Known for his modern French cuisine with California influences, Executive Chef Craig Strong cultivated his culinary career as a child, growing tomatoes and zucchini in his San Diego family’s vegetable garden.
Strong studied at L’Academie de Cuisine near Washington, D.C., learning from some of the region’s culinary luminaries including chefs Françoise and Pascal Dinot. His roster of accomplishments includes stints at La Caille in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah; Capitol Club at Hyatt Regency in Washington, D.C.; Glitretind at Stein Erikson Lodge in Deer Valley, Utah; Adams Mark Hotel in Philadelphia, Pa.; The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia; The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead in Atlanta, Ga.; and the Newport Room at Hotel Arts in Barcelona, where he incorporated a Mediterranean accent into his cooking.
Prior to signing on at Studio in 2009, Strong was chef de cuisine at The The Ritz-Carlton, Huntington (now The Langham Huntington) in Pasadena, Calif. During his tenure, the restaurant earned one Michelin star each in 2007 and 2008.
Squash Blossom Tempura
For the squash blossoms:
24 squash blossoms
For the Romesco sauce:
1 large white onion
2 heads garlic
10 Roma tomatoes
½ cup olive oil
2 ounces hazelnuts, whole, toasted
2 ounces almonds, whole, toasted
1 tablespoon Nyora pepper
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Rub 2 tablespoons of the olive oil on garlic, onion and tomato. Roast in oven at 400 degrees until nicely roasted, about 30 minutes. Remove skin from the roasted tomatoes, garlic and onion. In a blender, combine the roasted tomatoes, garlic, onion, hazelnuts, almonds and Nyora pepper. Purée the mixture while adding sherry vinegar and remaining olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
For the tempura batter:
½ cup flour
¼ cup rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup soda water
Mix all ingredients together. Set aside until the squash blossoms are filled.
For the brandade:
½ pound cod fish
2 cups milk
1 medium russet potato, peeled
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Combine the cod and milk in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Strain the cod. Discard the milk. In a separate saucepan, boil the potato in water until it is tender. Rice the cooked potato and cod. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the garlic and cook about 10 seconds; do not brown. Remove garlic and olive oil from heat. Place all ingredients into a stand mixer with paddle attachment and mix until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pipe the cod-potato mixture into the squash blossoms. Dip the stuffed blossoms into the tempura batter and fry at 375 degrees until golden brown.
Presentation: Drizzle Romesco sauce onto each of 6 plates; arrange 4 blossoms on top of sauce. Garnish with micro greens, as desired.
Crab and melon salad
For the crab and melon:
2 egg yolks
Juice of ½ lemon
1 vanilla bean, scraped, reserve seeds
½ cup grapeseed oil
½ pound crabmeat
1 cantaloupe, peeled and quartered
Mix the egg yolks, lemon juice and vanilla bean seeds in a small bowl. While whisking constantly, drizzle the grapeseed oil into the mixture to make a mayonnaise. Add the crab to the mayonnaise and mix thoroughly.
Trim the quartered melon into rectangles. (Reserve excess melon to purée for a plating sauce.) Use a Japanese mandolin to slice the melon into very thin portions. You will need 16 melon slices to serve 4 rolls per person. Place 1 teaspoon of the crab salad onto each slice of melon and roll.
For the dressing:
¼ cup honey
¼ cup sherry vinegar
¼ cup grapeseed oil
In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar and honey. Transfer to a blender and process while slowly adding the oil.
2 cups micro greens
Presentation: Decorate each plate with melon purée. Toss the micro greens with the dressing. Place 4 rolls onto the center of each plate. Top with micro greens.
Scallops with spinach risotto, wild mushrooms and truffle sauce
For the scallops:
8 U10 scallops
2 teaspoons olive oil
Pat the scallops dry. Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Place scallops in the pan for 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat.
For the risotto:
1 onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons butter, separated
1 cup risotto rice
1 cup white wine
4 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Salt, to taste
Sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon of butter until tender. Add rice and stir for 2 minutes. Add the wine, continuing to stir until it is reduced. Add the stock, 2 ounces at a time, until it is completely incorporated. Finish with 1 tablespoon of butter, salt, Parmesan and spinach purée (recipe follows).
For the spinach purée:
2 cups spinach
4 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
Bring water and salt to a boil. Cook spinach in boiling water for 20 seconds. Drain and cool in ice water bath. Squeeze out excess water and purée the spinach.
For the Port wine truffle sauce:
1 bottle Port wine
1 can truffle juice
1 quart heavy cream
Heat the Port in a saucepan until it is reduced by half. Add the truffle juice and continue heating until the mixture is reduced by half again. Add the cream and continue heating until the mixture is reduced by half again. Use an immersion blender to froth the mixture.
For the garnish:
2 cups wild mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter
Sea salt, to taste
Sauté the mushrooms in butter and season to taste with sea salt.
Presentation: Place a serving of risotto in the center of each plate. Place 2 scallops next to the risotto and drizzle with the Port wine truffle sauce. Garnish with sautéed mushrooms.
Imagine waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee, a light breeze dancing on your face, and views so beautiful you begin to think it is a simulation. The United Kingdom is teeming with unique accommodations that will please your eyes. Check out these stays with stunning views on your next U.K. adventure.
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
AdventureWomen, the travel company specializing in adventure tours for women, announced a partnership with African Wildlife Foundation. The organization supports the conservation of Africa’s wildlife through education, community development and sustainability projects. As part of the partnership, the two organizations will host a women’s safari to Zimbabwe in May 2022.
Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, where innovative wellness and balanced indulgence come together in one extraordinary beachfront setting, recently partnered with First Responders Children’s Foundation, a non-profit organization providing financial support to children and families of first responders. This partnership formed the Carillon Cares: Summer of Heroes offers, including a donation to the foundation for each stay booked, which supports giving back to those who fought on the front lines during the pandemic.
The Sports Industry Awards returned with a bang last night as 200 guests packed the W Hotel Great Ball Room for the gala ceremony.
Although much changed in the past year, Cancún still has the joie de vivre we need right now after months of cabin fever — even with safety measures in place. In fact, the first half of 2021 may be a good time to rediscover Mexico’s home-grown Caribbean resort town in a slower, more relaxed mode that contrasts its rollicking “spring break” reputation of old. One place to take in Cancún at its best is JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, a mile up from the convergence of night clubs, chain restaurants, souvenir emporiums and shopping malls along Avenida Kukulkan.
June marks Pride Month, largely credited to bisexual activist Brenda Howard who organized Gay Pride Week and the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade in 1970, one year after the Stonewall Riots. The parade eventually become the New York City Pride March, leading to Pride Month and similar parades and marches around the world.
Haven Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa, an all-suite, adults-only, all-inclusive oceanfront resort, announces a new experience suited for epicurean travelers: The Chef’s Table. At Haven’s fine-dining restaurant Olios Mediterranean, The Chef’s Table offers the best seats in the house, right in front of the chef’s working station and open, top-of-the-line kitchen. And the actual table is beautiful in its own right: made from reclaimed wood and complemented by a turquoise glass chandelier.