I got a serious treat this past month and I am not talking Mcdonalds! I had the pleasure of meeting and cooking with Aariane Duarte from Top Chef season 5. She was one of our favorites and also has a restaurant right here in Montclair, New Jersey called Culinariane. I was lucky enough to be able to go, geez I think it was two years ago now!
It was a great experience!
Upon meeting Aariane, I was issued my apron which was a top chef shirt woo hoo! She is such a joy to be around, so much fun and full of so much good info! Now I use Kosher salt as I have learned the importance, and have discovered parboiling potatoes. I know some of this sounds basic but hey every little thing helps. Aariane and her husband both have extensive experience in food and restaurant.Their stories are very interesting. Ariane says that Top Chef had her grow as a Chef and got very competitive as you could imagine. The judges were just as tough in real life as you see on TV no joke!
We cooked an awesome seafood risotto with lobster chowder and prawns. Risotto can be intimidating b/c I always hear that its temperamental and all about timing. But now at least I have a better idea of how things go. Once you start working with it you need to just stand there stirring and adding chicken broth or whatever you are working with. And just keep tasting it!
Of course my favorite was a watermelon, heirloom tomato salad. But she just arranges everything on the plate to look pretty, makes such a difference! Then she made pork chops and truffled potatoes. And her husband cooked up an amazing skirt steak! Fun was had by all!