Friday, August 13, 2010

Interview: Café Sebastienne Chef Jennifer Maloney falls in love with New Orleans, sneaks cookies in the middle of the night

Posted By on Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 9:45 AM

click to enlarge You can win over Chef Jennifer Maloney with a Chicago-style hot dog.
  • You can win over Chef Jennifer Maloney with a Chicago-style hot dog.

Café Sebastienne has a rotating menu designed to highlight seasonal produce and give Executive Chef Jennifer Maloney the ability to continually reinvent the restaurant space inside the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. Case in point: The Pitch's Joe Tone was recently blown away by the watermelon gazpacho -- a perfect dish for a sweltering summer.

As part of the five questions we put to a chef every week, Fat City caught up with Maloney via e-mail to learn a bit more about her guilty pleasures and which ingredients she wishes she could transplant to Kansas City.


1. What you enjoy cooking most and what do you enjoy have cooked for you?

I love cooking fish! All types of fish except

octopus (yuck). I love grilled fish, sautéed fish, roasted whole fish,

any type of shell fish. My favorite dish is any wild salmon with a herb

hollandaise. I know it's fattening, but it's so yummy. Or I have it

with a light preserved lemon vinaigrette. My least favorite technique

for fish is poached.

Fish is really easy, and if anyone needs a quick

recipe for a five-minute fish dish, ask me. Right now, I'm on a

Southern cuisine kick! I am in love with New Orleans and its cuisine.

You will find a few influences on my menu now. I really enjoy when

someone cooks me breakfast, preferably a perfect omelet!

2. What are the rules of your kitchen?

First and

foremost is to respect each other and respect the food. We work with

quality product, so I really want my cooks to take pride in our

ingredients. Second, take

ownership. Watch look and listen to everything that is happening in the

kitchen. Pay attention to every detail. "Good enough" will not fly in

the kitchen. Focus, focus, focus! Third, taste everything you make every time before you put it on a plate and season (that could be first). Fourth, lose the cell phone. That seems to be a universal problem!

3. Seasonal ingredients are a large part of Cafe Sebastienne's menu. What do you wish you could get in Kansas City that you've had elsewhere?

I really wish we

could get local farm fresh vegetables year-round. I really like Black

Mission figs, Meyer lemons, and fresh local seafood. I just had this

great fresh trout dish. It was so fresh and delicious.

4. If you had to eat out for an evening (and you couldn't go to your restaurant), where would you eat and what would you order?

In Kansas City, we have so many good chefs, and a

lot of them are my good friends. So that is a tough one. I enjoy Le Fou

Frog's rack of lamb with couscous, but I mean, really, too many great

cooks out there. I love it when any chef in this town cooks for me.

5. What's your guilty pleasure?

My guilty pleasure is pasta. I could have it at

every meal. I also enjoy cookies and milk in the middle of the night,

as well as a good grilled hot dog with celery salt, brown mustard, and

relish.

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