Kitchen Confidential: Chefs giving back

. April 1, 2015.
mousa

by Pat Nowak

In our country, one in five children will struggle with hunger issues. Right here in Toledo and around the U.S., a team of dedicated volunteers are trying to end this tragic circumstance. How can you help? Support Share our Strength’s Taste of the Nation event on April 26. 

Taste of the Nation features fabulous cuisine from over 40 local restaurants, as well as national chefs who travel here for the event. The Food Tent is open from 5-8pm with live music and raffle announcements beginning at 7:30pm. 

I talked to Moussa Salloukh, of Burger Bar 419 and LaScola Restaurant, about the event and why he donates so much time to this organization. He has contributed his time and creative cuisine talents for 14 years.  His reasoning: His own children are well-fed, consuming three healthy meals a day; many children are not that fortunate. Salloukh feels it is a privilege, and a community duty, to be able to donate to an organization that conquers hunger issues, and he’s proud that 100 percent of proceeds from each ticket sold goes to help end childhood hunger. 

Salloukh is a self-taught chef who was trained to cook by his family, most notably his mother and grandmother. He has a passion for food, and enjoys experimenting with recipes. 

For Taste of the Nation, he plans to serve veal short ribs as well as a vegetarian option. Dedicated teams from his restaurants will staff two Taste tables, and as a chairman, he will be busy with the event. He is looking forward to the after-event, where he will spend time with the other chefs—socializing and talking about the latest in food news.

This year’s team of dedicated volunteers includes Salloukh and his fellow event co-chairs, Gus Mancy, Marla Schecht and Terri Thompson. Joining them on the steering committee are Craig Joseph, Labib Hajjar, Dean Kasperzak, and Ty Szumigala. 

Whether you are a foodie, a philanthropist, a party-goer, or just curious, you can make a difference in our region’s fight against childhood hunger. 

The event is black tie optional, and provides a free A1 limousine ride home, as well as free valet parking. See toledotaste.org for more details.

Braised Pork Shoulder

(Serves 4-6) from Moussa Salloukh

2 TBSP  coriander seeds, toasted

2 TBSP cumin seeds, toasted

1 – 4 lb. boneless pork shoulder,      sliced in half along the grain

Kosher salt

Extra virgin olive oil

1 fennel bulb, sliced

1 lg. onion, sliced

Pinch of crushed red pepper

4 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped

2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

2 c. dry white wine

¼ c. Dijon mustard

3 bay leaves

1 bundle fresh thyme

3-4 c. chicken stock

Using a spice grinder, grind the coriander and cumin seeds until they are a fine powder.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Sprinkle the pork shoulder with the ground spices, salt them, then tie each piece so they cook evenly

Coat a Dutch oven with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Brown the first pork shoulder on all sides. Remove the pork from the pan and reserve. Ditch the fat in the pan and put in a few drops of new oil. Repeat with the second pork shoulder and remove.

Add the wine and reduce by half. Stir in the mustard and add bay leaves and thyme. Return the pork to the Dutch oven and add the stock to the pan until it comes halfway up the side of the pork. Bring the liquid to a boil, cover and put the Dutch oven in the preheated oven.

After 1 hour, turn the pork over and add more liquid to the pan if the liquid level has gone down. Cover and return to the oven for one more hour.

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