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Michel Nischan on Making Changes, Cruising the Mediterranean, Meals with Pepin and Andres, Favorite CT Restaurants + More

15 Sep
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We recently were able to interview one of our favorite chefs who is also a Nutmegger: Michel Nischan. We’ve loved his food, but even more than that we love what he stands for and how hard he works as CEO of Wholesome Wave to make change in the world. He’s the kind of person that inspires us to be better people and to help make change in our own worlds, too. So, here it is: a look into some of the changes that he’s most proud of making, what he’d still love to fix, sailing the Mediterranean, spontaneous dinners with Jose Andres, his favorite restaurants in CT, and what he first wanted to do with his life. After reading this insightful interview, make sure to set plans to see Michel at this year’s Greenwich Food + Wine Festival! 

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Alex Guarnaschelli dishes on challenges, days off, social media, and more (interview)

7 Sep
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OmNomCT checks in with Alex . . . don’t miss her at this year’s Greenwich Wine + Food Festival! Picture courtesy of Alex Guarnaschelli.

Chef Alex Guarnaschelli has become synonymous with Food Network, and there’s good reason: she’s an integral part of their food programming. Whether it’s through her culinary prowess as an Iron Chef, her show Alex’s Day Off, dishing about her favorite eats of all time on The Best Thing I Ever Ate, or throwing down her expertise as a judge on shows like Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay, Chef Guaranschelli’s resume speaks for itself. In addition, she’s executive chef of Butter in NYC which brings in stellar reviews and press. 

We recently had the chance to interview Alex and talked to her about her most difficult challenges, what she really does on her days off, the importance of social media, a sneak into her recipe creation process, and more. Don’t forget, you can see Alex at this year’s Greenwich Wine + Food Festival. She’ll be hosting a sustainable dinner along with Marc Murphy which includes local chefs, she’ll also be a judge during the Burger Battle, signing copies of her book at 2:00, speaking at 1:30 in the Green Room, and cooking up an amazing demo at 3:00 at Dacor Kitchen Two.  Continue reading

Check and Mate: Bottle Ship Board Game Cafe + Lounge Coming to Stamford

5 Jan

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Bottle Ship Cafe is coming to Stamford . . . and we’ve got a feeling you’ll be stopping by at least once a week. What, with over 500 different games available to play and your own personal game guru (don’t worry, we’ll explain), why wouldn’t you? But, it’s not all games . . . though it IS all fun. There will be a nice variety of small bites, finger foods, sandwiches, and salads, as well as craft beer, other adult beverages, and even speciality coffees when those games of Scrabble go extra long. They are planning on opening in early summer 2016 in Harbor Point, so get ready! Hours will be T-Th from 5-late, F-Sa from 12-late, and Sunday from 10-late.

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Geoffrey Zakarian Talks The National Greenwich, Kathie Lee, Future Plans + More

23 Sep
Dan and Kristien with Chef Geoffrey Zakarian at Greenwich Wine Food Festival 2014

Dan and Kristien with Chef Geoffrey Zakarian at Greenwich Wine Food Festival 2014

Hmm, when you have the chance to chat with a man as complex Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, where do you start? He fought his way to the top against a slew of other chefs to gain his spot on Iron Chef America! You see him as a judge on Chopped and he brightens your Saturday morning on The Kitchen with Sunny Anderson, Katie Lee, Jeff Mauro, and Marcela Valladolid. Chances are, too, that he’s in your kitchen . . . well, in cookbook form at least with My Perfect Pantry and Town | Country. But maybe most interesting to you, our Omnomivores, is his Greenwich roots: yes, The Avenue was his old stomping grounds and soon he’ll be stomping it more as he opens up his new restaurant, The National Greenwich. He goes into depth about that, not following restaurant trends, how he handles critiquing others, his appearances at the Greenwich Wine + Food Festival, Kathie Lee, becoming the new President of the Food Council for City Harvest, and what’s in the works next for him in our interview, so go ahead and get your reading on below . . .  Continue reading

Adam Richman Talks with OmNomCT ’bout Burgers, NYC, the Greenwich Wine & Food Fest + more!

18 Sep
The legend, Adam Richman (Photo credit:  Travel Channel)

The legend, Adam Richman (Photo credit: Travel Channel)

We’ve come across plenty of people in the food world who amaze us. Chefs whose culinary creativity blow our minds, oenophiles whose brains are virtually wine encyclopedias, brewers that can taste the slightest variation in their brews, and people who can give you a killer restaurant recommendation (with corresponding menu item) to any city in the whole frickin United States in less than 3 seconds flat. That last one describes the one, the only, Adam Richman. In terms of knowing all the great spots to eat across America, he’s a legend. From taking down legendary meals in Man vs. Food, to searching for the best sandwiches in Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America, to traveling across the country to find the best grub in The Traveler’s Guide to Life, it’s tough to find a more knowledgable dude.

Now, while we’re sure you all know Adam from one of those shows, or maybe even his new NBC show, Food Fighters, where experienced home cooks go up against talented and well-known chefs, you’ll all get to know him a little bit more at the Greenwich Wine & Food Festival.  He will not only be doing a demo there (he dishes about what he’s making in this interview) at 3:30 on 9/27, but he’ll also be the host of the Burger Battle that starts at 4:30 the same day.

