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Chef Ryan Rondeno: hiring your own celebrity chef? There’s an app for that

New Orleans native Ryan Rondeno trained and honed his culinary skills under the direction of Emeril Lagasse, Anton Schulte, Mathais Wolf, Sue Zemenick and Gerard Maras. His ability to put that education to work led to an impressive corporate and celebrity clientèle. The inevitable word of mouth, in turn, stirred up curiosity among avid foodies leading to a signature spice product line (Rondeno Spice Collection, which includes Nola Creole Rub, Citrus Herb Rub and Ancho-Chili BBQ Rub) and the inevitable cookbook and product line deals.
      As a very down-to-earth guy, Rondeno wanted to take that next step, showing his fans how to best use the seasonings as well as create local, sustainable cuisine with a strong emphasis on bold flavours with a simple touch of an (app) button. Enter the chef’s FoodCulture app with tips, menus and a bounty of summer recipes with a personal vibe. And the most appetizing aspect? It’s available free of charge via app shops on your Iphone or Android, and new recipe and menu collections will be added every month. Furthermore, you can also join him in his FoodCulture Community page on Facebook.
      ‘I created FoodCulture to embody a personal and unique approach of food and flavour in the kitchen,’ explained Chef Rondeno. ‘We built into it cost-effective and flavourful scratch recipes that didn’t break the bank. The app, available through is also designed to have a one-on-one feel, as if I’m cooking with you every step of the way.’
      To whet the appetite for the new app, he shares a sampling of favourite recipes.

Mango Blanc Spritzer
Prep time: 10 minutes
Serves 6

2 cups sauvignon blanc (your favourite sauvignon blanc)
1 mango, pureed
1 oz agave or simple syrup
1 oz lime juice
2 cups club soda
Garnish with mint and blackberries

      1. In a blender, combine sauvignon blanc, mango, agave, and lime juice.
      2. Blend until smooth.
      3. Add club soda to mixture.
      4. Mix until blended.
      5. Pour into 6 wine glasses.
      6. Garnish with mint and blackberries.
      7. Serve!

Chef’s note: this is a great twist to drinking a glass of sauvignon blanc!

Redfish, citrus–fennel salad, roasted tomato
Prep time: 30 minutes
Serves 4

4 fillets of redfish, snapper, or trout
¼ cup olive oil
2–3 tbsp Nola Creole Rub
1 pt cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 cara cara oranges or navel oranges, segmented
1 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced
1 bunch of parsley
1 cup dill leaves, packed
2 garlic cloves
½ cup lemon juice
1 cup of mint, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.

For the herb vinaigrette
      1. In a blender, combine parsley, dill, garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and 1 cup of olive oil.
      2. Blend until smooth.
      3. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

For the citrus–fennel salad
      1. In a stainless steel bowl, shave fennel until paper thin.
      2. Toss with olive oil salt and pepper. Cut segments of orange free of membranes, and set in bowl with fennel.
      3. Squeeze juice from orange into a bowl.

For the roasted tomato
      1. Slice tomatoes in half.
      2. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper.
      3. Line the tomatoes evenly on a sheet pan and roast for 15–20 minutes.
      4. Set aside and cool.

For the redfish
      1. Season redfish with olive oil and creole seasoning.
      2. In a 12-inch saute pan, add oil.
      3. Cook fish skin side down at medium high heat.
      4. Cook for 1 minute then add 2–3 tbsp butter, 2 cloves garlic smashed, and 2–3 sprigs of thyme. Cook for another minute.
      5. Turn the fish over and cook for another 30 seconds.
      6. Squeeze the juice of a lemon over fish.
      7. To assemble, place fish in centre of plate. Arrange vinaigrette around fish. Add salad on top of vinaigrette.
      8. Garnish with fresh mint. Enjoy!

Chef’s note: this recipe presents a new preparation to cook redfish! The Louisiana classic is an easy and fast way to prepare this dish. The fennel salad and citrus brightens up the flavours and serves as a healthy alternative.

Coconut custard, pineapple compote, almond praline
Prep time: 2 hours and 45 minutes
Serves 8

1–15 oz coconut milk
1 can of coconut cream
½ cup heavy cream
6 egg yolks
2½ cups granulated sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp vanilla paste, plus 1 tsp.
2 cups pineapple, small diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup sliced almonds
1–2 tbsp lemon juice
Pinch of salt
Black salt to garnish

      1. In a 4 qt saucepan, add coconut milk, coconut cream, and heavy cream.
      2. Add a pinch of salt.
      3. Bring the mixture to a light simmer.
      4. In a bowl, add egg yolks, flour, and sugar.
      5. Whisk until combined.
      6. Temper egg mixture with ½ cup of coconut milk. Whisk.
      7. Add remaining milk mixture and vanilla paste. Whisk until combined.
      8. Return mixture into saucepan.
      9. Over medium heat, whisk constantly until thickened. Taste.
      10. Pour into individual 2 oz ramekins. Cover with plastic wraps.
      11. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

For the pineapple compote
      1. In a 10-inch saute pan, add 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil at medium heat.
      2. Saute pineapple for 1–2 minutes.
      3. Add ½ cup of sugar, cinnamon stick, star anise, and a pinch of salt.
      4. Cook for 15 minutes or until mixture slightly thickens.
      5. Add 1 tsp vanilla paste. Cook for another 5 minutes. Taste.
      6. Set aside and allow to cool.

Chef’s note: coconut custard is great when paired with fruit such as pineapple. This recipe is paired with pineapple, cinnamon, star anise, and almond. The collaboration of black salt with this dessert completes the meal for a fantastic finish!


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