Two Chefs Present Cuisines Of The World At Cooking Classes In Southampton - 27 East

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Two Chefs Present Cuisines Of The World At Cooking Classes In Southampton

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Chefs Nicolas Reisini and Jon Albrecht work with students Lisa Westfall and Marilyn Cruz.

Chefs Nicolas Reisini and Jon Albrecht work with students Lisa Westfall and Marilyn Cruz. DANA SHAW

Chef Nicolas Reisini, forground, works with students Lisa Westfall and Marilyn Cruz.

Chef Nicolas Reisini, forground, works with students Lisa Westfall and Marilyn Cruz.

Chefs Chef Jon Albrecht and Nicolas Reisini during a class at The Spurn in Southampton.

Chefs Chef Jon Albrecht and Nicolas Reisini during a class at The Spurn in Southampton.

The finished product, Sudano de Pescado (black bean mainated cod) atop Saffron Rice with a side of Solterito de Habas (broad whtie bean and queso fesco salad).

The finished product, Sudano de Pescado (black bean mainated cod) atop Saffron Rice with a side of Solterito de Habas (broad whtie bean and queso fesco salad). DANA SHAW

Chef Jon Albrecht prepares a dish at a class at The Spur in Southampton.

Chef Jon Albrecht prepares a dish at a class at The Spur in Southampton.

Chef Jon Albrecht prepares a dish at a class at The Spur in Southampton.

Chef Jon Albrecht prepares a dish at a class at The Spur in Southampton.

Chef Jon Albrecht prepares a dish at a class at The Spur in Southampton.

Chef Jon Albrecht prepares a dish at a class at The Spur in Southampton.

Students Lisa Westfall and Marilyn Cruz chop vegetables.

Students Lisa Westfall and Marilyn Cruz chop vegetables.

Chefs Nicolas Reisini and Jon Albrecht work with students Lisa Westfall and Marilyn Cruz.

Chefs Nicolas Reisini and Jon Albrecht work with students Lisa Westfall and Marilyn Cruz.

Ingredients for the pudding.

Ingredients for the pudding.

Chef Nicolas Reisini.

Chef Nicolas Reisini.

Chefs Chef Jon Albrecht and Nicolas Reisini during a class at The Spurn in Southampton.

Chefs Chef Jon Albrecht and Nicolas Reisini during a class at The Spurn in Southampton.

Chef Jon Albrecht prepares a dish at a class at The Spur in Southampton.

Chef Jon Albrecht prepares a dish at a class at The Spur in Southampton.

The finished product.

The finished product.

Arroz Zambito (Peruvian spiced rice pudding), the finished product.

Arroz Zambito (Peruvian spiced rice pudding), the finished product.

authorAnnette Hinkle on Jan 13, 2020

Chef Nicolas Reisini, a Sag Harbor resident and graduate of I.C.C. Culinary Academy, and Chef Jon Albrecht of Hampton Bays, who as a chef and restaurateur began his three-decade career at the old Post House Inn in Southampton, love to share their passion for food with the world.

Together, they are Honest Chef Inc., and every week since October, the pair has been offering cooking classes in order to share that passion with the public. Until recently, classes were held Tuesdays at The Spur in Southampton, but with the new year comes a new location and classes are now being offered on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at One Kings Lane in Southampton Village.

A home décor store may seem like an unusual place to lead a culinary course, but as Albrecht explained in December during a World Culinary Class at The Spur, that’s kind of the point.

“We’re hoping to show folks not to be intimidated by food at all,” he said during the session. “You can take a recipe from anywhere in the world. We’re working on an electric burner, an electric sauté pan and an electric skillet and we can make a meal quickly and simply that even the little guys love.”

“Once you learn core techniques, you can look at a recipe and say, OK I do this, then this, and everything else makes sense,” added Reisini.

“We want people to learn how to improvise and it’s not difficult,” said Albrecht. “Look at what we’re doing.”

