Market Chef : Joel Stocks

August 16, 2011 |  by  |  Chef Demos

Wow. Another chef this week who seems to have known from birth that the kitchen was where he belonged. I’m floored by the constancy of this pattern, aren’t you?! Admittedly a lot of them had cooking-mad parents, which I think we can safely say played a part in sending them in the direction of the stove so consider yourself warned – raise a kid with a taste for great food and you just might end up with a chef in the family! (Lucky you!)

A native Portlander, Joel Stocks exposure to the kitchen actually came at a very young age through a friends father who was a professional chef; “on take your kid to work day, my friend and I would go into the restaurant and chop onions for hours. I think it was there that planted the seeds for what I wanted to do with my life.”

By seventh grade (!) Stocks had read Michael Ruhlman’s wonderful, inspiring book “The Making of a Chef”, and with eighth grade came “The Soul of a Chef”. In the first, Ruhlman writes about the Culinary Institute of America, and in the latter, he discusses spending time at The French Laundry. Stocks decided he would try to do both of those things, and incredibly, by age 20 he had in fact done both. To say he was focused and goal-oriented from a young age feels like an understatement.

Although Stocks has traveled a lot and pushed himself to stage at some of the countries greatest restaurants, spending time in world class kitchens like Grant Achatz’s renowned Alinea in Chicago, Portland has always been homebase. Here in Portland, Noble Rot, Park Kitchen and 50 Plates in the Pearl have all been lucky enough to have Joel in their kitchens at one time or another. Now, you’ll find him sauteing and plating at The Bent Brick, Scott Dolich’s much-anticipated gastropub in Northwest; “no matter where I have traveled I always find myself looking to come back to Portland because of how special of city it is”. Let’s hope he stays a while this time!

Go visit Chef Stocks over at the Bent Brick anytime, and certainly come see him this coming Sunday at the Montavilla Market!

In the meantime, enjoy this refreshing cool summer soup from the man himself :

White Gazpacho

I have decided to include a recipe for white gazpacho. Everyone knows and recognizes the standard red, tomato based gazpacho, but white gazpacho was actually the first peasant soup that the tomato based one is derived from. I’m trying to spread the word on white gazpacho because it is amazingly simple for how amazing it tastes and so more people should know about it.

  • 4c milk
  • 1 pound almonds slivered
  • 4 garlic cloves sliced
  • 6c mineral water
  • 1 small loaf bread (crustless and torn into pieces, about 6oz weight)
  • 1c extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ c sherry vinegar
  • 2t kosher salt

– Bring two cups of the milk, the almonds, and the garlic up to a boil. Take off from the heat and strain, discarding the milk.
– Bring the remaining two cups of milk, the already blanched almonds and garlic up to a boil and repeat. Taking the mixture off the heat and straining, discarding the milk once again. What this process does is soften the garlic and almonds so they puree better, as well as remove some of the sharpness from the garlic that leaves you with bad breath.
– Place the drained garlic and almonds in a blender. Add the mineral water, bread, salt and vinegar and blend for a few minutes until very smooth.
– While the blender is still running slowly drizzle in the olive oil. If your blender is too small for everything to fit you can do this process in multiple smaller batches and then combine them at the end.
– Line a strainer with cheesecloth and set over a bowl. Pour the pureed soup into the cheesecloth and carefully squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can, you will have a good amount of pureed bread goo left in the cheesecloth which you can discard.
– Wrap the bowl with saran wrap and set in the refrigerator to chill for an hour or so.

Garnish

  • 1c toasted marcona almonds roughly chopped
  • 1c muscat grapes cut in half
  • 1c pinot noir grapes cut in half and seeded
  • ¼ c extra virgin olive oil

– Pour soup into chilled bowls or mugs.
– Sprinkle each bowl with a spoonful of almonds, a few halves of each grape, and a drizzle of olive oil.


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