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Fallbrook fortunate to have culinary imports: David Burr and Chef Per Nilsen


Last updated 4/12/2007 at Noon

Sometimes I think Fallbrook is a culinary Camelot. It has the very best growing climate, variety to make king’s weep and an ever growing assembly of culinary gems that one day soon it may become not only the Avocado Capital of the world, but the best known Culinary Village, too!

As case in point, David Burr, Major Market’s Employee of the Month, is an ever-smiling Bostonian. As a “rookie” just celebrating his first year with in the meat department Major Market, David’s nickname since childhood is “Smiley”. David isn’t a run-of-the-mill meat person. He studied 2 years in collage for cutting meat. He says “ I love helping people…especially those who want to buy just enough and not too much. David willing answers questions about the amount a person needs to purchase to serve a given number. At the same time he finds that he is consulted about how to cook meat. “Most people seem to want to overcook pork, “ David says. He suggests that 160 degrees measured by an instant-read thermometer will give the best results. “ Properly cooked Pork is very tender and juicy…not dry and tough…David says. David’s favorite cut of beef is a rib eye steak. “It’s a great tasting and tender piece of meat., he says.

Our congratulations David, for coming all the way across the country to share your expertise and your splendid customer service.

And, just a few blocks away at Café Des Artistes, Fallbrook can give a warm welcome to one of its newest culinary star, Chef Per Nilsen. Chef Per has teamed with Michael Calvanese, proprietor, for the debut of a monthly series of gourmet menus. Starting next week, April 20 and April 21 the duo have put together , “Swing into Summer”, a three course meal destined to dazzle your palate and set your taste buds aquiver.

Chef Per comes with a culinary pedigree to rival any chef in all of California. Lucky us, he found Fallbrook!

Chef Per has cooked for kings and less known nobles from his native Norway to Switzerland, Sweden and France. He added economics to his resume in London as well as Human Resources Management in Lausanne, Switzerland all of which made him the ideal choice for the Hotel Director for Crystal Cruises.

The latter post was the meeting ground for his wife Linda. They met on a cruise ship and were married 18 years ago. Linda and Per have two children, Erik, 9, who attends Frazier, and Sabrina, 5, who is being schooled by Sheila Barr.

There is SO much more to tell you about Chef Per that we’ll continue the conversation next week as a part of a co-authorship with Catherine Ginther. Chef Per is one of the judges for the up-and-coming Avocado Cooking Contest headed up by Catherine.

Now here is are a few samples of the innovative and exciting cuisine from Chef Per and Michael of Café des Artistes.

These are not difficult recipes…just a bit out of the ordinary. If you have any questions or need further clarifications send us a fax or e-mail and we’ll get right back to you. Good cooks such as these are always willing to help others.

Until next week when we learn more about how you can win the Avocado Contest and also more about our illustrious Chef Per….always remember to cook with love!

Norwegian Gravlaks (lox)

Cured Salmon

1 1/2 lbs filet red salmon, boned, skin on

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup coarse salt

1 teaspoon cracked white pepper

8 sprigs dill (enough to lightly cover the filet)

1/4 cup cognac

1/4 cup dry white wine

1. Combine the sugar, salt sprinkle on to the flesh side of the salmon.

2. Cover loosely with fresh dill sprigs, press spices and dill into salmon.

3. In a glass or ceramic shallow dish, just large enough to hold the salmon mix the cognac and wine

4. Place the salmon skin side up into the dish.

5. Cover the dish loosely with plastic wrap and place a board the size to the salmon on top, weight it with apprx a 2-3 lb weight, tighten the plastic wrap Place in fridge and allow marinating for 3-4 days.

6. Transfer salmon to a cutting board and cut the salmon horizontally into thin slices.

Filet Mignon with Pancetta-wrapped prawns and artichoke gratin – serves 4

½ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon garlic minced

1 tablespoon thyme, chopped

4 x 7-ounce center cut filet mignon

1 tablespoon butter

Salt and pepper



Cognac, beef broth

Veggies and Garish

White asparagus, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes.

Clean and peel the asparagus. Warm milk and butter until boiling and add the asparagus to the boiling milk. Turn of the heat and let it sit until serving. Do not let it sit too long; the asparagus will be too soft.

Pancetta-wrapped Prawns

8 jumbo prawns without head

Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper

½ lbs pancetta (Italian Bacon)


Cherry tomatoes


Peel and de-vein the prawns. Place the sliced prawns onto plastic and carefully

Wrap the prawns until completely wrapped. Refrigerate until needed.

Grill the pancetta wrapped prawns in a frying pan for 4 minutes. Make sure you turn the shrimps after 2 minutes. Use medium to high heat. Add mushrooms, scallions and cherry tomatoes and let simmer in pan for 30 seconds. Pour cognac over by using a cup ( not directly from bottle ) and flame, add heavy cream and fresh parsley to this. Remove the shrimps and cook the rest for 1 minute until the sauce is thicker.

Artichoke/ Potato gratin:

½ lbs. cleaned Jerusalem artichokes

1½ lbs potatoes

1 yellow onion

1 cup heavy cream

Salt, pepper, allspice to taste

Use a mandolin to finely slice the artichoke, potatoes and onions. Add cream and season.

Layer the mixture in soufflé cups and bake for 30 minutes covered at 350 C.

To serve and plate:

Place the tenderloin on the warm dish and add the pancetta shrimp on top. Decorate with the white asparagus and veggies the drizzle with the sauce over. Finish with adding the potato/artichoke gratin.


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