I found myself in the midst of an elite crowd of some of New York’s most fashionable, sipping mojitos, and chatting animatedly in anticipation of the sumptuous treats that Top Chef contestant, Michael Patlazhan was preparing. There was an air of mystery stirred into the atmosphere, and as dinner guests mingled, watching Chef Patlazhan’s masterful technique on full display in the open kitchen, they wondered what the occasion might be for this exclusive dinner event that all had been invited to.
Not that anyone is going to stare too askance at the opportunity to spend a Monday evening at an impeccably decorated Flatiron district loft eating positively dreamy food—but this group had no idea who their real host was and what the impetus of the illustrious gathering.
As we seated ourselves at the elegantly decorated table, the first course appeared along with Chef Patlazhan to present and describe his stunning creation. The three preparations of ancient grains gracefully arched across our plates, dazzled with edible flours and molecular “pearls” of vinaigrette, resting luxuriously atop a velvet swirl of labneh (an intensely creamy, strained Greek-style yogurt). The complex play of flavour and textures wowed every single palate, and a ripple of happy sighs seemed to pass throughout the loft.
And then, as we all felt ourselves letting go to full indulgence, the big reveal: the host of this party was none other than Weight Watchers.
The brand, associated with those wishing to lose a few pounds (or more than a few), is not the first one you might think of when you think of a decadent, indulgent meal and an incredibly stylish crowd and loft (despite its solid reputation for decades of success stories).
And that was exactly the point of this evening’s affair – to show that Weight Watchers not only breaks the mold of a dated, “calorie-counting” movement, it does so with cutting edge flair and ultra hot results, and never a feeling of deprivation.
The wow’s that the revelation inspired among the dinner guests was a true testament to the misconceptions of Weight Watchers. And that night, we all learned that being healthy, whether maintaining a svelte physique or attaining one, is actually something that can seamlessly fit into the erratic, indulgent life of a fashionable New Yorker. In fact, it is something that could very likely enhance it.
Still skeptical? We’ve been lucky enough to have Weight Watchers share the recipes that Chef Patlazhan created for the night. See below for recipe inspiration!
Tasting is believing.
– Ava Fedorov
Photos of Michael Patlazhan and kitchen by Diana Levine. Additional photos by Ava Fedorov for Socially Superlative.
MICHAEL PATLAZHAN MEAL:
Grains ( Cooked/ Puffed/ Smoked)/ Labne/ Tomato Raisin/ Vadouvan Golden Raisin Purée/ Frozen Meyer Lemon Vinagrette
48HR Sous Vide Short Rib/ Maitake ( Grilled/Smoked)/ Barley Wild Rice Crispy Cake/ Charred Romaine/ Black Peanut Sauce/ Squid Cracker
Chocolate Variations (Ganache, Tuile, Soil, Aerated, Frozen)/ Green Tea Financier/ Green Tea Pudding/ Passion Fruit Fluid Gel/ Passion Fruit Sorbet
RECIPES + AT HOME VERSIONS:
- FIRST COURSE:
“Grains” (directly from the dinner)
Grains (Cooked/ Puffed/ Smoked)/ Labne/ Tomato Raisin/ Vadouvan Golden Raisin Purée/ Frozen Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
Makes 10 servings — 7 PointsPlus value
- 1/4 cup quinoa and salt (2 cups of water)
- 1/4 cup barley and salt (1.5 cups of water)
- 1/4 cup Bulgur Wheat (2 cups of water)
- 1/4 cup wheat Berries (1.5 cups of water)
- 1/4 cup farro and salt (1.5 cups of water)
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- Quinoa: bring 2 cups water to boil. Add 1 cup quinoa and salt. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 min.
- Barley: bring 3 cups water to boil. Add 1 cup barley and salt. Cover and simmer for 30 min.
- Bulgur Wheat: bring 2 cups water to boil. Add 1 cup quinoa and salt. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 min.
- Wheat Berries: bring 3 cups water to boil. Add 1 cup Wheat Berries and salt. Cover and simmer 45 to 60 min
- Farro: bring 3 cups water to boil. Add 1 cup farro and salt. Cover and simmer for 45 to 60 min.
- Dehydrate quinoa, barley, farro, bulgur wheat and wheat berries for 6 to 8 hours till crispy.
- Puff grains: Add oil to a pan and get it hot. 2 to 3 minutes. Add dry grains and puff them up 15 to 30 seconds. Drain and season with salt.
