I recently filled out a bio for my cooking instructor position at The Brooklyn Kitchen. Read on for an inside scoop on Chef Linda Sarris "The Cheeky Chef".
Antica Locanda di Sesto is a trattoria in the picture perfect town of Lucca in Tuscany. Chef Aurelio Barattini is the 4th generation running the Bibb Gourmet Michelin-rated restaurant along with his brother Lamberto, la mamma Raffaella Tomei Barattini + her mamma Nonna Ida.
They have a family farm nearby growing grapes for easy sipping wine, 400 trees producing extra virgin olive oil, and an "orto" for produce used in the restaurant. Italy's true + natural farm-to-table style. When I asked Aurelio if the area was known for truffles he quickly replied "No, they are found 45 minutes away! It's very far." When you see a 45 minute drive as too far away, we can really understand the local way people eat and think about food here.
Antica Locanda Di Sesto | Lucca, Toscana, Italia
how can I sum up a whole month in sicily? looking back at photos of my whirlwind trip researching my new project SNACK sicily, i haven't had a moment to stop and digest it all. I don't even want to because i'm so sad it is over.
i want the taste of homemade mulberry marmellata on my lips, to inhale the smell of jasmine flowers outside my window like a drug, feel the churn in my sleepy hungover stomach while off-roading thru vineyards at 7AM to collect honey. i don't want to forget anything. i've been driving from city to city, following winemakers down bumpy dirt roads, living out of a backpack, staying with friends and waking up every morning with a daily checkoff list of meetings, interviews and meals for the last month and haven't even had a chance to reflect.
maybe nobody believes this is "work" or i'm just off living this fantasy life that they wish they had. i am just trying to follow the path that presents itself for me. a few years ago i lost my best friend and i've just been trying to live my life in a way that i can be proud of. that she would be proud of. we're here for just a short time, and i want to fill mine with as many experiences as possible. if i don't take off for two months "working" in italy now, when will i do it?
these trips away from home (whatever home is, i don't even know yet), are what have been sculpting me into the best version of a person/cook/teacher/friend/partner that i can be right now. with just a few days left on my trip, i am nervous thinking about getting back to new york and starting over again. i'll always find work, my friends and family will always be there, i'll discover a new place to settle back in and pickup half of my old life and half of whatever there is to come. cheeky 2.0 or maybe 7.0 this time. here are some photos from the last month away.
chef's day off:
sleep til 10, bike 1hr to the sea, stop at fruit vendor for peaches, stop at bar for cold water + chat w/ old men, park bike at the beach, cafe shakerato, swim + sun for hours, stop at bar for more water + chat with old men playing cards, bike home, jump in pool, shower, wine + bed.
*quick update: wtf is my private chef from brooklyn posting from tuscany? I am currently working for the month of August as a chef for some families renting a villa at a small winery in the Maremma.
My new British + Italian-Canadian family is here in Capalbio and I’ll be cooking for them for the next two weeks of August. They (like me) are super into fresh seafood and have vacationed in this part of Italy a few times already so they knew the spot to get fresh fish. I have very limited access to a car so most of my shopping is local quick trips to the market, butcher, and fruit + veg stands in town. Otherwise, I need to take my bicycle (great for the buns, not great for hauling groceries home) out for my shopping. Allora…
When this new fam arrived, they said they would take me along to Porto Santo Stefano a nearby fishing town to buy some fresh seafood. The mum was so excited to bring me because she said I’d see more varieties of calamari and octopus than I’ve ever seen before! She was totally right.
Here are a few pics from our trip in Porto Santo Stefano in Southern Tuscany + cooking back at the villa.
On my first day in tuscany, I quickly ran out for groceries to plan the following day with my new clients. I grabbed the groundskeeper's car and took off to catch the sunset with one housekeeper Inga and her son Bazzie. Probably the only sunset over the sea I'll get this month. Then we had a nice dinner together! Happy to be somewhere quiet, out of the city for a month, trying to sort out some things for my business and for myself. buona tramonto!
I'm cooking for a sweet family from Switzerland...three couples actually, 8 kids + one nanny. Here are some pics from the first week.
