Best of the Forum: Ramen, Food TV, Two Pretty Plates

ChefSteps-UGC-Salmon-lentils

Salmon wrapped in prosciutto, with lentils—a beautiful dish from ChefSteps member Davo.

Welcome to Best of the Forum (BotF), a series in which we highlight fascinating bits from the ongoing conversation happening among our awesome community of cooks. Let’s get to it.

Painting with food

Wow, behold this work of art from user Stevie Provencio! In lieu of paints, Stevie worked with ChefSteps-inspired creations like Beet Fluid Gel and Reconstructed Roast (using Teres Major steak). Inspiring, right? Check out those recipes to start creating your own masterpiece tonight.

Good taste in TV

Hungry for Netflix fodder? Our forum has plenty of advice on food shows with which to fill up your queue. Heston Blumenthal proved a favorite—if you need a snack while you watch, whip up Heston-inspired Thick-Cut French Fries or Sous Vide Pork Belly.

Rad-looking ramen

David Henley presented us with a pretty killer photo of his Caramelized Pork Ramen with Roasted Curry Acorn Squash. Doesn’t look like the work of a newbie ramen-maker, but we’ll take him at his word.

Join the ChefSteps forum today to meet our entire community of super-cool cooks.

Best of the Forum: Risotto, Foie Gras, and Fried Rice

riceandshrimp

Inspiring dishes, like Hot Curry Shrimp Fried Rice from ChefSteps member Henry Wicker, abound on the forum.

Welcome to Best of the Forum (BotF), a new series in which we highlight fascinating bits from the ongoing conversation happening among our awesome community of cooks. Let’s get to it.

A Strong Start

Forum newbie Evan describes himself as a “young cook” just starting to prepare food for dinner parties. Dang, though, those dishes look pretty killer to us. Among Evan’s offerings? A foolproof Crème Brûlée, part of our Cooking Sous Vide: Beyond the Basics class. 

Foie for All!

The award for snarkiest subject line of the week goes to the ever-clever Brendan Lee, who celebrates happy news in California. Care to throw your own foie gras celebration? This pretty parfait is the best argument against the ban that we know of.

Pressure Points

How do you like your risotto? Community member Matthew Wilson has been experimenting with rice textures in his pressure cooker. Yup, you can make risotto in a pressure cooker, and a lot of other delicious things too. Want to learn more? Right this way.

Join the conversation. Head to our forum to get chatty with other enthusiastic cooks!

ChefSteps Forum | The Salad Days of Summer

Culinary Challenge 12 — The Art of the Composed Salad

Chris Young issued our 12th culinary challenge with the directive to take inspiration from the Salade Pastorale aux Herbes by Joël Robuchon and Michel Bras’ Gargouillou de Jeunes Légumes and elevate the composed salad to its rightful place.

Our forum members stepped up to the challenge and wow, did they deliver! The entries were fantastic—varied, innovative, creative, well-plated, delicious looking and with such great participation, made picking favorites very difficult. Suffice it to say, we were thrilled with everyone’s effort.

Here are the picks:
Chris Young chose Corey’s Baby Squash and Cherry Tomato Salad noting its nice composition, great combination of summer flavors, good use of technique, and that he shared the building of the dish step-by-step.

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Grant Crilly picked Chris Cordeiro’s very pretty Textures of Winter Citrus Salad (on the left) due to its nice detail, color, and arrangement. It’s hard to make something look this good with so much going on. Ryan Matthew Smith liked the beautiful colors in Derrick Teh’s Beet Carpaccio with Red Quinoa and Ricotta Salad (on the right).

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A special shout out goes to Brendan Lee for his take on Michel Bras’ gargouillou. The prickly pear juice was a big hit and we really appreciated the use of your photos on our facebook page and in our email.

Photos of the favorite dishes have been pinned on our Pinterest board.

Thank you to everyone on the ChefSteps forum for your participation and support. Spread the word and keep us growing.

Cheers,
Grant, Chris, Ryan, and the rest of the ChefSteps team.

