Chef Mitchell likes celebrating all things Maine. He says it is a passion carried out at Sea Glass which overlooks the water. Giant Sea Scallops on a bed of Parsnip Puree and a Maine Seafood Cerviche were among some of the popular creations that received rave reviews in February 2010 at the James Beard House in New York when the chef shared his “New England with a Twist” menu.
A native of East Orange, New Jersey, but raised in Argentina, Kaldrovich realized at a young age that he wanted to become a chef. After completing three years of rigorous studies in Culinary Schools, Kaldrovich was hired as a line cook at Galani Restaurant, a four-star establishment at the Buenos Aires Park Hyatt Hotel. He went on to become the Chef Partie at Harpers 1 and 2 in the prestigious Recoleta neighborhood in Buenos Aires. Mitchell’s desire to return to the United States resulted in positions at several highly celebrated establishments including the exclusive L’ Orangerie Restaurant in West Hollywood, the Duck Club restaurant in Monterey, California, the La Palme D’ Or at the Baltimore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida, and the luxurious Llao Llao Hotel & Resort in Patagonia. Most recently, Kaldrovich was Executive Chef of the famous Plump Jack café in Squaw Valley, California.
Maralyn: Chef do you have a favorite recipe/s?
Chef: The best recipes for me are those that have an emotional connection. Growing up in Argentina and learning to cook for the family with my grandmother gave me the passion I have today for being a chef. Everything my grandmother cooked was fresh and local. At Sea Glass we have an abundance of sea food fresh from local fishing boats, and the menu reflects our seaside location. But I have chosen the slow braised short rib with polenta recipe as it was a family favorite in Argentina. Over the years I have added finesse to the recipe, and ingredients have been elevated and changed to include the fresh beef and produce of the region, but this recipe still has an emotional tie to my childhood and learning to love to cook for others.
Maralyn: Do you have a favorite spice or one you are partial to using?
Chef: The culinary experience brings together a myriad of things that create a wonderful medley of sensory encounters all happening at the same time- to have a truly great experience a lot of details have to be considered , even for a simple meal. Ambiance and service are very important, but texture, aroma and of course taste are paramount. I am careful with spices and sauces as I love to let the flavor of the food speak for itself. I use smoked sweet paprika in many of my recipes as it brings a light smokiness to both flavor and aroma. I enjoy layering my international experience with the abundance of Maine fare available here- fresh produce from the sea and local farms.
Maralyn: This question frequently brings out some unusual responses. Do you have a favorite cooking utensil?
Chef: I learned the love of cooking for others as young boy, helping my grandmother cook for family events in Argentina. She taught me to roll gnocchi on a striped wooden gnocchi roller when I was seven, and to this day gnocchi is my soul food. After coming to Maine, I elevated the gnocchi by incorporating it with lobster or sea food to create a Maine dish, but I am reminded of the passion for cooking for others and sharing fresh local food every time I create a gnocchi dish with my wooden roller from the 1950s.
Maralyn: Do you have any tips for aspiring chefs?
Chef: Spend as much time as you can in real kitchens learning techniques from other chefs – work as a pastry chef, work on the line, work anywhere you can. Watch and learn – school is fine but real experience can’t be beat. You have to internalize techniques that work for you. To be a good chef you must possess a real passion for food and for sharing that excitement with others- you must possess a grandmother’s soul for tirelessly creating delectable food for others with great care and passion.
Maralyn: Do you have a preference for working the hot line, pastry, appetizers–a favorite aspect in the kitchen?
Chef: I love and delight in all stations – I started as a pastry chef and while I was learning there, I was also watching the line, watching other chefs, absorbing the techniques I saw around me. As a chef you bring it all with you – all the experience from the past and you use it, and layer it on the current menu creations–Techniques from the past put to work with the fresh local ingredients available today. Sea Glass has panoramic ocean views and we have an abundance of fresh sea food to work with- so creating a fresh Maine Sea food Paella, combining both the local seafood and my Spanish heritage was a natural. Apples orchards surround us so creating a local Apple Crostada captures the past and what is readily available locally.
Thank you chef for the interesting interview. Let’s get on to your recipe for short ribs.
With Roasted Mushrooms, Parmesan Polenta & Fresh Horseradish
4 ea. 6 oz. Grass Fed Beef Short Ribs, Boneless
Kosher Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper, Vegetable Oil
1 Small Spanish onion, Sliced / 4 Garlic Cloves, Whole / 1 Med. Carrot, Peeled & Sliced
3 Bay Leaves / 1 Sprig of Fresh Thyme
1 Qt. Red Wine
1.5 Qt. Veal Stock or Chicken Stock
In a heavy cast iron pan or Dutch oven, heat some oil and season and brown the short rib all around for about 2 minutes on each side at high heat. Set Aside. Add all the vegetables and cook until light brown- stirring once a while, for about 6-8 minutes- then add the red wine and reduce at medium heat and reduce to half. Add the browned short ribs, the herbs and cover with the stock. Lower the heat as low as possible, cover the pot and slow braise for about 2.5 hrs. The Short ribs should be fork tender. Pull the short ribs out and strain the braising liquid- and reduce it to half. Before serving add the short ribs back to the braising liquid and reheat for 3-5 minutes.
2.5 Cups Milk / 2.5 Cups water or Chicken Stock
1 Cup of Polenta / Salt and pepper / 2 Tbs. Butter / 4 Tbs. Fresh Parmesan Cheese
Gently Boil the water-milk and whisk constantly- add the polenta in a light rain, lower the heat and cook until done depending what kind of polenta are you using (there are 2: instant 5 minutes or regular 40-50 minutes)
When done add the butter and Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Put the polenta in an oily pan pressing with plastic film to create one solid polenta layer.
Cool down to set- then cut squares of polenta and sear in a non-stick fry pan for 5mins.Keep Warm
1 Qt. Baby Mushrooms such as Oyster, Shiitakes or Hon Shimaje Mushrooms, Cleaned.
Sautéed the mushrooms in olive oil for about 4 minutes. Add 1 garlic clove chopped and 2 tbs. of Chopped Italian Parsley, Salt and pepper. Keep Warm
Place the polenta cake in a wide preheated plate, place the short ribs on top, add mushrooms around, cover with the reduced braising liquid and grate some fresh horseradish on top.
Executive Chef Mitchell Kaldrovich
Sea Glass Restaurant
Low Braised Beef Short Ribs photo credit Tom Kirkman
Chef Mitchell Kaldrovich photo credit Ted Axelrod
Seafood Cerviche photo credit Tom KIrkman
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