Italian Delights for Holiday Entertaining

Chef Sean Tener | Photo by David Stuck
Chef Sean Tener | Photo by David Stuck


Hints of vanilla and cooking potatoes waft through the air inside the Sub-Zero, Wolf and Cove showroom in Columbia. Stepping into a kitchen equipment showroom like this, you don’t ordinarily expect to see an in-house chef putting the appliances to the test. But inside this space, Chef Sean Tener transforms the setting into a homelike hub for customers and his guests through his cooking.

A graduate of the former L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, Tener began his culinary career at Bibiana, a Washingtonian Top 100 establishment. He transferred to Michelin-starred Italian restaurant Masseria, where he served as the chef de cuisine under Chef Nicholas Stefanelli. After service to Officina at The Wharf and Ability Nutrition, Tener found his way to Sub-Zero, Wolf and Cove.

On any given day, Tener may be preparing fresh biscotti or full meals in the live studio kitchen for consumers. As he does so, guests can learn about the features and functions of the appliances.

Tener’s love for fine cooking and dining is evident in dishes such as the potato gnocchi and chiffon cake with creme anglaise, both represented in the recipes he’s shared here.

Read more about Tener and his culinary expertise in the feature, Cooking with Gratification.


Potato Gnocchi

Makes 4 servings

2 to 3 medium potatoes
2 cups all-purpose or pasta flour
1 large egg
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


Potato Gnocci
Potato Gnocchi | Photo by David Stuck


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake potatoes in a foil-covered pan until completely cooked through, about 1 hour.

2. Peel potatoes directly into a food mill and pass them through onto a clean countertop.

3. Pour flour over the potatoes. Add egg on top of the flour. Evenly sprinkle salt and nutmeg over the flour and potatoes.

4. Using the bench scraper, chop the potato mixture back and forth to begin the mixing process. Scrape and lift the bottom of the pile over the top. Using clean hands, mold the dough until it’s fully mixed. Cover and allow the dough to rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Using a bench scraper or a knife, cut the dough into strips. Roll the dough by hand into ropes of even width. Dust dough ropes with flour evenly and roll them back and forth. Cut ropes into 1-inch pieces of dough and dust them with more flour to keep them from sticking to the work surface.

6. Using your thumb, gently push down the pieces of dough with the tines of a fork to create an imprint. Dust the pieces of dough with more flour and place them on a tray in a single layer.

7. Blanch the pieces in a large saucepan of boiling water, stirring periodically to keep the gnocchi from sticking together while cooking.

8. When the gnocchi all float to the top, remove them from the saucepan and transfer to serving plates. Serve with your desired sauce or toppings.


Chiffon Cake With Creme Anglaise

Makes two 9-inch cakes

For the Cake:

8 large egg whites, at room temperature
½ cup plus 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 ½ cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 large egg yolks
¾ cup warm water
½ cup grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Nonstick cooking spray, for coating pan

For the Creme Anglaise:

2 cups milk
2 ¼ cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
20 large egg yolks
Fresh berries, for serving

Chiffon Cake With Creme Anglaise
Chiffon Cake With Creme Anglaise | Photo by David Stuck


For the Cake:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine egg whites, 1/2 cup sugar and cream of tartar in a clean, grease-free mixing bowl. Beat at a high speed until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together 1 ¼ cups sugar, cake flour and baking powder. Set aside.

4. In another large mixing bowl, combine egg yolks, water, grapeseed oil and vanilla. Mix well by hand with a wooden spoon. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix just until all ingredients are combined.

5. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Pour batter into the pan. Bake until lightly golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cake cool on a wire rack
for 15 minutes. Serve with creme anglaise (below) and fresh berries.


For the Creme Anglaise:

1. Heat milk, heavy cream and vanilla in a medium saucepan over low heat for 15 minutes. Add sugar and allow to dissolve, stirring occasionally.

2. Add egg yolks by gently and continually stirring into the warm milk until the mixture thickens. Blend mixture using an immersion blender or conventional blender.

3. Pass blended mixture through a fine sieve or strainer. Serve warm.


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