IT guy by day, kitchen geek by night

  • Marty Beach likes the instant gratification cooking provides. One taste of his stuffed pork tenderloin and you'll see what he means.

    Marty Beach likes the instant gratification cooking provides. One taste of his stuffed pork tenderloin and you'll see what he means. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 
Updated 1/4/2011 12:06 PM

Like the chefs he watches on Food Network, Marty Beach takes a professional approach to home cooking, from mise en place to homemade stock, presentation to professional cookware.

But it's obvious he's having a great time.

 

"I have a lot of fun with cooking," says the Schaumburg father of two. "In 26 years of marriage I have cooked all but four or five meals. I realized early on, when I get home from work I can hit the couch or roll up my sleeves and start working."

He prefers kitchen duty.

Back when he was a Cub Scout leader the kids used to call him "Inspector Gadget" because he loves specialized tools.

In the kitchen that means a stick blender, a gizmo for peeling and coring a mango, another for coring a pineapple and a magnetic, clip-on timer capable of tracking several different dishes at once, among others.

Specialized dishes and serving platters appeal to him too, like a barbecue-themed serving dish or a fish-shaped platter for seafood, and last summer he bought a set of dishes with a beach theme. Get it? Beach?

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A couple of years ago he remodeled his house, opening up the kitchen to the second floor and installing skylights above, stainless steel appliances below.

"It's the centerpiece of the house; I always wanted that."

For cookware and miscellaneous he shops restaurant supply stores, like JeansRestaurantsSupply.com.

"They're perfectly willing to sell commercial-grade cookware, and you can find pinch bowls for portioning up spices and squeeze bottles for sauces, oils and vinegars."

For weeknight meals Marty plans ahead, prepping ingredients on the weekends that are "much better homemade," like rich chicken stock or veal stock, some of which he reduces to make demi-glace.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

He prepares large quantities of his signature barbecue sauces, rubs and spice mixes "so when I get home after work, it's there."

During the week Marty serves simple meals with grilled or broiled lean meats, seasoned with those mixes, or steeped in homemade marinades and brines.

Pan sauces are a specialty, too. This week we can try his Pinot Noir sauce with roasted apple and garlic on salmon or his Marsala sauce for stuffed pork tenderloin, which he demonstrates online.

Marty is a stickler for presentation, too, whether he's plating Monday night's flank steak with the family or one of his twice-monthly get-togethers with friends.

"I cut the meat on the bias and drizzle with the sauce in an attractive way; for fish I cut lemons attractively and use parsley sprigs," he says. "They may get shoved to the side of the plate and tossed out later, but the people I feed appreciate the effort."

What makes it so deeply satisfying for Marty? The immediate satisfaction.

"I work in information technology; sometimes projects can take months or years to complete.

"But I can make a meal and enjoy it within a brief period of time, clean up and move on to the next one. I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from that."

-- Laura Bianchi