Four Chefs on Throwing a Damn Good Cookout

There’s a method to the madness, gents

By Shari Gab

Four Chefs on Throwing a Damn Good Cookout
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20 July 2016

The more the merrier, they say.

Unless you’re the chef.

But having a battalion of friends need not preclude a great cookout.

To wit: we consulted four big-time Big Apple chefs for their tips and tricks (plus a few recipes) on how to rule the roost when a hungry mob comes parading through your door this summer.

And there isn’t a better equipped bunch on the block. This weekend, these culinary masters will be leaving the comfort of the kitchen to set up shop at the first ever Panorama Festival on Randall’s Island. And while we’re all for the musical happenings, the food lineup is what’s really topping our charts.

The restaurateurs in attendance will be dishing out grub to 40,000+ people. Safe to say they know how to satiate a crowd.

Elissa Marshall, Maman
“The most important thing when serving ‘a bunch of people’ is to limit the amount of the ingredients that you are using and make sure that you have the top-quality ingredient possible. By doing so, you want to make sure to limit the number of steps that you will have to go through to prepare the dish. As a result, you have to be even more creative than usual to ensure that you are making an incredible dish. At the end of the day, it is the quality of the ingredients that you are using — and not the quantity — that matters."
The Recommend: Deconstructed Smashed Avocado

Ingredients (for 1 serving) ...
1 avocado
1 large slice of country bread
1/2 a tomato
Small bunch of cilantro
1/4 of a red onion
The juice from 1/4 of a lime
Pinch of salt
Pinch of chili flakes
Splash of olive oil
3 thin slices of radish

Instructions: Toast bread. Dice tomatoes, red onions and cilantro. Mix everything together and add a splash of olive oil and lime juice. Slice radish thinly. Peel and smash avocado using the back of a fork. Spread avocado on toast. Add tomato mix on top and 3 thin slices of radish. Sprinkle with salt and chili flakes.

Chef Greg Rubin, American Cut
"The best tip we can give is to do your diligence. Solid prep results in smooth execution. Pick an item that has a long shelf life and gets better with age. For example, one of the items we will be serving is our house-made pastrami ‘Rubin.’ It's over a weeklong process, brined for seven days and smoked for six hours. The fermented kraut, as well, is a five-day process, and when stored properly, it can last for months! Planning and prepping for a large group means picking an item that can be produced ahead of time without losing its integrity. Each one comes out hot and fresh off the grill. Delicious."

Chef Olivier Palazzo, Loosie Rouge
“The first thing you need to know is cooking for a group setting is not unlike cooking any other time — preparation and planning is key. When deciding on a menu, you need to first think food strategy. The process in execution goes like this: keep it simple, determine what equipment you have available, invest in a good sealing machine so anything you make in advance keeps, create a menu that requires no more than a four-minute cook time, portion, seal, pack … GO!”
The Recommend: Katz’s Reuben Po’boy

Ingredients ...
3 oz. of McCain French fries
5 oz. Katz's Pastrami
2 oz. of homemade gravy
2 oz. of special sauce/Russian dressing
8-inch po'boy bread or hero

For the gravy (6 servings) ...
1 1/2 cup of water
3 teaspoons beef bouillon
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup of butter

Instructions: Combine water, bouillon, flour, onion and butter in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until thickened.

For the Special Sauce:
1 cup mayo
1/4 cup of ketchup
Loosie's Homemade Hot Sauce to taste

Instructions: Pre-fry french fries. Cut Pastrami. Cut Bread. Mix fries and 2 oz. of gravy in a bowl. Place on Po'boy bread. Add cut Pastrami. Top with 2 oz. Special sauce. Eat!

Chef Duncan Smith, RawMKT (opening soon)
“Cold. Serve. Group service is all about speed. In order to maximize efficiency and keep guests happy, rely exclusively on a cold-serve food-service system. For us, it’s delicious marinated poke and Hawaiian slaw. Unlike the ubiquitous burger and chicken joints where service can be slowed down by cooking time, poke (a Japanese-influenced, Hawaiian raw fish preparation) goes straight from a cooler to served. Plus, what sounds more refreshing on a hot summer day than ice-cold, soy- and sesame-soaked ahi tuna over freshly steamed rice?”

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