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Liven Up Your Passover Dinner: Recipes to Inspire

As Passover nears, it is time to give thought to the meals we are going to prepare for the holiday (for those who celebrate). Since it begins Monday night, we thought we should give you a little history to help you understand more of what this holiday represents.

Passover is an eight day festival commemorating the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. They escaped so quickly from their bonds that the bread they baked as provisions did not have time to rise. Thus, we do not eat leavened bread during this holiday. In other words, no food or drink that contains any wheat, barley, rye or oats.
So what CAN we eat? Aside from the traditional Matzah (flat, unleavened bread), bitter herbs (to commemorate the bitter slavery that was endured), wine or grape juice (to celebrate the Israelites’ newfound freedom), a mixture of apples, nuts and wine (called charoset, which resembles the mortar and brick made by the Jews while enslaved by the Pharaoh), and hard boiled eggs (which represent the holiday offering brought in the days of the Holy Temple), what is left to eat?

Passover Seder Plate (2)As chefs, we know you love to challenge yourself and come up with new, creative dishes. But for this holiday, which can be quite a challenge to cook for, we thought you might like a little help! Check out our list of Passover-Kosher recipes below, and let us know if we missed anything!

Make Your Own Matzah House

Make Your Own Matzah House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matzah Lasagna

Matzah Lasagna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matzah Pizza

Matzah Pizza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slow Roasted Brisket  (May not be too creative, but it’s just SO GOOD!)

Slow Roasted Brisket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Israeli Salad with Pickles and Mint

Israeli Salad with Pickles and Mint

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hungarian Chocolate-Walnut Torte

Hungarian Chocolate-Walnut Torte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come back next time for even more recipes and dish ideas, from ChefUniforms.com!

 

The Birthplace of our Chef of the Month, Chef Jenn Louis

Chef Jenn LouisApril’s Chef of the Month, Chef Jenn Louis was born in Pomona, California. According to the City of Pomona, it was named in honor of the Roman goddess of fruit. Pomona was situated along a trade route used by Native Americans in the early 1800’s. It was known as an “urban garden”, and quickly became an economic leader in citrus. In the 1870’s, the introduction of the railroad spurred agriculture in the region. Vineyards, olive groves and citrus orchards flourished in the 1880′s, helping Pomona to maintain its economic lead in the valley.

Today, Pomona is the fifth-largest city in Los Angeles County, and has a population of over 163,000.

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Map of PomonaLocation: Pomona is about 27 miles east of Los Angeles, 25 miles north of Santa Ana and 37 miles west of San Bernardino.

 

Climate: Mediterranean with sunshine year-round.

 

Celebs and Athletes Born in Pomona:

Jessica Alba – actress and owner of Honest.com

Tom Waits – singer-songwriter, composer and actor

 Nate Dogg – rapper and G-funk singer

Donnie Hill – professional baseball player

“Sugar” Shane Mosley – boxer

Bob Seagren – pole vaulter

 

Trip Advisor’s Top 10 Most Recommended Restaurants in the Area:

Los Jarritos Restaurant

Donahoo’s Golden Chicken

Pomona Valley Mining Co.

Aladdin Jr.

Bravo Burgers

Tom’s Famous Family Restaurant

O’Donovan’s Restaurant & Pub

El Merendero

Dayday N Duke’s wafflehouse

Coco Palm

 

California Cuisine:

Sandwiches, Burgers and Fast Food - Southern California’s reliance on cars for transportation throughout California’s vast cities and valleys has widely contributed to the popularity of the drive-thru restaurant.

 

Latin Flavors – Mexican and Spanish cuisine is very influential in Southern California, due to its colonial Spanish roots and Mexican territorial history.

 

SushiSeafood and Noodles – As one of the U.S. states nearest to Asia and Oceania, California tends to adopt foods from those national styles. The American sushi craze, along with Asian Fusion restaurants began in California. Ever wonder why the California Roll is the basic roll at any sushi establishment?

 

California -Style Pizza – Focusing on non-traditional pizza ingredients, such as fresh produce and barbecued meats, this style of pizza was first popularized by Wolfgang Puck in his Spago restaurants. Later on, restaurants such as California Pizza Kitchen brought this style to the rest of the nation.

