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Chef Paul Youngstrand Heads the NYY Steak Kitchen

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Paul Youngstrand; photo by James Woodley

Food and cooking equal comfort for Paul Youngstrand, chef at NYY Steak at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek.

As a youngster growing up in Plymouth, Minnesota, 15 miles west of Minneapolis, he would escape to the kitchen during large family gatherings.

“We didn’t go out and eat at restaurants very often, so there was always activity in the house, and my parents and grandparents did a lot of cooking,” he says. “I gravitated to the kitchen when I was young, and when I got older, I would find that to be a quiet and comfortable space when we had lots of family over for holiday gatherings.”

He especially liked learning family recipes and experimenting with his own spins on them. In high school, he began working at the local McDonald’s to make extra money with the idea of going to college to become a dentist.

“When I got to college, the chemistry courses, well, they weren’t for me,” Youngstrand says.

So, it was back to McDonald’s, but this time as a manager.

“I realized I liked the environment of a restaurant: being on my feet, making decisions on the fly, making sure guests were happy,” he says. “And, one thing I noticed, like I did at family events, was that there was something absolutely wonderful about people being satisfied by something you cooked. That there was a joy in food.”

Youngstrand decided to step up his culinary game and set his sights on attending the acclaimed Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. “I figured if it didn’t work out, I had a secure, solid future working for McDonald’s Corp.,” he says.

It did work out.

“Learning about cooking [at the Culinary Institute] was more rewarding than I even imagined it would be,” he says.

An internship took him to Emeril Lagasse’s New Orleans Fish House in Las Vegas, where he met the TV chef and began learning the ins and outs of steakhouses, especially those inside casinos. He spent six years in the city working for the Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa & Casino and Twin Creeks Steakhouse in the Silverton Casino. It was at Silverton Casino where he worked with Chris Fearnow, currently the executive chef at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek. Fearnow asked Youngstrand to be the chef at Fresh Harvest at the Creek casino.

After two years there, he’s now back to running a steakhouse. The chef, who took over at NYY Steak in October, says it’s unique for many reasons. Foremost is the dry-aging room, where the prime cuts are aged in a cooler lined with pink Himalayan salt.

“There aren’t a lot of places that invest in their own dry-aging room, so coming here and being part of the process—it’s amazing,” he says. “We hope when guests come in, they’ll want to know how we do the aging, and get educated about it. Because then when you try the steak, that’s part of the experience.”

Youngstrand says he has no intention of changing anything at NYY Steak. “When I first started working here, even when I was at Fresh Harvest, I was impressed with everything at NYY Steak,” he says.

That hasn’t changed, he says, and he doesn’t think it ever will.

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NYY Signature Thick Cut Bacon And Cornbread

We asked Chef Paul for a recipe to share with readers.


Ingredients

4 slices slab bacon, cut ¼ inch thick

½ cup Grade A maple syrup

1 pound corn meal

2½ cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup sugar

1½ teaspoons salt

1½ tablespoons baking powder

½ tablespoon baking soda

6 extra-large eggs

3 cups buttermilk

½ cup melted butter

Cornbread Directions

Using a whisk, mix all ingredients (except melted butter, bacon and maple syrup) until the batter has a smooth consistency. Incorporate melted butter. Preheat cast iron baking pan. Fill pan ¼ inch from top lip. Place into a 375-degree oven for 18 minutes. Bake a little longer if needed to reach desired doneness. Top of bread should be deep, golden brown and slightly firm to the touch.

Bacon Directions

Sear bacon on one side until crisp. Turn and sear other side until well done. Immediately remove from pan and submerge in maple syrup for 5 seconds.

Preparation

Suspend slices of bacon over warm cornbread loaf, allowing syrup to drip onto bread. If unable to suspend the bacon, lay slices upon the warm cornbread, allowing the syrup to soak into the bread for a couple of minutes.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.