Lee Craven: Madidi, Clarksdale.
Q What route did you take before attending culinary school? What happened after graduation?
A I was accepted to the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park, New York, and graduated in 1999. Before that, I had been working in restaurants since I was 16. I left home about that time and had bills to pay, so I started out in a tiny Italian restaurant waiting tables but was fired after three weeks. Next, I washed dishes at Quincy's in Florence, where they let me cook the potatoes and set plates and I finally was allowed to grill the steaks, and that was fun. After that, I worked in a bistro and realized I had a real feel for cooking. The obvious next step was to apply to culinary school. My internship under Chef Jose at Chez Philippe at The Peabody in Memphis was probably my biggest opportunity and honor as a student.
Q What or who has been your biggest food inspiration?
A Food inspirations for me can come in many forms--mainly from people who put their hearts into what they do, whether it be art, perhaps sculpting, or cooking. What they cook is irrelevant. How they cook can inspire great ideas and take ordinary cuisine to another level.
Q Any thoughts on the influence of the Food Network on aspiring chefs?
A I think the Food Network has helped propel the industry; it gets people involved in my passion, so how can it be wrong? Are there more hacks on TV now than before? Yes; but there is a good deal of talent there, also. Some claim to be chefs but are TV personalities; some are just "lifestyle gurus" and should be judged by that, not by their culinary methods, whether they are good or bad.
Q Do you have a signature dish, and can we have the recipe?
A This is a great one to be able to pull Out of your hat and is extremely popular at Madidi.
MOLTEN GODIVA CHOCOLATE CAKE 24 ounces chocolate, finely chopped 1/4 cup butter 1 quart heavy cream 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and halved 2 eggs 1/4 cup Godiva chocolate liqueur (optional) 1 tablespoon cinnamon 24 ounces flour Prepare eight to ten 4-ounce ramekins with baking spray. Place chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl. Bring cream and vanilla bean to a boil. Pour hot cream over chocolate and butter, and continue stirring until smooth and completely melted. Whisk eggs to combine, and slowly stir in about 1/4 cup melted chocolate to warm eggs, then stir egg mixture back into chocolate-cream mixture. Add liqueur, if desired. Slowly stir in cinnamon and flour until smooth, but do not overmix. Spoon chocolate mixture into each ramekin, and level the mixture with the top of the ramekin. Refrigerate for about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place ramekins on a cookie sheet, and bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool for about 2 minutes; the tops will crack lightly while cooling. Invert ramekins onto plates, and remove cakes. Serve with ice cream.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||mississippi chef profile|
|Date:||May 1, 2007|
|Previous Article:||Crazy for cupcakes: the classic childhood treat makes a comeback with sophisticated new flavors.|
|Next Article:||Cupcake couture: discover elegant new ways to decorate and display individual-sized delicacies.|