Taking off for 1-month working as a private chef with clients from Switzerland. I'll be living in Capalbio, a small medieval town in Southern Tuscany.
NYC/HAMPTONS clients: I will see you back in NYC this fall. Thanks!
BEYOND THE HILLS, THE RED TUSCAN LAND MEETS THE SEA
I'll be spending 4-weeks this summer working as a private chef in Italy! This probably doesn't come as a shock to those of you know me. Packing up my apartment, putting things into storage and taking off with a one-way ticket is just another adventure in the life of CHEEKY. Sometimes when I run into friends in New York, the first thing they ask is if I'm living here now and for how long. "Design a life you love and never look back."
The nearest town is the medieval village of Capalbio in Maremma Grossetana, an area of southern Tuscany (just 90-minutes north of Rome). Villa Pinciana is part of a 54-hectares wine estate in the Maremma. The landscape is a perfect blend of leafy rows of vineyards lining rolling hills, cyprus trees along dirt roads, blackberry bushes and rosemary near the driveway, sage colored olive orchards and a small "orto" vegetable garden behind the house. During aperitivo, we drink wine on the veranda and you can watch the sun set over the walled village of Capalbio nestled on the hilltop.
I worked at this winery for a month in the summer of 2013 cooking for lovely people from London, Rome and Zurich. Now I'm returning to cook for Swiss clients as they rent this gorgeous home on the Villa Pinciana winery property. The photo above is the saltwater pool in the backyard of the villa where I will live! Every morning, I wake up and run to town to get a coffee in my favorite bar, bullshit and flirt with the locals, buy some freshly baked bread then head back to the house. I will be cooking for two families on holiday and I am responsible for breakfasts and dinner every day, with a few hours in the afternoon to catch some sunny rays on my bike rides to the sea. non è male
Now, if I can avoid my tomato farmer boyfriend from two summers ago, all will be well in the Maremma.
Off to Grosseto!
Finally, southern Italian wine is on the up-and-up internationally! We are starting to see little sparkles of Sicilian nero d'avola or frappato wines popping up on restaurant lists among the occasional Primitivo from Puglia or a Greco di Tufo from Campania/Calabria. However, getting southern Italian people to drink southern Italian wines is another great feat - to be conquered at another time and by another guy (read as Silvestro Silvestori's new wine program cheekily called "TERRONIA").
After living for one year on the largest family-owned wine estate in Sicily, I thought I had a good start to learning about Sicilian wines. Here we are four years after my first visit to Palermo and those bright virgin sips of catarratto. Working with Fabrizia Lanza at Case Vecchie, we served the cooking school guests a wine for aperitivo, two or three wines with dinner and sometimes a dessert wine or homemade liqueur after the meal. I tasted my way through every single label of those Tasca d'Almerita wines at Regaleali -- but still, so much more to learn.
Along comes my friend Silve: a handsome smart guy from Puglia who is a certified sommelier, a Southern Italian wine expert and freelance writer for Wine & Spirits magazine. "Wanna go on a cycling trip around Puglia to visit wineries for a couple of weeks?" After convincing him to move the trip to Sicilia, this cheeky chick was on board.
Here's a little wine update from the #CHEEKYbici trip. I am no expert so I'll generalize and break it up this way: There are incredible white grapes growing on the west side of Sicily and killer reds on the eastern side (with bits of overlap, of course). There are certainly great reds that grow all over the island and vice versa with the white grapes. Sicily also has a history of growing international varietals (chardonnay, cabernet, merlot, syrah, etc.) in many different parts of the island, and a few drag-queens, as I'll call them, like perricone (red grape on the west side) and carricante (a white grape from the east) who dare to be different because of their complexity.
WESTCOAST SICILIAN VARIETALS:
catarratto | grapes produce a golden-colored wine + they are planted all around the island. this is the most common white grape used for marsala wine.
grillo | a true westcoaster grown in Marsala, Palermo, Trapani and Agrigento. grillo wines have a deep yellow color and they can actually age fairly well.
inzolia | also known as "ansonica", can be used in making marsala. inzolia has a greenish hue with a very strong herbal aroma.
zibibbo | also known as "moscato di Pantelleria", brought to Sicily by the Romans, these are grown mainly on the island of Pantelleria where the grapes are dried and made into a dessert wine called passito.
pericone | a.k.a. pignatello is the most planted grape in all of western Sicily, perricone is found mostly in the regions of Palermo, Trapani and Agrigento. these special wines have a medium body and red candy cherry flavor like cocacola and they are best if you drink them while the wine is still young...this is not an ager.