 

Barbecue – Barbecue has been a part of California cuisine since the 1840’s, when the locals watched the Mexican cooks make beef in pit barbecues.

 

Other Facts about Pomona:

 

For more information about our Chef of the Month, like us on Facebook and come back regularly for updates!

Chef Jenn Louis

April’s Chef Of The Month, Jenn Louis

Chef Jenn LouisChef Jenn Louis is consistent, simple and purposeful. This is the philosophy and approach that has propelled her to a culinary career spanning nearly two decades. After graduating from Pitzer College in Claremont, CA, Louis traveled throughout Europe and North and South America, even settling in Southern Israel for several months to work on a dairy kibbutz. Upon her return to California, she learned of a job opening from a close friend cooking for an Outward Bound base camp deep in the North Carolina woods. Louis landed the job and after a few short weeks at the camp, she had an epiphany that cooking was her passion and could lead to a successful and fulfilling life-long career – something she had never considered before. Louis followed this dream all the way to the Western Culinary Institute of Portland, and shortly after began working as a line cook at the prominent Portland restaurant, Wildwood.

She successfully runs 3 businesses in Portland, Oregon: a full service catering company called Culinary Artistry, Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern. Just a few short months after opening Lincoln Restaurant, it was recognized as one of Condé Nast Traveler’s “Hot List” of 50 top new restaurants in North America, while Louis was recognized as a semifinalist for the 2010 and 2011 James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef Northwest.” In 2012, the popularity of Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern catapulted Louis’ presence on a national scale and she was named one of Food & Wine’s prestigious Best New Chefs. The following year, Jenn was selected as a cast member of season five of the hit Bravo TV show, “Top Chef Masters.” When not in the kitchen or planning events, Louis can be found traveling the globe with her husband, teaching cooking classes, playing the drums or spending time with her three cats, White Cat, Orange Cat and Wasco and sipping her favorite drink, Bourbon!

Congratulations Chef Jenn Louis on being our Chef of the Month for April and sharing with us your sunny personality!

 

1. What is the name of the Restaurant you work with and where are you based?

Lincoln Restaurant, Portland, Oregon 

 

2. What is your birthplace?

Pomona, California

 

3. What made you decide to become a chef?

I did not have a passion for cooking but after taking a job at Outward Bound base camp, I found my love for it. 

 

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

I love movies (documentaries, action movies, period films to name a few), working out, spending time at home as I am at the restaurant most of the time and travelling

 

5. What is your favorite social media platforms?

Instagram and Twitter

 

6. What is your Must Have Kitchen Tool?

A really good knife – Bob Kramer’s knife. “Bob Kramer lives in Olympia, Washington. He’s one of the only guys in the US who makes handcrafted knives of really high quality. (He has an interest in samurai sword-making and has made a few.) I met him at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen in 2011. I told him I’d been wait-listed for years and that it was my birthday, and he made me a workhorse steel knife. He takes many, many layers of metal and puts them in a 2,300-degree kiln. His skill level is just phenomenal.”

Bob Kramer knives

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

I do! I love to try different foods other than what I normally cook. I am pretty open-minded and like all types such as Asian, Italian, Indian to name a few.

 

8. What fabric and style of chef uniform do you enjoy wearing the most?

I normally wear a t-shirt, black dickies pants with clogs and a nice Blunt Roll apron.

 

9. Chef Jenn Louis’ Eggs and Beans Recipe with tomatoes, chipotle chilies and black beans

This is one of David’s and my favorite late night dinners. I can make it from start to finish in about 20 minutes, just enough time to drink a bourbon before dinner is served!

 Serves 2

1T vegetable oil

1/8 small yellow onion

1 small clove garlic, peeled

1/2 c whole peeled tomatoes

¼ c chicken stock

½-1 chipotle chili in adobo

2 t cumin, ground

1X 14-ounce can black beans, with liquidEggs and Beans_Jenn Louis

4 eggs

Salt

Lime

 

Garnishes:

Lime wedges

Cotija, crumbled or grated

Avocado, peeled and sliced

Cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

Jalapeno, chopped finely

White onion, chopped finely

 

In a blender, finely puree onion, garlic, tomatoes, stock, chilies and cumin.

