They met on the set of Hell’s Kitchen Season 6. You could say it was love at first fight, with Gordon Ramsay doing any of the following to the chefs in the kitchen:
• Calling him/her a donkey
• Yelling that something is overcooked
• Yelling that something is raw
• Then, 50% of the time when it’s raw, throwing it so that it splatters everywhere
• Kicking someone out of the kitchen
• Screaming for the chef to wake up and get in the game
• Spewing a tirade of words that are bleeped out by censors
• Complaining that the Beef Wellington isn’t done properly
Yes, both Kevin Cottle and Van Hurd, now lead chefs at Jordan Caterers, walked through the flames of Hell’s Kitchen. As they endured the fire, their friendship grew: a friendship that has now lead them out of hell and into heaven. While Van was eliminated near the end of the season, Kevin made it to the finale but lost to Dave Levey. Upon being eliminated, Van said: “The main lesson I’ve learned about myself is when you get down, don’t stay down. I want to go out of here with my head up.”
Well, Van and Kevin now have a major reason to keep their heads up. On July 11, they will be cooking at The James Beard House in NYC. This is one of the greatest honors a chef can have because it shows passion, culinary knowledge, and awesome skill. They were selected for these reasons, but also due to their outstanding reputation in Connecticut and beyond. In addition, their focus on seasonal and local ingredients was a major reason why they were asked to cook at The James Beard House. They are cooking up a “Softshell Extravaganza” that will feature Maryland softshell crabs, paired with wine from Master Sommelier Stephen Greenwood.
Here’s a copy of the menu from the night:
- Hors d’Oeuvre
- Gazpacho Shooters with Connecticut Lobster
- Connecticut Blue Point Oysters and Pearls
- Softshell Crab Tacos and Miniature Key Lime Margaritas
- Braised Certified Angus Beef® Short Rib–Roasted Corn Pudding with Sake–Ginger Glaze
- Foie Gras Pops
- Vilarnau Brut Cava NV
- Kumquat, Red Miso, and Yuzu–Glazed Softshell Crab with Shaved Fennel, Plums, Sweet Tomatoes, Summer Bean Salad, and Honeydew, Corn, and Sichuan Pepper Nage
- Viñas Del Vero La Miranda De Secastilla Garnacha Blanca 2010
- Applewood-Smoked Softshell Crab with Heirloom Tomato Salad, Lime-Enhanced Goat Cheese Mousse, American Caviar, Ancho Chili–Honey Sauce, and Cucumber Sorbet
- Andeluna Torrontés 2011
- Big Easy–Style Softshell Crab with Sweet Summer Corn Gnocchi, Lobster Mushroom–Roasted Hog Jowl Ragoût, and Champagne Sabayon
- Viña Ventisquero Pangea Apalta Vineyards Syrah 2007
- Banh Bao and Pho Duo > Tempura Softshell Crab Banh Bao with Housemade Hoisin Sauce, Pickled Watermelon, and Cucumber Jam; and Pho with Spicy Ginger–Lime Broth, Rice Noodles, and Rare Beef
- David Bruce Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir 2009
- Brandie’s Original Blueberry Pie with Salt-Churned Honey and Lemon Thyme–Honey Ice Cream
- Quady Essensia Orange Muscat 2010
Although this event is sold out, you don’t need to fret. Chef Cottle and Chef Hurd can be seen every week on FOX 61 Hartford on a cooking segment called “Midday Chefs” every Wednesday at 11 am. You can also taste their food (and if you’re lucky, meet them) at Jordan Caterers events. They have won Connecticut Magazine’s “Best of Connecticut” for 12 straight years, the Brides Connecticut Editor’s Choice Award in 2011, The Knot Best of Weddings Pick 2011, and Weddingwire.com’s Bridges Choice Award in 2011.
You know, it was great to see Kevin and Van cook their way through Hell’s Kitchen, but it’s even greater to see them soar. They might have had to give their aprons away to Gordon Ramsay, but something tells us they’ve got some nice new ones now.
From Press Release
About Chef Kevin Cottle: Chef Cottle hails from Plymouth, Massachusetts and was formally educated at Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park New York. Cottle’s professional culinary journey has taken him to the finest restaurants, hotels and resorts in Philadelphia, Boston, Vail, New Hampshire and Cape Cod and he has earned numerous awards and accolades, including AAA’s four diamond award and the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. As Jordan Caterers’ Executive Chef, Kevin focuses on the highest-quality ingredients, prepared with clockwork precision and abundant creativity. He fuses contemporary New England cuisine with the elegance of French Gastronomy. Cottle has aggressively been involved with the Department of Agriculture’s “Farm to Chef” program which helps consumers realize the bounty of food grown locally in the State of Connecticut. Cottle lives in
Middletown with his wife and son.
About Chef Van Hurd: Chef Hurd grew up in the South and was formally trained at The Art Institute of Dallas where he graduated at the top of his class. He went on to hold a key position at Dallas’s fabled French Room which
maintains a AAA Five Diamond designation and is considered one of the best restaurants in the country. Van, a member of the Texas Chef Association and the Connecticut Club Chefs Association, enjoys keeping food rustic, farm fresh and local while layering natural flavors that explode on the palate. He currently holds down the position of Executive Sous Chef of Jordan Caterers. When he’s not in kitchen, Hurd volunteers for a wide variety of nonprofit ventures, including coaching troubled teens, March of Dimes Signature Chefs and Connecticut Farm to Chefs. Van lives with his wife and daughter in Hartford.