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Around the Kitchen in 3 Questions: Chef Jonah Rhodehamel

Around the Kitchen in 3 Questions: Chef Jonah Rhodehamel

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Chef Rhodehamel discusses the influence of his travels on his creative process

Oliveto has been open in San Francisco since 1986.

The Daily Meal caught up with chef Jonah Rhodehamel to learn about how his travels have influenced his work. Rhodehamel is the executive chef of Oliveto Restaurant and Café in Oakland, Calif. Not even 30, and without having trained in a professional kitchen until his 20s, Rhodehamel has worked at San Francisco restaurant landmarks like Zinnia and Quince. His Oliveto menus change on a daily basis and are heavily influenced by Italian regional cooking traditions.

The Daily Meal: What has been your most inspirational food experience while traveling?
Jonah Rhodehamel:
Most inspirational has to be dog in Guangzhou, China... not really but that was a meal, though not very inspired or inspiring. I think the most inspirational was in Guangzhou, in a formal dim sum restaurant on the Pearl River. Their take on classic dim sum offerings was a lot of fun and delicious. All the dishes had a clear reference point, so you knew the flavors to expect, but they were updated and manipulated. It's difficult to successfully change something as classic and delicious as a Shanghai dumpling, but they pulled it off.

TDM: What’s your favorite kitchen souvenir from your travels?
My favorite kitchen souvenir is probably my bigolaro, a hand extruding pasta machine. I had been looking for one of these throughout my Italy trip with little success. While randomly shopping in a hardware store in Puglia(not even the correct region), I spotted a bigolaro, and chitarra. I bought both for less than €50. They are both used almost every day.

TDM: If you could eat your way through one country, which one would it be and why?
JR: Probably Thailand. The food is varied enough where I don’t think I would get tired of it, and there is always some really casual way to eat. Somewhere I had to make formal plans to get a meal the whole trip would get tiresome; I like being able to grab some noodles from a cart.

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White Oak Pastures Videos & Podcasts

Will Harris frequently appears on YouTube Channels and Podcasts to be a source of transparent and reliable information about animal welfare, regenerative farming, and rural revival. We know how important it is to reach conscious consumers wherever open-minded, science-based conversations are happening.

That's why we want you to be able to hear straight from an experienced regenerative farmer whether you read our blog, subscribe to our YouTube Channel or listen to Will Harris Podcast appearances below on your favorite device.

Recent Appearances

Talk Farm to Me

Farmer Will Harris transformed his third generation family farm from a monoculture factory farm to a regenerative multi-species farm that is no longer dependent on commodity structures or industrial fertilizer. He learned a thing or two along the way that he's willing to share. Farmer Will Harris wrote an open letter to billionaire Bill Gates whose status as the largest owner of US farmland recently came to light. We discuss what many are calling a "land grab" by Gates and what the technology magnate might learn from what Will Harris has done on his farm, White Oak Pastures in rural Bluffton, Georgia.

Sustainable Food Trust

Will shares the rich history of White Oak Pastures and explains how the coronavirus has affected the farm's sales. They also discuss the principles of regenerative agriculture, soil building, and the farm's fully integrated supply chain.


The Carnivore Cast is a podcast focused on the carnivore diet and lifestyle with practical advice from successful carnivores, citizen scientists, and top researchers answering your burning questions and meaty topics.

Bitter Southerner Podcast

In Partnership with America’s Test Kitchen. In a special bonus episode of The Bitter Southerner Podcast, editor-in-chief Chuck Reece talks to native Southerner Bridget Lancaster of public television’s “America's Test Kitchen” and shares a story from her podcast called “Proof.” In it, reporter Maya Kroth looks at how a Spanish pig is changing Southern farmlands. She meets Georgia farmer Will Harris, who is upping the South’s pork game by introducing Iberian pigs to the United States. These pigs are the source of jamón ibérico, a precious cured ham produced in Spain.

Robb Wolf The Healthy Rebellion Radio Podcast

Robb Wolf of The Healthy Rebellion Radio podcast interviewed Will Harris of White Oak Pastures. Will talks about the power of regenerative farms to bring economic vitality back to their communities.

