Once a month we highlight a chef and a recipe from the Got to Be N.C. Competition Dining series. This month, we are featuring Chef Serge Falcoz-Vigne of 518 West in Raleigh. He describes his cooking style as “cooking with love,” and “French classic and modern.”
In the Got to Be N.C. Competition Dining Series faces two local chefs face off in a single-elimination, blind-dinner format. Each chef’s menu is created around a North Carolina ingredient that is revealed at noon on the day of the competition. This secret ingredient must be used in each of three courses, appetizer, entree and dessert. Competitions are held in Asheville, Blowing Rock, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh and Wilmington.
Falcoz-Vigne went up against Chef Adam Jones of Dean’s Seafood Bar and Grill in the quarter-final round of Fire in the Triangle on July 21. The secret ingredients were Kerala Curry from Pittsboro and Hillsborough Cheese Company labneh . Chef Falcoz-Vigne won the night and went on to compete in the semifinals on July 29.
Fire in the Triangle ended Aug. 4 with Chef Dean Thompson of Flights besting Chef Steve Zanini of Jimmy V’s Steak House & Tavern. Tickets for Battle in the City in Charlotte are on sale now, with a few dates already sold out.
Chef Falcoz-Vigne provided the following winning Elk Meatloaf recipe from course four of the quarter-final battle:
- 2 pounds ground elk meat
- 2 eggs
- 1/5 cup of Kerala Curry tomatoes, plus 1/2 cup for spread on the top
- 1/2 cup bread crumb
- 1 cup of duck fat
- some chopped sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- salt and pepper to taste
Put the duck fat in a pan or skillet. Mix carrots, celery and onion together and saute. Add the garlic, toss, and move off the hot burner. Let rest until you need it again.
Meanwhile, grind the elk meat, and incorporate all the elements left, mix well with your hands, it’s always better than all mechanical stuff (another tip from the chef)
To be sure of the seasoning, take 1-2 tablespoons of the mix and cook it in a pan and eat it. That way you will be able to taste if there is enough salt or pepper or if there is other seasoning you would like to add a bit more.
When you are happy with the flavor, form the mixture into a loaf, either in some individual greased containers, or one large one. Spread the Kerala tomato chutney on top.
Cook in a preheated 350 degree oven until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Let the dish rest a little before serving it, first because it will be too hot to eat and, a burnt tongue can’t taste very well. Second, because it’s always better to give a rest to this kind of product, when we expect all the flavor to come together… just relax a moment and let it rest .
Parsnip Puree with Labneh yogurt
- 2.5 pounds of parsnips, peeled and cleaned
- ¼ pound of butter
- ½ pound of Hillsborough Cheese Company labneh
- white salt and white pepper
- 1 pound of love
Cut the parsnips and cook until soft. Puree in a food processor, add the butter.
Next, add the labneh yogurt cheese from Hillsborough Cheese Company, but not with the electric appliance, because at this point we need to be delicate… Let’s respect the product, this cheese is a fine one, so, you have to be careful when blending.
Add salt and pepper, but white pepper. Why? because What you see influences what you taste! And the labneh parsnip puree is so pretty, with no trace of black pepper. The specks of the black pepper will deter your attention when it come s to the moment of using your taste buds.
Use a spoon and try, If you like it, it’s good, if not, simply add more seasoning!
Heirloom tomato demi-glace:
- 2 carrots
- 1 yellow onion
- 1/4 cup cup duck fat or extra virgin olive oil
- 1 or 2 heirloom tomatoes
- celery, garlic, thyme
- 1 quart of veal, beef or chicken (or all three of them)
In a pot, add some duck fat, carrots, onions, celery, garlic cloves, thyme, and heirloom tomatoes cut into chunks. Heat over medium heat, let cook, like confit (we said that when the products cooked in some kind of fat, together, like when friends hang-out and chill with each other and each bring the best of themselves to the party).
When the color and the smell looks right, add the veal or beef base, combined with some chicken base too if you got some, and let cook slowly, until the consistency looks thick and not runny. You can also add a little bit of the Kerala tomato chutney, if you have extra, it will be a delicious addition.
Use a strainer to separate the vegetables from the liquid, retaining the jus, or sauce. Adjust the seasoning to taste, if needed, with the salt and the white pepper.
For the finished plate – a spoon of parsnips, a ladle of sauce, a slice of meatloaf, and voila! Bon appetit!