An honors graduate of Le Cordon Bleu® Paris, Chef Elizabeth Whitt’s career is a sterling example of how learning the techniques of French cuisine provide a springboard to versatile cooking styles and opportunities. Elizabeth’s many ventures include recipe and product development through a thriving consulting business, teaching home chefs and professionals alike in culinary classes, hosting culinary retreats where her love of teaching is combined with great foodie destinations, and running a gourmet food truck specializing in waffle sandwiches.
MasterCook caught up with the chef to ask about life after Paris, the food truck craze, and serving food to one and one hundred!
MasterCook: You trained at Le Cordon Bleu Paris and lived and worked in Paris afterwards. Did the ambience of Paris have much of an influence on you?
Chef Whitt: I lived in Paris for over 10 years and never stopped learning about L’art culinaire and gastronomy. I was lucky to be able to experience so many fabulous dining experiences. I have to say I have been spoiled by my time in Paris, but not only did I learn great things from established restaurants and world-renowned chefs, I also learned through the everyday life that Paris has to offer.
Every week I would stroll through the outdoor market chatting with the different purveyors about the incredible items they had that day. With just an inquisitive mind and a few pleasantries, I experienced a whole new classroom in the streets of Paris. I loved seeing the seasons change in the stands of the market and all of the new and intriguing delicacies that came along. I could close my eyes, smell the air, and know what month we were in!
MasterCook: Food trucks like Waff’N’Roll have become a staple on the street and at public events, but could you talk about a private event you’ve done with the truck?
Chef Whitt: We have done so many fun private events, usually involving great music and incredible settings, but I guess the latest one that comes to mind was a baby shower on the beach of some family friends of mine. While we were setting up someone mentioned how we should ask Justin to sing. I said, “Justin who?” and that’s when I found out that Justin Timberlake and Jessica Beil would be at the party. They were both very lovely people and it was fun to meet them and serve them our great stuff!
MasterCook: The recipe you’ve shared with us can make 8-10 large or 15-20 small sandwiches. Can you tell us about what you enjoy about serving larger groups and tell us a tip you have for success?
Chef Whitt: This pulled pork recipe is great for serving a crowd at a party! The pork is slow braised and can be done the day before and even tastes better! My biggest suggestion for serving a large group is to select recipes that are better when made ahead of time. There is so much to do when preparing for a large party or gathering that anything that can be done the day before is a big help and helps you enjoy the party more!
Chef Whitt has been kind enough to share two of her food truck recipes for MasterCook users to try at home. If you use a slow-cooker, you can use it for these recipes, although it’s not essential. If you have Le Cordon Bleu Recipes from MasterCook, these recipes have been automatically added to your online recipe collection and are ready to sync with your desktop version of MasterCook, where they’ll be added to Le Cordon Bleu Blog Cookbook.
Slow Braised Pork and Chipotle Apricot Barbeque Sauce
Slow Braised Pulled Pork (Makes 8-10 large or 15-20 small Sandwiches)
4 pounds pork butt or shoulder, cut into long thick strips
1 onion, sliced
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. cumin
3 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper
Rolls or bread or waffles
2 or more cups of BBQ Sauce
2 cups prepared coleslaw
Pork: Pre-heat oven to 350 F or 180 C. Place all ingredients into a Dutch oven and season generously with salt and a bit of pepper. Bring liquid to a boil, cover and place in oven and bake for 3-4 hours. When pork is tender and falling apart, remove from baking dish and place ingredients in a refrigerator safe dish and cool. Place in fridge overnight. When ready to reheat and serve, take out of fridge and remove the meat from the fat and shred with your hands into a slow cooker or other pot or oven safe dish to reheat. Discard any large chunks of fat and any visible fat in the juice (should have risen to the top and solidified). Once fat has been discarded, reheat the pork with the congealed cooking juice until boiling. Reduce heat and add 1 cup or more of BBQ sauce. Place meat on roll spread with extra sauce, top with a little coleslaw and serve.
Chipotle Apricot BBQ Sauce (Makes about 4 cups)
1 tbsp. oil
1 onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves
2-3 chipotle peppers with adobo sauce from small can
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup molasses or dark corn syrup
1/3 cup apricot jam or jelly
3 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
3 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 cups ketchup
Heat oil, chopped onion and garlic in saucepan over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes. When onions are translucent and tender add remaining ingredients. Bring mixture to boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Stir frequently, while uncovered for about 15-20 minutes. Finally, use an immersion blender until smooth if desired. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.