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Saveur Test Kitchen

Test Kitchen Director Hunter Lewis

    Dining with Chefs: Test Kitchen Director Hunter Lewis
Saveur Test Kitchen

Recipe Testing

Our tour of the test kitchen and the testing process complete, our attention finally turned to the Vegan Kale Salad that was being tested in the kitchen:

"We went ahead and squeezed the citrus for this," Lewis began. "We'll make our dressing first and set that aside. The dressing is a half cup of orange juice, two tablespoons of lemon juice and one teaspoon of soy. When we tasted it yesterday, the dressing fell flat. It didn't really boost the flavor of the kale, so we added some garlic to it. And we're going to add oil, too; we're going to start out with a quarter cup. We have our citrus, garlic and soy here; then we'll add all of the olive oil, then we'll season that, set it aside and work on the kale. If it tastes fairly balanced, it's OK for now. The way we cut this kale yesterday was based on the instructions from the restaurant, but it just seemed like the pieces were too big. So we're cutting it smaller today. The first thing we do is to weigh it."

In fact, Lewis said he was going to cut the kale a lot smaller so that it would be easier to chew. "Once we take it off the stem and chop it, it will yield a lot less," he explained. "Then it will shrink down again once we dress it. We're looking for about three-quarters of a pound. The sweetness of the citrus and soy will balance out the bitterness. Once it's been weighed, we stem it and chop it. One avocado will get cubed and put in the salad, and another will be sliced and put on top. Then we'll add hemp seeds -- they are a very L.A. ingredient -- which are very healthy and add a little texture. When I was testing, I cut one avocado, cubed that up and put it in; now I cut another one in, so now it's actually a three-avocado salad. We'll see how it is."

We tasted it, and we loved it. "It's nothing fancy," Lewis said, "but it's more refined than yesterday. It will probably take us a couple more tests in order to get our yields right and make sure we serve the right amount."

So ended our day at the Saveur test kitchen, for which we are completely thankful to Hunter Lewis, James Oseland and Todd Coleman, who gave us a wonderful morning filled with excellent food and great tips. We're looking forward to the March 2010 issue of Saveur!

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