By Constantine Kalandranis, 8 North Broadway Restaurant
Photo: Courtesy of Johna Riccardi Kalandranis
I was born in Astoria, Queens, with a love of food. From cooking alongside members of my family to preparing for holiday gatherings, I saw the power food had to connect people and create the perfect environment for sharing warmth, communication, intimacy, memories, wisdom and love. I was, simply, hooked.
At 14, I began working at a local pizzeria and continued my journey in the culinary world through a variety of positions like cook, baker and server. My passion propelled me toward the Culinary Institute of America, where I learned about cooking techniques, service and professionalism.
Since then, I have worked at esteemed dining establishments including Gotham Bar and Grill, Brasserie Perrier, Veritas, L’Impero, The Tasting Room and Anthos (which received a Michelin star). Throughout my career, I have cultivated my own style, traveled the world and even cooked for President Barack Obama at the White House.
After falling in love with the area during college, I returned to New York’s Lower Hudson Valley to open a series of farm-to-table restaurants in Nyack, Harrison and Scarsdale.
When asked if I would like to be a contributor for this month’s In Season, I couldn’t resist. Farm-to-table is very important to me. I want to know where my food comes from, and more and more people these days do as well.
Since OHV is a big supporter of farmers and the agricultural community, I thought I’d share a variation of “pizzetta,” using delicious roasted veggies, local cheese and semolina flour. █
The Cheese Love
2 pounds locally sourced goat-milk feta or chevre
3 tablespoons yogurt from the Hudson Valley
1. Whip together the cheese love with a whisk or a hand mixer until soft and creamy.
2. Spread olive oil on a piece of the pita and grill both sides.
3. Add the cauliflower mixture and dollops of whipped cheese.
4. Bake at 400°F for 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Finish with crumbled feta and olive oil.