Bringing Home the Bacon

written and iphone photography by Ilene Ross

The average New Yorker is not easily taken aback. They’re constantly bombarded with stimuli, and it usually requires something quite out of the ordinary for them to glance up from their smart phones. But recently, the sight and sound of Ian Kapitan, Executive Chef of the Long Island City eatery Alobar whizzing up the Mid-town streets astride his throaty Harley Davidson, balancing a stunning D’Artagnan pig on his shoulders, complete with a chase car and scooter en masse caused them to not only look, but positively gawk. Mouths dropped open, and although they weren’t quite certain exactly why it was they were witnessing what it was they were witnessing, those smart phone cameras began snapping away furiously.

Far from being simply an attention getting stunt-although the viewership was most certainly appreciated-this ride was a dual purpose endeavor. Following chef and carcass was, in the chase car, film-makers Dennis Rainaldi, Rob Cole, and on the scooter, Brian Rainaldi, of Listen Films. The goals of the team were to make a bad-ass food porn video highlighting Alobar and its pork-centric menu, as well as Chef Kapitan’s commitment to humanely raised, locally sourced meat. When the video is finished, it will encompass the entire voyage of the pig from ‘purveyor to plate’, so to speak, complete with butchery, in high speed, and set to music. The idea for the, “Hog on Hog” type approach seemed like a natural fit for both the film team and Chef Kapitan. “Alobar has a very ‘Rock & Roll’ mystique about it, and they’re getting a lot of great press in that light. We wanted to do something with Ian on his bike; we all ride, and we loved the idea of coming up with this modern, whimsical advertisement for Alobar,” said Brian Rainaldi. The team worked in conjunction with Jeff Blath, Alobar’s owner on the concept.

For Chef Kapitan there is that deeper message to convey as well. “I really want to feature where the pig comes from, my bringing it to the restaurant, breaking it down, preparing the dish, showing the finished dish; all done with respect to the total animal. This isn’t some commodity animal that we just pulled off a ranch somewhere. D’Artagnan is all about raising animals humanely, respecting and paying farmers fairly, and sourcing products regionally and sustainably.” And yes, he’s prepared for the shock value he knows the video might cause. After all, although the sight of a dead pig being hauled around on a motorcycle might be the norm in many third world nations, it DID draw a couple of not-so-friendly stares on the Manhattan streets. Chef Kapitan sees it this way; “Look, for me, I mean, obviously, I’ve got the tattoos, and I’ve been a bad-ass all my whole life. I don’t mind drawing a little attention and maybe taking a little heat, because ultimately, and I don’t want to offend anybody, but the bottom line is this, we have a f*cked up food system in this country but we don’t talk about that, and if this helps, so be it. This isn’t to offend vegetarians or anyone.”

Jeff Blath agrees with the two-fold message he hopes the video will convey. He’s glad for the recent press the restaurant has received in regards to their pork dishes and whole hog butchery. “We quietly decided that whenever possible we would get whole hogs in and butcher them in house and that nothing would go to waste; we use every bit of the animal. There are a lot of chefs that wouldn’t know how to do that, and that’s why Ian is such an asset.” The provenance of the meat is as important to Alobar’s owner as it is to its Executive Chef. “We source from a few places like D’Artagnan and Fossil Farms. We trust them because they have high standards. They know which farms the meat came from, what they feed, and that they don’t use growth hormones,” says Blath.  As for his feelings on the video’s potential shock value, Blath is quick to again point out the Alobar model of snout-to-tail consumption of the pigs the restaurant purchases. “We are doing this with a conscience. We’re trying to emphasize being a meat eater with a conscience. If you’re going to eat meat, embrace it and don’t let any of it go to waste.”

