The Manual’s Guide to Cooking

Recently we have been posting tips from people in the know on various industries. Today we hear what is cooking with Chef Sean Rembold.

Our thoughts on the subject:

We know men find the grill and a beer almost like a second home during the summer months. But men should equally feel comfortable in the kitchen with a saucepan. Men have been enjoying cooking again with magazines like Kinfolk, The Modern Farmer and Garden & Gun bringing back old recipes in a new light and reminding us that quality meat comes from well raised livestock and not from a factory. We at The Manual have interviewed our fair share of chefs on Brussels sprouts, wood fired pizzas and even their own personal style “When you work with pigs blood you can’t buy nice things!” is still one our all time favorite quotes on the site.

Tips from a chef:

Here we speak to Sean Rembold, Executive Chef of several of Brooklyn’s most notable restaurants by restauranteur Andrew Tarlow – including Diner, Marlow & Sons, and Reynard. Rembold has been cooking professionally for 20 years and has a unique take on American classics with local, seasonal ingredients. He has helped make Williamsburg, Brooklyn a culinary destination not only in New York City, but also on a national level, and has earned himself two James Beard Award nominations for Best Chef: New York City.

If while creating a meal,  you’re looking to impress that special someone, a group of friends or even adversaries, it helps to look has if you know what you’re doing.  Here are a few pro tips:

1. Don’t be scared to season your food with confidence.  This also means seasoning a dish or recipe from the beginning.  Eight servings of soup will require more than a tablespoon of salt.  Think:  What Would Campbell’s Do?  Well, they’d use a lot more than one tablespoon of salt for one.  And seasoning a soup from the beginning will make it taste more like the ingredients in the soup, let’s say, carrots and ginger, and less like a solution of carrots and ginger with a bunch of salt hopelessly thrown in at the last minute.  The same goes with a vinaigrette.  Whether you’re dressing a few leaves of butter head or a bowl of grilled radicchio, just remember the Earth gave them to you comprised of mostly water and zero salt.

2. Fresh herbs.  Always and whenever possible, use them, period.  If you can’t grow thyme or basil in your backyard plot or hydroponic basement garden, go ahead and splurge on them at the  supermarket.  Or better yet, head to your local farmers’ market, where you’ll find what’s in season and appropriate for the time of year you’re cooking.

3. Stay seasonal and regional.  Fusion cuisine, whether melding separate continents or opposing seasons, is not advisable.  There are exceptions to the rule, i.e. utilizing ingredients from North Africa with French technique, but to be honest, you shouldn’t be cooking asparagus in November, unless you’re in Patagonia.

4. Scars are cool.  Professional cooks are prone to cuts and burns.  Don’t be scared to get a little faster with your knife skills.  And that hot oven rack?  Well, let’s just say it only takes seven tenths of a second or so with the back of your hand or forearm to really excite the crowd.

5. Drink while you cook.  Everyone loves a good bartender, especially when they can cook.  This doesn’t mean throwing back a case of Old Milwaukee with your friends while burning the lighter fluid off your charcoal.  This means thinking about what you’re cooking and expanding upon the story behind the ingredients or inspiration behind the dish.  If it’s frigid outside and you’re preparing lamb sausages and colcannon, then by all means have an Irish whiskey.  And if you’re doing something involving fresh tomatoes or olives, consider where those ingredients flourish.  Maybe a rosé from Provence.  When in doubt,  choose champagne or an aperitif.  But it can be pretty impressive when you pair a wine or spirit with the region your dish originated (consult Google?).  And if it’s brats and summer sausage, maybe Old Mill’s the way to go.  It would be a lot cooler if you got your hands on some New Glarus though.

*Warning:  Pro tip #5 may result in pro tip #4 as a welcome or unwelcome byproduct.  Please be advised.

Restaurants around the country we are craving:

  • Fig, Charleston, South Carolina
  • Bull & Beggar, Asheville, North Carolina
  • Empire State South, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Marlow & Sons, New York, New York
  • Parsons Chicken & Fish, Chicago Illinois
  • Duende, Oakland, California
  • Punch Bowl Social, Portland, Oregon


-When out with a dame, always pick up the check. Period

-These days we do have to be tolerant of people’s eating habits so when throwing a dinner party, always ask if anyone has any food allergies or requests.

-Buy Local! We can’t stress this enough. Have you ever seen how chickens live in a Perdue factory? That will make ya go vegetarian. Buy meats and vegetables from your local farmers markets and if you aren’t near one, at least read the packaging at the grocery and go the organic route.

-Don’t ever, ever, ever toss your tie over your shoulder to avoid stains.

-Always leave a good tip for good service. 20% is perfect.