Food

One chef, one ingredient: Danny Bowien goes Mediterranean

May 28, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, May 28 — If you are what you eat, then it could be said that chefs are what they cook. In an exclusive series from Relaxnews, some of the top chefs from around the world share their favourite food ingredient to prepare and eat, every week.

Whether it be lemons, apricots, or sea urchin, the answers are as varied as the chefs themselves. During a recent trip to Paris, America’s latest chef darling Danny Bowien (picture) of Mission Chinese — which serves inventive Americanised Chinese fare — spoke to Relaxnews in a rapid-fire Q & A about his favourite ingredient. And contrary to expectation, it’s not Szechuan peppercorns or oyster sauce. Bowien’s favourite ingredient: olive oil.

Why did you choose this ingredient?

Good olive oil can be used to build flavour and can be used on so many levels. To finish up simple dishes, to sear raw fish or to make aioli.

What’s your favourite memory associated with the product?

While working at a French restaurant, I tasted a fish dish cooked in olive oil and it changed everything for me.

What other foods or ingredients does it pair best with?

Different olive oils work for different things. For olive oil to really shine through, use it to finish a dish. It also works well with simple dishes like linguine and clams.

What are the most common mistakes people make when cooking or preparing this ingredient?

Heating it up really hot. Heating it up to a smoking point changes the olive oil. Also, don’t use good olive oil for deep-frying. — AFP/Relaxnews