Home » Chef-Owner Brian Lewis Recipes – Elm Restaurant, CT, USA

Chef-Owner Brian Lewis Recipes – Elm Restaurant, CT, USA

by Debra C. Argen
Pastry Chef CCaryn Stabinsky, Debra Argen, Sous Chef Devin Broo, Chef/Owner Brian Lewis - photo by Luxury Experience
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Chef Brian Lewis - Elm Restaurant - photo by Jane BeilesChef/Owner Brian Lewis of Elm Restaurant in New Canaan, Connecticut found his passion for cooking at the age of 14 when a minor knee injury kept him from playing sports for the season. Growing up in Westchester, New York, there was a lot happening in the culinary scene, and as he could not play sports, he took a job working part-time at a restaurant while in school, which helped him to develop his passion into a lifelong love, and with passion comes tremendous effort. Chef Brian Lewis graciously shares his recipe for English Pea Sacchetti – pea shoots, lemon brown butter, parmigianio reggiano to tempt your palate into making a trip to his restaurant, which is well worth the trip!

Chef Brian Lewis began his career graduating with honors from the prestigious culinary school,  The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, then furthered his education at the equally notable Johnson & Wales in Providence, Rhode Island, where he obtained his Bachelor’s degree is Business Management. From there he had the opportunity to work with Chef Jean Louis Palladin and Chef Marco Pierre White, and work at such acclaimed restaurants as Lutèce, Oceana, The Sign of The Dove, Rockenwagner, The Village Pub, and Bix, followed by The Barn and The Farmhouse at the Bedford Post where he worked with owner, Richard Gere.

In March 2012, Chef Brian Lewis realized his dream by opening his own restaurant, thus was the birth of Elm Restaurant, located at 73 Elm Street in the charming town of New Canaan, Connecticut, where the restaurant’s surrounding neighbors include upscale boutiques. The surroundings are the perfect complement to Chef Brian’s attractive restaurant and his inspired, creative cuisine that is as visually stimulating to the eye, as it is to the palate.

I spoke with Chef Brian Lewis in March 2013, about his restaurant’s upcoming one-year anniversary, and about his culinary vision for Elm Restaurant described as, "Modern American Cuisine" infused with tradition. Chef Brian Lewis is inspired by the seasons, finding the best ingredients and working with the best farmers. It is about the quality of the ingredients and their uniqueness, and how the restaurant pairs them together. He likes to take traditional recipes and ingredients and then get the best results from the products to support that, paying homage to old school, with his new school seasonings, and approach.

Pastry Chef Caryn Stabinsky, Debra Argen, Sous Chef Devin Broo, Chef/Owner Brian Lewis

Early in his career he was influenced by Alice Waters in California, by Chef Marco White in London, Charlie Trotter, Thomas Keller, Michel Bras, Pierre Gagnaire, and the more modern French chefs. For inspiration, in a certain sense, he said that it comes from our experiences, what is in our head, heart, and soul, and then rolls with it. There is no rhyme or reason to his approach, and now that he has a sous chef, Devin Broo, whom he noted is wildly talented; he likes to bounce ideas off him. While Caryn Stabinsky is his talented pastry chef, he said that it is nice to have a savory, umami compatriot, as they truly have a jam session about the food that they want to create, how to take it to another level, so that they can grow exponentially, like a solo singer, now compared to a singer in a band.

He likes to challenge himself constantly, and the team challenges each other, and keeps it rolling like that. It is about how they can challenge themselves, pull many flavors together, and see where it develops, to work outside of the box. He likes to take flavor profiles and then expand upon the idea and the flavors.

Chef Brian Lewis’ favorite ingredient? Brown butter. He will use it to poach vegetables, drizzle on pastas, use the milk fat from the brown butter and dry it to a salt to season different things, use it for spumas, confit, on ice cream, as it is very versatile, and he loves to combine brown butter and truffles.

His favorite food when he is not cooking is eating the best French fries and mayonnaise, the best ice cream, ethnic food from South America, street food, what he would not make for himself at home. He likes to go to Chinatown, likes food from other cultures, and when he was in San Francisco, he liked to go to the Mission District to eat. He also loves it when his wife or someone else cooks for him, how they take care to set the table, how they prepare the food, and how the food tastes.

