Chef’s Table

Celebrate Summer Tomatoes

One of the joyful aspects of summer is the taste of a ripe tomato fresh from the garden. Personal Chef Depal Patel created a dish to highlight this versatile summer gift.

Patel loves to make delicious, elevated comfort food. With over 25 years of experience as a chef, his dishes are approachable yet refined. As a private chef, he specializes in multi-course, intimate dinners for up to eight people in his client's home or his own, and as an experienced event chef, providing delectable meals for up to 25 people at various locations around Lawrence.

He is also an excellent instructor and teaches small group workshops on everything from butchering to basic cooking skills and more complex recipes. Many of these workshops conclude with a tasty meal.

To book Patel for a dinner or workshop, email him at depalpatel@hotmail.com or call him at 785.218.1192

Celebration of Tomatoes

6-8 servings

Chef Patel combines the components of this recipe to create a dish to highlight this favorite summer offering.


3 large heirloom tomatoes,

1 tsp salt,

1 tsp black pepper

1/3 cup olive oil 

¼ cup canola

1 garlic clove

5 thyme sprigs

Slice tomatoes in ½-inch slices. Sprinkle with salt and set aside for 1 hour. Drain liquid and reserve for later use. Place in oven safe dish, slightly overlapping is okay. Add both oils, garlic, thyme, and black pepper and place in a 200-degree oven for 1.5-2 hours or until very tender. Cool for 15-20 minutes and remove tomatoes. Strain oil and reserve for later use.


2 cups tomato juice

1 ½ tablespoons unflavored gelatin

Salt, to taste

Pour half the tomato juice into a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top and let set until softened, about 5 minutes. Pour the gelatin mixture into a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir until the gelatin dissolves. Add the remaining tomato juice and salt, to taste. Pour the mixture into a loaf pan. Cover and place in the refrigerator to set.

Tomato Croutons

2 cups cubed artisan bread (preferably stale)

4 tablespoons of reserved tomato liquid

3 tablespoons reserved oil

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Place on a sheet tray, spreading the cubes evenly. Place in a 250-degree oven for about an hour or until dried out and slightly browned. Remove and cool.

½ pint cherry or grape tomatoes

½ tsp salt

Olive oil


Tomato powder

To serve, set out 6 to 8 salad plates. Place a confit tomato, cube of chilled aspic, tomatoes, and croutons on the plate. Drizzle olive oil and chopped basil over the top. Chef Patel also sprinkles on tomato powder. (Available on Amazon.)

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