As Executive Chef of Auberge du Soleil, Robert Curry oversees all culinary aspects of the renowned Napa Valley inn and Michelin-starred restaurant, which will celebrated its 30thanniversary in April 2011.
Curry’s menu reflects his extensive experience in the traditions of both Napa Valley and France, which continue to inspire the cuisine at Auberge du Soleil. His signature dishes include: White Corn Soup with Rock Shrimp and Chervil Oil; Seared Ono with Wakame, Tempura Maitake, Glazed Pork Belly, and Dashi; Bacon Wrapped Veal with Foie Gras Ravioli, Sugar Snap Peas and Wild Mushrooms; and Liberty Farm Duck with Figs, Hearts of Palm, Fennel, Arugula and Port Beet Sauce.
Curry brings to the Auberge a passion for Wine Country cuisine cultivated at award-winning restaurants in the Valley, on both coasts and in Europe. Prior to joining Auberge du Soleil in spring of 2005, he served as Executive Chef at the Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, Calif. There, his menus showcased ingredients harvested daily from Greystone’s own organic garden and the bounty of local farmers and purveyors. Prior to that, he launched the Flying Fish Café, the fine-dining seafood restaurant at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. Curry made a name for himself early on among Northern California food lovers during his eight years at Domaine Chandon in Yountville, Calif., first serving as Executive Sous Chef under Philippe Jeanty and ultimately succeeding him as Executive Chef.
A native of Los Angeles, Curry began his culinary career there in 1986 at Ma Cuisine, Wolfgang Puck and Patrick Terrail’s cooking school, during which time he received his degree from the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y. Following graduation, he was recruited by Michael Richard and Alain Giraud for Citrus Restaurant. In the late ‘90s, he traveled the world to study cuisine, working with Alain Ducasse at his three-star Louis XV in the Hotel de Paris; with Joseph Thuet at the Moët & Chandon Résidence de Trianon in Epernay, France; and in Paris at the two-star Michel Rostang.
Chef and I met in the Auberge du Soleil kitchen for our scrumptious foodie chap chat.
Roasted Pork Belly, Jasmine Rice Congee, Slow Cooked Egg, Spicy Peanuts
4 2 ounce pieces Braised Pork Belly
1 ounce Grape Seed Oil
4 each Eggs
¼ cup Micro Cilantro
½ bunch Scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Hijiki
1 cup Kimchi, see recipe
1 cup Congee, see recipe
¼ cup Spicy Peanuts, see recipe
1 cup Seasoned Dashi, see recipe
1 teaspoon Maldon Salt
to taste Salt
to taste Black Pepper, freshly ground
– Heat a water bath with a thermo-circulator to 63 degrees Celsius.
– Submerge the eggs in the water bath for 45 minutes.
– Shock the eggs in ice water and reserve refrigerated.
– Boil a ½ cup of water and pour over the hijiki.
– Let steep 5 minutes to hydrate, drain excess water, and reserve refrigerated.
– Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
– Warm the kimchi and congee in separate pots.
– Place the eggs in the 63 degree water to reheat.
– Heat a medium sized, oven proof sauté pan.
– Season the portioned pork belly with salt and pepper
– Add the grape seed oil to the pan.
– Sear the pork on one side.
– Turn the pork over and place in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes.
– Warm 4 plates.
– Place a spoon of congee on each plate, putting a divot in the center of the rice, to hold the egg.
– Place the kimchi on the plates.
– Carefully crack the eggs and place them on top of the congee.
– Sauce the plates with the seasoned dashi.
– Remove the pork from the oven, drain on a paper towel.
– Brush the top of each piece of pork with seasoned dashi to glaze.
– Lean the pork up on the kimchi on each plate.
– Season each egg with a pinch of Maldon salt.
– Garnish each plate with the peanuts, cilantro, scallions and hijiki.
Braised Pork Belly
5 tablespoons Five Spice, recipe to follow
2 ½ tablespoons Kosher Salt
½ each Pork Belly
1 375 ml Sauvignon Blanc
1 each Yellow Onion, medium diced
1 each Carrots, medium dice
1 each Fennel, medium dice
2 ribs Celery, medium dice
1 each Fuji Apples
1 gallons Veal Stock
2 ounces Grape Seed Oil
– Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
– Score fat side of pork belly.
