You may have recently seen our Instagram account was taken over by Platinum Ambassador Chef, Scott Kennedy as he travelled and dined his way through the U.S.A.
Scott is owner and head chef at Nero Restaurant in Palmerston North and loves to search the globe for inspiration for his menus. He and wife Yvette planned their travel around dining out at some of the U.S.A’s top restaurants, including Gallagher’s Steakhouse and The Musket Room in New York City, and Atelier Crenn in San Francisco.
Obtaining the bookings for such famous restaurants was indeed a small feat in itself. Atelier Crenn require full details of who you are and why you want to dine there before accepting you and only give you a 12-hour window to confirm the booking three months out. Scott said it was well worth it though to experience dining at the two Michelin-star restaurant where each table had two waiters finely dressed in suits seeing to your every need as they served the exquisite, complex and mouth-watering courses coming out of the kitchen.
Not only was it inspiring for Scott to dine at such well known establishments but he also rolled up his sleeves and worked behind the scenes at both Atelier Crenn and The Musket Room. Scott said it was a fantastic experience to see first-hand how these big kitchens work. There was an incredibly high level of attention to detail, with a large array of staff doing mundane jobs to perfection ensuring the high standards needed to obtain the Michelin stars.
Dining at Gallagher’s Steakhouse was a real eye opener for Scott. This is a huge steakhouse in New York City with all their OP Ribs drying in the window which was an amazing sight. Scott said there would have been over a thousand OP Ribs dry ageing at any one time and with over 700 covers served a night they would need a good supply of steak. They have their own butcher on site for the trimming and preparation and about 30 chefs in the kitchen to ensure the cooking process is perfect for each and every steak. Each dish is then theatrically served on boards and sliced at the table.
Steak is a huge seller on restaurant menus in the USA. The OP Ribs or scotch fillet are the most popular and Scott said they are huge in size. About twice the size of those grown in New Zealand and are always dry aged on the bone with the fat cap on to allow for that extra flavour and tenderness. The trend is to remove the bone and serve the scotch filet in smaller portions, rather than serving it on the bone as is often done in New Zealand. At the Musket Room they would get their scotch fillet aged and delivered trimmed ready to slice into smaller steak portions which were chargrilled on their Green Egg BBQ. This imparted a delicious smokey flavour and Scott said the steaks were amazingly tender and so tasty!
On his return to Palmerston North, Scott quickly set about creating a mouth-watering 12 course degustation menu showcasing trends and inspiration he had gathered on his travels, creating a dish inspired by each restaurant he had visited. The Musket Room was the inspiration behind his beef dish which was an elegantly plated slice of scotch fillet served with a sticky beef bonbon with flavours of coriander, ginger and garlic. Served on a simple cauliflower purée with a crisp of dehydrated onion. Guests were delighted to be able to try a slice of delicious scotch fillet as part of a degustation, which is usually only available as a large plated steak. So if you’re a local or just passing through Palmerston North, keep an eye on Nero’s menu as Scott is promising this dish to become a menu staple in the very near future. nerorestaurant.co.nz