Chef’s Tip: Chef Brian Cooke of Butterfield 8, White Plains ~ Brines Shrimp to Keep Them Moist



Hi! Donna Monaco Olsen here to share with you from a recent cooking demonstration.

Many of us have seen chef’s brine meat such as pork, beef or chicken before cooking but few brine seafood.  In our house we brine skinless chicken parts before grilling (even if only for an hour) to impart flavor but mostly to retain moisture without fat.

Being the coordinator for the Taste of Westchester Continuing Education program for Westchester Community College, I have attended hundreds of classes but still continue to learn something new from our great chefs!  All classes are held within Westchester restaurants, where local chefs share their talents and recipes with us in their own dining rooms.

New Executive Chef-Public House Restaurants:  Brian Cooke (Even his name states that he was born to this profession!)

Restaurant:  Butterfield 8, White Plains

Lola’s Mexican Kitchen, White Plains

Mulberry Street, White Plains

Tip:  When cooking seafood such as shrimp, especially before frying, brine the raw protein in  a mixture of sugar, salt and water for 2 hours. This will cause the crustaceans to “plump up”.  Pat them dry, lightly flour, and then coat with a beer tempura batter. The shrimp will be very moist inside with a very crunch exterior.

Butterfield 8-DMO 002Buffalo Shrimp – crispy jumbo shrimp, Maytag blue cheese, house hot sauce

Executive Chef Brian spoke with us briefly about how they were working on new menus for the three restaurants, all located on The Post Road in White Plains, and that we would get to sample some of the new dishes they were creating at Butterfield 8. The above photo represents one of our group’s favorites, as well as the preparation used to create it.

Butterfield 8-DMO 001Burrata – oven dried tomato, cured olives, crostini

We were treated to a sumptuous pairing of oven roasted tomatoes, cured olives and a creamy house-made Burrata cheese. If you have not experienced this type of cheese, it has a creamy smooth center similar to a smooth ricotta, surrounded by fresh mozzarella. When cut, it oozes out making a nice combination with the tapenade.
The BBQ St. Louis Ribs – sweet & spicy braised ribs, celery root & apple slaw, and two different types of pizza were so good they were consumed prior to the photo op.

 We were given a mini demo on a fresh new dish created by the restaurant’s newest addition to the staff (all of 3 weeks).Butterfield 8 002New “Butterfield 8”  Chef Jamie Drusik – Cordon Bleu schooled – France and USA

Butterfield 8-DMO 006

Butterfield 8 007Another Tip:  When making pesto of any kind, leave out the garlic so the pesto will not spoil as quickly. The garlic becomes rancid and will spoil while the rest of the ingredients, sealed in an airtight container in the refrigerator, will last for a few weeks. When you are ready to finish your al dente cooked pasta dish, saute the garlic in EVOO and then add the pasta and the pesto. This will also help to alleviate the “raw” garlic taste.

Butterfield 8-DMO 009

Summer Shrimp Linguine-jumbo shrimp, grape tomatoes, asparagus, parsley pesto, grana padano

Thank you for the food education.

Come join in the fun and learn a thing or two!

Care to get tips first hand? Check out the current offerings at WCC Continuing Ed, Summer 2013 Taste of Westchester. Classes are only $15+ a sampling fee.  Sign up with a friend for one demonstration or a few by contacting WCC by phone at 606-6830×1.

The new Summer mini-semester has just begun! Join us at several of Westchester’s most exciting restaurants for a culinary adventure that will tantalize your taste buds. Each chef will offer a private cooking demonstration, followed by a tasting of the prepared items. 

Check it out-Fall 2013 Semester just released! WCC Continuing Ed, Fall 2013 pdf Taste of Westchester

There is still time to sign up for some great classes:

The Cupcake Kitchen and Luncheonette, Irvington ~ Facebook and

As seen on SmallBites.

