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KCBS Foodie Chap Podcast:
“Welcome Home Chef” – I said this to Michael Chiarello as we started our interview at his new spot COQUETA a Spanish cocina on San Francisco’s Embarcadero waterfront. After 25 years as a restaurateur he finally has a place to welcome diners in San Francisco.
He is an award-winning Chef and owner of critically acclaimed Bottega restaurant in the Napa Valley. He made his mark by combining his Southern Italian roots with the distinctive hallmarks of Napa Valley living. From his earliest childhood experiences – created around his mother’s California kitchen with his extended Italian family of butchers, cheese makers and ranchers – Michael Chiarello dreamed of becoming a chef.
Upon graduating from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Michael began to shape his career into what he would become an acclaimed Chef, highly rated vintner, culinary & lifestyle trends pioneer, noted author, and Emmy®-winning television host on Food Network and Cooking Channel. Throughout his achievements, he incorporates his passion for seasonal, sustainable living – and the artisan purveyors who make it possible. His unique perspective on good food & healthy living, spiced with a dose of Old-World charm, inspires friends and family to create meaningful memories around their table. His passion for a food-centric life is shared with his fans, restaurant guests, television viewers and Napa Valley visitors.
“Cooking is about being a servant
to my guest, the planet and my craft.”
- Chef Michael Chiarello (Chef, Vintner, TV Host, Restaurateur)
Michael was named Chef of the Year by Food & Wine Magazine in 1985, just three years after graduating from the CIA. He received the CIA’s Chef of the Year Award in 1995, and was just named CIA’s 2011 Alumni of the Year. Michael’s books have received awards and nominations from both IACP and James Beard Foundation. After turning his enthusiasm for sustainability to his own vineyards in 1999, he created Chiarello Family Vineyards, and his small-production wines are consistently high-scoring. And since 2000, Michael has been the tastemaker behind the Napa Style retail line of artisanal foods, kitchen ware and home decor. Michael was nominated for “Best Chef: Pacific” by the James Beard Foundation in 2012.
Michael has been a national television host of his own shows for over a decade on PBS, Food Network and Cooking Channel, and has appeared on the highest rated food competition shows on television as well. His Emmy Award®-winning show Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello, began in 2003 and still airs daily. In 2009, he took second place as finalist on Bravo’s inaugural Top Chef Masters, and has appeared as a judge on Top Chef and Top Chef Masters. Michael was also a competitor on Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef, which premiered in October 2011.
He is a best-selling author too. Live Fire, his latest and most personal book about cooking with fire and entertaining outdoors is out now. While not in the kitchen, Michael is an avid cyclist and enjoys spending time in his Napa Valley vineyard with his wife and children. Meet the multi-faceted Chef in person at the Embarcadero Center “Market to Table” series on Saturday May 18th at 11am. I will be your EMCEE. See you Saturday.
Enjoy the podcast with Chef Michael Chiarello and discover how his travels inspired the menu at Coqueta. Ooooh and check out the “delish” recipe too.
Tasty Questions With Chef Michael Chiarello
1) Cooking to you is about . . . ?
Cooking to me is about three things: it’s serving, being a servant to my guest first and foremost, the planet secondarily, and of course thirdly our craft.
2) It’s midnight, I go to your fridge at home. What will I find? What’s always there?
My wife’s fetish is always there in the fridge, and not what you’re thinking. It’s vintage champagne, always vintage champagne. And I’m a big hummus eater. I love hummus and cheese and salami and a good glass of wine.
3) Soundtrack to your life, one song, one artist, what will it be?
“Highway to Hell,” that’s easy.
4) Finally, last supper, a couple of guests at the table, dead or alive, famous or not, who will they be and what will you eat?
Frank Sinatra and my mom. They both taught me a lot. One, how to spiritually enjoy my life through my craft and to love with my heart. And the other to live life each and every day like it’s your last day on the planet. Frank, I had the pleasure of meeting and cooking with him a couple of times. He loved family and great food and storytelling through the whole thing as he does with his music, and we would make gnocchi together. We’d stand around the table and make a quantity of gnocchi. My mom had a huge belief that when your hands are busy, your mind is free. We could all use our mind to be a little bit more free.
Sunny Side Up Egg with Chorizo Dressing and Crispy Egg (Home-Chef Version)
Recipe Courtesy: Michael Chiarello, Coqueta 2013
1lb dried Spanish chorizo
4 high-quality, free range eggs
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1T sherry vinegar
1 bag of extra virgin olive oil flavored potato chips
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2T toasted pine nuts
1T Italian parsley, minced
4 Chili de Arbol, whole, dried
Preheat oven to 350F.
Peel the chorizo. Slice thin and mince very fine. Place in sauté pan with ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil over med heat until it begins to bubble. Turn heat down to low and sweat for 5 minutes. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, add 1T of sherry vinegar and let cool until warm.
Place the remaining ½ cup extra virgin olive oil into small sauté pan with the garlic and Chili de Arbol and sauté slowly until the garlic is light brown. Remove chilies and garlic from the oil and set aside.
Place 20 potato chips on a cookie sheet and warm in the oven for approximately 4 minutes. Set aside.
Divide the aromatic oil into 2 sauté pans and heat over medium heat. Add 1 egg into each pan. Meanwhile, add ¼ cup of chorizo dressing to the bottom of each plate. Using a spoon, baste the eggs with the hot oil until the whites are just set and the yolks are still runny. With a spatula, remove the eggs and place on top of dressing. Repeat with remaining eggs. Place 5 chips on each egg. Garnish the top of the chips with the toasted garlic, toasted pine nuts and 1 chili each, then sprinkle with parsley and serve.
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