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The Chef Series: Chef Luke Venner

by Jojo Frey April 17, 2017

The Chef Series: Chef Luke Venner

Luke Venner Churning Butter with Churncraft

Making slow-churned butter with one of our favorite local chefs.

The other afternoon, I was lucky enough to get up close and personal with one of my favorite local chefs, Luke Venner. I got a chance to hang out behind the scenes, whip up some bomb butter and chat all things Churncraft.

Luke is the executive chef of Elm Restaurant, one of my favorites restaurants in Fairfield County. If I’m craving delicious, seasonal food, it's my go-to spot. 

Luke was one of our early adopters. As a chef, Luke really gets it. He is mindful about ingredients, embraces seasonal change and fosters his connection with local purveyors.

“I love incorporating old world techniques into new dishes and when you use the Churncraft you really get to sense that connection,” says Venner. 

Scroll down to read our mini-interview!

Luke Venner Making Butter with Churncraft

Luke Venner Making Butter with Churncraft

Parsley Mustard Butter from Elm Restaurant

Onion Parsley Mustard Compound Butter


Sprinkling salt on compound butter Mixing compound butter

Luke cooking steak

One-on-one with Luke Venner

1. How would you describe your cooking style?

Traditional, ingredient driven and intentionally unassuming at times.

2. What’s your favorite type of meal to cook?

Any chance I get to cook outdoors, nothing beats that.

3. Favorite style of cuisine?

Too difficult to answer. I was trained in French and Japanese, then I fell in love with Italian. These days it's usually wherever I have been traveling.

4. What’s your favorite way to use butter?

We use butter a thousand different ways at the restaurant, but when it's spread on a piece of good bread I truly appreciate it most.

5. How does making your own butter encourage creativity in the kitchen?

It forces you think about butter from a new perspective- what kind of cream should I use, where does it come from? What can we do with the buttermilk byproduct? 

6. What is your favorite compound butter you’ve ever tried?

One time we rendered dry aged beef fat and emulsified it back into a cultured butter that we made with the Churncraft. The taste was incredible.

7. If you could pick any chef (alive, dead, fictional, whatever) to cook with, who would it be?

I don't think I'm alone in saying Francis Mallmann. He has a mysticism that sets him apart from his peers.

Slicing compound butter

After churning up some fresh butter, Luke made an amazing compound butter - parsley, onion and mustard. The caramelized onions combined with a healthy dash of mustard has a perfect balance of sweet and umami. If you want to try this delicious butter yourself, head over to Elm Restaurant and order their strip steak!

Check out the recipe here: 

Steak with caramelized onion compound butter

Steak with compound butter and red wine

Jojo Frey
Jojo Frey

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