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Secrets of great prep

Cut meat into smaller pieces for brining
In the kitchen, brining is my favorite technique to tenderize and moisturize different varieties of meat and chicken before cooking. When I brine larger cuts, like beef brisket, I cut the meat into smaller pieces to reduce the brining time. After brining, I braise the brisket pieces for about 2 1/2 hours. Then I cool the brisket down and slice it thin like roast beef for sandwiches.
Sezar Yavuz, chef, Cafe de Boston

Squeeze limes at the last minute for cocktails
If there’s one thing I always tell people, and I mean always, it’s to squeeze your lime juice fresh just before mixing your cocktails. Fresh lime juice is the most fragile of all the citrus juices; it will begin to oxidize 20 minutes after you squeeze it. I always recommend the use of a hand lime squeezer and squeezing your limes a la minute.
Tony Abou-Ganim, mixologist, The Modern Mixologist

Grilling fish for optimum flavor
At Anassa, we prepare fish in a very simple way, which we feel brings out the greatest flavors. We place the fish in metal clasps over the grill, but not directly laying on the grill. Instead, it’s slightly bent so that the fish can cook evenly. After the fish has cooked through we like to drizzle the surface with extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon, capers and oregano.
Tim Pappas, co-owner, Anassa Tavern

Substitute coconut cream for oil
When a Thai curry or other Asian recipe calls for coconut milk, never shake the can. Instead, open it carefully and skim the cream off the top. Use the cream instead of oil to saute onions, shallots and garlic. It builds flavor through caramelization and cuts down on the oil needed in the recipe.
Jet Tila, chef, The Charleston

Curing raw fish to improve its texture
Right now, I’m sourcing Tasmanian ocean trout for a crudo on my appetizer menu. But I don’t like the texture of this fish when it’s raw, so I cure it with salt, sugar, mirin and fresh ginger for about 45 minutes. This tightens the flesh and improves the texture. Before slicing, I rinse the cured fish and pat it dry, then serve it with smoked golden trout roe, salted cucumbers, lemon creme fraiche and fresh herbs.
Joseph Rose, executive chef, Lockwood Restaurant & Bar at the Palmer House

Integrate local culinary traits into the menu
Each Hakkasan location balances an authentic representation of the region’s culinary attributes while preserving the signature Hakkasan dishes our patrons have come to love and expect. We’ve found that guests, both city natives and visitors, appreciate a nod to each area’s ingredients and cuisine. With our latest opening in San Francisco, I spent a great deal of time immersing myself in the local food scene and identifying the elements I wanted to highlight, while staying true to the Hakkasan style. The result is a vibrant and flavorful menu inspired by San Francisco’s dedication to fresh, organic ingredients that complement the city’s deep-rooted Asian influences and thriving Chinatown.
Ho Chee Boon, executive chef, Hakkasan

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