Originally hailing from a small-town in Iowa, Sippel has major, big-city restaurant cred, with cooking credits including L’oustau de Baumaniere in Provence, France, and Michael Tusk’s Quince in San Francisco. He has worked every station at Frasca and has been rewarded for his skill and dedication with his current position as chef de cuisine.
Strongest food memory
When I taste anchovies it takes me back to Italy. I use it a lot in our cuisine, it’s just one of my favorite things. When I taste it in certain things, in certain dishes, it transports me back to Italy. It’s one of those things that has such a distinct flavor, smell, mouth feel. It’s almost like déjà vu.
Ingredient you’re obsessed with right now
Essentially it’s an Italian fish sauce made from fresh anchovies; they lay them out on racks and salt them and then press it and this black liquid comes out. Mind-blowing stuff. They don’t import it into the U.S. now, but my friend’s trying to get it for me. Just a drizzle on cherry tomatoes, it’s really like nothing I’ve ever had. I don’t even know how to do it justice talking about it.
The ones on my right arm are Van Gogh’s olive trees from Provence.
Biggest pet peeve
If you weren’t cooking…
I know I’ll never leave the kitchen. But I’m good with writing. We’ve talked about doing a Frasca cookbook. If I had to stop cooking, I think it would have something to do with food and writing.
• 2 C diced black Italian eggplant
• 1 C diced bell pepper
• 1 C diced red onion
• 1 C diced fennel
• 1 C halved cherry tomatoes
• 1/2 C sultanas or golden raisins rehydrated in warm white wine and water
• 1/4 C Sicilian pine nuts toasted
• 1/4 C pantelleria capers, soaked in water
• 5 leaves of basil, cut in chiffonade
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Red wine vinegar to taste
• Salt and Pepper to taste
• Cherry tomatoes halved
• Fried basil leaves for garnish
• Fresh grated ricotta salata
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Dress the eggplant and bell peppers with olive oil and thyme. Dress the onion, fennel and tomatoes with olive oil and rosemary or summer savory. Season all generously with salt and pepper. Roast all veg separately to achieve nice color and flavor. Once roasted, mix all vegetables, seasoning with raisins, pine nuts, capers, basil and red wine vinegar. When the salad is mixed, plate and top with cherry tomatoes, fried basil, grated ricotta salata and a good pour of Sicilian olive oil.