SARATOGA (CBS SF) – Chef Peter Armellino began cooking professionally in New York when he was 17 years old. Following stints at both Gotham Bar & Grill and Grammercy Tavern, he decided to come out west and soon landed a sous chef position at Jardinière where he worked with Chef Douglas Keane. His resume also includes working with Chef Laurent Manrique at both Campton Place and Aqua. Chef Traci des Jardins decided to bring Chef Peter along with her to the set of Iron Chef where they made easy work of beating the orange clogs off of Mario Batali in Battle Shrimp.
Under Chef Armellino’s leadership, The Plumed Horse in Saratoga has been added to the very short list of Northern California restaurants to lay claim to a coveted Michelin Star. He also carries the title of Best Chef in The South Bay. The Plumed Horse’s Executive chef and partner Peter Armellino’s quintessentially California food is luxurious and refined. The list of 1,800 wines from around the world is encyclopedic and the service is formal but friendly.
Named the Best New Restaurant in 2008 by Esquire, Plumed Horse is a culinary standout in a region that boasts its fair share of culinary masters. With one Michelin Star, this contemporary Californian restaurant features a seasonal menu using the highest quality ingredients, including sustainably sourced fish and shellfish, and local and organic produce.”
The original Plumed Horse in Saratoga opened in 1952, but new owners, a multimillion-dollar facelift and the addition of Chef/Partner Peter Armellino, have made this into an entirely new restaurant. Its cutting-edge design, with a barrel ceiling, blown-glass chandeliers that change colors, and a three-story glass wine cellar, creates a modern stage for Peter Armellino’s contemporary California-inspired menu.
The menu includes interesting “surf and turf” variations such as Monterey red abalone with pork belly, artichokes and a meaty glaze; and sea scallops paired with smoked duck. Some main courses have subtle Asian influences, such as Beijing-style squab with a dried plum sauce and ginger cabbage.
To eat at “Plumed Horse” is to embark on a culinary voyage with Chef Peter Armellino and his 30 plus years in some of America’s best kitchens. His cuisine is thoughtful yet playful and delves into his french technique with modern twists. The tasting menu is the way to go here and at $135 is a steal in today’s overly priced arena of Michelin starred restaurant. It’s worth paying the extra for the Plumed Horse wine pairing as the restaurant boasts one of the richest & most diverse wine cellars around. Something for sure for every palate from all corners of the globe.
Next time you visit Plumed Horse cross the street before dinner and peek at the new “Plumed Horse – Chocolates by Anjelica”. These naughty treats are served post dinner service at the restaurant but a trip to the recently opened store is a must.
Enjoy my chat with a rock star Chef – Peter Armellino – a chef who chooses time at his pottery studio over getting bendy in yoga class with wife Sammy. All is revealed in our Foodie Chap chat. Chef also kindly shared his Parmesan and Cracked Black Pepper recipe below.
Chef Peter Armelino’s
Parmesan And Cracked Black Pepper Souffle
- 4 oz AP flour
- 4 oz Butter
- 1 qt Whole Milk
- 4 oz parmesan (grated fine)
- In one sauce pot, scald milk.
- In another pot, slowly melt your butter. Once melted, add the flour and keep on low flame until the roux turns pale.
- Once your roux is pale and milk is close to a simmer, add milk to roux and cook on medium high flame until the bechamel is thick.
- Once thick turn to low flame, stir and rotate oftenly. Cook for 40- 45 min.
- Remove from heat and add cheese. Stir until homogenous.
- Cool in pan with lid or cover to prevent drying.
Pâte Au Choux Ingredients:
- 9.3 oz AP flour
- 2.5 oz butter
- 2 cups milk
- 150 g Egg yolks
Pâte Au Choux Directions:
- In a large sauce pot, add milk and butter. Cook on medium-low flame.
- Let cook 5-10 min or until the fat seperates and the milk is gently simmering. Be sure to stir and check bottom, milk will burn fast if left unattened.
- Add flour and stir until thick. Mix vigorously with wooden spoon.
- Transfere mixture to a kitchen add, using paddle.
- Paddle on slowersetting for 4-6 min, until there is no visible steam. Check the temperature of bowl, keep on low setting until the bowl temp will not cook eggs.
- Slowly add eggs one at a time, count to about 15 seconds in between each addition of a single egg yolk. Once fully mixed, gather all mixture and store.
Souffle Mix Ingredients:
- 10 oz Mornay
- 10 oz PAC
- 10 g salt
- 10 cracks of coarse pepper grinder
- Mix with kitchen aid paddle on high speed for 7- 10 min.
- Scrape mixture off sides of bowl with spatula, mix for another 7 -10 min.
- Once mixed and lump free transfere into medium sized metal mixing bowl.
- For this amount of mixture, i would use about 1 ½ cups of egg whites and ½ tsp of cream of tartar.
- With a whisk attachment on the kitchen aide, mix on medium setting until soft peaks are formed. Can take anywhere from 3-10 min depeneding freshness of egg.
- Once soft peeks, turn setting on to high.
- Eggs with expand quickly, it is important to watch this step, the whites will turn fully opaque. Once you think they are finished. Lift whisk out of bowl. If the egg white that remain on the whisk hold shape once inverted, you are ready to fold. If they are under or over, restart or adjust, dont settle for any imperfections at this point.
- Add the egg whites in batches.
For more information, visit:
14555 Big Basin Way
Saratoga, CA 95070