Revolution Health Radio

  • Why White Oak Pastures practices sustainable agriculture
  • How sustainable land management impacts carbon emissions
  • The problem with monocultures
  • What holistic, sustainable land management looks like
  • Animal welfare in sustainable agriculture
  • How sustainable agriculture impacts the community
  • What the life-cycle analysis showed about White Oak Pastures
  • Feeding the world with sustainable farming

Joe Rogan Experience #1389

In the process of debunking the film Gamechangers, Joe and Chris Kresser talk about the myths and misleading environmental claims used by fake meat companies to justify their expansion of carbon-emitting agribusiness. During the wide-ranging conversation, they discuss White Oak Pastures groundbreaking Life Cycle Analysis showing our cattle sequester 3.5 lbs of carbon for every pound of grassfed beef produced. Along the way, they make several insightful points about overall animal welfare (biodiversity) and soil health.

CNN Vital Signs with Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Watch as Will Harris debunks the fake meat industry’s impossible claims on CNN International ‘The Future Of Meat’ by Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

The Meatcast by EPIC Provisions

  • His switch from industrial farming to regenerative agriculture
  • Why my lawn looks like shit
  • Why today’s food “revolution” is dependent on the consumer
  • Why the NYTimes and NPR’s Planet Money recently visited the farm
  • Will’s disdain for big company cowardice

Primal Edge Health

Thanks to Primal Ege Health for inviting Will Harris to discuss the important differences between regenerative farming and how industrially-farmed proteins are produced. Will also tells the story of how our carbon-negative Life Cycle Assessment was conducted.

Human Performance Outliers

In this episode, Will Harris from White Oaks Pastures joins the show to explain how he used vertical integration methods to create a carbon sink that produces a negative carbon output on the White Oak Pastures farm.

Strong Sistas

Tune in as Ashely Armstrong speaks with Will Harris of White Oak Pastures in Bluffton Georgia, on the benefits of regenerative farming. Learn what monoculture farming is and why it is detrimental to the environment. Gain an understanding of the origins of pesticides and why “Radically Traditional Farming” practices, as Mr. Harris would put it, is the answer for our families, communities and indeed for our planet.

Sustainable Dish

Will Harris of White Oak Pastures, about changes in farming over the generations, what's important at White Oak Pastures, and the moral and environmental arguments for meat-eating.

Quivira Coalition

Since the end of the civil war, White Oak Pastures has been in the Harris family, but their farming practices have ranged from 19th-century subsistence farming to post-war industrial agriculture — and now larger scale regenerative farming. Will Harris has created a closed-loop, no-waste farm, whose goals include providing healthy food raised in a healthy manner, humane animal welfare practices, and revitalization of the rural community where they’re rooted.

The Farm Report Ep. 197

“Cows were born to roam and graze hogs were born to root and wallow chicken were born to scratch and peck. All these are instinctive behaviors that are inborn, and when we create the factory farm environment, we deprive these animals of that opportunity.” [14:15] Will Harris on The Farm Report

Source for Tomorrow - The Future of Beef

Questions have been raised for years about the sustainability of cattle farming. Learn from Will Harris, 4th generation land steward of White Oak Pastures about how his farm faces the challenges that factory farming has introduced into the environment. By using regenerative farming methodologies, Will and his family have been able to build a holistic scenario in which cattle are raised humanely and the impact to the environment is healthy and strong. He's taken his farm back to methods that are natural and healthy for the land and the land is better off for it!

Oxford Real Farming

Many grass-fed/regenerative farmers have been “going against the grain” for years. There are signs this is changing as more farmers are looking at regenerative techniques, especially with changing subsidies in the UK. US ranchers Doniga Markegard and Will Harris are leading the field when it comes to grass-based farming systems and regenerative land management.

In this session, Guardian journalist, Phoebe Weston, will discuss the and rewards of moving away from intensive techniques towards systems that work more with nature. Also, how farmers should be encouraged to move to more nature-friendly methods how industry and governments should be supporting such a transition.

Organic Association of Kentucky

Learn how 4th generation land steward, Will Harris, successfully took his family ranch on a journey from monoculture farming to vertically integrated traditional farming methods. This journey started in 1995 and has been very successful. White Oak Pastures is now recognized as a leader in regenerative agriculture and humane animal treatment methodologies.