HANDS ON: Let them eat cupcakes! This adorable breakfast and lunch spot is also known for the prettiest and most delicious cupcakes in town along with custom fondant cakes for every occasion. Located on historic Main Street in Irvington, owner Jennifer O’Connell will give a hands-on instructional demonstration on decorating patriotic cupcakes in a summertime theme. This will be an interactive class using decorating tips from a pro and the outcome will astonish you. You will use pastry bags outfitted with all the tools needed to create six fabulously decorated cupcakes to bring home in a gift box. You can translate the techniques to upcoming holiday or family functions. The luncheonette only uses fresh ingredients and will tell you how to make their fabulous butter cream icing. You will get to sample a cupcake along with the shop’s hot or iced coffee and tea. Come out and play with us!
Thurs., Aug. 1, 4:30-6:30 pm, $15 (+ $21 sampling fee, payable to instructor). #6010

AJ’s Burgers, New Rochelle ~, Follow them on Facebook.

As seen on SmallBites.
Chef Alan, aka AJ, is a graduate of our college and the former owner of the Original Wedge Inn. The sliders are still cooked on a flat grill with grilled onions like the original White Manna from the 1964 World’s Fair. Burgers are not the only focus at AJ’s, as they are known for the best thin crust pizza in Westchester. One of their special dishes just happens to be Mariano Rivera’s favorite, lobster and shrimp positano. Our demonstration will be a lesson on delicious hot tomato and ricotta cheese bread and spinach salad topped with hot bacon dressing, followed by shrimp francesse with grilled portobello mushrooms and red roasted peppers. He will create a seasonal dessert of strawberry shortcake. Come join us for a terrific demonstration and a delicious meal as AJ’s always promises to leave you satisfied but wanting more!
Tues., Aug. 6, 5:30-7:30 pm, $15 (+ $21 sampling fee, payable to instructor). #6011

Roasted Peppers, Mamaroneck ~

As seen on SmallBites.

This American bistro with strong Latin influences is the collaboration of Mexican born brothers Juan and Roberto Lepe. They have been chefs in Westchester for over twenty years. The culinary experiences from their past have combined with their expertise and creativity to flourish into Roasted Peppers, their first restaurant venture. Chef Juan along with Chef Darrell Belcher, a 1987 CIA graduate, will show us their techniques. We will start with their signature dish, a stuffed roasted picadillo pepper, followed by a lesson on chipotle-apricot glazed pork chops, served with summer squash and couscous with cranberries. We will end with a jalapeño brownie served with coconut ice cream for a very different dessert.
NEW DATE-Tues., Aug. 13, 5:30-7:30 pm, $15 (+ $25 sampling fee, payable to instructor). #6012

Don Coqui, New Rochelle ~

As seen on SmallBites.

HANDS ON: Don Coqui is the latest and most exciting authentic Puerto Rican dining experience. The vast first floor is a gourmand’s dream and is the perfect place for our class. This restaurant features an interactive professional demonstration kitchen with all the latest cooking gadgets. Chef Jack D’Angelo Armando Elisea will prepare our meal for the evening: we’ll start with mixed green salad with queso blanco sofrito vinaigrette, then a lesson on seafood paella with clams, mussels, shrimp, and chorizo. Sangria will be the beverage lesson for the evening, made with fresh fruit. To end our evening on a sweet note, we will make coconut flan with a deep caramel glaze and shaved toasted coconut.
Tues., Aug. 20, 6:00-8:00 pm, $15 (+ $25 sampling fee, payable to instructor). #6013

Fees include non-alcoholic beverages. New menu items are explored each semester. Menu substitutions may occur when necessary. Demonstrations will begin at the times designated. Sampling fees are payable in CASH only.

If you are a chef or proprietor of a restaurant, and are interested in participating in this program please contact the college and leave your contact information. 606-6830×1


About Author

As a contributing blogger and the author of "Chef’s Tip", Donna Monaco Olsen recaps great cooking demonstrations from local restaurants. As the the coordinator for Westchester Community College’s Continuing Education program, named “A Taste of Westchester,” she writes the program, which offers more than 35 cooking classes each semester, and recruits chefs to do cooking demonstrations in their restaurants. She holds a full time position in the education field, and in her off time develops and contributes recipes for cookbooks. She is an avid baker and a former cake decorator who created many custom designed specialty cakes. Along with her husband, she reviews restaurants on Small Bites during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week.

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