The Contests

WEEK 11

September 9, 2009 • 8 Comments

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Congratulations to this week's winners!

Jennifer Perillo won the contest for Your Best Preserves with Sweet and Savory Tomato Jam.

MissGinsu won the contest for Your Best End of Summer Cocktail with Blackberry Caipirinha.

We asked them both to answer a few questions about cooking and eating.

Jennifer Perillo

Jennifer Perillo

What is the best thing you've made recently?

Vacation always produces great meals. Just last week, I was determined to use up the last of the fridge's contents before packing to come home. After initially thinking we'd have to run out and get sandwiches for lunch, I ended up making a pretty elegant dish of farfalle with lemon, walnuts and parmesan reggiano (and a few other items tucked away in the pantry). The dish was simple but the flavors very bright and I felt great making something out of what first looked like nothing.

Describe a food memory that has influenced the way you cook or think about food. 

I read Fast Food Nation after my daughter was born six years ago, and it forever changed my outlook on food. While I had never been much of a fast food diner, it opened my eyes to what was really in supermarket meat sections. I was devasted the day I saw IBP boxes at my local family run butcher. Now I know my farmer, Dan Gibson at Grazin' Angus Acres—who by the way has the most amazing eggs, and have an open invitation to visit the farm for a real-life answer to "where's the beef?". 

What's the best restaurant you've ever been to?

Gramercy Tavern, and not just because I used to work there. It really shines apart from every other restaurant in NYC. Dining out is more about the experience for me than the food. I'm extremely picky having worked in the business, and notice lots of little things that wouldn't bother most diners. Every step of service is carefully thought out and elevates the overall experience.

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster. 

There have been many mishaps but I'd have to say the almost baked kitty ranks pretty high. I was making cupcakes for my high school English teacher's birthday (he was a like a dad, and even came to my wedding), and the cat decided to jump onto the open oven door as I was going to put the tray in the oven. By saving the cat, I dropped the tin and the batter fell all over the inside of the very hot oven. 

What's your favorite thing about your kitchen? Least favorite?

I have a huge window in my kitchen that looks through to the living room. I love that I can be in there cooking and still be part of the mix when I'm entertaining. My least favorite is not having a second set of hands to help with the dishes, but they weren't in stock when I renovated the kitchen last year. 

Apron or no apron?

Apron, always. Even when fixing the kids breakfast on school days.  

What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?

It's from an episode of the Little Rascals. Stymie is given an artichoke, and after peeling away all the leaves, tosses it over his shoulder, not knowing what to do with it. While it's not the risotto scene in Big Night, the memory has always stuck with me. Today, more than ever people are disconnected from real food and have no idea what to do with it.

If you had to choose the cuisine of one country (other than the U.S.) to cook and eat for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

Italian, but not the red-checkered cuisine most Americans are used to eating. Greek would be a close second. It's all about fresh, clean flavors for me.

Your favorite cutting board is: a) wood, b) plastic

I can't really take sides—it depends on what I'm prepping. There are certain things like bread that just feel right on a wooden board.

When it comes to tidying up, you prefer to: a) clean as you cook, b) do all the dishes once you've finished cooking, or c) leave the kitchen a shambles for your spouse/roommate/kids to clean.

Clean as I cook. I would also like to have this chip implanted in my husband.

Miss GinsuMissGinsu

What is the best thing you've made recently?

I made a terrific ceviche with veggies from the farmers' market: flounder, tomatoes, cucumbers, chilies and an herb (new to me) called papalo. It was truly excellent on a hot day alongslide slices        of ripe avocado and a cold beer.

Describe a food memory that has influenced the way you cook or think about food. 

I remember the summer my dad demonstrated the difference between
making dinner with fresh-out-of-the-garden produce and grocery-store
veggies... it was a pretty dramatic flavor comparison. Thereafter, we
always referred to the trucked-in tomatoes as tennis balls.

What's the best restaurant you've ever been to?

Tough choice! In the autumn of 2003 I had the tasting menu (with the
wine pairing) at Gramercy Tavern. It was superb.

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster. 

Back when I was a line cook at a restaurant, I chopped off the top of
my pinkie finger during prep for Friday night service and had to sit
around the emergency room for several hours while the sous-chef worked
my station. It was painful and embarrassing at the same time.

What's your favorite thing about your kitchen? Least favorite?

Gas burners. Horrible lighting.

Apron or no apron?

I love the kitchy 50s ones, but I never actually remember to wear one...

What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?

The Japanese comedy Tampopo has a lot of great scenes, but I
especially love the old man who demonstrates how to reverently
approach a bowl of ramen soup... the way he ritually strokes the
slices of pork with his chopsticks is priceless.

If you had to choose the cuisine of one country (other than the U.S.) to cook and eat for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

I'm torn between Moroccan and Indian, but I have to give the edge to
India. It's such a diverse crossroads of flavors. Every geographic
region has a different profile, and with so many layers of ingredients
and preparations to choose from, I could happily spend a lifetime
exploring.

Your favorite cutting board is: a) wood, b) plastic

a. wood

When it comes to tidying up, you prefer to: a) clean as you cook, b) do all the dishes once you've finished cooking, or c) leave the kitchen a shambles for your spouse/roommate/kids to clean.

b. I keep a clean knife and cutting board, but I prefer to do all the
dishes after everything's eaten.

Jump to Comments (8)

Comments (8)

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Birthday_2012

about 5 years ago luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

glad that someone besides me likes the movie Tampopo

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 5 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Merrill, Helen and I ate in the tavern section a month or two ago, and it's amazing how that place never really ages. The food is always interesting without trying too hard.

Dsc_0019_2

about 5 years ago KelseyTheNaptimeChef

congrats everyone! And, yes, can I have the "clean as you cook" chip for my husband as well?! I think I'm going to have to make a reservation at Gramercy Tavern, your endorsements are very convincing.

Missginsu_bike

about 5 years ago MissGinsu

Gosh. We both picked Gramercy for top resto. What are the odds?

Jenniferperillo2010bio

about 5 years ago Jennifer Perillo

Yes, how funny is that? Think it means we have to go together one day!

Merrill

about 5 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Can I tag along?

Profile

about 5 years ago lastnightsdinner

Congratulations, winners!

Jenniferperillo2010bio

about 5 years ago Jennifer Perillo

Thanks:)