What they were doing was preparing a menu based on December’s theme of holiday cuisine from around the world. This particular class focused on Peruvian dishes found at Lima’s Christmas street fair. The menu included Solterito de Habas (broad white bean and queso fresco salad) and Sudano de Pescado (black bean marinated bass) served with Saffron Rice.

The meal was completed with Arroz Zambito, a holiday spiced rice pudding, and the class began with preparation of the rice pudding which included brown sugar, raisins, walnuts and dried coconut.

“It also calls for cloves, but I’m not a fan — so I put in star anise,” Albrecht said. “That’s the thing about cooking, you can put in what you like and leave out what you don’t.”

“It’s like at home,” noted Marilyn Cruz of Patchogue, who attended the class with her friend, Lisa Westfall of Moriches. “If you don’t have something, you substitute.”

When it came time to make the main dish, the chefs made another switch — opting to use cod instead of bass, which the recipe originally called for.

“It’s also kind of boring the way they did the recipe,” Albrecht noted. “So I’m doing a black bean marinade. Again, I’m improvising and doing something outside the box.”

As he and Reisini worked as a team to prepare the meal, Albrecht shared a bit of his knowledge about the cuisine of the country from which they originated.

“Peruvian food is very clean,” explained Albrecht. “When you go to Peru, your body has to adjust. There’re no additives or preservatives. Here, your food is wrapped up and dead, but there it’s butchered that day and unwrapped, so you point to what you want — fresh fish, poultry or meat. The produce was also incredible and the eggs were fresh from that day.

“You could find some of the rainforest menu items as well,” he added. “I was at a food fair and these things were moving. They were grubs. I thought, ‘no thank you.’ But that’s how these people survive.”

As he spoke, the students sipped glasses of wine and listened attentively. When asked if she and Westfall enjoy cooking, Cruz responded, “A lot of our conversations are about food. In cooking, I’m all over the place — which is why this is cool to learn a different cuisine. I like to try lots of things.”

“And I like anything with garlic,” added Westfall. “But when I’m going out, it’s Italian.”

“I like something different,” countered Cruz. “Like Indian.”

“Or Peruvian?” asked Albrecht pointedly.

While December’s cooking classes were all about cuisines from around the world, January’s theme, as is traditional in the time of resolution, is healthy living. This month’s menus have been centered on gluten free, soy free, dairy free and animal free dishes.

“There’s a large call for that and more people are asking for it,” Albrecht said.

On January 19, the World Culinary Class menu will consist of Asian Melon Soup, Winter Asian Vegetable and Wakame Seaweed Sushi, followed by a sweet Creamy Black Sesame Pudding. The January 26 menu features Organic Carrot, Zucchini and Quinoa Salad, a Lentil and Mushroom Cheese Burger with Sweet Potato Fries. Decadent Chocolate Truffles with Caramel Sauce and Seasonal Berries rounds out the menu.

Classes meet Sundays, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at One Kings Lane, 5 Main Street, Southampton Village. The cost is $85 per class. To sign up or learn more, visit honestchefinc.com.

Arroz Zambito (Peruvian spiced rice pudding)

1 1/4 cups rice (jasmine rice preferred)

4 cups water

3 cinnamon sticks

3 cloves (or one petal of star anise)

1 1/4 cups soft dark brown sugar (1/4 cup less if you prefer it not as sweet)

3 tbsp dry coconut

1 oz raisins

3 tbsp. chopped walnuts

12 oz evaporated milk

Ground cinnamon and fresh berries for garnish

To prepare:

Put the water, cinnamon sticks, cloves (or anise) and sugar in a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil over high flame, stirring frequently.

Add the rice and coconut, turning down flame to medium heat and stirring often for 20 to 25 minutes, or until rice is cooked. Stir frequently.

Add the raisins, walnuts and evaporated milk and bring flame down to a simmer and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Spoon into individual dishes and allow to cool (placing in fridge helps to cool faster).

Upon serving, dust with powdered cinnamon and garnish with fresh berries.

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