When my viewers first asked me to try working as a chef for the day, I knew that I wanted to go above and beyond – and in the culinary world, it doesn’t get much better than working at a Michelin star restaurant.
A Michelin star is one of the highest honours a chef can be awarded for his or her establishment; it is a hallmark of exceptional cuisine and an excellent overall dining experience.
This week, I visited Nix in Greenwich Village – the only veggie-based Michelin star restaurant in the United States – and learned from their sous-chef, Jaime Secor. We began by taking a walk to the Union Square Greenmarket to pick up some fresh produce. On this outing, Jaime taught me not only how important taste and texture are to each dish, but she also gave me a rundown of the fresh fruits and vegetables commonly utilised at Nix.
Once we had returned to the kitchen and I suited up in my apron, we began prepping ingredients for a few of their star dishes. First: “Ribbons of Jicama.” We used a manual crank to create long, fresh ribbons, and then chopped and diced the other raw vegetables. We blitzed eggplants atop a 700-degree tandoor oven in preparation for the roasted eggplant dip. And the scariest part of this challenge was sticking my entire arm into the 700-degree tandoor oven to make bread (Jaime singed her eyebrows off the first time she ever tried this).
Throughout the day, I learned various knife cuts (and how to properly hold my knife), flavour profiling, and proper kitchen etiquette – insider tip: you must yell “CORNER!” every single time you turn a corner.
Despite the stressful, high-speed environment, I made it out alive – and with both of my eyebrows intact. Watch the episode above to see the fruits (and vegetables) of our labor.