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A taste of Riderwood

Go behind the scenes with award-winning Executive Chef Victor Cirrincione

Created date

June 5th, 2015
Riderwood
Riderwood

The food served at Rid..., an Erickson Living community in Silver Spring, Md., consistently gets rave reviews from residents and visitors alike. The man who orchestrates the preparation of the hundreds of delicious meals that come out of Riderwood’s kitchens each day is Chef Victor Cirrincione. 

Before coming to Riderwood, Cirrincione cooked at noteworthy places like the Inn at Little Washington, a five-star restaurant in the Virginia countryside, and high-end resorts like the Sagamore on Lake George in New York. He has 33 years of cooking experience.

The keys to successful cooking

Cirrincione joined Riderwood as the chef de cuisine at the Fireside Restaurant in 2003 and three years later was promoted to executive chef. His approach to cooking is honest and straightforward.

“It is my belief that passion and integrity are the keys to a successful chef,” Cirrincione says. “A chef that can stand by his product, admit his faults, be humble about his successes, and recognize those who help him to be successful can only achieve success.”

The residents at Riderwood particularly enjoy Cirrincione’s petit filets, fried coconut shrimp with mango chutney, and spaghetti dinners. But he says the biggest crowd pleasers are his soups, which are made from scratch on a daily basis. 

In addition to the regular breakfasts, lunches, and dinners served at Riderwood’s restaurants, Cirrincione and his team create special menus or brunch buffets for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Chinese New Year. They also occasionally prepare special chef’s dinners.

“We will do anything we think will delight our residents,” Cirrincione says.   

At home with the chef

Cirrincione isn’t off duty when he gets home. He says he happily takes meal requests from his family. “My kids do not like to go out for dinner because, as they say, ‘The food tastes better at home,’” he says.

Just like he does at Riderwood, Cirrincione delights his guests at home. For example, at Easter, he likes to create a make-your-own ravioli bar.

“I make the dough and season the ricotta cheese and then create eight to ten fillers for the kids to choose from, like steak, shrimp, ham, Italian sausage, and chicken. For the adults, there is spinach, crabmeat, lobster, goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and so on,” Cirrincione says. “Then I help the kids fold and seal the raviolis. I place them in the water, and the kids watch them cook. After they are done, they have a choice of sauces to put on their raviolis.”

You can get a taste of Chef Cirrincione’s celebrated cooking right in your own kitchen. Below is his award-winning recipe for vegetable crab soup, which took first place five years in a row at the Maryland Seafood Festival.

Vegetable Crab Soup

Serves 8

Ingredients

1 tsp unsalted butter

½ cup diced yellow onions

½ cup diced celery

1.5 quarts crab stock (or 1 quart water, 2 Tbsp crab base or chicken base)

1 cup diced tomatoes

½ cup each of green beans, corn, peas, and carrots (fresh when available; frozen if not)

1 cup shredded green cabbage

½ cup diced fresh potatoes

8 oz claw crabmeat 

4 oz lump crabmeat

2 Tbsp tomato paste

¾ tsp Old Bay Seasoning or to taste

1 tsp sugar

1 bay leaf

¼ tsp ground oregano

¼ tsp ground thyme

1 Tbsp fresh chopped Italian parsley

2 dashes Tabasco (optional) 

Directions

1. Peel and finely dice all vegetables.

2. Melt butter in a four-quart pot over medium heat, and sauté onions and celery until onions are translucent. 

3. Add the rest of the vegetables (but not the tomatoes), and cook for 5 minutes. 

4. Add herbs and seasonings, diced tomatoes, crab stock, and tomato paste.

5. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer the soup for 1 hour. 

6. To finish, add the crabmeat, then Tabasco to taste, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove soup from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes, then serve.

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