EyeSwoon

“With food, it’s pretty easy to continue to explore and express oneself. The plate is the canvas and the ingredients provide the colors to play with. When composing a dish and a menu, I like trying to use the entirety of the color spectrum. Not only am I making sure it’s pleasing to the palate but also to the eye. Colors drive a lot of the dishes at Rebelle.”

Talk about a swoony statement! I recently had the privilege of stepping into the kitchen at Rebelle in lower Manhattan to cook with Chef Daniel Eddy. From the moment my eyes fell upon the restaurant’s impeccably-curated Instagram feed, I was without a doubt swooning. I was hooked and Chef Daniel and I became Insta-friends. What commanded my attention online was the obvious creativity and consideration for every last detail. There was the mouthwatering food itself, but also the artful plating, composition of each capture, lighting and perfectly-controlled color palette. The Rebelle feed was telling a story – it served up not just random food images but a focused vision I knew could only be trickling down from the master behind the dishes. What I was also struck by was the design and décor of the space. Again strictly through glimpses on Instagram, I became intrigued – and this is what ultimately caused me to experience the restaurant. I just knew in my bones there was some crazy foodie-décor synergy going on. We spoke the same language.

The walls of Rebelle are clad in a perfect, cool grey-tone paint that mimics the look of concrete. The bar and reception desk are outfitted in black and purple veined marble. Fittingly, it’s called “lilac marble” — and it just happens to be the exact variety I have spec-ed for my new townhouse. The design of the space is layered and minimal at once, clearly exhibiting restraint and refinement. During the renovation some industrial elements were revealed, and thankfully embraced, because of budget restrictions. I always say that sometimes limitations cause us to get more creative and dig deeper. Constraints usually yield better results!

Mirroring the décor, in the kitchen Chef Daniel’s food is also layered, pure and sophisticated – it’s steeped in classic techniques. Chef Daniel describes his food as contemporary French, respecting ingredients and tradition. And his brilliant advice for all us home cooks? Slow down! Long and low cooking temps let flavors develop deeply over time.

I just loved watching Chef Daniel immersed in his craft. As we created a vegetable consummé with braised turnip, we discussed the trajectory that brought him to this moment. I already knew he was an artist with his food, but upon chatting I found that he really does have a background in the arts, having studied photography before he entered the food space. And my favorite tidbit from our day in the kitchen? It was actually about his mom, who recognized his clear passion for food and encouraged him to study further. Just as mamas do, she went ahead and sent a culinary school brochure to Daniel without prompting – gotta love a mother’s nudge!

Chef Daniel went on to cook in his hometown of NYC for four years before exploring Paris, apprenticing, helping to open a restaurant abroad and then finally returning to NYC to open Rebelle. And there you have it. With Nicaraguan roots, a love of photography, an NYC state of mind and some serious French training, you get a chef that appreciates art, beauty and his surroundings as much as he respects the food itself. And all the while, he remains true to himself and his vision. When I asked Chef Daniel to share a food trend he partakes in, his response was genius. “I’m not sure about what’s trendy,” he said. “I’m old school. I like tried and true.”

Rebelle

swoonisms

  • Chef Daniel Eddy

    • How would you describe the food you create at Rebelle? What is the core value represented in the food? 

      Contemporary French. Respecting ingredients and tradition

      Most important flavor building ingredient or combo? 

      Acid and texture

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

      Food inspired me. My mother planted the idea of food as a career, and my first apprenticeship catapulted me into the field. Once I began I didn’t turn back. I worked in NYC with my first chef for almost four years and then decided to travel to Paris. I did an apprenticeship at Spring Restaurant for two months. It was during that time that I was offered an opportunity to return and help in open the second version of  Spring. After Three years at Spring, it was time to return home to NYC and create something of my own, which became Rebelle.

      I know you had a distinct vision for the restaurant design. Can you speak to the BEAUTIFUL design execution of Rebelle? 

      We worked with hOmE Studios in the design process. We had a small budget, especially considering the size of the restaurant, so a lot of the design decisions were made after the space was stripped down to its bones. Throughout this process we worked together, ideas being presented and decision being made. They sourced and fabricated the finishes, like the incredible marble, and the artist who did the walls. A big part of the design though was invested in the comfort of the guest. That meant that we wanted spacious tables, comfortable chairs and banquets, and a decor that while interesting and pleasing to the idea, didn’t cause a distraction from the dining experience.

      It is clear that you are a visionary – a creative through and through – from design to photography – how have you parlayed those artistic sides of yourself into your food?

      With food it’s pretty easy to continue to explore and express oneself. The plate is the canvas, and the ingredients provide the colors to play with. When composing a dish, and a menu I like trying to make sure to use the entierty of the color spectrum. Not only  making sure it’s pleasing to the palate, but also to the eye. Colors drive a lot of the dishes at Rebelle.

