Thursday, April 17, 2014

Where in the world is Dave Hansen? Across the pond!


Dave Hansen, Operations Director of Tapper Restaurant Group, is stepping aside temporarily in order to perform a ‘restaurant rescue’ operation on Bones Restaurant in London’s ultra-trendy Shoreditch neighborhood

     Bones Restaurant opened last January in Hoxton/Shoreditch [an uber-hip district of London] to a mixture of acclaim and derision.  Owners Joss and Simeon Goodman, of The Grocery UK, along with partner Simon Hill decided it was far more efficient to recruit a known international operator like Dave Hansen than to waste time combing for local talent.

   With a combination of deadly pragmatism and 100 hour workweeks, Dave has made a lot of restaurants work across a lot of time zones, said the recruiter who brokered the deal.  The British partners asked if Hansen could revitalize the new, yet already flagging restaurant in as little as 120 days, and Hansen readily welcomed the challenge.

     Just as comfortable with a chef’s knife or calculator in his hand as he is with writing an award-winning wine list or hobnobbing with guests at the front door, Hansen seems a perfect choice to reform everything from front-of-house service to reining in spiraling costs and refreshing the plating of Bone’s eclectic cuisine.

    “I always assumed the next time I disembarked at Heathrow it would be to reverently ask Heston Blumenthal if I could do a stage for him.  I suppose I’m just as happy to try giving him a run for his money during my time in country,” Hansen said.

     Hansen’s current employer, restaurateur Dino Tapper, is happy to give him the time away.  “With the new concepts we’re looking at opening in the next year, I’m sure he’ll bring back some new discoveries and knowledge.  Floriana’s running tightly under new exec Daniel Hlusak, and Federal is blessed with the return of charismatic Brazilian chef Guillerme Baretto to the helm in the kitchen,” Tapper said.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Home Cookin' - LDF Chicken

Have you tried Liberty Delight Farms chicken?
If not, it's coming into season and Farmer Shane should have a bunch in his coolers for this weekend's Farmer's Markets.
Farmer Shane's chickens are free range, antibiotic and hormone free. Best of all, they're allowed to be chickens. They're not raised in pens barely big enough to turn around in. They run around the farm acting like chickens. You can taste the difference. These are not packed with any solutions. The chicken is firm and juicy and it tastes like it's supposed to taste.
Below I've posted a recipe for crispy-skinned oven-baked chicken. It doesn't take long to cook and it's good.
I chose to do this in the oven because it was raining. There's nothing like smokey chicken on the grill, but you actually have better temp control doing it in the oven and will generally end up with a better end result. 
Take the frozen package, un-perforated/unopened, and put it in a pot of cold water. It will take 30-60 minutes to thaw. Pre-heat your oven to 325 while this is going on.
Lay the chicken out on some wrap or waxed paper so you don't get your rub all over the kitchen.
Season liberally with your favorite rub, then put it on a rack in a foil-lined pan. You do this so the bottom of the chicken doesn't get scorched or boil in the juices. Once again, consistency is king.
Cook it for about an hour, or until an instant-read thermometer tells you it's 165 degrees, then pull it out of the oven and crank the broiler to low and put the chicken back in about 4 inches from the element. This will crisp the skin up in no time. Keep your eye on it though as you don't want to burn it.
 After a few minutes under the broiler element you'll be serving perfectly cooked, crispy-skinned chicken. Who doesn't like that?  Besides vegetarians...
Thanks for reading and give the recipe a shot or post your own!
Thanks for reading.