This new season opens on the eve of the 15th anniversary dinner celebration for Charlie Trotter's restaurant. More than a celebration, this dinner is the culmination of a long time dream for Trotter, to host acclaimed chef Fredy Girardet in his Chicago restaurant. Considered by his peers to be the "world's greatest living chef" Girardet is an iconoclast and perfectionist who has only cooked outside his Swiss restaurant once prior to cooking at Trotter's. In tribute to Chef Girardet, Trotter assembled a "who's who" of top American chefs. From New York's David Bouley to Napa Valley's Thomas Keller, THE KITCHEN SESSIONS WITH CHARLIE TROTTER captures the camaraderie and conversations of some of the world's most esteemed chefs. Recipe: Scallop and Cockle Salad.
As the sun just begins to illuminate the pristine waters surrounding the island of Oahu, fishing boats begin arriving at Hawaii's famed Kewalo basin to unload some of the best seafood in the world. On this episode, we take viewers inside the Honolulu Fish Auction to watch as buyers and sellers move hundreds pounds of freshly caught Hawaiian fish to all points around the world. In the kitchen Chef Trotter prepares a Hawaiian snapper. Recipes: Artichoke Puree Soup with Hawaiian Snapper and Saffron Mayonnaise Sauce; Beans Three Ways...Loose Puree, Braised Whole, Emulsion with Sea Bass.
Tomales Bay in West Marin, California remains wild and beautiful, nearly like it must have been a hundred years ago. Here at the Hog Island Oyster farm delectable Kummamoto, Balone, and, Pacific oysters are cultivated in the bay's pristine waters. These are some of Chef Trotter's favorite oysters and one visit to this gorgeous bay explains why. In the kitchen Chef Trotter prepares a rich oyster soup and potato souffle with mussels. Recipes: Potato and Poached Oyster Soup with Bacon Lardons and Crispy Elements; Potato Souffle with Curried Mussel Sauce.
Working to refine cuisine takes enhanced communication between food producers and chefs. When Chef Trotter visited the Chef's Garden farm in Huron, Ohio it wan an opportunity to appreciate the grower's discipline and to taste the results of farmer Lee Jones efforts on site. Recipes: Asian Salad with Tatsoi and Mizuna with Spicy Peanut; Vinaigrette Julienne Vegetable and Lamb; Watercress and Garlic Puree with Monkfish and Braised Kale.
The pristine Pacific ocean that surrounds the islands of Hawaii are home to some of the best varieties of tuna. Each morning the tuna fish boats arrive with glistening fresh Yellowtail and Big Eye, some of it destined for Trotter's in Chicago. From Honolulu to Chicago Chef Trotter rejoices in the beauty of Hawaii's fresh catch. Recipes: Grilled Tuna with Spicy Corn Relish and Avocado Puree; SearedTuna with Oxtail, Turnip Confit, Slow Roasted Carrots and Rutabaga with Roasted Garlic Sauce.
An important lesson Chef Trotter instills in his staff is to approach each and every task with confidence and humility. In this episode, he prepares Artichokes Stuffed Three Different Ways with curried duck, cumin rice and eggplant filling. When plating, the fillings are placed at the bottom of each artichoke base and drizzled with herb oil -- a simple and elegant dish. Recipes: Artichoke Turnover with Herb Puree; Artichokes Stuffed Three Ways.
Chef Trotter is always alert and mindful of the details that make Charlie Trotter's a success - no detail is ever overlooked. Once one grasps certain techniques and concentrates on the details, recipes and culinary dishes that seem remote and esoteric suddenly become accessible. In this episode, Chef Trotter highlights the diversity of mushrooms when he prepares Wild Mushroom Ragout and Hot and Sour Mushroom Soup with Tofu and Shrimp Dumplings. Chef Trotter uses porcini, black trumpet, small morels, and hedgehog mushrooms. Prosciutto is torn into small pieces and interwoven with sauteed squash and the wild mushrooms to create an extravagant ragout. Recipes: Hot and Sour Mushroom Soup with Tofu and Shrimp Dumplings; Wild Mushroom Ragout.
The labor-intensive endeavor of cheesemaking takes stamina, passion and diligence. At the beginning of the show, The Kitchen Sessions visits Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes to showcase the cheesemaking process. Then he begins to prepare an impressive starter: Wilted Arugula Salad with Rabbit, Figs and Goat Cheese. The salad is composed of tender rabbit, warmed figs and a combination of goat cheese, shallots and cream. All these ingredients are layered over wilted arugula and arugula puree. The versatility of cheese is showcased in Chef Trotter's second recipe - Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Crispy Pepper Tuiles. The goat cheese cheesecake paired with a vinaigrette of olive oil, vinegar, tomatoes, almonds and arugula complement the heat of the pepper tuiles. Recipes: Wilted Arugula Salad with Rabbit, Figs and Goat Cheese Goat Cheese; Cheesecake with Crispy Pepper Tuiles.