CHEEKY'S PICKS FOR SICILY'S WESTCOAST VINO BIANCO:
Bosco Falconeria, Catarratto IGT from Alcamo
Tasca d'Almerita, Grillo Cavallo delle Fate, Sicilia DOC
Cantine Barbera, Dietro le Case, Inzolia Menfi DOC
Donnafugata, Ben Ryé, Passito di Pantelleria DOP
On the #CHEEKYbici cycling trip through Sicily, our next stop was a visit to Marilena Barbera in Menfi. She is a winemaker that Silvestro was excited to finally meet after many trips back and forth missing one another. We never knew when or where the cycling trip would lead us which made planning winery visits, hotel bookings and restaurant ressies a bit difficult. Sometimes coastal winds, torrential rain, hangovers would keep us from making it from point A to point B in the time we expected. In the main piazza of Menfi, we asked a young guy where we might find a hotel for the night. This guy randomly had a pamphlet for a chic hotel (not what you typically find in rural Sicily) but after a few calls around to B&B's we opted to go for the fancy place. We biked completely uphill for 45 minutes or so to finally arrive at the hotel. It was a brand new place with great rooms and even a pool! After the crazy bike ride to find the hotel, we decided that it would be impossible to walk to town for dinner and biking after dark was out of question. Take out from seamless.com is not an option here in Sicilia. With the help of the concierge, we found a pizzeria in Menfi that was kindly willing to deliver food to us via Vespa up to the hotel. With a few bottles of wine and pizza in the room, we were happy and nobody was complaining. The next day was our visit to Marilena's winery!
We arrived at Cantine Barbera with our bicycles, just a quick trip from the town this time. Marilena Barbera is a bombshell gorgeous smiley woman with strawberry hair, not what you might expect from a Sicilian. That's the beauty of this island! The people, the food, the culture is all a wonderful mix. Marilena and her mother, Nina, gave us a tour of the winery and showed us the small bottling facility, the cellar and took us to the tasting room to try a few of her delicious wines. We tasted two inzolia white wines from Menfi and two red blends.
At Cantine Barbera, they are located so close to the sea on the southwest of the island so you can actually taste the salinity in the wine. The beauty of this location is that the vineyards can benefit from warm dry summer weather, a coastal breeze, and a mild winter season. Marilena is the third generation of her family making wine here; her grandfather started planting in the 1920's. She plants Sicilian white varietals like inzolia, catarratto and grillo plus reds like perricone, nerello mascalese and nero d'avola. Marilena is very good at marketing internationally and travels abroad often to wine fairs and to meet buyers, restaurateurs and customers. Her social media presence is well beyond many other Sicilian wineries especially with the small size of her production. In NYC, the imported T.Edwards carries most of her wines here in the States. She will be coming to the States sometime this year and hopefully collaborating on a dinner with me!
CANTINE BARBERA | viticultori in Menfi
Azienda Agricola Barbera, Contrada Torrenova S.P. 79, 92013 Menfi (Agrigento) Italia
I have a friend, Ian, who walks into a kitchen and immediately judges his friends on the type of salts they use. Luckily enough, I always pass this test with flying colors. Most chefs have a plethora of salts in their pantry. I have a huge storage box full of only salts and dried peppers. There are the perfect pyramids of Maldon, pink Himalayan salt blocks, the coarse rock salt used for Brazilian barbecue and Ben Jacobsen's pacific Oregon salts. These days, and for the rest of my days, I'll be using Sicilian sea sea salt in my cooking. The good shit; the hand-harvested, unfiltered, mineral-rich, gritty, sparkly kind of Sicilian sea salt from Trapani and the island of Mozia.
