Innovative Chefs


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Baltimore has a solid group of well-known chefs who have helped the city compete with the culinary scenes in New York and DC. New chefs in town (and a few with past successes) are shaking things up with new, innovate takes on tapas, pub fare, and sustainable resources.

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  1. 1. Monday, April 4, 2011 | Follow Us: Home Features News Places Focus Companies Contact Us THE TRACKER WITH CIRQUE DU SOLEILS NEW PERFORMANCE "TOTEM" OPENING APRIL 7TH - ARIANNE TEEPLE | SHOW PHOTO features GIVE US YOUR EMAIL AND WE WILL GIVE YOU OUR WEEKLY ONLINE MAGAZINE. FAIR?Innovative Chefs Look to Broaden Charm Citys PalateRENEE LIBBY BECK | TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2011 P R I N T |E P M A A G I E L | P S AH GA E R E T H I S TOP 10 FEATURE CENTRO TAPAS BAR - ARIANNE TEEPLE STORIESRELATED IMAGES Many of Baltimores restaurants still focus on what Jen Royles Year In the Life of the city traditionally does best: crabs. And while Baltimore Opening Day is just around the corner celebrated chefs like Cindy Wolf, Spike Gjerde, and and Jen Royle is about to enter her John Shields have carved their own interesting second year reporting on the Orioles and Ravens. Prior niches, Baltimore is still largely known for its old to that, she spent seven years w orking in New York covering the Yankees for the YES Netw ork. If you standbys. Recently, however, a new crop of innovative think a situation like that might lead to friction, you ENLARGE chefs has begun infiltrating the city, encouraged by could be on to something. Read on to learn more local foodies and ready to shake up the local culinary about Ms. Royle and her first year in Charm City. scene. Video: Life of an Entrepreneur With Honest Tea and Figure 53 As Baltimore nightlife and entertainment writer Startup City Poised to Turn Baltimore Into an Entrepreneurial Hub "Downtown Diane" Macklin puts it, "Todays Baltimore chefs are more innovative than ever. Taking an idea Photo Essay: The Monumental City and making it his or her own is what separates the MICA Students and Faculty Team Up to Explore Baltimore: Open City great chefs in town." Developing a Different Kind of Renaissance in Park Heights converted by
  2. 2. Demi Baltimore-based Scholar Returns to Amplify Her Hometown Chef Tae Strain of Demi wants to do just that. He Drafting the Future of Education at ENLARGE came to Baltimore from New Yorks Public House, Baltimore Design School and he sees a growing Baltimore food community Baltimores Green Masterminds thats embracing and encouraging innovation and risk The Inner Harbor: What the World Can taking along the way. Learn From Baltimore VIEW ALL FEATURE STORIES Demi shares a space with Crush, the contemporary ENLARGE establishment in North Baltimores Belvedere Square. Strain notes that where Crush focuses on American flavors that have garnered loyal clientele, Demi is invested in global influences. Demis space in the lower level of Crush offers an open kitchen with front-row seats to Strains culinary team. ENLARGE Demi considers its small plates to be light entrees, and diners can expect a lot of pork belly, a chef favorite. Strains commitment to reinterpretation allows Demi to carve out an identity unique not only from Crush, but from other restaurants in town, as ENLARGE well. Centro Tapas restaurants often have an early expiration date in Baltimore - a city that doesnt tolerate paying a lot to eat a little - but Chef George Dailey is betting ENLARGE against that trend with Centro. "The truth is, you can count with your fingers how many tapas restaurants are in the city," Dailey says. "Yes, there are a lot of restaurants that serve small plates but cannot call themselves a true tapas ENLARGE restaurant. [Centro] is different because we offer the true tapas experience," Dailey says. Daileys Spanish and Latin American heritage helps him create authentic tapas like his mother cooked when he was growing up in Venezuela. To properly order at Centro, adopt a thick Spanish accent - Cachapa, a sweet corn pancake; sobrasada mallorquina, spreadable chorizo sausage; and arepas, a Venezuelan corn masa, arent exactly words that roll easily off the tongue. Dailey, who saw previous success with On The Hill in ENLARGE Bolton Hill, understands that these dishes canRELATED TAGS intimidate. With that in mind, Centros $3 tapas ARTS AND CULTURE, FOR nights and happy hours are designed to allow FOODIES, VISIT BALTIMORE patrons to get acquainted with the menu while enjoying fresh seafood from sustainable sourcesalong with organic produce and meat.Feast @ 4 EastThat dedication to sustainability is more and more becoming a common practice.Feast @ 4 Easts kitchen, tucked away in a brownstone at 4 East Madison in Mt.Vernon, is run by local loyalist Sandy Lawler. When asked how she combats the converted by
