Michael Cimarusti's passion and curiosity for food was ignited at an early age by his grandmother, Jo Cimarusti. In the great Italian culinary tradition his grandmother, alongside his great-grandmother and aunts, made sure that every Sunday get-together was an event. Cimarusti can trace his reverence for ingredients and proper technique back to those Sunday family meals.
Cimarusti knew early on that he wanted to be a chef. After a couple of apprenticeships, he attended the acclaimed Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Graduating with honors, his first job out of school was with celebrated New York City Chef Larry Forgione of An American Place.
Wanting to hone his classical French cooking skills, Chef Cimarusti began working at Le Cirque where he rose to Saucier at the New York City institution. Chef Cimarusti's greatest influences were Le Cirque's Chefs Sottah Khunn and Sylvain Portay. Their reverence for quality ingredients and refined technique can be seen in his menu at Providence.
His stint at Le Cirque led Chef Cimarusti to Paris, France where he apprenticed at Michelin-rated Arpège and La Marée. Upon returning to New York, his reputation earned Chef Cimarusti an invitation by the Maccioni Family to serve as the opening chef at their new venture, Osteria del Circo.
Looking for a change of scenery, Chef Cimarusti headed to Los Angeles where he worked with Chef Wolfgang Puck as Chef de Cuisine at the original Spago in Hollywood. He was soon recruited by the Water Grill to help refine its concept into a world-class fine dining restaurant and quickly garnered rave reviews.
Michael Cimarusti's mastery of seafood cookery and his knowledge of fish and seafood has earned him international recognition and countless accolades as chef and owner of Providence in Los Angeles. Since its inception, Providence has consistently been ranked among the best restaurants by leading critics and publications Bon Appetit named Cimarusti, "A leader of the newest generation of American chefs".. Providence garnered a coveted James Beard nomination for "Best New Restaurant" in the United States, "Top 20 New Restaurants" by Esquire Magazine, and "World's Top New Restaurants"r by Travel and Leisure. Gourmet Magazine named Providence as one of the top 50 restaurants in the US. Providence was awarded two Michelin Stars in the Michelin Dining Guide for 2009.
Cimarusti is an "Iron Chef America" Champion besting his respected opponent, Masaharu Morimoto, as well as appearing as a contestant on Bravo's "Top Chef Masters".
Wild Alaska Halibut with Morels and AsparagusExecutive Chef Michael Cimarusti
Providence, Los Angeles, California
Ingredients:1lb Fresh morel mushrooms*
1/4 lb Butter
2 ea. Shallots, minced
1 Lemon, for juicing
4 (4 oz.) Alaska halibut fillets
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
12 ea. Asparagus tips, peeled, and blanched
Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 bunch chopped chives
*Can substitute chanterelle, oyster, shitake, or button mushrooms for the morels.
For the Morels:
For the Halibut:
To Serve:Remove the fish from the pan and place it on paper towels to remove the excess fat. Add the chopped chives to the mushrooms and divide them among four warmed bowls and place the fish on top. Spoon some of the morel juice over the fish, place the asparagus spears around the fish and serve.
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