Book profiles chefs who have made their mark.
'Eat Ink: Recipes. Stories. Tattoos'' by author Birk O'Halloran and photographer Daniel Luke Holton (Adams Media, Boston) released in November is an interesting read about 60 tattooed chefs and their personal journey into the kitchen and tattoo parlor.
The stories are as diverse as the recipes. The common link is that all the chefs love to cook and wear their tattoos with pride.
There is a bit of local flavor in the book, with profiles of Alina Eisenhauer, executive chef/owner of Sweet in Worcester, and Mark DeNittis, a Worcester native who now resides in Colorado.
About the chefs:
Alina Eisenhauer: She talks about her childhood love of cooking and baking and how it led her to become a successful dessert bar owner and entrepreneur in the "Eat Ink's'' chapter titled "Sugar.''
Eisenhauer appeared on "Chopped'' and "Cupcake Wars'' and is a winner of "Sweet Genius,'' all on the Food Network. Before her culinary career, she was in the health and fitness industry. A personal trainer, she competed in fitness competitions, including the Ms. Fitness USA pageant and Miss Fitness America.
When Eisenhauer's husband complained that he couldn't find any good bread in their town, Eisenhauer said she was inspired to open a bakery.
"I never worked in a bakery before in my life, but then that's my MO. Figure it out,'' she is quoted in "Eat Ink.''
Eisenhauer opened Sturbridge Baking Company in Sturbridge in 2003 and Sweet in 2008. At the end of last year, she relocated her business to 72 Shrewsbury St., Worcester, between 7 Nana Japanese Steakhouse and Volturno Pizza.
Eisenhauer got her first tattoo in 2006 after attending a women's chef and restaurateur national conference in Rhode Island. She said she mentioned to the chef she was working with that she always wanted a tattoo, and the next thing she knew, she was at a tattoo parlor getting "Born to Cook'' inked across her arm.
She is especially proud of her other tattoo that signifies a special time in her career. After appearing on the Food Network's "Chopped,'' she was invited to cook at the James Beard House in New York City. She and two other chefs commemorated the event with tattoos bearing the logo of the James Beard organization and the date of the dinner.
Eisenhauer includes a recipe for Bread Pudding With Almond Brittle and Beer Jelly in "Eat Ink.'' Bread pudding is on the menu at Sweet, she said, but not always with the beer gelee.
Eisenhauer said she was honored to be asked to be a part of "Eat Ink'' and thrilled with how the book turned out. "They did a great job, not only with the pictures, but also with the stories and recipes,'' she said.
"I think the book appeals to a wide audience because it's not just about tattoos or just a cookbook. It has great stories about each chef's background and the connection between our passion for what we do and our tattoos.''
Mark DeNittis: An Italian-American who came by his rich food heritage through his family, DeNittis credits his grandparents' influence at an early age with giving him his deep understanding and appreciation for gardening, hunting, fishing, traditional cooking, meat curing and wine making.
He is the son of Matthew DeNittis of Sutton and Linda DeNittis of Worcester.
In an email, Mark DeNittis said, "My father is in the circle of culinary, as he is a certified mycologist and often sells 'shrooms' (the legal kind) to many chefs in the Bay State. Most, if not all, of my family is still in the greater Worcester area.
"My mom still lives off Shrewsbury Street in the house I grew up in.''
FYI: Many chefs in Worcester have used mushrooms handpicked by Matthew DeNittis.
DeNittis graduated from Johnson & Wales University in Providence. In "Eat Ink'' he talks about being a 19-year-old working an internship at the Breakers in Palm Beach and getting his first ink, a shark on his left shoulder. He said the tattoo is homage to his grade school nickname, "Mark the Shark.'' He also has a shark tattoo on his back.
DeNittis has worked at noted hotels in various stages of his culinary career. He taught at the Johnson & Wales University campus in Denver for 10 years in addition to creating artisanal charcuterie.
In 2009, he opened a USDA-certified facility Il Mondo Vecchio Salumi in Denver, closing it in 2012.
He later founded and taught part time at Rocky Mountain Institute of Meat in conjunction with Cook Street School of Culinary Arts. The butchery program he helped create became Colorado's only fully accredited butchery program, according to DeNittis, who later became director of culinary education at Cook Street.
DeNittis said his tattoos are part of his "story, culinary and otherwise.'' Several years ago, he commissioned a half sleeve on his right arm that began with the map of Italy and the inscription "patria paese familia,'' which he said signifies "for love of family, country and native land.'' His children's initials are below the map, and on the same sleeve are images of St. Mark, his namesake.
He told the author of "Eat Ink'' that he eventually wanted to add St. Michael, "the archangel who defeated Satan.''
In his email, DeNittis said he finally got the St. Michael piece finished last month. He said it was "a five-hour seating, half sleeve left arm. Artist: Ryan Willard, Marion Street Tattoo in Denver.''
His simplest tattoo is a USDA inspection stamp on his left shoulder, according to his profile in "Eat Ink.'' He said he got the tattoo in 2011 just before preparing dinner at the James Beard House in New York City. The plant number of Il Mondo Vecchio is on the tattoo.
