By Sandy Zimmerman
(PHOTOS shot by Sandy Zimmerman unless otherwise indicated.)
I was excited to be invited to author Todd Wilbur’s Experimental Testing Kitchen to experience a private “cloning” cooking demonstration. Known for his ability to re-create the masterpieces of famous chefs, Todd’s 9 cook books have reached $4-1/2 million in total sales and are still going strong.
How could Todd learn the secret recipes of Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine or any of the other famous restaurants? Todd explained, “I order a dish and ask the server questions. What is in the breading, how is it cooked? Many people ask the same questions but still cannot duplicate these secret recipes. Obtaining the information is not everything you need to know, just part of the recipe. There is something about the way the food is cooked, the cooking time, how it is combined, and the amount of each ingredient. Then I return home and unravel the answers to all of the details.”
Today Todd was attempting to try cloning recipes for his newest Top Secret Recipes book to be published this fall. His first recipe, cloned from Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine Restaurant, was a simple, easy to make Classic Roasted Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi with Lobster Cognac Butter Sauce. Todd discussed his technique, “I noticed the breading was very, very fine, so I ground Panko Japanese bread crumbs with macadamia nuts in a food processor, adding a little salt and pepper.
I watched Todd dip the 6 oz. Mahi Mahi filet into the egg batter, dip the fish into the bread crumb mixture only on one side, then place it in the oven for five minutes. This seemed so quick and easy. Todd has patience, “My first try is rarely perfect, that is a tester, then I see what has to be done and start tweaking it. When you are doing something 20 or more times, you have to be quick. The fish looked nice and brown when he brought it to the counter, but there was more.
I attended a wine tasting dinner at Roy’s Restaurant but had never eaten their Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi before. I ate Todd’s Mahi Mahi and do not know whether he is satisfied or if Todd will be tweaking the recipe any more, but to me the fish was perfect, especially with the combination of the two delightful Lobster Cognac sauce and Butter sauce. He suggests using COSTCO’s individually wrapped frozen fish if you are preparing this at home.
Todd’s book, Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 discusses clones of famous dishes from America’s favorite restaurant chains while his Top Secret Recipes Unlocked includes fast food chains. See his website for free recipes: www.topsecretrecipes.com
Sandy Zimmerman is a Syndicated Features Columnist, show and dining reviewer, travel writer, Talk Show Host of the “Las Vegas Today Show” programs taped “on location” in Las Vegas, and “Discover the Ultimate Vacation” travel specials taped “on location” around the world. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact: (702)-735-5974. firstname.lastname@example.org