ChefSteps Forum | Cook Something Liquid from Something Solid

Grant Crilly’s Culinary Challenge 8 on the ChefSteps forum last week instructed participants to create a savory or sweet liquid dish (soups, shooters, cocktails, desserts, etc.) from one that is normally solid. Forum members were encouraged to use sous vide infusions, blenders, strainers, centrifuges, or any other clarification techniques that they could think of. We had some great posts describing the process behind developing some of the dishes, which is one of our favorite aspects of sharing information on our forum.

Grant, Chris and Ryan each picked their favorite dishes to feature on our Pinterest board.

Grant Crilly: My favorite entry this week was Johan Edstrom’s Asparagus Soup. I loved the agar filtration technique and the subtle marketing message that he included in the photo. Nice!

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Chris Young: I chose new forum member Maria’s Har Gao/Xiao Long Baos. I am passionate about XLB and hope that Maria will continue experimenting with additional versions of the dish. I also want to give an honorable mention to Tim Sutherland for his great backstory on the Curdled Chunky Warm Fish Head Milkshake.

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Ryan Matthew Smith: I picked Brian Douglas’ Scotch Eggs as my favorite this week. The vibrant color of the Sriracha really pops against the egg yolk.

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We are retooling the Culinary Challenge within the next few days and will make an announcement with the new format and schedule on the forum as soon as possible.

As always, we’re thrilled to have new members joining the forum and participating in the challenges. Please share with your interested friends, as we extend our culinary community.

Cheers,
Grant, Chris, Ryan, and the rest of the ChefSteps team

ChefSteps Forum | Cooking with Coffee

Grant Crilly issued Culinary Challenge 7 last week on the ChefSteps forum. The objective was to prepare a dish—savory or sweet—utilizing sous vide techniques and coffee.

Grant, Chris and Ryan each picked their favorite dish to feature on our Pinterest board.

Grant Crilly: My favorite entry this week was Brian Douglas’ Sous Vide Coffee Panna Cotta. It was a great use of 4 simple components.I also appreciated that he originally tackled a blown sugar technique. Way to go, Brian!

 

Chris Young: New forum members Tim Sutherland and Andrew E both did really great work this week. I voted for Tim’s Coffee and Cigarette because of the extensive sharing he did of his entire development process. We’d love to see more of this kind of open source collaboration. Nicely done, Tim!

 

Ryan Matthew Smith: My pick this week is Andrew E’s Coffee Butter Poached Sous Vide Scallop Salad. Excellent arrangement on the plate and a great perspective on the the shot, plus it looks delicious!

We’re thrilled to have new members joining the forum and participating in the challenge—looking forward to seeing new creations and processes as are your fellow forum members!

I have posted Grant Crilly’s Culinary Challenge 8 on the ChefSteps forum. This week’s challenge is to make a savory or sweet liquid dish (soups, shooters, cocktails, desserts, etc.) that is normally solid. Use sous vide infusions, blenders, strainers, centrifuges (we are using ours for sure) or any other clarification techniques that you can think of. Consider using essential oils to create clear and interesting drinks and soups. You can have multiple layers based on densities, solids as garnishes and whatever else you can dream of.

Take the challenge in your own kitchen, then share your results via the ChefSteps forum. Describe the dish you have chosen and techniques used to make it. Describe where your idea or inspiration came from and what your plan of attack was, and finally, post your pictures.

The top 3 picks (sometimes we have a tie) will have the photos of their dishes posted on the ChefSteps Pinterest board. Please have your entry posted by Sunday. Good luck!

Cheers,
Grant, Chris, Ryan, and the rest of the ChefSteps team

ChefSteps Forum | Almost Like Grandma Used to Make

We asked Johan Edstrom, one of our most prolific forum members, to issue last week’s Culinary Challenge 6 on the ChefSteps forum. The objective was to cook something that your grandmother would have cooked and give it an update. Use new tools and techniques, juxtapose something old with something new, or simply plate your grandmother’s cooking in a contemporary way.

Johan, Chris and Grant each picked their favorite dish to feature on our Pinterest board.

Johan Edstrom: My favorite entry this week was Chris Koller’s Succotash. I liked the plate, the colors, and I wanted to eat it right away.

 

Chris Young: I chose Joshua Sharp’s modernist take on Salisbury Steak. It was a great nostalgic food idea, and it looks well executed.

