Casey Colaneri from Sushi Metsuyan of Monsey was the winner of the 6th Annual Kosherfest Culinary "Iron Chef" Competition.
Three professional chefs, David Teyf from Lox Cafe NYC, Jose Soto from Basil NY in Brooklyn, and Casey Colaneri from Sushi Metsuyan of Monsey competed for the $1000 prize and bragging rights to the 2013 Culinary Competition, organized by The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts.
The chefs had 30 minutes to create a delicious dish from 15 mystery ingredients. The judges were Philippe Kaemmerle (Chef Instructor from The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts), Jack Silberstein (co-owner of Jack's Gourmet Sausages), and lucky me, Roberta Scher (Co-founder and Managing Editor of KosherEye.com).
The ingredients included ribeye steak, Jack's Gourmet Chorizo, beef patties, wild mushrooms, pasta and a variety of vegetables and spices. Everyone had a great time! (Especially the judges).
We were so impressed by Casey's talent, and his friendly, outgoing personality, that we asked him to send us some recipes, give us some cooking tips, share a bit about his background.
Tell us about your family background and your mom's Italian cooking:
I'm a third generation Italian. At a young age I was cooking with my mother and when ever I could. She taught me the most important thing cooking with love.
When did you realize that you were headed to a culinary career and why?
When I was 15 years old, I was a dishwasher and prep cook. It fascinated me how when cooking, there is always something new to learn. When I worked at The Brownstone, a large catering company, I learned what a 100-hour a week felt like. When my father asked if I liked it, I told him I could not imagine doing anything else.
How did you end up at a kosher restaurant?
Really by luck. I really enjoy the challenges of taking non-kosher dishes and re-tweaking them to kosher.
What are your favorite dishes to cook at home?
I love a great pasta dish, and keeping it simple. Even just a simple omelet does me well.
We notice that you are a personal chef as well as a restaurant chef. What do your clients request most often?
Restaurant quality food at home, from homemade pasta, to comfit duck, roasted prime rib and even truffle wiped potato.
Would you share some cooking tips and tricks with our KosherEye readers?
• Keep it simple,
• Always cook food that you can repurpose. I.e. Don't by rare expensive ingredients if you will not use them in 60 days. Important to keep dry stock up to date.
• Use fresh herbs when ever possible
• When cooking meat always bring up to room temperature. This allows meat to cook evenly.
What 3 kitchen tools are your must haves?
• Good chefs knife and steel. (Sharpener)
• A heat resistant rubber spatula
• A good peeler usually the $1 ones work best
What's in the career dream pipeline for Casey Colaneri?
Open my own restaurant, and my ultimate dream --my own culinary school.
Sneak a peek at the Kosherfest 6th annual culinary competition. Enjoy this video presented by the Kosher Restaurants Magazine:
Watch the video below for the competition highlights and click here to see Casey, describing his winning dish.