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Jeremy Lieb
LE CIRQUE
Bellagio
3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Las Vegas, NV 89109-4303
(702) 693-7223

Biography»

Interview:
Antoinette Bruno: Why did you start cooking? What or who inspired you to become a chef?
Jeremy Lieb: I’ve never found anything I liked better. I started as a dishwasher in high school. One day a cook didn’t show up and I got put on the line. I got such a rush, there was no turning back.

AB: Why did you choose to attend culinary school at the Milwaukee Area Technical College in Wisconsin? Would you recommend culinary school to aspiring chefs today?
JL: My parents would pay a certain amount for me to go to school. I would not recommend culinary school today. A job first is much more important. I would almost hire somebody with no experience than hire a culinary grad. I do use externs and hire them after. I prefer to get them at the beginning of their schooling as opposed to the end because they think they know too much.

AB: Can you talk about your mentors, such as working under Daniel Boulud?
JL: I got a job at Maisonette in Ohio and was a sous chef at a Mobil 5-Star restaurant. The big takeaway was learning respect for food. Then I went to Daniel and got taken down a notch to cook. I got my tail whooped. Not many cooks last longer than 6 to 9 months. You have to prepare yourself mentally to get through the day. You work from 7am to 1am. I was scared of Alex (Lee). Then I became addicted and I couldn’t do anything else but strive for success. Daniel took me under his wing. I worked on the cookbook, opened up Café Boulud, and then the new Daniel.

AB: Are there any secret ingredients that you especially like?
JL: My food is really simple. I like celery leaves – it’s so fresh and you can use it with lots of different dishes.

AB: What is your most indispensable kitchen tool?
JL: My knife is very, very important. I have handmade Nenox knives from Japan. The knife maker is now deceased. I call my knife the Red Violin. I really think knives have a personality. There’s an ancient Japanese story about a sword and a sword maker. The sword salivates for the blood of an enemy. My knife salivates to cut the vegetables. It must be very sharp. If you respect what you use it’s going to treat you well.

AB: Is there a culinary technique that you have either created or use in an unusual way? Please describe.
JL: I like to utilize everything. Like white asparagus – I’ll use the tips, the stems, the trimmings. You get a lot out of vegetables and meat. I feel bad if I waste anything.

AB: What is your favorite question to ask during an interview for a potential new line cook?
JL: In order to be great at what you do, you have to have it here (head), her (heart) and here (hands). I start a conversation about their life and food in order to determine where their head and heart are.

AB: What tips would you offer young chefs just getting started?
JL: Go find the best restaurant you can and do whatever you can to get your foot in the door.

AB: What are your favorite cookbooks?
JL: I love LaRousse. Also On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee. Ducasse – La Livre. I can’t keep up with what’s going on in the industry.

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Jeremy Lieb
LE CIRQUE | Las Vegas

It may come as a surprise to learn that a 34-year-old Wisconsinite directs the kitchen of Le Cirque, one of the world’s most recognized and beloved French restaurants. But Chef Jeremy Lieb, a protégé of Daniel Boulud, performs his role with aplomb. Like the best French chefs, Lieb has an almost obsessive respect for his products, not letting a single bit go to waste. “If you respect what you use, it’s going to treat you well,” he says. Lieb’s reverence in the kitchen extends to his most prized instrument, a Japanese knife which he refers to as his Red Violin. Working as an extension of his hand, Lieb’s knife manipulates impeccable produce and meats that form the centerpiece of his imaginative, classically grounded dishes at Le Cirque.

 

Braised Beef Oxtail with Roasted Scallops and Corn Fondue
Chef Jeremy Lieb of Le Cirque at the Bellagio Resort & Casino
- Las Vegas, NV
Adapted by StarChefs.com

Braised Beef Oxtail with Roasted Scallops and Corn Fondue on StarChefs.comcYield: 10 Servings

Ingredients:

    Beef Oxtail:
  • 3 bottles red wine
  • 2 ounces olive oil
  • 8 pounds beef oxtail
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 8 shallots, peeled, trimmed, split, rinsed, and dried
  • 2 carrots, peeled, trimmed, split, rinsed, and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, peeled, trimmed, split, rinsed, and diced
  • 1 leek, peeled, trimmed, split, rinsed, and dried
  • 6 sprigs Italian parsley
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 quarts beef stock, unsalted
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 10 colossal scallops, seasoned and seared
    Corn Fondue:
  • 10 ears white Indio corn
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup water
  • Salt and fresh white pepper to taste

Method:
Beef Oxtail:

Pour the wine into a large saucepan set over medium heat. When the wine is hot, carefully set it aflame, let the flames die out, then increase the heat so that the wine boils; allow it to boil until it cooks down by half. Remove from the heat.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Warm the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large casserole over medium-high heat. Season the oxtail all over with salt and crushed pepper. Dust half the oxtail with about 1 teaspoon flour and then, when the oil is hot, slip the oxtail in the pot and sear 4 to 5 minutes on a side, until the oxtail is well browned. Transfer the browned oxtail to a plate, dust the remaining oxtail with flour, and sear in the same manner.

Remove all but 1 Tablespoon of fat from the pot, lower the heat under the pot to medium, and toss in the garlic, shallots, carrots, celery, leek, parsley, thyme, and bay leaves. Brown the vegetables lightly, for 5 to 7 minutes, then stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute to blend.

Add the reduced wine, browned oxtail and stock to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover the pot closely, and slide it into the oven to braise 2 ½ hours, or until the oxtail is tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork. Every 30 minutes or so, lift the lid and skim and discard whatever fat may have bubbled up to the surface. (Not only can you make this a day in advance, it's best to make the recipe up to this point, cool and chill the oxtail and stock in the pan, and, on the next day, scrape off the fat. Reheat before continuing.)

Carefully (the tender meat falls apart easily) transfer the meat to a heated serving platter with raised rims and keep warm. Boil the pan liquids until they thicken and reduce to approximately 1 quart. Season with salt and pepper and pass through a fine-mesh strainer, discarding the solids. (The oxtail and sauce can be made a few days ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator. Reheat gently, basting frequently, on top of the stove or in an oven heated to 350° F.)

Corn Fondue:
Shuck corn and remove all corn silk. Cut corn off the cobb and place into blender with heavy cream and water. Blend on high until very creamy; the friction of the blender will make the corn very warm, which is good. Pass the mixture through a fine strainer into a sauce pot. Place on low heat and reduce until thick and creamy - you will need to stir through the reduction, otherwise it will stick to the pot. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and serve.

To Serve:
Spoon corn fondue in center of plate. Top with a piece of braised oxtail and a seared scallop. Spoon reduced sauce around and serve.

 

Interview Cont'd
AB: What cities do you like for culinary travel?
JL: Spain, not necessarily El Bulli. I want to go to the small towns and eat what the locals eat. The coast, the farms, the fish. I’d like to work in a good Spanish restaurant with some classical influence.

AB: What are your favorite restaurants in your city?
JL: Pearl and Joyful House for Chinese. The Chinese food in Las Vegas is Hong Kong style.

AB: What trends do you see emerging in the restaurant industry now?
JL: Construction of small plates, where you order like in a Chinese or Japanese restaurant.

AB: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years?
JL: Owning my own restaurant, controlling my fate. I must be able to cook good food and be able to do the food I want to do. It could be a small restaurant anywhere, hopefully one that imprints lasting memories on guests.



   Published: August 2005

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