Growing up, Joey Ward knew he wanted to become a chef. After the Saturday morning children’s shows were over, he would stay tuned for the cooking shows that followed such as “Yan Can Cook” and “The Galloping Gourmet”. Along with his love for art, Ward found that he could hone his creativity into cuisine.
“For me, cooking is a form of art that is challenging in the way that you must strive to appeal to all of the senses simultaneously, and if possible, evoke emotion,” says the passionate chef. Ward graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. in 2005 with an associate degree in culinary arts management. He began his career in the South as the sous chef at the St. Regis Atlanta, eventually leaving the hotel to work under Woodfire Grill’s former executive chef and Bravo “Top Chef” alum, Kevin Gillespie. After two years of guidance under Gillespie, he moved on to become the executive chef at H. Harper Station.
When choosing a chef for Gunshow, Gillespie immediately thought of Ward and his passion for creativity in the kitchen. (bio and photo of dish courtesy of Melissa Libby & Associates, photo of Ward by Andrew Thomas Lee)
Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts
Gunshow Executive Chef Joey Ward
1 gallon of canola or peanut oil for frying (or follow fryer manufacturer specs)
30 Brussel sprouts, quartered
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup minced ginger
4 tablespoons minced garlic
6 tablespoons grapeseed oil
4 tablespoons sambal
1 1/2 quarts soy sauce (Kikkomon preferred)
Splash of rice wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 cup chopped Szechuan chiles (can substitute arbol chile)
water, as needed
1/2 cup chopped, roasted peanuts
Salt to taste
1. Heat the oil in a deep fryer until a candy thermometer reads 350F. Carefully add the Brussels sprouts to the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. (Note: the Brussels sprouts will pop, so stand back. If you don’t have a deep fryer, you can roast the sprouts in a 400F oven for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown). Remove the sprouts from the oil, drain on paper towel and season with salt to taste.
2. Make a slurry by adding water to cornstarch until it is a heavy cream consistency, and is about 1 cup in volume.
3. For the kung pao sauce, in a small saucepan over medium heat, sweat the ginger and garlic in the grapeseed oil until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the sambal and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and chiles. (Note: Add water to balance out saltiness if needed.) Bring the mixture to a boil, then slowly add the slurry (about 1 cup) and simmer until the mixture coats the back of your spoon. Bring the mixture back to a boil, then remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
4. To serve, toss the fried Brussels sprouts in the kung pao sauce, and place on a serving platter. Garnish with chopped peanuts.