Grant Crilly: My fave was Brian Douglas’ Better than Nintendo Cake. I cracked up at the story of the “Better than Nintendo Cake” name and it’s something that I haven’t seen before.

If you’re new to the forum and you haven’t participated in one of the culinary challenges, please join in this week. We’re eager to see your creations and so are your fellow forum members!

Grant has posted Culinary Challenge 7 on the ChefSteps forum. This week’s challenge is Something Coffee. Prepare a dish — savory or sweet — utilizing sous vide techniques and coffee. For example, consider using coffee for an infusion, broth, rub, smoking media, or a textural component. Your idea can be coffee anything!

Take the challenge in your own kitchen, then share your results via the ChefSteps forum. Describe the dish you have chosen and techniques used to make it. Describe where your idea or inspiration came from and what your plan of attack was, and finally, post your pictures.

The top 3 picks (sometimes we have a tie) will have the photos of their dishes posted on the ChefSteps Pinterest board. Please have your entry posted by Sunday. We’re looking forward to being heavily caffeinated (as usual) while we enjoy your entries.

Cheers,
Grant, Chris, Ryan, and the rest of the ChefSteps team.

ChefSteps Forum | Around the World in 8 Days

Chris Young issued last week’s Culinary Challenge 5 on the ChefSteps forum. The objective was to embrace the spirit of being a novice by trying to cook another culture’s cuisine using both traditional and modernist techniques.

Our forum members took up the challenge to push their skills and posted some compelling dishes. Chris, Grant and Ryan each picked their favorite dish to feature on our Pinterest board.

Chris Young: My favorite entry this week is Chris Koller’s Spanakopita with Homemade Sous Vide Tzatziki. I wouldn’t have thought of doing a Greek entry and now that I’ve seen it, I think it’s brilliant. Looks absolutely delicious; contemporary and nostalgic at the same time. Well done, Chris!

Grant Crilly: I also chose Chris Koller’s Spanakopita. That sh*t looks bomb! Super beautiful filo, as a chef I like the way he pulled from existing tried and true recipes so he could focus on his newer technique alone. Smart. It rarely works out to try ten new things at once. it’s very difficult to learn that way. One focused step at a time is the way to go!

 

Ryan Matthew Smith: I chose Brian Douglas’ Groudnut Porridge with Plum and Kashata this week. I like his composition and clean presentation, plus it looks delicious.

We were all really impressed with the dishes that were submitted. Honorable mentions go out to Nor’Eastern for taking on the challenge of spherification with Soy Caviar and to Jim for making us drool with his Sous Vide Octopus Salad.

Chris Young has posted Culinary Challenge 6 on the ChefSteps forum. This week’s challenge was offered up by Johan Edstrom, one of our most active forum members. The objective is to cook something that your grandmother would have cooked, but give it an update. Take advantage of new tools and techniques, juxtapose something old with something new, or simply plate your grandmother’s cooking in a contemporary way. Johan will be choosing one of the top three posts this week along with the usual suspects at ChefSteps.

Take the challenge in your own kitchen, then share your results via the ChefSteps forum. Describe the dish you have chosen and techniques used to make it. Describe where your idea or inspiration came from and what your plan of attack was, and finally, post your pictures.

The top 3 picks (sometimes we have a tie) will get their photos posted on ChefSteps’ Pinterest board. Please have your entry posted by Sunday. We’re looking forward to seeing some updated blasts from the past!

Cheers,
Grant, Chris, Ryan, and the rest of the ChefSteps team.

ChefSteps Forum | We Do Like Greens, Eggs and Ham

Ben Johnson, development chef extraordinaire, issued the Culinary Challenge 4 on our forum last week. The objective was to use sous vide and other modernist techniques to recreate and update a dish from your childhood that you despised.

There were some really creative dishes posted and some great stories regarding childhood food preferences. Ben, Chris, and Ryan each picked their favorite dish to feature on our Pinterest board.

Ben Johnson: My favorite entry is Brian Douglas’ Prunesco Sauce with Cod and Vegetables. I like the cleanliness of the plate and his think outside the box approach. I also like that he used a different technique, i.e. blowtorching.

 

Chris Young: My pick of the week is Nor’Eastern’s Microwaved Rind of Brie. Ingenious and something I haven’t seen before.

