COOKING WITH . . . George McNeill, CMC, Executive Chef, New York Marriott Marquis O NE of and game at his doorstep, now finds his soup with sage fritters and whole leaves of fresh sage that are dipped in tempura batter and deep-fried. Fresh the only creative approach fed through the pletho- sage leaves may also be used. Master ra of quality suppliers and quality inter- Local Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup Chefs in the national ingredients at his fingertips. Known as a persistent and prolific 1 garlic clove United States, 1 ⁄2 cup diced onion the New York developer of culinary talent, McNeill can 1 tsp. curry paste Marriott Marquis be found double-checking his staff’s quali- 1 ⁄2 cup unsalted butter top toque, ty and standards and likewise leading his 11⁄2 cups peeled, diced carrots 11⁄2 cups peeled, diced butternut squash George McNeill, team to medals and awards in culinary 3 cups chicken stock directs a team of salons and competitions put on by bouquet garni of parsley and bay leaf more than 200 esteemed groups such as The New York In large saucepot, combine garlic, onion, curry paste, chefs and cooks Société Culinaire Philanthropique. and 2 tbsp. of butter. Heat gently, cooking for 5 minutes The recipient of numerous awards, he is over low heat. Add carrots and squash; continue to cook in one of for 5 minutes. Pour in stock and add bouquet garni. Manhattan’s largest, most diverse, and also a member of many culinary organiza- Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, or until vegetables lucrative hotel operations. tions, including Les Toques Blanches, the are tender. Remove bouquet garni and whisk in remain- In the heart of Times Square and the London Association of Chefs de Cuisine, ing butter. nation’s theater district, Scotland native the American Culinary Federation, the Leek Flan Executive Chef George McNeill leads the Escoffier Society, and the Canadian Federation of Chefs de Cuisine. He is the 1 leek, white part only, finely diced culinary orchestra behind a $90 million 1 tbsp. butter food and beverage operation, spanning former Corporate Regional Chef for 1 ⁄3 cup whipping cream round-the-clock room service, four restau- Canadian Pacific Hotels and was the 1996 1 ⁄2 cup grated Gruyere cheese Captain of the Canadian Culinary 11⁄4 cups homogenized milk rants, two bars, demanding and important 1 tsp. minced parsley galas, banquets, and events. Olympics team who led them to gold 4 eggs, well beaten Home to one of Manhattan’s largest medals in hot food competition for the 1 ⁄8 tsp. cayenne pepper ballrooms and meeting space providers, first time. Additionally, he has recently 1 ⁄4 tsp. salt 5 baked savory tart shells the Marriott Marquis, the company’s flag- successfully completed rigorous culinary testing with the American Culinary Combined leek and butter in medium saucepan. Cook ship hotel, offers over 100,000 square feet gently over low heat till leek is translucent, about 3-4 of meeting space in midtown Manhattan. Federation to reestablish his Master Chef’s minutes. Whisk in cream, cheese, and milk. Bring to boil, At the helm of a flagship property with credentials (to 2006). stirring constantly. Add parsley. Whisk hot mixture into a vast facilities and leading events isn’t new Chef McNeill says his most important bowl containing beaten eggs. Season with cayenne, pep- per, and salt. Pour into buttered 10" pie plate. Set into a for Chef McNeill, who held the role of basic tool is a well-trained cook. He has large dish containing enough hot water to come halfway Executive Chef of flagship Fairmont prop- proven that dedication already with up sides of pie plate. Bake in preheated 300°F oven till erty, The Royal York Hotel (formerly Marriott through strong involvement with set, but not browned, about 25 minutes. Remove from the chain’s culinary training programs, as oven and let cool. Cut into small squares and fit into tart Canadian Pacific), in Toronto, Canada, shells. for the past decade before joining the well as programs with major culinary Marriott Marquis in October 1999. schools that he has created, including his Savory Orange Oil Not just Marriott International’s only alma mater, the Culinary Institute of 4 oranges Master Chef, but one of the American America (CIA), Johnson & Wales, and 1 tsp. cumin Culinary Federation’s 55 Certified Master the French Culinary Institute. He is 1 tsp. fresh thyme 2 shallots, minced Chefs in the country, Chef McNeill prides presently developing an apprenticeship 1 tsp. turmeric himself on the knowledge, innovation and program within Marriott International 11⁄4 cups canola oil creativity that brings a winning hotel to and already offers ongoing skills develop- 1 ⁄2 cup chicken stock the forefront. From menu development, ment workshops for his staff where cooks With sharp knife, remove orange zest; chop coarsely. Set can hone basic skills and prepare for culi- aside. In a dry skillet, toast cumin over medium heat till labor costs, and ongoing quality and prod- lightly browned. Combine with thyme, shallots, turmeric, uct scrutiny, his demanding, focused nary competition. and zest in a small saucepan. Add 1 tsp. of the oil. Heat approach has allowed him to redevelop When he isn’t behind the stoves of the slowly for 1-2 minutes or until tender and shallots are and restructure the Marriott Marquis culi- Marriott Marquis, Chef McNeill spends translucent. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, over low heat until reduced by half. nary team, update important and needed time doing things he ’s passionate about: Add remaining oil; continue to simmer for 15 minutes. equipment, reduce costs, and even running five miles daily, driving his classic Remove from heat and cool. Puree in blender and pour increase revenue — all in just one short 308 GTS Ferrari, and tending to his one- into small glass jar. Let stand overnight to allow solids to acre garden at his home in Montclair, settle. Strain off oil and use as required. Refrigerate until year! needed. A philosophy that encompasses training N.J., that he shares with wife Gina and and quality products as key ingredients has two daughters. Cumin-Spiked Maple Vinegar led to that success. Embracing the New Maple vinegar is an infusion of maple syrup and vinegar. York “food scene” with fervor, Chef If it is not available, substitute a high-quality cider vine- McNeill is a regular at Manhattan’s best Local Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup gar. restaurants and interesting markets, where with Warm Leek Flan, Savory Orange Oil, 1 tsp. cumin seeds and Cumin-Spiked Maple Vinegar 1 ⁄2 cup maple vinegar he researches ideas to unleash his To serve, place leek flan in center of each soup plate. Toast cumin seeds in dry skillet till browned. Remove competitive flair. The former Canadian from heat and cool for 1 minute. Add vinegar to pan. Ladle on the steaming soup and drizzle with savory resident, who found that country’s best orange oil and cumin-spiked maple vinegar. Garnish Return to heat and warm slightly. Let stand for several seafood hours to infuse the cumin flavor into the vinegar. Strain and use as required.