Marcus’ Pop Food: Chefs & Comfort Foods
You know the saying “There’s nothing new under the sun”? Well, this applies to chefs and comfort food.
For the last few years, Â we’ve all noticed that chefs across the nation, myself included, have been going back to the foods we grew up with and make us happy…make us feel most comfortable. From gourmet mac & cheese to taco trucks, comfort food is warming our stomachs as well as our hearts.
This was anÂ occurrenceÂ I noticed way back when I was a commis in Vonnas, France. Georges Blanc’s 3-star Michelin restaurant had a braised chicken on the menu, which I soon learned, was actually a recipe from the kitchen of the great chef’s grandmother. Amidst all of the haute cuisine found at the restaurant, was this very humble dish that I’m certain brought the chef back to his childhood.
My sous chef Michael Garrett taught me a lot about the Southern classic shrimp and grits, something he grew up with. I loved learning about how stone ground grits are the better option, that my penchant for using large shrimp wouldn’t work for this recipe and how it’s always best to add a bit of crushed tomatoes, for flavor and color.
The result is a very delicious and velvety dish, with a super homey feel.
Comfort and comfort foods mean different things to different people. Maybe for someone from Peru, it’s ceviche. For an Ethiopian, it’s doro wat. And for Swedes, it’s the iconic meatball.
For me, it’s a ton of things, from doro wat and meatballs, to brats, burgers and noodles. These foods are a reflection of how and where I grew up, as well as the experiences that helped form me into the person I am today.
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