Personal Chef’s Culinary Wars – Tina VS Dan VS Terry VS Sandra

Tina’s ugly food

You know that feeling when you meet a person and you can just feel their warm energy and you immediately feel comfortable?

In her own words, Tina prefers ugly food. It’s not that the things that she cooks aren’t amazingly flavorful (because they are) or that her food literally looks unappealing (because it doesn’t), but she’s much more the type of person who would rather put love, care, and attention into the food she makes for others instead of fussing over plating and miniscule details. We like Tina’s philosophy.

For her menu, Tina decided to run with Cinco de Mayo theme. We should note that planning theme parties and menus is one of her favorite things (think delicious eyeball-decorated chocolate cordials for a Halloween party — she’s made ‘em). We enjoyed what Tina called “Mouth Piñatas” (or “Pregnant Quesadillas,” if you’re feeling a bit more festive) composed of slow-cooked chipotle shredded pork with roasted peppers, radishes and red onions stuffed seasoned with ghost pepper salt, topped with cotija and oaxaca cheeses, stuffed in a pocket made of homemade flour tortilla dough and topped with a homemade spicy salsa. Oh yeah, they were real good. The homemade flour tortillas really made the dish with their wonderfully chewy and substantial texture.

We also dined upon what is called “El Seis:” tres harinas cake (made with coconut, whole wheat pastry ,and all-purpose flours) sweetened with agave nectar and topped with tres leches Ice Cream (lower in fat due to no heavy cream!).

When someone goes through the effort to plan a theme that really unifies a meal, you can feel the thoughtfulness and effort that they put into it. We were glad to finally have Eryn to cook for us and to be uplifted by her warm personality. And her food. The food felt good, too.

Dan’s Asian Pulled Pork Sandwich with Togarashi Chips

Oh my god, this f amazing. We were thrilled how many people came to this event – seriously. Stunning 30 people came today with a big hunger. Some press people, our friend Veronica from Gojee, Dan Parsy with some other folks from tumblr and random people through the meetup community. Lunches are great, specially with friends and other nice people. Daniel and his girl friend did a fantastic job and Im looking forward to this next supper club. Daniel, when do you open up your own restaurant? Its time for it.

I’ll be smoking pork shoulders in a style similar to how it would be prepared in North Carolina. It will be pulled and served atop a butter grilled brioche roll by Amy’s Bread. Crowning it will be a light brussels sprout, basil, and mint slaw dressed lightly with fish sauce and honey. Finally, the sandwich will be finished with a bright lime and cilantro mayonnaise. The sandwich will be paired simply with some locally produced chips and and a touch of togarashi. Yum!

Daniel Delaney is a video blogger and barbecue lover living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. When not smoking meat or editing films, he’s hosting supper clubs, organizing bike rides, or making Sazerac’s.

Terry’s Chorizo-Saffron Chicken Soup and California Shrimp Tacos.

After a week of unseasonably warm weather, everyone was especially grateful for a bowl of warming, spicy soup on this raw, rainy Friday. Chef Terry came to our rescue with a menu drawing on his Spanish heritage and California roots with one dish to heat things up another to get us thinking about summer.

Soup was first, and, for many, soup was second as well. Every bowl was enthusiastically emptied, and though we didn’t catch anyone trying to lick up the last little morsels, doing so would not have been inappropriate. We had a lot of chorizo fans in the house, and many left with some ideas about turning chicken soup on its head with a spicy little kick of awesome. We think Terry’s going to keep this recipe.

Up next were the shrimp tacos, calling California to mind not only with their freshness, but a nice little bit of heat from Terry’s chipotle slaw, a bright acidic bite of pico de gallo, and finished with a perfect avocado crema.

Sandra’s raw vegan lunch

She put together a tasty, healthy, raw vegan lunch showcasing the freshness and color of every ingredient.

We also know Sandra, a one-woman lifestyle brand dedicated to all things vibrant — especially delicious, healthy cuisine. Today, our suspicions were confirmed: Sandra is, in fact, very pleasant, and a great spirit to have in the kitchen. She assembled every plate with an eye for the simplicity and beauty of her ingredients.

Our menu today included Pineapple-Cucumber Gazpacho; Collard Green Wraps with Walnut-Mushroom Pate, Avocado, Mango and Sprouts; and a Carrot-Radish salad. The gazpacho was a revelation, and would be a welcome addition to any menu needing a kick of fruit, acid and color. We even heard some gazpacho cocktail concepts being thrown about. Maybe we’ll try that another time.

The Walnut-Mushroom pate was another standout. Light enough to fit nicely with Collard Green wraps, but with enough about it to anchor the plate. Sandra’s pate included both walnuts and mushrooms (of course), but also scallions and a hint of soy sauce for flavor. A good, vegan-friendly item to have in any chef’s arsenal.

The Winner

Terry’s Chorizo-Saffron Chicken Soup was amazing to say the least. Congrats!


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