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01.13.11

Fresh Picks

The royal family’s top chef tells us what he’s loving right now.

Robert Irvine

With over 25 years in the culinary profession, Chef Robert Irvine has cooked his way through Europe, the Far East, the Caribbean, and the Americas, in hotels and on the high seas. Irvine joins the primetime reality-TV show, Worst Cooks in America with  co-host Anne Burrell for season two premiering January 2011. Also, in January 2011, Irvine will host a new primetime show, Restaurant: Impossible, where he attempts to save America’s most desperate restaurants from impending failure in just two days with only $10,000.

A native of England, Irvine joined the British Royal Navy at the age of 15, and his skills in the kitchen soon came to the attention of his superiors. As part of his service for the Royal Navy, Robert was selected to work on board the Royal Yacht Britannia where the royal family and their entourage regularly dined. Irvine’s first book, Mission: Cook!, was published in September, 2007 and his latest cookbook Impossible to Easy was released in 2010.

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Recipe

Fight the blistering winter temperatures with these hot and delicious savory gruyere popovers.

I often make popovers, and love this recipe from BLT Steak in Washington, D.C. They are great for different items, including sandwiches, stuffed savory entrees, or just a great side bread.

BLT Steak's Popovers
Yield: 6 servings (12 popovers)

4 cups milk, warmed
8 eggs
4 cups flour
1 1/2 heaping tablespoon salt
2 1/4 cups grated gruyere cheese
Popover pan

Place the popover pan in the oven. Heat oven and pan to 350°. Gently warm the milk over low heat and set aside. Whisk the eggs until frothy and slowly whisk in the milk (so as not to cook the eggs). Set the mixture aside. Sift the flour with the salt. Slowly add the dry mixture to the eggs and combine until mostly smooth. Once combined, remove the popover pan from the oven and spray with non-stick vegetable spray. Fill each popover cup 3/4 full and top each with 2 1/2 tablespoons of the grated gruyere cheese. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes, rotating pan half a turn after 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

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Restaurant

While sightseeing in our nation’s capital, make sure to take a break for an exquisite meal at this French-American bistro.

BLT Steak in Washington, D.C., features the simplest of recipes with precise delivery of a great product. The popovers, for example, are comprised of some of the most widely used ingredients in food made using common bread-baking techniques, yet they are quite possibly the best popovers in the country.

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Cookbook

This cookbook from one of the world’s greatest and most renowned chefs brings fine dining right to your home.

When I look for inspiration, or just to read the techniques of a fellow chef, the first book I turn to is usually, Ad Hoc at Home, by Chef Thomas Keller. Ad Hoc at Home is a true example of functional cuisine on the simplest level, with superior results. Cookbooks can always be a guide for cuisine, or just a jumping-off point for any chef. We can all benefit from reading, researching and tasting other foods.

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Food Destination

Forget monuments and museums! Let your taste buds do the exploring on your next trip to the heart of the nation.

My favorite dining city is not the usual New York or Paris answer; instead I enjoy the Washington, D.C. culinary scene. Whenever I visit D.C., Chef Michel Richard’s Citronelle is on the top of my list. Chef Richard's  cuisine is well researched, thought out, cooked, and presented–each time with great results achieved on the plate. Whether it is a simple roasted chicken, pate, or tuna Napoleon, each plate is a true culinary pleasure and delivers every time. Also on my “must” list: BLT Steak, DC Coast, Oval Room and Cava.

Plus: Check out Hungry Beast, for more news on the latest restaurants, hot chefs, and tasty recipes.