Ethan Stowell is definitely in my top 3 favourite chefs, and he very well may be my favourite. I’ve had some of the best meals of my life at his restaurants in Seattle, which is a pretty impressive statement when you consider that I’ve been blessed to eat meals at the restaurants of Gordon Ramsay, Daniel Boulud, and Michel Roux Jr. That being said, one of his restaurants, Anchovies and Olives, was one of GQ Magazine’s Top 10 New Restaurants in America in 2009. The restaurant is amazing.
His food is Italian. Not the Italian you find at Olive Garden or Spaghetti Factory, but the Italian that is truly Italy. The beauty of Italian food is truly in the quality of the ingredients used and the skill that Italian chefs have in celebrating the ingredient for what it is and not trying to make it into something else. Most of the recipes in this book only have 4 or 5 ingredients and the method of the recipe is dead simple. Ironically, that is really what shows off Ethan Stowell’s talent. It’s his ability to only use a few ingredients and do virtually nothing to them, but in the end present a dish that is complex and exciting.
Here are the first couple paragraphs of the Introduction in the book. They say it all.
“Okay, this is my ideal dinner. There are two of you – cozy, but not alone. Laughter and music float around you, as does the muted percussion of silver on porcelain. There’s that soft light that makes everyone look better and a bottle of wine on the table. It doesn’t have to be pricey, just good. Out come a series of plates, not too small, not too big, but shareable. I’m not talking about doling out little bits onto dainty saucers – more like a bowl of handmade pasta set down between you with two forks sticking out of the steam. Or maybe it’s an impeccably fresh crudo, the ocean flavours clean and bright, that preps you for the grilled zucchini salad, or maybe a tangle of white beans and grilled shrimp. What follows is a perfectly roasted quail or fresh branzino you unapologetically suck off the bones.
The goal is a series of tastes. Each of you gets to try a little bit of everything, watching just enough of each dish so you feel sated, but not so much that it dulls your enthusiasm for the next dish issuing from the kitchen, whether that’s a soft-boiled egg with anchovy mayonnaise or beef carpaccio or maybe some orecchiette with grilled octopus and Taggiasca olives. This is the way I cook in my restaurants, and this is the way I eat. This is the way I hope you will eat, too.”
Ethan Stowell has four restaurants in Seattle: Anchovies & Olives, How To Cook A Wolf, Staple & Fancy Mercantile, and Tavolata.
You can get more information on Ethan and his restaurants via his website: http://ethanstowellrestaurants.com/
This book is available on Amazon for $25. Just click HERE.