I had the unique opportunity to talk with Chef Rahm Fama, the host of the new Food Network show “Meat & Potatoes”. He was fun to talk to, and the passion you see on his show also came through on the phone.
Here’s our conversation:
Where did the concept come for "Meat & Potatoes"?
It’s what people understand and what they know and what they love. Everybody wants to feel comfortable with that they’re eating and cooking. I love that fact that something that sounds so easy, meat and potatoes, are really something so beautiful and its art. What can we do with meat? It’s endless.
With a lot of chefs going towards more lighter meals, why meat?
I really generally love the history aspect, it’s been around forever and in other cuisines from French and Italian to Mexican, and it’s all based around meat (protein). I think it has a lot of history, a lot of technique; you’ve got to get that pastrami right. You have to get it just right or it’s going to be rubber. It takes a lot of talent and dedication to understand and love meat. The concept for cooking meat is another. I’ve been doing it for years, I’ve been a chef for 20 years and I still don’t think I have it right.
For example: all the different burgers, it’s ground beef, it’s a patty, and every burger is remarkably and amazingly different. If a burger can evolve, image how the other meat can change. No end to it, and that’s what I like. No end to meat, it’s on and on and on. It’s a constant type of education for me. I keep wanting to find more. And every show I find something new.
You can tell you have a passion for meat, what is your favorite meat and where did your passion come from?
My mom was a horrible cook (please forgive me mom). With having been a rancher and raising cattle, to putting it on the plate, I think I have a lot of appreciation for the meat then other chefs. I’ve seen it up close. Ranch life is hard. I want to take it to the next level and make sure it is created with the respect with which it deserves.
Out of all the episodes recorded, what was the weirdest thing you tried?
Each episode has a different segment. BBQ –there’s nothing weird about BBQ. There’s Steakhouse Wars and there’s Late Night Meat in LA. Beautiful steakhouse looks like a train. You can get a great steak at anytime (24 hours a day). Every place has been a great experience. I’m not eating bugs or testicles. The strangest thing I tried to conquer was the 10 pound burrito. I thought I could do it, but ended up sharing it with the crew.
The hot dog place really was a gourmet place, it was unbelievable. The Foss Hog! Every restaurant has been incredible.
What one restaurant would you visit again as soon as possible?
I’d like to spend a little more time at David Burke’s in Chicago. They dry age steaks (rib eye) 75 days. Here’s an example of one of his meals. You get a rib eye, a waffle, with cheese, bacon, and scallions. You spread butter and sour cream on top. It comes to you as a warm waffle with a side potato.
What makes your show different from the variety of “let’s visit restaurants” shows out there?
Because my show is fun, energetic and educational. I’m trying to capture those people who have had that or haven’t had that. I show people different stuff. We’ve all had a pastrami sandwich, but maybe you haven’t had a Montreal influenced pastrami sandwich.
It’s a steak but different. It’s BBQ, but different. It has great endings and fun factoids.
Would you be willing to share a recipe with us?
Coffee and Red Chile Rubbed Flank Steak Recipe Courtesy Rahm Fama
1 teaspoon smoked paprika 1 teaspoon powdered mustard 1/3 cup New Mexico red chili 1/4 cup ground coffee 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Kosher salt 2 pounds flank steak Score the surface of the steak with 1/4 inch deep knife cuts, about an inch apart, across the grain of the meat. Combine the dry rub ingredients and the steak in a large freezer bag and shake. Chill and marinate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Using olive oil soaked onto a paper towel, coat the grill thoroughly. Preheat the grill with high, direct heat. Remove the steak from the bag and shake off excess rub. Place steak on the hot grill. If you are using a gas grill, cover the grill. Grill for 4-6 minutes on each side. Half way through grilling on each side, turn the steak 90° so that you get more grill marks.
Flank steak is best-eaten medium rare, well done will make it too tough. When the steak has cooked to your preferred level of doneness, remove from the grill and place on a cutting board. Cover with aluminum foil to hold in the heat and to keep the steak from drying out, and let rest for 10 minutes.
Will any of the shows take place in CO?
Hopefully in the next season we can visit Colorado, “Hi Colorado!” There is lots of great meat in Colorado. We’ve only filmed 6 episodes, so we had to narrow it down. I don’t have a lot of decisions on where I go. It’s a combination of a lot of things where we decide to go.
What do you eat in the middle of the night?
Being a chef, I graze, I’m never full. Last night I went to a dinner in LA and couldn’t eat it all. I graze all day.
What I have in my kitchen I have a lot of deli meats, sliced capocollo, prosciuttos. I’ve been doing my own duck prosciutto at home.
I’m not cooking as much as I want, but when I’m in my kitchen, I just do my thing.
Chef Rahm says:
Stay tuned for the show and watch it. Have as much fun watching it as I did making it. You can see the fun and energy that’s coming through me and I’m just as surprised to see this stuff like everyone else. I appreciate the opportunity. I’m super excited about it. I get to do what I love and be on TV, it’s awesome!
Thank you to Chef Fama for his time and to Michelle Betrock from the Food Network Channel for setting up the interview.
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