Trevor Kunk is chef de cuisine of Blue Hill, chef Dan Barber’s much-lauded restaurant in New York’s Greenwich Village. The term farm-to-table has extra meaning at Blue Hill, where numerous ingredients come from New York’s Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, also home to another outpost of the restaurant.
Kunk, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, joined the Blue Hill team in 2004. By 2007, he had worked every station in the New York kitchen and was promoted to chef de cuisine. His dishes are notable for their use of supremely fresh, seasonal ingredients in straightforward, full-flavored ways.
What makes a memorable stuffing? A combination of nutty, savory and aromatic–all of which are found in this superb recipe from chef Trevor Kunk. Shiitake mushrooms and hazelnuts make it stand out, but it’s the deeply flavorful onions, cooked with sherry vinegar and honey, that are the secret to its success.
What is your number one tip for someone cooking Thanksgiving dinner?
Allow for plenty of time. If you initially think you will need four hours, allow for seven. You don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen once family and friends arrive.
Stuffing represents a family’s history and culture, and is one of my favorite parts of the meal.
Brine or no brine? And why?
No brine, but sous vide. No over- or undercooking, crisp skin and easy carving.
What’s your favorite way to use Thanksgiving leftovers?
Turkey sandwiches with my secret toppings: pickled red onions, roasted broccoli rabe, goat cheese, chopped capers, cornichons, herbs, lemon, poached breast and roasted thigh on focaccia.
What was your favorite Thanksgiving dish when you were a kid and what is it now?
Sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows as a child. But somewhere along the line I lost my sweet tooth, and now it is a close tie between stuffing and turkey.
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?
My grandmother’s key lime pie. It is simple and cannot be matched.
What does Mom or Grandma still make better than you?
Grandma, that key lime pie, and Mom, her burnt Brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar.
What’s your favorite kitchen tool?
Robot Coupe. It’s like having a sous chef in the kitchen.
When it comes to food, what is your guilty pleasure?