Executive Chef Marc Kusche of the award-winning Hamilton’s Kitchen at The Alfond Inn has been invited to cook at the legendary James Beard House in New York City this fall. Florida Farmhouse Flavor will be the theme of Chef Kusche’s inspired multi-course dinner on Friday, October 23, 2015.
Chef Kusche offers a fresh take on Southern comfort food and has a strong commitment to locally sourced ingredients from the lush and fertile farms of Central Florida.
Chef Kusche places his priority on freshness and he can be found most Saturday mornings at the Winter Park Farmers Market in the city’s historic old train depot, a few blocks from his restaurant, located at The Alfond Inn. He has close relationships with the family farms in the region, as well as purveyors of seafood from the nearby Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico.
It is an honor to present a dinner at The James Beard House. Beard, a cookbook author and teacher, was a champion of American cuisine. The mission of the James Beard Foundation is to celebrate, nurture, and preserve America’s culinary heritage and future.
Each year only a select handful of chefs are invited to cook at the historic James Beard House, a narrow brownstone in New York’s Greenwich Village that served as Beard’s home for decades and until his death in 1985. The rooms, book collections and the quirky kitchen are all preserved as he left it. The preparation of Chef Kusche’s dinner will be live streamed via the Kitchencam at JBFKitchencam.org
At the Beard House, Chef Kusche and the Hamilton’s Kitchen team will prepare such dishes as Short Rib Pralines with Basil Crust and Balsamic-Onion Confit; Hamilton’s Kitchen Shrimp and Grits; Slow-Braised Lamb Neck with Pumpkin Risotto, Honey and Rosemary-Glazed Parsnips and Mustard Seed Sauce; and Olive Oil-Poached Red Snapper with Caramelized Cauliflower, Caper Berries, Tomatoes, and Shaved Fennel.
Chef Kusche has cooked in some of the finest kitchens in the world, including Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, the Adlon Hotel in Berlin and Silversea Cruises. Redefining comfort food is at the heart of his culinary passion.
Tickets to the event are $130 for James Beard members and $170 for the general public. They may be purchased at 212-627-2308, through the James Beard website or via OpenTable.
For those who want to taste Chef Kusche’s cuisine but are unable to attend the Beard House event, The Alfond Inn offers its Auberge in the Park package.
Florida Farmhouse Flavor
Chef Marc Kusche
Hamilton’s Kitchen at the Alfond Inn, Winter Park, FL
Truffle-Baked Brie with Pear Jam
Short Rib Pralines with Basil Crust and Balsamic–Onion Confit
Caviar-Stuffed Potatoes with Crème Fraîche and Chives
Hamilton’s Kitchen Shrimp and Grits
White Gazpacho with Crispy Prosciutto and Almonds
Roasted Beet Duo with Grapefruit, Whipped Goat Cheese, Microgreens, and Caramelized Walnuts
Jamón Ibérico–Wrapped Diver Scallop with Creamy Polenta, Pickled Artichokes, and Red Wine Reduction
Slow-Braised Lamb Neck with Pumpkin Risotto, Honey and Rosemary–Glazed Parsnips, and Mustard Seed Sauce
Olive Oil–Poached Red Snapper with Caramelized Cauliflower, Caper Berries, Tomatoes, and Shaved Fennel
Hamilton’s Kitchen Chocolate Pudding with Caramelized Brioche Croutons
An Interview with Chef Marc Kusche
Chef Marc Kusche started cooking as a boy in Germany and followed in the footsteps of his parents who had restaurant careers. He took their sage advice and spent his early years working years experiencing different kitchens, cultures and cuisines.
After cooking in kitchens in Germany, he held positions in London, Florida, the Caribbean, California and the English countryside at restaurants that included Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis; Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire; Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma at Emerald Bay (formerly a Four Seasons resort); Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club; the Adlon Hotel, Berlin; and Silversea Cruises.
To Chef Marc, “Being back in Florida is a homecoming in many ways. It’s been great for me and for my family.”
What does cooking at the James Beard House mean to you and Hamilton’s Kitchen?
It is an honor to present a dinner at the James Beard House. To cook in such a storied and legendary kitchen is a dream for every chef. My team and I are excited about it, but we’re also very proud that our hard work behind the scenes at Hamilton’s Kitchen, a restaurant that is just two years old, is earning recognition and awards. It’s what motivates us every day and what will energize us this Fall when we bring a taste of “Farmhouse Florida” to Manhattan.
