Salt & Char’s Executive Chef Braden Reardon and his American Wagyu Ribeye dish.
Photographer: erica miller (left) and provided photo
The City of Saratoga Springs is famous for a variety of things: the race track, the natural springs, etc.
As of Monday, the city can add American Wagyu Ribeye cap to the list.
The dish, created by Salt & Char’s Executive Chef Braden Reardon, is featured in an upcoming episode on the Cooking Channel’s show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” The series features famous chefs discussing some of their favorite dishes to order when they’re going out to eat. Celebrity chef Bobby Flay, a regular around the Saratoga Springs area, opted for chef Reardon’s ribeye dish for the “Feats of Meat” episode that’s slated to air on Monday.
“Every chef hopes their food tops favorite lists, but to top Bobby Flay’s? That was a nice surprise,” Reardon said in an email interview with the Gazette.
He’s been with the famous Salt & Char steakhouse for just about two years, though his passion for cooking began years ago when he was a child.
“I was inspired by my grandmother, who was a dairy and vegetable farmer in Pennsylvania. Through my grandmother’s life’s work, I gained an appreciation for the land and the agricultural community,” Reardon said.
Although he received his degree in zoology from the University of Florida, his passion for food kept calling to him and shortly after college he took a job as the Chef de Cuisine in San Francisco.
“I also have a passion for connecting with the sea and at one point also worked as a deckhand for a fishing fleet in Alaska for four years during King Crab, Ophelia, and Salmon seasons,” Reardon said.
In his work with Salt & Char, he’s helped to build relationships with farmers from the greater Capital Region and beyond to get the best ingredients right from the source. That’s partially why Flay raved about the dish to the Food Network, which produces “Best Thing I Ever Ate.” Reardon had come up with the Wagyu recipe first for a former restaurant, but he wanted to perfect the presentation for Salt & Char.
“The most beautiful part of any steak is its marbling. During our experimental phase finding ways to serve and cook the Wagyu, we went through different prime ribeyes and ultimately decided to take the next step and feature only American Wagyu. As a result, Salt & Char uses primarily Snake River Farms for their Ribeye Cap steaks, which consistently delivers some of the best steaks in America,” Reardon said.
According to Reardon, the episode gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at how he prepares the dish and why customers, along with Flay, love it.
For those hoping to watch the episode and recreate it at home, Reardon said it’s not all about the cook’s experience.
“If you purchase a great piece of meat, you don’t have to do too much. This particular cut of meat provides most of the flavor itself, just season with salt and fresh ground pepper before cooking,” Reardon said.
To catch the episode, tune into Food Network at 8 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 18. For more information visit foodnetwork.com. Other chefs featured in the episode include Justin Brunson, Monti Carlo, Tregaye Fraser, Alex Guarnaschelli, Carla Hall, and Molly Yeh.
Chef Reardon’s Menu Pick:
“As we change the menu quite frequently, I’m always excited by the seasons and the bounty that the local markets and farms provide. Currently, I enjoy the richer comfort foods for the winter season and I would have my go-to dishes as the French onion soup and prime dry aged tomahawk steak.”