This presentation was part of OAK's 10th Annual Organic Farming Conference on January 26-30, 2021.

Huddle Haven

Tune in for the Huddle Haven podcast, Episode 31 where Jenni Harris of White Oak Pastures in Bluffton Georgia discusses why “Radically Traditional Farming” practices are good for livestock, the land and our communities.

Jenni, her family, and team believe radically traditional farming creates products that are better for our land, our livestock and our village. White Oak Pastures is fiercely proud of our zero-waste production system that utilizes each part of the animals they pasture-raise and hand-butcher on the farm.

As the Director of Marketing, Jenni spends her time focusing on the balance of e-commerce growth and wholesale relationships. She gives us a wonderful perspective of how we can all do our part to heal our planet…and tells a beautiful story, leaving all to treasure…there’s no place like home!

Source for Tomorrow - Q&A

Will Harris engages in a conversation with Carys Bennett, PhD, Senior Corporate Liaison, PETA and Rachel Dreskin, US Executive Director, CIWF around the future of the beef industry. He chronicles how he led his farm away from industrialized farming methods in 1995 to a healthier, holistic approach. Gain an understanding of how the cattle industry can be a vital component of a healthy environment globally when expanded holistically.

Fai Farms

Will Harris talks to Ffinlo Costain about his life as a commodity cattleman and what made him change the way he farms. He describes the dark early days and reflects on how his success brought his family back home, and breathed new life into his community.

He explains why he gets fed up with scientists, who 'bicker and fight all the time' over how to measure carbon, when the benefits are there in the ground for all to see. Will also offers up words of wisdom for President Biden's new Agriculture Secretary.

Listen to Farm Gate, Episode 34
The one with Will Harris



Around The Farm is White Oak Pastures' blog that gives you an in-depth look at everything and every one it takes to run our farm. It is updated a few times a week with articles about regenerative agriculture, plus all of our sales, and upcoming events.


From interviews with world-renowned journalists to drone footage showcasing rotational grazing to pasture-raised recipes, our YouTube Channel has something for everyone. Please subscribe and follow us on social media!


We hope that after viewing our videos, you feel like part of our family and will come visit us on the farm! We are fiercely proud of what we do at White Oak Pastures and we also believe farms and food companies should operate with full transparency. In addition to that, we are gracious southern people and the enjoyment of entertaining guests is part of our heritage.

White Oak Pastures YouTube Videos

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel and join millions of people who are watching our videos to learn about regenerative farming and get kitchen tips on cooking 100% pasture-raised, certified grassfed meats and poultry.


A film by Joe York about Jenni Harris of White Oak Pastures Farm in Bluffton, Georgia. Produced by the Southern Foodways Alliance.

Did you Buy Whole Jonah Crab Claws?

Good for you! Breaking the claws were difficult at first, but you’ll get the hang of it. An extra pair of strong hands, claw crackers, or a mallet would be helpful for this project.

Jonah crab claws scored across the claw and knuckles

Breaking open a Jonah crab claw

Pulling crab is not the easiest - or cleanest - job in the kitchen

Some Loaf

There is perhaps no food we serve that has a more loyal following than our beloved Acme Levain. It is delivered to us half baked and we finish it here just before service, so it’s warm and crusty.

Steve Sullivan and Rick Kirkby at Acme have been participants in the Oliveto Grain Project from the beginning (4 years ago). So when we started to get serious about whole grains last year we asked Steve if he could develop a 100% whole grain bread that we could serve. As Steve and Rick tinkered with the recipe over the last few months we’ve only been receiving five loaves of whole grain bread five days a week. Some of you early diners may have been lucky enough to find a few slices in your basket at dinner. Acme’s whole grain levain is absolutely delicious.

So it’s time for the unveiling of this new offering to Bay Area bread lovers. Starting this Monday, August 8th, Acme is going into official production mode, meaning we will have whole grain bread in our bread basket during dinner service every night! Initially, it will also be served at Chez Panisse and in Acme’s retail stores, with the intention that it will become more widely available over time.

Our Pastry Chef, Jenny Raven, is also now serving some whole grain morning buns in the cafe: one fruit, one savory.


Most (actually all other) recipes for cioppino simmer the seafood components in a tomato-rich broth. Flavorful yes, but the beauty of each element is lost within the stew. In this recipe, Tasty&aposs Matthew Francis cooks each piece of seafood to perfection, one delicious type at a time, arranges them on one side of a wide shallow bowl, and then pours in a generous ladleful of broth on the other side. Watching the herby-tomato sauce flow toward the cooked scallops and clams is like seeing the ocean tide caress the shoreline.

Around the Kitchen in 3 Questions: Chef Jonah Rhodehamel - Recipes

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Written in a fast-paced thriller style, The Goal is the gripping novel which is transforming management thinking throughout the Western world.Alex Rogo is a harried plant manager working ever more desperately to try and improve performance. His factory is rapidly heading for disaster. So is his marriage. He has ninety days to save his plant?or it will be closed by corporate HQ, with hundreds of job losses. It takes a chance meeting with a colleague from student days?Jonah?to help him break out of conventional ways of thinking to see what needs to be done.The story of Alex's fight to save his plant is more than compulsive reading. It contains a serious message for all managers in industry and explains the ideas which underline the Theory of Constraints (TOC) developed by Eli Goldratt.

"This book is available for download in a number of formats - including epub, pdf, azw, mobi and more. You can also read the full text online using our Ereader."

Why These Chefs Are Creating an &lsquoAlternative to the Restaurant&rsquo

23-year-old &ldquodorm room chef&rdquo Jonah Reider thinks dinner should always feel like a dinner party, so Reider&mdashand chefs around the country&mdashare popularizing alternatives to restaurants.

The experience of eating at one of chef Jonah Reider’s events—which range from private dinners at his infamous supper club, Pith, to raucous food parties around the world—is not typical. For one, if you are eating his food, you are probably in his home.

Rider, who is 23, started Pith in his dorm room at Columbia University where he earned critical acclaim from the New York Times. His rapid ascent continued as he opened pop-ups in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York to critical fanfare, including a three-star review from the Chicago Tribune—he even served sorbet to Stephen Colbert on The Late Show. Now, two years after his cooking gained national attention, Pith has graduated from a cramped dorm in Morningside Heights to a chic Brooklyn townhouse and Reider’s vision for the space has evolved with it.

“I see what I do as creating an alternative to the restaurant,” Reider said, pausing to carefully choose his next words, rare for the frenetic chef. “Going out to eat can be something that goes way beyond just being hungry and then going to a restaurant, ordering food, being satiated and then leaving.”

The restaurant industry is changing, and Reider hopes to capitalize on the moment. Fast casual food has grown by 550 percent since 1999, according to a report by the Washington Post. Pop-ups have become so ubiquitous that established chefs like Wolfgang Puck are even dabbling in the space. Across the globe, spots like Grain Harajuku are opening to house experimental dining events Reider is doing an event with them later this month. Non-restaurant dining set-ups aren’t just growing in number—they’re succeeding.

The quiet residential street that houses Pith provides an unassuming atmosphere for Reider to engineer an experience. He’s filled the space as one fills a home pottery and art by his friends hang on the walls and litter the countertops, an herb garden grows in the backyard, nooks and crannies are filled with couches and chairs. His events feel more like a dinner party at your friend’s house than a fine-dining experience, and that’s the point.

“If you’re going to a restaurant, you’re not really meeting people who are there, even if the restaurant owner or chef has thought really carefully about the design or art or music playing it’s not usually communicated to guests,” Reider said. “The home is centric to what I’m doing. What I do structurally doesn’t feel very different from a house party or a dinner party.”

At Pith’s “Sausage Fest” (yes, really), traditional brats sat on the grill next to orange and fennel pork sausages, �nh mi sausage,” duck and venison. A five-piece brass band blared in the backyard. Accoutrements included sweet onion with bay leaf chopped finely to mimic sauerkraut, a bean and mint salad and shaved purple cabbage. Guests included musicians and models but also close friends and neighbors with their children.

