Patrice Costa is a passionate foodie who is on a personal culinary mission to learn it all from local chefs. Although currently working at Thyme Restaurant in Yorktown as a chef-in-training (commis), her passion and desire to gain more experience and knowledge has fueled her to pursue opportunities to intern for a day (staging) in some of her favorite restaurant kitchens. Join her as she blogs from behind the kitchen door peeling, dicing, and pureeing her way into a newfound culinary career.
In this first “behind the kitchen door” blog, I am beyond excited to give you a glimpse of some of my experiences and insights working in the kitchen at Thyme Restaurant with chef/owner Tom Costello and chef de cuisine Laurent Ceron. I can’t thank both of them enough for giving me this amazing opportunity and for their patience, guidance and support as I work side-by-side with them “on the line”. The answer to the question if this is what I want to do when I grow up is pretty simple ~ Oui (YES!) Chef!
Description: The restaurant offers a varied menu of masterfully crafted dishes prepared in a beautiful open kitchen. The warm and inviting atmosphere will calm and relax you as the knowledgeable staff guide you through diverse culinary offerings and an impressive wine list.
Cuisine: Contemporary American
Executive chef/owner: Thomas Costello
Cooks: Chef de cuisine ~ Laurent Ceron Commis ~ Patrice Costa
Signature dish: Regulars love the Pan Seared Scallops over Parmesan Risotto.
Bar scene: The bar boasts a pretty cool Wine Station system from Napa Technologies which allows bottles of wine to remain open while preserving freshness for up to 60 days with the use of argon gas. Three and six ounce pours are available from what is the largest wine by the glass offering in Westchester. A 2010 Karine Lauverjat French Sancerre was a nice surprising choice for me.
Coolest appliance: Woodstone Hearth oven which can be cranked up to over 600 degrees, fondly referred to as the “Blaster.”
Size of kitchen: Front open kitchen is 130 sq. feet and back kitchen is 196 sq. feet. I’m admittedly measurement challenged so let’s just say it’s not a large space at all; in fact, one of the things I love about being in a commercial kitchen is that it has to be extremely organized, making use of every inch of free space.
Size of prep area: Front counter is 13×1.5 feet and back counter is 5×1.5 feet. I find the counter space challenging since I’m used to having more in my own kitchen and I don’t have to share it with two other people, but we somehow manage to easily prep for daily service (the restaurant seats 45).
How many burners: The Jade French Top range is a flat top hence the heat is controlled by the position of the pot. Most concentrated heat is on the two center rings.
Chef’s personal favorite dish: Tuna Tartar which is sometimes offered as a special appetizer. Chef Costello loves this dish because of the very simple, fresh ingredients (like ahi tuna and creamy avocado) and flavors (like mirin, extra virgin olive oil and lemon) which combine to elevate it to an absolutely awesome dish.
Most complicated dish on the menu: Roasted Cod with braised fennel, leeks, tomato petals and peanut potatoes with a beurre blanc sauce. Prepping the different components for this dish is what makes it a bit complicated.
Secret ingredient: Thyme (no surprise there!)
Chef’s culinary mentor: Chef Ron Lunge who was chef Costello’s high school culinary instructor at Boces.
Chef’s favorite kitchen gadget: 30 year old Forschner fillet knife originally purchased for $5 that has been whittled down to barely a sliver.
What’s cooking in the kitchen: Chef Ceron’s very special and very French duck confit. Duck legs take a long and leisurely oven bath in duck fat for about 3 hours until they are rendered and cooked to perfection.
Served as an appetizer, the duck leg is seared until the skin is golden brown and the meat is moist and succulent. It’s served over greens with a sweet/savory pear chutney. This dish will make duck lovers swoon and believers out of those who are not.
And some apple strudel for dessert. That’s me carefully rolling up the apples in the delicate fillo dough.
It’s one of our most popular desserts served warm and toasty with crème anglaise and vanilla ice cream.
Details: 3605 Crompond Road (Route 202),Yorktown Heights, 914.788.8700, www.thymerestaurant.net. Open Tuesday thru Sunday for lunch and dinner (brunch on Sunday!). With special prix fixe three-course lunch for $20/pp and dinner for $32/pp, every day is like restaurant week.
Speaking of HVRW12, it’s coming up quickly (March 18 through March 31). It would be the perfect “thyme” to come in and sample chef Costello’s menu at Thyme. And don’t forget to stop by and say hello to the chefs in the open kitchen (one of them just might be me!).