- 3/4 cups 2% fage Greek yogurt
Put yogurt into a double cheesecloth and compress between hotel pans with a strainer inside and leave to drain over night.
- 1/2 quart heirloom cherry tomatoes
- Pinch of Salt
- Pinch of sugar
- 1/8 cup fresh blood orange juice (from 1-2 blood oranges)
Score tomatoes. Bring salted water to boil add tomatoes for 15 to 30 seconds until skin starts to come off. Take tomatoes out and blanch in ice water. Once cooled drain and peel skin off. Season with salt, sugar and blood orange juice. Dehydrate till consistency of a dried raisin. 6 to 8 hours.
Vadouvan Golden Raisin Purée
- 1/2 cups golden raisins
- 1/8 cup Curry Oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
Place the raisins in a bowl. Pour hot water over the raisins and bloom at room temperature until they are soft, 2 hours. Drain, discarding the water. Puree in a blender until smooth, slowly incorporating the Curry Oil with the blender running. Season with the salt.
Curry Oil (makes extra only need 1/8 cup of mixture for recipe):
- 1/2 cups canola oil
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced Granny Smith apple
- 1/6 cup thinly sliced white onion
- 1/4 stalk lemongrass, thinly sliced – can you get a measurement in cups
- 1 tablespoons Madras curry powder
- 1 kaffir lime leaf
Heat 1 cup of the oil in a medium sauce-pan over low heat. Add the apple, onion, and lemongrass, sweating until translucent, without caramelizing, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and lightly toast with the vegetables for 2 minutes . Add the remaining oil and the kaffir lime leaf and heat the oil to 160°F. Remove from the heat, cover, and steep for 20 minutes. Strain through a coffee filter.
Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette (makes extra – need 1 tsp per serving):
- 1/4 cups of lemon oil
- 1/4 Canola Oil
- 1/8 cup Meyer lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp Honey
- Xanthan Gum
- 1 tsp salt
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the Lemon Oil and lemon juice. Season with the salt. Freeze in squeeze bottle.
Plate – add Labne to plate, add mixed grain mixture and tomato raisins, dot plate with raisin pure and lemon vinaigrette. Dress with edible flowers.
- ENTRÉE: (AT HOME VERSION)
Short Rib with Sunchokes 2 ways (Roasted/ and Pickled)
Makes 8 servings – 12 PointsPlus value
- 1/4 cup Light soy sauce
- 1/4 cup Sake
- 4 Tbs Fresh orange juice
- 1 Tsp Asian sesame oil
- 1/8 cup sugar
- 1 tsp grinds black pepper – need in measurement
- 1/4 small onion
- 1/2 small carrot
- 1-2 scallions (whites only)
- 1 garlic cloves
- 24 ounces of boneless short ribs trimmed of any silverskin and cut into individual ribs
Make marinade: combine water, soy sauce, pear and apple juices, mirin, sesame oil, sugar, pepper, onion, carrot, scallions, and garlic in a large pot and bring to a boil over high eat. Reduce heat so liquid simmers gently and cook for 15 min.
Strain solids out of the marinade and cool in refrigerator (can be stored, covered, for a few days).
Cut short ribs into similarly sized pieces (8 pieces for 8 servings)
Marinade the short rib overnight in marinade
Sear ribs in pan to brown each side.
Cook in a pressure cooker for 1 – 1 ¼ hours
- 4 cups of sunchokes
- Olive Oil cooking spray
- 1 Garlic clove chopped
Cut Sunchokes in half leaving on the skin. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast with thyme, lemon thyme, garlic cloves at 375 until golden brown soft. 30 to 45 min.
- 2 cups of Sunchokes
- 3/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1/8 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 tsp salt
- Pinch of chili flakes
Using a mandolin slice Sunchokes into thin sheets. Then bring pickling liquid to a boil and pour over Sunchokes. Let rest in the fridge overnight.
Place short rib on plate with sunchokes (roasted and pickled).
- DESSERT (AT HOME VERSION):
8 servings – 4 PointsPlus value
- 1 ripe avocado
- 4 ounce bitter sweet chocolate
- 2 tsp Cocoa Powder
- 1/4 cup fresh coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 3 tsp Agave
- Pinch sea salt
- 2 pints of rasberries
In a heatproof bowl, melt the chocolate in the coconut milk over hot water, or in the microwave. Stir until smooth, cool slightly
Put remaining ingredients in a food processor, and add cooled chocolate mixture. Blend until completely smooth.
Chill in the fridge until ready to serve, and spoon into dessert cups and serve with fresh rasberries