Chef Trotter believes that "complacency is the death of creativity." Inspired by other chefs, musicians and artists, Chef Trotter has continued to change and evolve through the years. Chef Trotter showcases the diversity of fresh tomatoes when he prepares two recipes using the sweet, juicy vegetable. His first recipe, Soft Shell Crab with Curried Tomato Sauce and Cumin Vinaigrette, combines the sweetness of crab with the heat of curry. The soft-shell crabs are dressed with curried tomato sauce and a vinaigrette accented with granny smith apples, endive, and toasted pine nuts. The Open Faced Tomato Tart with White Anchovies and Caper Vinaigrette creates an intriguing blend of flavors and provides a beautifully presented dish. Yellow tomato rings and anchovies are arranged in a pinwheel shape on the top of the warm and crusty tart. Recipes: Soft Shell Crab with Curried Tomato Sauce and Cumin Vinaigrette; Open Faced Tomato Tart with White Anchovies and Caper Vinaigrette.
Get a sneak peek as Chef Trotter engages his waitstaff at a pre-service meeting in the dining room at Charlie Trotter's. Chef Trotter instills the importance of supporting one another and working as a team to achieve excellence - both of which have made Charlie Trotter'sa success for the last fifteen years. Simple pleasures such as dessert are highlighted in this episode. The Lemon Verbena Custard with Lace Cookies and Fresh Berries provides a sweet strong lemon dessert without the sourness. This creation is a stack of lace cookies, fresh warm raspberries, blackberries and strawberries and a dollop of delicious lemon custard. The Carrot Cake with Creme Fraiche Frosting and Buttermilk Ice Cream is a decadent dessert that will make any adult swoon. Just one bite of this cake topped with creme fraiche frosting and sitting in carrot and pecan brown butter sauces will make you take another bite. Recipes: Lemon Verbena Custard with Lace Cookies and Fresh Berries; Carrot Cake with Creme Fraiche Frosting and Buttermilk Ice Cream.
Pairing wines with cheeses can produce new flavors that are astonishing and memorable. Eaten together, wine and cheese bring out the best in one another. With the help of Larry Stone, one of the finest Master Sommeliers in the nation, Chef Trotter prepares a cheese and wine course. For his preparation of Crepes with Explorateur Cheese and Red Wine-Dates, Chef Trotter brings together triple-creme soft textured cheese with a thin mild tasting crepe. A decadent almond sauce is placed under the crepe and a mixture of dried fruits including dates, cranberries, cherries and currants cooked with a red wine reduction is spooned on top, creating an astonishing dish. Wine and cheese are also paired in Charlie Trotter'ssecond recipe - Maytag Blue Cheese Tart with Sauterne Jelly and Apricots. Recipes: Crepes with Explorateur Cheese and Red Wine-Dates; Maytag Blue Cheese Tart with Sauterne Jelly and Apricots.
Chef Trotter visits Lee Jones' farm in Huron, Ohio. Lee Jones, one of Chef Trotter's long time colleagues, produces diverse fruits and vegetables that Chef Trotter uses at his restaurant. Fingerling potatoes are one of the specialty products at Lee Jones' farm and were used in two delectable dishes: Twice Baked Fingerling Potatoes with Duck Confit and Brocoflower and Spiced Venison with Prune Studded Potato Wheels and Braised Celery. In the visually stunning preparation of the spiced venison dish, potatoes are cut into pinwheels and studded with cooked dates and placed alongside tender venison that has been seasoned with cinnamon and star anise. Julienne of cooked celery with bay leaf and rosemary accompany the sumptuous dish. Recipes: Twice Baked Fingerling Potatoes with Duck Confit and Brocoflower; Spiced Venison with Prune Studded Potato Wheels and Braised Celery.
In this episode, Chef Trotter prepares two impressive raw dishes that provide palatable fulfillment and pleasure: Fennel Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette, Greens & Marcona Almonds and Raw Cauliflower Soup with Balsamic Red Onions and Wilted Greens. The fennel salad is composed of shaved fennel, Belgian endive, red and yellow teardrop tomatoes, Asian pear and Marcona almonds. The mustard vinaigrette is a perfect compliment to the fresh salad. Recipes: Fennel Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette, Greens & Marcona Almonds; Raw Cauliflower Soup with Balsamic Red Onions and Wilted Greens.
Going The Extra Mile
If there is a system running smoothly, break that system down and improve upon it - in essence "go the extra mile." Chef Trotter's healthy fear of failure and act of spontaneity creates two artistic and ingenious dishes: Langoustines with Green Curry Sauce and Scallions and Asparagus and Zucchini Soup with Crayfish. Chef Trotter gets creative with langoustines as he prepares them with green curry sauce that has an intriguing combination of flavors and scallions. Recipes: Langoustines with Green Curry Sauce and Scallions; Asparagus and Zucchini Soup with Crayfish.
