Born and raised in Southern California, Chef Dakota Weiss discovered her love for cooking at a very young age when her mother, suspense novelist Charmaine Coimbra, has taught her about cooking in the kitchen and organic gardening. It wasn’t until she has found joy working at a bakery than attending classes at New Mexico State University did she realize her desire to pursue a career in the culinary arts.
She graduated top of her class at Scottsdale Culinary Institute, then worked at Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe with Chef Jeff Drew before working at the Ritz-Carlton under Chef Bruno Menard. It’s Chef Menard she gives all her thanks for guiding her in truly developing her senses in cooking and developing a menu. Her participation on “Top Chef” in 2011 propelled her to local and national recognition, even being chosen as LA’s 2013 Hottest Chef by Eater.com.
We asked Chef Dakota for a recipe she thinks best reflects the Winter season. She handed her recipe for ‘Gruyere and Sherry Fondue.’ This recipe is very special to Dakota because it is her mother’s recipe from childhood. Her mother used to make this fondue every holiday season when she was growing up and because it is so warm and decadent. It is the quintessential winter dish.
“Every Christmas Eve my family tradition is to do Fondue. Over the years, the “crock” has taken on many different variations but the ALL time favorite is always the classic Gruyere and Sherry Fondue. I spent many a hours as a young Lass watching my mom prepare this wonderful dish which in turn became an event…and I never missed her pouring herself a glass of Sherry…little bit for the Fondue, little bit for her. I am super glad to be carrying on this tradition in every way and hope it will inspire other family’s to start up as well. Fondue is such a great way to all get together and be social while dipping, chewing and slurping,” Chef Weiss explains about why the recipe is perfect for the Winter season.
Miss Swiss Fondue
1/4 lbs butter
1/2 C flour
1 tbps garlic
3 1/2 lbs gruyere
1/2 qt chicken stock
1/2 qt heavy cream
1/2 qt sherry
1. Make the roux with flour, butter, and garlic.
2. Add chicken stock, cream, and sherry. Bring to boil, whisk in cheese until all melted.
3. Season with pinch of nutmeg, salt, and white pepper.
4. Serve in fondue pot along with choice of dipping items. Chef recommends sliced pretzel bread, roasted asparagus, salami, baby tomatoes, broccoli, sliced boiled potatoes, and breadsticks.
*Makes 2.5 qts enough to serve 15 people.
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