EyeSwoon

the bite: Love Is In The Kitchen

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Food is the greatest unifying factor in my eye swoon world so in honor of Valentine’s Day I thought it would be exciting to celebrate husband and wife culinary team Top Chef Alum Brooke Williamson and Nick Roberts who united guess where?? In the kitchen surrounding food! This dynamic culinary couple first met when Nick was hired as Brooke’s Sous Chef. Since that fated day these two lovers have been igniting a culinary revolution in Los Angeles’ South Bay. Together they have opened successful restaurants Hudson House (Redondo Beach), The Tripel (Playa del Rey) and 4-in-1 coastal country mart, Playa Provisions.

Over the years, this couple has learned a thing or two about work-life balance. Take a snoop into their lives and kitchen as they divulge their oh-so-swoony V-Day Lobster Pot Pie recipe.

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We all seem to have our own unique of navigating in the kitchen. When cooking together at home, how do you manage to strike a happy balance? 

Nick – “We tend to stay out of each others way in the kitchen and stick to our own projects in the kitchen.”

Any signature team dishes?  Favorite meal to create together?

Brooke – “Rather than cooking one dish time and time again, we love developing new recipes together.”

Nick  – “We consider each dish on our menus to be signature team dishes.”

How would you describe the food you create at work as opposed to together at home?

Brook – At home, we make more one pot type of meals, like rustic stews and sauces. Neither of us want to clean up a four course meal at home.”

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What inspired you to you become a chef and what was the genesis to where you are today?

Nick – “Always having the ability to learn, try something new and experiment with flavors.”

Brooke – “I always loved how a really good meal has the ability to bring people together. Especially for family meals.”

How did you meet? was it in a kitchen?

Brooke – “At work, of course. I was the chef at ZAX restaurant in Brentwood, and we cooked for a year or so before having an actual conversation. I guess it wasn’t love at first sight.”

Are you honest with one another if you don’t particularly like a dish?

Brooke – “ Yes, and perhaps we’re too honest. I think we’re better at telling each other we don’t like something than we are at expressing how much we actually like their dish.” 

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Guilty pleasure foods you like to indulge in together?
Brooke – “Haagen Daz Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream and Mango Sticky Rice”

Nick – “And any type of Bourbon. And Dark Chocolate.”

Most memorable, swoonworthy meal together?
Nick  – “One of our first dates was at Water Grill when Michael Cimarusti was the Executive Chef. He wasn’t there that particular evening but the very talented Sous Chef took care of us. Our meal was fantastic and we fondly remember that dining experience.”

Always in our fridge?

Nick – “Fresh peanut butter,  Persian cucumbers for our son and a bottle of rose.” 

Brooke – “And the tempah from Dave’s Korean Stand at the Farmer’s Market.”

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I cringe when she eats ——? 

Nick – “I cringe when she drinks Kombucha.”

Most important flavor building ingredient or combo?

Brooke – “For us, it is more about balance than it is about the ingredient.”

Are your cooking styles different? 

Nick – “We’ve increasingly influenced each other’s cooking styles over the years. Now they are pretty similar.”

Five ingredients you couldn’t live without?

Brooke and Nick – “Olive Oil, Sea Salt, Fish Sauce, Mushrooms and Honey.”

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A childhood or college day snack you’re mildly embarrassed you still love?

Brooke – “Cup of noodles and snow balls.”

What are your V day plans? 

Nick – “We will be working but will have a belated celebration.”

What is the perfect romantic or sexy meal?

Brooke – “Cheese, cured meat and a bottle of rose.”

Nick – “On the roof of our restaurant, Playa Provisions.”

 

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Lobster Pot Pie

Chef Brooke Williamson & Nick Roberts

  • The Ingredients

    • 1 large yellow onion,
      diced 1 fennel bulb, diced
      1⁄4 pound unsalted butter
      1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
      2 1⁄2 cups clam juice
      1 tablespoon Pernod
      1 1⁄2 teaspoons kosher slat
      3 tablespoons heavy cream
      1 pound cooked fresh lobster meat, diced
      1 1⁄2 cups frozen peas
      1 1⁄2 cups roasted pearl onions
      1⁄2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley

      Pastry:
      3 cups all-purpose flour
      1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
      1 teaspoon baking powder
      8 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
      8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
      1⁄2 to 2/3 cup ice water
      1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

  • The Prep

    • Sautee the onions and fennel with butter in large sauté pan on medium heat until the onions are translucent, 10-15 minutes.

      Add the flour and cook on low heat for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
      Slowly add clam juice, Pernod and salt and simmer for 5 minutes.
      Add the heavy cream.
      Place the lobster meat, frozen peas, roasted pearl onions, and parsley in a bowl.

      Pour the cream mixture over the lobster mixture and check seasonings.
      Set aside.
      For the crust, mix the flour, salt and baking powder in a food processor fitted with a metal blade.

      Add the shortening and butter and pulse until the fat is the size of peas.
      With the food processor on, add the ice water and process only enough to moisten the dough and have it come together.

      Dump the dough on a floured surface and knead into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

      Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Divide the dough into 5 equal portions and roll out each portion to approximately 1⁄4 inch thick.

      Fill 5 small ramekins with equal amounts of the lobster mixture, and top with the crust. Crimp the crusts to the sides of the ramekins and brush with egg wash. Make 3 or 4 slashes in the top of the crush.

      Bake for 20-25 minutes, until top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

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