, so much so, that reports by the NPD Group Supply Track show that theaters have increased foodservice spending by 20 percent.) Host Agnes Chung heads to one of iPic Theaters' locations in Manhattan and kicks it back with the brains behind the theater's full restaurant experience, complete with chef-driven menus and high-quality cocktails! 

At iPic, film junkies can munch on shrimp tacos, fried chicken, and filet mignon sliders. Who is the woman responsible for this blockbusting menu? James Beard Award-winning Chef Sherry Yard, who serves as chief operating officer of the restaurant division at iPic Entertainment, and who was formerly the executive pastry chef of Wolfgang Puck restaurants for more than two decades.

"We have to consider dining in the dark," Yard said when asked about her goals while designing the menu for iPic's theater rooms versus their dining rooms. "So never too crunchy, never too smelly, no forks and knives. So, it always has to be handheld. I can then transition it into something completely different when you go into our restaurants. Here in New York, we have The Tuck Room." 

To her, the dining experience and movie experience go hand-in-hand. Yard said it was all about the community — people love to eat and laugh together. To make that happen, she's created what she calls one of their super secret recipes: tuna on crispy rice! The rice patties are cooked with a combination rice-wine vinegar and topped with tuna amped up with spicy sauce, jalapeño, sweet and sour sauce, fish eggs, a bit of greens, and a little scallion for crunch.

When it comes to the ultimate cocktail, iPic turns to Corporate Sommelier and Executive Bartender Adam Seger.

"My background was more fine dining.... From there, I took [a] fine dining kind of mentality as far as quality, ingredients, and preparation, and then brought that into the bar and really kind of took a chef's approach, a seasonal approach," Seger explained, adding that his intention was to bring fresh flavors to their theaters and restaurants with a lot of care, love, and technique.

He wants his cocktails to be worthy of a destination. In this episode, he showcases their Big Apple Margarita, made with a bourbon-barrel-aged tequila, Laird's Applejack (the oldest commercial distillery in the U.S.), fresh apple cider, agave, fresh lime juice, and apple salsa on top.

If movie theaters continue to elevate their menus, will that mean more competition for the restaurant industry? Or will hospitality and entertainment thrive as a whole? And are you hungry for more? Watch the full episode now! 

Grasshoppers, the New Protein Jumping Out of Oaxacan Restaurant Cultura

In a small California beach city known as Carmel-by-the-Sea, Chef John Cox and partner Sarah Kabat-Marcy are bringing a little taste of Oaxaca, Mexico, to their restaurant, Cultura Comida y Bebida. John and Sarah met while working together at Post Ranch Inn’s Sierra Mar restaurant. Their shared love of Oaxacan and other Mexican flavors has translated into a tasty menu of food and drink, some of which use alternative proteins like chapulines.

What are chapulines? Grasshoppers! In an era of increased environmental awareness, Cox wants to teach his community about alternative proteins and how delicious they can be.

“When you look at something like beef that takes two years to produce, it takes tons — literally tons — of feed for every pound of meat that we’re getting, and then you look at crickets or grasshoppers. It’s the same protein content, its higher iron and calcium. This is almost an inevitable shift in the way that we eat as a culture,” he said.

Chapulines are commonly eaten in Mexico after being toasted on a comal (a clay cooking surface) with lime juice, chili, and salt.

Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 11.34.10 AM.png

Another alternative protein the partners play with is Sal de Gusano or worm salt. Sal de Gusano is made from the larvae of a moth that lives in an Agave plant. After the moth larvae are harvested, they are comal toasted and ground up with chiles and salts to produce an earthy, spicy, and umami flavor. This salt is then served as an accouterment to Mezcal, along with oranges and some more chapulines.  

“You can either sprinkle a little over the orange and have a bite between sips, or dip your finger in the salt and taste the salt between sips as well,” Kabat-Marcy said, explaining that there is no right way to enjoy the Sal de Gusano with Mezcal.

“We’re not, definitely not, self-proclaimed experts on Mexico or Mexican culture, but it’s something that we feel passionate about, something that we want to learn about," Cox added. "And when we go, whether it’s to Mexico City or Merida or Oaxaca, we’re always open for new experiences and we hope that we bring a little piece of that back home to share with the guests.”

Learn more about the tasty alternative proteins and Oaxacan-inspired dishes at Cultura on this episode of "On Foodable Side Dish!"

Emmy Squared Brings Detroit-Style Deep Dish Pizza to New York

Video Produced By Vanessa C. Rodriguez

In this “On Foodable Side Dish,” correspondent Agnes Chung heads over to Williamsburg to chat with Chef Matthew Hyland at Emmy Squared, the second pizza bar named after his wife, who is also the co-owner and front-of-house manager, Emily Hyland. There, Chung learned about an underrepresented style of pizza in New York, the Detroit-style deep dish pizza, and their subterranean burger lounge.