The supper clubs began as a way for Reider to relive his favorite food memories cooking and eating with friends and family. “What makes eating amazing is sharing the experience with people that you like and being in an environment that is stimulating,” Reider said, adding that he hopes “to open up some sort of dining space in a townhouse somewhere in the city that would feel almost like a social club with really delicious food—not just something you would go for at dinner and most definitely not something you would go for �use you were hungry.”

This vision for an artful experience driven by food and community is popularized by Reider but not exclusive to his work. Other young chefs like theoryKitchen’s Theo Friedman and Wolvesmouth’s Craig Thornton are just as focused on cultivating a specific social environment, handpicking the people who come eat their meals. “It’s not a restaurant. It&aposs a dinner party…. No menus. No dress code. No pretense,” the Wolvesmouth website reads. This genre of dining has the potential to disrupt the restaurant industry, perhaps not unintentionally led by the very millennials responsible for the decline of chain restaurants.

And yet, while these chefs intend to create novel social experiences, the small scale of the events limits who can go. Is it truly a community of friends if the only people who can attend are the ones who want to shell out $95 for dinner—the price of a tasting menu at Pith—or fill out an extensive application to be considered good or interesting enough to dine at Wolvesmouth? And if participants aren’t chosen, how do they break through the social restraints that keep restaurants isolating?

For now, Reider struggles with these questions as he considers his next moves. “I think in the long term, one of my main goals is to figure out how this really intimate communal mode of dining can exist in a lot of other places and for a lot of other people,” he said. Behind his youthful exuberance is a more coherent philosophy: As he embarks on a series of pop-ups and speeches around Asia in the coming months, Reider will continue pushing his unorthodox approach to dining but with thoughtfulness about what he’s creating—𠇊rtful and social dining experiences that exist in contrast to restaurants or bars.”

Gourmet Start-Up Moves in to New York Apartments

In the kitchen of a high-rise apartment building in New York City, chef Ajesh Deshpande drops small cubes of foie gras into a pot of braised lentils, folding it in to melt it and enrich the legumes. A native of India who enjoys incorporating South-Asian flavours in his French-leaning cuisine, Deshpande fashioned the lentils as a nod to black dal. The legumes will be paired with duck, and by the time he’s done cooking and plating, he will have composed more than a dozen dishes. Joined by a server, he walks them out to the an open-air terrace, and sets them before guests. Then Deshpande stands and delivers, describing the course and answering questions, before his diners dig in, and he returns to the kitchen to ready the next course.

This isn’t nostalgia for pre-pandemic dining, or a fantasy of 2021. It’s a scenario that’s playing out right now, in select residential buildings in New York City.

Resident, a venture that produces tasting-menu dinners by ascendant chefs in luxury high-rises, was launched two years ago, but seems special-ordered for this moment, and the immediate future that will flow from it.

It began with a distinctly New York transaction: Brian Mommsen, a hedge-fund founder putting in long hours, offered his often deserted Brooklyn home to a fledgling chef seeking a venue in which to stage a regular pop-up, sometimes referred to as a supper club. (The chef was Jonah Reider, who had attained some prominence a few years earlier staging his supper club, Pith, out of his Columbia University dorm room.)

Brian Mommsen / Photo by Nico Schinco

The dinners were a crash course in the plentiful attractions of the restaurant business. As Mommsen met enthusiastic diners and up-and-coming cooks and sous chefs who assisted, and took in the spectacle of Reider conjuring restaurant-caliber dishes from a home kitchen, not to mention the rapturous reception in the dining room, he envisioned similar dinners in other residential settings, across the river in Manhattan.

That spark led Mommsen to found Resident. The company recruits a roster of participating chefs, usually functioning at the sous-chef level in their kitchens of employment (Michelin-level experience is de rigueur), to create dinners of at least five courses. Mommsen partners with real estate properties and companies to stage the dinners in vacant apartments or show units, with tickets available to residents and often to the general public. The company also sells and orchestrates private dinners that follow the same format.

The concept isn’t so much revolutionary for its parts as for combining them: Pop-ups have been a thing for at least a decade now, and for longer than that, real estate companies have listed nearby name-brand restaurants and chefs on their roster of local attractions, often at the top of those lists.

Resident fuses these tendencies, partnering with buildings and chefs to stage dinners.

