Featured Chefs

What's Cookin'?

So you want to start a Food Truck…

Food Truck Scene at Plantation Park, Plantation Florida found on blog.chefuniforms.comThe food truck business continues to boom! And with an estimated 3 million trucks currently operating in the U.S. and more being added every month, it shows no indication of slowing down. An accepting public, reality TV shows and an instant gratification mentality have all added to the popularity and maturing of the business. There has been a 197% increase in the number of food trucks nationally from 2001 to 2013 according to Business Insider.

Food trucks, which started out more as a place to run to on the corner for a quick lunch have become much more mainstream. Going to a restaurant can be frustrating at times – waiting for a table, crying babies, waiting for your food and inefficient wait staff who are expecting a 20% tip. Food trucks eliminate a lot of these issues. And then there are those gourmet food trucks that take food to a whole different level. You can find them day and night, alone or in “meet ups” in office parks, empty lots, shopping districts, popular tourist areas, sporting events, festivals, conferences/conventions, parks, beaches, bus/train stations, college campuses and areas that have night life and music but not much in the way of anything more than bar food.

According to Business Insider, the top five cities based on the number of food trucks:

  1. Los Angeles 269
  2. San Francisco 127
  3. Miami 140 (Chefuniforms’ hometown)
  4. Austin 156
  5. Washington D.C. 172

And what are they serving? EVERYTHING! From the basic burgers, hot dogs and pretzels to dishes that cater to the more sophisticated palate like coriander-braised duck, pork belly in numerous ways, bahn mi, French take away including escargot lollipops and frog legs, ice cream sandwiches with flavors like Pistachio Black Truffle and Red Wine Reduction. There’s Cajun, B-B-Q, Korean, Japanese-Mexican fusion, Hawaiian and even a truck in Washington D.C. that serves Indian food in a carnival atmosphere from the fictional location of Merlindia.

If you’re thinking about starting a food truck business, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that it is a business – your business. Here are some things to take into consideration:

Starting a Food Truck Business found on blog.chefuniforms.com

  • Like any new business, you will need a business plan – so do your homework in advance. Research the demographics and cost of doing business in your area
  • You will need to do all the research for permits, licenses, certifications and insurance needed in order to operate. They vary from state to state, county to county and city to city. And they are constantly changing and can be very confusing. Check here for an example.
  • Check out the competition. How many trucks are operating in your area? Is your product unique? Can you price your menu competitively?
  • Research locations in your area. Check with promoters, farmers markets etc. Some have long waiting lists or give exclusive parking to only one truck with a certain type of food
  • Do some soul searching – will you be able handle the disappointment and stress of the unexpected: truck breaks down, you sell out too soon, you prepared too much, torrential rain on the day of a huge festival and the list goes on
  • How are your time management skills? The food truck business is not just about your passion for food and cooking ability. There is networking, finding reliable suppliers and ordering, marketing – especially in social media, employee schedules/issues to handle. Can you commit to hands-on ownership, long days, working 6-7 days a week and giving up vacations?
  • The industry relies a lot on cooperation – with other food truck owners, local businesses and suppliers – so you want to earn the respect of these people

 The Social Side of A Food Truck Business found on blog.chefuniforms.com

We love food trucks here at Chefuniforms.com!

If you own a food truck, what do you wish you had known before starting out?

9/11: Rebuilding What Was Lost

911

September eleventh. Just the mention of the date alone brings about feelings of anger and sadness to an entire nation of people. Just 13 years ago, one of the most tragic events in this country’s history took place, and many of us still feel the sting, even now. Nearly 3,000 people perished at the World Trade Center on that day, and their names will never be forgotten. The memorial that was built at Ground Zero draws about 10,000 visitors per day, whether or not they lost friends or loved ones on 9/11. We felt the pain as a nation, and we grieved as a nation. Now, 13 years later, we honor those who lost their lives in the attack by rebuilding as a nation.

One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, now stands as a beacon of hope for the citizens of New York and for the rest of the country. It opened its doors to tenants earlier this year, and is now a symbol of this great nation’s ability to get up and keep going after this unforgettable tragedy.

