5 Questions for Chris Cosentino
Chris Cosentino is executive chef of Pigg, the all-things-pork stand opening inside Umamicatessen downtown. Since his first executive chef position at Incanto in San Francisco, Cosentino has co-created Boccalone Salumeria, gained recognition for his expertise in offal cookery, appeared on the Food Network's "Next Iron Chef America" and even started a line of clothing and shoes.
What’s coming next on your menu? There are so many things at Pigg that I'm excited about, including a selection of cured hams that are not typically available here. My favorite is Broadbent from Kentucky, which has a smooth, buttery texture with subtle flavors of maple and apple. We're also making brainaise, which is aioli with cooked and blended pig brains, served with fries and crispy pig ears.
Latest ingredient obsession? This is not an ingredient you’ll see at Pigg ... but lately it has been sea urchin bottarga, which has so much depth of flavor. I serve a cold salad of beef tendon, Meyer lemon, soft herbs and then I grate the sea urchin bottarga over the top. It's my version of surf 'n' turf.
What restaurant do you find yourself going to again and again and what do you order? I've been consistently eating at Bäco Mercat for both lunch and dinner. I really like everything, but the bazole is such a great lunch with the al dente noodles, delicate herbs and a combo of pork and beef topped with a sizzled egg. For dinner, I love the chicken liver and foie gras mousse with kumquat marmalade.
The one piece of kitchen equipment you can’t live without, other than your knives? My spoons for tasting. I have an obsession with collecting them and I have so many I even have names for them. Big Bertha is one, and I also have a spoon called the Palladin, since it was given to me by Jean-Louis Palladin back when we did an event together ... he spooned me.
What’s your favorite breakfast? I am a sucker for a great bagel, cream cheese and some smoked fish. For everyday, I have multigrain toast with peanut butter, a piece of fruit that is in season and an Americano coffee. I always have to have an Americano.
-- Caitlin Keller
Photo: Chris Cosentino