Gerard-Paul

Paul Gerard

Biography

A South- Brooklyn native, Chef Paul Gerard cut his teeth in the turbulent basement kitchens of 1980s New York. At the age of 20, he left for New Orleans, where he worked for more than a decade in some of the Big Easy’s most influential kitchens, including Restaurant August, Peristyle, and Gautreau’s. His time at Susan Spicer’s Bayona is still referred to as the restaurant’s “golden era.”

Since moving back to New York, after Katrina in 2005, Gerard has served as a Chef at Williamsburg’s punk club-cum gastro pub Sweetwater, and as Executive Chef for... READ MORE

A South- Brooklyn native, Chef Paul Gerard cut his teeth in the turbulent basement kitchens of 1980s New York. At the age of 20, he left for New Orleans, where he worked for more than a decade in some of the Big Easy’s most influential kitchens, including Restaurant August, Peristyle, and Gautreau’s. His time at Susan Spicer’s Bayona is still referred to as the restaurant’s “golden era.”

Since moving back to New York, after Katrina in 2005, Gerard has served as a Chef at Williamsburg’s punk club-cum gastro pub Sweetwater, and as Executive Chef for China Grill Management, Soho Grand Hotel, and Soho House. In 2013, he opened Exchange Alley, and East Village restaurant that harkened back the old New York of his youth and showcased his signature “three chord cooking” philosophy— food that is unapologetically simple, bold, and direct. Paul says, “When it comes to food in reference to music, it’s like I went to Julliard, but all I want to play is Ramones songs.”

He delved into his love for interior design and opened Belle Reve in Tribeca with the “Employees Only” guys and Ethyl’s Alcohol & Food, a 70’s inspired go-go bar on UES. Ever creative, Gerard is also a musician, writer, and a concept developer. He partnered up with Tom Colicchio and Anthony Bourdain for the creation of their cutting edge, behind- the scenes chef show “Work the Line” and had long- running funny and irreverent show on Heritage Radio Network called: Eating Disorder.

Today with partners, filmmaker Joe Castelo, and nightlife impresario Rocco Ancarola, Paul calls Hoboken’s Antique Bar & Bakery home, with its 30-ton, 400 square foot, 1000 degree 100-year-old Antique coal oven, there isn’t anything like it used in a restaurant capacity anywhere in the world! One stop from The Village, his flag is waving in the 6th borough!

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What is your favorite NYC restaurant? And what is your go-to dish? Presently, Miznon. My last time in Paris, I kept going back there, even over other “must try” places. I loved the simplicity, the flavor, the vibe, and the people. I was very excited when they opened in NY! What is your ultimate meal? Meals for me always start with who I’m with, where we are, and then the food. From cheese, fruit, and crusty bread with friends & family in a farm house in France or Italy, to chocolate cake on a fire escape in Brooklyn with mi amor, to an elaborate spread by a top chef...they, and many other scenarios, can all weigh in as ultimate meals. What three things are always in your pantry? Peanut butter. Granola. Hot sauce. One would be surprised how often a chef goes home hungry. If you weren't a chef, what would you be? A musician, writer, or an interior designer. As long as I’m creating I’m happy. If you could cook with anyone, who would that be? Toulouse Lautrec or Kieth Richards. What’s your favorite NYCWFF memory? Hand feeding Martha Stewart crackle at a pig roast I did in Miami a few years ago.

Chef Paul Gerard’s Red Snapper, Yellow Tomato, Brown Garlic

Ingredients:

Part 1: Homemade Garlic Chips
12 garlic cloves, as large as possible, peeled
2 cups milk
2 cups vegetable oil

Part 2: Yellow Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
2 pounds peeled whole yellow tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved (tomatoes should be in large chunks)
Salt

Part 3: Red Snapper
4 portions of red snapper
6 ounces yellow tomato sauce per portion
Garlic chips
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt

Directions:

This recipe is broken down into 3 parts. It’s a perfect example of the detail and dedication it takes to make simple food, and this dish is a study in simplicity. It’s quite easy to prepare, and is a huge hit providing flavor and energy!

Part 1: Homemade Garlic Chips

Garlic chips are sweet and nutty when cooked just right, but let them go just a little too long, and they become burnt and acrid. Watch them closely and remove from oil just before you think they’re done.
Note: these chips stay for weeks when sealed in an air tight jar.

Using a small slicer or a Japanese mandoline, slice the garlic very thin. Place garlic in small saucepan with milk to blanche it. Put on stove and bring up until milk begins to boil. Drain through sieve. Place garlic in a thin layer on a plate with a paper towel to dry. Put the garlic and vegetable oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over low heat. Line a plate with two paper towels. Slowly bring the oil and garlic to fry. Then “blast” the oil by turning up the heat to a full flame. Watch very carefully, stirring with a wood spoon. Do not let burn. Cook until just crisp and light golden brown, a matter of seconds. Use a spoon to keep the slices from sticking together as they cook, and transfer them to the paper towels to drain the moment they turn color. Salt with kosher salt and leave in a thin layer to allow further crisping. Stacking them will steam them and reduce crispiness.

Part 2: Yellow Tomato Sauce

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juice and bring to a boil, stirring lightly. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. It should be “brothy.” Season with salt.

Part 3: Red Snapper

Larger filets of red snapper work better so have your fishmonger cut you six 7-ounce portions (and save the extras). Put the yellow tomato sauce in a small metal baking dish and place it on the edge of your grill, slowly simmering. Season fish with salt and pepper and lightly shine with a bit of vegetable oil. Carefully wiping off any excess oil so it will not flame up the grill, place snapper on the grill skin side down. Let cook until skin has lovely grill marks, being careful to not let fish go too long and burn the skin or force flip the fish too soon and rip the skin. Gently prying the edge with a spatula, the fish will lift easily when it’s ready. Lift snapper off the grill and place flesh side down in the sauce. Fish should not be submerged. Skin should remain just above the sauce to retain some crispiness, and not let carbon from the grill discolor the sauce. Let simmer for 4 to 6 minutes or until a toothpick slides through with little resistance. Spoon tomato chunks and broth into a bowl, place fish on the chunks/broth. Top with garlic chips, chunky sea salt to taste (I use Maldon), and a generous blessing of fruity, full-bodied olive oil.