Do you remember where you were 13 years ago when you heard the news? Share your story in the comments below.

911 (2)

How to Deal With Personality Clashes in a High Pressure Situation

When things get heated in the kitchen (and we’re not talking about the food here…), personalities are bound to clash. Just the presence of so many independent, creative, passionate, and ambitious people in the same room will inevitably produce some disagreement. Whether you disagree with a fellow line cook about how the Beef Wellington should be prepared or are a chef who is frustrated with his or her brigade’s failure to execute up to standards, you need to know how to deal with conflict in a situation where teamwork is crucial. Learning how to cope with the multiple personalities in your kitchen and master group dynamics will bring your brigade together in the effort to put out some truly delicious food.Gordon Ramsay

To facilitate this process and help you uplift your team to be its best, we have some advice on how to bring your team together by creating an environment for open, healthy communication. One of the most important things that you can realize as a chef is that each individual in your kitchen comes from different backgrounds. Some cooks may have gone to culinary school while others did not, some cooks prefer to learn how to prep a dish hands-on while others would rather observe. As a chef, it is your job to pick up on these learning styles and approaches to cooking within your brigade so that you can instruct and lead them first as individuals and then as a team. Another important thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to pull a Gordon Ramsay (even though he is extremely entertaining/talented) and verbally destroy one of your cooks at the top of your lungs in the middle of service. Instead, process your frustrations and discuss your problems with this particular cook away from the eyes and ears of others in an effort to preserve their dignity as well as really get to the heart of what their problem is.

In this more open, communicative environment, your team will feel more creative and united. Your encouragement of their potential should be rewarded with development in their career and some form of job advancement for those who truly shine.

What are some tips that you could give other chefs on how to overcome communicative barriers and become a more united team?

Chef Robyn Almodovar

September’s Chef of the Month, Robyn Almodovar

Chef Robyn Almodovar, Chefuniforms.com Chef of the Month for September found on blog.chefuniforms.comChef Robyn Almodovar is the owner and chef of her own Gourmet Food Truck, Palate Party. Whether she is catering for celebrities such as mega producer Timbaland, actor John Corbett, Gym Class Heroes Travie McCoy and DJ Irie or hosting viewing parties of her own shot to stardom on Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen, a Season 10 “Top Finalist,” Chef Almodovar is out to ensure there is a party in the mouth every time. Since then, her path to the kitchen has made many twists and turns. Some of her accolades include Fabulous Five Female Chef’s Flavors of Fort Lauderdale 2012, Best Of the Best Miami New Times 2013 – Best Food Truck,  Al Gusto Homestead Food Truck Basket- First Place and Top 30 Taste Makers of Broward County by Broward New Times 2013. The beauty school drop-out pursued nursing and cosmetology before officially coasting into cuisine professionally thanks to the coaxing of a late night infomercial.  Throughout her career, Chef Almodovar has methodically mastered every position in the kitchen. Her culinary experience ranges from working as a line cook at Big Bear’s Brewing Company in Coral Springs, Florida, to Executive Chef at Jeff’s Beach House in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In 2008, she took to the high seas and managed the kitchen of a 172″ yacht, Lady Windridge. In 2011, with enough courage and tenacity to strike out on her own, she purchased a 24″ food truck and founded “Palate Party,” a fresh, mobile food caf that utilizes locally sourced ingredients. Plate Party was the first female-owned, non-dessert food truck in South Florida and it’s the only truck with a custom stage built on top for live entertainment, dancing and musical performances. Chef Almodovar manages the restaurant and splits her time between catering gigs and dominating the local food truck circle scene.

 

Congratulations Chef Robyn Almodovar on being our Chef of the Month for September!

Your food truck and Mushroom Risotto Balls rock!

 

1. What is the name of your company and where are you based?

Palate Party, South Florida

 

2. What is your birthplace?

Brooklyn, New York

 

3. What made you decide to become a chef?

I have always been great with my hands and found that the best way to help people is feed their bellies. Cooking is healing and I wanted to be a chef.

