Raleigh, N.C. — The second round of Fire in the Triangle continues this week – let's get to know the chefs!
Here's what Zanini had to say about round one and looking ahead to round two:
What surprised you most about round one? Thoughts on your secret ingredient?
Zanini: What suprised me most about the first round was how fast time went by. We executed our time correctly but, wow, it went by so fast. When Jimmy showed us the video, just before revealing the secret ingredient, I thought we were getting goat meat. Instead we got a goat cheese-cow milk blend that was really a smooth and tasteful cheese. Most folks that don't like goat cheese for its sharpness would appreciate the smooth quality of this particular cheese.
In the first round, we were wanting almost any protein and those heirloom tomatoes. We were actually working on some recipes with heirloom tomatoes.
Going into round two, what do you absolutely not want to see as a secret ingredient? Any great combos you'd like to see - i.e. donuts and coffee?
Zanini: In the second round we probably didn't want to see mozzarella and caviar. I give credit to the chefs that had those ingredients! You just have to stick to your guns and do what you always do. I know that we would've had fun creating dishes with the mozzarella and caviar ingredients.
For round two, we would enjoy getting seafood. We see enough beef that creating seafood dishes at the restaurant is an enjoyable change of pace.
Do you know your competitor well? Any history of working together?
Zanini: Other than talking to him briefly on media day, no. I only know of him through last year and this year's competition videos and media releases. We would like to know him so that we can have some insight to his style. We are hoping he is saying the same about us! We have seen his cowboy hat and kilt. I, myself, have a 3 foot wide sombrero that I'd like to wear to compete, not only with his cooking, but in head wear as well!
What do you want to get out of this competition, besides winning?
Zanini: For me, it is about the whole realm of the Competition Dining Series. It's the camaraderie, the feeling inside about competing against other chefs that are your peers. There is a prize but, if your passion is food then, the passion is to make good food! I can care less about the money, I would rather like for people to taste my food and say "wow" and want more. I like when we see regulars at the restaurant. It tells me that we are doing something right.
One thing you want to share with diners about you and your restaurant.
Zanini: We are a "steak house" but we offer more than just a great steak. Because we are a steak house most of our features are seafood. Just about everything is made in house. We outsource a few of our desserts from a local bakery. We have a large menu that would appeal to any person and can cater to any dietary needs as well. When you come to Jimmy V's, it is all about the experience and fine food. We make it a family atmosphere because we want coming to the restaurant to feel like that you're at home among family. The restaurant is a relaxing place.
Zanini also shared a recipe for quick and easy casino-style oysters with us – enjoy!
Oyster topping (recipe should be altered depending on how many oysters you have):
- 1/4 teaspoon butter
- 1/16 tsp. garlic
- 1/4 tsp. bacon and Parmesan
- Mix ingredients and put on oysters. If you'd like finish with chives and some mignonette, you can.
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 medium shallots, finely diced
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- pinch of sea salt and fresh pepper