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December 2014 Issue / Vol. 2, No. 23           I want to cook things people don't make at home.


Levy on Pairing (Part One)
Owner/Chef Doug Levy

Levy on Pairing (Part two)
Owner/Chef Doug Levy

December 2014

Chef's Larder

Executive Pastry Chef
Lance Whipple

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Under, over, sideways, down—this herb's got it covered

Agustín Kitchen
Restaurant Review

Chesapeake Bitters
 Old Fashioned

by Ciaran Wiese

Eileen Crane
Domaine Carneros

Roberto Serrallés
Distilería Serrallés



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Synopsis: Executive Chef James Wallace, Palm Springs Hyatt, Palm Springs, California

James Wallace, you might say, was a late bloomer when it came to the kitchen. He didn’t start his culinary career until he turned 32. “My background is way more colorful than any dish I produce,” Wallace said in his characteristically wry way. “I’ve been a diesel mechanic. I owned a golf club shop in Oregon and made custom clubs. I was a wealthy pipeline worker and drove a truck in Alaska. I ran a jackhammer in a quarry in Kailua, Hawaii, and was a deckhand on a tugboat in Oregon. For me, cooking was the obvious progression.” He left out the part about attending Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Portland when it began as the Horst Mager Culinary Institute. Instead, he continued on about machinery. Wallace’s skill in combining colors, textures, and flavors put him on the short list of a chosen few finalists for the position of executive chef at Tucson’s Westward Look resort when competition was tough in 2009. Then general manager, Alan Klein, said he received 350 applications in 24 hours for the job. Klein said he chose a handful of applicants and had a tasting dinner. A dish called The Short Stack, which, Wallace admitted, had “a lot going on” and had “a lot of chutzpah,” got him the job. He described the dish: “It’s got two sauces—Watercress cream, which has the most exciting flavor, and mission fig. Next it’s got parsley oil, chile oil, and a balsamic vinegar reduction. The parsnip mashed potatoes lean against a stack of pan roasted petit filet mignon, seared Ahi tuna filet, and grilled day boat scallop, which is crowned with a sprig of lavender.” Wallace also called it, like he described his cooking in general, “elegant, but simple.” Basically a compilation of food he created in positions past in all those different cultures from around the world. Recipe for Pancetta Wrapped Day Boat Scallops with Blue Moon Ale Sauce and Radiatore Pasta