  3. 3. idea that sustainable food is a trend, she dismisses the notion."The only challenge is the competition of year-round availability. An occasionaltreat of a strawberry out of season is one thing, but its flavor will never comparewith a locally grown one in season," she says.Lawlers best-selling dish, local rockfish, is served with lemon-caper butter or atarragon-chive drizzle. The trickier sell is Chesapeake stingray, which overruns theBay, eating oysters and crabs without predators. Its abundantly available butoften tough to convince diners to try.The PointLawler isnt the only one with a hard message. Convincing a patron to try edgierfare at a more upscale establishment like Feast can be easier than selling duckconfit on shaved fennel salad at a corner pub, which is just what The Points headchef, Jacob Raitt, is attempting.The Point, situated on the well-worn corner of Thames and Ann streets in FellsPoint (in the former Miss Irenes), embraces culinary surprise with unique flavorsand presentation. Raitt doesnt aim to reinvent the wheel, only to have The Pointsupscale pub fare mentioned alongside the likes of Baltimores most respectedrestaurants. Raitt has an edge, having worked under the likes of Chef Marc Dixonat Bistro Blanc and Chef Jason Ambrose at Salt."I have taken from [the chefs Ive worked with] a devotion to fresh food andcreative innovation." Raitt says, "II take an approach to food without vanity, andwith a humility that makes our customers feel comfortable even with ingredientsand techniques they may not be familiar with."To entice patrons, Raitt keeps dish descriptions simple. While the pot roast onlylists three ingredients, Raitt employs a painstaking process that involves braisingthe beef and glazing and roasting vegetables to create depth of flavor that cannotbe replicated with bases or pre-processed sauces. He admits to an arduousapproach, but once a unique dish - like beef tongue and bone marrow - is tasted,its almost always well-received.SlainteDown Thames Street, Slainte is fighting a similar battle. The restaurant wasalways known for having good pub food, but wanted to fully embrace the gastropub concept. Chef Bill Crouse -- a former executive chef at Sotto Sopra who holdsdegrees in cooking, baking, and nutrition -- has the credentials needed to makeSlainte a name in upscale pub fare.In Crouses kitchen - like Daileys and Lawlers - local fare is essential. Patrons canenjoy a traditional Shepards pie or corned beef sandwich, but theyre alsoencouraged to try mushroom gnudi, a fried gnocchi served with brown butter andsage sauce."Im just feeding people a good meal. The word of mouth will become morepowerful than anything I could dream up," Crouse says.While each of these trendsetters is happy to serve up traditional fare, theyre alsolooking to challenge Baltimores taste buds by introducing surprising newapproaches.Downtown Diane hopes more folks will notice and take a chance on creative converted by
  4. 4. dishes in Baltimore. "If you taste food that a chefs made his or her own, youknow that every time you go to that restaurant, you can count on taste andcreativity. Its what makes dining in Charm City so exciting."Renee Libby Beck made Baltimore her home after a short-lived post-collegiateventure in Florida. By day, she is the Public Relations Coordinator for Medifast,Inc. In her minimal spare time, Renee serves as the Baltimore Food Examiner andwrites for other local blogs and publications. After an amazing meal, she cantstop salivating over it and often tries to recreate it - with minimal success.Comments? Questions? Find us on Twitter, Facebook, or send us an email.Learn more about Bmore and sign up to receive a new issue every week viaemail.Photos by Arianne Teeple:- Dishes created by Chef and Owner George Dailey at Centro Tapas Bar- Chef and Owner George Dailey of Centro Tapas Bar- A dish created by Chef Tae Strain at Demi- Chef Tae Strain of Demi- A dish created by Chef Sandy Lawler at Feast @ 4 East- Chef Sandy Lawler of Feast @ 4 East- A dish created by Chef Bill Crouse at Slainte- Chef Bill Crouse of Slainte GIVE US YOUR EMAIL AND WE WILL GIVE YOU OUR WEEKLY ONLINE MAGAZINE. FAIR? Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Have a Tip? | About Bmore | Baltimore Links | Terms of Use | RSS converted by