In the email, DeNittis gave his current titles: Sysco Foods, Denver, Colo: Center of the Plate Premium Protein Specialist; Rocky Mountain Institute of Meat, Denver, Colo, Founder/Principal.
He said his New Year's resolutions include, "Making great choices, building upon 2013 successes and most importantly focus on our family.''
He recalled a few of the memorable places and restaurants when he lived in Worcester and added that some of them are likely closed by now.
On his list:
Aku Aku Restaurant spare ribs.
The Italian Kitchen, Shrewsbury St., across from East Park ("My mom would take me for tripe in tomato sauce with Italian bread.'')
Mac's Diner on Shrewsbury St., sausage and peppers.
Regatta Deli, Lake Ave. (Worcester), Italian 1/2 loaf grinder. ("When I was 8, I could put back two and a half of them,'' said DeNittis, adding that he went to school with a member of the Prizio family that owns the business.)
He also mentioned El Basha, Foley's Fish & Chips on Plantation Street in Worcester, the former Toscano's Market and Boulevard Market, both on Shrewsbury Street, and Kelley Square Pizza and Cafe Espresso on Wall Street.
Wright's Chicken Farm in Rhode Island also made his list.
The most memorable moment in his career was a toss-up between being invited to cook at the James Beard House as a member of Denver Five, and the "$45 million golf course clubhouse opening party when I was afforded the opportunity to throw one kick-butt party -- $55,000 on a party for 300 people. Shaking former President Bush Sr.'s hand (George H.W. Bush), welcoming him to his new clubhouse (Shadow Hawk, Richmond, Texas). This was immediate to working 72 hours straight.''
DeNittis said he doesn't get back to Worcester as much as he would like. "Maybe once a year, unfortunately,'' he said. "Love to spend more quality time with family and enjoying the outdoor splendor New England (the Cape and Maine beaches) has to offer.''
Food trends in 2014?
DeNittis sees a "continued focus on in-house butchery, offals (organ meats) and charcuterie being on the forefront, along with food preparation methods that we simply grew up with. It wasn't a trend, it was what we did from preservation/preparation methods of meat and produce,'' he said.
"I personally gravitate more and more to the foods of my youth and heritage coupled with simple principles of fundamentally sound cooking techniques,'' added DeNittis.
"Offals were not a trend, they were a part of what we ate from Frittuli, a slow-simmered Calabrian dish of pig parts, to olive oil braised pig's ears along with tripe in tomato sauce of which I owe homage to my Grammy Emma Ferraioulo and Nonna Josephine DeNittis.
"I also see chefs continue looking to 'value' cuts of meat. ... Cuts that go beyond the rack, rib-eye, strip loin.''
DeNittis shares the recipe Warm Panzanella Salad with Porchetta di Testa, Pepperoni, Mustard Greens, Fennel and Tomato in "Eat Ink.'' The first ingredient in the recipe is "1 pig's head, from a scalded and scraped hog.''
Visit Amazon.com to purchase "Eat Ink: Recipes. Stories. Tattoos.'' You also can inquire about the book at Barnes & Noble stores, according to the book's publicist.
Enjoy not only the photos and personal stories, but also the recipes that range from Roasted Parsnip and Kale Salad to Gemelli with Chicken and Spring Herb Sauce to Pineapple Hummingbird Cake.
Speaking of Sweet, the shop at 72 Shrewsbury St., Worcester, now serves Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For reservations and more information, call (508) 373-2248.
Arturo's Ristorante, 54 E. Main St., Westboro, will have a "Taste of Piemonte'' Wine dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 22.
Cost: $55 per person, not including tax and gratuity. Call (508) 366-1881.
Chef Tommaso Gargiulo will prepare the five-course meal that will highlight "Lamb Osso Buco,'' paired with wines from Piemonte, Italy. A representative from Julio's Liquors in Westboro will talk about the five wines that will be poured.
Jopa's Webster House Restaurant, 1 Webster St., Worcester, will have a "Winter Spectacular Wine Dinner'' at 6 p.m. Jan. 16.
Cost is $70 per person, inclusive. Call (508) 757-7208 to reserve.
Entrees include chicken scallopini, linguine with scallops and peas and filet mignon Oscar.
IHOP restaurants are celebrating 2014 with a special promotion, "All You Can Eat Pancakes,'' through Feb. 9.
One of IHOP's most popular promotions, the "keep them coming 'til you say when'' stack of buttermilk pancakes is available as a main dish or as a side to a combo order.
Guests can order one of IHOP restaurant's combos featuring eggs any style, hash browns, and a choice of pork sausage links, bacon or ham -- all with a plate of two signature buttermilk pancakes, or they can order a stack of five buttermilk pancakes as a main course. Either way, when the pancakes are gone, guests can get an additional serving of two pancakes. "They'll keep on coming as long as the guest can keep eating them,'' according to IHOP.
For more information, or to find an IHOP location, visit www.IHOP.com.
FYI: There are IHOP restaurants at 70 Boston Turnpike, Shrewsbury, and 4102 Shops Way, Northboro.
If you have a tidbit for this column, call (508) 868-5282. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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|Author:||Houle, Barbara M.|
|Publication:||Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)|
|Date:||Jan 9, 2014|
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