 

4. What do you enjoy doing outside of being a chef?

Riding bikes, skateboarding, dancing – hence the reason, I have a stage on top of my food truck).

 

5. What is your favorite social media platform?

Instagram and Twitter

 

6. What is your Must Have Kitchen Tool?

Spoon – a nice tablespoon

Robyn Almodovar's must-have kitchen tool found on blog.chefuniforms.com

 

7. What is your specialty dish?

Mushroom Risotto Balls

Robyn Almodovar's Mushroom Risotto Balls found on blog.chefuniforms.com

 

 

 Robyn Almodovar Palate Party Menu found on blog.chefuniforms.comRobyn Almodovar Palate Party Menu

 

8. What’s the strangest thing you ever ate?

Sheep Balls – just not for me.

 

9. Who would you most like to cook for?

My grandmother, “my Nanny.” She inspired me to become a chef.

 

10. Do you enjoy dining out on your free time? What is your favorite type of cuisine?

I do. I love Italian – Casa D’Angelo is my favorite restaurant.

 

11. What features are important to you when selecting a Chef Coat?

Mobility around the arms, lightness and flexibility. I like Egyptian cotton and short sleeves as I do a lot of outside events and ¾ sleeves for high end events.

Robyn Almodovar Palate Party Food Truck found on blog.chefuniforms.com

Food Truck Scene in Plantation Park, Plantation Florida

~Her experience and advice~

12. How long have you been a chef and where did you study?

4 years and I studied at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta.

 

13. What education or experience would you recommend for aspiring chefs?

To never give up. Stay true to who you are, be passionate and never stop learning. Starting from the bottom is not a bad thing.

 

14. What would you recommend as far as on-the-job training?

To be a sponge. Absorb everything thing you can. Respect the Head Chef and who you work with. Always ask questions. Don’t be afraid to continue your education.

 

15. What is your greatest challenge in getting the ingredients you need?

Finding local purveyors that have a reputable product.

 

16. Do you try to experience your competitors’ food? Do you ever get ideas from them?

Yes. I always find ways to make their ideas better.

 

17. Do you think it is important to visit the markets rather than just have standard orders?

Yes. It is very important to find out what the local farmers are putting out there. You can’t eat what we don’t have.

 

18. How do you test a new recipe without putting it on the permanent menu?

I run features to test my customer’s palette.

 

19. How do chefs use technology in their day to day operations?

Timers, computers, molecular gastronomy which younger chefs are practicing.


~2014 and The Future~

20. What dining trends do you see taking place for 2014?

Farmer Table – more support for local markets using fresh sustainable ingredients

 

21. How has the revolution to eat healthy influenced you as a Chef?

A lot of products have chemicals that are harmful and I cook with a cleaner palette using lot of fresh ingredients.

 

22. What do you think of “Green Kitchens?” Is it realistic to outfit your kitchens to be environmentally friendly?

It is very costly to have a Green Kitchen. If you have sponsors behind it, you can have one and also if you are a big company but for small mom and pop restaurants, you can’t.

 

23. How does Social Media play a role for Chefs today?

This is the way to get themselves known. Everyone is on their phones. If you want to put yourself out there, get on one.

Robyn Almodovar Palate Party Food Truck Logo found on blog.chefuniforms.com

Is Cooking at Home a Chore for Chefs?

Most people get to leave their jobs behind when they leave work at 5 PM. But what about chefs? What do they do when their long shift filled with management and cooking is behind them? Do they wind down and relax with a nice meal when they get home, or does the very thought of prepping a meal sound like a chore?Is Cooking at Home a Chore for Chefs? Blog on Chefuniforms.com

For most chefs, cooking is a true passion – many chefs believe that using their creativity and skills to create delicious meals is a calling in life. The thought that the food they created has the power to brighten someone’s day, dazzle their pallet, and show them the wonders of flavor is what many chefs believe makes their job so fulfilling. But even in light of all these positive, fulfilling perks that come with the job, many chefs want to leave the kitchen behind them when they arrive home. According to a Yahoo! Answers forum, many chefs prefer to eat store-bought, prepared foods, such as a frozen pizza when they get home! Some even have their spouses prepare meals for them! However, many chefs just can’t get enough of the kitchen and continue to prepare delicious meals when they arrive home – whether the meal be simple and robust or elegant and complex. According to an article from the Huffington Post, world-renowned French Chef David Boulud winds down by preparing a vegetable salad Meridionale featuring eggplant, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, and shrimp.

