What do chefs cook when they cook at home? It's simpler than you might think. After all, chefs are pressed for time, just like the rest of us. With late hours and not much time off, elaborate and time-consuming recipes take a back seat to simple and quick, yet flavorful, cooking.
We asked several of today's top chefs to share their secrets for great home cooking. The top tip? A well-stocked pantry! We discovered that no matter what the theme or cuisine of our chefs' restaurants, traditionally brewed Kikkoman Soy Sauce enjoys a permanent and important place in their home kitchens.
Soulful, slow-cooked Mediterranean cuisine is the hallmark of San Francisco's 42 Degrees. The restaurant is named for the latitude of Provence, so it's not surprising to find balsamic and sherry vinegar, tomato paste and a selection of olive oils in chef Jim Moffat's home pantry. But these kitchen essentials share shelf space with Kikkoman Soy Sauce. Moffat likes to mix soy sauce with brown sugar, garlic and olive oil to make a marinade for salmon that's perfect on the barbecue grill.
One of Boston's hippest restaurants, Betty's Wok and Noodle Diner, breaks tradition with an Asian-Latino fusion menu served up in a stylish, updated diner setting. Customers customize rice and noodle dishes at their table with chef Maryann Francis' "Lucky Seven" sauces. All but one of her sauce recipes relies on Kikkoman Soy Sauce as a key ingredient. To quell hunger pangs at home, Francis often picks up dumplings in Boston's Chinatown, but she prefers dipping sauces made strictly from scratch. She prepares them in a flash with Kikkoman Soy Sauce, mirin, sesame seed and a supply of pre-chopped garlic and ginger root.
Jimmy Bradley, chef of New York City's casually elegant Red Cat, honors his Italian roots on his menu. The cooking influences from his winemaker grandmother and his frequent trips to Italy mingle with regional American traditions, creating delicious results. At home, Bradley's pantry is also eclectic, with Kikkoman Lite Soy Sauce nestled alongside Dijon-style mustard, Brittany sea salt, extra-virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. Bradley often adds a dash of soy sauce to enhance the flavors of a spicy tomato sauce. He also uses soy sauce as a base for creating savory marinades.
What makes Kikkoman Soy Sauces such important pantry staples? They're the secret ingredients in helping to create delicious meals, any night of the week. Kikkoman Soy Sauces develop their distinctive rich, yet mellow, flavor through the brewing and aging processes. Soy sauce acts as a natural flavor enhancer in any dish - whether it's Asian, Mexican or Italian cuisine.
Stir Kikkoman Soy Sauce into dips, soups and sauces for richer taste. Mix it into burgers and meat loaf to beef up flavors. Or, use soy sauce in your favorite marinade for steaks, chicken or seafood. You'll be cooking like the pros - at least when the pros cook at home!
For more Kikkoman recipe ideas, click here.