On the west coast of Sicily, in the province of Trapani, there are some of the oldest salt marshes in Europe. The ponds fill up with water in the springtime. With the powerful African winds (we witnessed this on our bike rides, believe me) and the strong summer sun, they slowly dry up and form rocks that get ground up into fine crystals. The coastline from Trapani heading south towards Marsala is dotted with glittering saltpans "Riserva Naturale Saline di Trapani e Paceco" protected by the WWF.
On my #CHEEKYbici trip with Silvestro Silvestori, we drove into Sicily via Messina then west to Trapani. We started the cycling trip down the west coast right past these beautiful salt pans. I stopped to take photos of the old mills and dipped my fingers into the ponds to taste just how salty they actually were. We had such a lovely time riding down the windy coast from Trapani and on to Menfi. Here are some photos of the trip and a beautiful greenhouse we passed along the way.
*Sicilian sea salt from Trapani is available on gustiamo.com with my discount code "cheekychef"
The core muscle-building biking days of the CHEEKYbici Sicilian bicycle trip were along the route to Menfi. I call these the "Kardashian-booty-training days". We were riding up to 70km per day from Trapani through Marsala to Mazara del Vallo on the first day and Mazara, Campobello di Mazara, Castelvetrano to Menfi on the next. This was pretty much the same route on the way back as well. We started along a country road near the salt pans that line the coast from Trapani to Marsala, stopping to take photos and change flat tires (Silvestro's, not mine). At the halfway point, we took a break for a quick lunch in the main piazza of Marsala and shared salami sandwiches, a container of buttery green olives and a bag of sesame cookies called biscotti regina before taking a little cat nap in the sun. It was Palm Sunday when we first stopped in Marsala so there were little kids learning how to braid palms to sell in front of the church.
From Marsala, the next stop was Mazara del Vallo a main port city on the southwest edge of Sicily. We rode into Mazara del Vallo over a long high bridge just as the sun was setting; wind blowing in our hair (well, not Silvestro's), sun on our faces, with a feeling of peace and complete open mind and heart. Of all of the breathtaking views on the trip, all of the rolling green hills covered in tiny white and yellow wild flowers, all of the baroque cities built like little wooden carvings into a mountainside...the moment we rode over that bridge into Mazara will still be one of our shared favorites of the trip.
After a night in a rented apartment (in let's call it the shadiest of our hotel choices), we said arrivederci to Julio (a made-up name that I gave him) the skeevy groundskeeper, and took off verso Menfi to finally hit some vineyards! As we rode along the sleepy flat roads through Campobello di Mazara and Castelvetrano, we stopped to take photos of a sweet contadino (farmer) named Vincenzo pruning his grape vines and a shepherd with a flock of sheep and a flock of dogs to match. Silvestro's pro-tip is always stop and talk to people. There was a great encounter with Vincenzo as he showed us how he dry prunes and twists the branches along wires to train them to grow how he wants. On the other hand, my girly intuition to stop and take photos of the fat old shepherd and his fluffy white sheep was quickly put in check by Silvestro's warning to "stai attento" because these lone shepherds are stereotypically the horniest guys we'll meet on the road. Sicilians will take one finger and pull it down under your eye as a sign to be careful and keep an eye out. That's pretty much the vibe I got but I wasn't afraid of an old pervy shepherd; he couldn't catch us on the bikes anyway.
Here's some photos from the west side of the island and a quick video of Vincenzo explaining his pruning process on the Catarratto Lucido vines.
Back in New York City, I have a collaborative partnership with the italian import company Gustiamo. I first met Danielle Aquino (the newest part-owner) while we both were working in Sicily. After graduating with a masters from Bocconi in Milan, Danielle moved back to the U.S. to join Gustiamo full-time. Now, I have started using more and more Gustiamo-imported products in my private chef and catering work. Besides the perfectly plump capers packed in salt from Pantelleria, my favorite go-to product is the Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Tenuta Pianogrillo near Ragusa in Sicily.