So, chefs, what do you do when you get home at the end of the day? Do you prepare to make your own culinary creation or sit back, relax, and let the food come to you? Leave a comment below!

Getting to know Chef Lorenzo Boni – his birthplace, Italy

Bologna Italy - Birthplace of Chef Lorenzo Boni, blog.chefuniforms.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Italy is one of the most beautiful and romantic places in Europe and the world. It is a vibrant, rich and romantic culture and our current Chef of the Month, Chef Lorenzo Boni, hails from this popular location. When one thinks of Italy, images of art, fashion, great cuisine and a strong history comes to mind. Italy is one of the oldest countries in the world and the 5th most visited (47.7 million tourists, 2013 behind France, USA, Spain and China. Chef Lorenzo’s hometown is Bologna, Italy and located in the northern part of the country.

Here are some facts about Italy:

Population: 61.7 million (2014 estimate)

Capital: Rome

Official Languages: Italian as well as German, French and Ladin.

Currency: Euro

Popular Italian Brands:

BVLGARI: Jewelry and luxury goods brand

Giorgio Amani: fashion house

Barilla Group: food company that makes pasta, ready-made sauces and bakery products

Ferrari S.p.A: luxury sports car manufacturer

Other Facts:

  1. Italians love sports. Among the popular ones are cycling, skiing, soccer and motor racing.
  2. Family is very important to Italians.
  3. Italians love their food and they are known for pizza, pasta, pesto, gelato, lasagna and mozzarella cheese.
  4. Italy surrounds two of the world’s smallest countries. They are San Marino in Northern Italy, the oldest republic in the world and Vatican City in Rome, the smallest country in the world. Vatican City is led by the Pope and is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, also led by the Pope.

Italy’s Flag

Italy's flag - Chef Lorenzo's Birthplace found on blog.chefuniforms.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Italy’s Love for Food

Italy's flag made out of food found on blog.chefuniforms.com

 

 

Italian Antipasti found on blog.chefuniforms.com

 

 

Cà Shin Bologna Italy found on blog.chefuniforms.com

Cà Shin in Bologna, Italy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources: retrieved from

http://knowledge.allianz.com/demography/population/?379/key-facts-figures-about-italys-population

http://www.kids-world-travel-guide.com/italy-facts.html

 

ChefUniforms.com Top-Reviewed Products

Whether you are just starting out in the culinary world or you are already a well-seasoned chef (pun definitely intended), quality chef coats are essential when it comes to making a good impression on your staff and customers. However, the amount of options out there is incredibly overwhelming, so we took the liberty of narrowing down our inventory to our best-selling, acclaimed coats for men and women. Hopefully these selections can make your chef coat selection process easier and more time efficient so that you can get back to the kitchen!

  • Uncommon Threads Economy Traditional Fit Chef Coat (4.5 stars): Our most popular men’s selection, this traditional fit coat gives you the classic, professional look that you need with the comfort that you crave. The Poly/Cotton blend is extremely breathable, so you can lead your brigade with ease and confidence. The finished cuffs and collar give the coat a nice, polished look that gives you an elegant, tailored fit. Robert raved that this coat was “just what I needed, when I needed it at a great price and much better quality then I expected.”

