Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Coffee with the Chef: Steven Christianson

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Coffee with the Chef: Steven Christianson

Article excerpt

St. Eve's, Ho-Ho-Kus

Chef Steven Christianson is no stranger to the restaurant business. Before opening St. Eve's in 2011 with his wife, Judi, he owned Citrus Grille in Airmont, N.Y. And before that, he worked at The Four Seasons in Manhattan and Cafe Panache in Ramsey, where he was a partner. Now that he's back in North Jersey, he's making a splash with his homemade sodas and a three-star Record review. Here, he talks about his $1,400 meal, his idea to open up a vegetarian restaurant and his sweet tooth.

Favorite comfort food: I love braised endives. It's probably one of my favorite things to eat. I don't eat around the restaurant a lot; I taste. When I go home, I'll cook up something quick. Braised endives is the nicest comfort food. It's quick. I just cut the endives in half, put them in a little bit of olive oil, jump into the shower and, when I come out, they're soft. I hit it with a little bit of balsamic vinegar, just a touch more oil, and I sprinkle a little cheese and bake them in the oven for 10, 15 minutes. It is the best.

Best local ingredient: In the summertime, I get the best heirloom tomatoes. I have this guy [in Pomona, N.Y.], he only grows for me, and he's got a selection of 10, 12 different heirlooms. When they're in season, there's nothing better.

Culinary hero: One of my mentors was Christian Albin, chef at the Four Seasons. Really, really nice guy. He passed away a couple of years ago. Every morning he'd come in, and the first thing out of his mouth was "Good morning!" to everybody. I do it when I come here in the morning now. It's a good way to get the day started in a crazy business.

Favorite cookbook: I probably have 2,000 cookbooks. I like a lot of the French guys, I like the way some of them think and cook, especially the modern guys.

Most memorable and expensive meal: Fourteen courses at Pierre Gagnaire in Paris about 3 1/2 years ago. …

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