Lorenzo Piccione di Pianogrillo, the owner of Tenuta Pianogrillo, is a true "renaissance man." He is simply dolcissimo and completely impressive in his wide variety of talents. Lorenzo is an artist, a concert pianist, a farmer, a winemaker, and most importantly - an incredible olive oil producer. He is very savvy with social media (follow on instagram @pianogrillo_farm) so I felt like I've known him for awhile before actually visiting the farm. I sent my friend Anna Watson Carl (The Yellow Table cookbook author and contributor to Saveur.com) with a little checklist of things to do and people to meet in Sicily when she went for the first time in January... a Palermo Street Food Tour with Salvo Agusta, winery visit to Arianna Occhipinti, Modica chocolate shop to meet Pierpaolo Ruta at BonAjuto, and a trip to Chiaramonte Gulfi to see the Pianogrillo olive orchard.
When I was joining Silvestro Silvestori on this #CHEEKYbici bicycle trip through Sicily, he had just a few requests in the planning: if I wanted to visit any Sicilian ex boyfriends or try to track down long lost family members, I needed to take a few days and do that on my own. The agreement was this: my family is 100% Greek-American so we're all good there and if we plan to avoid Palermo and a few small villages surrounding Regaleali, we would have no trouble with i fidanzati siciliani. As we planned part of our trip around discovering the delicious DOCG Cerasuolo di Vittoria wines near Ragusa, I booked us an afternoon with Lorenzo at Pianogrillo!
Following the perfectly positioned street signs directing us towards Contrada Pianogrillo (yes, this sounds completely unbelievable In Sicily) we were greeted with open arms by Lorenzo Piccione; a tall, happy, salt-and-peppery bearded man wearing knee high riding boots. What a sight! After a few long exhausting bicycle trips around Ragusa, we were so happy to pack up the car, visit Lorenzo, then head north towards Mt. Etna for the rest of the trip.
At Pianogrillo, they are situated near the Iblei mountain range which is where the name for the olives comes from. The olives that are used for the Sicilian extra virgin olive oil that Gustiamo imports into the US are 100% tonda iblea - a special bright green, round olive that can be pressed for oil and also "da salare" to preserve and eat!
The property at Pianogrillo has a 30-hectare orchard of bio olive trees, and another 30 for grapes, citrus trees, gorgeous stables for horses and animals like the suino nero black pigs, little rabbits, chickens + goats. The new addition is the farm-chic cantina for winemaking. We tasted Curva Minore (a frapatto and nero d'avola blend) right from the barrels in the cantina and had a nice snack of salame, pane ragusano and a bottle of Grillo in Lorenzo's kitchen.
Silvestro, a true Pugliese olive oil snob, even purchased two cases of oil to bring back home. He loves the bitter boom-boom-pow that you get with oil from Puglia but was happy to try out the grassy buttery tonda iblea oil and even bring some mini cans back as gifts for his staff. Lorenzo packed us up with wine, estratto di pomodoro, salsa pronta made with cherry tomatoes, loads of olive oil and even two of his homemade black pork salami to smuggle back through customs.
It was such a special visit with Lorenzo Piccione at Pianogrillo in Chiaramonte Gulfi. Not every private chef has a chance to meet the people who make their ingredients or actually visit the small farms or vineyards where they are grown. I'm so lucky to be a Chef in a place like New York where there are companies like Gustiamo to help source these great international products for me. If I can't have a hotel with a garden near the sea in Sicily just yet, I'll stick with my importer to bring all the good italian stuff right to my front door in Brooklyn.
Azienda Agricola di Pianogrillo, Chiaramonte Gulfi (Ragusa), Sicily | www.pianogrillo.it
buy it from www.gustiamo.com | discount code: cheekychef
How do you pick a partner for a 20 day roadtrip? We were finding someone to spend 24-hours a day with, eat every meal together, sleep in the same room, exercise/sweat/stink together, and only have privacy when the bathroom door closes or when we're fast asleep. It's not easy.
Most people know I'm pretty low-maintenance (as any girl would like to think she is) but ask my nearest & dearest and they will be a bit worried I'd get sick of someone very quickly. Other than best friends and boyfriends, I've only successfully spent a week with one other guy so far without going mad. It was one week in June of 2014 at the seaside with my best italian friend Alessandro on what we called our faux honeymoon. For this year's biking adventure, Silvestro Silvestori asked me to join him for almost 3 weeks on the road, just the two of us, and I couldn't have found a better partner. We were both lucky I think.
