Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Todd Gray of Equinox and Watershed (Part 2)

Shrimp and grits at Watershed
‘Shrimp and grits at Watershed’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

With winter approaching, I’m feeling more in the mood to spend time in the kitchen cooking up warm meals. Chef Todd Gray’s recipe for shrimp and grits is one of those that you can spend a little extra time preparing and will hit the spot when you’re cozy inside on a chilly winter’s day. You can find the dish on the menu at Watershed Restaurant or make it at home with the recipe after the jump.
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Capital Chefs, Food and Drink, The Features

Capital Chefs: Todd Gray of Equinox and Watershed (Part 1)

Todd Gray at Watershed
‘Todd Gray at Watershed’
courtesy of ‘bonappetitfoodie’

Juggling multiple restaurants and two catering companies, along with a recent RAMMY award win for 2011 Chef of the Year and several James Beard Foundation Award nominations, you could call Todd Gray a powerhouse of sorts. This year alone, the chef and his wife and business partner, Ellen Kassoff Gray, have expanded their hospitality group to include Todd Gray’s Watershed and Todd Gray’s Muse at the Corcoran just this year. So where did the chef start all of this?

For Gray, who grew up outside of Washington, DC, he knew he wanted to own a restaurant before he knew he wanted to be a chef. While he was studying at the University of Richmond and was working in the front of the house at a local restaurant, he found that he fell in love with the kitchen. “The culinary bus came and I jumped on,” he says.

Flash forward to years of building a successful career, it’s certain that the chef has far more planned for the future. Gray and his wife are working on a book due out in September 2012 with the working title, “Kitchen Conversations: Blending Jewish and American Flavors for Delicious, Easy Meals.” The chef slyly adds that there may be a few more restaurants for him on the horizon, but plays off any specific plans by saying simply, “I’m just going to keep on cooking and having fun.”
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Downtown, Food and Drink, We Love Food

We Love Food: Equinox

Photo courtesy of
‘proof.glass.2′
courtesy of ‘Ghost_Bear’

Situated on Farragut Square in the Downtown corridor, Equinox is unassuming on the outside. With a glassed-in atrium, it looks like it was once a lunch eatery or an after-work bar spot that has been transformed, to the best of an interior decorator’s ability, to an upscale dining room. After having a wonderful time at Equinox in the fall, partaking in the fall happy hour, I was dying to try Equinox for a full meal, and Valentine’s Day was the perfect excuse.

We were sat, and the meal started out with bread. I love bread – it has the potential to set the tone for the entire meal. Bread can be a warm welcome, a fabulous place for a meal to start, and unfortunately Equinox’s bread fell flat. Well, not the bread so much as the hummus that came with it. I’m a big fan of interesting spreads (hello, honey butter, yogurt dill cheese or herb butter) and so I was excited to try the hummus that came with a pastry puff bread and some sort of fruit and herb bread slices. It was bland. It was mostly tasteless, with sort of a weird aftertaste. I tried it with or without the bread, and have to say, that hummus was a mistake for the chef to send out. I could have gotten better hummus at Trader Joe’s. But luckily, the hummus was the worst part of the entire meal, and everything just got better from there. Continue reading