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How did Dirty get started?

Chef Ian Russo (aka The Dirty Chef) developed a new concept of cooking – cooking dirty. After spending years in top rated kitchens such as La Reserve, Lespinasse, Roy’s and Bouley, Russo opened his eponymous restaurant, IAN in Manhattan.

It was there that he crafted his signature Dirty Drunken Rib-eye, which was honored with New York Magazine’s “Best Steak in the City” Award. He used similar innovation in his newest culinary creation, the Dirtyburger®, which has received critical praise. In a city known around the world for its cheesesteaks, Ian’s signature DIRTY Cooking® style became a culinary force on the Philadelphia food scene. There, he perfected his style and planted the seeds for what was to come, the first fully branded Dirty restaurant. Opened in the fall of 2013 in Plainview, Dirtyburger® allows the lucky residents who live on Long Island to experience Ian’s signature creations, and all of the tastes on his constantly evolving menu.

Dirty Dust spice blend in a small shaker bottle

How to cook Dirty? 

It’s the process that uses Dirty Dust and a caramelizing agent, most commonly oil and/or honey, transformed over heat. Grilled, baked, broiled, fried, or sprinkled, it takes whatever is being cooked, healthy or decadent, to another taste level.

I first utilized this process in a steak I made at IAN (on my 3rd return to NYC). The Dirty Drunken Ribeye was a bit more complex than the process for our burgers, or say fish, involving other ingredients and a six-hour marinade, but at the heart of the process was this spice blend and honey as the caramelizing agent. People loved it, and New York magazine awarded it “Best Steak in the City”. One day, a customer asked if the same profile could be used for a burger, so I tried it, and it worked. I never put it on the official menu (IAN was a fine dining establishment before the huge burger boom), but we still sold a lot of them through word of mouth.

That’s when the seed was planted… maybe this “Dirtyburger” could carry a place on its own.