Former Top Chef and Iron Chef America contestant Chef Tre Wilcox now exhibits his talents as the executive chef at Marquee Grill in Highland Park Village as well as being the face of Chantal cookware. Tre has won local and national awards for his culinary talents and appreciates the notoriety that comes with celebrity status, but for him—it’s all about the food. “I consider myself an artist,” he said, “and I’m always trying to create a masterpiece. Once people have experienced my food, I want them to feel like they’ve got to have more, to see what I’m putting out there.”
For our magazine, he reached for a family recipe—one his grandmother and mother traditionally serve during the holidays. “I’ve changed it up by using different vinegars,” he said, “which makes the greens a lot brighter due to the acidity of the vinegar. It has a little different feel—not quite so heavy.” He likes serving it with bacon Cheddar cheese grits and smoked pork chops with ham hock maple glaze sauce.
5 bunches collard greens, washed, stems removed, cut into large pieces
2 gallons water (need a lot of water to submerge all the greens)
1 ham hock, roasted in oven
1 lb. apple smoked bacon, uncooked
2 tablespoons distilled vinegar
2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon red chili flakes
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt to taste
METHOD: Combine all ingredients into a large stock pot. Simmer (don’t boil) over medium heat till greens are tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Drain before serving.
By Pamela Hammonds