Burke Forster of Cafe Maude: Chef Chat, part 3
He fed trout eyeballs to his kids
Courtesy of Burke Forster
Today we conclude our chat with chef Burke Forster of Cafe Maude. Forster has created a new lunch menu at Maude, bringing his love of farm fresh ingredients prepared in lovely simple ways to the table. You can read part 1, and part 2 of our chat here.
At the end of the interview, be sure to read on for Forster's amazing recipe for seared Alaskan cod
What is the weirdest thing you've ever eaten?
I had geoduck clams in Boston at our favorite Asian restaurant. They prepared it in three different styles: raw, fried, then braised. The problem was the texture--it tasted like incredibly overcooked calamari.
What is your best culinary tip for a home cook?
Be relaxed and patient. Practice, and spend a day in your favorite restaurant's kitchen. You might be surprised that a lot of chefs will let you do this if you ask. And drink wine.
If you could cook for one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Unfortunately, I lost my dad at a young age and was never be able to cook for him, I would have loved to have done that. And I love to cook for my kids--they are both good eaters. They eat sushi, whole baked trout--about which my 7-year-old son asked, "Do people eat the eyes," I said, "Yes." He did it, but didn't like it. He also ate oysters right out of the water out East--he ate four, and I had to stop him there so he wouldn't get sick.
What are your favorite Twin Cities restaurants other than your own?
I like to eat food that I am not fluent in cooking. I love Peninsula and Quang on Eat Street. For fine dining I like La Belle Vie--the setting, the whole experience of walking into the restaurant, the entrance is so nice, and I really enjoy the food.
Who is your favorite celebrity chef?
Ming Tsai. He is famous for East Meets West on PBS. I learn a lot from his passion, knowledge, and insights--I am constantly learning new stuff. I love his restarant Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and I know him personally. We have cooked together many times--he is very inspiring.
Which celebrity chef just shut up?
I don't know if I want anyone to shut up because they have all made our profession more respectable. But when Emeril misuses his terms...well, that's not good--but then again look what he has done for our profession.
What are your favorite local bands?
I am old school. When I was younger I fell in love with the Suburbs, the Widgets, and the Jayhawks.
What would you like to do for a living if you couldn't be a chef?
I would have been in landscape design, working with my hands.
What is your favorite thing to do when you are not in the kitchen?
To go out to eat, and to go fishing. Those are my escapes.
Burke Forster also shared one of his favorite recipes, a lovely preparation of Alaskan cod.
Seared Alaskan cod with chickpeas, smoked tomatoes, broccolini, and clams
4 oz. Alaskan cod
4 littleneck clams
1/4 cup cooked chickpeas
4 spears of broccolini. Blanch and slice the stem leaving the florets whole
2 Roma tomatoes, smoked
1 tsp. each of the following--chopped thyme, minced shallots,chopped rosemary, chopped parsley, chopped basil, sliced garlic, and salt
1 Tbsp. sliced chives
Pinch crushed red pepper
1 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1.Brown the garlic in 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, add the shallots and clams and saute for one minute, then add the rosemary, parsley, basil, thyme, crushed red pepper, salt and the smoked tomatoes, saute for 1 minute, then add the white wine. Bring to a boil and add the vegetable stock. Simmer until clams are just open, add the broccolini and remove from heat.
2. Heat saute pan with 2 tablespoons canola oil until smoking hot. Season the cod with salt and pepper and sear until well brown, flip and cook the cod until just cooked through.
3. Bring the clams and broth to simmer and add the butter and chives, stir to incorporate. Taste!
4. Use a large, low bowl to serve. Spoon the chickpeas. broccolini, and tomatoes into the middle with the clams placed around, place the cod on top, and ladle the broth into the bowl.
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