When not in the kitchen working at his restaurant, he and his wife enjoy spending time together with their friends and family. They are also very into CrossFit training, which they do in Norwalk, Connecticut. His newest passion? Gardening. This spring he and his wife will design gardens for their home with a friend who is a farmer, and he cannot wait to start planting. Perhaps some of the fruits of his labor may make it to the restaurant table, or perhaps not; some things are best savored at home, cooked and enjoyed with friends and family.

Chef Brian Lewis graciously shares his inspired recipe for English Pea Sacchetti – pea shoots, lemon brown butter, parmigianio reggiano, delectable housemade filled pasta to tempt your palate into making a trip to Elm restaurant.

English Pea Sachetti - photo by Jane Beiles

English Pea Sacchetti – pea shoots, lemon brown butter, parmigianio reggiano
Servings: 8      

English Pea Filling Ingredients:

Shelled Fresh English Peas, blanched in heavily salted water
Parmigiano Reggiano
Hot Water, from the pea blanching
Kosher Salt, to taste

Method: Place all ingredients in a vita mix blender and puree until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Egg Pasta Dough Ingredients:

00 Flour
Semolina Flour
Whole Eggs, (preferably organic farm eggs)
Egg Yolks
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method: Place the flour in the bowl of a Kitchen Aid mixer fitted with a hook attachment. Combine the whole eggs, egg yolks, and olive oil in a small bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the egg mixture slowly, allowing the flour to absorb the eggs and form a soft dough.

Remove from the bowl and turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, to develop the gluten and elasticity (structure) of the dough. The pasta dough should have a smooth feel and bright yellow color. Cover with plastic film or a clean kitchen towel for 30-45 minutes to allow the dough to rest before rolling and cutting.

Chef Brian Lewis - Elm Restaurant, New Canaan, CT, USA - Photo by Jane Beiles
Chef/Owner Brian Lewis

Begin to make the sacchetti; first cut the dough in half and roll each half into 10 inch by 5 inch sheets, about ½ inch thick. Using either a hand crank or electric pasta machine, lightly dust the pasta sheets with flour and roll through the machine, starting at the highest number (usually 10) and work your way down to number 2, rolling through each number setting along the way. This will yield smooth, well-developed, and structured dough (giving you a wonderful mouth feel).

Using a fluted, 2 inch square cookie cutter, cut as many portions of the dough as possible, transfer the dough to a cookie sheet and cover with a dusting of flour and a clean kitchen towel.

Prepare the sachetti: Lay 10 pasta squares out onto a lightly floured work surface and spray place 1 teaspoon of the English pea filling in the center of each pasta square. Dot a bit of water on one side of each square and now bring each corner of the square to a center point, creating a seal with four distinct edges. Repeat until all of the pasta is filled. Transfer to a cookie tray, lightly dusted with flour and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

Lemon Brown Butter Ingredients:

Unsalted Butter
Lemons, halved
Pea Shoots

Method: In a medium size saucepan, place the butter over medium heat and cook until the butter begins to bubble and the milk solids begin to brown. Once the butter solids begin to brown, stir with a whisk to prevent from browning. Once the butter solids have taken on a nutty aroma and are evenly browned, add the lemon juice, pea shoots, and kosher salt to taste.

Assembly: Cook the sacchetti in salted boiling water for 4-5 minutes, remove from the water, and toss with the lemon brown butter and pea shoots. Plate in a warm serving bowl, and sprinkle with parmigianio reggiano.

Elm Restaurant, New Canaan, CT, USA - photo by Jane Beiles
Elm Restaurant

Elm Restaurant is open for Dinner Tuesday through Thursday from 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm, and Friday and Saturday from 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm. The restaurant serves Sunday Brunch from 11:00 am until 2:30 pm, and Supper from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm (three-course weekly menu).

Chef Brian Lewis creates special dinners and events throughout the year at the restaurant, including cooking classes for adults, and classes for children. To learn more, please visit the website, and look in the Calendar of Events section. http://www.elmrestaurant.com/.

Read more about the dining experience at Elm Restaurant in the Restaurant section.

Elm Restaurant, New Canann, CT, USAElm Restaurant
73 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT 06840
United States
Telephone:  +1-203-920-4994

Follow Elm Restaurant on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/ElmRestaurant

Follow Luxury Experience on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LuxuryExperience to see more photos from our dining experience at Elm Restaurant.

© April 2013. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com All rights reserved.

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