Chefs talk New Year’s res­o­lu­tions

The Southern Berks News - - FRONT PAGE - By Emily Ryan

Mak­ing a New Year’s res­o­lu­tion? So are some area chefs. From eat­ing more veg­gies to learn­ing new skills, six kitchen stars shared their plans for 2019.

Michael Fal­cone, ex­ec­u­tive chef Rebel Hill Brew­ing Com­pany, Phoenixville: I usu­ally try not to make res­o­lu­tions, but if I had to say one thing, I’d like to try and stick to us eat­ing healthy on a con­sis­tent ba­sis. It sounds funny since I cook a lo­cal, sea­sonal menu as much as pos­si­bly pro­fes­sion­ally. But at home af­ter a long day, it’s easy to grab some­thing con­ve­nient in­stead of plan­ning ahead to have a healthy din­ner wait­ing at home when I’m done.

Ge­orge Bieber, chef/ owner Shorty’s Sun­flower Cafe, Pottstown: My foodrelated New Year’s res­o­lu­tion is to eat and serve more veg­etable-based dishes and ex­plore new sea­son­ing tech­niques uti­liz­ing freshly toasted seeds, spices and pick­ling liq­uids.

Chris Cal­houn, ex­ec­u­tive chef The Desmond Malvern: Eat more veg­eta­bles, i.e. use smaller amounts of meats to com­ple­ment, en­hance veg­eta­bles ver­sus the stan­dard of 10-ounce pro­tein and 3-ounce veg­etable. A few nights a week, fo­cus on eat­ing veg­eta­bles as the cen­ter of the plate.

Charles Vogt, ex­ec­u­tive chef Main & Vine, Vil­lanova: Be­ing more mind­ful to take the time to sit down and en­joy a meal through­out the day. Be­ing such a high paced, stress­ful busi­ness, we tend to over­look that we some­times go the en­tire day without eat­ing. Even though we are sur­rounded by all of th­ese amaz­ing in­gre­di­ents for us to per­son­ally en­joy, we tend to be so fo­cused on serv­ing oth­ers that we can for­get about our­selves.

An­drew Mas­cian­gelo, ex­ec­u­tive chef/part­ner Savona, Gulph Mills: I would like to con­tinue to use lo­cal pur­vey­ors and to fo­cus more on health­ier and lighter dishes in the com­ing year. But not to worry, we will al­ways keep our sig­na­ture dishes on the menu.

Robert Toland, event chef/pas­try chef Ter­rain Gar­den Cafe, Glen Mills: As a chef, I’m con­stantly on the look­out for new tech­niques and ideas I can add to my culi­nary skill set. Right now, I’m look­ing to strengthen my un­der­stand­ing and ap­pli­ca­tion of fer­ment­ing and preser­va­tion. The Philly food scene was so ex­cited when Noma vis­ited Philly to dis­cuss the art of fer­men­ta­tion and right­fully so. It’s so im­por­tant for us as food pro­fes­sion­als to con­tinue to adapt and grow in this in­dus­try. I look for­ward to learn­ing all kind of new skills for 2019.

Turn­ing the tables…

Here’s what chefs hope their cus­tomers re­solve to do in 2019.

Michael Fal­cone, ex­ec­u­tive chef Rebel Hill Brew­ing Com­pany, Phoenixville: I try not to be that chef to tell peo­ple what to eat. I just try to cre­ate a menu that has a mass ap­peal while be­ing a lit­tle unique when­ever pos­si­ble. So, I guess if din­ers keep an open mind when look­ing at a menu, and they re­ally en­joy some­thing that might be out of their com­fort level, it makes my job fun, eas­ier and re­ward­ing.

Ge­orge Bieber, chef/ owner Shorty’s Sun­flower Cafe, Pottstown: Food­wise, I hope our cus­tomers re­solve to con­tinue eat­ing great food from small, in­de­pen­dently owned and op­er­ated es­tab­lish­ments as op­posed to eat­ing fast food or chain restau­rant grub.

Chris Cal­houn, ex­ec­u­tive chef The Desmond Malvern: Re­duce pro­cessed foods to a bare min­i­mum; as a treat, you could say.

Charles Vogt, ex­ec­u­tive chef Main & Vine, Vil­lanova: Con­tin­u­ing to sup­port the or­ganic and all­nat­u­ral ap­proach with the foods that we con­sume. The more that we de­mand this from our restau­rants and food re­tail­ers then the bet­ter the pric­ing be­comes and most im­por­tantly, the health­ier we re­main.

An­drew Mas­cian­gelo, ex­ec­u­tive chef/part­ner Savona, Gulph Mills: I would love for our cus­tomers to be more open to try­ing new and ex­cit­ing in­gre­di­ents!

