Meet Chef Francis Turk
Chef Francis graduated with honors from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in professional studies. He is a Certified Sommelier via The Court of Master Sommeliers. Chef Francis has been with The Cliffs since 2006; prior to that, he worked at Peabody Hotel in Orlando, Florida; Jean-Georges, a 3-Michelin star restaurant in NYC; and Ta-Boo Restaurant in Palm Beach, Florida.
AT HOME, DO YOU ALWAYS PREPARE MEALS FROM SCRATCH?
Most of the time, yes. I really enjoy cooking with my family gathered around the kitchen; it’s the heart of our home. The kitchen is where we discuss dayto- day life and share funny stories, and it’s all done while cooking and eating together.
WHAT’S YOUR FIRST MEMORY OF BEING IN A KITCHEN?
My mom worked in the hospitality industry and because of her, I was able to immerse myself in professional kitchens early on. I fell in love with the fast-paced setting and the teamwork behind the scenes. There is a gratification of starting with raw ingredients and being able to creatively convert that into a crafted dining experience – there is nothing better than greeting a table and having them love what you prepared.
YOU’RE STRANDED ON A DESERT ISLAND – WHAT FIVE FOOD-RELATED ITEMS DO YOU BRING, AND WHY?
I’d bring my fishing pole, as hopefully this island is surrounded by a beautiful ocean where I can catch seafood – my favorite – and cook fresh fish daily. I’d bring many cases of liquified grapes that have been fermented and bottled, to enjoy every evening at sunset. I’d bring rice, because at some point I’ll get bored of plain grilled fish and need to jazz it up with dishes like paella and risotto. Next, I’d bring some hot chili pepper plants. I love a little kick in my food! Finally, I’d bring bars of extra dark chocolate – 85% cacao. It’s one of my guilty pleasures and it tends to pair quite nicely with my liquified grapes.
Chef’s Asian Inspired Tuna Recipe
What goes with grilled tuna, you asked? Chef Francis describes the perfect pairings in this recipe.
“I enjoy this recipe because it is simple to prepare with complex flavors. The fennel gives it an aromatic crunch, the citrus gives it bright acidity, the avocado delivers richness, and the Asian ingredients give it umami. The tuna is a clean protein to absorb all the complexity of this dish.”