A Bit About Redbird Sous Chef John Gronkiewicz
- Before becoming a chef, John played guitar on tour with several rock, indie and metal bands.
- He went to nursing school for a year.
- John was a picky eater growing up, but his side jobs always seemed to center around food and hospitality.
- He worked in the prep kitchen at Whole Foods.
- John attended The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York.
- He did an externship with the great Corey Lee at Benu in San Francisco.
- On days off, John enjoys hiking new trails in Malibu with his German Sheppard/Husky Stella, watching cooking shows and eating on Sawtelle.
- He was born in the San Fernando Valley and John’s family still lives locally, including his sister, a computer scientist for NASA.
- His favorite dish on the Redbird menu is the lamb belly because of the uniqueness of the jerk spice mix, the homemade kimchi and the plating style.
- John carves out time weekly to cook at home with his girlfriend, a pastry cook. Pasta is often on the menu.
John’s Green Gazpacho was originally created for Mother’s Day 2020 with green tomatoes and a variety of herbs. This spring dish is full of layered flavors, refreshing and vibrant. Adding lump crab, or soft-shell crab seasonally, is optional. See below for the full recipe.
John’s Green Gazpacho by Redbird Sous Chef John Gronkiewicz
Ingredients for the Gazpacho
7 cups Green Tomatoes, medium diced
4 tbsp Salt
1 cup Cucumber, medium diced
1 cup Green Papaya, peeled, medium diced
1/3 cup Ginger, julienned
½ cup Garlic, roughly chopped
1 Serrano Pepper, sliced
2 cups Bread, medium diced
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2/3 cup Champagne Vinegar
1/3 cup Distilled Vinegar
2 bunched Cilantro, roughly chopped
1 cup Thai Basil, pickled off stems
1 cup Mint, picked off stems
2 tbsp Sugar
2 tsp Cayenne
Instructions for the Gazpacho
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and thoroughly mix. Plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Marinate for two days for best results.
Using a blender, process ingredients in batches, making sure to blend until smooth and mixture is slightly warm. Blending soup until warm allows the natural pectin found in the tomato skins to keep the soup emulsified.
Once smooth, pour mixture immediately into a bowl on ice. Stir frequently and allow the soup to chill. Once cold, season with salt, garnish with herbs, tomatoes and olive oil and enjoy!
Optionally, keep refrigerated for up to one week or freeze up to three months.
Ingredients for the Soft-Shell Crab
1 Soft-shell Crab
1 Lemon, quartered
1 Cup Rice Flour
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt to taste
Instructions for the Soft-Shell Crab
Place sauté pan on a medium-high flame and allow pan to condition for 3 minutes. Simultaneously, season crab with salt on both sides. If rice flour is available, lightly dredge and season with salt the same way.
Add olive oil to the pan and allow the oil to “shimmer,” verifying that the oil is hot and ready. Add crab, belly side down and allow to cook for 2 minutes.
Flip crab over, and allow to cook for another 2 minutes, basting the crab with oil as you wait.
Remove crab from pan and squeeze lemon juice on top. The crab should be orange and crispy. Serve with gazpacho.