Foodie Chap: Chef David Hill & ‘The Chef’s Table’
Chef David Hill’s style of cuisine has been described as “earthy European classic” with an emphasis on local products, organics, and farm specific foods. With a deep respect for the classical foundations, Hill is known for putting a fanciful twist on his food.
A Culinary Institute of America (CIA) graduate, Chef Hill did stints in his hometown of Oklahoma City, OK under Kurt Fleisfresser at The Coach House and then made a pilgrimage to Atlanta, GA to study under French Master Chef Jean Banchet and Tom Coohill at the acclaimed Ciboulette Restaurant. He then worked for the Peasant Restaurant group over two of their restaurants during the Atlanta Olympics, was partner in an upscale bohemian cafe, and Executive Chef of a prime steakhouse, Coohill’s. After moving to Northern California, Chef Hill served as Executive Chef for Horseshoe Bar Grill in Loomis, CA and Beermann’s Beerwerks in Lincoln, CA, before making the move to be the Executive Chef for Winchester County Club in Auburn, CA.
“Being a Chef to me is
about making people happy.”
– Chef David Hill
Teaching came next at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Sacramento. There he was a Chef Instructor and served as the Executive Chef for G.V. Hurley’s where he really developed a passion for featuring sustainably farmed regional American foods.
In 2009, Chef Hill took the leap into opening his first concept restaurant, The Chef’s Table in Rocklin, where he highlights ingredients from nearby farms using sustainable practices. The Chef’s Table has not only has become a neighborhood favorite in Placer County, but a key member of the farm-to-table movement in his community supporting many local farms and wineries on his menu.
Chef Hill is proud to be associated with Slow Food USA, Share Our Strength, Chef’s Collaborative, and the American Culinary Federation.
Hill is preparing to open his second concept, Hill’s Kitchen in Roseville, California. This November Chef Hill will hit the national culinary stage at the Burger Division of the World Food Championships in Las Vegas hosted by Adam Richman of Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food”.
Chef and I connected recently at one of California’s biggest rice farms in Rocklin, California. There we enjoyed a tasty chat and his smashing pumpkin & chicken with rice recipe.
Five Tasty Questions with Chef David Hill
1. Being a Chef to you is about…?
Making people happy.
2. If I got into your fridge at midnight, what will I find?
You will definitely find cheese; you will find salami of some kind and probably a Tecate for my wife.
3. Is there a cookbook that you can’t live without?
Harold McGee’s “On Food and Cooking.”
4. In a second life, you came back as something other than a Chef, what might you be?
I think I’d be a doctor.
5. At your last supper, you can have a couple of guests, who would they be and what would you eat?
I would have Ayn Rand, my favorite author, John Coltrane playing some Jazz in the background, and Mohammad Ali for inspiration.
Paella in a Pumpkin Shell
3 Pounds chicken breast, Grilled
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Hot Link sausages, thickly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
Bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, reserve some for garnish
1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
4 cups short grain Hinode rice
6 cups water, warm (you can use chicken stock)
3 Cups Cooked Squash (Butternut or Acorn) Diced
2 Cups Corn off the cob
2 ea. Anaheim Chilies, diced
1/2 cup sweet peas, frozen and thawed
Lemon wedges, for serving
Large paella pan or wide shallow skillet
Heat oil in a paella pan over medium-high heat. Saute the sausage until browned, remove and reserve.
In the same pan, make a sofrito by sauteing the onions, garlic, and parsley. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes on a medium heat. Then, add tomatoes and cook until the mixture caramelizes a bit and the flavors meld. Fold in the rice and stir-fry to coat the grains. Pour in water and simmer for 10 minutes, gently moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid. Add chicken, sausage, and paprika. Give the paella a good shake and let it simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente, for about 15 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, when the rice is filling the pan, add the corn, peas and peppers.
Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges.
The Chef's Table
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