    Uncommon Threads Economy Traditional Fit Chef Coat - Pearl Buttons - 65/35 Poly/Cotton; Style # 400 found on Chefuniforms.com

    Uncommon Threads Economy Traditional Fit Chef Coat – Pearl Buttons – 65/35 Poly/Cotton; Style # 400

  • Women’s Tailored Chef Coat with Piping (4.5 stars): Available in 9 color-blocked options, this short sleeve chef coat achieves the perfect balance between style, comfort, and utility. Featuring adjustable back ties for fit, this coat makes tailoring as easy as can be! The Poly/Cotton blend makes this coat light and comfy to last you all day in the kitchen. A reversible closure and high quality fabric covered buttons complete the look. Brenda says this of her new, fabulous chef coat:” I love my chef coat! I work as a researcher and developer for our Bakery supply and ingredient company. I am always baking, testing, developing, designing or decorating in this coat. The shorter sleeve gives me more room to move and do my job. Washed great as well. I rated this product a 5 out of 5.”

    Women's Tailored Chef Coat with Piping - Fabric Covered Buttons - 65/35 Poly/Cotton; Style # 86515 found on Chefuniforms.com

    Women’s Tailored Chef Coat with Piping – Fabric Covered Buttons – 65/35 Poly/Cotton;
    Style # 86515

  • Basic Fit Short Sleeve Chef Coat (4.5 stars): This chef coat is certainly our top-of-the-line product for male chefs who value a simplistic, yet stylish look. This coat, available in all black, white, or color-blocked options, is fitting at the shoulders but gives you room in the arms and torso. Mesh side panels provide coolness and moisture-wicking so you can stay dry in the kitchen. The snaps in the front make this coat a breeze to take on and off. Joseph’s testimonial definitely speaks for the comfort and style of this coat: “I love this new coat, and it is the talk around work. I was told by my superior to get information on ordering in bulk for the whole department. Very comfortable and the mesh sides are great for those long summer days in the kitchen.”

    Basic Fit Short Sleeve Chef Coat - Snap Front - 65/35 Poly/Cotton Twill; Style #  64717 found on Chefuniforms.com

    Basic Fit Short Sleeve Chef Coat – Snap Front – 65/35 Poly/Cotton Twill;
    Style # 64717

  • Women’s Tailored Chef Coat with Piping (4 stars): Featuring adjustable back ties for fit, this short sleeve women’s chef coat gives you comfortable breathing room while maintaining a form-flattering look. The 100% Cotton fabric makes this coat extremely comfortable and moisture-wicking. Storage is made easy with two front pockets and a double pocket on the left sleeve to hold a thermometer or pens. The fabric covered buttons contrast the color of the coat nicely on the reversible closure. Cheryll loves “this jacket. The quality was very good and the fit was great.” She also adds, “I am a small and it is often hard to find jackets that fit well and are not so expensive.”

    Women's Tailored Chef Coat with Piping - Fabric Covered Buttons - 100% Cotton; Style #  86315 found on Chefuniforms.com

    Women’s Tailored Chef Coat with Piping – Fabric Covered Buttons – 100% Cotton; Style # 86315

What styles and features do you appreciate in your favorite chef coat?

ChefUniforms.com outfits chef coats for competitors on new series, King of Cones

ChefUniforms.com outfits chef coats for competitors on new series King of Cones

Traditional Fit Chef Coat – Knotted Cloth Buttons – 65/35 Poly/Cotton
Style # 63512

Chefuniforms.com, a leading retailer of restaurant and chef uniforms, sponsored Traditional Fit Chef coats for all contestants on Food Network’s ice cream-themed competition series, King of Cones.The series which premiered August 4th, 2014, can be seen Mondays at 8pm ET/PT on Food Network.

ChefUniforms.com sponsored all of the traditional fit chef coats for each contestant on the series, outfitting each team in 4 colors: Ocean Blue, Ember Orange, Wine and Apple Green. The colors add a stylish flair and complement the ice cream theme of the competition. The Traditional Fit Chef coats have knotted cloth buttons and are made with a 65/35 Poly/Cotton blend which adds a richer fashion detail to each chef’s professional look. The coats provide a more contoured, tailored cut with extra room built into the biceps and underarm areas that both men and women can wear.

King of Cones is an ice-cream competition challenging dessert chefs to make the most incredible frozen treats imaginable.  In three heart-pounding elimination challenges, a giant ice cream truck arrives with a new theme and a mystery ingredient that the four talented contestants have to translate into a uniquely delicious ice cream dessert – before time runs out.  In the end, only one will scoop up the grand prize of $10,000 and be named King of Cones.

