Chef Didier Elena, a native of Monaco, was born to a doctor and a fisherman. He was headed toward a medical career until meeting world-renowned chef Alain Ducasse and, as they say in the movies, it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
After two decades of working with Ducasse in his restaurants around the globe, Elena broke out on his own. The Michelin-starred chef is now culinary director at Chefs Club in New York and Aspen where a rotating roster of stellar chefs create menus of seasonal ingredients.
Here are some of Elena’s signature recipes:
Roasted leg of lamb in hay
1 each whole bone-in leg of lamb
2 tablespoons kosher salt
10 garlic cloves
20 Nicoise olives
1. Preheat oven to 280° F
2. Dry lamb leg with paper towels
3. Season generously with salt
4. Heat a large skillet or sauté pan coated with vegetable oil and sear leg on all sides
5. Let the leg cool to touch
6. Make small cuts in the meat with a pairing knife
7. Stud leg with olives and garlic cloves
8. In a roasting pan filled with hay, roast leg of lamb for 30 min per pound
9. Let rest for 20 min before carving
Crispy potato churros with comté cheese
1 1/4 cup water
3/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 whole eggs
1 cup potato pulp
1 1/2 cup grated Comte cheese
1. Bake potatoes on a bed of salt for 45 min at 400° F
2. Bring water, salt, butter to a boil.
3. Incorporate all of the flour first with a whisk then a spatula.
4. Remove from the heat add eggs one by one.
5. Put mixture into a stand mixer bowl and incorporate potato and grated comte.
6. Put in a piping bag with a pastry tip and pipe onto parchment paper and freeze.
7. Cut into desired size and fry at 350° until golden brow.
8. Season with salt and black pepper
1 small eggplant sliced ¼ inch thick
1 medium yellow onion sliced ¼ inch thick
1 small zucchini trimmed and sliced ¼ inch thick
1 medium tomato sliced ¼ inch thick
1 medium summer…