Farm ~ rustic ~ dinner magic

written and photographed by Gina Weathersby

This past Saturday, Ilene and I had the unbelievable pleasure of attending an inaugural farm to table dinner event. A brilliant collaboration between Chef Ryan Santos of Please and Richard Stewart of Carriage House Farm  ~ who also hosted the setting for this outdoor dinner.  The intensely fall seasonal menu (and presentation) was nothing short of farm, rustic magic, which included freshly harvested ingredients (and foraging) courtesy of Tricia Houston (Napolean Ridge Farm) as well as Carriage House Farm.  If you find yourself wishing you could have been there…you’ll be delighted to know that there will most certainly be more to come. Be sure to follow both Please and Carriage House Farm’s facebook pages to be the first to know.

I realize there have been a lot of teasers up on the blog lately, but how could I not sneak a few of these images out? So, for now…a little atmosphere from the evening. And for those of you who prefer imagery of the moving kind, you should be happy to know that Eric Hintz is already editing his video footage of the evening as well. All good things, my friends.

Orange, Sweet Treats, Farms & Ginger

written and photographed by Gina Weathersby

For those of you who are asking, the answers are yes, we are still very much here, and yes, there most certainly will be a 513{eats} Autumn issue, albeit, a little (ok, very much) later than planned. Suffice to say, a long summer break was very much needed by one of us;)
The pages are shaping up visually, and soon Ilene will begin her word monkey magic to complete the stories. For now, we will do what we love to do for you ~ throw a few teasers out to get you even more excited for the completed magazine.
What can you look forward to in this issue? Well, I won’t give it all away, but here are a few of the stories.
We asked Chefs Daniel Wright (Senate and Abigail Street), Dave Taylor (La Poste and Django) and Julie Francis (Nectar) to create a fall dish or beverage based on an ingredient that was…orange. Here is a little peek at what Julie came up with.

We went in the kitchen with Pastry Chef Summer Genneti for a most delectable fall inspired angel food cake topped with mounds of sweet, syrupy apricots.

We even went right to where it all begins, the farm. Specifically, Carriage House Farm with owner, Richard Stewart and garden manager, Kate Cook for the full tour in addition to having a rustic meal featuring ginger harvested the same day from the farm prepared for us by our own contributing Chef Jose Salazar of The Palace.

and…if a few pictures isn’t enough…check out what our own fabulous contributing media designer, Eric Hintz,  has produced for us from our visit to Carriage House Farm.

513 {eats} – Autumn 2012 Edition from Eric Hintz on Vimeo.

In addition to working on the stories and features for the issue, Ilene and I have been on some amazing road trips this past month and are anxious to share those stories with you as well. We’ve already shared our day trip and the behind the scenes from our visit to delve kitchens from our Seattle trip and I’ll try to sneak another Seattle visit on the blog before the issue is finished;)
And, for those of you who have been asking, pleading and wondering if there is ever going to be a printed edition of our 513{eats} magazine, I am happy to say the answer to that question is also, yes. The Autumn issue will be available in both print and online. We are as excited as you are and can not wait to hold it in our hands as well.
When might all this happen? If you’re following us, you’ll be the first to know;)

513{eats} SIDS Fundraiser~A Year of Chefs {Queen City Style} 2013

photography by Gina Weathersby
design by Lisa Ballard
written Ilene Ross

Who wants a calendar? YOU want a calendar! Especially when it’s as beautiful a calendar as this one is, and filled to the brim with delectable food, and delectable Cincinnati chefs. And, just when you think it can’t get any better, consider this; our calendar was put together to benefit a most valuable cause…The de Cavel Family SIDS Foundation.

The de Cavel Family SIDS Foundation (formerly 7 DAYS for SIDS) is an organization founded by Jean-Robert & Annette de Cavel, a dedicated group of volunteers, and local restaurateurs. Their mission is to raise funds for research, education, and outreach, as well as for the Tatiana de Cavel Scholarship at the Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State. Annette and Jean-Robert lost their daughter, Tatiana to SIDS in June 2002. Their wish is that no family should have to experience the same devastating loss.

