Chef Keith Grimes
248 Nutting Hill Road
Mason, NH 03048
Where were you born? Watertown, Massachusetts.
What is your chef training? I studied at Johnson and Wales in Providence, Rhode Island. Thirty-two years in fine dining kitchens. I've worked in Boston, Maine, Florida and settled in little Mason, New Hampshire.
What are three ingredients you can't live without and why? Celery, carrots and onions, otherwise known as mirepoix. Mirepoix is the foundation (fond) of all stocks along with bones. Of course vegetable stock does not contain bones and fish stock often omits carrots. Without a fond, there are no stocks, soups, sauces or cooking liquids.
What is your favorite cooking utensil? It all depends on what you are preparing. Different dishes require different utensils. The one utensil that has to be used daily is a chef knife. I have a large collection of knives, but my favorite is always the one that I last purchased.
What is your favorite spice? That question is like asking who your favorite child is! For baking my favorite spice is cardamom. Cardamom is so unique in its flavor. Although salt is a mineral, it is essential in cooking. Salt brings all of the flavors out. If you made a tomato sauce and did not add salt it would be flat but as soon as you add salt all of a sudden you taste basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary and all of the other ingredients used in the recipe.
What is your favorite beverage? We just created a strawberry basil lemonade, and it is amazing! With the addition of seltzer, it is over the top. So my new favorite beverage is sparkling strawberry basil lemonade.
What is your favorite dessert? Rein de saba which is a chocolate almond dense cake. Some rum and coffee added to the recipe make it even better. We had this dessert in the first French kitchen that I worked in, and it has always brought me back to thoughts of the beginning of my career. Like music, food brings back memories.
Who was your mentor? Chef Alan Gibson. When I finished at Johnson and Wales, I worked for Alan. He was one of only 13 master chefs in the country at the time. He was the chef de cuisine at the prestigious Pillar House in Newton, Massachusetts. One day Alan told me that we would feature sole Veronique. When Alan made me peel grapes for this dish, I knew I was in for a challenging adventure!