An Interview With Chef Todd English

An Interview With Chef Todd English

Recipe4Living was very excited upon receiving a copy of the Macy’s Culinary Council Thanksgiving and Holiday book. Renowned chef Todd English provides the holiday courses with four savory dishes that are a spin on the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes. Chef English tells us about his cooking and personal inspirations, favorite recent meal and how he plans to unwind after the busy holiday season.

Chef Todd English talks about inspiration, cooking and key ingredients in cooking and life.

What does Christmas Eve holiday mean to you personally?

Family! I spend it with my kids and my mother and get in the festive
spirit of gift giving, and of course any holiday in my family revolves
around cooking and food! I always like to dress it up a bit on Christmas Eve and
really indulge and go a bit overboard on delicious food. Coming from an
Italian background, I like to take the tradition of the seven fishes and give
it my own twist.

Why does cooking with seafood appeal to you so much personally and in

Having started my career in New England (in Boston) where there is such an
abundance of delicious, fresh seafood and shellfish, how could I not have
taken advantage? Not to mention because of how much I love seafood myself! I
love to cook locally and seasonally and think it's so important to eat this
way. There's so much you can do with seafood---so many options for
preparation and flavor combinations to experiment with.

Grilled and Chilled Shrimp & Crab - can you tell us about the dish and
flavor profile?

The shrimp will give you a texture similar to a shrimp cocktail but with
the flavors of grilled shrimp. The paprika will give it a little spice.

In addition to semolina pudding, what other desserts are good for holiday

Anything chocolate! I think this is the only time of the year when I
eat peppermint, so I like to infuse chocolate with peppermint to make
peppermint hot chocolate, peppermint cupcakes, or my homemade peppermint ice
cream is always a crowd pleaser---especially with my kids!

How important is the appearance of a plate to you?

Just as important as taste! We eat with all of our senses, not just taste, so
presentation is everything. The food should look just as good as it tastes!

Where are you happiest during your time off and where do you hope to have your next culinary travel adventure?

Anywhere where I can spend time with my three great kids.

I'd like to take a food trip to Columbia. I've never been there, but I love the
Latin cultures and I hear the food is amazing!

What is the best meal you've had recently and where?

Peruvian food in New York City at La Mar Cebicheria--- the ceviches were fantastic!
Chef Gaston Acurio has really got talent!

What are your favorite activities outside the kitchen?

I love live music--- going to see concerts and local bands in whatever city
I'm in, especially rock! I also love playing my guitar.

Where can we find you on an afternoon to yourself?

At the gym trying to get a workout in or catching the Sunday football

What is your biggest accomplishment? And your biggest challenge?

My three kids! Being a parent is the most rewarding experience one could
ever have. That, and opening my first restaurant in 89' --- Olives in
Charlestown, MA. That was an incredible feeling, too --- almost like having
another child.

My biggest challenge? Same answer as my biggest accomplishments!

3 ingredients you cannot live without?

The trilogy:  A.C.G= Anchovies, Capers, Garlic. Individually these are
wonderful key ingredients to much of my cooking, but together they are
magic! I learned this powerful combo years ago during my apprenticeship in
Italy from the Nonnas. It has become the base for many of my Italian sauces
and Mediterranean dishes.

How do you plan to spend Christmas Eve this year?

With family of course!

Find out more about Todd on his website!

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