Service: March 29, 2019

Yesterday, I made pork belly steamed buns for family meal! I think it’s my last time planning/cooking family meal for awhile because I am now being rotated to the upstairs Private Events team.

I like to make more complex family meals on Friday/Saturday because that’s when the restaurant’s staff is at its highest and more people can enjoy my food.

I seared the pork bellies the night before and marinated them with the cooled down braising liquid. The day of, everything was brought to a simmer and placed in a 250°F convection oven for 3 hours, then pressed, in order to get nice, cuttable blocks.

I wasn’t able to get a good picture because by the time I realized that I forgot to take the picture, my plate was already half-eaten.

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The pork bellies were served with steamed open buns, rice with Chinese pork sausage, pickled cucumber, sauce made from the braising liquid, and a Napa cabbage coleslaw with miso vinaigrette.

Diver Scallop & Sea Urchin Crudo

My holy trinity of raw seafood is scallop + sea urchin + salmon roe/ikura. I just LOVE these three things individually and together. I could just eat them by themselves or with some lemon and salt but this is a more creative way to eat these sea creatures in a composed dish.

So here is Diver Scallop, Sea Urchin, Salmon Roe with Black & Cherry Belle Radish and Jalapeño in a Yuzu Kosho Vinaigrette, Fennel Fronds, and Lemon Zest.

Zucchini Ribbons with Ricotta & Green Goddess

More pumpernickel soil, you must be thinking… I just love using it because it adds great color contrast to a dish and texture!

Whenever I create a successful vegetarian dish, I’m impressed at myself because I really don’t think vegetables are my forte.

So here are Zucchini Ribbons with Housemade Ricotta, Fava Beans, Shaved Cherry Belle Radish, Radish Greens, Pumpernickel Soil, Mint Chiffonade, and a Green Goddess Vinaigrette.

Crenshaw Melon Wrapped in Smoked Speck

Remember the melon salad I posted a couple of months ago? This is the downsized version, in amuse bouche format.

You can make anything into a one-bite piece of yummiliciousness.

So here we have Crenshaw Melon and Bayley Hazen Blue cheese wrapped in Smoked Speck, with Melon Vinaigrette, Black Olive Crumble, and Tangerine Frills.

Beet Salad with Citrus

Over the course of my professional culinary career, I’ve made many interpretations of this salad but I feel like this one has been the best photographed.

This Beet Salad is composed of Roasted Red Beets, Beet Purée, Orange Suprêmes, Arugula and Snow Pea Shoots dressed in a Citrus Vinaigrette, Candied Orange Zest, and White Sesame Seeds.

Recipe: Melon Vinaigrette

At home, what do you usually do to with seeds when you cut melons such as cantaloupes and honeydews apart? Throw them away right? I sometimes put them in my mouth because the pulp sack around them is really sweet. However, I find it annoying that I have to eat them over the trash because I’m basically spitting out the seeds like a machine gun.

Anyway, save those seeds and pulp next time so you can make delicious melon vinaigrette!

  • Seed cavities from two melons (e.g. cantaloupe, honeydew, Crenshaw)
  • ½ cup white wine/white balsamic/champagne vinegar
  • 1½ cups neutral oil (e.g. grapeseed)
  • Salt
  • Xanthum gum (optional)

Push the seed cavities through a fine mesh strainer or chinois and reserve juices. The more juice you get out, the better.

In a VitaMix, pour reserved juices, vinegar, and oil into blender. Add a pinch of salt and a touch of xanthum to combine.

Sample dishes:

Melon Salad with Smoked Speck

Five years ago, when I first started working at Degustation, I had a different variation of this salad from my mentor. I thought it was such an amazing salad and a clever play on Prosciutto e Melone.

What really caught my interest was how my mentor made the melon vinaigrette. You take the juice and the pulp from the seeds and use that in the vinaigrette! How cool is that?!

I put this on the tasting menu and it ended up on our new a la carte menu for late spring/summer.

So here is my Melon Salad with Cantaloupe, Honeydew, and Yellow Watermelon; Smoked Italian Speck, Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese, Black Olive Crumble; Dragon Mizuna and Malabar Spinach dressed in a Melon Vinaigrette.

*Click here to see this salad as an amuse bouche.

Duck Leg Confit with Red Mole

This was a Duck Leg Confit with Red Mole and Fresh Salad in a Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette.

I managed to get my hands on this red mole recipe. It is absolutely amazing – spicy from the ancho peppers and velvety smooth from the chocolate. We should seriously jar this mole up and sell it!

Beet Salad with Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette

I am not a salad person. I have never ordered a salad in a restaurant. I didn’t understand why people loved salads – a bunch of raw vegetables (usually ones with zero or lacking of nutritional values) plopped on a plate, with an unhealthy dose of fatty dressing. Obviously, what I’m talking about are the salads from the 90s.

One of my chef instructors told me that to judge a restaurant or chef, one must order a seafood dish and/or a salad.

So, week by week, I have been creating new interesting salads (that I would eat) for the tasting menu, usually for the first or second course.

This one is a Roasted Red Beet Salad with Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese, Hazelnuts, Pea Tendrils and Dragon Mizuna Greens dressed in a Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette.