Jan 25, 2022 - Food and Drink

Chef's Table with Biederman's Eugene Mopsik

Biederman’s Speciality Foods’ owner Lauren Biederman and self-proclaimed “loxsmith Eugene Mopsik.
Biederman's Speciality Foods owner Lauren Biederman and self-proclaimed "loxsmith" Eugene Mopsik. Photo courtesy of Gab Bonghi

Photographer Eugene Mopsik has traded his camera lens for a slicing knife.

State of play: Mopsik is the self-proclaimed "loxsmith" at Biederman's Speciality Foods on Christian Street, which opened in late 2020.

  • With no formal culinary background, Mopsik came out of retirement to slice fish and cook at the shop near the Italian Market.

Axios asked Mopsik a series of questions for our culinary advice series, Chef's Table:

🔪 Must-have tool in your home kitchen: A good knife. An 8-inch chef's knife does the trick, and make sure it's good and sharp.

🛒 Go-to grocery store: The Al-Jana food market on Bustleton Avenue has great Lebanese ingredients. For produce, I go to Anastasio Produce on 9th and Christian.

  • In New York, Kalustyan's at 28th and Lexington is my favorite spice shop. It's fabulous and has every ingredient or spice you could ever dream up.

🌿 Most overlooked spice: Lebanese seven spice for grain salads, vegetables, meat dishes.

🐟 Favorite home-cooked meal: My sesame-crusted salmon.

  • Get a nice, skin-on fillet of salmon, dredge in egg white, dip it in some sesame seeds, and press them in. Then put it in a stainless skillet with a mix of butter and olive oil.
  • Top side then skin side into the pan until it gets golden on all sides, and keep it high heat. Then it goes into a 400°F oven for about five minutes.
  • Serve with some seasoned rice and maybe some broccolini.

🍽 Last restaurant you went to and your order: Tacconelli's Pizzeria.

  • I get the white pie with spinach, garlic and tomato. I've been going there since the late 70s. I even remember when they put in the current oven.

Quick tip for at-home cooks: Don't walk away from the stove.

🔌 How to unplug: I cook. I sail. I garden. In the winter, I light up the fireplace to unwind.

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