So, open up your wallets, find a spot on your wall, and get ready to drool, Cincinnati!!! $39 + 6.5% sales tax + $3 s+h

{11″ x 17″ hinged at the top for hanging}
front and back covers


delve Into Your Culinary Future With ChefSteps

written by Ilene Ross
photography by Gina Weathersby

We asked the seafood hawker at the infamous Pike Place Fish Market if he knew where to find ‘Delve Kitchen‘ and we were met with quite the quizzical expression. In fact, very few people know that quietly taking place on the third floor of Seattle’s bustling Pike Place Market are some very serious experiments. Seriously delicious gastronomic experiments, that is.  But if things go according to plan, soon the whole world will know, and everyone who wants to will be able to participate. On our recent trip to Seattle to attend the Chefs Collaborative Sustainable Food Summit, we dropped by, and dragged Cincinnati chef Steve Geddes of Local 127, as well as farmer Justin Dean of Relish the Garden along for the ride.

Born of the culinary masterpiece that is the world-renowned Modernist Cuisine, ChefSteps- operated out of the Delve Kitchen-is the latest venture of Chefs Chris Young, Grant Crilly, and photographer Ryan Matthew Smith. It’s an online free-to-learn culinary school that will offer everyone-from professional to home enthusiast alike-advanced techniques including the first class available, sous vide cooking. Lot’s more content is on the way soon. Yes, there will be homework and tests. The courses will not only be free, they will be interactive, and live “office hours” will be offered with the ChefSteps team to gain valuable feedback on students’ progress.

Anyone who owns the behemoth 5 book Modernist Cuisine set breathes rare air. Owning the collection means you’ve shelled out hundreds of dollars to possess what Chef David Chang considers, “The cookbook to end all cookbooks.” Legendary Spanish chef Ferran Adrià said, “This book will change the way we understand the kitchen.” Why then is the ChefSteps offering their vast wealth of information now for free online? “It may turn out that we’re totally crazy, but we wanted to share our knowledge digitally with the community.” said Young. “Right now, we’re not paying ourselves.” He goes on to explain that there is money being made through the parent company, Delve in consulting work, and that there will eventually be an online ChefSteps store as well. As to why original Modernist Cuisine co-authors Nathan Myhrvold and Maxime Bilet are not involved in ChefSteps, Young says, “They wanted to go a different way.”

Chef Grant Crilly prepares the perfect morning Seattle latte for us. What a warm welcome!

Kitchen, science lab, photo/video studio. Everything takes place in this 4000 square foot light-filled space overlooking Pike Place Market. Creative Director Ryan Matthew Smith edits a video shot the night before.

The loft is a carefully put together collection of used hi-tech equipment gleaned from craigslist etc.  This place is totally a grown-up example of “boys and their toys”, with the Cincinnati guys oohing and ahhing over such items as the high speed centrifuge, the giant sous vide bath fashioned from a re-purposed sports tub, and a freezer that freezes so quickly, cell walls don’t burst when meat is frozen.

…but, there’s always room for the white board.

Chris explains to me why the group chose sous vide cooking as their first lesson for the ChefSteps experience. “There are deep misconceptions about it. But, if you think about it, the definition is really just about accurate temperature. A conventional oven is never going to be accurate. Sous vide is really just an excuse to talk about the ingredient we all use every day; heat. Sous vide cooking guarantees the temperature is accurate.”

Chef Grant prepares the ingredients for Salmon 104° F, the dish that is presently found on the ChefSteps website as Chef Steve Geddes looks on.

Perfectly cooked salmon is seasoned with Maldon sea salt and a spice rub of coriander and black pepper. The plate is garnished with horseradish cream, watercress puree, pickled onions, and olive oil.

After our lunch, the Modernist Cuisine was cracked open and talk turned to meat cutting and Bourbon. Justin was all set to show the guys some new techniques, but alas, our plan to find a whole hog and break it down was thwarted by the fact that one was not to be found so late in the day. Next time….

All that meat talk left us a bit peckish, so thankfully, Chef Grant brought out a secret stash of sous vide short rib pastrami. This is the kind of stuff they usually save to barter for goods and services. If it wasn’t bad form, we probably would have licked the cutting board. We were, and remain, ever so grateful.

{find this post shared on honest cooking’s blog as well}

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