Posts in the Restaurants Category

Do you have the guts 2.0 WINNERS

March 2, 2010 on 9:44 pm | In Blog, Events, Restaurants | 1 Comment YouTube Preview Image

After recieving 50 applicants from all over the US and Canada I have made my final decisions on the 2 stages for this years head to tail dinner at Incanto. This was not an easy decision since there were so many great applicants with great essays and resumes. But there can only be 2 people there is only so much room in our kitchen. Thank you all for your interest in being a part of this annual event just because you didnt get it this time dosent mean you wont get it next year.

Below are the winners names and essays:

Michael Hudman chef/partner of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen in Memphis Tennessee

Hello Chef, my name is Michael Hudman, chef and  co-owner of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen in Memphis, TN.  I could tell you all about me and where I have worked in the past, but the main thing is I am very passionate about food and especially about nose to tail.  Two years ago I opened my  restaurant with my long time friend and business partner.  We concentrate on bringing the best product we can to our customers.  We are constantly trying to learn more and more everyday.  When I first came across the offal good web site, it blew me away.  There are not many restaurants or books that work offal ingredients or techniques.  We have done a lot of trial and ERROR with offal, your web site has helped us improve. Last year we closed the restaurant down for a week and made a trip out to San Francisco and Napa.  We ate at Incanto twice, the second time we did the Il Quinto Quarto menu and the dinner just stuck with me. (You even waited on a taxi cab for an hour with us, Thanks) It reminded me of the food my grandmother told me about as a kid and the food that we experienced in Italy while in school. At my restaurant we do a Nose to Tail dinner all with Newman Farm pork .  We love pork and  use it as much as we can, we are working on our charcuterie every day. Speaking of, I saw that y’all are making nduja, we  have not had that since we were in Calabria. We are excited about tasting it next time we are in California.  You have definitely inspired me to use more offal and push myself as a cook. It would be an honor to learn from you, thank you for your time and I hope to be able to help you and your staff on this year Nose to Tail dinner.

Jonah Resnick  a line cook from Blackbird in Chicago

Cooking and working in a kitchen is a non-stop opportunity to learn and improve techniques on a daily basis. To have the chance to work in your kitchen for a week prepping and cooking the Head to Tail dinner would be one of those times where learning new techniques from you and your crew would be an honor. Eating and cooking offal and whole animal butchery is a passion of mine that I look to improve and get inspired by new ideas whenever the opportunity presents itself through other chefs, books, recipes, and blogs. I have worked in well-respected kitchens in both New York and Chicago so working long hours in the kitchen is nothing new for me. You would not have to be concerned with “baby sitting” me during the week. I would love the opportunity to do whatever was needed of me just keeping my eyes open learning the way you execute the Head to Tail dinner from start to finish. I currently work at Blackbird in Chicago where we focus on locally sourced produce and meats and turning them into upscale dishes. I have been there for a year and a half and have worked my way through all of the stations and continue to improve, learn, and help with menu development. Working for Paul Kahan and Chef de Cuisine Mike Sheerin has had a profound impact on me as a cook, as well as a chef, and I will carry the techniques, ideas, and philosophies on food with me for the duration of my career. However, I believe that traveling, eating, and experiencing other parts of the country and world is an invaluable part of becoming a well-rounded chef and cook. I was lucky enough to travel to San Francisco over the summer and experience the local food culture all over the Bay Area. I was blown away by places like the Ferry Building and the farmers market there, the produce, meat, and seafood available in one place blew my mind. While I was visiting the Bay Area I was lucky enough to eat dinner at Incanto and actually speak to you while eating at the bar. I had a wonderful meal there and really loved what you and your cooks were doing with food. Once I read that there was a chance to come there and cook the Head to Tail dinner I immediately jumped at the opportunity. That being said, please consider me for one of the two available positions to stage during the Head to Tail dinner. You will not be disappointed by my dedication and ability in the kitchen.

Incanto 2.0

February 12, 2010 on 3:52 pm | In Blog, Photos, Restaurants | 3 Comments

It seems like just yesterday that I started here at Incanto, but 7 years later it’s time for some change. No, I am not leaving. Mark and I decided it was time to refresh the dining room. The goal with everything in life is to improve and that is what we are always striving to do here. We have added some beautiful images on the wall from Lisa Hamilton, a banquette along the Duncan street wall, replaced the carpet with a poured floor and added a large communal dinning table that seats 18.  That is just the beginning of the changes. The “Odds and Ends” board and my 10 point buck have also entered the fold. Here are a few images to give you a taste of Incanto 2.0. I look forward to seeing you here soon, I hope you like the redo as much as I do.

