Executive Chef Thomas Minchella is one of nine children born and raised in a small New Jersey town. “My mom was a very talented cook and helped me create recipes from various cook books throughout my youth,” says Chef Tom. “When I reached working age, she took me down to a local restaurant, Brunner’s Landmark, and got me a job as a dishwasher and prep cook.” He applied to the Culinary Institute of America while in high school and attended in 1978.
After graduating from CIA at the top of his class, Minchella moved to Atlanta where he worked at the legendary Pano’s and Paul’s as sous chef. After stints in St. Simon’s Island, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida, he returned to Atlanta to work at Chops for six years before opening McKendrick’s Steak House in 1995. His culinary approach incorporates using the freshest available product at the peak of the season. (photos and bio courtesy of Elle PR)
South African Barbecue Lobster Recipe
Chef’s Note: This recipe uses South African cold water lobster tails that are sweet, tender and absolutely delicious when barbecued and dipped in drawn butter complemented by cilantro. South African lobsters differ from Florida lobsters and Maine lobsters because of the frigid waters they are raised in. Florida lobster tails have no claws and because of the warm water tend to be a little tough and less sweet than cold water lobster. While Maine lobsters are raised in colder waters they are not as cold as those where South African or New Zealand lobster are raised. South African lobster tails can be difficult to find and a bit more expensive, but they are worth every penny.
Barbecue Dry Rub
1/2 cup ground black pepper
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup ground cumin
1/2 cup chili powder
1 cup Spanish paprika
Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Store in an airtight container.
Chef Tom’s Barbecue Sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup whole peeled canned tomatoes
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 small onion chopped
4 cloves garlic chopped
1 cup barbecue spice, see recipe above
Place all ingredients in a large sauce pot and mix thoroughly. Place over medium high heat and bring to a simmer. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from the fire and let sauce cool slightly. Place barbecue sauce in a blender and blend until fine. Set aside.
2 6 oz cold water lobster tails, split in half
Bring 4 cups of water to a slight simmer. Season water with salt and pepper and squeeze the lemon. Add the split lobster tails and simmer for 2 minutes or until the lobster meat turns white. Remove the lobster tails and place in an ice bath to cool.
Sprinkle the dry rub over the lobster tails. With a spoon place some barbecue sauce over the lobster tails. Grill the lobsters for a couple of minutes over hot coals. Serve with grilled lemon and drawn butter with some chopped cilantro.