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Chef's Corner: Chef Alan Pirhofer, Arrowhead Restaurant & Bar

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As for his most memorable culinary experience, it was surprisingly "A pretzel I shared with my wife in Alsace France."

Executive Chef Alan Pirhofer has always had a passion for creating great food and commanding great culinary teams. He first ignited his enthusiasm for cooking by traveling and working in Alsace and Paris regions of France. Thereafter he apprenticed under Chef Francis Leroux at Café Du Midi in Chicago. Alan has since been dedicated to culinary excellence and is committed to creating diverse menus. He strives to execute memorable food in a creative, consistent, resourceful and professional manner. His early beginnings refined his culinary and managerial skills so that he has held many prestigious positions over the past 19 years.

Before joining Arrowhead Restaurant and Bar in Winter of 2008, Alan Pirhofer had already completed an impressive culinary journey in the kitchens of top Chicago restaurants including Brasserie JO, The Club at Symphony Center and several four- star restaurants including Carlos in Highwood and Trio in Evanston. Pirhofer was an integral part of the opening team at the four star restaurant, Trio, and was able to learn contemporary and global methods and techniques in the kitchen. In addition, he had the opportunity to research and design specials with chefs Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand.

chef_alan.gifHe was most recently Executive Chef at the critically acclaimed Erba where he maintained an on-site herb garden, reflecting his focus on fresh, quality tastes.

Now, Chef Pirhofer offers unique, seasonal daily specials and presents delectable cuisine at Arrowhead. When asked about his creative and culinary goals for Arrowhead Restaurant and Bar, Pirhofer stated “I want Arrowhead to focus on food that is simple with bold flavors and is visually stunning.”

When not in the kitchen, Alan enjoys collecting cookbooks and unusual kitchen equipment, and Venetian glass blowing. He also spends plenty of time outside creating sidewalk chalk art with his daughter Nola. And he also has been known to catch an occasional Formula One auto race.

As for his most memorable culinary experience, it was surprisingly “A pretzel I shared with my wife in Alsace France. It had local Gruyere cheese on it and we bought just one. I never imagined a pretzel could be so amazing. To this day we dream of that pretzel and wish we bought more” said Pirhofer.


6 flanken style Beef Short ribs with bones, cut about 2inches thick [about 4 pounds]*
2 medium onions diced
4 stalks celery medium dice
3 carrots medium dice
3 garlic cloves
4 sprigs fresh thyme chopped
1 sprigs fresh rosemary chopped
1 16oz bottle full body beer preferably Belgium ale
5 cups chicken stock or just to cover short ribs
1cp flour
Kosher Salt and fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil

In a large skillet, heat oil. Season ribs with salt and pepper then dust with flour. Add them to the skillet and over moderate heat, turning once, until browned and crusty, about 18 minutes. Transfer the ribs to a large enameled cast iron casserole.

Add onion, celery, carrots, and garlic to skillet and over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. about 10 minutes. Add beer and herbs and bring to a boil over high heat. Pour over ribs, add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Preheat the oven to 350f. Cover and cook in lower third of oven 1 ½ hours or until meat is tender but not falling off the bone. Uncover and braise 45 minutes longer turning the ribs once or twice until the sauce is reduced by half and the meat is tender.

Transfer the meat to a baking dish, discarding bones as they fall off. Strain the sauce into a heatproof measuring cup and skim off as much fat as possible. Pour the sauce over the meat there should be about 2cups.
Preheat broiler. Broil meat, turning over once or twice, until glazed and sizzling, about 10 minutes. Transfer meats to plates and the spoon the sauce on top serve with mashed potatoes and your favorite vegetable

* - Flanken style short ribs: short cut across the bones instead of parallel to them. See your butcher.


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