Growing up in Rhode Island, good food was everywhere in Brian Kooman’s home. Long winters, cold springs and short summers created plenty of opportunities for Brian to learn his way around the kitchen and a passion for cooking and creative meal preparation was born.
Brian was already showing his culinary inclination at an early age when he surprised his parents by his sophisticated ordering when they dined out. By the age of 15, he had developed a full-fledge passion for good food and thought that he might want to study culinary arts.
Growing in intensity as Brian headed off to college at the University of Minnesota, his kitchen skills were quickly recognized by the fraternity brothers and the evenings when Brian cooked, the table had more people gathered around than Grandma’s at Thanksgiving.
With the continuing encouragement of his friends, Brian started to think that his future wouldn’t be in books but rather in pots, pans, herbs and spices. With their help and encouragement, Brian dropped out of U of M early and became a line cook at a local restaurant.
It’s a decision he has not regretted and he has never looked back.
His final stop before becoming Chef at McCoy’s Public House was Muffuletta in the Park. Where he impressed the Chef who hired Brian on the spot as Sous Chef — that coveted second-in-command position that chefs sometimes work for years to land.
Brian and his sous chef Anthony supervise 15 employees. He considers his employees to be an extended family of sorts and the few hours down-time which they share often finds them spending time together and just hanging out.
He has no plans on leaving cooking because, as Brian says, the people you meet “…in the industry are the most friendly and diverse people…” he has ever met.
Brian sees a bright future ahead. Among his future plans for McCoy’s is to “…challenge the dining public…” by continuing to make creative and great tasting food.
Under Brian’s leadership in the kitchen, McCoy’s menu features innovative appetizers, freshly-made salads, brick oven pizzas, gourmet burgers, sandwiches and classic American comfort food made with a creative twist.
Brian has especially enjoyed creating food with beer pairings and has two coming up this year at McCoy’s Public House where he has been the Chef now for two months. You need to start set aside October 24 and December 5 on your calendar, because when word gets out, well, you know what that means.
Brian says, that beer “…is as versatile as it is diverse; it provides both a complementary and a contrasting dining experience when paired with the right food.”
A general rule that Brian shares with patrons when discussing food and beer pairings is to keep sweet with sweet and tart with tart.
“Try to keep the beer sweeter or tarter than the sweet or tart food on the plate,” Brian instructs. However, being a great chef, Brian does make exceptions such as pairing drier robust beers with sweet chocolates.
“Throw all of the rules out the window,” Brian says. “Experiment with contrasting and complimentary pairings. Match foods with complimentary flavors or try contrasting them and create a slew of unique results.”
Pork Shoulder With Mustard Spatzle, Sautéed Kale And Apple Compote
3 pounds pork shoulder cut into 6oz pieces
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 celery ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon juniper berries
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 cups water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Pat pork dry and sprinkle all over with salt. Heat olive oil in pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown pork on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to a plate. Add carrots, celery, and onion to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Return pork to pot, along with bay leaves, spices, and water, and bring to a simmer. Cover pot with lid, then transfer to oven and braise, turning pork over once, until center is tender but not falling apart when pierced with a paring knife, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon snipped chives
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups all-purpose flour
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the milk, mustard, chives, salt and nutmeg. Add the flour and stir until a sticky batter forms.
Scrape one-third of the batter into a large colander with 1/4-inch holes. Working over the pot of boiling water, scrape the batter across the bottom of the colander with a rubber spatula to press it through the holes. Gently stir the simmering spaetzle, then press the remaining batter through in 2 batches. Stir gently and simmer the spaetzle until cooked through but slightly chewy, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain the spaetzle in a clean colander.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over moderately high heat. Add the spaetzle and cook, stirring frequently, until thoroughly coated. Transfer the spaetzle to a bowl and serve right away.
1 1/2 pounds young kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1/2 cup vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft, but not colored. Raise heat to high, add the stock and kale and toss to combine. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste
2 cups water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Brandy
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 largeapples, peeled, cored, and cubed
In a large saucepan, combine the water, sugar, Brandy cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt and bring to a boil. Boil gently until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the apples and return to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very tender and the mixture thickens, about 20 min