Equinox Restaurant - Artichokes a la Romana
"This appetizer recipe is a little bit of an indulgence as its fried but it's also gluten free and plant based - so a little good with the bad - I'm all about balance in life! These fritters are celebrated little happy hour bites, game time hot snacks, or even work well as a raw salad garnish. I've tried them in the air fryer for a bit of a healthy twist - but they are most certainly better when fried in oil. They have been on our menu at Equinox for over 20 years! Every time we have tried to “retire” them - people get very upset- so there they stand for over two decades! Munchale & popable - ENJOY!" - Ellen Kassoff
"This recipe gives back to The Dian Fossey Gorilla Foundation. I'm choosing this organization because everything about them makes me cry - from Dian’s untimely death to everything they do to help gorillas from going extinct. AND bonus! There are two amazing scientist, who are women, who lead this incredible organization." - Ellen
CO-OWNER ELLEN KASSOFF'S STORY
Born and raised in Washington, DC, Kassoff earned an economics degree from the University of Maryland and augmented her studies abroad at the The University of London, She lived in Israel spending her time between farming on a Kibbutz in the Golan Heights and in Elat working as a cook for a scuba charter company. Eventually, she moved back home to DC to begin her career in food distribution, where she met her husband Chef Todd Gray in 1993, together they opened their first restaurant, Equinox in 1999. For over 21 years Kassoff has been a fierce trailblazer in D.C.’s hospitality industry and continues to forge modernist visions of hospitality, forever reinventing its role in America. Ellen has closely aligned herself and worked energetically with humane causes for animals and the environment.
Q&A WITH ELLEN KASSOFF
Story Plate: What are your top three go to restaurants in your hometown (Washington DC)?
Ellen Kassoff: Spices Asian Cafe, Marcels, The Alibi
SP: What’s a must have or your favorite kitchen item and why?
EK: Airfryer - I'm obsessed - it's taken the place of my oven! It's versatile and I'm experimenting with it every time I cook! Can make crispy food without all the oil - I'm one of those gals who loves fried food!
SP: Who/what inspired you to get into the culinary industry?
EK: Honestly - love of the social aspect of it - making people happy gives me a lot of satisfaction. Especially these days where going out to dinner has never been so appreciated by our guests.
SP: If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
EK: Legumes - they check so many boxes and can go in just about anything. Nutritionally a powerhouse too and easy to store and keep - I used dried beans only
SP: Is there another female within the culinary industry that inspires/influences your work?
EK: Alice Waters - everything she does is simply great
SP: What are your top five favorite foods/dishes of all time?
EK: Pan-Fried Oysters with Pineapple, Butternut squash Ravioli, McDonald's Fries, 7-11 Coke Slurpee, white truffle risotto
SP: How do you manage stress, what advice can you give your fellow girl bosses?
EK: YOGA, hiking, dogs, meditation, surround yourself with gratitude and positive energy - Marie Kondo your mind!
SP: What piece of advice would you give to other women that are looking to venture into the culinary industry?
EK: Go for it - excitement is always around the corner of each day - never the same day and everything is always changing - it's like fashion and art - there is the nuevo and the classics - I love to blend:)