Owner, Knipschildt Chocolatier and Chocopologie
South Norwalk, CT
Knipschildt’s reputation as a chocolatier sometimes overshadows the name he has made for himself in “savory” cuisine. Even before beginning his 4 1/2 years of training at Hotel & Restaurant School in Denmark, Knipschildt was a familiar face in the kitchens of restaurants across Europe.
See Chef Knipschildt’s Trio of Rabbit >>
Q: How did you get involved in cooking? Was it something you learned to love early on or did you come to it later?
A: My first job in the restaurant business was a fluke. When I was 13, I filled in for my sister as a dishwasher at a local restaurant. There was something about the small kitchen, so full of noise, steam, and activity, that drew me in. The creativity of the kitchen, combined with the love of food and travel my parents instilled in my sisters and me, made cooking the obvious choice for my career. The owner of that local restaurant had four other restaurants, The Plaza Hotel and Marie Louise among them, and under his guidance I was able to gain experience and advance quickly.
Q: Why is eating grassfed meat different? How does it affect your cooking? Is it just about health? Or is there more to it than that?
A: Grassfed meat is a different breed. The smell and look of the meat are above and beyond what you can normally find in your local supermarket. But consumers should not be hesitant when purchasing grassfed meat — their old recipes and cooking instructions remain the same. The meat is much fresher than traditional meat, and I take pleasure in knowing that the animals had a “real” life as close to nature as possible.
Q: How did you learn about grassfed meat?
A: I think that the food industry has known about grassfed meat for many years, but unfortunately, word about how important it is did not get out to consumers until recently. Thankfully, how we treat our animals and our food with care has now become a popular topic of conversation, and people are demanding change. I really feel that every fine restaurant and every home chef should be using grassfed meat for their meals.
Q: Why is it so important to have the right ingredients?
A: Ingredients are the key for a perfect meal, snack, or treat. They are the base of any recipe and the blocks on which to build. My chocolates would not be the same without the best raw chocolate and fresh ingredients. The right ingredients offer nuances that take the dish to a new level.
Q: What are the most important keys to success for the home chef?
A: Whether cooking at home or in a restaurant, chefs should remember that the two most important components of a great meal are ingredients and simplicity. There is no match for fresh ingredients, and the best flavors speak for themselves.
Q: What is the most helpful tip that you, as a professional, have learned that you can pass on to the at-home cook?
A: Food is more than just fuel for your body. It is our connection to nature. Be honest with what you put in your body. Stay away from food with chemicals, preservatives, additives and artificial colors. These artificial and exaggerated flavors pale in comparison to the real thing and are really just no good for you.
Q: What is your favorite recipe (using grassfed meat)? What would you prepare with it for the perfect meal?
A: There are few meals that can compare to Trio of Rabbit with grassfed rabbit. I serve it with apricot relish, avocado/white chocolate mashed potatoes, fried corn, and a sauce bordelaise with apricots, mints and shallots.
Q: What advice do you have for families in the kitchen, and for encouraging everyone in the family to eat the same meal?
A: I like to keep things simple. In my house, everybody eats what’s being served. There may be the occasional argument, but in the end, everyone learns to appreciate a good, home-cooked meal.