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Want to Know Local Chefs’ Secret Ingredients?


Some of the 2018 Greenwich wine + food festival chefs share the recipes they make that are so simple, they barely need to be written down. Plus, the secret ingredients they turn to again and again.

DebDebra Ponzek’s Go-to ingredient: White miso paste
“I whisk it into salad dressings, use it as a marinade on chicken and fish, and I love to baste roasting vegetables with it. I love to mix it with garlic, brown sugar, sesame oil, grape seed oil and a touch of peanut butter to make cold sesame noodles, or I mix it with some olive oil and cumin and brush it on Japanese eggplantbefore roasting!”
Aux Delicés in Riverside, Greenwich, Darien and Westport, CT

Miso Master Organic Mellow White Miso Paste, from $5.25

Bill TaibeBill Taibe’s Go-to ingredient: Orrington Farms Chicken Broth Base and Seasoning
“My secret ingredient of the moment is Orrington Farms Chicken Broth Base and Seasoning ($27,, or commonly known in our kitchens as “Chicken Powder.” It’s made locally in Wilton. It’s a great salt and umami additive and is extremely versatile between both proteins and produce. We toss it with roasted potatoes, cured meats and use it as a salt replacement.”
Jesup Hall/Kawa Ni/The Whelk, Westport, CT

JesJes Bengtson’s Go-to ingredient: Avocado
“Avocado literally can go on any dish and it works; the health components are insane and it’s an incredibly versatile fruit. I love making a condiment or sauce out of avocado and losing the mayos, oils and creams.”
Terrain Garden Café, Westport, CT


Matt StorchMatt Storch’s Go-to ingredient: Pomegranate Molasses
“I am in love with it; the consistency is perfect for plating, the flavor is both sweet and sour, and in cooking it provides a beautiful glaze to any protein or sauce! I use it with poultry, lamb, foie gras, root veggies, dressings, sauces, morning granola or oatmeal, or just a few simple drops on a plate! My family was curious why our Thanksgiving turkey was so bronze and beautiful, a quick baste with pomegranate molasses, BOOM! Originating in Middle Eastern food, I first discovered it about 15 years ago when someone marinated a leg of lamb with it. Blew my mind…”
Match, South Norwalk, CT; Nom-Eez, Bridgeport, CT; Match Burger Lobster, Westport, CT

Al Wadi Pomegranate Molasses, $6, Whole Foods Market

RuiRui Correia’s Go-to ingredient: Piri-Piri (Portuguese hot sauce)
“I love Piri-Piri because it evokes nostalgic memories of my youth. Its taste is sweet and
sour and slightly salty making it complex and versatile. It can be used on almost anything. I use it on chicken, steak, fish, eggs, vegetables and in a Bloody Mary.”
Douro, Greenwich, CT
Pick up Correia’s homemade Piri-Piri sauce up at Douro!

Ian Vest

Ian Vest’s Go-to ingredient: Fennel
“I feel like fennel is one of those ingredients that not many people know how much they actually like. It can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, the seeds left whole or ground, the bulb shaved thinly and served raw, or even cooked slowly in olive oil until it is sweet like candy. At Back 40 Kitchen and Mill Street Bar & Table we use fennel seed in our bolognese sauces with fresh pasta; you can’t go wrong.”
Back 40 Kitchen and Mill Street Bar & Table, Greenwich, CT

Photos by (Debra Ponzek) Jessica Bernstein; (Avocado) masa44/; (Ian Vest) Taylor Scarponi; (Fennel) Nattika/

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