New Chefs Rising: Elise Kornack of Take Root

New Chefs Rising: Elise Kornack of Take Root


*coughs* *Sorry.* It’s always this guy, holding everything up. So my name is Elise Kornack. I am the chef and owner of Take Root in Brooklyn. I’m cooking a tasting menu here. It’s about 10 or 11 composed plates. It’s just myself and my wife. There’s no other employees ever. At any time. We’re really trying to create a space that can be both intimate, kind of blur the lines between like a dinner party and like an exclusive chef’s counter. And we kind of do that here by keeping it small and only having 12 seats. That way, we can interact with every one of the diners. I’m going to be making a… kind of a riff on New England clam chowder. Though at this point obscured enough that it’s not very much like it anymore. I grew up going to Nantucket in the summer. My family has a house there. So I always try to draw some inspiration
from memories there. It has kind of turnips and clams and macadamia nuts, and each of those components are meant to replicate a component of clam chowder that you have, either a texture or a flavor. From the youngest I can remember, I have always had like, a deep connection with the island and what it kind of gives to us that we can eat. I can remember bustling with my mother and foraging for hazelnuts and mushrooms. Nantucket is a very important and close piece of my culinary style. So the chowder aspect is basically pureed macadamia nuts. A little bit of stale bread to kind of bind things together, and water, and that’s it. There’s no dairy in this at all. It’s really just gonna have the same creaminess that you get from chowder from that potato starch, but without any of the cream. Shake it up. I think age can play a lot of different roles in success or in like, owning a business or running a business or anything similar to what we’re doing, in that it’s kind of wonderful ’cause your naivety can sometimes be an advantage. ’cause we just drove into this being like, “It’ll work out wonderful,” and we didn’t have enough life experience to kind of weigh and measure what things may go wrong and in what way they could. And then in this pot, we have some of the reduced clam liquid from cooking the clams with a little bit of fish stock that we’re going to add a little bit of butter to. I just hope that when diners come to Take Root and experience our space and my food that their minds are a little bit open after they understand that the definition of what a restaurant is can be anything. The definition of how food can be presented can be anything. And that they really should try to see the message beyond the dining experience. Now we can plate. So the idea with the chowder, kind of the same way that you have with regular clam chowder, is you’re kind of discovering things as you go through it. So all of the elements are on the bottom. Whether it be like, an 80-seat restaurant in Midtown or you know, a 12-seat one in Brooklyn, all of them have a concept and a person’s point of view behind them. And so, try to find the point of view when you leave. When you walk out the door, say like, “What was the point of view, and did I get something from that experience “different from the one I had prior?” And so this is our version of clam chowder.

3 thoughts on “New Chefs Rising: Elise Kornack of Take Root”

  1. In our newest New Chefs Rising, Take Root's Elise Kornack explains how New England clam chowder inspired her career and how youthful naïveté helped her take the leap into business ownership:
    http://bit.ly/1GJrKz1

  2. I seen this chef on Chopped Champions and she was just such a sore loser. She seemed so entitled and it was hard to like her after that show. Kinda the same way

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