Heat oil in a 7 or 8-inch non-stick pan over medium high heat. Pour contents of blender into hot oil, season sauce lightly with salt and reduce sauce by half, about 3 minutes. Stir beans, un-drained, into sauce. Cook for 2 minutes to thicken sauce. Crack eggs into 4 corners of pan, not touching the sides of the pan, reduce heat to medium low and cover pan to bake eggs. Continue gently cooking until whites are set and yolks are runny. Serve with warm tortillas and garnishes.

 

~Her experience and advice~

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

20 years. I studied at the Western Culinary Institute of Portland.

 

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

Go to college and also culinary school. Learn what you need to know to be good at what you do and then get hands on learning.

 

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

Commit to working at a restaurant no less than a year to see what the cyclical calendar looks like. 

 

13. Can you offer some advice for aspiring chefs?

Be open-minded. New cooks form opinions before they get experience and exposure to learning new techniques and styles.

 

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

I am lucky in this area. I have easy access to high quality meats and ingredients in Portland. Regarding seasonal ones, I purchase all over the country and there are so many more products from overseas available in the US, it is much easier to get them without any problems.

 

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

I travel a lot within the U.S. and outside of the U.S and get exposed to many ideas. I also use social media as well to see what people are sharing and talking about.

 

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

Yes and no. As I work 60 – 70 hours a week, my time is very valuable and I can’t always visit. Our local farmers in Portland send me emails letting me know what they have available and there is no need for me to go to the markets. Email is so great because I place my orders with them depending on what I want. 

 

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

We change our menus every day and make little changes but if we have a lot of produce from farms, we continue to make dishes with those ingredients. 

 

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

My iPhone is such a great tool because I use it to stay active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I am able to show people what I am doing and what we offer. We also use a Point of Sale system to track reservations and sales.

 

~2014 and The Future~

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

People are becoming more open minded to eating foods that used to be served in the 1920s – 1950s like liver and heart. People are eating more off cuts because they are accepting it and enjoying it more now.

 

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

My typical lifestyle has always been healthy and I believe in eating everything and in moderation. I don’t eat fast foods.

 

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

It allows us to show what we are doing and see what other people are doing.

A Growing Trend in the Restaurant Industry: Technology on the Menu

Restaurant Tech

Restaurateurs around the world are seeing a marked rise in the need for advanced technology in their restaurants. Why? To meet consumer demand. Now more than ever, consumers expect to be able to easily locate up-to-date information about nearby restaurants from wherever they are, as well as stay in the loop about what’s happening in their local dining scene.

According to USA Today, since January 2011, Starbucks has logged over 100 million mobile transactions from its new payment app. T.G.I. Friday’s has its own app that allows customers to start and pay their tab directly from their smart phone, without the involvement of a waiter. This allows for faster turnover, which is good for both the patrons and restaurant owners alike.

Forbes admits that, while many restaurants have been slow to take to new technologies, a few chains are implementing some ground-breaking innovations. Fast food chains such as Domino’s Pizza have been using their mobile ordering platform in order to allow customers to place their order from any smart phone or computer with internet access. IPad order kiosks are being tested in some restaurants to enable customers to place their order at a kiosk rather than waiting in line. This is believed to prevent walk-aways and result in more orders, as the wait time will no longer be a factor. Facebook ordering has the potential to become a huge money-maker, since the majority of customers have a Facebook account already, and implementing a Facebook-based ordering app is fairly low in cost. Customers seem to like the idea of tabletop e-waiter and checkout, as it allows them to keep an eye on their credit card, and shortens the wait time of checking out when they’ve finished their meal. One such solution is E la Carte’s Presto tablet, and is reported to cut 7 minutes off of the average diner’s stay. Many restaurants have implemented digital menu boards for easy menu changes as well as customer entertainment. Now, it has become much easier to change prices and items on a menu board, without having to manually change everything. Also, this can add a level of interactivity, where patrons can play games such as trivia, tic-tac-toe and more against each other by using their smart phones. Another innovation along these lines is called games while you wait, which entertains customers while they wait for their food to be prepared. In certain McDonald’s locations, gesture-enabled games are projected onto the restaurant floor so that the children can play games to pass the time. More and more restaurants have taken to accepting online coupons, because customers love saving money, and a happy customer is a return customer.

