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DISH '10: Chef favorites 

The other side of the kitchen: Local chefs pick their favorite dining spots


Unlike sports or politics, gastronomy is one of the few topics about which people get passionate but not violent. While the world has seen many heated discussions concerning food, rarely has anyone ever rioted about the yummiest cut of steak, and few, if any, have been punched out in debate over the best recipe for pie crust. "Food is our common ground, a universal experience," culinarian James Beard wrote. But our personal preferences in the matter could not vary more wildly.

            Gabbing about food offers an interesting insight into your fellow man: their loves, their hates, where they've been, where they hope to go. I'm constantly asking old friends and former strangers about favorite recipes, new restaurants, unique ingredients, but for purposes of this piece I got to go straight to the professional chefs, the ones who nourish us when we venture out of our own kitchens for something special. Spending long, hot hours over the flames hasn't diminished their love of food, and even though chefs have access to some of the most delicious chow money can buy, sometimes they just want a hot dog.

Chef: Jeff Traphagan of Rocco (165 Monroe Ave)

A Night Off, A Night Out: 2Vine ("a highly educated American bistro"), King and I, or ChenGarden.

Comfort-Food Spot: South Wedge Diner

Area's Best-Kept Culinary Secret: Rio Tomatlan in Canandaigua, El Rincon in Sodus

Three Things In His Refrigerator: Garlic-chili sauce, butter, hot-pepper cheese

Guilty Pleasure: "Anything with sugar in it. I would eat like 14 ice-cream bars or six Butterfingers a day if I could."

Favorite Cookbook: "American Cookery" by James Beard

Chef: Nick Grammatico of Piranha (682 Park Ave)

A Night Off, A Night Out: Max of Eastman Place

Comfort-Food Spot: James Brown's Place. "I lived across the street and ate there every single day."

Area's Best-Kept Culinary Secret: Swan Market on Parsells Avenue

Three Things In His Refrigerator:Genny Light, bacon, good cheese

Guilty Pleasure: "My weakness is any salted, cured meats."

Most Memorable Meal: "The day before 9/11 I had 11 courses at Nobu and then saw Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies the last night of the Wetlands.

Favorite Cookbook: "I'll give you three: 'The Professional Chef, Eighth Edition,' 'The Flavor Bible,' and Harold McGee's 'On Food and Cooking.'"

Chef: Dan Martello of Good Luck (50 Anderson Ave)

A Night Off, A Night Out: Rocco

Comfort-Food Spot:India House. "Right now I'm on an Indian-food kick."

Area's Best-Kept Culinary Secret:Tu Casa on St. Paul Street. "It's a porkarama."

Three Things In His Refrigerator: Beer, mustards and hot sauces, leftovers

Guilty Pleasure: Chicken wings

Most Memorable Meal: "The first time I went to Prune in New York City... matzo-ball soup with fried chicken skin."

Favorite Cookbook: French cookbooks by Richard Olney

Chef: Art Rogers of Lento (274 N Goodman St)

A Night Off, A Night Out: Rocco

Comfort-Food Spot: Dinosaur Barbecue

Area's Best-Kept Culinary Secret: Lento

Three Things In His Refrigerator: Beer, "my wife's homemade granola," leftovers

Guilty Pleasure: White hot dogs from Donna Daddy's, a cart parked across from Village Gate

Most Memorable Meal: Chez Panisse in Berkeley. "That's what we hope to achieve one day; it's sort of a mecca for Slow Food."

Favorite Cookbook: "Cooking By Hand" by Paul Bertolli

Chef: Paul Brewer of The Tap and Mallet (381 Gregory St)

A Night Off, A Night Out: Ember Woodfire Grill in Livonia

Comfort-Food Spot:Korea House

Area's Best-Kept Culinary Secret: "Can I say my restaurant? Because I don't think enough people know about us."

Three Things In His Refrigerator: Pulled pork, asparagus, and white wine

Guilty Pleasure: Chocolate

Most Memorable Meal: "The pork belly I had at the Rabbit Room in HoneoyeFalls."

Favorite Cookbook: "The French Laundry" by Thomas Keller

Chef: Seth Lindahl of Max Chophouse (1456 Monroe Ave)

A Night Off, A Night Out: Shiki

Comfort-Food Spot: James Brown's Place

Area's Best-Kept Culinary Secret:Dogtown

Three Things In His Refrigerator:Edamame in the freezer, cheese, eggs

Guilty Pleasure: "A Garbage Plate with mac salad, home fries, everything, and extra sauce."

Most Memorable Meal:Melisse in Los Angeles. "I worked there for a year, and the chef made 21 courses for a friend and me. None of it was on the menu."

Favorite Cookbook: "The French Laundry" by Thomas Keller

Chef: Lisa Cunliffe of Jonathan's Choice, Caterers and Private Chefs (248-2470)

A Night Off, A Night Out:California Rollin' or Plum House

Comfort-Food Spot:Highland Diner or the Public Market

Area's Best-Kept Culinary Secret: Jonathan's Choice

Three Things In Her Refrigerator: "The three Gs: Guinness, garlic, and ginger."

Guilty Pleasure: Pizza

Most Memorable Meal: "A black-tie dinner where I received the American Culinary Federation Award for 2005 Monroe County Chef of the Year."

Favorite Cookbook: "Larousse Gastronomique"

In This Guide...

  • DISH '10: Flambe guide

    Keep the home fires burning: Or, how to intentionally set your meal ablaze
     [ RECIPES ] Several years ago, I acquired the "Time Life Picture Cookbook" -- a gigantic coffee table-style book published in 1958.

  • DISH '10: Sandwich guide

    Upper crust: A look at local fancy sandwiches
     [ ROUND-UP ] Sometimes, when the demands of the world leave you feeling pressed and wafer thin, packed between obligations and carelessly speared by some pick with a garish plastic frill, you might reach for consolation in a comforting bowl of hot soup.

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