Quick Hits: NEXT Chef Jenner Tomaska Shares the Recipe for his Signature Dish

05_Jenner tomaska OysterDish
Each year, the James Beard foundation recognizes some of the top up-and-coming chefs in the country with its award for Rising Star Chef of the Year presented by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, and we’re not at all surprised to see Jenner Tomaska on the list of finalists for 2017. The NEXT executive chef, Grant Achatz protege, and Chicago native has been with the award-winning restaurant since its first year, moving up from its secondary kitchen, to chef de cuisine, to his current role.

Tomaska is up against four other chefs, including Chef Matthew Rudofker of Momofuku Ssam Bar in NYC, Chef Brady Williams of Canlis in Seattle, Chef Camille Cogswell of Zahav in Philadelphia, and Chef Zachary Engel of Shaya in New Orleans. As part of the program, each had to share their signature recipe for review. Tomaska’s, Pickled oyster in Gelee and burnt Kamut pancake, is impressively intricate.

We dare you to try it for your next dinner party.

Pickled oyster in Gelee and burnt Kamut pancake

Kamut pancake

200g. Kamut flour
2 ea. Eggs
550g. Buttermilk
3g. Baking soda
10g. Salt
Set oven to 350 F.
Toast kamut four on a sheet tray for 50mins, rotating and stirring every 10 mins until it’s dark brown and nutty in aroma.
Place all ingridents in a Vitamix and blend till smooth.
Pass through sieve.
Place 50 grams of batter on a hot crepe pan.
Cook past golden brown almost till burnt only on one side.
Remove and punch the dough into small circles.

Pickled oyster

20 ea oysters (beau soleil or a similar east coast)
750g. Pomegranate juice (P.O.M brand)
100g. Red wine vinegar
150g. Oyster liquor (reserved from shuckin
10g. Salt
10ea. Sheets of gelatin
Shuck oysters and reserve juice.
Trim oyster with scissors so they are 1/2″ in diameter.
Reserve oyster liquor and pass through sieve.
Bloom gelatin in ice water.
Heat vinegar in above body temperature.
Melt gelatin in vinegar.
Temper the rest of ingredients in.
Place small amount of liquid on a plastic wrapped tray.
Refrigerate for 10 mins. Align oysters on set gel so they are1.5″ from each other.
Pour another small amount of gel over oyster and refrigerate for 10 mins.
Place the rest of the liquid over till the oysters are fully submerged.
Refrigerate for 6 hours before cutting.
Cut oysters with ring punch or scoop organically.

Pounded cumin sauce

1ea. Egg yolk
10g. Dijon
20g. Cumin (toasted, ground)
40g. Mint
20g. Cilantro
30g. Parsley
100g. Grapeseed oil
30g. Olive oil
20g. Sesame oil
6ea. oyster (raw)
Place all ingredients except oils in a Vitamix and purée.
Slowly emulsify oil. Keep over ice and as cold as possible.


Cilantro leaves
Pomegranate seeds
Sesame seeds
Mint ploosh


Place cumin sauce on pancake.
Place oyster over sauce.
Garnish with cilantro, sesame seeds, kit and pomegranate.