November 8, 2017 0 Comments AUTHOR: admin CATEGORIES: Uncategorized

An Interview With Chef Kassem

As The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club’s Executive Chef, Marwan Kassem delights our guests and inspires our culinary team with his creativity and skill. We wanted to learn more about what delights and inspires him.

When did cooking become a passion for you?

One day, when I was about 12, I was watching my mom wrapping 200 grape leaves  stuffed with rice and minced meat. One thing that struck me, was they were all uniform in shape.  That fascinated me and I think that’s when I fell in love with cooking.

 How old were you when you realized you wanted to become a chef?

I was 15 years old.

Is there a specific person, chef or dish that inspired you?

At my mother’s elbow I learned that the freshest ingredients coupled with patience creates memorable food. I refer to my mom as “The Cookbook” and periodically call her for her advice on ethnic dishes. I also worked with a master chef from France, Chef Eric Truglas, and learned a lot from him.

 Do you consider yourself a wine connoisseur? If yes, does that influence how you cook or what you put on your menu?

To learn about wine is to taste as much of it as possible. Pairing food dishes with wine enhances the dining experience. Cooking with wine adds flavor and aroma.

Does food influence where you travel?

Where I travel influences my menus. I’ve been to five continents, and I’m planning to visit the last two.

In your opinion, what is the best dish you’ve ever made?

To narrow it to the best dish is not fair!

What is your favorite style of cooking?

Fusion, where East meets West.

Anything you ever wanted to be other than a chef?

I thought about becoming an engineer.

Where can you find the best food?

New York and California. They both offer a readily available supply of multi-cultural cuisine.

 What/where was your first job in the culinary industry?

I was a dishwasher.

What advice would you give to aspiring chefs?

Be in harmony with your food.

Do you find it hard to go home and cook for yourself/family after a long day working in the kitchen?

Chefs eat in hurry standing up, during a long work day. The last thing we need is to be in the kitchen again. But when we do cook at home, you better have a seat on the chef’s table!

 If you could only cook ONE thing for the rest of your life what would it be?

Seafood.

What would you say is the most challenging part of the culinary industry?

Staying fresh and keeping up with new trends.

How do you make a dish unique to you?

A chef makes his mark by putting together a unique combination of ingredients that complement each other.

If you could cook for any one person dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Master Chef Alain Ducasse. He was the first chef to own restaurants carrying three Michelin Star in three cities.

What is the dish on your menu that everyone is asking for at The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club?

Right now, it’s Arabic Coffee Rubbed Tenderloin with cappuccino demi glaze.

Any favorite recipe you wish to share?

Definitely! Roasted Tomato Bisque and Marbled Grouper and Salmon.

 

Tomato Bisque

Ingredients

 (A)

6 each Medium Tomatoes (cut in wedges)

1/4 cup Chopped Onions

1 each Zucchini

1 each Yellow Squash

1/2 each Green Pepper

1 cup Can Diced Tomatoes

1 each Stalk of Celery

3 each Cloves of Garlic

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 (B)

1/2 qt Heavy Whipping Cream

1 tsp. Tobasco

3 cups Water

Salt, Pepper to taste

 (C)

1 bunch Chopped Basil

Diced Tomatoes

Croutons

 

Directions:

1-   Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2-   Combine all vegetables (A) in a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 20-30 minutes.

3-   Place the roasted vegetables in a large saucepan and add water, boil for 12-15 minutes

4-   Add the remainder of the ingredients (B) and cook for 30 minutes on medium to low heat.

5-   Puree the mixture in a blender, approximately 2-4 cups at a time.

6-   Pour the pureed soup back into the sauce pan and heat to desired temperature.

 

 Presentation:

 Place soup in a soup bowl and garnished with (C) diced tomatoes, croutons and chopped basil

 

Marbled Grouper and Salmon with Stuffed Julienne Vegetables, Mushrooms

and Spinach over Mediterranean Salsa

 

Ingredients:

3 oz Grouper

3 oz Salmon

½ each carrot, zucchini, yellow squash

¼ cup shitake mushrooms or wild mushrooms

2 oz. baby spinach

1 tbs finely chopped basil

1 tsp chopped shallots

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Salt, Pepper to taste

 

Salsa Ingredients:

1 ½ cup chopped seeded tomato

1 cup finely chopped cucumber

½ cup finely chopped bell peppers

2 tbs finely chopped red onion

1 tbs finely chopped fresh basil

1 tbs finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1 ½ tsp capers

¼ tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

1 garlic clove, minced

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl

 

Directions:

  1. Pound grouper between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.
  2. Place salmon on top of grouper and pound.
  3. Saute julienne vegetables, mushrooms, spinach, shallots in olive oil
  4. Add salt, pepper and basil
  5. Stuff pounded grouper and salmon
  6. Wrap in plastic wrap
  7. Bake, at 350 F for 15-20 minutes, you could poach or steam
  8. Unwrap and cut in half, serve over salsa
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