“Thank you so much for joining us on this beautiful spring evening,” Daily Meal Editor-In-Chief Colman Andrews commented to start off Wednesday’s monthly Celebrity Chef Event at The Daily Meal offices.
Of course, if you live in the greater New York area and stepped outside for even a split second yesterday, you know the comment was in jest, as cats, dogs, and every other four-legged animal imaginable was raining down on the city. But friends of The Daily Meal willing to weather the near-monsoon conditions to make it to our Flatiron District office were rewarded handsomely with a full meal from chef Marc Murphy.
If Marc Murphy isn’t the hardest working man in the food biz, he has to be close to the top. The Institute of Culinary Education-trained chef oversees operations of two New York locations of his flagship French and Italian bistro Landmarc, two locations of his fish shack Ditch Plains, and most recently, opened the French-influenced American bistro Kingside at the Viceroy. In between his culinary takeover of the island of Manhattan, Murphy frequently appears as a judge on the Food Network’s Chopped.
The crowd enjoyed a menu that included fish tacos and Ditch Dogs — topped off with mac and cheese — from Ditch Plains, croque-monsieur from Landmarc, and dill crème fraîche and “everything” cured salmon from Kingside, as well as a demonstration that showcased chef Murphy putting his own distinctive spin on baba ghanoush. The recipe dates back to Murphy’s days working as a sous chef at Tribeca’s Layla, when he and Extra Virgin chef Joey Fortunato “trolled around Queens” looking for culinary inspiration.
The lamb chops, marinated with garlic confit and lemon juice, were a house favorite. A crowd member insisted there must be more to the recipe than the simple seasoning.
“How do you make them so good?” she said. “The meat falls right off the bone.”
Chef Murphy claimed that marinating the lamb chops for a full 24 hours was the key to getting perfectly tender chops.
Of the celebrity chef craze, Murphy commented that he found the movement a bit strange, but mostly exciting, noting that his career in food has far exceeded what he had ever imagined.
“I’m excited for the food industry — I thought I’d be flipping burgers,” he said “I just didn’t want to be hungry.”
He also mentioned that the movement had offered great opportunities for those in the food world to help out with charity. In the past, Murphy has worked closely with City Harvest, an organization that helps fight hunger in New York City.
In addition to the top-notch eats, chef Murphy left guests with some simple, sacred culinary advice for the audience.
“Don’t be scared of cooking,” he said. “Just cook.”
The best chefs always seem to have a way of making it sound so simple.
Adam D’Arpino is the Restaurants Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @AdamDArpino.