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 and we are going to show you how to make Thanksgiving dinner and now we are going to make stuffing. Here we have a small onion that's been diced, three ribs of celery that have been washed, and diced same size. We are going to cook them in a little olive oil and butter probably a table spoon of each. We are going to cook those over medium high heat. So we want to sweat these vegetables with no color, with a little we want to keep a nice even layer while these are sweating. We are let these sweat for about ten minutes. We also want to season with a pinch of salt and a few twists of white pepper, we want to cook these until the onions are translucent and the celery is soft, want to make sure you scrape the sides of the pan down, so the ones on top don't burn. We are using a non stick pan so with a non stick pan you don't want to use any kind of metal spoon, so we prefer either a rubber spatula, heat proof or a wooden spoon. So, after ten minutes this is what it looks like. We are then going to transfer it to a tray and we will need to cool this down till it's cold so that we can finish mixing the rest of the ingredients for the stuffing. So, now we have let our onions and celery cool down, it's been about ten minutes and now we are going to work with it. We add it to a mixing bowl, so to the stuffing we are going to add our Sourdough bread which has been diced and been dried in the oven, this is one loaf, the sourdough bread was cooked in the oven at 350 degrees for roughly five to ten minutes until dry. To that, we are going to add one tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme, also one tablespoon of chopped fresh Italian parsley, and finally one tablespoon of chopped sage, fresh, we are going to mix it up. Now, we are ready to add our wet ingredients, I have two eggs that are lightly beaten and I have two cups of chicken stock that we are going to add as needed to moisten the bread, we will start with probably half. Then, we mix again, want to of course corporate everything very well. This looks pretty good. So, now we will let this stand for ten minutes, we will check it again, we need the liquids to re-hydrate the bread so that we can mould them into individual portions and then, they are going to be cooked. So, now we have let this sit for ten minutes to re-hydrate, this is what it looks like, it's nice and soft. We are going to now form them into little patties as we have done some here and with this procedure, we recommend that you do this a day in advance. The longer that it sits the better it will be because we are then going to cook them and they will hold them, it will help it to stay together, the longer that it sits. So, once they are molded, we will place them in a refrigerator covered for 24 hours and that will ready to go on Thanksgiving day. This is our stuffing, that s sat for one day molded. We are going to brown them in a non stick pan with a neutral oil, here we have Grape seed oil and we are going to brown them roughly five minutes on each side into the oven to finish cooking and then we are going to check it with a thermometer to make sure that it reads 165 degrees because it does contain eggs. I wouldn t do it too many of times, we want to make sure that you can control, what you have and you want to do these on medium high heat. It will take about five minutes per side to get a nice beautiful brown color. So, it's been roughly five minutes, we flip them over, this is a color that we are looking for, a beautiful caramelized color, nice light brown. We are going to do the other side roughly five minutes, then into the oven, again at 350 degrees for roughly another five minutes and we will check it to make sure it reads 165 on the thermometer. So, it's been roughly five minutes, we are going to pull out our stuffing and we are going to check it, see if we are at 165 degrees and yes we are, so we ll these out on to a tray with towels papers absorb some of the oil and that is how you make our stuffing, and next we are going to show you how to make mashed sweet potatoes.