Silvestro owns the cutest regional food and wine school in the south of Italy. He started The Awaiting Table about 12 years ago in his home in Lecce, Puglia. The school focuses on the food of the Salento, a special section of Puglia, surrounded by two seas at the bottom of the boot's heel. I feel like I've known him for years thanks to blogging and social media but we finally met in July 2013 when I visited his school for a cooking course.
When I arrived in Lecce, we packed up saddlebags for the bicycles and did a test run to make sure I didn't pack too much stuff. To think the only things I actually left behind in Lecce were a bathing suit and a couple extra lipsticks, I think I packed quite well. We loaded up Silvestro's car with two bicycles, our bags, my Spotify account packed with killer jams for the ride and a small wooden box with two wine glasses and a bottle opener (in case of emergency). We were ready to roll.
Driving through Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria I was falling in love with the south. Silvestro is a true cheerleader for the south of Italy and repeatedly told me that the things I am so in love with about Sicily are also true of the whole south. I think he's finally cracked through my tough candy shell. Puglia is filled with olive groves and fields of artichokes with no rolling hills to block your view for miles and miles. Basilicata had orchards of breathtaking purple flowering trees (maybe apricots or peaches) that got me so excited to see Sicily's almond blossoms but actually the timing was not right. The coast of Calabria had bright blue water like the Caribbean and we stopped at a lookout point to see a beautiful castle on the sea with a veg vendor parked in front with a truck full of dried chilies. It was like a postcard.
This was probably Silvestro's 9th biking trip, having done this before with other female partners whether they were long-time friends, work acquaintances or girlfriends. I guess we both took a risk when I booked my flight to Brindisi without much of a plan for our cycling trip to visit Sicilian wineries. He tried to keep me calm and trust that he's done this trip before and it's not easy to make a plan for wine tours, hotels or meeting up with producers and friends. We never know how long it will take to bike from city to city, if there will be rain or if we have bicycle trouble - so to ditch work for 3 weeks and take off across the ocean without a plan wasn't exactly comforting for me. The capricorn ex-project manager in me was about to freak out but having someone as patient and smart as Silvestro on my side through this adventure was really my little rabbit's foot.
The Awaiting Table Cookery School
Our first day biking to Otranto in Puglia was a great start to the trip. today we left the city of Lecce and went out towards the Adriatic Sea, bikes south through a national wildlife park called Le Cesine, to the city of Otranto and back. 98km in about 6 hours, butt bones are killing me but all n all feelin good! today we will pack the car and load the bikes for a drive from Puglia to Sicily.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 24, 2015
#CHEEKYtravel #CHEEKYbici www.lindasarris.com
Linda Sarris, “The Cheeky Chef,” Begins Food and Wine Bicycle Tour Through Italy
Follow the journey of Sarris and Chef Silvestro Silvestori as they discover the best foods and wines throughout Southern Italy on Instagram @thecheekychef
Brooklyn, NY -- Brooklyn-based private chef Linda Sarris is setting off March 26 on a three-week bicycle adventure across Sicily with Silvestro Silvestori, the Italian chef/owner of The Awaiting Table, a culinary school in Lecce, Puglia. Sarris and Silvestori will visit wineries and restaurants from Mt. Etna to Ragusa, Siracusa and Vittoria.
Sarris, who studied classical culinary arts at the French Culinary Institute and trained as a chef in New York, Sicily and Tuscany, specializes in farm-to-table Italian food. She will be sharing her journey with others on her Instagram page, @thecheekychef, and on her blog at www.lindasarris.com/blog
“We are traveling for about 20 days, visiting wineries and restaurants. Silvestro specializes in wines from this region of Southern Italy and Sicily. For me, learning more about the foods and wines of this region will help me build on my skills as a private chef, enabling me to pair wine more effectively, and make me more of a resource for my clients. I take trips like this to get inspired, so I can come back to New York and share what I learned,” Sarris said.
