With fall season officially in high gear, Art de Fete shared with me their original fall and winter salad recipes created by their resident home and style expert, Editor-In-Chief Svitlana Flom.
After reading Ms. Flom’s step-by-step directions to making her salads and admiring the gorgeous pictures for each one (you’ll drool when you see the pictures of her Raw Beet & Cherry Tomato Salad with Manchego Cheese & Walnuts, Shredded Kale Salad with Date Puree & Pine Nuts and Rainbow of Carrots Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette), I wanted to learn more about her. Fortunately, I was able to get in touch with her for an interview.
1. What’s your cooking background?
To this day, my mother is pleasantly surprised that I’m not only cooking but actually started a food blog. My food evolution began when I met my husband and we started to explore the food scene in New York City and around the globe. I came to the USA in 2007 to obtain my Master’s Degree, out of all things, in Political Science. Growing up in Ukraine on potatoes and meat, I have never tasted fennel, celery, fava beans, kale, asparagus or any other of the amazing fruits and vegetables that I discovered here. It compelled me to try them all and learn how to cook with them. I quickly learned that cooking is an art form. I became inspired to create not only excellent food but also elegant, luxurious presentation – a Fête. Art de Fête was born.
2. Where do you get your ingredients?
I live in New York City, the mecca of food ventures, specialty stores and markets. My go-to place is always Whole Foods but for special occasions, like one of my Art de Fête dinners for friends, I have my trusted places around the city. The best seafood is at Citarella on Upper West Side – fresh octopus, razor clams, rock shrimp, skate wings and other fish and seafood extravaganza is always available there.
If you need to get a whole turkey in the middle of September (I just finished the shot for my Thanksgiving post on the blog), I head to Chelsea Market’s Dickson’s Farmstand Meats. The music is blasting, the meats are pre-cut with surgical precision, and the guys there are very friendly and accommodating, hence, it all comes with the hefty price tag at times.
If I don’t have enough time to bake a dessert or I have last-minute guests, I shop at Daniel’s Boulud’s Epicerie. The famous Opera Cake is always the winner and the display of meat pâtés there is mouthwatering. Those are perfect for an impromptu brunch with friends.
3. What’s your most favorite ingredient? Why?
Eggs. They are just so classic and versatile – a perfect omelet, crepes, souffles, meringues and custards are just a few dishes you can whip up in minutes.
4. How do you come up with new combinations? How long does the process take?
Travel is my passion. I usually get a lot of inspiration from experiencing another culture through the prism of its food. The highlight of this summer was our trip to Provence. I fell in love with the renowned region in the south of France. The food we tried inspired me to recreate the trip with a Provence Inspired Dinner for friends. I came up with the entire menu on our long flight back to the US. Lamb Stuffed Cabbage Leaves was one of my favorite dishes from Gordes, a small exceedingly picturesque mountain village in Provence. The lamb is cooked to tender perfection and wrapped in a cabbage leaf served in a tomato sauce – it is absolutely delicious! Also, the Bouillabaisse, the trademark seafood soup of Marseille. Traditionally, this dish is flavored with fish bones and various regional fish like cod, monkfish, European conger or scorpion fish. To put a spin on a classic, I used all sorts of seafood – lobster tail, shrimp, squid, clams and black sea bass fillets instead.
5. What’s your personal favorite among your creations? Why?
By drawing inspiration from fresh ingredients in their prime, I created a few health-boosting salad recipes, like Shredded Kale Salad with Date Puree & Pine Nuts, Raw Beet & Cherry Tomato Salad with Manchego Cheese & Walnuts and Rainbow of Carrots Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette, which I’m most proud of because people really seem to enjoy them.
6. What’s your favorite Ukrainian food? Why?
It has to be borscht. Just this one word evokes pleasant and warm childhood memories. Every housewife in Eastern Europe knows how to make borscht, but the recipes of this beet-based soup differ from family to family and are often based on their traditions. My meat-free version, Borscht with Eggplant, has sautéed diced eggplant, which can also be served on the side as a garnishing option instead.
7. What dishes would you recommend for a Ukrainian food newbie?
If you feel adventurous, you have to try Dressed Herring Salad or “Shuba”, which literary means “fur coat”. The name is derived from the structure of the dish itself.
The ingredients are layered with the herring positioned on the bottom and essentially “coated” by the other components such as grated cooked beets, carrots, potatoes and eggs. Each layer is smeared with a thin layer of mayonnaise. It is an absolutely delicious cold appetizer, which remains one of my husband’s all-time favorites!
8. Can you recommend any good Ukrainian restaurants in New York City?
Absolutely. Head to Brighton Beach for the best food my country has to offer. There is a great mix of Ukrainian and Russian establishments to choose from. Café Glechik is exceptional with great service and an array of Ukrainian classics.
Thanks for sharing more about the person behind the recipes, Svitlana! We’ll definitely try your recommendations the next time we’re in the city.