Besides restaurants taking to technology, website and smart phone apps have entered the game as well. GrubHub is one such website and app that offers customers a list of restaurants nearby that offer delivery services. A percentage of each order placed while using the app goes to GrubHub as a fee for staying listed. DoorDash allows customers to place their order directly on the website or app, which is transmitted to an iPad in the restaurant’s kitchen. The restaurant prepares the food and a DoorDash delivery person delivers it to the customer. SpoonRocket is another website that is currently only available in California (like DoorDash), and offers a different type of service. The company prepares its own food and delivers it directly to the customer. ChefsFeed is another such application that gives recommendations, cooking tips and more from real live chefs. Looking for some tips on integrating new technologies into your restaurant? Here is a short list of things to consider from Restaurant.org:

  • Integrate your loyalty and rewards programs into apps and other technology options. In addition to being the number-one feature cited by Baby Boomers as a desirable tech option, two-thirds of consumers overall say they’re more likely to patronize a restaurant that offers a loyalty program.
  • If you offer nutrition information for menu items, consider adding it to smartphone apps, and as a mobile-optimized page on your website. Overall, more than seven out of 10 consumers say they are trying to eat more healthfully when dining out now than they did two years ago.
  • Consider adding information on parking options to website and smartphone app sections listing locations and directions – do you offer valet services, is there a designated lot, or do you have guidance regarding street parking? Eight in 10 consumers say parking factors into their restaurant selection process.
  • When adding onsite kiosk/touch-screen ordering options, consider the font and button sizes of what appears on the screen to accommodate for easy viewing. Also consider highlighting healthful menu options and customization opportunities throughout the ordering process, as Baby Boomers are particularly interested in those options when dining out.

Technology

CHEF GEORGE DURAN, MENTOR AND HEALTHCORPS AMBASSADOR

Chef George Duran is one of HealthCorps’ ambassadors and a judge at Teen Battle Chef competitions. HealthCorps’ vision is to lead a nationwide movement toward a new generation of healthy young people. They were founded by heart surgeon and two-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife Lisa, to combat the childhood obesity crisis. In the Fall of 2009, Family Cook Productions developed a Youth Development Program exploring culinary, nutrition, food systems and gardening education, while battling obesity and chronic disease. Their partnership with HealthCorps, has brought their “Teen Battle Chef” program to over 66 new schools for a total of over 105 programs in 20 states.

In the last 5 years, Americans have really jumped on the healthy bandwagon aggressively and are making healthier choices and becoming more fit. You see that emulated in today’s lifestyle choices with popular reality TV shows like The Biggest Loser and Extreme Weight Loss, diet supplements by the dozen, juice bars opening up in communities and Subway’s PR campaign.

Chef George Duran Healthcorps

We had asked George how this revolution to eat healthy has influenced him as a Chef and he told us that a lot of his clients want healthy food because they are actively making healthier choices about what they consume. This revolution has also motivated him to teach his son when he gets older to eat healthy and also get involved with kids through Dr. Oz’s Healthcorps program to teach them to make healthier choices. He said “Imagine chicken breasts are the size of a human breast” and as a result, he wants to continue educating people to stop making poor eating habits.

We found an interview on HealthCorps blog titled Chef George Duran Shares, where George shares about his involvement with them and disclosed some great tips to replace high calorie diets with lower salt, sugar and fat choices and also included a tasty hors d’oeuvres recipe: Stuffed Endives with Orange, Goat Cheese, Caramelized Walnuts, and Balsamic Reduction. Yum! Yum!

Enjoy his YouTube video at one of the Teen Battle Chef competitions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2D2Ci_3NAE#t=14

Chef George Duran Family Cook Productions

Chefuniforms applauds your efforts to get involved with our kids and lead by example and help mentor them from an early age. Thank You for bringing awareness to this sensitive topic and joining the fight to live healthier.

CHEF GEORGE DURAN’S COLORFUL MEDIA PERSONALITY

George Duran w Pressure CookerChef George Duran is involved in several TV projects that continue to fuel his passions for food and media together. Taken from several sources including Wikipedia and his show’s sites listed below, you will see his light and humorous personality shine naturally and if you have not seen him on TV, you need to check him out or look back at past seasons!

