If cooking is one of your interests there is nothing like being in the same room as a great chef and getting to see them work their magic in person. Chef Dave Martin gave people that opportunity Sunday at Zov's Bistro in Tustin and he put on a great show.
Chef Martin took attendees through a three-course meal, teaching everyone that given the right tools and steps that it is possible to serve an extraordinary meal at home. He not only made cooking seem somewhat easy to even the cooking novice, but he also made it entertaining.
Chef Martin started off with his Famous Black Truffle Man ‘n’ Cheese that gained notoriety for him on the first season of “Top Chef.” He then cooked a pork tenderloin with a mango chutney and finished the meal off with a pumpkin panna cotta. He chose this menu based on the fall season and after eating these dishes, I would be more extremely happy to find this setting on my table at Thanksgiving.
Chef Martin not only took you through all the steps needed to create an incredible meal, while also letting you taste the end results, but he also provided tips and insight to everyday cooking that will add to what you serve on your own dinner table. A great tip that he gave was if you are cooking with truffles you don't need to break the bank, you can find canned truffles now that will provide a flavor very close to fresh truffles at a much lower price. It is not often that you get the chance to interact with such a high caliber chef and host and owner of Zov’s Bistro Zov Karamardian was gracious enough to take questions from guests and give these to Chef Martin throughout his cooking for him to answer.
“Events like this help to bring credibility to dining in Orange County and it also helps to raise the level of sophistication when it comes to dining in this area,” Karamardian stated.
Zov’s will be holding their next cooking demonstration in February as Orange County Register Food Editor Cathy Thomas will be joining Karamardian for a “Sweethearts Cook Class” just in time for Valentines Day. Over the years Zov's has brought in some of the most celebrated chefs in the world to her restaurant including Julia Child and Emeril.
Zov’s has three locations in Orange County and they serve mainly an Eastern Mediterranean menu. If you are in the Tustin area, it is worth your time to make a stop at the bakery to enjoy one of the mouth-watering treats that are made right at the restaurant on a daily basis. The Tustin restaurant has expanded to over 12,000 square feet so whatever you are looking for in terms of banquets or parties, this a beautiful spot to enjoy your festivities.
Chef Martin was kind enough to share his recipe for his Famous Black Truffle Mac 'n' Cheese, which you can find at the end of this article. You will find this and a number of other great recipes in his recently released cook book "Flavor Quest."
Dave’s Famous Black Truffle Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Yields about 15-20 (10 oz ramekins)
2 Tbsp EVO
1 cup shallots (minced)
24 cloves of fire roasted garlic
8 cups (64 oz) of heavy cream
3 tbsp fresh oregano
3 tbsp fresh thyme
½ cup sherry wine
½ cup brandy
6 tbsp black truffle shavings and liquid from the can
2 cups of good parmesan
½ cup white truffle oil
2 tbsp Tabasco
2 eggs (Liaison slowly in separate container with hot liquid from stovetop and do not curdle or cook eggs then add back to the stovetop mixture)
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp black pepper
3 cups grated Fontina cheese (fine grate not large)
3-4 cups seasoned bread crumbs
2 lbs cooked and drained Gemelli noodles (be sure to cook in salted water)
In a stock pot or deep pan, caramelize shallots with fresh herbs and then add roasted garlic and deglaze with sherry and brandy then let truffles infuse and then add cream, Tabasco, parmesan, truffle oil and let the mixture cook down on stovetop for about 30 minutes until the cream is reduced and thickened. During this process, you will add the egg liaison after the mixture has heated through. Then continue cooking until the mixture coats the back of a spoon and then remove the heat.
Drain cooked pasta from stovetop and then mix in fontina and parmesan along with the reduced cream/truffle mixture and then top place into ramekins and top off with seasoned bread crumbs and bake at 350-400 degrees until heated all they way through and serve.
For more information on Chef Dave Martin and his food, visit: www.davestogo.com
For more information on Zov’s Bistro three restaurant locations and the bakery, visit: www.zovs.com