– Rub pork belly with salt and Chinese 5 spice.
– Let pork marinate refrigerated 8 to 10 hours.
– Heat an oven proof braiser or stew pot, add grape seed oil, sear pork belly (fat side first).
– Remove pork and reserve.
– In same rondo sweat onions, carrots, fennel, celery, and apples, until tender.
– Deglaze with sauvignon blanc.
– Add the pork belly, veal stock and bring to a boil.
– Cover pot with lid or parchment paper.
– Place in preheated oven for 2 hours.
– Test the pork with paring knife. If there is no resistance, remove from the oven.
– Remove the pork from the liquid and vegetables.
– Place pork in pan lined with parchment paper.
– Cover pork with parchment paper and cool for 10 minutes.
– Place another pan on top of the pork belly and press down with something heavy (teapot full of water, for example), refrigerate while being pressed.
– Portion to desired size.
Chinese Five Spice
2 Tablespoons Toasted Fennel Seed
2 Tablespoons Toasted Clove
2 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Toasted Black Pepper
5 each Toasted Star Anise
– Combine all spices and grind in spice grinder.
5 ounces Onion
3 ounces Garlic
1 ounce Ginger
2.5 ounces Fish Sauce
2.5 ounces Korean Chili Flakes
1 cup Water
1 ounce Rice Flour
– Bring water and rice flour to a boil, whisking until thickened, reserve.
– In a blender puree the fish sauce, onion, garlic, and ginger.
– Add Korean Chili Flakes and rice flour mix, blend until smooth, reserve.
– Kimchi paste can be made in advance and reserved in refrigeration for up to a week.
3 heads Napa Cabbage, large
½ cup Kosher Salt
10 each Red Jalapenos, seeded and julienne
10 ounces Daikon Radish, peeled and julienne
3 tablespoons Ginger, finely minced
2 tablespoons Garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons Chili Flakes
2 tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
2 tablespoons Sugar
– Peel the cabbage, discarding outer leaves.
– Cut cabbage in half, then cut each half into thirds, removing core.
– Generously salt the cabbage, peeling the leaves back to insure even distribution of salt.
– Place in a container and let sit at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours. Mixing from time to time.
– When the cabbage is tender, rinse in cold water removing all the salt. Squeeze dry.
– In a bowl, mix the jalapenos, daikon, ginger, garlic, chili flakes, rice wine vinegar and sugar.
– Stuff the mixture between each leaves of the cabbage.
– Using gloves spread the kimchi paste evenly throughout each layer of cabbage.
– Reserve refrigerated.
– Ready to serve in 2 to 3 days.
1 cup Jasmine rice or any long grain
4 cup Water
4 cup Chicken stock
2 ounces Ginger, peeled and cut into coins
4 each Scallion, white only, left whole
1 large pinch Salt
-Wash the rice.
-Place all the ingredients in a pot.
-Cover and simmer on low for 1 ½ hours adding stock if needed.
-Remove and discard the ginger and scallion.
Yields: 1 cup
1 cup Peanuts, raw and peeled
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¾ teaspoon Tagaroshi, toasted
¾ teaspoon Pimenton, toasted
¾ teaspoon Lime Juice
– Heat oven to 325 degrees.
– Mix the peanuts with the olive oil.
– Roast in the oven for 6 minutes.
– Rotate the pan 180 degrees and roast for 6 minutes.
– While the peanuts are still hot, mix all the ingredients together until peanuts are evenly coated.
– Drain on paper towel until cooled to room temperature.
1 quart Dashi
½ cup Soy Sauce
½ cup Mirin
2 ½ teaspoons Agar Agar
– Bring to a simmer dashi, soy sauce, and mirin.
– Add the agar agar, simmer 2 minutes to hydrate.
– Cool to set. When set blend until smooth. Reserve refrigerated
2 quarts & ½ cup cold water
2 ounces konbu (giant kelp)
2 ounces dried bonito flakes
– Place 2 quarts of the water and kelp in a pot.
– Bring to a boil removing the kelp just before boiling point is reached.
– Bring to a full boil.
– Add the remaining ½ cup of water and immediately add the bonito flakes.
– Bring to a full boil and remove from the heat.
– Let set 1 minute and pass through a chinois.
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