Not much is known about Chef Govind Armstrong’s childhood other than he got his start in the culinary world at the tender age of 13. He was hand selected to work at the amazing Wolfgang Puck’s Spago Restaurant. He also worked for L.A. culinary luminaries Mark Peel and Nancy Silverton at Campanile, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger at their seminal City Restaurant, and Joachim Splichal at Patina and Pinot Hollywood. He also worked in the kitchen at Arzak restaurant, the preeminent Michelin three-star establishment in San Sebastian, Spain under Juan Mari. He has a unique culinary point of view and a headstrong seasonal approach cooking. Chef Govind maintains that he is a purist in what is widely known as California Cuisine using only seasonal, market driven ingredients his cuisine is a representation of the finest local producers in his area.
He has many honors and critically acclaimed internationally. Some of his honors include: Being a member of the Marshall Fields/Macy’s culinary advisory board, has been a guest chef aboard the Queen Mary 2 and Crystal Cruises and a culinary ambassador to New Zealand. He’s also appeared in the following magazines (People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful Issue, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, O Magazine) and appeared in the following television shows (Iron Chef America/Food Network, The Today Show/NBC, Bravo’s Top Chef and Top Chef Masters, Extra, Style Network, Fine Living, OPRAH and WE). In 2007, Govind released a cookbook “Small Bites, Big Nights: Seductive Little Plates for Intimate Occasions and Lavish Parties”, which I am just absolutely obsessed with.
Lately he has been running his own richly acclaimed restaurant called Table 8 in Los Angeles.
Although Christmas is coming up and I originally set out to find a chef that made amazing holiday recipes. I would gladly trade in a traditional Christmas meal to be able to sit at his table and sample some of his delicacies. Please PLEASE try this recipe below for his Grilled Cheese with Pulled Short Ribs and Pickled Red Onions it is definitely worth the money spent to savor these flavors!
- 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- Pulled short ribs:
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
- 2 pounds boneless beef short ribs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 carrot, cut into large dice
- 1/2 celery, cut into large dice
- 1/2 onion cut into large dice
- 6 medium cloves garlic, cracked
- 1 cup red wine (such as cabernet sauvignon)
- Sachet (see above)
- 3 cups beef broth
- 1 2-pound loaf sourdough bread , cut into 16 slices
- 12 ounces Bel Paese cheese , sliced thin
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons pickled red onions
- 4 teaspoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 teaspoons grapeseed oil
- For the sachet:
- For the sachet, wrap the parsley, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns in a small amount of cheesecloth and tie with butcher’s twine.
- For pulled short ribs:
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Beginning with a large saucepan or braising pan with a lid, heat the tablespoon of grapeseed oil over medium-high heat. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Sear the short ribs on either side until caramelized and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan. Add the carrot and celery to the pan and cook for 5 minutes over the same heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook together until caramelized, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally as needed. Add the short ribs back to the pan and deglaze with the red wine. Add the sachet and, stirring from time to time, allow the wine to reduce until almost evaporated, about 6 minutes. Pour in the beef broth and bring the braise up to a boil. Put the lid on and place in the oven for 2 hours. Stir occasionally.
- After the first 2 hours of cooking time, remove the lid. For the next hour, baste the short ribs every 15 minutes, leaving the lid off. Cook for an additional hour, until very tender, for a total of 4 hours cooking time.
- Pull the short ribs from the oven and allow them to cool in the braising juices for at least a few hours. Carefully transfer the meat to a plate and strain the juices through a fine sieve, then allow the fat to rise. Remove the fat. Using a dinner fork in each hand, lightly shred the meat along the natural grains in a pulling motion from the center outward, and set aside.
- To prepare each sandwich, begin by preheating the oven to 350°F.
- Take 2 slices of bread. On the bottom slice, place a layer of cheese (you’ll want approximately 1 1/2 ounces for each sandwich, just enough to cover the bread to the edges), then top with 1 teaspoon of pickled red onion, spread to the sides. Place 1/4 cup of the pulled short ribs on top, add another layer of cheese, and top with the second slice of bread. Brush each completed sandwich on top and bottom with 1/2 teaspoon butter.
- In a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat, add 1 teaspoon of the grapeseed oil and allow it to get nice and hot. Place 2 sandwiches in at a time and flip so they will absorb the oil on both sides. Weight them down with a small sauté pan. After 1 minute, flip the sandwiches, return the weight, and place directly in the oven.
- After 2 minutes, remove the weight. Flip the sandwich one final time, and cook for 1 final minute. Pull from the oven, slice diagonally, and serve immediately. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.
If you have a slow cooker, you can make the short ribs ahead of time. Any good-quality melting cheese, such as Wisconsin Cheddar, will work well. We make a “true” grilled cheese and grill the sandwich on our wood-burning grill. You should try that at home!