Even those with the most discriminating palates like to indulge in empty calories sometimes.
Just ask Matthew Deliso, executive chef at Blue Ribbon Federal Grill, and Jay Strauss, founding chef and partner at Westville Restaurants — two of the culinary stars taking part in the inaugural Politics of Food event.
They reveal their weaknesses when it comes to junk food — and more — below.
Politics of Food — two main events presented by the New York Daily News and City & State — brings Downtown Manhattan restaurants and chefs together on Nov. 16 for a day of discussions and tastings.
The Politics of Food Conference (8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.), which costs $ 45 per person, kicks things off in the morning at the New York Institute of Technology auditorium on the Upper West Side (1871 Broadway). The conference will explore food policy issues facing consumers and the food industry, and bring together top chefs, policy makers and innovators from different fields to look at food issues and trends.
Bring your appetite to the Politics of Food Festival in the evening (7 – 9 p.m.) at the Museum of American Finance (48 Wall St.) in the Financial District. For $ 125, feast on dishes from Downtown restaurants while listening to live music and mingling with foodies and special guests. Or, gain early access to the festival for $ 195 for a VIP reception (6-7 p.m.). Participating restaurants range from tapas hotspot Amada to burger heaven Shake Shack.
Visit politicsoffood.nyc to purchase tickets or learn more.
Jay Strauss, founding chef and partner at Westville Restaurants.
(Eilon Paz/Eilon Paz)
Jay Strauss, founding chef and partner at Westville Restaurants, where he operates six eateries including Westville Wall Street and Westville Dumbo
Kitchen cred: this self-taught cook/chef says he learned by surrounding himself with smart, experienced chefs. He also holds a marketing degree from New York University.
One ingredient I hate: Truffle oil. I don’t even know or care if it actually contains truffles, but the smell is just so peculiar.
When I’m not cooking…I’m cutting wood.
Tools every cook should keep in their kitchen: Get a knife around 6” long, a good pair of tongs and a silicone spatula — that’s it. And don’t be afraid to use your hands.
Junk food I can’t live without: Ice cream.
Fave fall dish to make at home:I love delicata squash — simple roasting with a touch of za’atar and salt.
Delicata squash is a fall favorite for Jay Strauss, founding chef and partner at Westville Restaurants.
Best dish I’ve ever eaten: The answer is a dish that I made. There was a small dude fest of friends and I brought around 10 pounds of Alaskan king crab legs, made a cocktail sauce (horseradish and ketchup) and some lemons. It was an early summer night this year on Prince St. I boiled the legs in a little salted water, chilled them on ice, and served them with lemon slices and a Corsican white wine and there’s just nothing better. When seeing the enjoyment the others had — people that happy, from something so simple — this is the best.
Favorite NYC restaurant that’s not my own: I don’t have a favorite restaurant in New York City — I don’t go to many restaurants. I like the pizza here, the sushi there. I do however have a favorite T-Shirt.
Matthew Deliso, executive chef at Blue Ribbon Federal Grill in the Financial District
Matthew Deliso, executive chef at Blue Ribbon Federal Grill in the Financial District.
(Steve Hill )
Kitchen cred: after attending culinary school in Vermont, he worked in several restaurants including Prune, Cafe Gray, Islesford Dock Restaurant, and Red Rooster before joining Blue Ribbon as opening chef of Brooklyn Bowl in 2009. In 2012, he took over as executive chef of Blue Ribbon Bakery Kitchen. Earlier this year, he opened Blue Ribbon Federal Grill as executive chef.
Fave fall dish to make at home: I love putting together one pot meals in the slow-cooker — anything that is falling off the bone in a light broth seasoned well with some nice heat to it that I can serve over rice. It’s simple, warms the apartment and gives off a nice aroma as well. Finish it with thinly sliced cabbage, cilantro and hot peppers.
Advice for those who say they can’t cook: Just have fun with it and read cookbooks. Stick to the basics.
When I’m not cooking, I’m…Playing guitar.
Junk food I can’t live without: Haribo Gold-Bears
Favorite NYC restaurant that’s not my own: Prune in the East Village (prunerestaurant.com).