 

 

Fashion-Forward Styles for Women

In an extremely male-dominated industry, it is no surprise that over 90% of executive chefs are men. In spite of this, many female chefs are working hard to break the glass ceiling that is keeping them from leading brigades and are paving the way to inspire other female chefs with their dedication, passion, and talent. Aside from these creative attributes and well-versed skillset, female chefs also appreciate looking professional on the job. That’s why we offer flattering, professional, and elegant choices for all of our female chefs out there.

Our best sellers tend to be black, red, and grey across the board, but many female chefs appreciate adding a touch of pink to their wardrobe. Pink contrasted with black gives female chefs a bold, fun, and professional look. This coat offers mesh side details to provide a slimming look and a cool, comfortable feel. Made from 200% Cotton Fine Line Twill, this coat is a breeze to take care of, making it extremely durable. The short sleeves and front snap closure give this coat a sophisticated, stylish look.

Women's Mesh Side Panel Chef Coat - Snap Front Closure - 100% Cotton Fine Line Twill

Women’s Mesh Side Panel Chef Coat – Snap Front Closure – 100% Cotton Fine Line Twill

Available in 9 color-blocked options, this short sleeve chef coat achieves the perfect balance between style, comfort, and utility. Featuring adjustable back ties for fit, this coat makes tailoring as easy as can be! The Poly/Cotton blend makes this coat light and comfy to last you all day in the kitchen. A reversible closure and high quality fabric covered buttons complete the look.

Women's Tailored Chef Coat with Piping - Fabric Covered Buttons - 65/35 Poly/Cotton

Women’s Tailored Chef Coat with Piping – Fabric Covered Buttons – 65/35 Poly/Cotton

For fans of the longer chef coat, our traditional fit coat is just for you! This elegant, fashion-forward look features plenty of storage for tools and has extra room in the arms for a more relaxed fit while maintaining a sleek look. Available in four color-blocked options, this coat also has piping to break up the garment. Chefs who love tradition will appreciate this timeless, classic look.

Women's Traditional Fit Chef Coat with Piping - Fabric Covered Buttons - 100% Cotton

Women’s Traditional Fit Chef Coat with Piping – Fabric Covered Buttons – 100% Cotton

What do you look for in your chef coats?

Keep it Cool in These Chef Coats!

Summer is sweltering and so is your kitchen! As you know, looking professional in your chef coat is very important. But staying cool and comfortable when your entire torso is heating up is quite the challenge! So, knowing which fabrics are more breathable than others is key for chefs who value comfort in their work wear.

Luckily, ChefUniforms.com has plenty of coats to keep you feeling and looking cool. Lightweight coats allow you to maintain that professional look that you value while enjoying the flexibility and moisture-wicking properties of these coats. Typically made from cotton, polyester, or a blend of both, these chef coats are crafted to keep you feeling fresh in the kitchen. These coats offer a sleek, fitted look that you’ll love made from light, silky smooth fabric that you need!

  • This double breasted chef coat has our seal of lightweight approval! Featuring fashionable color-blocking details, this coat has plenty of pocket storage. Not to mention, it is easy to wash and maintain! Enjoy this tailored, classic look, in the colors you love.

    LWT

    Men’s Double Breasted Chef Coat – Plastic Buttons – 65/35 Poly/Cotton Poplin

Mesh coats are perfect for chefs that don’t “mesh” around in the kitchen! Our collection, offered in short and long sleeve options, retains the signature chef coat look that you appreciate as a professional.

  • Our Basic Fit Mesh Back Chef coat, available in black and white, is perfect for the chefs who value the classics. The subtle mesh back detail gives you some breathing room and keeps you dry all day long! Durable and versatile, this chef coat features details such as a reversible closure, breast pocket, thermometer pocket, and finished cuffs and collar.

    both

    Uncommon Threads Basic Fit Mesh Back Chef Coat – Knotted Cloth Buttons – 65/35 Poly/Cotton Twill

What fabrics keep you feeling cool in the kitchen?

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