One of the core tenets of creativity is drawing on a range of influences for wholly new results. This is especially true when it comes to cooking. Creating new flavors comes from combining elements across cuisines. Like No Other — presented by noosa yoghurt — celebrates creative chefs who find inspiration around the world and bring it to life in their food.
Inspired by everything from the spices of North Africa to the purveyors in his own backyard, Chef Jared Wentworth, of renowned Dusek's, is never short of new ideas to test out in the kitchen — and that's a blessing. Wentworth is at the helm of three Chicago restaurants, each a beloved neighborhood joint where the food is fresh, imaginative, and often changes with the day.
"My style is very contemporary but with a lot of influences from all over the world," Wentworth said. "I've had a pretty varied background as a chef. I worked at a French Moroccan restaurant for about three years, so I do love a lot of Middle Eastern spices, but I like to blend styles and use local product as much as I can." In North African and Middle Eastern cuisine, yoghurt sauces are a key component to cooling the smokey spices the region is known for.
"My girlfriend actually brings noosa yoghurt home from the grocery store, so I'm familiar with their flavored yoghurts," Wentworth said. "This is my first time using them for a savory application," he added of bringing the Colorado-via-Australia product into the kitchen. "It took on the flavors of the cucumber and the cumin really well."
Roasting the Lamb and Vegetables
2 Boneless lamb loins trimmed of all sinew (Serves four)
1 Ounce ras el hanout, a North African spice mix
4 Pattypan squash
3 Ounces chanterelle mushrooms
1 Pint peeled cherry tomatoes
3 Ounces blanched wax beans
8 Shishito peppers
4 Roasted baby carrots
8 Roasted baby beets
1. Season lamb with salt, pepper, and ras el hanout.
2. Heat a pan with a film of oil.
3. Sear lamb until well browned and place in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for six to seven minutes.
4. Place on a roasting rack and let rest for 10 minutes.
5. Toss the vegetables in extra virgin oil, salt, pepper, and roast in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven until tender.
Making the cucumber raita
6 Ounces of plain noosa yoghurt
1/2 Seedless cucumber grated and squeezed dry
1 Clove of garlic minced
1 Teaspoon toasted ground cumin
1. Peel and grate the cumber and place in a towel.
2. Ring dry until no liquid remains.
3. Mince the garlic.
4. Toast the cumin and grind until fine.
5. Place all ingredients in mixing bowl and incorporate in the yoghurt until well mixed.
Place a large spoon of sauce in a comet formation on the plate. Slice the reserved lamb and garnish with the roasted vegetables and enjoy.