Chef Monica Pope
No Texas restaurant is more passionately local than Chef Monica Pope's new venture, t'afia
Gourmet Magazine, January 2004
Monica began her career at the age of eighteen for prestigious Cafe Annie in Houston. She later left Houston for Europe where she spent the next three years working in restaurants in Greece and London. In 1990, she earned her Chef's title from Prue Leith's School of Food & Wine. In 1992, Monica opened The Quilted Toque (now closed) where she fully demonstrated the infusion of international foods and set a new standard for diversity -- unmatched until she moved to open Boulevard Bistrot in 1994. In 1996, Monica was named one of Food & Wine Magazine's Top 10 Best New Chefs.
After 10 years at her Museum District institution Boulevard Bistrot, Monica's lease was about to expire; she took this opportunity to start over from scratch--to break out of the bistro box and create a new concept in an up-and-coming part of Houston, South Midtown. Inspired by the location--an industrial red-brick building on 10,000 square feet of land--Monica has again envisioned and made real an incredible place with simple, good food using as many local and regional ingredients as possible. She has received local & national recognition for her culinary and restaurant packaging talents: t’afia has been named a top place to eat in Bon Appetit, Texas Monthly, Gourmet, Travel & Leisure and Organic Style Magazines. Monica has also been named a Culinary Catalyst by the Houston Chronicle.
Monica is one of the founders of the Midtown Farmers Market – a weekly market held at t’afia that brings the community together on the cornerstone of food with offerings from local farmers, craftspeople, and chefs making artisanal, handcrafted breads, chocolates, pastries and prepared foods.
Recipes by Chef Monica Pope
Organic herb salad with simple lemon vinaigrette
we recommend using all organic ingredients (or as many as you can find)
Simple Lemon Vinaigrette
1/8 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 cups olive oil
2 tsp Wholesome Sweeteners organic sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp white pepper, ground finely
Yield: 3 cups
HERBS: aprox. ¼ cup total for each salad
Basil, leaves torn
Chive, snipped to ¾” long
Organic edible flowers, such as pansies, borage, chive blossoms, nasturtiums, calendulas, etc.
2-3 freckle lettuce or butter lettuce leaves for each salad for the base
make sure all of your herbs and flowers are organically grown. Pick and clean the herbs—you want the leaves to be whole (except for large basil leaves, they can be torn in half) – and pick the petals off of the flowers. Dress the herbs and butter lettuce lightly with the simple lemon vinaigrette (see above). Place the freckle or butter lettuce leaves on each plate so that it forms a cup. Fill the lettuce cup with the herbs and sprinkle with flower petals. Serve.
NOTE: The amounts in most stores’ herb packages are about the right portion size for 4-6 salads.
Chosen One of 50 Hot Places to Eat in America by Bon Appetit Magazine (2/05) www.tafia.com
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