Monday, September 22, 2014

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Zagat: One Chef's Trash is Acme's Gourmet Treasure

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One local chef is using ingredients other chefs might throw away to create some gourmet dishes. Zagat editor James Mulcahy filed the following report for NY1.

Acme has been a hot spot for over three years due in part to chef Mads Refslund’s constant innovation in the kitchen. He is currently focused on finding creative uses for ingredients that at first glance don’t seem that desirable.

“I think it’s important to use everything on the animal or the fruit or the vegetable. I believe we should not throw so many things away. And as a chef, I think, we have the responsibility to use these off cuts and make it into something delicious,” said Refslund.

The idea of nose to tail cooking has been a trend for a while. But this menu shifts the focus beyond meat to ingredients like vegetables and fish.

“I’m doing a broth of grilled corn cobs. We use the whole corn. We just grill it for a long time, get a really good char on it and then put it in a pot with some seaweed. And then comes an amazing broth out of that. And I thought about, 'What about all this fish skin?’ Because sushi you don’t always normally serve the skin on, so I was thinking salmon skin because the number one seller in a sushi restaurant is salmon,” he said.

The fish skins you see on your plate here were actually sourced from neighboring Japanese restaurants. Despite the fact that they were destined for the trash, the sushi chefs were at first reluctant to sell the castoffs.

“I think the sushi restaurants didn't want to sell me the skins because they thought I was weird. Everybody said no. A couple of restaurants, they said yes. We have a deal with two sushi restaurants we’re getting skin from,” said Refslund.

By expanding the frontiers of whole-ingredient dining, Redsfund is making dishes that taste even better when you discover their environmental impact.

You've got the fish skin that people would normally throw away, the cucumber skin which people would normally throw away; it's a really good dish. I don't know why people are throwing those into the garbage, and they certainly wouldn't if they came here and saw this.

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