NEW YORK - New York's restaurant scene is a melting pot of dishes from around the globe. But you don't see a lot of Hungarian food places. One chef is trying to win over New Yorkers with a few dishes at a time. Jeremy Salamon is stirring up something fresh in the kitchen with a new spin on Hungarian classics.
"My hope is to revive Hungarian cuisine in the city, or just spark some interest in it," Jeremy said. "Hungarian cuisine is actually incredibly meat-heavy. It's smothered in sauces and lots of dairy and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But I wanted to see what it would look like in a new day, in a new age, for a younger generation."
Jeremy, 23, has been cooking since he was a kid, learning from his grandma AGI, who came to the United States from Hungary in the 1940s.
"I always remember my grandmother leaning over a steaming pot of something," Jeremy said. "And just with a completely bold face, standing over would be completely red, but got so much joy out of it."
Jeremy has already been a sous chef at top restaurants across the city. This spring, he is opening his own pop-up restaurant called Fond at different locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan, including at Wallflower in the West Village.
"Fond is actually a cooking term. It reflects what's in the bottom of the pan -- usually, you use the fond to build a sauce, so you deglaze the pan and scrape the fond up," Jeremy said. "And in some metaphorical out there world, fond to me is like your life, life lessons, your family, your roots, and you build the sauce upon that."
The inspiration for Fond's menu came from a recent trip to Hungary.
"Paprika is everywhere. It's hanging from their houses; it's hanging from their chairs, literally. It is such a vital point of their country's heritage," Jeremy said. "I think what I took back from it was understanding my roots better, which really helps me with this pop-up."
We got a sneak peek at two of Jeremy's dishes.
Langosh is a typical Hungarian street food. It is made with potato, yeast, and milk. He develops the gluten and fries it. Then he tops it with a gremolata (garlic, parsley, lemon, olive oil), and finishes it with pecorino and honey.
"So it's completely bad for you, but incredibly good for your palate," Jeremy said.
His stuffed cabbage is not your traditional stuffed cabbage because it doesn't contain any meat.
"So what we've done is taken beautiful savoy cabbage, blanched it, shocked it, and then we stuff it with a nettle kraut," he said. "Combined it with a maitake mushroom puree and steamed it and then finished it with a smoked pepper cream sauce and gooseberries."
The result: an original take on classic Hungarian food that would make any grandma proud.
"She is thrilled for me. Unfortunately, I don't think she'll be able to make it, just with her age, but I'll definitely go down there and cook a meal for her and get her approval," Jeremy said. "It's honoring them and honoring the heritage and the tradition, but for a new day and a new age."
Jeremy's Fond pop-up can be found at the following times and locations:
May 9, 2017 at Wallflower, Manhattan
May 20, 2017 at Fitzcarraldo, Brooklyn
For more information or to buy tickets, go to www.fondnyc.com.