Hot Chef: There’s no place like Home for John Cordova

John Cordova is the executive chef at Home (20 Cornelia St., 212-243-9579).

The farm-to-table trend is nothing new in New York, but chef John Cordova tells us he was new to the locavore cooking style when he started manning the kitchen at Home, a cozy establishment on Cornelia Street. Home prides itself on the familiar flavors of comfort food, but Cordova’s meals are served with a bit of flair. Read on to learn how he does it.

When did you get passionate about the current farm-to-table movement?

Fairly recently. Home is the first restaurant that I have worked at that has had such a strong history of trying to put as little distance as possible between itself and the people that provide its food. For me, I think trying to cook this way has been a natural progression. I’ve worked at some of the best restaurants in the city, and they all put a high value on the products that they use. For some of them, it makes sense to fly fish in from Japan or produce from South America. At Home we try not to do that. There are plenty of great fish in our local waters and abundant produce grown close by. It may be a little more challenging to source, but in the long run it’s worth it for us.

When you cook, how do you  balance the expectations people have for comfort food with your own personal flourishes?

I don’t, really. I like to think that if I like it, the customer will too. Luckily for me this is mostly true.

What’s your favorite dish to cook on the menu?

As for entrees, I really like our trout dish. The trout itself is grilled and the skin gets a little crisp and smoky. The clam vinaigrette is salty and vinegary, with hints of shallot and fresh herbs. And the broccoli is tossed in olive oil and roasted; the florets get just a bit crisp and the flavor is sharpened. 

Do you like to cook when you’re not working?

I enjoy cooking and at home it doesn’t seem like work, although I do miss the dishwasher. I usually make something simple with few ingredients: some roasted meat that has been marinated, whatever vegetable looked best at the store and mashed potatoes with lemon and olive oil. I also make a lot of mashed avocado or pureed vegetables with olive oil for my 6-month-old daughter.  Luckily, she and the 2-year-old are good eaters.

What’s a dish that signifies the concept of “home” to you?

Home cooking is simple, pure cooking — flavorful and satisfying. For me, and I think for a lot of chefs, it’s roasted chicken. Everyone seems to do it differently. At my house we use the beer can method: It’s so simple and always comes out good. I just sit a well-seasoned chicken on a half-full can of beer, place it in a baking dish and roast at 400 for about 45 minutes to an hour. Then I let it rest for 30 to 40 minutes. The outside is always crispy, the inside is always moist. I either put potatoes and vegetables in the pan to cook with the chicken, or I pour the pan juices over some whole wheat pasta with an egg yolk, parmesan and black pepper, like a carbonara. 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor reveals new tech hub Digital.NYC

Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed Digital.NYC on Wednesday, a new online platform aimed at connecting all things tech in New York City. The public-private partnership…

Local

Falling debris hits two men in Times Square

Two men were taken to the hospital Wednesday morning after being hit by falling debris from 110 feet above Times Square. Nancy Greco from the…

Local

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough accused of misusing campaign…

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough has been indicted on state and federal charges for allegedly withdrawing campaign funds as cash for personal use. Scarborough, a Democrat…

News

U.S. Secret Service director Pierson resigns under fire

U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned under fire on Wednesday after a series of security lapses came to light.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, Oct. 1: 'Criminal Minds,'…

The "Criminal Minds" team adds some supernatural assistance, as the "Ghost Whisperer" herself, Jennifer Love Hewitt, joins the show. She's playing an FBI agent, but you never know when someone…

Music

See the most popular Pandora station in your…

Who knew Bachata music was so popular?

The Word

The Word: Twilight just won't die

You thought our "Twilight" days were behind us, didn't you? Well think again. Series creator Stephenie Meyer (who would rather you not ask about "Twilight"…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

NFL

Rex Ryan fields more questions about Geno Smith,…

The idea Geno Smith will be replaced by backup Michael Vick appears to be all smoke, as the Jets are intent to ride with their second-round draft pick.

NFL

Will Beatty playing like franchise left tackle again…

Left tackle Will Beatty, who is the elder-statesman of Giants’ line, has turned around his season and become a consistent force on Manning’s blindside.

NFL

John Conner back with Jets for second stint

He'll be back. It's "Terminator 2" for the Jets, who brought back John Conner to the team on Tuesday after placing fullback Tommy Bohanon on…

NFL

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry…

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry Donnell will stay solid

Career

Creating a support system for minority women in…

When Kathryn Finney founded digitalundivided — an organization devoted to engaging minority communities with the tech world — she didn’t know quite what to expect.…

Sex

We can learn a lot from animals about…

There’s a lot we can learn about love from the birds and the bees — and the chickens, monkeys and squirrels that we share the…

Style

Saint Laurent

Our review of the Saint Laurent Spring '15 show at Paris Fashion Week.

Style

Céline: Paris Fashion Week Spring 2015

Our review of the Celine Spring '15 show during Paris Fashion Week.