Photo by Nico Schinco and Lizzie Munro

Even before this time when the dysfunctional economics of the industry have come under intense scrutiny, Mommsen also saw an opportunity to create a new hospitality business model that would reduce such top-line expenditures as rent.

The idea was sound before COVID-19 upended our lives and threw the restaurant world into devastating, existential disarray. But now that we’re living through a dining limbo, the concept seems perfectly tailored to the moment. Over the summer of 2020, ticketed Resident dinners were staged on outdoor terraces, and private events adhered to attendance limits and other protocols dictated by local authorities.

Ticketed events at Resident are $195, plus tax. Chefs take home a minimum of $450 per dinner. That number can climb north for special or bespoke events.

That doesn’t seem like much coin for planning and serving a five-course (or longer) dinner, but aspiring chefs eager for self expression, name recognition, and Instagram bait will often break their backs to stage a pop-up, doing all the work themselves, from marketing to wine pairings to sourcing dinnerware. And after all that blood, sweat, and tears, they often lose money or scarcely eek out a profit.

With Resident, all details are taken off the chefs’ plates: The company pays for a sous chef or culinary assistant, provides a sommelier to curate wine pairings, enlists a server, and even a professional photographer, making the photos available to the chefs.

As winter encroaches on the northeastern United States, Resident still has some dinners scheduled, but Mommsen says they will adjust plans as constantly-shifting regulations and protocols dictate. But once spring dawns, and a vaccine circulates, the future for this dining model seems bright. Mommsen and his colleagues are eyeing other cities for future expansion.

For chefs, Resident offers a chance to spread their wings and strut their stuff. Those employed as sous chefs might be honing a concept for their own restaurants and menus in their free time, but when they’re on the clock, are confined to the style of the chef and restaurant that employs them.

Eric Huang, who has cooked at Café Boulud, Gramercy Tavern, and Eleven Madison Park, was readying his own restaurant when the pandemic struck. While he bides his time operating a fried chicken concept (Pecking House) out of his family’s restaurant in the outer borough of Queens, NY, he’s also begun doing dinners for Resident. In addition to supplemental income, the dinners give him, “a chance to cook your own food and express your own ideas and express your philosophy of cooking. Those opportunities don’t come around a lot.”

Ajesh Deshpande, most recently employed as a sous chef for The Baccarat Hotel and Gabriel Kreuther in New York City, has been sustaining himself during the pandemic with private chef work, much of it for the same client. It provides him welcome stability, and was more sustainable than his other lockdown side hustle—serving private clients with custom dinners that he made at home and personally delivered by biking around the city.

Deshpande signed with Resident during the lockdown (the company requires pop-up exclusivity while chefs collaborate with them). Since July, he’s done about half a dozen dinners.

He loves the interaction with guests—not just for the feedback, but to see their faces as they enjoy his food. One emerging signature dish is a carrot that’s put through a series of cooking methods (roasted, glazed, grilled) and served with carrot jus and a carrot puree. Others draw on Southeastern flavours, like those lentils with foie gras, or a duck dish that features a jus based on garam masala.

“These are fun plays on things I’ve grown up with and experienced, being in India when I would visit, the things I love to eat outside of work,” he says.

For guests of Resident, the dinners are a fresh spin on the traditional dining experience. Will Madden, an attorney for a midtown Manhattan firm who knows Mommsen from their days at Tufts University in Massachusetts, attended a few dinners at Mommsen’s home, before they were branded as Resident and exported to Manhattan.

Madden appreciates a good meal, but doesn’t characterise himself as a foodie. He respects and enjoys the food served at the dinners, but for him it’s not the main attraction: “The main reason I go is the experience of sitting around a table in most cases with a bunch of people I’ve never met and a chef I’ve never met. The idea that the chef is there and is talking to you throughout the night about what’s showing up on your plate and that feeding into conversation you get to have with a bunch of strangers—it’s just a fun and unique experience.” (Before the pandemic, Resident had guests switch seats midway through the dinner to up the social ante.)

Just as the chefs appreciate the chance to express themselves, receiving that expression delights Madden.

