In Good Taste

Chef Samuel Branch, who runs the Taste 1 personal chef service, has come full circle: After beginning his career in the music industry, he now cooks for one of its biggest stars, Will Smith. We talked to Chef Samuel about his career, the juicing trend and his A-list clientele—and got him to share a few healthful recipes for you to try this Thanksgiving.

How did you become a chef?

I started out in the music industry as a sound engineer. I’ve always loved food, so I decided to go to culinary school for fun…and never looked back. I became well-versed in organic cooking, and now that and using local ingredients have become my specialties.

Who have you cooked for?

I’ve been working with Will Smith and his family for about a year. I’ve also worked with MTV, Spike TV and Gravure Magazine, among other high-profile clients that I can’t currently name.

If you were to open up a café in a salon, what would you serve?

I’d create a juice bar. Juices are very healthy and cleansing, which seems perfect for a beauty environment. Green juices are also known for improving your skin. I’ve become known for helping people ease into the juicing trend by using unusual ingredients that please the palette. I’d serve them in little shot glasses as a fun treat for clients.

What is one of the juices you’d serve?

With all the indulgence of Thanksgiving and the holidays coming up, this juice is perfect for some post-feast cleansing:

Super Green Juice
Yields four 16 oz. bottles

Blend together the following ingredients:
1 bunch of Romaine lettuce
1 bunch of Spinach
2 Cucumbers
6 stalks of Celery
1 bunch of curly Kale
1 bunch Flat leaf Parsley
4 Granny Smiths Apples
1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 small knob of Ginger

Could you suggest some other Thanksgiving recipes for our readers?

I try to take a healthful approach to the holidays, knowing that there’s always a bit of splurging happening. Here are ideas for Thanksgiving night…and the morning after:

Roasted Butternut Squash Kale Salad with Brown Butter Vinaigrette
A healthier Thanksgiving side dish

Serves 4

1 butternut squash, peeled & seeded, diced small
1 tbsp of Olive Oil
1 stick of unsalted butter
5 cups of chopped Kale
¼ cup of dried cranberries
1 Red Onion thinly sliced
1 small shallot peeled
3tbsp of red wine vinegar
4 tbsp of crumbled goat cheese
½ cup of toasted & chopped pecans
Salt & pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss butternut squash in olive oil until coated. Roast squash on baking sheet for 20-25 minutes or until it’s caramelized. Next add butter into a small skillet over a medium heat and cook until a dark golden color is achieved. Set butter aside. Use 1 teaspoon of brown butter to sauté red onions. In a blender combine sherry vinegar and shallot. With the motor still running, slowly drizzle in remaining brown butter and season with salt and pepper. Toss squash, onions, cranberries, kale, and pecans with the brown butter vinaigrette in a large bowl. When serving, top salad with crumbled goat cheese.

Turkey Hash
Perfect for all that leftover Thanksgiving turkey!

Serves 4

1 garlic clove finely chopped
2 scallions sliced
1/2 red onion chopped
1/4 cup of red & green bell pepper diced small
2 1/2 cups of chopped leftover turkey
1 1/2 of roasted sweet potatoes diced medium
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Cajun Seasoning

Cooking Instructions:
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add olive oil. When hot add garlic and scallions. Stir constantly for 1 minute until fragrant. Add bell peppers and onions and cook for approximately 2 minutes. Turn heat up to high and toss in turkey meat and Cajun seasoning and allow flavors to combine. Fold in sweet potatoes and continue cooking everything for 5 minutes or until ingredients have a nice color.
Season with salt and pepper to taste then serve.
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