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Chef's Kitchen

Each month we bring a guest chef into our Chef's Kitchen column to give us tips that elevate their cooking (and hopefully ours). They also provide a recipe that showcases their tips. Our guest chef this month is Chef de Cuisine Anthony Polizzi of Steelhead Diner. Located in the heart of the Pike Place Farmers Market, Steelhead Diner offers high-level comfort food: succulent fish, amazing fried chicken, gumbo, razor clam chowder, caviar pie, decadent desserts and much more. With a constantly changing menu, they offer the freshest seasonal items with their own special twist. Boisterous and fun, Steelhead Diner appeals to locals and visitors alike. Owners Chef Kevin and Terresa Davis also own Blueacre Seafood in downtown Seattle.

A New York native, Anthony worked as a busser and server at a fine-dining French restaurant while attending Drexel University in Philadelphia in 2002, planting the seeds of interest in the culinary world. He moved to Los Angeles, taking a job in marketing, eventually realizing his interest was in cooking. He moved to Seattle and worked as a server at Le Pichet while attending the Art Institute of Seattle, receiving his Applied Associates Degree, Culinary Arts, in 2006. With a friend, he began catering parties and buffets. He took a job as a line cook and closing manager at Salty's on Alki and completed his school internship there. He then worked as a kitchen assistant for a private chef, moving to The Purple Cafe and Wine Bar as a sauté cook and closing manager. In May 2007, he was hired as a cook at Steelhead Diner by Chef/Owner Kevin Davis where they worked side-by-side for three years. When the Davises opened Blueacre Seafood in early 2010, Anthony was promoted to Chef de Cuisine at Steelhead Diner. The smooth transition and Anthony's skill in the kitchen make him a chef to watch.

Stock your kitchen, by Chef de Cuisine Anthony Polizzi

The biggest tip I can offer a home cook is to have stock around. Stocks are an essential building block of cooking and one of the most basic things that can be mastered. Stock is the base for many dishes such as soups, braises and risottos. They also help take a dish into something that is restaurant caliber when  made into a sauce. Imagine how good a traditional steak and potato dish is. Now  pour a ladle of black peppercorn red wine sauce over it. With Thanksgiving around the corner, having a good quality chicken stock to combine with your pan drippings to make your gravy will impress your guests. Your dishes now pick up a certain edge. 

Store-bought stocks are pretty easy to come by, but making good stock at home is not that difficult and they are easy to store. The recipes for the stocks listed are in order of difficulty, so start out easy with the vegetable stock and build off that experience. All that you need is a little time. As these recipes show, it doesn't take much to put them  together. All the produce you need is easy to obtain in the super market. Chicken bones and veal bones could be a little trickier to source, but any good butcher like Don and Joe's Meats in the Pike Place Market, Rain Shadow Meats on Capitol Hill or Uwajimaya will have these things available. 

You do not need a lot of special equipment; a large 5 gallon pot is incredibly useful. A strainer, not a colander, is imperative; a metal strainer that can be lined with cheesecloth will do fine. Those small 1 quart storage containers you can get at the super market are ideal for storing the stock in the freezer in batches that can be removed for easy use. Make sure you date them.

Steelhead Diner
95 Pine Street
Seattle, WA 98101

Click here to see Chef de Cuisine Anthony Polizzi's recipe

October 2010

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