If you’re entering a culinary competition — especially one that has anything to do with sustainability —John Taube is the last name you want to see on the competitor list.
Chef John Taube IV, executive chef of The Hoxton in Los Angeles, has a unique passion for fast-paced, high-stress situations. A winner of numerous high-profile competitions, he thrives in cutthroat culinary settings and has made a career, and a name for himself, because of it.
Throughout his journey, Taube has competed in and won such high-profile events as the San Pellegrino’s Best Young Chef Competition, Glenfiddich World’s Most Experimental Bartender Competition and the Copa Jerez Forum & Competition.
“ The end results can’t be achieved with any other tool … the power and versatility are unmatched,” says Taube. “My Vitamix brings the dish to life; I simply dream up the concept. ”
But the greatest battle of Taube’s career is an ongoing one: the battle against food waste.
Whether he’s competing on stage against rival chefs or fighting the larger crusade of reducing food waste in his own kitchens, Taube says he doesn’t do it alone. One of his most valued tools to take into battle is his Vitamix blender. He uses the machine to modify complex textures, amplify plate presentation, incorporate difficult-to-manipulate ingredients, and creatively manipulate items that are typically thrown away. The outcome? A complete dish that satisfies on all fronts.
“The end results can’t be achieved with any other tool … the power and versatility are unmatched,” says Taube. “My Vitamix brings the dish to life; I simply dream up the concept.”
Case-in-point: During an international blending contest at StarChefs Congress, Taube was tasked with creating a signature dish using his own ingredients and a Vitamix blender. The theme of his competition, fortuitously, was “Cooking with Respect,” a call for chefs to practice sustainable cooking techniques.
“For this competition, specifically, I really wanted to make things that were not only sustainable but were procured within at least 50 miles from me to keep everything as local as possible, as fresh as possible and, ultimately, do things the right way,” says Taube.
Taube chose to execute a salty, savory dish highlighting three key ingredients — mussels, eggs and fennel. The mussels were harvested from Catalina Sea Ranch, just off the California coast. The experience of visiting the open-water farm was transformative for Taube, as he gained a new appreciation for mussels. “I had the chance to learn about the important role mussels play in the water purification process,” he says. “They are one of the most sustainable proteins you can have.”
“ Waste is something we try to minimize as much as possible, and if we can get additional flavor out of it, all the better. ”
Taube used his Vitamix machine to blend the hard, coarse mussel shells. “Oftentimes, the shells of items are the first to be discarded in a restaurant,” laments Taube. “But there’s so much flavor in the actual shells. I decided to blend the mussel shells, and those from the eggs as well, to create a salt bake for the fennel in the pasta sauce,” says Taube. “And, of course, the Vitamix blender was powerful enough to blend it all.”
When he’s not in the throes of heated culinary battle, Taube channels his passion for sustainability to create inspired menus for two restaurants at The Hoxton Hotel in Los Angeles: a rooftop lounge called Pilot, which features coastal Mediterranean dishes and a wood-burning grill; and a spot downstairs called Sibling Rival, serving brunch and diner fare like fried chicken sandwiches and buckwheat waffles.
At Pilot, Taube uses his Vitamix blender to crush lobster shells to make stocks and infused butters for his recipes, reminiscent of his approach to using mussels in the StarChefs competition. “Almost all pastas on the menu use this lobster (or crab) shell base, and there’s nothing else that can break it down like a Vitamix can,” adds Taube.
To sum up his sustainable approach, Taube simply says, “Waste is something we try to minimize as much as possible, and if we can get additional flavor out of it, all the better.”
Share how you use your Vitamix blender to win the battle against food waste with #myvitamix.