To prep you for the big day we asked him some serious questions about how to make and where to get a great burger, his favorite baseball team (and the only team that matters)…the Yanks, prime spots to get food in his hometown Brooklyn, his new show, how he keeps things so healthy, and his plans for complete world food-domination.

Kristien: So, obviously we know why they picked you as the perfect judge for the Burger Battle at the Greenwich Wine & Food Festival…you know your way around a burger for sure.  We wanted to know, though, what do you really look for in a good burger?

Adam Richman: You know, I think everything has to be balanced. Sometimes you’ll find these burgers where it’s an average burger and an average bun with a pitchfork full of toppings. Or, sometimes the bun is overwhelming, or the burger is falling out. I think that it has to be balanced. I think that you can over topping a burger.  Because everything, more or less, can go on a burger…it doesn’t mean everything should.

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Nikki Glekas of EOS Takes Over Bank Street Events and Opens Own Event Design Company

12 Sep

Even before we started our food blog, we would hit up EOS on Summer Street in Stamford. We loved the fresh, inspired dishes that were contemporary plays on classic Greek dishes. And, we loved sitting outside on their patio, letting the day float by.  Years later, we still love EOS and keep it at the top of our list for restaurants that we love here in Fairfield County. Part of the reason why EOS has been rated top Greek restaurant year after year and remains at the top of restaurant lists in Stamford (and Fairfield County) is definitely the food, but there is a whole family behind the success. One of those family members is Nikki Glekas. She’s part chef, part owner, and 100% fireball. Whether you see her at the restaurant, at a charity event, a cooking contest, or a catering party, Nikki brings it…and brings it hard.

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From Catering Intern, to Chopped, to Kitchen Pro: an Exclusive Interview with Hannah Bukzin of Westport, 14

20 Jul
If only she'd be lucky enough to get tomato as a basket ingredient.  It'll probably be something like Spam or blood pudding.

If only she’d be lucky enough to get tomato as a basket ingredient. It’ll probably be something like Spam or blood pudding when she competes on Chopped!

Think back to being a teenager and try to remember the things that you accomplished.  Maybe you had a job and maybe you did a few great community service projects, but let’s be honest.  You probably spent 1/4 of your time playing video games and hanging with friends, 1/1000 of those years doing HW, and 1/2 just putzing around.  But that’s not the case with Hannah Bukzin, 14, of Westport. She has already done some amazing things like win The Marcia Selden Ultimate Dinner Party Contest with Judges Marcia and Robin Selden as well as “Sweet GeniusRon Ben-Israel.  Also, she recently kicked off her summer internship with Robin, Marcia, Jeffrey, Nicole and the amazing crew at Marcia Selden Catering and has been having a great time.  And, yes, she’ll be on a little show airing 7/29 at 10 on Food Network that you might have heard of:  Chopped.  Hannah’s episode is Part Three of the Teen Tournament, so if she goes on to win she’ll face the three other winners at the Finale on 8/12 and pull in a $25,000 culinary school scholarship.  

Well, we had a chance to talk with Hannah about cooking, her favorite foods, what it’s like working with adults, interning, and more.  Here we go:  

When did you first realize that you loved cooking?
So, when people used to ask me this question I said, I’m not really sure.  But after some deep thinking I realized that it was probably around 6 or 7 years ago.  I was going through a stage where I only ate pasta and lettuce (as I used to say, a salad) for dinner.  I started realized what other people were eating and there were other foods out there!  I decided it was time for me to make a change, and voila!  I made my first piece of tilapia with some sautéed carrots.  I still have the photo!  My, have I come a long way from that.  
What’s your favorite dish to make, whether it’s simple or complex?
I get asked this question a lot and it’s really a difficult choice.  I love experimenting with different flavors but if I had to choose it would definitely be a marinated skirt steak with a homemade chimmichurri sauce- roasted potatoes on the side
We can’t get enough Latin food, but how about you?  What’s your favorite cuisine? 
Ironically I actually really like Latin food too!  I can tell you I love to eat Italian food better than anything else!  Cooking wise, though, I would say its not my favorite cuisine that matters as much as my style – classic dishes with a modern twist.  This can go with any and every cuisine that I cook.

The dreaded Mystery Basket!!! Photo from Foodnetwork.com

What are some of your favorite restaurants in the area?

I definitely love Local and Geronimo’s in Fairfield.  If I’m looking for comfort food its Grilled Cheese Eatery all the way—but I can’t eat there too much!!
 