FOOD NETWORK: HAM ON THE STREET

In 2005, Chef Duran returned to New York from Paris, taking his career as a TV Chef to the next level creating and hosting Food Network’s popular Ham on the Street. The program showcased his keen interviewing and culinary skills and determined once and for all that you can’t fry a fudge-cicle. Whilst it is not airing currently on the Food Network, please take a look at his recipes from the show and try them when you have time. They are quick and easy, with prep and cook times taking anywhere from 25 to 1hr and 15 mins and we would like to add, delicious!

White Bean Hummus – 10 mins

Winning Deviled Ham – 15 mins

Classic French Mussels – 25 mins

Breakfast Pizza – 30 mins

Spicy Buffalo Style Stuffed Chicken Breasts – 30 minsChef George Duran

The Juiciest Meat Balls Ever – 35 mins

Guiltless Oven-Fried Chicken Fingers – 35 mins

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever – 40 mins

Spice Rubbed Beer Can Chicken – 1 hr 15 mins

Deep-Fried Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – 1hr 15 mins

FOOD NETWORK: THE SECRET LIFE OF…..

In February 2007, Chef Duran expanded his presence on Food Network, hosting The Secret Life of…, a light hearted exploration of the history of the foods we love. The show combines history segments with recipe segments and features the origins of the foods and why we eat them.

TLC’S ULTIMATE CAKE OFF

In 2010, George was asked to join TLC’s prime time line-up by hosting Ultimate Cake Off in Season 2 where the nation’s top cake artists compete against each other to build the ultimate cake. The show is based on professional cake artists that go “head-to-head” in constructing cakes over five feet tall with the assistance of a team of chefs, designers etc. for a money prize. Enjoy his video testimonial about the show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJIejC16Qo0

HIS BOOK “Take this dish and Twist It.”

In October 2008, George launched his first book, Take This Dish and Twist It. Just like his personality, colorful and funny, Chef Duran’s book is packed with highly useful tips revealing his delectably unexpected take on comfort food.George Duran's Cookbook

IMUSA and Hunt’s Tomatoes

Chef Duran is part of IMUSA’s Chef Program, as one of their spokespersons and creates exclusive recipes, webisodes, instructional videos and demos. His Hispanic roots are expressed with featured recipes such as “Pumpkin Pie Tamales” and Chorizo Lentil Stew on YouTube. IMUSA is a Hispanic and International cookware company that has brought their grandmas’ recipes to life through their line of products. They have moved beyond borders to become the leading brand of Hispanic housewares and a culinary brand ambassador of other international cuisines including the new Pan-Asian line of products.

He also partnered with Hunt’s Tomatoes. The enormous success of both campaigns resulted in the expansion of George’s role with both companies including all ConAgra products on a national and Hispanic stage. Most recently he has hosted on HSN for kitchenware products by IMUSA and T-fal.

Chef George Duran

St. Paddy’s Day: What to Cook and How to Look!

St. Paddy’s Day is just around the corner, which means it’s time to start thinking about what we’re going to do to celebrate. We thought we might be able to make your life just a little easier by giving you some great ideas for food and attire for the occasion.

First, what do you wear?

Chef Coat 1

How about a green chef coat? We’ve got the perfect thing for you to show off your Irish spirit while still looking professional in any kitchen or restaurant setting. Check out our Traditional Fit Short Sleeve Chef Coat with Snap Front Buttons in Apple Green with black mesh side panels.

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Chef Coat 2

For the women, we’ve got something a little more flattering: Our Women’s Tailored Chef Coat with Piping and Fabric Covered Buttons will show off your figure while keeping you comfortable.

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Chef Coat 3

Too cold for a short sleeved coat? Or are you just looking for something a little darker? How about our Traditional Fit Chef Coat with Knotted Cloth Buttons in Forest Green?

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Chef Coat 4

For the ladies, why not try our Women’s Traditional Fit Chef Jacket with Fabric Covered Buttons in Forest Green?

