Just a few weeks ago, I was at a Media Leaders event here in Boston where I met lots of interesting folks, including personal chef, William Ference. I had stopped by straight from work and was feeling very hungry (the lime in my Corona wasn't doing it for me) - but that's not the only reason William's story caught my attention. I admired his leap from something safe into the unknown. So I invited him to stop by the Daily Grommet blog with one of his favorite summer recipes and tell us more about himself. So, welcome - and good luck with your new career direction, William!
by William Ference
My job as a technology consultant had all the potential of a great career: challenging work, brilliant co-workers, highly-competent management...you name it. It just wasn't for me. See, in the realm of I.T. systems implementations, there is little room for creativity. When a problem arises, you don't get all creative...no...you refer to Appendix 7b-1.3 in the installation guide. Despite the ideal work environment and other perks, the fact stood that technology and I simply do not get along.
It was so difficult to leave. The complacency that comes with a paycheck every month is a magnetic force to be reckoned with. The "I'll leave next month...well, maybe next month..." process is a vicious cycle. But my true passion kept calling me, and I finally made the move around New Years of 2010.
For the past three years, cooking had a permanent place on my life's "call-waiting." But I've switched over (hanging up on the other guy in the process), and am devoting myself fully to creating delicious food and memorable experiences for others. My goal is to establish myself as the premier personal chef in New England, with the highest standards for quality and service. I've heard alot from first-time clients that utilizing a personal chef allows them to feel like a guest in their own home. What a cool thing to experience! And me? I've never been so happy.
Here's a perfect summer recipe. Shared outside with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, "Braised Cherry Tomato and Leeks with Anchovy on Grilled Crostini" is sure to please your guests.
Braised Cherry Tomato and Leeks with Anchovy on Grilled Crostini
2 Pints Cherry Tomatoes
High-Quality Olive Oil
Quarter the tomatoes and squeeeze out the seeds. Slice the leek in half lengthwise, and then slice finely crosswise. Cover the bottom of a saucepan with olive oil, and add the tomatoes and leek on medium heat. Add the zest of a lemon, juice of a half a lemon, salt, and freshly-ground black pepper. Let the mixture simmer until the tomatoes and leeks are cooked through but still maintain their shape (about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally). Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Slice the baguette crosswise into 1/3" slices. Brush the top of each slice with olive oil and salt. Add the pieces of bread oiled side down to a nonstick grill pan or an outdoor charcoal grill, and cook until the oiled side is golden brown and crispy.
Top each piece of bread with the cooled tomato and leek mixture, and rest an anchovy fillet (or half of fillet, if large) on top. Garnish with minced chive (optional).
Bon appetit everyone - and thanks, William!