Cigar news: Report on the chef’s world and cigars.
Top Chefs and Cigars
If you thought that the world’s top rated chefs avoided cigars because of their refined palates, you would be wrong! Some of the top chefs from famed Michelin Starred restaurants, are as passionate about cigars, as they are the food they cook. Chef Eric Rippert tastes up to twenty sauces a day, and still counts on a great cigar almost every day. Some look forward to them for a quiet moment after a busy dinner shift with the company of fellow kitchen staff. Others savor them as part of the enjoyment of a big meal with friends and family. One thing is certain; cigars have their place in the kitchen!
Cohibas in the Kitchen
Chefs Eric Rippert and Jose Andres have built up significant restaurant empires, with multiple outposts in favorite cigar hot spots like Las Vegas, Miami and New York. The chefs have vastly different cooking styles. Rippert is a brilliant technician when it comes to fish. Andres is a leader of the tapas / small plate movement that has set the standard in the country. What they have in common is a love of brilliantly crafted cigars. The cigars they enjoy reflect their personalities and their cooking styles. Rippert’s go to cigar is a Cohiba Esplendido which has a smaller ring gauge and tends to be more mild flavored. Andres favors the Cohiba Behike, a brasher, bigger ring gauged cigar that packs plenty of punch.
French Laundry and Cigars
Famed Chef Thomas Kelleher of the French Laundry is such a cigar enthusiast, that he and four fellow chef friends were asked to create a fiftieth anniversary cigar for Davidoff. The tobaccos selected for the 50th Anniversary Davidoff Chef’s Edition reflects the food and spices that embody the chef’s preferred food pairings. Rich flavors of licorice, oak wood, Szechuan pepper, coffee, cumin, and creamy chocolate infuse the final tobacco blend. According to the chefs, the most compelling part of the creative process was the fermentation of the tobaccos. Creating the different flavor profiles was like choosing the flavor profiles and components that go into a fine meal.
Emeril’s Love of Hand Rolled Cigars
Famed Chef Emeril Lagasse has been smoking cigars most of his life. What intrigues him most is the craftsmanship behind a truly well-made cigar. The hand rolling is an artistry, and part of the entire cigar smoking experience. Just like food, it’s important to know where your cigar comes from. The journey from tobacco seed to cigar is no different than the journey of the food he cooks. It’s something he taught his own kids, “Orange juice doesn’t come from a carton; it’s the same thing with cigars. People don’t understand all that goes into growing it, aging it, enjoying it.”
Cigars for Dessert
All of the chefs had one thing in common; they would skip dessert in favor of a cigar. Timing is everything and after a big meal, a cigar is the perfect complement. Especially when paired with the right cocktail. Aged tequilas and scotches that have picked up the caramelization and the sweetness that comes from the barrel, more than compensate for dessert. Thomas Kelleher keeps a custom made humidor stocked with rarities for guests in lieu of dessert at the French Laundry. No matter what the meal is, don’t forget to add a cigar to the menu!
Photo credit: Davidoff