Christine Hazel, Executive Chef of Huntingdon Valley (Pa.) Country Club, strives to build menus that balance intricate dishes with those that are clever, delicious, and quick to plate up.
“When you become an executive chef, you must think about more than just the flavors on the plate,” says Hazel. “You must consider the execution of the dish, how to prepare and plate it, and how to make sure your team can reproduce it consistently.
“Of course, the flavor is important,” she adds, “but that’s only part of what makes a dish truly successful.”
Editing has become a well-honed skill for Hazel, whose tomahawk pork chop with fontina grits and charred broccolini represents the complex way she approaches simplicity.
The chop is prepared sous vide so that it is always cooked perfectly and ready for a quick pickup. It’s infused with big flavors—thyme, garlic, citrus—that are bold and recognizable. It’s finished on the grill and served over grits made with a funky fontina and tender, charred broccolini.
The oils she uses to garnish the dish are another one of those speed-of-service tricks Hazel loves to lean on.
“The preparation of the oils is so simple, but they elevate every dish you use them on,” she says. “Chefs can customize these oils with any herbs they want. The process is the same.”