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Friday, September 16, 2005 

Happy Chef Blogging Friday!

Meet Jonathan Wright of The New Orleans Grill of the Windsor Court Hotel.

Chef Wright has an illustrious past. He’s had experience at Raffles Hotel in Singapore and circled the globe to Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons in London. LMAQS is one of the only Michelin 2 star establishments in the UK.

In 2000, Wright opened his own restaurant, La Gousse D’ail, (“the garlic clove”) in Oxford, UK. It was touted as “thrilling” and his style was described as “extravagance and exactitude in equal measure.”

Wright then moved on to the Big Easy. Before he began cooking at The Grill Room, he made sure to take a tour of New Orleans, locating quality purveyors of herbs, seafood, meat and vegetables. He planned to meld his culinary style with New Orleans’ bounty. Wright’s style is a marriage of his classical training and sensibilities with a bold, contemporary look and taste. He likes to contrast textures and temperatures, but lets the flavor speak for his food.

Zagat Survey (2004) calls Chef Wright “Britain’s culinary gift to the city” and says he is “still wowing high end foodies with his exquisite Louisiana-influenced Contemporary Cuisine, presented by a superb staff.” “Expect a magical night,” surveyors say. Quickly named “New Orleans’ Best New Chef by New Orleans Magazine (October 2003), Wright was named “One of three ‘Chefs to keep an eye on’ in the U.S. by Esquire magazine (November 2003).

The Windsor Court is slated to reopen on 1 November 2005.

Chocolate Fondant with Pistachio Ice Cream and Warm Cherries

Yield: 8-10 servings

Lava Cake
8 ounces dark chocolate
6 ounces butter
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 ½ Tablespoons cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks, at room temperature
4 eggs, at room temperature
7 ounces sugar

Ice Cream
2 cups milk
5 ounces sugar
8 egg yolks
2 ounces heavy cream
2 ounces pistachio paste
1 Tablespoon Kirsch

Cherry Compote
2 cups cherries
2 ounces sugar
Juice of ½ a lemon
1 Tablespoon Kirsch
1 vanilla bean

For Lava Cake:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Over double boiler, melt together chocolate and butter. Sift together cornstarch, cocoa and salt, set aside. Whip together eggs, yolks and sugar until pale yellow ribbons form. Slowly whisk chocolate mixture into eggs. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ones. Mix until just combined.

Pour into greased stainless steel ring or muffin tin. Bake 8 minutes for 4 ounce portion. Rest 3 minutes before inverting from tin.

For Ice Cream:
Combine milk, sugar and yolks over double boiler. Heat gently, stirring constantly, until mixture coats back of spoon. Add kirsch, pistachio paste and heavy cream. Mix with immersion blender until smooth, strain if necessary.
Refrigerate overnight, then make in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.

For Cherry Compote:
Split vanilla bean and scrape seeds into sugar.
Puree 1 cup cherries and cook 1 cup cherries with vanilla sugar, kirsch and lemon juice until sugar is completely dissolved and cherries are just softened. Add cherry puree and reduce ¼.

Serve warm or chilled.

Oh my goodness. Anything called lava cake has got to be heavenly. I suppose it's better that there isn't an accompanying photo, seeing as I am headed to bed and would hate to be tossing and turning all night, fixated on the visual yumminess! : )

He may have an illustrious past, but a dark one as well !!
He ran off from the UK to the US following the bankruptcy of La Gousse D'Ail in Oxford, leaving many people in debt. Worse, he filed for bankruptcy only 10 days before our wedding, giving us no prior notice, and running off with our $2500. What a toad !!!!!! No apology, no nothing !! Why do you think he came to America, goodbye & good riddance !

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