“I admire that this business is a kind of intermediate step potentially for a young person who is trying to develop their skills and improve themselves and put together a full menu that they can’t express in their regular job,” he says. “I can’t say enough about how impressed I’ve been by the amount of thought they put into their food. It seems they have ideas that are bursting out of them and they’re able to do it on a manageable scale. At a normal restaurant, the same creative process may be going on, but you don’t have the opportunity to talk to the person about it.”

Most recently, Madden attended a dinner by chef Ross Florance, with a coastal Maine theme. Madden relished hearing the inspiration for each dish, and the story of how Ross had moved to Maine during the lockdown, and how those months registered in his cooking.

“That really adds quite a bit of value,” says Madden. “Even though I don’t know much about food, it’s fun to be in this environment where the level of access to the process is so much more granular.”

At a time when human connections of any kind are evermore precious, this spark seems to be the secret ingredient for both chefs and diners.

Says Deshpande: “A lot of time you’re stuck in a kitchen doing 100 or 200 covers a day. You put a lot of work in but don’t see the final product on the table in front of a guest. Just being able to see that is very fulfilling.”

“I think of the compensation as an added bonus,” he adds. “You do it for the passion, and the platform.”

How to Steam Lobster Tails - A Step-By-Step Guide

1. Choose a pot large enough to hold your lobster tails with a tight-fitting lid that is large enough to fit the lobster tails with enough room for the steam to circulate around them.

2. Place a steamer basket or an upturned colander in the pot so lobster tails are not submerged in the water.

3. Pour in cold water to a depth of about 2 inches.

4. Cover your pot and bring water to a boil.

5. Once the water is boiling, quickly add the lobster tails to the pot and cover.

6. Steam the lobster tails using the lobster tails steaming times below.

7. Once you have reached your approximate cooking time, remove the pot from heat and check one of the tails. The tails should be completely cooked in the center of the meat.

8. Remove your lobster tails from the cooking pot using tongs or gloves so that your tails to not overcook.

9. Serve with drawn butter and enjoy!

How Long To Steam Lobster Tails

Best Way to Serve Steamed Lobster Tails

There are many, many ways to dress steamed lobster tails to your liking! Serving lobster tails with melted butter is probably the most recognized and traditional way to do it, but there are some good ways to mix things up a bit, too.

One way you can do this is by jazzing the clarified butter up a bit with a few more ingredients. A popular way to add a quick spin on melted butter is by adding fresh, minced garlic to make garlic butter. If you're shying away from garlic, you can make lemon butter instead by adding a squeeze of fresh lemon and a pinch of chopped parsley.

You can substitute a variety of spices for butter, too, if you're looking for a healthier way to serve steamed lobster tail. Salt and pepper is an undeniable duo for good reason and makes an excellent topper on your lobster. Using fresh sea salt is a great way to bring out the tender, natural flavor of the lobster. And if you want to spice the black pepper up (more than it already is), try toasting whole peppercorns and pulverizing them for smokier touch.

If you're looking to add even more spice, Old Bay and other blackened/cajun seasonings will offer a nice punch. Just be careful of the additional salt these seasonings contain.

Regardless of how you top your lobster, the most timeless way to present them is with a garnish of parsley and lemon wedges.

Steamed Lobster Tail Pairing Options

The beauty of lobster as the centerpiece of an entree is the plethora of sides that can accompany it. For the sake of brevity, we'll stick to only three we would definitely pair with our steamed lobster tail recipe.

Let's start with another shellfish: steamed clams. Because of their size, they make a perfect appetizer or a side, and benefit greatly from a dunk in melted butter.

Why not a soup to pair as well? Consider this: the only way you can truly add to lobster — is with more lobster! A well-prepared lobster bisque will make the perfect seafood acquaintance for our steamed lobster recipe.

To round the dish off, you may want to add some greens to contrast the red. Touch up your steaming skills by making some fresh broccoli crowns with a dash of salt and pepper, or if you're feeling citrusy, some lemon pepper.

Getting Fancy With the Steaming Process

Using salt water isn't the only liquid you can use to steam lobster. As a matter of fact, using beer — usually a light beer — is becoming a more popular way to add flavor in the steaming process. Simply boil a 12-ounce can of beer below your lobster tails.

We still recommend using salt water as a way to replicate ocean water, but if you want to try something different, give it a shot! You may be pleasantly surprised by the result.

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