Tuesday, January 27, 2009

People Passionate About Food 2:
Chris Cosentino
Breaking Down a Pig's Head (NSFW)

Some language in the videos is Not Safe For Work.

Part 2

(Video parts 3 through 6 are below.)

Continuing our feature of people who are passionate about food, we come to Chris Cosentino. You might remember Chris from Iron Chef America or The Next Food Network Star. Others know him as the Executive Chef of Incanto. Still others might read his blog at his website Offalgood.com

Chris is a proponent of cooking the whole animal - which includes the offal.
What is offal?

Well, in birds, it's the giblets.
OFFAL those parts of a meat animal which are used as food but which are not skeletal muscle. The term literally means “off fall”, or the pieces which fall from a carcase when it is butchered. Originally the word applied principally to the entrails. It now covers insides including the HEART, LIVER, and LUNGS (collectively known as the pluck), all abdominal organs and extremities: TAILS, FEET, and HEAD including BRAINS and TONGUE. In the USA the expressions “organ meats” or “variety meats” are used instead.

On his blog, Chris has been featuring a video series called Cooking with the Artist. I was particularly moved by his videos with Alex Pardee. (The videos are below.) I had a good impression of Chris going in. So, I it was no surprise when he didn't go the macho route of hacking up a little piggy. Yet, I was still impressed by his kind words and gentle nature with respect to the animal - especially in the later videos.

Chris in Part 4 of 6:
The goal with a lot of these cuts here at the restaurant is to put things that people are familiar with - with the unfamiliar. So, it kind of takes the fear factor away. Cuz a lot of people think, "Oh, he's doing it just to get attention" or "He's doing it just to serve food that nobody will eat just to try and make a point." But, it's actually beautiful viable cuts of meat. And, now, when you can give them something they like with it, it goes over really well.

So, if you are up to it - here are the videos. Yes, Chris breaks down a pig head. But, it's really no more offensive than watching someone basting a rack of ribs at a BBQ on the 4th of July.

Some language in the videos is Not Safe For Work.

Parts 1 and 2 are at the top of this post.
Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

I love these quotes from Chris.
Humor on eating brains -
You have no idea how many people say, "If I eat brains tonight an I gonna be smart?" You're gonna be as smart as the animal. Yes, you're gonna be on all fours out front - eating the lawn. -Chris in part 6 of 6.

On finding brains-
You can probably find a butcher - if you have a lot of day laborers in your area you can ask them where they go. Seriously, the Latin community has the best ability to have these cuts because it's an everyday part - menudo, tripe, pig's feet all the time. And, you ask these guys, "Sesos tacos, tripitas tacos?" You can get tripe tacos, brain tacos. There re so many different ways to look at these cuts - and to different cultures that do it. And, unfortunately we're the last ones to go back - to go backwards. -Chris in Part 6 of 6.
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