world looks beautiful from up here.
Windows on the World is finally re-opened. To kick it off was a signing
of Rozanne Gold's new book, Recipes 1-2-3. Her first book Little Meals:
A Great New Way to Eat and Cook (Villard) which won a 1994 James Beard
Award was so inspiring that we all have been waiting with great anticipation
for this new one. Included in Recipes 1-2-3 are 250 gourmet recipes
which call for only three ingredients. Looking out 106 floors above
Manhattan was a wonderful way to welcome Rozanne's enthusiasm. It is
boundless. Read on...
What inspired you to write this book?
RG: There are 1-2-3 answers.........I have been very aware of
trends. First, I knew that for the home cook that the number of ingredients
has a been an obstacle. I know even for myself that I would just flip
the pages until I saw a short ingredient list. So much the case that
woman's magazines weren't using more than three ingredients. They were
calling them "food ideas". So, I thought it would be a good way to get
people back into the kitchen. People were not cooking. I wanted to find
a way to get them interested again. Secondly, I hate to shop. Even for
clothes. The idea that you could make a four course dinner for six people
and still go through the express line of a supermarket.......I think
is really keen. Thirdly, on a more professional level, I am appealing
to two audiences. Being a culinary director for Joseph Baum & Michael
Whiteman Company (a restaurant consulting firm), I was in pursuit of
perfect cooking as opposed to 'how many ingredients can I get in this
That makes sense. Which brings me to the old Bauhaus
question..... Why is less more in cooking?
RG: It's not always this way........but very often it is. Less
is more because fresh ingredients already have a wonderful texture.
My rule is that you need to use very fresh ingredients. Open markets
have come such a long way, they are very accessible. It makes it easier.
And the way we actually taste is 70% smell. So.......for example, if
you were roasting something and don't have many ingredients to mask
it, then the true flavor really comes out. It has been said that a great
chef only needs a few ingredients. Everything is so fused today. It's
confusing to the palate.
Is the concept of cooking with three ingredients
considered minimalist cuisine?
RG: No, to me minimalist cuisine is synonymous with nouvelle.
It refers to precious food and leaving the table hungry. This is anything
but......this is about feeding your family
Is this concept using fewer ingredients a new one?
RG: There is one other book. But it is of a different quality.
But, yes, this is totally new cooking.
PG: Do you think
that this is the future of American cuisine?
RG: I'm hoping to a certain extent it will begin a new movement.
I think we'll hear a lot of home cooks and chefs following suit. Daring
to be simple. Le Bernardin has been cooking like this for a long time.
There, it was always the pursuit of perfect cooking. I think chefs are
going to like this. Food is not very forgiving when it's naked. It's
pretty exposed. What a challenge.
PG: What are
the basic staples one should have in the pantry?
RG: I have to be very careful with this. I asked some friends
and came up with a list that I thought was politically correct. Sun
Dried Tomatoes in olive oil Black Olive Puree Roasted Red Peppers (
a really good brand) Flavored oil and vinegar (although I prefer making
my own) Chicken Stock Frozen Puff Pastry (even very good chefs use this)
Prepared Pesto-when itŐs out of season The rest has to do with very
good quality ingredients. Like a good quality olive oil. I've been experimenting
with Spanish olive oil lately. There are some very good brands out there
that people should try.
PG: I know
that you are the Culinary Counselor to Dunnewood Vineyards in California.
And you have some wonderful recommendations in your book. How do you
decide which wines go with each dish?
RG: I've been a student of wine for 20 years. It is something
I lecture about. In fact, Dunnewood asked me to write on the back of
their labels for their consumer where I give specific food & wine pairings.
If you peel off the back you can send it in to get one of our recipes.
But, to answer your question, for food pairings I call the solution.......
again 1-2-3. It is all about flavor, texture and weight. It's very important
to match flavor, texture and weight in both food AND wine. We feel more
comfortable doing this with food. But it is important with wine as well.
Some people like contrasting and some people like complementary tastes
but I think it is important to give people guidelines. Wine has gone
through an amazing metamorphosis in recent years. The concept of white
wine with fish and red wine with meat has changed. I had a great bottle
of white wine the other night with meat ....but it was a BIG white.
Your list of accomplishments is astounding (see
bio) Professionally, what are you most proud of?
RG: I think being the first at many things makes me most proud,
I was the first executive chef at Mayor Wagner's law firm. I was 22
at the time. Then I was the first female executive chef in the country
that worked for a corporation, Lord & Taylor where I was responsible
for the change in their restaurant concepts nationwide. I helped create
American Spoon Foods with Larry Forgione. I was the first to coin the
phrase, "Med-Rim" cuisine. I invented "Hudson River Cuisine" for the
Hudson River Club. I created the position of first executive chef at
Gracie Mansion for Mayor Koch.
PG: Yes, you
were the youngest/first chef 23 years old in Gracie Mansion
for former Mayor Ed Koch, what was it like?
RG: It was mind blowing. I was so young. I lived in the basement.
There were not many women at the time that were chefs. My idea was that
Gracie Mansion should be known for serving New York State wines and
food. We had the first New York State wine list. I always felt that
the Hudson Valley should be like Napa Valley. I got to know a lot of
farmers and cheese makers. It was all very exciting.
You are the consulting chef to the Rainbow Room
and the newly re-opened Windows on the World, what inspires you?
RG: This time unlike other times, it is a real team project.....
but before the team was on board, what inspired us was the potential
of a food project that comprised world views.......... but not all on
one plate. The core will be a spectacular dish from a whole variety
of countries and will probably change often. It's important to note
that it's not a theme restaurant....... we're trying to do it without
cooked for many dignitaries in your career, what has been a highlight
RG: Well, I know the answer to that........it was something that
changed my life. It was when the Begins came to stay at Gracie Mansion.
They were wonderful. Prime Minister Begin's secretary and close friend
invited me to Israel in 1980. I became an unofficial spokesperson for
Israel's food & wine industry. I've helped market their products here.
I became very close to Mrs. Begin, she would call me when she came to
town and we'd go shopping.
How exciting and rewarding. Now I have a very
practical question...... since three is the magic number, what three
tips do have for our audience to make cooking easier?
RG: Well, first, I cook when I wake up in the morning before
I go to work. I make a pot of coffee and start preparing. It's relaxing
for me and I have something ready for us when I come home. Second, one
should put aside at least one or two days a week to cook. Everyone is
so busy. It's important to find the time and set it aside. Third, try
the book Recipes 1-2-3.