Beer Magazine

Beer Kitchen

April 29, 2009

Meet Our Chef – He cooks with beer

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Written by: BeerMagDerek

This month’s Beer Kitchen isn’t going to be about any one food or recipe, but about who is taking over the controls of the “cooking with beer” feature we call Beer Kitchen. Over the past six months or so, I’ve been trying to find the perfect chef for our magazine—one who wouldn’t just pair foods with beer, but would actually use beer as an ingredient and not issue recipes that require you to be a chef. The search has led me around the world and back, and as it turns out, I found our perfect beer chef about two miles from my house at a restaurant that I raved about months prior. From this issue on, Brein Clements will be showing you how to use beer as an ingredient in cooking. His talents are starting to become world-renowned, and if you’re lucky enough to visit his restaurant in downtown Riverside, California, you’ll be in for a treat. To get your appetites flowing and your creative cooking talents in gear, we’re going to introduce our reading audience to Brein, and vice versa. So here it goes. Brein, Beer readers. Beer readers, Brein Clements.

Name: Brein Clements
Age: 26
Schooling: California Culinary Academy
Restaurant: Restaurant Omakase
Style of Cooking: Modern European with a Japanese influence

Q: When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
A: When I was 16 years old, my grandfather encouraged me to start cooking. When I was growing up, I usually cooked for the family, and I knew that I would head to culinary school as soon as I could.

Q: What are some of the challenges with cooking with beer as an ingredient?
A: Beer is not like wine. It doesn’t have the sugar, so you can’t cook it as much. You have to be gentle with it and make sure you don’t bring
out its bitter qualities or lose its complex flavors.

Q: What does beer bring to the palate?
A: A complexity, bitterness, and richness like no other, but it really all depends on the type, style, and finish. I remember the finish more than anything.

Q: What is your favorite beer?
A: I’m a big fan of most amber-style beer, but right now I’m on an Asian beer kick and my absolute favorite is Hitachino Red Rice Ale. It’s got a smooth, velvety flavor that has just the right amount of flavor and goes incredibly well with food.

Q: Do you use beer as an ingredient regularly?
A: Oh yeah! Right now we’re doing a chevre beignet, or French doughnut. Instead of using wine, we’re using beer in the batter.
It’s insane.

Q: What do you think you’ll bring to Beer magazine as the new Food Column editor?
A: A new outlook on the possibilities of cooking, pairing, and melding the flavors of both beer and food alike. I have always been known for my food and wine pairings; however, I do enjoy cooking with beer quite a bit.

Restaurant Omakase
When you visit Brein on his home court, you’ll learn just what the word Omakase means. Its literal translation is “trust the chef,” and his menu encourages you to do just that … to allow him to cook for you while you’re in his house. Any initial skepticism disappears after sampling a few dishes from the menu, as it’s hard to go wrong with anything Brein cooks. This is where my search ended. It was after a day of reviewing beers, and we decided to go out to dinner. After meeting Brein for the first time, and after my seemingly endless search for a chef who would fit in with the rest of the Beer crew, I spoke with Brein and asked him if he’d like to take over the position. His confidence and love of craft beer was inspiring, and I’m excited about what he’ll bring to the table for both aspiring chefs and the average guy who can cook a steak.

His talent hasn’t just been local. For those of you who know the culinary world and the James Beard Institute, you’ll be happy to hear that he provided “one of the most memorable meals they have had in 14 years!” You can expect that level of excellence to continue with us, and at his restaurant.

Our next issue will be the beginning of Chef Brein’s cooking with beer collection, and you might just want to start saving these pages in a recipe box, with a brand-new label: things I can cook with beer.

About the Author

Publisher. Editor. Janitor.

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