Chef Charlie has a soft spot for short ribs

With the arrival of fall, ‘comfort foods warm my soul,’ says chef Charles Paladin Wayne, who will be preparing the Nick Ranch beef for the upcoming Garagiste Festival

Special to The TribuneOctober 31, 2013 

  • Garagiste Festival

    The 2013 Garagiste Festival takes place from Nov. 7 to 10. The main tasting event will be held at Windfall Farms, while specialized events will take place at other Paso Robles venues such as the “Undiscovered Treasures” dinner on Nov. 7 at the Carlton Hotel in Atascadero. Tickets for the dinner are $129 per person. For more on the Garagiste Festival, go to www.garagistefestival.com.

Among the events planned for the upcoming 2013 Garagiste Festival is a six-course dinner featuring wines paired with the food of several local artisan purveyors such as Nick Ranch Beef, Windrose Farm and Santa Margarita Farms.

Dubbed the “Undiscovered Treasures of the Central Coast,” this dinner will be crafted by chef Charles Paladin Wayne.

An avid supporter of local products, Wayne has been a familiar fixture on the Central Coast since 1983, and worked at several area restaurants before launching his own Catering by Chef Charlie business in 1995.

Q: What is your favorite local/seasonal ingredient that you’re using in the “Undiscovered Treasures” menu?

A: Short ribs. Specifically Nick Ranch organic grass-fed. Fall is upon us, so comfort foods warm my soul.

Q: How will you be preparing the short ribs?

A: They’ll be braised in red wine and a mirepoix (carrot, celery and onion) of vegetables with fresh rosemary and thyme, garlic and a bit of veal stock.

Q: How does this particular dish represent your culinary style and philosophy?

A: Utilizing ingredients that fit into the season, as well as strictly local ingredients, appeals to my style and philosophy. Rich and satisfying. Simple and home-grown.

Q: How would home cooks approach this ingredient in their own kitchens?

A: Short ribs are easy enough to find. I’ve done many side-by-side comparisons for flavor, consistency and overall quality and have found grass-fed to be the best.

With grass-fed, the meat is firm, yet moist and tender. It has less fat, and a better nutritional content.

Short ribs can be served and seasoned in a plethora of ways. I find they are never boring and always satisfying.

Preparation is minimal and easy. A Crock-Pot works, or you can fall back on the good old standard “slow and low” style of cooking.

Simply season, sear and place in your Crock-Pot or your oven at 225 degrees. Add a little wine, broth, herbs and veggies, and it will do its own thing. Cook for 6 to 8 hours. Then all you need is a nice starch (potato, rice, risotto, polenta, bulgur, pasta), and you have a delicious meal.

Q: What is your favorite dish to cook at home?

A: As a caterer, much of my home menu plan is predicated on what I’m serving that week. But when I make short ribs, I always make extra, then I simply vacuum pack portions and slip them into my freezer so they are always there at the ready for a quick, wonderful meal. Short rib sliders with horseradish slaw is one of my favorite quickies.

Q: What is your favorite food and wine pairing and why?

A: I love all Paso and San Luis Obispo County wine and food, so that’s a tough question. For this, I’m going to go with my pairing for the short rib course at the “Undiscovered Treasures” dinner: Nick Ranch organic grass-fed beef short ribs with roast green garlic mash, braised leeks and roast trio of beets, matched with 2011 Clos Solene Hommage à nos Pairs syrah.

This will be certain to stir the senses!

Katy Budge is a freelance writer from Atascadero. Contact her at ktbudge@sbcglobal.net.

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