Day: October 19th, 2007

Taste of Union Square

Friday, October 19th, 2007 | All Things, Classes, Eats, Events

Today in Union Square, House & Garden was hosting free chef demonstrations as part of their week of “Design Happening” events.  (Curious timing:  two and a half weeks later, the magazine announced they would cease publication in December 2007.)  The website touted a promising midday lineup of neighborhood chefs: Liza Queen of The Queen’s Hideaway, Jonathan White of Bobolink Dairy and Bakeyard, Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern, Josh Dechellis of BarFry, and Jason Avery of Pera Mediterranean Brasserie.

The weather, though, looked significantly less promising. By morning rush hour, dark clouds hovered overhead; whether the forecast rains would hold off until after lunch remained to be seen.

Oh well. It’s just water. Mostly.

Taste of New York

DeChellis was born in Bogota, Colombia, raised in Clinton, New Jersey, and is best known for his innovative fusion-style cooking, which he honed at now-closed Union Pacific (where he was sous-chef under Rocco DiSpirito.) I’ve been a fan of DeChellis’ since his days in the kitchen at Sumile in the West Village, so I was pleased that his cooking segment coincided with my midday break.

We arrived at the south end of the park just as he was beginning to demonstrate his “BarFry salad,” one of the few non-fried menu items served at his newly opened — and wellreviewed — tempura palace. Making full use of the Greenmarket’s beautiful produce, DeChellis employed a variety of lettuces and shaved vegetables — many of which were familiar to us from our weekly CSA shares from Stoneledge Farm. (Ah, great use for mizuna and celeriac!) Hewing closely to his signature flavor profiles, he also incorporated Asian pear and shiso; the minty plant (leaves of which he passed around for sampling) with its distinctive piney/licoricey aroma was the one salad ingredient not available at the Greenmarket.

DeChellis gamely talked us through the paces of creating and plating a perfect salad as he answered questions from the audience.

Josh DeChellis

Josh DeChellis

As he wrapped up his presentation, a server appeared with white waxy paper bags of DeChellis’ special recipe popcorn. Those who know me know of my deep fondness for kettle corn, and this was like a gourmet, Asian-spiced version of that: sugar, salt, toasted sesame seeds, crushed pumpkin seeds, nori powder, nori flakes and Korean chili powder. Outrageously addictive!

Josh DeChellis popcorn

And voilà — the DeChellis BarFry salad:

BarFry salad

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