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South Gate

Executive Chef Kerry Heffernan


Dining with Chefs: Executive Chef Kerry Heffernan
South Gate

Next we tried the Hamachi. “We look for simplicity and elegance in our food,” Chef Heffernan said. “Being so close to the park, we want to reflect what is natural and what is elegant, which can be appreciated in its pure format. To that end we cut the hamachi sashimi style and we use just a little bit of eucalyptus oil -- which is a bit unusual -- dried aleppo for a little spice and then the smallest hint of crisp garlic. Each thing works in concert and is not overwhelming. We also use a tiny bit of lemon; we wanted to bring the lemon up a little bit more without increasing the acid, so we take a little bit of the dried lemon zest and put it on there, as well. It’s a very simple, accessible, clean fresh dish.”

Hudson Valley Foie Gras

Our final appetizer was the Hudson Valley Foie Gras. “The foie gras gets the distinction of being able to have the relationship change with the seasons,” Chef Heffernan said. “Right now rhubarb is so wonderful and to get rhubarb to taste like rhubarb and have people like it is always been a fun challenge. I found the best thing to do is to do as little as you can to it, as opposed to cooking it for a long time or putting a lot of flavors with it. What we do -- I almost call it braised -- is we cook it in a very little bit of liquid with a little bit of salt, sugar and vanilla so that it concentrates the flavor. It has that little bit of acid and obviously sugar is going to create that familiar rhubarb relationship in the palate. Strange enough, in the summer time we do use raw rhubarb with fish. When we have the sockeye salmon, which is right about now, we mince it and do it raw so it has the texture, flavor and a little bit of that acid. It’s actually kind of interesting. Again, we get a huge amount of great feedback on our foie gras. I think it’s great. I don’t know why; if you cut it the right way, sear it the right way and serve it, it’s not rocket science. We don’t re invent anything, but I think that for some reason people are always drawn to our foie gras preparations. So I’m happy to have it on the menu. We accent it with the rhubarb and a tiny bit of a tuille that has a bit of a crisp texture to it with pistachios and tarragon.”

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