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Husband & Wife Chefs

 
For husband and wife team restaurateur Tony Foreman and chef Cindy Wolf overseeing restaurants in Baltimore and a wine store is a balancing act of individual talents and shared goals.

Foreman's eateries offer a diverse range of styles from French bistro to southern cooking and emphasize natural flavors from seasonal, locally-grown products.

He also owns a wine store in the city's hip waterfront neighborhood of Harbor East, within blocks from some of his restaurants.

Last year Foreman, 42, opened Cinghiale (Italian for wild boar), which doubles as a wine bar and an "osteria" serving updated takes on classic northern Italian dishes.

He spoke to Reuters about food and the secret to having a successful marriage and business partnership with his wife.

Q: What inspired you to be in the restaurant business?

A: "When I booked my first event a wedding, I thought to myself, 'I should be doing this.' I would like to push these buttons and make things happen. I could tell you exactly what the menu was and what the prices were. And I thought I could do a lot better than that."

Q: How would you describe your cuisine?

A: "The overriding concern for us is the quality of food that comes through our back door. Seasonality is an enormous thing. Simplicity and balance - those are very big deal. In doing all of those things, you can show some humanity or humor or a sense of history or culture. Sometimes people call it classicism, but I call it a little kindness in what you are doing that makes it accessible for the people who come in."

Q: What are you experimenting with these days?

A: "At Cinghiale, we have better and better sauces for animals, games in particular. We are doing an awful lot of fabrication of meats and working with different parts like prosciutto with venison legs. It's culinarily pretty darn retro. It's a lot more 1880s than 2008."

Q: How do you balance your marriage and business partnership with your wife?

A: "That's the $54,000 question. We are both pretty intense. For us, it's always a balancing act. As far as food, she's probably a little more concise and more all-American with her palette. I'm a little more adventurous. It's the right amount of tension with the exact same goal."

Q: What do you cook for yourself?

A: "Most often they are very simple things. Good buttery croutons made from baguette. I like ham of any kind, some cheese and a bottle of wine."

Recipe:

Roasted magret of duck with fingerling potatoes & black Perigord truffle (serves 4)

1 magret duck breast

24 each fingerling potatoes

fresh black truffle (one the size of a golf ball)

6 medium shallots

3 oz. high-fat unsalted butter

1 oz. grated Cantal (or Reggiano) cheese

Fresh thyme, rosemary and lavender

Kosher salt

Black pepper

Score the skin of the magret of duck and salt generously on all sides (kosher salt).

Heat heavy bottom pan on low to medium heat, add 1 teaspoon of oil, place duck in skin side down. Render the fat to 1/8th inch, turn breast for about 2 minutes and remove it from the pan and set aside (it should be rare).

Trim the edges of the potatoes and slice each into 1/8-inch slices. Cut the shallots into 1/8-inch slices.

Chop the herbs into a mix: 2 parts lavender, 2 parts rosemary, 1 part thyme.

Put the potatoes and shallots into a bowl with the fresh herbs (be generous with the herbs) and toss with enough of the rendered duck fat to coat. Add kosher salt and small amount of black pepper. Add a small amount of finely chopped black truffle. Add potato mixture to hot heavy bottom casserole dish (almost overflowing in pan). After 20 minutes toss the potatoes with a spoon. You want the mixture to caramelize slightly.

When the potatoes flatten transfer to a 350 Fahrenheit degree oven for approximately 1 hour. Take out every 20 minutes to toss. One time during the tossing process, add approximately 3 oz. of high-fat, no-salt butter.

After the hour, remove the dish and turn the oven to broil. Toss the potatoes one last time and add the 1 oz. of grated cantal. Put the dish under the broiler to brown (2 minutes or less). Remove the dish and rest for 2 hours.

Right before you're ready to serve your dish, press the potatoes into the casserole dish. Heat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit-degrees and re-heat the dish (20-30 minutes).

Put the magret back in the pan for 4-5 minutes. Bring temperature to medium rare. Rest the meat for 3 minutes off the fire. Slice the magret (salt again), turn out the potatoes onto the plate.

You can deglaze the magret pan with a little bit of red wine and serve it as a jus.

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