This week we have a few questions and a recipe from Chef Monette of the Flagstaff House.
1. What attracted you to cooking? I grew up working in the restaurant as a busboy and later a server. Our family always went to great restaurants as a child. The older I became, the more interested I was in the culinary field. I moved to Napa Valley in the early 80`s just when food was really getting exciting in the US.
I worked at the Miramonte under a french chef that worked with Paul Bocuse. Thats when my eye`s opened big time to what cuisine really is.
2. What is the philosophy behind your cooking, or in your kitchen?
My philosophy has always been to utilize the the best freshest products available. (locally whenever possible.) That being said, I showcase the product and enhance the protein. Not cover it up.
3. What is the biggest influence on the way you cook? The biggest influence in my cooking goes back to my youth. Whether it was trying blood sausage for the first time with my father or stopping at the corn stand. All the way up to cooking with the best chefs of France. Ultimatly working with Thomas Keller in NY. He remains a good freind and inspiration.
4. Is there a chef living today you would like to work with? Many. I am always learning. From Robichon to Gordon Ramsey. I would also like to work with a Japanese master chef one day.
5. Is there a particular ingredient you like to cook with more than others? Depends on the season and my mood.
6. If stuck on a desert isle and could have one meal from then on out, what would it be? Can I be as broad as to say fish?
7. Is someone asked you for two Colorado restaurants to try other than your own what would you suggest?
Larkspur in Vail or Splendido in Beaver Creek
8. How about one restaurant any where in the world?
Of course French Laundry. However The Thai restaurant in the Oriental Hotel comes to mind.
9. Would you be willing to share a recipe with us? Yes I would be happy to.
(recipe is at the end)
10. For many years the Flagstaff House has been the "special occassion" place in Colorado. Is it hard continously living up to expectations and keeping the Flagstaff House one of the premiere restaurants in the state? The restaurant business is always changing and growing. The Flagstaff House is a very special place and I never take it for granted. I continue to make changes and look at how we can improve every day.
Warm Salad of Potato Crusted Alaskan Halibut and Arugula
4 halibut fillets, 6 to 8 oz each
1 cup potato chips, crushed
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
6 oz arugula (about 4 cups)
1 roasted red or yellow sweet peppers, diced
1 dried tomatoes
3 tbsp chopped nicoise olives
3 cloves roasted garlic per salad
4 tsp balsamic vinegar, reduced
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp white truffle oil (optional)
6 to 8 croutons per salad
To prepare halibut: lightly flour halibut and place in egg wash then coat with crushed potato chips. Saute with a little oil in hot pan on both sides till all fish is white.
To make the balsamic reduction: In a saucepan, reduce ½ quart of balsamic vinegar over a low flame in a slow simmer, until it has a syrupy consistency, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and chill. (Store in the refrigerator. It will keep for one month.)
To prepare salad: mix roasted peppers, dried tomato, nicoise olives and roasted garlic together. Make vinaigrette by adding balsamic syrup, extra virgin olive oil and white truffle oil together. Drizzle dressing over arugula and toss. Add croutons. Place halibut on top.
As always thank you for stopping by and if you have any questions or comments please let us know at jonathan or barb @milehigheater.com
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