Top Chef Eric Adjepong

Hilary Sheinbaum, Contributor

Chef Eric Adjepong

It’s obvious that when someone reaches the finals of Top Chef, they know their way around a kitchen. Ghanian-born Chef Adjepong proved he had the cooking chops on Season 16 of Top Chef, and now he’s taking his show international. So, we spent a New York minute getting his take on healthy cuisine, travel, and his bucket list.

What’s better than paradise? Enjoying Top Chef Eric Adjepong’s prepared dining experiences at The Loren at Pink Beach in Bermuda (which is inarguably a paradise). May 26 will kick off summer with the official return of the destination’s Guest Chef Series featuring incredibly talented Michelin-starred chefs, award winners, and Food Network stars from near and far.

This year’s confirmed chefs-to-date include Maneet Chauhan, Belinda Chang and Sarah Grunenberg (Monteverde Chicago), Noah Sandoval and Julia Momosé (Oriole), and Leah Cohen. And if you couldn’t tell: we are excited (not to mention hungry).

The Loren at Pink Beach recently welcomed Top Chef Eric Adjepong. Eric was a finalist on season 16 of Bravo’s Top Chef, and a contestant on season 17 of Top Chef All-Stars. Top Chef Eric was also at several Michelin-starred restaurants in New York, for a special weekend culinary experience from February 10-13.

When he wasn’t hosting Food Network’s Alex vs America—we caught up with Top Chef Eric Adjepong to chat about his stint at The Loren at Pink Beach. He shares what he cooked up, what he loves to eat when he isn’t working, and the best day of the week in Bermuda.

Hilary: What do you most look forward to when visiting The Loren at Pink Beach?

Chef Adjepong: I always love coming back to the island, so I look forward to seeing some familiar faces, and the hospitality. This was an opportunity for me to get really creative. I always use these moments to test out ideas, and really explore flavor-wise.

Hilary: What are your favorite ingredients to work with during your residency?

Chef Adjepong: Seafood, a bit of pork, and then we have a really cool play on peaches and cream for dessert. I like underselling and overdelivering.

Hilary: Are there any upcoming visiting ‘chef series’ chefs who you wish you could dine with at the Loren?

Chef Adjepong: I am looking forward to Nina (Compton). I think she’s an awesome chef. Her flavors and her story are always on point, each and every time. Definitely her.

Hilary: Where and what are you eating these days when you aren’t working?

Chef Adjepong: I like a great burger. That’s my simple go-to at home or on the road at a restaurant: a great burger with a craft beer or cocktail.

Hilary: Where is your next vacation and what are you looking forward to while you’re there?

Chef Adjepong: My next vacation is hopefully in Japan. I want to go and eat as much as I can. Always wanted to visit that part of the world and experience the culture. It’s so amazing and beautiful to see and experience in person.

Hilary: What are your bucket list destinations you can’t wait to visit?

Chef Adjepong: Brazil and Argentina. South America as a whole is a big dream of mine: to see the culture, the food, and the connection to the diaspora is very interesting for me.

Hilary: What is your most memorable meal while traveling?

Chef Adjepong: This would be in Macau, China, at a lovely mom n’ pop noodle shop. I remember the quality of the food was amazing. Rich broth with homemade noodles. I went with some Top Chef alums: Kelsey Bernard Clark, Justin Southerland, and Kelsey Bradley. Very casual but amazing food experience being authentic and true to the cuisine.

Hilary: Do you ever have time to adventure while in Bermuda?

Chef Adjepong: I always look forward to jet skiing, and spending Sundays on the boat. I love Sundays in Bermuda. If you plan to go there, definitely do so on a Sunday. You get to experience what the island is all about from breakfast with the salt cod and sauces, then meeting up on the boats and just chilling with drinks and music. That is what I look forward to – that style of lifestyle.

Hilary: Well, Top Chef Eric, no one deserves some R&R more than you. Before we let you go, we’d love to get one of your recipes from your time at the Loren.

Chef Adjepong: Of course! Here are two recipes for my red snapper and risotto. They’re light and healthy but also packed with flavor.

Top Chef Eric’s Spinach Basil Pesto Risotto with Pan-Seared Red Snapper

Spinach Basil Pesto

Ingredients:

2 cloves Garlic
2 c. Packed Basil Leaves
1 c. Spinach Leaves
1.5 tbsp. Pine Nuts
1/4 c. Olive Oil
3 tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
Kosher Salt
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

Equipment:

Blender/food processor

Directions

Combine garlic, basil, spinach, pine nuts, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese in your blender/food processor. Puree then slowly drizzle in Olive Oil until smooth, season with kosher salt, and set aside.

Risotto

Ingredients:

4 tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 Yellow Onion, Diced Small
1 1/2 c. Arborio Rice
1 c. Dry White Wine
5 c. Vegetable Or Chicken Stock
Kosher Salt
Fresh Basil
Parmesan

Equipment

Heavy-sided pot/Dutch oven
Spatula/wooden spoon

Directions

Bring stock to a simmer over low heat in a small pot.

In a heavy-sided pot/Dutch oven, over medium heat, add the olive oil and onion. Saute the onion, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat the rice with the onion and oil. Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, Add wine to the rice and stir, scraping any bits from the bottom of the pan. As the wine cooks off, add a large ladle of stock and continue to cook and stir. As the stock cooks off, add another ladle of stock. Continue this process of adding stock and the risotto is loose. Finish with pesto until creamy.

Red Snapper

Ingredients

2 5oz snapper filets
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp butter

Equipment

Sauté pan
Fish spatula
Spoon for basting

Season snapper filet with salt and pepper

In a hot pan, add a small amount of olive oil. When oil is shimmering indicating it’s hot, add snapper skin side down. Sear until the skin is golden brown. Turnover filet and add butter. Baste for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and rest.

Serve with risotto and enjoy.

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