cook like rocco whalen

I simply adore Rocco Whalen. And it’s not because he’s a talented chef or that Fahrenheit is one of our favorites (had another fabulous dinner a few weeks ago with some lovely ladies, try the seared sea scallops and sinfully good Kobe beef sliders, which Rocco let us sample), but because his passion for his craft and his love for his city are genuine and larger than life. If you’ve spent even two minutes talking with him, you know exactly what I mean.

If you’re planning to entertain anytime soon, here’s a recipe you’ll want to serve (I plan to try  for a summer kickoff party we’re hosting). But as you’ll soon realize, this recipe is all about cooking like Rocco – as in his kitchen on a busy Friday night at the restaurant! Unless you’re hosting several hundred, you’ll want to greatly reduce the quantities (my apologies for not simplifying it).

Mushroom Pot Stickers

10 lbs fresh shiitake mushroom caps, sliced 1/8”
5 lbs fresh oyster mushroom, sliced 1/8”
1, 10 # can water chestnut drained, diced 1/8”
5 lbs Napa cabbage, sliced 1/8”
1 ½ c soy sauce
½ c oyster sauce
1 c oil to sauté
1 c slurry
2 lbs chicken mousse

Procedure: Mix soy and oyster sauce, set aside. In a larger wok, on high heat, sauté the mushrooms in small. Batches until browned and fragrant.  Reserve. Combine all vegetables and add soy and oyster sauce. Add slurry and cook to thicken. Put on a sheet pan & let cool in walk in until needed. Place 1 oz. of the mushroom mixture onto a pot sticker wrapper. Wet with water to seal, fold into a ½ moon shape.

Serve with sweet and sour mushroom sauce:

¼ c mushroom soy sauce
½ c fish sauce
1 oz lemon juice
1 c sugar
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
1 c rice vinegar
3 oz dry shitake mushrooms, soaked and julienned
2 c mushroom liquid
¼ oz chili flakes
¼ once cornstarch

Boil all ingredients to reduce by ¼. Enjoy!

If you’re making Rocco’s appetizer, he likes to serve it with a nice pinot noir. Mark Chonko, the wine consultant at the Brecksville Heinen’s (sponsors of this post), agrees. He has two suggestions at two price points: Regusse Pinot Noir ($11.99) or Jadot Santenay Clos De Malte ($29.99).


  1. Posted May 19, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Mushroom sauce sounds excellent.
    Rocco is such a nice guy too. Teddy bear like.

    Kinda hoping Rocco would release his Nacho Chips from Taste of Tremont in 2009.
    Now those are the right top gun apps for both girls AND guys.

    Top gun = manly piloting aircraft guy stuff to watch and yet love story gushy chick stuff for girls to love.

  2. Posted May 19, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Yay, a recipe from one of my very favorite chefs! I second your statements about him. I simply love him and his passion for Cleveland. We need more of that around here. Can Rocco run for Mayor?

  3. Michelle V
    Posted May 19, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    He gets my vote!