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a city known for its skyscrapers, Alfred Portale's food
at the famed Gotham Bar and Grill mirrors New York's
architecture: His towering plates are as legendary for
their complex presentations as for their complex flavors.
interest in food was piqued by reading Julia Child's
Mastering the Art of French Cooking; his subsequent
career change from jewelry designer to world-class chef
began with an education at the Culinary Institute of
America, where he graduated first in his class in 1981.
For three years Portale worked with some of France's
most renowned chefs Michel Guerard, the brothers
Troisgros, and Jacques Maximin during which time
he continued to refine and master classical French technique.
As he gained experience, a personal style evolved, and
Portale became one of the founders of New American Cuisine.
to share his wealth of knowledge and creativity back
in New York, Portale became chef at the Gotham Bar and
Grill, which was first awarded three stars by the New
York Times in 1986, a feat it has since repeated.
by his mother, who learned Italian cooking from her
mother and then adapted it to American ingredients,
Portale borrows from several cultures to infuse his
dishes with a wide range of flavors.
1992 Portale opened a seafood restaurant to fill the
city's gap between high-end and cheap-eats seafood offerings.
One Fifth Avenue became New York's seafood restaurant
of choice, supplied daily by a salmon farm and by a
fisherman in Maine. In his seafood dishes, Portale combines
the gutsy flavors of the Mediterranean and the abundance
of the Atlantic coast with the technical flourishes
visiting relatives in his hometown of Buffalo, N.Y.,
or at home with his wife and family, Portale is never
far away from the kitchen. He is actively involved in
charities dedicated to providing food for the needy,
such as Share Our Strength and Citymeals-on-Wheels,
and has participated in the American Chefs and Winemakers'
Tribute to James Beard and Wolfgang Puck's Annual American
Food and Wine Festival. In 1990 he was given the Ivy
Award by the respected trade magazine Restaurants
ALFRED PORTALE'S 12 SEASONS COOKBOOK by Alfred Portale
- 400 pages (October 17, 2000)
Broadway Books; ISBN: 0767906063
purchase click here
Alfred Portale is one of our foremost chefs. His cooking
at Manhattan's Gotham Bar and Grill is widely acclaimed
for its refined yet down-to-earth deliciousness. "When
it comes to cooking," Portale says, "there
are 12 seasons," a truth his 12 Seasons Cookbook
explores in bountiful detail. Reflecting that each
month embodies its own seasonal and psychological
moment, and therefore makes its own demands in the
kitchen, he presents more than 100 recipes matched
to the culinary calendar. Though many of these require
a cooking workout, a sufficient number are simple
enough for most cooks to try when the mood strikes.
characterizes the months. November means Thanksgiving
and December Christmas, and for these he provides
recipes like Pumpkin and Sweet Garlic Custards and
Lamb Chops and Truffled Mashed Potatoes. The depths
of February require a little "culinary sunshine"
in the form of Lemon Risotto with Spot Prawns, among
other dishes, while May is "the big bang of the
culinary year," a rebirth celebrated with dishes
including Grilled Soft-Shell Crabs with Asparagus,
New Potatoes, and a Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette. July
is "birthdays and barbecues"--Montauk Chowder
salutes this height of summer--while September signals
a return to school and work, demanding "recipes
for busy times" such as Orichette with Chicken,
Swiss Chard, and Reggiano Parmigiano. A wide range
of dessert recipes, such as Coconut Panna Cotta, are
also included. Throughout, Portale offers "flavor
building" ideas for dressing up recipes, "thinking
ahead" notes for staggering preparation, and
dish variation suggestions. With 150 illustrations,
thematic menus, what-to-drink advice, and a section
on basics like stocks, the book presents a culinary
calendar that works for year-round dining enjoyment.
"When it comes to cooking, there are twelve seasons,"
says Alfred Portale, the world-renowned chef of the
Gotham Bar and Grill restaurant. To him, each month
is a season unto itself--not just because crucial
ingredients peak at different points during the traditional
four seasons, but also because each month carries
with it a unique set of emotions and associations.
Portale's 12 Seasons Cookbook takes the home cook
on a deeply personal journey through the year in food.
Many chapters are...
can order a copy of Alfred Portale's 12 Seasons
Cookbook by clicking here.