You would think that having the President of the United States, the First Lady and 250 guests over for dinner would make any chef really nervous. Well, not if you’re White Street N.Y.C.’s executive chef Floyd Cardoz.
“We’re going to cook our asses off,” Cardoz told Grub Street about the dinner he’s preparing for a Democratic fundraiser on Tuesday night. “Because how often do you get to have the president in the same zip code as you, let alone the same space?”
The former Top Chef Masters winner is preparing a meal of Long Island fluke, short-rib dish with grits, pumpkin-ricotta soup and a chickpea cake with avocado.
“I want him to understand that my philosophy is pretty close to his philosophy, and want to showcase what we do at White Street,” he said of the downtown New York spot he opened last month.
Cardoz even revealed that he’s not including any cream or butter in his dishes for the night. But that doesn’t mean they will let the guests leave without a sweet treat.
“We’re going to get every guest to leave with a bag of cookies,” he said. “I’ve asked for chocolate-chip cookies because that’s what I like. No nuts.”
If your invitation got lost in the mail (tickets ranged from $1,000 to $25,000), you can still have a taste of presidential flavor. Cardoz shared the soup recipe he’s whipping up for the glamorous event tonight.
Spiced Pumpkin Soup
4 tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. coriander, roughly ground
3 pieces allspice, roughly pounded
2 cloves, roughly pounded
½ tsp. cumin, roughly pounded
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 cup each onions, carrots and celery root, diced
1 inch. ginger, peeled and spiced
½ tsp. turmeric
1 large Mutsu or Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
2 qt. vegetable stock
2 cups roasted pumpkin puree
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
½ tsp. each freshly ground black pepper and salt
1. Place a large stew pot over moderate heat. Add the canola oil and heat until it shimmers.
2. Add all roughly pounded spices and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add garlic, onion, carrots, celery root, ginger and turmeric. Continue to cook until soft and tender. Add apples and the vegetable stock and bring up to a boil.
3. Add the pumpkin puree, cider vinegar, salt and pepper and cook until vegetables are soft. Puree in a blender and strain through a soup strainer.
4. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with diced candied ginger, seasoned ricotta and toasted pumpkin seeds, if desired.