- Hunger in NYC
- Donate Food
- Donate Funds
- Restaurant Partners
This month, Rhonda Kave is At the Chef's Table.
Why is hunger an important issue for you?
Simply, no one should be hungry. The issue goes deeper when you consider the disappearance of home cooking and food deserts with no access to fresh, affordable food.
How has your involvement with City Harvest affected your outlook on food/hunger in New York City?
I admire the work City Harvest does, boots on the ground rescue and redirection/redistribution of fresh usable food to folks who need it. I lived around the corner from a large food pantry in East Harlem and getting fresh veggies, fruits and foods in their baskets always delighted and excited the people who depend on the pantry to feed their families. People want to cook healthy food for themselves when they get the opportunity.
What inspired you to become a chocolatier?
I made candy for friends and family over many years with a neighbor and friend. We were encouraged to go into business all the time but it never seemed to be the right time. Finally in 2007 after completing a (long-delayed) degree at NYU I decided it was my time. Finding a home at the Essex Street Market and making a place for myself in that unique LES community has enriched my life and given me an outlet to pursue my passion for chocolate.
I embrace bold flavors and enjoy creating chocolates that delight and surprise people. Connecting with customers and live sampling are two of the best parts of my job!
What is your favorite hidden gem of a restaurant?
Mayahuel in the East Village. I also love 2nd Floor on Clinton (not technically a restaurant but an awesome LES speakeasy/cocktail bar).
What are you most looking forward to for the spring?
Shopping at the Greenmarket and seeing the produce offerings grow each week. Fresh asparagus!!!
What is something everyone should have in their kitchen?
A good cast iron skillet
What’s in your refrigerator?
A lot of ingredients: mustards, vinegars, jams, capers, crème fraîche, some soy milk.
What is your favorite junk food?
French fries and junky candy like Good & Plenty.
What is your favorite savory dish (to eat OR make)?
I make a savory bread pudding that is really easy and delicious. It's a real crowd pleaser and great for brunch. I like to use RockHill Bakery's Jalapeño, Corn & Cheddar bread to start, then I make a base of eggs, milk, sautéed shallots, grated cheese, fresh thyme, salt & pepper & some corn kernels. Soak the bread in the base for about 1/2 hour and bake. I serve it topped with some spicy hot pepper jelly.
What traditions (in or out of the kitchen!) did you enjoy during your childhood?
I loved to bake from an early age. I entered my offerings in the Salem County Fair and won ribbons [!]
What is your favorite sweet & savory combination?
I guess I'd have to say chocolate & bacon, since it pays the rent!
What is the most unique ingredient you have worked with when making chocolates?
I've worked with cigars, capers, tapenade. Savory stuff works surprisingly well with chocolate.
Any new recipes coming up?
I got a million of 'um! Working on a new version of the Key Lime truffle for the Bake Sale Collection. We're doing a hazelnut truffle again soon and a chocolate/cocoa nib caramel.