Compliments of the Chef with Giuseppe Tentori

Compliments of the Chef with Giuseppe Tentori

This week, Chefs Feed met up with renowned chef Tentori at his restaurant, GT Fish & Oyster, in Chicago's Near North Side.

December 6, 2013
CF: I'm best known for my _______ style of cooking but I can make one hell of a _______. 
GT: charismatic; stew (or nowadays, it's actually more like baby food) 

CF: A few words your sous chef would use to describe you. 
GT: Crazy with an equally crazy attention to detail. I seem to see things nobody else sees. 

CF: What are you most excited about right now in your restaurant? 
GT: With the seasons changing so quickly here in Chicago, we've added a dish to warm you up on cold nights: GT ramen with lobster consommé. Everyone does their ramen with a rich beef or pork broth, but here at GT we put our own spin on it. The broth is a fortified lobster stock with flavors of lemongrass, ginger, and soy in the forefront. It's garnished with a seared scallop, baby bok choy, roasted butternut squash, and a few other traditional garnishes. We also make and cut all of the noodles here in-house. 

CF: Which chef would you drop everything to stage with? 
GT: Thomas Keller during his opening week at The French Laundry—that is if I could time travel. I love the intensity of opening a restaurant; it always seems to be the craziest time in a chef's life. He has always been so passionate and consistent, and at his level, he is one of the only chefs who is still cooking. He's not sitting on the side drinking champagne, he's always cooking. 

CF: Insider tip from the kitchen for diners. 
GT: When something is diced to a very small size, don't overlook how labor-intensive it is and what kind of knife skills are needed. For example, it literally takes hours to dice up the cucumbers in the cocktail vinaigrette we serve with our oysters. Machines can't be used because they put too much pressure on the cucumbers, which forces all the water out so we have to prepare the cucumber brunoise by hand. 

CF: Message to professional food critics. 
GT: Be nice to us. Please give us a few more weeks after we open. 

CF: One piece of advice for aspiring young chefs. 
GT: You need to stage in multiple restaurants before deciding where to work. Once you decide where to work, stay there for at least a year or two. This way, you can build meaningful relationships that will last throughout your career. 

CF: Is there anything you don't like? 
GT: Shark fin... it's bad karma. 

CF: What's for family meal tonight? 
GT: We set our family meal cooking schedule every two weeks where each cook gets their own day to be responsible for about 80 people. The menu always consists of protein, starch, and a salad, and once in a while, if we're lucky, we get dessert, too.