Hell’s Kitchen: Fran Klier
Hometown: Rockville Centre, NY
Occupation: Catering Chef
What is the first dish you ever mastered?
A simple pasta dish. It was the perfectly cooked orchiette pasta, crumbled sausage and fresh spinach. The garlic was caramelized to perfection, finished the dish with just a touch of parmesan cheese. So simple, but it was my grandmother’s favorite and she loved it!
What is your signature dish?
This is a hard one. I think my signature dishes are always changing. My most requested dish right now is a grilled, stuffed flank steak with a mesclun salad with caramelized pears. The pears take up to six hours to caramelize. When you add them to the salad with Gorgonzola cheese, mandarin oranges, pine nuts, sun-dried cranberries and my balsamic vinaigrette, the flavor combination just all works. The flank steaks also take a lot of time to prepare, but I feel it is all worth it.
Who was your first cooking inspiration?
My first cooking inspiration is easy, it’s my Dad and still is to this day. Even at 46-years old, I still marvel at how talented he was. I had no idea when I was a kid what it took to be an executive chef. I didn’t know until much later on, when I went out on my own, the valuable tools that he had taught me without ever holding my hand. I think he was even harder on me than the others in the kitchen. Most people didn’t even know we were related at times. I wish he was still here today to see what I have become and for me to still ask him questions. I think he would be proud. He taught me never to back away from a challenge and I guess I must have listened.
Next: Holli Ugalde