Home food/drink Down to Cook America

Down to Cook America

by devnym

photography by tony gale
grooming by jessi butterfield

Gone are the days of mom cooking solo in the kitchen while the kids sit on the sidelines and wait for dinner to be served. Moves is bringing families together in the kitchen with its DTC (Down to Cook) cooking competition. Over the summer, Moves hosted the first ever DTC: America competition at the esteemed James Beard House nestled in New York City’s West Village.

Two teams made up of mother and son and father and daughter competed in the kitchen while celebrity comedian Dena Blizzard and Pix 11’s Dr. Steve Salvatore sat on-hand to judge their culinary creations. The core of DTC: America is the idea of developing a fun and interactive way to educate kids and young adults on nutrition and healthy cooking. And of course to prove who’s the best chef in the household – mom, dad, daughter or son. Times have changed, haven’t they?

Team 1 consisted of wine expert Mark Bell and his daughter Sophie. New York City Chef Ryan Smith of New York Vintners aided the father/daughter duo in the kitchen as they created a shrimp salad with tomatoes and onions appetizer and a grilled chicken entree dish featuring fresh cut corn of the cob and vine ripe chopped tomatoes.

Team 2 consisted of consulting executive Clarice Kennedy and her son Aidan. New York City Chef Jesse Schenker of Recette provided support to the mother/son duo as they broke a sweat in the kitchen cooking a lightly grilled salmon and corn puree appetizer topped with tomatoes and green peppers and a grilled salmon and cauliflower puree dish with carrots and radicchio greens.

Moves premiere DTC: America competition was a soaring success, proving that families can cook healthy, delectable foods and still have a good time doing it.


Dena Blizzard
Dr. Steve Salvatore

Team One:

Chef Smith

Book a dinner with Chef Ryan Smith and you’re in for an experience, not just a meal. As the executive chef at New York Vintners, Chef Ryan runs his own dining room where food and wine are components in what he calls an alternative-dining experience. He has teamed up with actors and artists to fully immerse his guests in themes ranging from Downtown Abbey dinners to Game of Thrones feasts. Most people would describe Chef Ryan’s cooking and menu creation as fluid. He doesn’t have one style or one technique that encompasses his culinary identity. Instead, he just likes to create balance in his dishes, whether it’s crunchy and creamy or sweet and salty. One thing is for certain in his cooking though: fresh ingredients are key. Nothing beats farm fresh produce from the farmers’ market up the street so he advises New Yorkers to take advantage of their city’s outdoor markets. As for Chef Ryan’s favorite dish? There’s nothing like a spicy curry with a good, sweet Riesling. Count us in.

Team Two

Chef Schenker

Walk in to Chef Jesse Schenker’s kitchen in his restaurant on any given day and chances are Pearl Jam, Bob Dylan or Alice in Chains is blaring out . The music lover and executive chef and owner of the tiny West Village hot spot, Recette, has been cooking since he was six. At that time Food Network wasn’t around, so he would sit and watch PBS cooking shows in order to broaden his food knowledge. Today, Chef Jesse’s style gears toward Modern American cooking – he mixes traditional techniques he learned from his great grandmother back in the day with modern techniques he picks up in his daily travels around the city. At Recette, which he opened in 2010, Chef Jesse ensures fine-dining dishes, but in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. With a laid-back personality (his favorite meal to cook is just a simple grill cheese) and a fiery passion for savory flavor, Chef Jesse proves nothing short of producing culinary goodness no matter what kitchen he’s cooking in.

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