Weissenborn Mimi - Weissenborn, Mimi

Mimi Weissenborn

Biography

Mimi Weissenborn is the Executive Chef at Vinateria, the beloved Spanish and Italian-inspired Harlem restaurant, where she oversees all new menu items and specials. Mimi began cooking at a young age and graduated from L’Academie de Cuisine in her native Maryland. From there, she trained at Firestone’s Culinary Tavern in Frederick, MD, moving through the kitchen, before landing in the pastry department where she discovered her love for baking. After five years at Firestone’s, Mimi moved to New York to pursue a culinary career, where she has worked at restaurants such as Breads Bakery, Superfine... READ MORE

Mimi Weissenborn is the Executive Chef at Vinateria, the beloved Spanish and Italian-inspired Harlem restaurant, where she oversees all new menu items and specials. Mimi began cooking at a young age and graduated from L’Academie de Cuisine in her native Maryland. From there, she trained at Firestone’s Culinary Tavern in Frederick, MD, moving through the kitchen, before landing in the pastry department where she discovered her love for baking. After five years at Firestone’s, Mimi moved to New York to pursue a culinary career, where she has worked at restaurants such as Breads Bakery, Superfine (Sous Chef), and Poco (Executive Chef), before joining the team at Vinateria. Mimi was born and raised in Maryland by a Southern German family, whom she gained her love for soulful cooking from. When Mimi isn’t cooking, she enjoys hiking, working to inspire others in the queer culinary community, and exploring her neighborhood, Crown Heights in Brooklyn.

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What is your favorite NYC restaurant? And what is your go-to dish? There is a place in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn called White Tiger. Their Bibimbap is to die for. I taste soul when I eat at White Tiger, nothing beats a Bibimbap served in a piping hot stone bowl on a cold winter NY night. Honestly, if I lived closer I would probably eat there a few times a week! What is your ultimate meal? My ultimate meal is anything my grandmother makes in Germany. There is nothing like spending an afternoon walking around the german marketplatz for seasonal ingredients. I always enjoy watching what very simple or complex dishes my grandmother will come up with from those ingredients. No matter what it may end up being, there is one thing that is always conveyed through her food, love. You can taste all of the love that went into the german soil from those farmers to create those ingredients and then watching my grandmother in turn also give all of her love into the preparation of the food. What three things are always in your pantry? Three things that are always in my pantry: 1. Old Bay seasoning. I'm from Maryland where old bay is life. 2. A bag of dried german spaetzle. That familiar dish that always brings comfort and memories of home. 3. Nutella. Can you go wrong? If you weren't a chef, what would you be? If I were't a chef, I would be a P.E teacher. It’s actually what I originally went to school to do, but unfortunately or (fortunately) the heavy load of science classes stopped me dead in my tracks. Being a chef is different yes, but there also is a lot of mentoring and teaching within being an executive chef. My favorite days are when I'm able to teach private cooking classes, one of our greatest gifts is to be able to share all of this knowledge and love along to others for them to enjoy. If you could cook with anyone, who would that be? If I could cook with anyone, it would be the late and great Anthony Bourdain. Anthony is someone who I truly admired on all fronts. From his cooking days to his writing days. Anthony had a, what you see is what you get mentality, something that has always resonated with me deeply. Anthony allowed viewers and readers alike the insight and window into what it truly looks like on the inside of those kitchen doors. It is because of Mr. Bourdain that I put traveling first whenever possible. I have created some of my best dishes inspired by my time abroad. For that, what better way to say Thank you then to cook side by side with him doing what connects us all together, food. What’s your favorite NYCWFF memory? This will be my first NYCWFF and I’m excited to make memories this year and for years to come!!

Recipe Name:
Garganelli with Morels and Peas

Recipe Ingredients:
Garganelli – 1 pound, fresh or dried (penne is a fine substitute)
Fresh morels – 1/2 pound
Shallot, minced – 1
Garlic, minced – 1 clove
Heavy cream – 1 pint
Tarragon, minced – 2 tablespoons
Juice from 1 lemon
Splash of Marsala wine
Butter – 1 tablespoon
Freshly shelled peas – 6oz (frozen is fine too)
Pea Tendrils (optional but appreciated)
Salt and pepper

Recipe Instructions:
Clean morels using a brush or cloth. Sweat shallot and garlic in the butter over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 5-10 minutes. Raise the heat and add the morels, stirring frequently for 3-5 minutes. Add the Marsala and let the alcohol evaporate, about 30 seconds. Add the cream and adjust the heat so that the cream bubbles happily while also reducing. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the cream has reduced by about half. Add the tarragon and adjust with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Boil the pasta.

As it cooks, blanch the peas only until they lose their raw bite, 30 seconds – 1 minute. When the pasta is al dente, add it to the pan with the morel sauce and toss until the pasta and sauce come together, using some reserved pasta water as necessary. Add the blanched peas, top with the pea tendrils and serve immediately.