With mushrooms being one of the greatest ingredients in a chef's arsenal and an ingredient that provides endless culinary possibilities, Chef Trotter prepares two exciting dishes. The first, Wild Mushroom Lasagna with Arugula Pesto,begins by layering wild mushroom and rich ricotta filling, arugula leaves, a touch of pecorino cheese and lasagna noodles. The lasagna is then served with an arugula pesto that unites all the intense flavors and causes an explosion in the mouth. Wild mushrooms are also prevalent in Charlie Trotter's second recipe: Veal and Wild Mushroom Pot Pie. Recipes: Wild Mushroom Lasagna with Arugula Pesto; Veal and Wild Mushroom Pot Pie.
Chef Trotter's imagination and inventiveness helps him use ingredients in an unconventional approach. In this episode, shellfish is used in a delectable Seafood Cassoulet with Lobster, Clams, Ham Hock, and Cannelini Beans. The cassoulet combines manila and mahogany clams, a rich bean mixture consisting of carrots, celery and caramelized onion, succulent lobster and andouille sausage. Chef Trotter's variation on the seafood cassoulet is baked in small ramekins until perfect. The cassoulet provides an intriguing blend of flavors with the combination of the spicy sausage and the sweetness of the lobster. Chef Trotter also prepares Steamed Cod with Edame Sauce and Cauliflower Mushrooms. Recipes: Steamed Cod with Edame Sauce and Cauliflower Mushrooms; Seafood Cassoulet with Lobster, Clams, Ham Hock, and Cannelini Beans.
Complacency = Detrimental to Creative Process
Complacency is the ruin of any creative process. Chef Trotter is a firm believer that once something becomes comfortable then it most likely becomes stagnant. Every day provides the opportunity to learn something new and relearn what we think we know. The versatility of poultry and meat is showcased in the two earthy full-flavored dishes - Salt Crusted Heirloom Beets with Roasted ChickenBreast and Mustard Sauce and Root Vegetable Pave with Bison and MeatReduction. His first recipes features red, yellow and candy cane beets that are roasted to perfection and paired with crispy roasted chicken and intense-flavored mustard sauce. In addition, Chef Trotter demonstrates the assembly of a beautiful root vegetable pave that accompanies a tender piece of bison tenderloin. Recipes: Salt Crusted Heirloom Beets with Roasted Chicken Breast and Mustard Sauce; Root Vegetable Pave with Bison and Meat Reduction.
Service can be equated to a game of chess – always stay one step ahead of the game or in this case, the guest. At Charlie Trotter’s, the level of service is legendary. In this episode Chef Trotter gives us a taste of his chocolate desserts. Chef Trotter prepares an indulgent Banana Bread Pudding with White Chocolate and Bittersweet Chocolate Marshmallow Ice Cream. A moist banana bread is prepared and combined with cream, eggs, sugar, white chocolate and marshmallow and baked until perfect. The banana bread pudding is topped with caramel sauce, sprinkled with hazelnut praline and served with a scoop of bittersweet chocolate-marshmallow ice cream – a taste of pure heaven. If that is not enough, Chef Trotter prepares a Chocolate Pudding Cake with Coconut Ice Cream. Recipes: Banana Bread Pudding with White Chocolate and Bittersweet Chocolate -Marshmallow Ice Cream Chocolate Pudding Cake with Coconut Ice Cream
During the corn season, from July - October, Chef Trotter visits one of the many beautiful cornfields in Iowa. As a native Midwesterner, this quintessential American food is familiar to Chef Trotter and an inspirational ingredient that he uses in many different recipes. In the Grilled Corn in Husk Soup with Crab and Arugula, grilled corn is pureed and ladled over grilled onions, arugula and a crab mixture consisting of crabmeat, freshly squeezed lime juice and chives. The extravagant soup is drizzled with shellfish oil and sprinkled with cilantro. Recipes: Grilled Corn in Husk Soup with Crab and Arugula; Corn Cake with Bacon & Shrimp.
