Purple Palm Restaurant's New Chef Initiates Refreshing Menu

Greg Stillman puts his experience to work for Colony Palms Hotel



Chef Greg Stillman of the Purple Palm inside The Colony Palm Hotel squeezes out creamy polenta and ricotta filling for homemade ravioli.

Photos by Pamela Bieri

 

VIDEO: Watch Chef Greg Stillman at Purple Palm Restaurant create Agnolotti of sweet corn (ravioli).

 

The first heart-warming attribute about Executive Chef Greg Stillman, who recently took over the helm at Colony Palms Hotel’s Purple Palm Restaurant, is his lack of pretension and matter-of-fact demeanor.

Downright refreshing to find a highly trained, exceptionally talented young chef who regards his job with appropriate seriousness, and his ego with appropriate levity.

“What brought you to Palm Springs?” expecting to hear a litany of high expectations and promises.

“I hope to help make the hotel more profitable and improve the customer service,” he says with a shrug.

“Isn’t this boutique hotel a great opportunity to showcase your creativity?” thinking this might open a dialogue about his culinary philosophy.

“Creativity is just a small part of it,” he says. “It’s just doing it day in and day out.”

If practice makes perfect, we could see Chef Stillman was well practiced as he rolled out fresh dough for the Agnolotti of sweet corn – handmade ravioli -- folding it over again and again, running it through the pasta press until it was thin as a piece of sheer honey-colored fabric (pictured at right).

He piped four lines of creamy polenta and ricotta filling lengthwise, rolled the dough over and slathered egg wash along the edges to hold it. Taking a pasta cutter, he sliced through the center dough, discarding the rippled remnants, leaving just the filled rolls. Then he deftly pinched the rolls into bite-sized pieces.

He finished the dish with butter, shallots, fresh corn, cherry heirloom tomatoes, tossing in the ravioli and flicking the ingredients quickly in the sauté pan. This was arranged on a small bowl and topped with micro greens.

Next, came the Nut-crusted Smoked Salmon Avocado Roll. In a large metal bowl, Stillman mixed chopped salmon and avocado with a squeeze of lemon; formed this into balls, and rolled them in a bowl of mixed sunflower, pepitas and sesame seeds to hold together.

Over a swath of crème fraiche on the plate he positioned the “rolls” and topped with thin slices of green apple and radish with lemon juice.

At the Purple Palm, Stillman’s breakfast, lunch and dinner menus are intelligently constructed with creative, eclectic choices – such as the bacon-crusted salmon, a chipotle braised short rib, and lemon thyme roasted chicken breast.

Besides the two he demonstrated, other creative appetizers are a Spanish octopus with Ajo blanco, piquillo pepper, chorizo, celery and “brava” spice; and roasted baby beets with warm goat cheese, candied walnuts, and micro cilantro.

For breakfast are several benedicts and omelets, a house-cured salmon, Spanish burrito, an almond French toast among other morning delights.

 

Hours: Breakfast 8-11 a.m.; lunch 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; small plates, 4-6 p.m.; dinner 6-9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The Purple Palm, 572 N. Indian Canyon, Palm Springs, (760) 969-1800. www.colonypalmshotel.com

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