Robert Toland, event chef/pas­try chef Ter­rain Gar­den Cafe, Glen Mills: In that same vein, I hope that our cus­tomers con­tinue to learn about food and maybe even experiment in their own kitchens from time to time. Here at Ter­rain, we are al­ways host­ing cook­ing classes. Our goal is to de­mys­tify and hope­fully em­power our guest to get in the kitchen and try new things they wouldn’t have done oth­er­wise. I would love it if the foodie trend kept go­ing into 2019 and be­yond.

This dish en­hances veg­eta­bles with meat.

Mapo Tofu with Egg­plant


1 block tofu, large dice 2 ta­ble­spoons grape­seed oil or cook­ing oil

1 cup large dice egg­plant, peel if de­sired

1/4 to 1/2 pound ground pork or chicken

1 ta­ble­spoon minced gin­ger

1 ta­ble­spoon minced gar­lic

1 ta­ble­spoon broad bean paste or spicy chili paste

3/4 cup chicken broth or pork broth

1 ta­ble­spoon honey 1 ta­ble­spoon gluten-free soy sauce

1/2 ta­ble­spoon black Chi­nese vine­gar or malt vine­gar

1 tea­spoon ar­row­root pow­der or corn­starch 1 tea­spoon se­same oil 1 tea­spoon ground Szechuan pep­per­corn or black pep­per­corn

1 ta­ble­spoon toasted se­same seeds

3 scal­lions, minced In­struc­tions

Place the diced tofu gen­tly in a pot of cold wa­ter. Bring to a sim­mer; when the tofu floats, re­move care­fully and re­serve at room tem­per­a­ture. Heat the oil in a large pot and sauté the egg­plant un­til lightly browned. Add salt and pep­per to taste. Re­move and re­serve. Add the ground pork to the same pot and cook over medium heat un­til cooked. Add the gar­lic, gin­ger and bean paste. Sauté briefly then quickly add the broth. Also add the honey, soy and vine­gar. Bring to a sim­mer. Taste the broth; ad­just with more soy, honey or vine­gar if de­sired. Mix the ar­row­root with 1 ta­ble­spoon wa­ter and thicken the broth. Add the tofu to the meat/broth and gen­tly sim­mer while cov­ered for 2 min­utes. Add more broth if de­sired. Lastly, add the se­same oil, se­same seed, scal­lion, pep­per­corn and egg­plant. Warm thor­oughly and serve with steamed rice.


And here’s a lit­tle New Year’s in­dul­gence.

Ter­rain’s Cho­co­late Chip Cook­ies


1/2 pound (226 grams) but­ter, un­salted, room tem­per­a­ture

1 cup, packed (226 grams) light brown su­gar

3/4 cup + 1 ta­ble­spoon (181 grams) gran­u­lated su­gar

2 whole (115 grams) eggs, room tem­per­a­ture

1/2 ta­ble­spoon (8 grams) vanilla ex­tract

3 cups (385 grams) allpur­pose flour

1 tea­spoon (6 grams) bak­ing soda

1 tea­spoon (5 grams) bak­ing pow­der

1 tea­spoon (4 grams) salt 1 pound (451 grams) cho­co­late chips In­struc­tions

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a pad­dle at­tach­ment, be­gin the cream­ing method by com­bin­ing the but­ter and sug­ars and mix­ing on medium-low speed. Pe­ri­od­i­cally scrape the sides down to en­sure an even mix­ture. Con­tinue mix­ing on medium-low speed un­til the mix­ture is light and fluffy, 10 min­utes. Add eggs one at a time and mix un­til the egg mix­ture is thor­oughly in­cor­po­rated into the but­ter mix­ture. Scrape the bowl af­ter each ad­di­tion of egg. Add the vanilla ex­tract and mix thor­oughly. Add the flour and salt and mix in very short bursts un­til all the flour is in­cor­po­rated. Fold in cho­co­late chips. Por­tion cookie dough as de­sired and al­low to chill in the re­frig­er­a­tor for at least 1 hour. When prop­erly chilled, lay cook­ies 1 1/2 inches apart on a bak­ing sheet, sprin­kle black lava sea salt on top and bake at 350 de­grees un­til golden brown. Al­low to rest be­fore serv­ing. (Or don’t; warm cook­ies are the best cook­ies.) Yield: about 19 (3-ounce) cook­ies



Savona’s ex­ec­u­tive chef An­drew Mas­cian­gelo of­fers “con­sis­tent, cre­ative, high-qual­ity din­ing.”


At Main & Vine, ex­ec­u­tive chef Charles Vogt “brings a piece of North­ern Cal­i­for­nia to the heart of Philadel­phia’s Main Line.”


Find veg­gie-for­ward dishes like th­ese at Ter­rain.


Veg out! Do you too re­solve to eat more veg­eta­bles?


Lo­cal and or­ganic... yes, please!


Ex­ec­u­tive chef Chris Cal­houn of The Desmond Malvern shared his recipe for Mapo Tofu with Egg­plant.

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