Chef Philip Speer, Director of Culinary Operations of Uchi, Uchiko, and Uchi Houston is Texas Wine and Trail Magazine’s June Texas Two Taste Chef. In this ongoing series we show our readers how to pair exceptional Texas wines with the finest cuisine of our State. We would like to thank Chef Speer for his support of the Texas wine industry. If our readers are feeling extra adventurous you can attempt to create the dish by following the recipe below…but we highly suggest visiting Uchi to experience this pairing perfection by professionals!
Chef Philip Speer conceives desserts that are an anticipated finish to dinner rather than an afterthought. As a 17 year old, Speer began experimenting as a scratch baker in his hometown of Houston, Texas. Early in his career, Chef Speer gained experience by helping to open the critically acclaimed Jean-Luc’s Bistro in Austin, Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Bank in Houston and finally Seven and Starlite in Austin where he took on the task of revamping their dessert programs.
Speer left Starlite in 2005 to work at Uchi with recent James Beard Award winning Chef Tyson Cole. Combining elements of surprise and artistry with fresh ingredients are hallmarks of Speer’s approach to his craft and these techniques have garnered him awards in the Austin Chronicle, the Austin American-Statesman andTexas Monthly as well as national recognition inBon Appetit, Cooks Illustrated and USA Today. He appeared as a judge on the Food Network’s “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” as well as part of Chef Tyson Cole’s team that competed on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” Speer has been named a James Beard Award semi-finalist in the overall pastry chef category for the past two years.
Speer’s talents are reinvented at Cole’s newest restaurant, Uchiko. Translated as “child of Uchi”, Uchiko opened in July 2010 to national praise, receiving honors such as Texas Monthly’s “Best New Restaurant” and one of the “Best New Restaruants 2010” by GQ. Uchiko also received James Beard Award semi-finalist nominations in the rising star chef of the year (Executive Chef Paul Qui) and best new restaurant categories.
Cole’s recently released cookbook, Uchi the Cookbook, features an entire chapter on Speer’s desserts that highlight his inventive techniques and creative uses of less traditional ingredients. While awards and recognition are greatly appreciated, Speer will tell you “at the end of the day, it’s all about my love affair with food and working at such a high caliber establishment with diverse and talented chefs.”
For the June Texas Two Taste, Chef Philip Speer chose the Uchi Machi Cure to be paired with the 2011 McPherson Cellars Viognier. Viognier, which originated in France, is becoming one of Texas’s signature wines as our climate and terroir has been a surprising match. The intoxicating aromas of Viognier far exceed those of Chardonnay, helping it become a great wine to discover for enthusiasts seeking an exotic white. Chef Speer added, “Notes of bright stone fruit and gripping acidity work well with the savory, textured elements of the Machi Cure and make for a “first bite, every bite” experience.”
Recipe for Machi Cure
2oz smoked yellowtail
½ Asian pear
2oz mixture of golden raisins, Marcona almonds and pine nuts
1tsp white soy
½ oz thinly sliced Tokyo green onion and mixed micro greens
1tsp orange infused oil
½ clove garlic
Sliced yellow into small bite sized pieces, mix all ingredients in bowl and place on plate. Garnish with micro greens.
Article by Leanne Holley, Texas Wine and Trail Magazine