Reese began his culinary career at an early age, with his siblings being his first patrons. The oldest of six, Reese assumed responsibility for preparing dinner for his brothers and sisters while his mother was at work. She taught him how to bake, in addition to how to prepare dirty rice (a family favorite), and various chicken dishes.
A native of southern New Jersey, Reese attended Camden County’s Technical School’s Culinary Institute, and served on the teaching staff for several years after his graduation. From there he moved to northern New Jersey – honing his fine dining skills by working for several prestigious country clubs, including the Knickerbocker Country Club. While he enjoys preparing delicious dishes, he is truly passionate about creating unique menus that showcase seasonal ingredients.
He brought that sense of passion with him when joined The Bristal at Englewood in 2019. When asked what brings him the most satisfaction, he is quick to respond, “The freedom to be creative with my dishes.” New to working in assisted living, he has enjoyed spending time with the residents at The Bristal at Englewood, and learning what dishes they love the most.
The following recipe is one of Reese’s favorites. He enjoys cooking with fish as it is easy to style – not to mention delicious and nutritious. Enjoy!
Pan-Seared Grouper with Cucumber Salad with Soy Mustard Dressing
4 grouper fillets, skin removed
1 bell pepper
3 Tbsp tamari soy sauce
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 ½ Tbsp sweet mirin
2 tsp whole grain mustard
½ cup of vegetable oil
In a blender, puree the soy sauce with the rice vinegar, mirin, mustard. With the machine on, slowly pour in 6 tablespoons of the vegetable oil and blend until smooth.
Using a mandolin, thinly slice half of the cucumber lengthwise. Finely julienne the remaining cucumber half as well as the carrot. In a medium bowl, toss the julienned vegetables together.
Season the grouper fillets with salt and pepper and add them to the skillet. Cook over moderately high heat until browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook over moderate heat until just white throughout, about 2 minutes longer.
Spoon 1 tablespoon of the soy-mustard dressing in the center of each plate. Fold the cucumber slices and arrange them on the dressing. Set the grouper fillets on the cucumbers, browned sides up, and top with the julienned vegetables. Drizzle with the remaining dressing.
Optional garnishes: fried shallot, toasted sesame seeds, cilantro, or parsley leaves
The soy-mustard dressing can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before using.
Chef 's Notes
Five questions. Hundreds of different answers based on our chef’s awesome personalities. Enjoy!
Q. Ingredient you must have?
Q. Favorite recipe?
A. Pan-seared Florida Grouper
Q. Favorite tool?
Q. Favorite cuisine?
Q. Favorite meal?
A. Blackened Chilean Sea Bass
Chef’s table is an occasional series highlighting the talented chefs from The Bristal Assisted Living communities. This post features Reese Franklin, Director of Food Service for The Bristal at Englewood.