Fresh Picks by John Mooney
One of the country’s most worldly chefs tells us what he’s loving right now.
John Mooney is executive chef and co-owner of New York City’s Bell Book & Candle. Chef John Mooney’s professional life has been a winding culinary journey to all corners of the world. In 1998, he joined the team at the W Hotel New York, working with Drew Nieporent and Chef Michel Nischan to launch the hotel’s flagship restaurant, Heartbeat. At Heartbeat, John enhanced his interest in seasonal, fresh, and organic produce, working as chef de cuisine and later as executive chef. In 2004, John was named one of America's "Best Hotel Chefs" by the James Beard Foundation. Also in 2004, John was appointed corporate consulting chef of India’s Taj Hotel group. There, he opened India’s first organic restaurant, Pure by Michel Nischan, and re-opened New Delhi’s premier fine-dining restaurant, Orient Express. In 2008, John returned to the U.S. to open Highland Manor in Apopka, Florida, with partner Mick O’Sullivan. Bell Book & Candle opened in December 2010 in a landmarked building in NYC's West Village.
With spring finally upon us, this dish gives you a delicious outlet to utilize the vast array of the season’s endless offerings.
I love a good springtime vegetable potpie. For me, spring is one of the most inspiring seasons—so many new and fresh ingredients to work with. At my restaurant, we grow our vegetables on the roof so it also signifies the planting of the garden. It's very therapeutic and I look forward to new growth every day. This recipe centers on the ingredients to make it special, which is similar to the food philosophy at Bell Book & Candle.
For a Parisian meal that will blow your mind, pay a visit to the one and only L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon.
L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Paris’ Pont Royal Hotel is start-to-finish an amazing meal. I've been to other Joel Robuchon restaurants in other cities but this was one of the best meals I've ever had. It is a very eclectic mix of flavors and pairings with perfect execution. The entire restaurant is designed for tasting; I think we had about 16 courses. I had everything from raw hamachi with sea urchin to lamb tongue. The wraparound counter surrounding the kitchen also makes the meal very interactive.
If you’ve mastered the art of conventional grilling and are looking for a challenge, this is your survival guide.
I really love Seven Fires by Francis Mallman. The book explains seven varieties of open-fire cooking that are done in a very simple way, which I respect. The chef leaves most things closest to their natural form and really focuses on making things simple. He goes into deep explanations about building the fire for specific purposes. He uses all sorts of cast-iron cooking implements as well. It's obvious that he has spent a ton of time perfecting his methods and is truly a professional. He also talks about regions of Argentina and South America, which I find fascinating and makes for some very interesting reading. Every cook should check out this book.
Journey to one of India’s most picturesque towns for exciting adventures and meals alike.
Coorg, India, is a place is like no other. Coorg is a hill station outside the major city of Bangalore in central-southern India. It is set up in the hills with dense forest, running rivers, huge waterfalls, and tremendous scenery. The climate is very comfortable all year around. Geographically, they have the most fertile land and influences from north and south India. Coorg was settled by the Portuguese, who also have an influence in the cooking. The food is very interesting and original. They make a noodle out of dosa batter with an extruder made specifically for the dish. Their signature dish is a pork curry, which is rare for India. There are huge vegetable farms, coconut palms, and spice plantations. Coorg is a place no book or picture could do justice to.