The MiNAPRESS Column

Flavors That Dance – with Chef Patricia Williams

Posted in careers, dance, food, health, journalism by MiNA on January 3, 2015

1-photo-002Seasoned professionals from all walks of life have found sanctuary in the increasingly popular culinary arts trade; retired dancers among them. A movement in the making for decades now, dancers turned chefs have impressed upon spectators, their take on kitchen choreography – creating exciting new flavors that dance.

Prone to dazzling New York City audiences, acclaimed chef Patricia Williams, formerly with New York City Opera Ballet (NYCB), is renowned for her inspired culinary emulsions and warm table-side charm.

Drawn to the cinematic effect of “The Red Shoes” in her youth, dance was chef’s first true love. Steadfast determination served her well – conceding favorable results that led to early entrance (by age 15) into her chosen profession. From Houston Ballet, Williams danced like the wind in an eastward motion – toward the coveted city of dancers – NYC.

By age 30, dance injuries led to Williams having to step-away from the ballet barre, a hard truth to embrace, yet a reality she knew necessary. Traveling overseas to experience where life would steer her next proved a wise decision. In Aix-en-Provence, France – revelation struck. Captivated by the art of cuisine, Williams resolved to learn French culinary technique. In finding a seasoned chef mentor willing to pass-on their secrets of the trade, Williams found her next career calling.

Chef Patricia Williams

Chef Patricia Williams

Now a celebrated chef herself, Williams follows a distinctive produce-first approach in her style of kitchen choreography. Chef Williams explains, “Vegetables are far more exciting than just any protein. I build a dish on the accompaniments not on the protein.”

As executive chef of Smoke Jazz & Supper Club in Manhattan and curator of “10 Chairs” – chef’s personalized dining experience – hosted one evening a week (by reservation) from her NYC flat, Chef Williams has attained what some chefs would consider pretty sweet gigs; given Williams is able to devote a majority of her time practicing her art rather than running a business.

Chef Williams shares, “10 Chairs is all about: great food, great wine, and the feeling of belonging. Everyone invites you in as a friend and partner in conversations that are positive, unpredictable, and riddled with laughter.”

10 Chairs 047

10 Chairs course


10 Chairs course

Those intrigued by Chef Williams’ “10 Chairs” dining concept/experience will be pleased to learn they too can be among chef’s guests at her NYC flat; simply inquire via chef’s Facebook page or website For further indulgence, please enjoy the delicious healthy recipes and stimulating food for thought chef has shared. Bon appetite….

Mushroom Minetrone Recipe (Serves 1)[Note: no photo available]

“Mushrooms can add intensity to a soup or salad without any extra calories. I love to mix and match items. Here’s to cooking and eating wonderfully fresh food that nourishes your body and feeds the inner dancer in us all.” — Chef Patricia Williams

Amount Measure    Ingredient — Preparation Method

——–  ————  ——————————–

1/2      dried mushrooms

1              lb  cooked white beans

10            plum tomatoes peeled seeded and dices

3             onions diced

2           bunches of fennel diced

2              quarts shiitake tops

1/2       quart sliced trumpet royale mushrooms and assortment of vegetables

4          garlic cloves – diced

1              pound – cooked d’Itallini

Saute 10 shallots and 10 sliced garlic cloves. Add dried porcini to 1 gallon of water; cook for 25 minutes, then steep for 30 minutes and strain.

Saute onions and diced garlic cloves. Add fennel and remaining mushrooms. Add mushroom broth and tomatoes. Keep pasta, beans, and vegetables separate. Finish with basil pesto, red russian kale and the beans and pasta

Per Serving: 636 Calories; 2g Fat (2.2% calories from fat); 44g Protein; 115g Carbohydrate; 29g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 27mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 7 1/2 Grain(Starch); 3 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT from Chef Patricia Williams

“As a dancer, my diet was not good. I maintain a much healthier diet than when I was a dancer. I know what’s in season and how to coax flavor out of food without cream or butter. A squeeze of lemon, lime or orange can brighten the flavor of a simply grilled shrimp (see photo) it is simply grilled with pureed herbs and a little olive oil.”

“I am a huge fan of fruit desserts. Making sure they are ripe is the key. The old fashion way of placing them in a paper bag to ripen is still the best way. In the winter, citrus is at its height a combination of honey bells, tangelos, Meyer lemons can make a spectacular dessert with the addition of a little Greek yogurt (or not).”


Sangria Granite Recipe (from MasterCook – Serves 1) [Note: no photo available]

“Beautiful ripe fruit is always my choice. Sounds difficult but not nearly as hard as that perfect tendu.”

Amount Measure    Ingredient — Preparation Method

——–  ————  ——————————–

1-1/2        cups  red wine

1-1/2        cups  ruby port

1000        grams  water

510         grams  rasperries pureed in a blender

510         grams  fresh figs quartered

2          lemons  cut in 8ths

250         grams  sugar

750         grams  orange juice

Pour wine and port into a pan and simmer to ignite. Once the flames have died, add the water, raspberry, figs, lemon, and sugar. Simmer for 20 minutes Take off the heat and add the orange juice. Let cool and strain into a baking dish. Freeze overnight.

Per Serving: 1560 Calories; 1g Fat (1.0% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 334g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 270mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 6 Fruit; 17 Other Carbohydrates.


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