|Razz Kamnitzer, a Venezuelan native and seventh generation chef of German descent, almost became a veterinarian. "I tried it for two years," he says, "then, I couldn't afford it."
Razz received his formal culinary training at the National Hotel School of Lausanne in Switzerland and the Culinary Institute of America. His career includes positions at New York's Escoffier Room, Boston's Sheraton Hotel, the Sensation Club and Oak Feed Restaurant in Florida and the Hitching Post in Wyoming before moving to Arizona in 1980. Razz has owned and operated several restaurants in the Phoenix area and cooked at The Registry Resort and the Pointe Hilton Resort at Tapatio Cliffs. He opened Razz's Restaurant and Bar in the fall of 1995.
Razz is recognized for his inventive cuisine incorporating edible flowers and fresh herbs and vegetables, many of which are grown in his "growing" chef's garden. If asked about a favorite food, he does not hesitate, "Veal sweetbreads. It's my favorite food of all times. I mean of all times."
Razz's enthusiasm for cooking is nonstop. In addition to teaching cooking classes and cooking on local TV, Razz has cooked at the James Beard House and has been featured on the Television Food Network's "Chef du Jour" and "Ready, Set, Cook" programs. "Esquire" Magazine selected Razz's Restaurant as one of the nation's best new restaurants in 1996.
|Makes 4 servings
20 ounces ahi tuna, cut into four 5-oz portions
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup ground cashew nuts
1/2 cup mustard seed
1/2 cup olive oil for frying
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Combine equal amounts of the following to make 1/4 cup: coriander, curry
cumin, thyme, sage, chile powder, ginger, rosemary, paprika, cayenne pepper,
garlic powder, celery seed, dry mustard, salt and pepper.
2 cups peeled, seeded and diced watermelon
1 tablespoon sliced onions
1/2 cup sliced peppers — poblano, jalapeno, red bell
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Juice of two limes
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Prepare the salsa: In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
2. Prepare the tuna: Combine the ground nuts, mustard seed and bread crumbs and set aside. On a plate, combine the seasoning mix with the flour; roll the tuna pieces in it. After rolling in the mixture, dip into beaten eggs, allowing the excess to drip off; roll again in cashew-mustard seed-crumb mix. Pan fry in hot olive oil until golden in color. Top with Watermelon Salsa.