I visited a while back with Chef Katie Grebow, formerly of Cafe Chloe. I’ve know her for years and have always wanted to get a chance to work on a project with her. We had such a nice time just chatting, cooking, drinking coffee and making chowder this day. Her home is comforting, “homey” in the best way and feels like just a nice space to relax in. It made for the perfect setting for her and I to chat a bit about where she is at now, what is coming up and her mom.
Katie, tell me a bit about why you chose this recipe we are cooking today:
“I thought about my mom, and how she would cook from Bon Appetit. My grandmother (her mother) didn’t really make a lot of special dishes, I think my mom’s father was more well known for his cooking, but only simple stuff, like his Jewish deli-style chicken salad. So, my mom didn’t do hand me down traditional recipes, but more what was popular according to the ‘fancy’ Bon Appetit magazine of the early 80’s which had more cache then.
We would go to the beach near Carmel, specifically Watsonville most summers. My dad and his friend would go to the dock in Moss Landing and get fresh fish and some artichokes which were grown all over that area, and come home and grill. It was always very cold there, why my parents chose to go to a cold beach town during the summer is beyond me. But they would make food that would be satisfying after spending a day outside in the brisk windy beach air. My mom would make this seafood chowder and it was very different from a typical chowder. It is much thinner, which made it seem very elegant to me, as opposed to a gloppy thick clam chowder. Also, she would add corn and scallions which made it seem very fresh and summery, whereas a typical chowder’s only vegetable element is potato. And it would have fresh seafood that was available up there, crab, baby bay shrimp, baby scallops, and of course bacon, which makes it a chowder!”
MRS. GREBOW’s SEAFOOD CHOWDER
A very loose recipe…give it a try and have fun with it:
- 1 onion
- a few slices of bacon, cooked
- a couple ears of corn
- a few scallions
- a couple potatoes
- a can of crab
- some bay shrimp & bay scallops
- clams if you want
- cream or half n half
- Saute chopped onion, add all of seafood, shucked corn, chopped potato, cream, and water if too thick. No roux necessary, it should be the consistency of the cream at the start, not reduced or thickened.
- Simmer for a half hour or so until potato is cooked through. Add crisp, chopped bacon, sliced scallions. Season with salt and pepper.
Katie, tell me a bit about what you are doing now:
“As a private chef, I am available to do private dinner for clients, I specialize in multi course tasting menus with a focus on a specific cuisine, like French, Spanish, etc. I also do larger cocktail parties but I maintain that farm to table focus and authenticity of cuisine.”
You can contact Katie HERE.
KATIE’s FAVORITE THINGS
“I love coffee like others love wine. I could live on coffee all day long. No sugar, just good organic milk is all you need to sweeten good coffee. I will occasionally do a Vietnamese though if I’m feeling feisty.”
“When it comes to “savory vs sweet, ” its Savory all the way for me. Cheese is my dessert. I am obsessed with European cheese and artisanal American cheeses. Mont D’Or will make you cry if you are lucky enough to find it in the winter in Europe. Rejoice, you may find it imported under the name Vacherin, though this is not a raw cheese, and isn’t quite the same.”
“My favorite knives are currently Kikuichi, which is my current chef’s knife. The most important quality is how long a knife stays sharp or how easy it is to sharpen. It doesn’t matter how it feels in your hand or anything else. If a knife is sharp, your prep work is easy and will be fast. If not, then it certainly will feel like a chore. My Kikuichi stays sharp for a long period of time. Go to knifemerchant.com, it is a local company, owned by a great guy who will absolutely guide you to a perfect knife.”
“My days off are best spent on the beach with my two little ones (2 & 4) cramming sand into every place imaginable, running around like crazy, using outdoor voices, jumping in the waves, and finding treasures.”
“Vacations have changed, what may have been perfect before kids- Paris, eating and drinking all day on sidewalk patios, has given way to what makes the kids & us happy together. We go to the Dominican Republic to visit family, it’s like paradise. We literally spent an entire day at the beach last time, from early morning until dark, the coconut man comes, then the beer guy, then the candy lady with sesame treats. If you ask for a fried fish or a bottle of rum, someone will eventually come on a scooter and you never have to leave the beach.” (note to self, go there! – Jen)
My favorite foods – my favorite to cook as a chef is Spanish pintxos. My favorite to eat is a tie between thai green curry with tofu and bamboo shoots, beingan bharta- indian eggplant, lamb gyro, & chile relleno.