Chef Juan Bochenski arrived in Santa via a long and winding road. The tall handsome chef, born in Argentina, cooked around the globe before landing at Santa Fe’s Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi in late 2011.
He grew up around cooking. His mother, he says, “is a great pastry chef.” He was always surrounded by good food. He began his cooking career at Buenos Aires’ La Mansión del Park Hyatt, now the Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires. They sent him to Buenos Aires Catering, the city’s only culinary school at the time, to hone his skills. Award-winning Chef Tom Milligan, Chef de Cuisine at La Mansión, became a mentor for Bochenski. “He suggested I attend the Regency Institute in Adelaide for further training,” he says. Milligan was heading there to teach. Bochenski received his Commercial Cookery Diploma there.
After a stint at the Four in Hand, a bistro at the eponymous hotel, in Paddington, a suburb of Sydney, Bochenski returned to Argentina for a short stint at La Bourgogne at the Alvear Palace Hotel in BA. Then it was off to Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort where he spent three years. The Resort is a private island paradise two miles from Antigua. In September 2011 he was asked to take a temporary assignment at the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi in Santa Fe. The hotel’s Anasazi Restaurant was taking part in the prestigious Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta and they were without an executive chef. Oliver Ridgeway, who’d been in that post for over three years, had moved on. It turned out to be a good match and the move became permanent.
Chef Bochenski says many chef mentors he’s worked with along the way have influenced his cooking style. He describes his food as having “Spanish and European roots with a good sense of place from New Mexico.”
He is slowly getting to know Santa Fe, but as with any executive chef, time away from the demands of running a busy kitchen is precious. “In my spare time,” he says, “I spend time with my wife and kids as much as possible because I spend so much time in the kitchen.”
What keeps this creative chef jazzed day to day in the kitchen? “Being able to work with great produce, integrating new ideas and techniques into my cooking and experience without forgetting the past,” he shares. If you want to sample the results, dine at the Anasazi Restaurant. If you’re not in Santa Fe or planning a visit here, Chef Bochenski has generously shared his Pan fried soused orange and saffron ruby trout recipe with our readers. Buon appetito!
Pan fried soused orange and saffron ruby trout
A beautiful and fresh summer dish where the trout is pan seared and served immediately, so it does not dry out. Prepare the salad in advance and arrange on the plates. At the last moment cook the trout and place it on top of salad.
4 trout fillets (about 5 to 6 ounces each)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Ingredients for salad:
2 cups jicama, peeled and julienned
2 cups fennel bulbs
1 cup carrots, peeled and julienned
2 oranges, peeled (remove the pith, membranes, and seeds and separate its wedges
Zest of one orange
Fresh cilantro fresh leaves for garnishing the salad
Watercress leaves for garnish
Ingredients for Saffron Orange vinaigrette (for use with both the trout and the salad)
4 oz. orange juice
3 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tsp. white wine vinegar
3 tsp. runny honey
4 oz. olive oil
Pinch of saffron
½ tsp. crushed coriander seeds
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Wash the fennel bulb, remove the outer layer and use a sharp mandolin to finely shave the fennel into a large mixing bowl. If you don’t have a mandolin, use a sharp knife. Peel the carrots and finely slice using the mandolin, then finely julienne with a sharp knife. Add the julienned carrot to the fennel. Repeat the same process with the jicama and add to the fennel-carrot mix. Add the orange zest, orange segments and chopped cilantro.
Mix all the saffron orange vinaigrette ingredients together. Divide in half. One portion is for the salad, the other will be used for the trout.)
Place three neat mounds of salad on each plate. When the trout and sauce are ready, they will be placed on these and garnished.
Wash the trout fillets under cold running water and pat them dry with a paper towel. Cut each fillet on an angle to create 3 even size diamonds shapes. Score the skin of each diamond several times, do not cut all the way through to the flesh, just the skin. Season the trout slightly with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and place the trout skin side down in the hot but not smoking pan. Sauté for two minutes until crisp (the skin is golden brown). Flip the fish over and turn the heat off and pour half of the vinaigrette into the warm pan. Immediately remove the fish. Reduce the sauce to a thick glossy (nappe) consistency.
Top each salad mound with a diamond of trout and garnish the salad with watercress leaves and cilantro, then drizzle with the reduced marinade from the pan.
Author’s note: The Santa Fe Travelers were invited to the Anasazi Restaurant to experience Chef Bochenski’s creations prior to writing this post. Their generous hospitality has not influenced us in any way.
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