All throughout her journey, she will be taking pictures of the places, the food and the wine she and Silvestori discover, and sharing them with her followers.
“I love my Panasonic Lumix camera. It captures amazing pictures, and it has WiFi, so I can send a picture from my camera to my phone to Instagram very easily, without needing to use a computer. That's going to be very good for me on this tour, because I'm biking around with a backpack to hold everything I have,” she said. “I don't want to take my computer with me – but I do want to post my pictures all along the way.”
Follow her journey at http://www.lindasarris.com/blog.
About Linda Sarris
Raised in a big Greek-American family with a chef grandfather and a fisherman dad, Linda has been in love with food her whole life. She's traveled to over 25 countries in search of caipirinhas, fresh octopus and oysters, volcanic wines and hardcore street food. After the French Culinary Institute and a few stints in restaurants, Linda took off to sharpen her culinary skills in her own adventurous way –working on a farm-to-table cooking school and wine estate in Sicily, spending a summer working as a private chef in Tuscany, and consulting for a restaurant in Bucharest, Romania.She is currently freelancing in New York and available for dinner parties, private cooking lessons and travel for private chef jobs.
i am so grateful for the support of a killer #teamCHEEKY in the kitchen + a special collaboration with @brianquinn hustling at the bar. @SwissMiss had the idea of hosting a very special dinner for @kiwimonk to celebrate the end of his time working @creativemorning and @tattly. While I usually cook dinner for 8 guests in Tina's home, sometimes we shake it up a bit... she wanted a dinner for 50 people in an art space without a kitchen but with a few MacGyver moves, some prep tables and a 6-burner rental stove with huge 50-lb gas tank, we successfully set up a make-shift cucina situated between a freight elevator and an amazing art installation by @ian_trask.
*Katie June Burton @KatieFresca sealed the deal by generously shooting the dinner (in a little cheeky/fresca barter) and she shared these beautiful photos with us. Now it's time to pack up my bags for #CHEEKYtravel and head out of town for a few weeks.
The Invisible Dog Art Center | theinvisibledog.org | 51 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (347) 560-3641
The Cheeky Chef private chef services | lindasarris.com | email@example.com
*crostini, salvatore bklyn ricotta + acorn squash
*sesame flatbreads + edamame hummus
*farro salad, currants, snap peas, sicilian noto almonds, rhubarb vinaigrette + microgreens
*roasted eggplant, olives, capers from pantelleria, cherry tomato, pickled onions, balsamic + pea shoots
*braised octopus salad, arugula, grapefruit, shaved beets + aioli
*sliced porchetta stuffed with fennel, garlic + rosemary with sprouted kale
*lemon-thyme fingerling potatoes
*assorted sweet treats from Momofuku Milk Bar
Photo credit: Andrew T. WarmanRead More
DAY 1: Cervejas + Pastel
After a long trip NEW YORK > TORONTO > SAO PAULO via AirCanada (because that shit was way cheaper than the others), I finally arrived in Brasil! Ready for 2 weeks with one of my best friends. I met Natalia de Souza Pereira in 2006 when we worked together on the Queen Mary 2 cruiseship. She's a photography professor at a college in SP. This is my 4th trip to visit her in Brasil and every time I go crazy for the wonderful food, the sweet people, the wild beaches and teeny bikinis, the generous hospitality of Natalia's family and friends, and the warm sun on my face.
First things first, straight from the airport we went into the city for cervejas and pastel. With a big cold bottle of Antarctica Cerveja Original, two plastic cups and a mixed platter of pastel: we were ready to start carnaval! I was on vacation and Natalia's work week was done!
Brasilian pastel are savory fried pastries stuffed with cheese, palmito, ground meat and sometimes pizza flavor with tomato and cheese. They make these perfect envelopes with a flat pastry dough and fry them in soybean oil. Pastel are served from carts in the street, at open-air food markets, in bars and some restaurants. Since pastel are always freshly fried, the flakey crust gets nice and bubbly on the outside with a piping hot inside. The secret is to bite off a little piece of the corner to let the hot air out of the pocket. My favorite one is the palmito - filled with hearts of palm; a typical ingredient in Brasilian cooking.