Poultry is showcased in this episode as Chef Trotter takes two different approaches when preparing a variety of birds. His first recipe features smoked chicken and fennel - Fennel and Smoked Chicken Terrine with Fennel Puree. Fennel’s licorice flavor complements this dish and provides a cool and refreshing addition to the terrine. The Roasted Duck with Proscuitto Wrapped Fennel Bulb with Balsamic-Cherry Reduction showcases the succulent simplicity of roasted duck. Recipes: Fennel and Smoked Chicken Terrine with Fennel Puree Roasted Duck with Proscuitto Wrapped Fennel Bulb with Balsamic-Cherry Reduction
Whether peeling artichokes, creating a fine sauce or mopping the kitchen, Chef Trotter and his staff approach all tasks with a sense of purpose. Simple pleasures such as making squash soup are highlighted in this episode. Chef Trotter's Squash Soup with Brown Butter, Lobster and Citrus is a mouthwatering combination of pureed squash, lobster, watercress, Granny Smith apple and juicy orange segments. Brown butter is drizzled over the lobster in the soup and provides a sweet and rich burst of flavor. For his second preparation, Chef Trotter prepares Napa Cabbage Rolls with Ivory Salmon and Braised Cabbage, a healthful combination of salmon and braised and raw cabbage. Recipes: Napa Cabbage Rolls with Ivory Salmon and Braised Cabbage; Squash Soup with Brown Butter, Lobster and Citrus.
Charlie Trotter celebrates the season of Spring as he prepares Chilled Spring Pea Soup with Mussels, Elephant Garlic, Fiddle Head Ferns and Whole Roasted Red Onions and Spring Legume Salad with Quail Eggs, Smithfield Ham and Hazelnut Vinaigrette. Pureed fresh snap peas are like a mouthful of Spring when paired with fresh mussels, fiddle head ferns and whole roasted red onions. The spring pea soup is dolloped with creme fraiche and drizzled with intense flavored tarragon oil. Recipes: Chilled Spring Pea Soup with Mussels, Elephant Garlic, FiddleHead Ferns and Whole Roasted Red Onions; Spring Legume Salad with Quail Eggs, Smithfield Ham and Hazelnut Vinaigrette.
Olive oil's healthful qualities coupled with its versatility in cooking have made it a staple in every chef's kitchen. Chef Trotter visits Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, California where Prato Lungo, a silky smooth, peppery, green grass flavored olive oil is produced. The product is compared to the wonderful olive oils that are produced in Greece, Italy and Spain. Chef Trotter highlights the diversity of olive oil through two recipes in this episode: Olive Oil Poached Salmon with Basmati Rice Cake and Leek Confit Soup and Lamb with Olive Oil Poached Artichokes and Red Wine-Kalamata Olive Sauce. The salmon is poached in olive oil and cooked slowly resulting in a tender piece of fish. In the beautiful presentation of this dish, the crispy rice cake is placed in a shallow bowl, topped with a rich piece of salmon and julienned leeks and finished off with a ladle of rosemary and thyme infused leek soup. Recipes: Olive Oil Poached Salmon with Basmati Rice Cake and Leek Confit Soup; Lamb with Olive Oil Poached Artichokes and Red Wine-Kalamata Olive Sauce.
Saffron, one of the world's most precious and expensive spices, is a valuable component in a chef's cuisine because of its strong, different flavor and aroma. In the kitchen, Chef Trotter prepares two recipes with saffron: Paella Stuffed Tomato with Saffron Vinaigrette and Curried Beef Short Ribs with Braised Parsnips, Carrots, Rutabaga and Potatoes. The curried beef short ribs are loaded with different flavors - sweet coconut milk, spicy Thai chiles and strong flavored root vegetables including parsnips and rutabaga. It is a mouthwatering dish with many ingredients, yet still simple to put together. Recipes: Paella Stuffed Tomato with Saffron Vinaigrette; Curried Beef Short Ribs with Braised Parsnips, Carrots, Rutabaga and Potatoes.
During this episode, Chef Trotter visits with Master Sommelier Larry Stone where Stone shares his knowledge and gives tips on selecting the correct wine to complement the type of food being served. Also Chef Trotter prepares two spectacular recipes both containing bountiful red wine: Garlic Confit Ravioli with Red Wine-Olive Sauce and Halibut with Red Wine Corn Sauce and Yellow Corn Grits. Chef Trotter demonstrates making fresh ravioli and a filling of morel mushrooms and kalamata olives. When plating, hearty ragout containing asparagus and fava beans and red wine-olive and basil sauce are spooned over the warm ravioli. Recipes: Garlic Confit Ravioli with Red Wine-Olive Sauce; Halibut withRed Wine Corn Sauce and Yellow Corn Grits.
Charlie Trotter's at 15
Chef Norman Van Aken, a guest chef in Kitchen Sessions, was honored to join Chef Trotter in this final episode. The flavors and style of the Sopa de Mariscos is a tribute to Norman's style of cooking which includes a variation of Latin and Caribbean flavors. In the Sopa de Mariscos, Chef Trotter brings together the savory flavors of bacon, celery, carrot, onion and blue crabs. Once these ingredients blend together, cream, yucca, white cabbage and fresh fish fillets are added creating an indulgent seafood soup. Recipe: Sopa de Mariscos.