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After deciding what to wear, it’s time to figure out what to cook… and we’ve found some great recipe ideas that we’re sure you’ll love! Thinking of doing something a little different? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Herb Buttered Potatoes

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Herb Buttered Potatoes

Corned-Beef-And-Cabbage Rolls

Corned-Beef-And-Cabbage Rolls

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Stew

Irish Stew

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherds Pie

Cream cheese sugar cookies

Cream cheese sugar cookies

Chef of the Month George Duran’s Deep Fried Cheese Cake Nuggets

Sometimes you just have to ignore your desire to eat healthy and give in to your love of all things sweet and rich. If you’re going to have one cheat day, be sure to add this recipe for Deep Fried Cheese Cake Nuggets to your list of guilty pleasures.

Freeze: 1 hour / Prep: 10 minutes / Cook: 5 minutes / Yield: 8 to 10 servings

You’d think that deep frying one of the richest desserts in creation would be overkill. You’d be wrong. Enough said.

Ingredients:

  • Deep Fried Cheese Cake Nuggets1 7-inch purchased cheesecake, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Peanut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (aka Japanese-style bread crumbs)
  • 1 teaspoon cinammon (optional)
  • Raspberry Coulis
  • Purchased Chocolate Sauce

Place cheese cake pieces in the freezer for about 1 hour until really cold. Heat oil to 365 degrees.  Mix Panko breadcrumbs with cinnamon.  Beat egg with milk. Dip cheesecake into milk then roll inside the bowl of breadcrumbs.

Deep fry for approximately 20-30 seconds, until golden brown. Serve immediately!

Chef of the Month: The Birthplace of Chef George Duran

Chef George DuranChef George Duran is from Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. The country itself is located on the northern coast of South America and has an area of 912,050 km², a little more than twice the size of California. It is bordered by 3 countries: Colombia, Guyana and Brazil.

Here are some Facts about Venezuela taken from CNN.com:

The country’s formal name is the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and is one of the oldest democracies in South America. It is highly dependent on oil, which accounts for 95% of export earnings and 12% of GDP and is one of the world’s top 10 oil exporting countries, according to the Energy Information Administration. Baseball is the most popular sport in the country.

Population: 28,458,085 (July 2013 estimate)venezuela_flag

Capital: Caracas

Ethnic Groups: Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arab, German, African and indigenous groupsVenezuela Baseball

Official Language: Spanish but there are numerous indigenous dialects

Industries: agricultural products, livestock, raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, iron and steel products, and fuel

Money: Bolivar

Sports: Baseball, Basketball and Soccer

True Nomads “10 Interesting Facts About Venezuela” revealed some other fascinating facts:

Venezuela was one of the founding members of OPEC, along with Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

The term Venezuela literally means ‘Little Venice’. The country was so named by its explorers, who saw houses built on stilts in a lake here, reminding them of Venice.

Angel Falls is the highest waterfall in the world.

Venezuela has more Miss Universes and more Miss Worlds than any other country.

Countries with the most Miss Universe Winners

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Venezuelan cuisine finds its roots from a lot of European influences specifically Italian, Spanish and French.  According to Venezuelan Cooking, the “Pabellón Criollo” is the most traditional Venezuelan dish after the Arepas. Pabellón is a word for “pavilion”, but it can also mean the national flag, an ensign, or even a tent.   The Pabellón Criollo, the traditional Venezuelan dish is made up of shredded (or pulled) beef, black beans, rice and fried plantains, as the most basic version of it.   Some people, depending on the part of the country, also add a plain arepa on the side, some avocadoes, some delicious grated white cheese and even a fried egg.  When fried plantains are added, it is known as the “Pabellón con Baranda”. This dish is their National Dish and you can find this tasty recipe below.

Main Components for Pabellón Criollo:

- Carne Mechada (Venezuelan Shredded/Pulled Beef)

- Caraotas Negras (Venezuelan Black Beans)

- Arroz Blanco (Venezuelan White Rice)

- Tajadas (Venezuelan Fried Plantains)Pabellon Criollo

Preparation:

1. Make sure you soak the black beans overnight!

2. Prepare the shredded/pulled beef first, as this will take the longest to cook (4 hours).

3. When the beef has been cooking for about 1½ to 2 hours already, begin to cook the black beans (this will take 2 hours).

