(ABC4 NEWS – ST. GEORGE, UT) I met with Imi Kun in St. George, Utah. He has a broad smile and as I teased him “a slight accent.” He chuckled and explained that he was born and raised in Hungary. “I grew up in the communist regime you know;” he exclaimed.
Imi was trained as a Master Chef in Europe and has served some pretty famous people. He showed me some pictures and said; “Not just royalty, George Bush visited Hungary.”
Chef Imi visited St. George, Utah on a cultural trade mission years ago. He loved Southern Utah so much that he came back to be a restaurateur. It is clear that guests to his restaurant are feeling the love. He told me; “My payback is bringing an experience bringing a smile to my guests’ face.”
His fine dining restaurant named “Aragosta” recently expanded and moved into the previous Bell Tower location (1386 East 100 South) in St. George serving contemporary American and fine European cuisine.
By the way, Aragosta mean “lobster” in Italian…and yes, they serve a delicious lobster bisque.
I was thrilled when Chef Imi invited me into his kitchen. He handed me a chef’s jacket. I admit I brought my own chef toque (the puffy chef hat) just in case.
Chateaubriand is a very popular specialty steak that my wife enjoys. Chef Imi gave me a lesson on preparing this elegant dish.
We each started with large cuts of meat. He said; “you can see with the hand you can pretty much pre-trim the tenderloin. It’s so beautiful meat.” I tried to keep up with his delft moves. He encouraged me; “You are awesome. You are a natural butcher. Now you have a beautiful clean tenderloin.”
Chef Imi flashed that big smile at me and teased me; “I’m seriously thinking to hire you. I don’t know if I can match your salary at ABC. I hear that ABC pays very good.” We both had a good laugh and continued the lesson.
I asked Chef Imi about what to put on the tenderloin and was surprised to hear that he told me; “Absolutely no salt. Because you lose the juice. That’s a big no-no.” So what did he suggest? “Black pepper. The other side too. Then mustard. It’s a a comfortable flavor with the pepper the best result.”
He ended the lesson by having me wrap the tenderloin in special paper as airtight as I could. His secret to this specialty amazed me…he would now turn the meat over every five hours for three (yes 3) days. Good tasting things come to those that wait!
With Another Utah Success Story and Chef Imi at Aragosta in St. George, I’m Doug Jessop, ABC4 News.
TO SEE AN EXTENDED INTERVIEW WITH CHEF IMI WATCH JESSOP’S JOURNAL AT ABC4.COM/JOURNAL