Winter Menu from Artisan in Southport
Veteran chef Frederic Kieffer shares his favorite meal to cook for friends
photographs by Anastassios Mentis
“When you cook for friends it’s all about simplicity. Cooking at home should be uncomplicated because you don’t have to showcase anything. The main thing is that there is no time pressure, whenever it’s ready, it’s ready ...”
Nothing takes the chill off winter like an honest,bone-warming supper shared with loved ones—this is something Frederic Kieffer knows for sure. As executive chef of Artisan restaurant in Southport, Kieffer is accustomed to preparing complex dishes, stunningly presented, under pressure. But when the soft-spoken Parisian cooks for friends, it’s all about comfort and uncomplicated foods.
And in cold weather, Kieffer likes to cook with seasonal, often sweet flavors. “Sweet things—maple syrup, cranberry bread—play a more important role in the winter,” says Kieffer. “The flavors are very soothing and these ingredients help us to get through the long winter. Honey and ginger keep us healthy. They are soul-soothing and they make us feel good.”
“When it comes to relaxing and entertaining at home,
there is nothing like a simple roast chicken and a glass of wine. It’s a no brainer … it’s a pure good time and you can just enjoy yourself. You don’t question the food.”
And so, when we asked Kieffer to fashion a winter menu he might serve on his night off, it came as no surprise that he chose a honey-ginger roast chicken as its star. Served with delicately pan-roasted winter vegetables, the simple bird was accompanied by a robust lentil soup, toasted bread topped with Jasper Hill blue cheese and local sweet butter and drizzled with Red Bee honey. For dessert, the master chef prepared a mouthwatering pear and apple cobbler with almond crust.
Kieffer was gracious enough to whip up this tantalizing meal in his restaurant kitchen and serve it to friends in Artisan’s cozy dining room—but he insists these are dishes that a home cook can handle. Preparing a hearty winter meal for company “is just about having a good time and enjoying yourself,” says the chef. “You don’t really want to think about the food; you just want to enjoy being with your friends.”