How did you become selected to cook at the house?
We were selected, I believe, because of our deep commitment to presenting authentic Florida flavors and using ingredients that are sourced directly from farms in this area. Our menu is all about community support and bringing the best of Florida to the table. When you taste our dishes, you feel the tropical sunshine and richness of the soil that we are blessed with here in Central Florida. These are the things that directly influence my cooking and set us apart.
What are you looking forward to cook the most at the James Beard House dinner?
Everything but if I have to pick one dish it’s the”Olive Oil Poached Red Snapper “I love all the flavors in this dish, from the caramelized cauliflower, capers and the oven roasted tomatoes. The cauliflower adds the nice nutty touch, the light saltiness of the capers and of course the shaved fennel adds the nice anise flavor at the end. It is a very light flavorful dish, and the fish is incredibly succulent. (See Recipe for the Olive Oil Poached Snapper below)
What are some new dishes this season at Hamilton’s Kitchen?
Some include the Squid Ink Pasta, Seared Scallop, Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil Whole Pan Seared Trout, Aged Balsamic Lentil Salad with Pecan Bacon Vinaigrette.
When not cooking at Hamilton’s Kitchen, where can folks find you? What are some of your favorite places to eat around town?
We have many favorites – this is a vibrant restaurant town – but my personal top spots include “ Ravello , the restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel. I love what Chef Fabrizio is doing there and it’s all about the vibrant flavors that come through. We also love Kathleen Blake from “ The Rusty Spoon “ again a lot great flavors in her food and we appreciate that she also supports all the local farms. Chef Henry Salgado at TXOKOS is amazing too. His octopus is the best I’ve ever had and his restaurant is a wonderful Sunday brunch spot. I recently dinner at Kevin Fonzo’s “ K Restaurant “ it was one of the best meals I’ve had in Orlando and again, a huge supporter of the local community.
Ok I have to ask…what was it like cooking for Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Club?
He is all about quality for his members, no short cuts. At All. I had a fantastic time working for him at the Club. It was different from than anything else I did before, and probably will ever do again. But a great experience!
What inspired you to become a chef?
As a child a friend of my father’s cooked a German BBQ , and believe me our BBQ is completely different than the American version. My dad’s friend prepared a cucumber salad, and I was so amazed at what he did with just few simple ingredients. I was influenced by watching cooks in our family restaurant/bar in Germany. I was always surrounded by food from a very young age, and still am.
What was your favorite dish as a child growing up?
Half roasted Duck, braised red cabbage with potato dumplings
Olive Oil Poached Key West Snapper, Caramelized Cauliflower, Capers, Oven Roasted Tomatoes
Recipe by Chef Marc Kusche, Hamilton’s Kitchen at The Alfond Inn
4 each 7 OZ Snapper Filets
Blended Olive Oil, enough to cover fish
Garlic, Thyme, Bay Leave
Salt & Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups Small Cauliflower Florets
1 TBS Capers
2 TBS chopped Shallots
1 cup Oven Roasted Tomatoes
2 TBS Chopped Chives
1 TBS Chopped Fresh Garlic
½ cup Diced Butter
½ White Wine
1 cup fine shaved Fennel, keep in ice water
Bring blended Olive Oil with Garlic, Thyme, bay Leave to a simmer, seasons the fish with salt & pepper than seared the fish in a hot sauté pan till skin is crispy. Set the fish in Oil and poached on medium heat for around 6 – 8 minutes. In the meanwhile, heat up a little extra virgin olive oil in a pan, when oil is very hot add cauliflower, make sure the cauliflower gets nice caramelized, add white wine and reduce to half. When the wine is reduced add the tomatoes, capers, chopped garlic and shallots and let it simmer for 2 -4 minutes. Season with salt & pepper, add cold butter and cook for few minutes. Just before serving add the chopped chive, set the cauliflower ragout in a deep bowl, set the fish skin up on the top, garnish with a mix of shaved fennel and baby arugula, olive oil Salt & pepper.
Oven Roasted Tomatoes:
Cut roma tomatoes in half and lay out on a sheet tray, seasons with salt & pepper, sprinkle over the tomatoes crashed garlic, fresh thyme and rough chopped basil, drizzle good olive oil over the tomatoes and bake at 350f for around 8 – 12 minutes. After tomatoes cooked let them cool down and peel skin off and cut in quarters