 

Ryan Matthew Smith: I chose Chris Koller’s Edible Dirt Salad this week. Nice use of depth of field in the photo and beautiful presentation overall!

 

Chris Young has posted Culinary Challenge 5 on the ChefSteps forum. This week’s challenge is to try to cook another culture’s cuisine, but do it as a mash-up of the traditional with the modernist.

Take the challenge in your own kitchen, then share your results via the ChefSteps forum. Describe the dish you have chosen and techniques used to make it. Describe where your idea or inspiration came from and what your plan of attack was, and finally, post your pictures.

The top 3 posts will get their photos posted on ChefSteps’ Pinterest board. Please have your entry posted by Sunday. We look forward to seeing what you all come up with!

Cheers,
Grant, Chris, Ryan, and the rest of the ChefSteps team.

ChefSteps Forum | Eat Dessert First!

Nick Gavin, super-duper development chef, issued the first ChefSteps sous vide dessert challenge last week on our forum. The objective was to use sous vide to make a new dessert or your favorite dessert in a new way. Some things to try included new takes on custards, confit fruits, converting starches to sugars and modern techniques such as encapsulations, foams, and hot set creams. There were some sweet, inventive dishes posted and we loved the creative camaraderie between forum members. Nick, Chris, and Ryan each picked their favorite dish to feature on our Pinterest board.

Nick Gavin: My favorite this week has to be Brian Douglas’ Chocolate Panna Cotta with Banana and Many Textures of Peanut. I enjoyed the flavors he used on his plate – felt they all worked well together and I liked the fact that he used different culinary techniques.

 

Ryan Matthew Smith: I’m choosing Chris Koller’s Raspberry Chocolate Gateau this week. Beautiful plating and composition. I particularly like how close we are to the dish, showing off the texture on the Gateau. Nicely done!

 

Chris Young: My pick of the week is Carston Eriksen’s Sous Vide Poached Pear with White Chocolate, Marzipan and Vanilla Ice Cream. I love that she made her own marzipan and that she used an old Fat Duck trick for making ice cream at home with dry ice. Great job layering textures and embracing the diy spirit!

Kudos to our dear friend and mentor, Heston Blumenthal!

 

Be sure to check out this week’s: Culinary Challenge 4 (to recreate a dish that you disliked from your childhood) and stay tuned to find out if we end up with any phenomenal dishes of liver with beets and brussel sprouts.

Thank you to everyone on the ChefSteps forum for your great participation.
Grant, Chris, Ryan, and the rest of the ChefSteps team.

ChefSteps Forum | It’s Meatless Monday!

Michael Natkin issued the first ChefSteps sous vide vegetarian challenge last week on our forum. The objective was to use the sous vide method to make a great meatless main course to wow us. There were some really spectacular dishes and once again, we were knocked out by your efforts and results. Grant, Chris, and Kristina Krug (filling in for Ryan) each picked a favorite dish and since Grant and Chris picked the same dish and it was Michael’s challenge, he also chose a favorite to feature on our Pinterest board.

Grant Crilly: My favorite this week has to be Chris Koller’s sous vide ricotta gnocchi. It is a huge surprise to me that this technique was even an option. After many years of making cheese myself, and using a C-Vap and water bath for the curds, I always went to the pot on the stove for ricotta. What was I thinking? This is a real eye opener for me, I love it! Keep it up, Mr. Koller.

Chris Young: I’m with Grant on this one, Chris Koller did an awesome job!

 

Kristina Krug: I’m choosing Allen Johnson’s Bangan Bartha this week. He did a wonderful job at visually displaying the dish, in addition to his prep. The colors were vibrant and I really liked the angles of the shots. Looking forward to seeing more photos from Allen in the future!

 

Michael Natkin: My pick of the week is Brian Douglas’ BarBiBimBapQue . I love the cross-pollination of Southern flavors with the Korean presentation and twists. I’m a sucker for the contrast of savory flavors with the sweet punch from the peaches. Nice work!

Thank you to everyone on the ChefSteps forum and followers of Herbivoracious for your participation. We hope you are enjoying these challenges as much as we are!

Grant, Chris, Ryan, and the rest of the ChefSteps team.