After the break there is a “Letter from Incanto” explaining a little bit more about the changes from my buisness partner Mark Pastore.

Continue reading Incanto 2.0…

Iron Chef Menu at Incanto

November 10, 2008 on 8:01 pm | In Restaurants | 2 Comments

For those of you who want a taste of the Halloween Iron Chef America Battle Offal, well here it is. Take a look at Incanto to get all the answers on the what, when, where and hows. This is only available on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, since I will be cooking this menu by myself in the back kitchen.

Cooking at Sebo's Tuna Dinner

July 15, 2008 on 10:59 pm | In Restaurants | 2 Comments

This was a great night of sake and tuna had by all 15 who attended, especially me because I chose to do this dinner on my birthday. The most amazing part about this dinner was the Kindai Tuna and how special it is, a true sustainable bluefin tuna. I never knew about this until the first discussions of cooking this dinner, absolutely great fish. I really enjoyed the opportunity to work with Michael and Danny I learned more about tuna in one night from them, then years in kitchens. How to cut it properly, age the fish and treat it in the Japanese style. I look forward to cooking with them again in the future, whats the next fish guys.

Forbes Traveler on offal

May 14, 2008 on 9:58 pm | In Restaurants | 2 Comments

Forbes traveler wrote a piece called:

Deluxe Nose-to-Tail Meals

Joshua M. Bernstein 2008-05-12 11:30:52.0

© Heath Robbins Photography

Offal-y good ox hearts, lamb spleen and more

Colin Alevras, chef at New York City’s Tasting Room, recently unveiled a luxury burger that blew diners’ minds. While the $23 price tag is chump change compared to the $75 foie gras-stuffed, black-truffle-topped burger at NYC’s DB Bistro Moderne, what sets Alevras’ meaty masterpiece apart is not decadent toppings but the meat itself.

The Old MacDonald burger, as Alevras dubs it, blends a grass-fed cow’s heart, liver, bone marrow, tongue, flatiron, brisket, shank and clod. It’s topped with raw cow’s-milk cheese and “mushroom ketchup,” and it’s served on a beer-bread bun. Fries are, incidentally, extra.

“I haven’t seen anybody reconsider the burger from the cow up. We don’t hide behind its casualness. We are remaking the world’s most overlooked food,” the chef recently told’s food blog, Grub Street.

Is Alevras’ creative hamburger a weirdo anomaly? No way. Nowadays, chefs are branching out beyond meaty ribs or tender filet mignon to embrace a nose-to-tail eating ethos.

“If you’re going to kill the animal, it seems only polite to use the whole thing,” British chef Fergus Henderson famously wrote in his book “The Whole Beast,” which touted the tastiness of tripe, trotters and internal organs. While many diners prefer to forget their flank steak was carved from a mooing creature, high-end dining now features a new face. Plus some hearts. And, occasionally, intestines.

“Organ meats don’t have to mean Mom’s overcooked liver,” explains Andy Nusser, head chef at New York City’s Casa Mono. The tapas-style small-plates eatery, which is owned partly by Mario Batali, offers unusual cutssuch as lamb’s tongue, duck hearts and cock’s combs. The latter is the fleshy red cap atop a rooster’s head; at Casa Mono, it’s simmered with red wine and porcini mushrooms until fork-tender.

“We’re returning to using the whole animal,” says Nusser, who has taken to sourcing entire organic pigs. “You’re not just picking up a phone and ordering parts. This makes you want to use every last bit. You don’t want to throw anything out.”

Especially not the noggin. “I really enjoy cooking a pig head,” Nusser says. “I like slowly simmering it and pulling the meat off the head, then taking the liquid it was cooked in and turning it into gelatin. It’s a journey to look at an ugly pig’s head and turn it into a beautiful terrine.”

Nusser’s adoration of long-overlooked animal parts has company. At Portland’s Le Pigeon, diners can opt for “foot and tail” croquettes or duck-duck-pigeon—roast squab with duck confit salad and duck-liver vinaigrette. Boston’s KO Prime slings sautéed calves brains and bone marrow with oxtail marmalade. Philadelphia’s Ansell Food + Wine fashions a fine, crispy lamb’s tongue served with mint.