      One of my favorite cookbooks is Alain Passard’s The Art of Cooking with Vegetables. The dishes are portrayed through collages. It great! I allows the imagination to work, to envision it for ourselves. 

      Your favorite dish here at Rebelle? Most popular? 

      My favorite changes day to day. The most popular ones, the cured fluke, with brown butter, lemon and capers. Leek vinaigrette with soft boiled egg, and leek ash. The pan roasted and then butter poached chicken with potatoes, preserved lemon and chicken jus

       Any kitchen trick for home chefs that guaranteed to pack flavor into their dishes?

      Time! Slow cooking really develops flavors. You can always do larger batches and freeze what you make, be it a sauce bolognese or a chicken stock, into serving size portions for those days that you don’t have the time, but do want the flavor.

      Do you have a different approach to cooking at home than at work? Something you often create for your family & friends at home?

      Very simple at home, one to two pot cooking, low heat. Humble food that I grew up eating from Nicaragua. Rice and beans, black bean soup with tortillas. Also sauce bolognese as my wife is from Italy and my son loves it too!

      Five ingredients you couldn’t live without?

      Rice, beans, hot sauce, eggs, and vegetables!

      What’s always in your fridge?

      All of the above, and milk.

      Late night indulgence after a night in the kitchen? (wine? chocolate? nibbles?)

      Usually something out of a bag! Typically salty things, like chips, but rarely have those is house so I usually turn to trail mix or rice cakes. 

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

      Junk chips, doritos and such. 

      Classic NYC Restaurant that makes you swoon? 

      Gramercy Tavern, it’s a classic.

      Last life-changing, swoon-worthy food experience? (at a restaurant, someone’s kitchen, etc) 

      While traveling in southern Italy, we stopped into a Masseria in the middle of nowhere, on the recommendation of a stranger. The meal started with a ricotta we saw them making just a couple of hours before, when we stopped in to check if they were even open. Everything about that first bite, the flavor, the texture, the temperature…It still is so vivid.

      The 5 local go-to restaurants or cafes you frequent in NYC? 

      Arcade Bakery, Parisi Bakery, Prince Street Pizza, Tilda All Day,  Xian Famous Food

      Favorite city for food outside of NYC?

      Paris

      A perfect Sunday is…  With…

      Family and friends

      Food trend you partake in?  One you wish would go away?  

      I’m not sure about what’s trendy. I’m old school, I like tried and true.

      Cooking makes you feel….. At ease.

Vegetable Consomme + Braised Turnips

Chef Daniel Eddy

  • Ingredients

    • Vegetable Consomme:

      • 1/2 bottles of wine
      • 1 small onion split in half and blackend in a skillet  
      • 5 large onions split in half 
      • 3 pieces of cloves stuck in one half of an onion
      • 1 pound of shallots peeled 
      • 1 bunches of celery
      • 1 heads of fennel split in half
      • 1 celery root peeled and quartered
      • 3 leeks
      • 2 small heads of garlic
      • Bouquet garni 
      • 1 large carrot
      • 1/2 pound of button mushrooms
      • 1 granny smith apple

      Braised Turnip:

      • 4 turnips about the side of baseball
      • 2 tbsp Honey
      • 1 cup orange juice
      • 1/2 cup lemon juice
      • 10 sprigs of thyme, 1 tbsp black pepper, 1 bay leaf (in a sachet)
      • salt to taste
      • 4 tbsp toasted sunflower seeds
      • 1 cup of sunflower sprouts
  • The Prep

    •  Vegetable Consomme:

      1. Reduce wine in a large pot until the alcohol is cooked off then add all vegetables except the button mushrooms and apple

      2. Cover with 2 times the amount of water than that of vegetables.

      3. Cook for one hour and then add button mushrooms

      4. After cooking for 30 minutes add granny smith apple and cook for 15 more minutes

      5. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, and reduce by 3/4, or until full flavor and amber in color. season with sea salt

       

      Braides Turnip:

      1. Peel turnips and split in half, cutting them into the shape of a puck. Cook the trim, but not the peelings, with 3 tbsp toasted sunflower seeds until soft. Puree together and season with salt.

      2. Sear the turnips in a pan, using a neutral oil, like grapeseed. Once they had achieved a nice golden color add two tablespoons of honey. When the honey begins to caramelize and 1 cup of orange juice and half a cup of lemon juice. Place a cartouche over the turnips and reduce heat to a simmer, adding water if the braising liquid gets to thick until tender. remove turnips and reduce braising liquid down to a glaze.

      3. Glaze the turnips and finish with lemon zest, parsley.  Cover the turnip with the puree, and sprinkle the sunflower seeds on top.

      4. Place the turnip in the bowl and cover with the sprouts. Pour consommé

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