SEPTEMBER 24, 2012

MEET THE SOUS CHEF

TAD WEYLAND, SOUS CHEF, HEIRLOOM LA

Back in 2004, Tad Weyland was a passionate home cook who was pretty sure he was about to get laid off from his job in the music industry. After 20 years in Los Angeles, the Hawaii native needed a next move, and cooking seemed the obvious choice.

He turned to his friend and chef Neal Fraser, who allowed Weyland to work in his now-shuttered restaurant, Grace. For a year, Weyland worked Thursday nights and all day Sundays for free in order to gain real-world kitchen experience, while continuing to work his day job.

Seven years later, and Weyland has worked at a handful of Los Angeles restaurants, including Chinois on Main and Huckleberry in Santa Monica. Currently, he is sous chef at Heirloom LA. In addition to his kitchen duties, Weyland also produces mixers for Heirloom's bar, and for Sous Chef Series he shared his recipe for homemade ginger ale. Good on its own, you can also spike it with bourbon or rum for an easy cocktail.

TRACK THIS CHEF

Tad Weyland's:
See Recipe See the recipe for Tad Weyland's Fresh Ginger and Lemon Italian Soda

DAY IN THE LIFE

TIPS & TECHNIQUES

Spice Is Nice

Weyland makes his ginger syrup with fresh, raw ginger, so it retains a hot, spicy quality. He also uses whole lemon slices; the citrus oil in the peel adds to the overall complexity of the syrup.

Spike It

Paired with soda water, the ginger syrup is a refreshing, nonalcoholic beverage. But it is equally good spiked. Weyland, an admitted fan of the classic Jack 'n' Ginger, recommends whiskey, but we think rum would be especially good.

MAKE THE
Fresh Ginger and Lemon Italian Soda

YIELD

1 soda (plus 1 cups ginger-lemon syrup)

INGREDIENTS

Cane sugar, 1½ cups (preferably organic)

Water, ¾ cup

Fresh ginger root, ½ pound (washed and sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds)

Large lemon, 1 (washed, half sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds and the other half sliced into wheels or wedges for serving)

Ice

Seltzer or sparkling water, 1 bottle (if not making your own seltzer)

EQUIPMENT

Seltzer bottle and siphon (if making your own seltzer)

Measuring cups and spoons

Medium saucepan

Wooden spoon

Blender

Chef’s knife

Cutting board

Chinois or fine-mesh sieve

Cheesecloth (if using a fine-mesh sieve)

Rubber spatula

Tall glass

Spoon

DIRECTIONS

1. If making seltzer, follow the manufacturers instructions for charging the water. Cover tightly and refrigerate on the container’s side for at least 2 hours. (If using store-bought seltzer or sparkling water, skip this step.)

2. To the medium saucepan set over medium heat, add the

  • Sugar
  • Water

Bring to a boil and use the wooden spoon to stir occasionally until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and set the simple syrup aside to cool for 5 minutes.

3. To the blender, add the

  • Sliced ginger
  • Sliced lemon

Cover with the warm simple syrup and place a lid on the blender. Begin blending on the lowest speed until the ginger and lemon are roughly chopped, about 1 minute. Turn off the blender and let the ginger-lemon syrup steep for 10 minutes. Repeat, this time blending the ginger-lemon syrup on medium speed for 1 minute before turning the blender off and steeping for 10 minutes more.

4. Set the chinois (or fine-mesh sieve lined with 2 layers of water-moistened cheesecloth) over a medium bowl. Strain the ginger-lemon syrup through the chinois, using the rubber spatula to help push the mixture through.

5. Fill a glass with

  • Ice

Add ¾ cup

  • Seltzer water

Top with ¼ cup ginger-lemon syrup and use the spoon to stir. Adjust the flavor with more ginger-lemon syrup or seltzer as needed. Serve with a 

  • Lemon wheel

(The remaining ginger-lemon syrup can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.)

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