Dan Kluger - A Few of My Favorite Things

Posted on November 26, 2012 08:59 pm

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by Ishita Rapino

 

Welcome to the kick-off event for De Gustibus’ fall semester of 2012! This is my first official food blogging post and what a way to start my culinary journey in writing and experiencing amazing food. For those of you who don’t know, De Gustibus is what I’m dubbing “New York foodie’s best kept secret”. Hidden in the depths of midtown’s Macys, this gem is so unexpected when making your way through men’s cologne and women’s designer ball gowns. After you’ve made your way to the 8th floor and find the private dining room with a custom high-end kitchen with all the bells and whistles, you’ll completely forget where you are and feel like you are “in-the-know” of a really cool secret. Customers sit classroom style, while celebrity chefs stand in the front cooking 5-6 course meals for the class with wine pairings, teaching tips and tricks, regaling patrons with their stories, all while the class enjoys the amazing chef’s creations at the same time. There is absolutely nothing like it in the city and you are truly in for a treat if you have a chance to snag one of these hot tickets.

The class kicked off as per tradition, with Sal (the current owner) and Arlene (the former owner) introducing the class to the evening’s event. These two are a true comedic duo – they opened the class and season with a very warm and hilarious welcome. The class was very “well-attended”, filling the room end-to-end with a crowd of foodies and Dan Kluger fans.

The semester kicked off with DG regular, Dan Kluger of ABC Kitchen, who could not have been a better chef to start the year given his multitude of recent accolades, including James Beard Best New Chef (2x), Food & Wine’s Best New Chef, Time Out’s “Chef of the Year” amongst others have raved about Chef Dan’s farm-to-table concept and simple cuisine. His theme for the evening was “A Few of My Favorite Things”, which quickly became a lot of everyone’s favorite things. Dan really came across as warm and humble, and extremely relatable. During the night, Dan shared stories with the group about tricking his kids into eating new foods, the importance of herbs as an ingredient, doing his senior project on BBQ sauce, and a very touching story on Cookies for Kids Cancer.

The menu for the evening was a six-course treat

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Most of these dishes are on the ABC Kitchen menu so luckily if you are reading this and salivating, you can head over there to experience these simple, yet complex dishes. I can’t begin to explain the experience of sitting and watching Chef Dan cook, while the aroma of his dishes fill the room, and when your senses are about to explode from desperate hunger, the well-organized and friendly staff of culinary students magically appear with this amazing food. Each of these dishes were really simple, made with easy to find ingredients with bold flavors combining heat, acid and salt with textural contrasts of crunchy and creamy. The second course of shaved raw summer squash with parmesan dressing was one of my favorites because it was so refreshing and I learned something new that I will be definitely using at home.

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It’s avocado. It’s squash. It’s avocado squash!

I literally felt like I was doing my body a favor from eating the dish. I told myself at the beginning of the night not to finish each dish, but I felt like it just would not be right to leave anything on the plate. Sorry Weight Watchers!

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I could go on and on about each course – every dish was so light and fresh, but exploding with flavor. It was almost a trick to my body because I could not help myself and ate everything and then realized that I was extremely full. It was worth it. Even Chef Melody’s dessert - zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting - sounded heavy, but the lime zest made this cake light and airy – I could have had two slices.

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Although I do believe you could make a lot of these dishes at home, watching Chef Dan and Chef Melody was truly witnessing art come to life. It made me have such an appreciation for what these Chefs do each day and the love and care they put into thinking about each ingredient and crafting each dish.

At the end of the night, there was literally a line of people waiting to thank Chef Dan for a wonderful meal and take pictures with him. I realized that everyone felt so comfortable with him, like an old friend, because of he’s just so…normal. Throughout the night he gave easy tips and tricks (the guy really LOVES Oxo brand products) and was realistic about the constraints for home cooks (buy the dressing if you can’t make it). I asked him what the biggest mistake home cooks make and he gave great advice - it’s really important to read a recipe properly, prep and shop in advance for the ingredients so you can stay organized – that’s what I’ve been doing wrong all this time! If you are like me, and feel like chefs are celebrities, you would be happy to know that he really is a nice guy who worked hard and has a real appreciation for food and foodies like him. At the end of the day and after all of the awards, all Chef Dan wants is to do provide for his kids and spend more time with his family. Who can’t relate to that?




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There Are 3 Responses To Dan Kluger - A Few of My Favorite Things


Susan Limone says:

October 8, 2012 at 05:21 pm

My picture video and your blog blend well together ! http://video214.com/play/oP2mQLeiCRJu9YTmxVxwBg/s/dark

Prema Deshmukh says:

October 9, 2012 at 12:37 am

Wow! Great blog... I want the tickets for Dan Kluger&#039;s cooking experience. Can&#039;t wait to taste all the delcious food.

Linda Sabo says:

October 11, 2012 at 02:24 am

W0W!!!!Great Job and I would love to taste that Zucchini cake with cream cheese icing...

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