Graham Elliot Bowles
AVENUES | Chicago
A self-proclaimed Navy brat, 28-year-old Chef Graham Elliot Bowles
was born in Seattle, but grew up all over the world. He attended
Johnson & Wales and was off and running, finding his way into
inspiring kitchens around the country, including the Jackson House
Inn & Restaurant in Vermont, The Mansion on Turtle Creek in
Dallas, and then Charlie Trotter’s and Tru in Chicago. Now
at Avenues in The Peninsula Chicago, Bowles is honing his own culinary
style, a blend of equal parts creativity, technique and aesthetics.
Viewing the kitchen as more of a sanctuary or laboratory rather
than simply a place of work, Bowles seeks out new ingredients and
techniques with zeal. He is constantly looking for a way to surpass
every guest’s expectations, cooking with love and creating
with an open mind.
Foie-lipops (Foie Gras Lollipops)
Chef Graham Elliot Bowles of Avenues at The Peninsula Chicago
– Chicago, IL
Adapted by StarChefs.com
Yield: 50 Servings
- ½ lobe Grade-A fresh foie gras (approximately ¾
- ½ cup port
- Salt and pepper
- 15 sheets gelatin
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lollipop sticks
Cut foie gras into 1-inch pieces with a hot knife. Remove
as many veins as possible. Put foie in a saucepan over medium heat.
Add port, salt and pepper. Cook until foie is cooked through and
alcohol is cooked off.
Bloom gelatin in a bowl of cold water. Heat 1 cup of heavy cream
in a separate pot and whisk in bloomed gelatin.
Remove ½ cup of foie gras fat from the saucepan. Pour the
remainder of foie gras and fat into a blender, adding the cup of
cream and gelatin as well. Blend on high, adding more cream if needed
for the mixture to blend smoothly. Check seasoning.
Pass blended mixture through a chinois. Fill lollipop molds with
mixture and freeze. Insert lollipop sticks and keep in refrigerator
until ready to serve.
Marc Brédif, Vouvray, Loire France 2002
AB: Can you tell me
about working at Mansion on Turtle Creek, Charlie Trotter’s,
GEB: The Mansion was my first
real experience at that level of fine dining. I was 20 years old.
I realized it was a 24-hour operation. So I learned that their attention
to detail was quite different from a place that just serves dinner.
Michael Kramer (now Executive Chef of McCrady’s in South Carolina)
– I worked with him at the Mansion. He was a sous chef there,
and he told me what it would take to survive at a place like Trotter’s
– how to keep your head down, fold your towel just so, and
have your trash can close by.
Working at Trotter’s was a defining moment in my career.
Everything you do has to be done at the highest professional level.
Each task is just as important as the others. The way you season
a plan, sharpen a knife, sweep the floor. Everything has to be in
tune. I’d never been in a kitchen like that.
AB: Have you carried that
philosophy into your kitchen?
GEB: I did when I went to Tru,
the underlying philosophy of achieving excellence, yes, but I take
more of a caring parent approach than the commander-in-chief approach.
AB: What is your own philosophy
on food and dining?
GEB: All cuisine is a gray
area. I like to push the envelope, not break it up. And if it isn’t
broke, break it. But that’s not my only motivating force.
I like to use some restraint. And the finished product must be delicious.
AB: What are your favorite
restaurants –off the beaten path – in Chicago?
GEB: Hot Doug’s. Bijan’s
Bistro – for their awesome iceberg wedge with blue cheese.
Café Salamera – it’s Peruvian – for their
little sandwiches and plantains
AB: What trends do you see
emerging in the restaurant industry now?
GEB: Consumers are looking
at cuisine as chef-driven.