Ruth’s Chris Executive Chef

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While Cirino went on to capture Michelin stars in the Cote d’Azure in southeast France, Dan moved to the American southeast—Palm Beach, Florida—where he worked as corporate executive chef for U.S. Tobacco Company, managing a million-dollar operational budget. “It was a dream job,” Dan recalls. “I cooked for the rich and famous and organized dinners for special events like the long-running St. Jude [Children’s Research Hospital] Celebrity Gala.”

In 1995, Dan went north to Ligonier, Pennsylvania, to run the corporate kitchen at Timken-Latrobe Steel Company’s Red Arrow Lodge, a conference and training center for international steel manufacturers since the 1930s. “The lodge was beautiful, with a kitchen that had tongue-and-groove floors and chestnut cabinets. One of the highlights of working there was when hunting season opened. We’d shoot deer and have fresh venison to serve at the lodge.” With an annual food budget of $230,000, “I could purchase anything I needed: the highest-grade beef tenderloin, foie gras, and the finest caviar. I’d create [special] menus for guests of the lodge. I took a Japanese cooking class that came in handy when I cooked for a group of executives from Japan. They were blown away that I knew how to cook Japanese food!”

When the steel industry moved out of Pennsylvania, Dan opened The Pic-Nic Basket, a thirty-four-seat restaurant that he ran for three years. “We did very well, using fresh, locally sourced ingredients and dairy products. Then, in 2006, we took a trip to Maui, and six months later, our whole life changed. We sold the business and moved back here.”

Working at different venues upon his return, he eventually landed the executive chef position at Ruth’s Chris. Dan says, “I feel really fortunate to be living back here on Maui. With the multimillion-dollar restaurant and kitchen renovation [scheduled for mid-September], I’m excited and looking forward to the next chapter.”

Get a recipe for
Chef Bader’s Korean-style Short Ribs over Savoy Cabbage

Korean short ribs
Korean-style short ribs and cabbage are a favorite food memory from Chef Dan’s high school days. Happily for us, he shared his personal recipe.

Korean-style Short Ribs Recipe

Korean short rib recipeYield: 4–6 servings
Prep time: Overnight marinating + 3–3.5 hrs. bake time

Marinade:

  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1½ c. brown sugar
  • 10 pieces thin-cut Korean–style beef short ribs
  • 1 bottle (10 oz.) teriyaki marinade
  • 2” piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 shallots, sliced thin
  • 1 tsp. black-pepper-infused oil

For the cabbage:

  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 head Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 oz. unsalted butter, or peanut oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the short ribs: Place marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Coat beef, cover and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 400°. Place ribs and marinade in a large Dutch oven with lid or in a metal pan, sealing well with foil, and bake for 3 to 3.5 hours on bottom rack. Ribs should be tender and marinade syrupy, but not burnt. Place ribs on a platter and strain marinade, skimming and discarding fat.

For the cabbage: Heat a wok or nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add fat or oil. When oil is nearly smoking, add cabbage and garlic and sauté until cabbage is translucent, about 5 minutes. Do not allow to brown. Discard garlic, and spoon cabbage onto a serving platter. Place ribs on cabbage and pour sauce over. Enjoy!

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