What’s one thing that people really don’t understand about you being young and a protegé in the kitchen?
Wow, a protegé?  I didn’t know I qualified!  Well, it’s really difficult to understand how much it really takes to put yourself out there in the kitchen.  Many people I have worked with have strong personalities (which I love) and are much older than me.  It is difficult to sometimes stand out and really show that I am not just another annoying kid who walks in thinking she knows everything.  Despite this, I am lucky to have worked with some amazing people who have made me feel welcome and make my job of “being an adult in the kitchen” much easier.
How has the internship at Marcia Selden Catering been going? What are some of the amazing things that you’ve been doing there?
This internship is one of the best things I have ever done in my entire life.  I am so lucky and grateful for this amazing opportunity to work with fantastic chefs and people.  They definitely threw me right in!  I am doing things that I never knew that I could do—I told my mom that this isn’t an internship where they are babysitting me.  The chefs in the kitchen, Robin and Marcia are counting on me to put out great food that represents Marcia Selden Catering Company in the light they deserve.  I have done everything from plating up to-go meals to prepping for a wedding tasting.  Who knows what is coming next?
How did it feel to be selected for Chopped Teen?
It was absolutely amazing!  A once in a lifetime opportunity.  All I did was send in an application like thousands of other kids and I was elated when they called me!
Your episode will air on 7/29, but we’re wondering if you’d share anything that you learned from competing against the three other teen chefs and being on tv? 
Unfortunately, I can’t make any comment on the show but I did meet some amazing people and I can’t wait for it to air (even though I won’t watch it)!

We can’t blame Hannah for not watching!  The tension is already too much for us to bear, and we didn’t even compete.  If you can’t watch live or if you don’t have a DVR, you can also watch her episode on 7/30 at 1 am, 7/31 at 11 pm, 8/1 at 2 am, and 8/2 at 6 pm.  Lots of luck Hannah!

In-depth w/ Kory Wollins of BSF: Burgers, Making Mooz, Life, and the Heart of a Perfectionist.

16 Jul
Chances are, this is the man you see every day when you come into BSF Greenwich...

Chances are, this is the man you see every day when you come into BSF Greenwich…

A family of four walked through the door, haggard disappearing into happy, and Kory Wollins was already on them like white on rice.  “Hey, how’s it going?  Is this your first time here?” he asked as they looked a bit overwhelmed as they tried to figure out their orders.  It turns out they were there from Texas and visiting family in Norwalk for a wake, so they stopped at Burgers, Shakes & Fries, hearing about their reputation.  We know they like it big in Texas, so Kory broke down the menu for them.  They got their order in and Kory (owner of BSF Greenwich and co-owner of the Darien spot) kept talking to them about Texas, Connecticut, and just life in general.  When they got their burgers, the buttered-toast hamburgers didn’t last too long, quickly being devoured by the hungry Texans.

This was just 10 minutes of one day (while even more people came in to order during this time), of one week, of one year at BSF, but to that family, Kory made a difference.  On that day, Kory met with Dan and they talked about burgers, the restaurant biz, blogs, his quest to conquer making Fior di Latte mozzarella, and waxing philosophical about life.  During previous conversations they talked a lot about how blog culture tends to bury the good restaurants that have been around in a while in favor of the newest and hottest spots.  There was one comment that stood out from our most recent conversation that we want to start with:  “In the end the most important question to ask is, ‘Did you walk out with a smile when you left?'”  We always smile when we leave, especially when we have the smell of burgers and fries wafting from our bag as we speed our grub home.  So, let’s dig in and grill Kory for a bit…hey, he’s not the only one who can grill.

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Tips for Making the Perfect Burger from Bareburger’s Assistant Chef, Jennifer Underfinger

1 May

 

Let’s kick off National Burger Month right with some helpful, useful tips on how to prep that perfect burger that will be your peanut butter to your jelly, your kit to your kat, your Ben to your Jerry, your Cheech to your Chong, or even your Captain to your Tenille. LOL. While last year we did focus on a new burger for every single day of May, we kinda think the whole top burger list thing is overdone and overrated. We all have different burger prejudices, wants, and needs, so no burger will satisfy everybody. So, instead, we’ll be showcasing some great burger shops, the people behind burgers, and lots of recipes and ways to help you make some killer hamburgers this May.

Today we’re starting off with some great tips and advice from Jennifer Underfinger, the Assistant Chef of the expanding armada of Bareburgers. So, check it out, and when you’re in Ridgefield make sure to check out their newest Bareburger…and Stamford, you’ll get yours soon late spring/early summer. Here we go:

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Interview w/ Liz Rueven of Kosher Like Me: Her New Cookbook, Blog Life, and the Writing Process

17 Mar

4 Bloggers Dish Passover Liz Rueven

We’ve been a fan of Liz Rueven, editor and founder of Kosher Like Me, ever since we get into blogging.  Not only is she very kind and supportive of our work, she’s an overflowing font of knowledge in all things regarding food, especially the veg-life.  Her blog covers events, restaurant news, recipes (oh the recipes!), reviews, and tons more of nomworthy goodness.  Liz was even recently named one of 5 Jewish bloggers that you need to be following by Relish.com…well, duh.

But, it would be a crime to paint Liz’s work into a corner as just Jewish, just Kosher.  Yes, the recipes she shares and the foods that she talk about are kosher, but it’s the deep respect for food, farms, local food, and the art of all things culinary that cements Kosher Like Me as a blog to be reading…whatever your religious beliefs or dietary restrictions are.  And, if you’re ever on the lookout for great spots to hit up in CT (she lives in Westport) or NY, KLM is your jam.

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