|Fresh ingredients? Chef John talks about fresh products at Galaxy|
Monday, June 21, 2010
While in a meeting at the Galaxy last week, executive chef John Schulze was talking about all of the great local products that he is getting for the restaurant so we decided to interview John.
Interview with Chef John Schulze on Monday, June 21st.
QUESTION: What items are you buying from local farmers right now?
ANSWER: We are buying asparagus, strawberries, beans (not all beans but some right now), sugar snaps, spinach curly, squash blossoms,, squash, zucchini, swiss chard, peppers, and herbs, (basil, chives, oregano, parsley, mint, and pea tendrils.) It's a great time of the year to have access to these fresh items. They go into many of our salads and other dishes, sauces, and daily features. The strawberries are fabulous right now. We are currently featuring a strawberry salad with Balsamic vinaigrette, goat cheese and candied walnuts.
QUESTION: What other items are you looking forward to getting later in the summer?
ANSWER: Tomatoes. The really good tomatoes have not come in yet, heirloom tomatoes, grape, tear-drop and others. The Italian style Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella is out of this world with thick red fresh tomatoes. For cooking they're great also as in the roasted tomato coulis. The Amish onions also, they are big and sweet, we use them to make the reduction sauce for the pork dishes, caremelized reduction. Also, for the hand breaded onion rings, can't beat them. We will soon also get a variety of peppers, eggplant, cabbage, and cauliflower.
QUESTION: What is important to you in choosing ingredients?
ANSWER: Well simply freshness. It sounds obvious but everything affects freshness. I look at travel time, items coming from the local producer did not spend long in route or even once they are harvested. They actually harvest to order when I call in. I visited the farm, things are grown naturally with no pesticides, no outside environment concerns, all fresh. I was impressed with the handling of the products, all hand washed, hand cut and assorted, not by machine. I speak with the grower in the Spring and we talk about certain items. I asked him to grow a special pepper that I use in the sauce for the Shrimp Tempura and he is growing it for me. I was having trouble getting the pepper from any other source. They love to hear my feedback and they use it in their growing practices.
QUESTION: Describe how menu items here are different from those at other restaurants?
ANSWER: It starts with training. You can have all of the right ingredients but if you don't have the proper method of preparation, in the end the product will not be where it needs to be. You have to maintain quality through the entire process. For example, all of our soups are created in house, the foundation is started here with our own stock whether its seafood, beef, or chicken based. Our beef stock takes 12-16 hours to develop before we turn it into a soup. We make all of our sauces, starches, and most of our dressings from scratch. The majority of menu items are made from scratch in house. We buy very few ready to serve items like many other restaurants. We know where our menu items originate, all fresh and natural from our kitchen.
QUESTION: What about the beef products from the company farm, Circle L?
ANSWER: The farm provides us all of the hamburger that we use in the restaurant. All of the burgers and any dish that uses hamburger such as meatloaf, meatballs, and beef nachos. Again, it's naturally raised on our farm in Burbank, Ohio and we know what we're getting. I work with the process house to ensure they produce the hamburger to my specs, it's very consistent that way. In time we may offer some expanded cuts of meat from the farm.
Notes on the grower:
You'll find the freshest produce available when you visit the Galaxy Restaurant in Wadsworth. Galaxy Executive Chef, John Schulze has established a relationship with a local company that works with Amish farmers in Kidron to purchase most of the produce used in the restaurant. These farms under the direction of Jerry Longville, owner of "Y Not Llamas", (http://www.localharvest.org/farms/M23478)located in Norton, Ohio grows and harvests crops for the Galaxy because they know what Chef John Schulze not only uses in preparing menu items for the restaurant, but also the quality he expects for their customers.