But perhaps America’s most adventurous nose-to-tail restaurant is San Francisco’s rustic-Italian Incanto. On offer are lamb’s necks, pig trotters and a five-course nose-to-tail tasting menu perhaps including venison kidneys and chocolate-blood panna cotta. For executive chef Chris Cosentino (who also runs, it’s not about Fear Factor-style extreme eating. “It’s about viable cuts of meat that we have thrown into the trashcan for years. There’s been lots of talk about sustainable eating, and offal is sustainable eating. If you buy leeks, do you just throw away the tops? Or do you use them to make broth? When it comes to food, we’re very wasteful.”

Historically speaking, America wasn’t always so wasteful. During World War II, thrifty cooks stretched their ration stamps by buying cuts of tongue. In the South, pig’s hooves, fried pork skin and chitterlings (a fancy word for pig intestines) have long been integral to Mason-Dixon Line cuisine.

“We’ve gone away from our history,” Cosentino says. “Years ago, a slaughter was a neighborhood affair. One guy would come around and slaughter one or two pigs, then someone would make blood sausage. And the casing was made from the pig’s intestines. People always ask me, ‘Why do you serve poor people’s food?’ That’s really disrespectful to the animal.”

For squeamish eaters, Cosentino suggests a “gateway” meat: beef hearts. “It’s a muscle, not a filter”—like liver or kidneys—“so it’s very rich and has lots of minerals. It changes people’s perceptions.”

Harder to alter are USDA guidelines. The government bans numerous victuals like lungs that Cosentino would love to toss into a skillet. “Cow’s udder is absolutely deliciousit’s a shame I can’t serve it,” he says. “Flavor-wise, it’s a mammary gland, so it’s very rich and fatty.”

Such is the crux of whole-animal eating: Creating luxury where it’s least expected. For this reason, “cooking nose to tail isn’t a fad; it’s never going to go away,” says Casa Mono’s Nusser. “The bottom line is that people that are trying hearts and organs are surprised to find that they’re delicious. Anyone can cook it. To cook a pig’s head, you just need a big pot. Just go to a butcher and ask them to split the pig head in half, then you’re halfway there.”

Proper Turkey Slaughter

November 18, 2007 on 11:43 pm | In Restaurants | 13 Comments

heirloom turkey

In preparation for Thanksgiving this coming Thursday my friend Jonnatan Levia and I spent our Sunday morning up in Sebasatapol helping slaughter heirloom breed turkeys with the 4-h kids and my good friend Jim Reichardt of liberty ducks. Continue reading Proper Turkey Slaughter…

Blood, Sweat and Tripe!!

August 1, 2007 on 7:48 pm | In Restaurants | 4 Comments

Thanks to the brilliant photography of Michael Harlan Turkell, I have the ability to show you this photo essay of Incanto’s 4th annual head to tail event.

Hungry Magazine has posted a video essay and photo journal of the evening from the kitchen prospective. Take a look at the video below or at You can also check out the photo journal. Enjoy the video its a nice show of what the kitchen was like that day. And for those of you who joined us that evening thank you and I cant wait until next year.

15 Green Chefs around the world

July 29, 2007 on 10:43 am | In Restaurants | No Comments

I feel honored to be on this list with the likes of Fergus Henderson and Dan Barber who push the limits every day. These are some amazing chefs who put their necks on the line to do the right thing and I am pround to be among them. Congratulations to all the other chefs who have been bestowed this honor. View the link and read all about some of the greenest chefs in the world. But keep in mind, this list just scratches the surface of all the chefs who are working hard to make things right in the food world.
Grist, 15 green chefs

Bon Appetit’s hottest dining trends of the year

January 9, 2007 on 5:31 pm | In Restaurants | No Comments

San Francisco
You can vicariously experience the head-to-tail cooking of chef Chris Cosentino on his Web site, Better yet, you can visit Incanto for a taste of his “fifth quarter” specialties like pig’s trotter cake and salt-cured pork liver. (1550 Church Street; 415-641-4500) ”

Andrew Knowlton, Bon Appétit, January 2007

The Restaurant Reporter:
Special Edition:
From coast to coast, the hottest dining trends of the year

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