Detroit-Style Pizza

What differentiates this pizza from the famous New York Slice is that, for starters, it is baked in a square pan. Also, two more key features of a Detroit-style pizza are there is a cheesy crust on the outside and sauce is placed on top. The first time Chef Hyland tried this style of pizza, it was actually delivered from the Motor City itself.

“We actually ordered it frozen from Buddy’s, a very famous place in Detroit, so they shipped it across the country for us…. It’s really good! ” said Hyland.

From his perspective, this was an eye-opening experience.

“It was pretty spectacular because growing up eating Sicilian pizza and grandma pizza here...those were really the only exposure to square pizza we had in New York! ” said Hyland. 

The learning curve was not easy. For Chef Hyland, it took months to perfect the Detroit-style pizza. The secret was testing the different types of pans, their distinct shapes and sizes until he found the right one that cooked the best deep dish pizza in his convention oven with a conveyor belt.

Restaurant & Subterranean Burger Lounge

Emmy Squared is a little more casual than its sister restaurant, Emily, in Clinton Hill. However, it still features a similar design color scheme with black and copper accents throughout the space. The husband-and-wife duo wanted to make sure Emmy was not limited to serving only pizza by offering other food that was fun to eat, including small plates, sandwiches, and burgers. Their subterranean burger lounge, which only opens on Friday and Saturday nights, serves the famous Le Big Matt burger, declared a Must-Try by Zagat, along with specially-selected cocktails and beers on separate draft lines chosen just for the downstairs area. Their goal is to open the underground bar seven days a week.

Watch the full episode now to learn the secrets to making the Detroit-style deep dish pizza and Le Big Matt burger!

Chef Cedric Vongerichten Personalizes Perry St’s Menu With Seasonality

Video Produced By Vanessa C. Rodriguez

In this “On Foodable Side Dish,” correspondent Agnes Chung spends the morning with Chef de Cuisine Cedric Vongerichten, learning about his background, the importance he places on seasonality, and finally, his signature dishes for Perry St, his father’s, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, elegant restaurant in West Village, located in the Richard Meier Towers in New York City.

Background and Inspiration

Each week, Chef Vongerichten draws his inspiration from the freshest ingredients available in the farmer’s market. This extra time spent researching and properly sourcing the organic and GMO-free ingredients can be expensive on the restaurant, however, Vongerichten says, “...in the long run, I think prices are going to drop and that [seasonal ingredients] is what people are going to ask for, anyway.”

Experiences abroad have also played an important role in Vongerichten’s professional life and his palate, elevating his knowledge and exposing him to different flavor combinations and cooking techniques that serve as inspiration on a day-to-day basis.

At the early age of 17, Vongerichten began his career as a chef at a restaurant in the Bahamas. He then worked at London’s Berkeley Hotel, Hong Kong’s Mandarin Oriental, and El Bulli in Barcelona. Later, after graduating from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, he worked through the ranks at several Jean Georges Restaurants. Previous to working at Perry St, he was the sous chef at Jean Georges.

“It was definitely challenging at the beginning, you know, it’s very different from being sous chef to chef. You don’t realize until you are put in that position,” said Vongerichten. After six years of building and grooming his team and menu slowly, he can finally call Perry St’s menu his own.

Dishes

For Vongerichten, it comes naturally to meld French, American, and Asian cultures into his food. He has a couple favorite dishes of his own, like the Rice Cracker Crusted Tuna with Sriracha sauce, that have been at Perry St since day one. Another dish he loves is the Butter Poached Lobster.

“I was born in Thailand, and this is a French version/Thai combo on a plate. French technique and Thai flavors, like lemongrass and kaffir lime. That’s another favorite of mine and people love it, as well,” he said.

In this episode, Vongerichten shows us how to make Perry St’s heirloom tomato salad and a slow-cooked salmon with market spring vegetables.

He explains, “Heirloom means coming from different gardens, coming from different farmers, different flavors, different sweetness, and almost different texture, also.”

The tomatoes are stacked on top of each other in a horizontal row before they are seasoned with olive oil and salt. Then, he likes to add avocado slices to add a layer of creaminess to the dish. The salad is topped off with 12-year-old balsamic vinegar for a sweeter taste, spring onions, green serrano peppers for a little kick, and sesame seeds. For the finishing touches, add purple and bush basil leaves along with a couple of edible flowers for a spring feeling.  

As for the second dish, Vongerichten slow-cooked the salmon in olive oil and kosher salt at 275-300 degrees fahrenheit in a conventional oven for 10-12 minutes. While that was cooking, he took care of the vegetables by cutting the pencil asparagus, broccoli, sugar snap and heirloom snow peas, and cooking them in boiling water for one minute. Vongerichten had already prepared a pea purée, which he layered over the cooked salmon. Then, he placed all the cooked vegetables on top of the purée, along with some almonds and nasturtium edible flowers, which give the dish a peppery taste.

Watch the full episode to learn more!