Tony ConteIn July of 2006 Restaurateur Ashok Bajaj was pleased to announce the appointment of Antonio (Tony) Conte as Executive Chef of the Oval Room, the elegant 100-seat main dining room and 40 seats al fresco dining restaurant located one block from the White House on 800 Connecticut Ave., NW. Already receiving accolades at The Oval Room, Chef Conte was named “Rising Culinary Star” in 2006 by Star Chefs. Chef Conte brings a wealth of culinary experience to his position, having worked as the executive sous chef at four-star Jean Georges. Conte joined Jean Georges in 2003, and he was responsible for menu innovation, research and development, product management, assessment and culinary training, as well as purchasing and food costs. Chef Conte’s impressive resume also includes a stint as the chef de partie at JoJo, a contemporary French restaurant also owned by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and a turn as executive chef and co-owner of Pesce in Branford, Connecticut, where, during his tenure, the restaurant earned Connecticut Magazine’s “Best New Restaurant 2002” and Taste of Nation’s “Golden Fork Award” Best Food in Show 2001. Born and raised in New Haven, CT, Tony Conte received his A.O.S. Culinary Degree from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. He spent the early part of his career honing his skills close to home at notable restaurants such as Sole e Luna Ristorante in Westport and then advanced to the position of executive sous chef for the Greenwich Country Club and after, the Belmont Country Club in Belmont, Massachusetts. The Oval Room features modern American cuisine and offers three dining rooms for daily lunch and dinner service Monday-Friday, and dinner service on Saturday with menu items ranging from $7 to $29. For reservations please call 202-463-8700 and visit www.ovalroom.com.
Tony Conte: Hi my name is Tony Conte, I'm the Chef at the Oval Room restaurant in Washington DC and we are going to show you how to make Thanksgiving dinner and here we are going to show you how to make mashed sweet potatoes. We have five pound sweet potatoes that we have peeled and we are going to dice them large, I prefer to cut them in large dices, I think that they cook better and they don't pick up as much water as if they were cut into smaller pieces.
We are then going to cover them with cold water by two inches and we are going to add two tablespoons of salt, then cook these for approximately 30 minutes or until tender. It's important to know that the water should be at a simmer if the water is boiling rapidly potatoes as they cook, they are going to get softer, and they are going to break, and then become water logged and end up with a very nice mashed potato, so I tell you the water should be simmering at a low boil as it is in the video. When we come back the potatoes will be cooked and then we will mash them and season them.
Our potatoes are done we have drained them and now we are going to mill them. If you don't have a food mill you could use an old fashioned masher or if you have a kitchen aid you can use a paddle. So, we are going to keep mashing this until it goes through the food mill and then we are going to finish it by seasoning with salt, white pepper and some butter.
So, now we have mashed the whole thing, this is what it looks like through the food mill and again we are going to add some salt, white pepper and a little bit of butter to it and that will be our mashed potatoes. We will start with approximately a tablespoon of salt and one teaspoon of white pepper and to that we will add two tablespoons of butter, we will stir incorporate and we will check our seasoning that's it, that is our mashed sweet potatoes and next we are going to show you how to make cranberry sauce.