4. Proceed to remove the beef from the boiling water.  Shred/pull the beef and continue cooking as directed on the recipe (adding the sofrito and stir frying it).

5. Proceed to finish the black beans recipe as well.

6. Set the beef and beans aside, and begin cooking the rice.

7. Make the plantains while the rice is cooking.

8. Finish the rice and the plantains.

9. Serve all together.

Do we have any Venezuelans in the house? Would love to hear about your favorite Venezuelan dishes or fun childhood memories!

George Duran

March’s Chef Of The Month, George Duran

George DuranGeorge Duran is not your traditional chef. His passion for food and media has differentiated him from typical chefs, that being in restaurants.  He has always worked in media and technology since he was in College. He is an International Chef and Entertainer and Author of “Take this Dish and Twist It.” He is known for his Food Network Show, “Ham on the Street” and has been the host of TLC’s Ultimate Cake Off since 2010. He has appeared as guests on The Dr. Oz Show, NBC Today Show, CBS This Morning, The Wendy Williams Show, The Nate Berkus Show and many others. He is one of the Celebrity Chefs for IMUSA, a Hispanic and International cookware company.

Born and raised by Armenian parents in Caracas, Venezuela, George’s diverse background helped him succeed at NYU as the Host of the Award Winning Radio Talk Show, HYE Time Radio. Duran’s interests lie in French, Armenian and South American cuisines as well as cinematography and video editing. He currently lives in Long Island City, NY. Enjoy getting to know George below as we did…..

Congratulations Chef Duran and Thank You for bringing your Unique Flair to ChefUniforms.com!

1.   Where were you born?

Caracas, Venezuela

2.   What made you decide to become a chef?

I have always had a passion for food and an inclination to be on the air for Radio and TV. It was just part of my destiny. In my single days, my food affair took off in college when I used to cook for my dates and cooked not your typical college food, like mac and cheese or sandwiches but gourmet food. It turned out, they really enjoyed my food! (laughs heartily)Cooking is such a social tool and many of my dorm mates were also happy to be my tasters. On the other hand, I became the host of the award winning radio talk show, HYE Time Radio and it became the #1 in the radio market.

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

My life encompasses TV and cooking. My passion for food is so immense and surrounds eating and always looking for food but I must say that I love to bike and playing with technology. I am a computer nerd and also do video editing. Since my son came into my life, I love hanging out with him and playing with him.

4.   What is your favorite social media platform?

Facebook – I can embed pictures and videos. Pinterest is a close 2nd.

5.   What is your Must Have Kitchen Tool?

A Pickle Picker – It is a device that has 3 prongs and so easy to use to get those must have pickles! I love the name and it is a tool that not everyone has.

Pickle Pickler

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

I really love it! I love authentic Asian cuisine – Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese…

7.   What fabric and style of chef uniform do you enjoy wearing the most?

Organic Cotton – it feels nice and light. I always have my uniforms custom made and work with a silk screening artist in Brooklyn. Your uniforms are a reflection of who you are as well as your cooking. I like to make it as entertaining as possible.

8.   Chef George Duran’s Spice Rubbed Beer Can Chicken Recipe (with options for game hen and turkey)

Prep Time: 15 minutes / Grill: 1 hour / Yield: 4 servings

Maybe it’s just me, but when I see a chicken standing upright and begging to be eaten, I can’t help but comply! Caution: Don’t drink the leftover beer!

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oilSpice Rubbed Beer Can Chicken

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon kosher salt or 2 teaspoons table salt

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 (3 1/2 to 4-pound) chicken

1 (12-ounce) can beer

Heat a gas or charcoal grill with a lid big enough to accommodate the bird. Put a drip pan below the grates.

Mix the ingredients for the Spice Rub until they are well blended. (This will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for 1 week.) Rub it all over the chicken, inside and out.

Open the beer and take a big swig or just pour out a couple of ounces. Sit the chicken on the beer can so the legs are at the bottom and the wings are at the top. Stand the beer can on the grates over the drip pan. Put the cover on and cook over indirect heat until the juices run clear, about 1 hour. (If using charcoal, push the coals to 1 side so the chicken is not over direct heat.)

Note: This chicken can also be cooked in a 350 degrees F oven. Just stand the beer can in a shallow roasting pan and cook about 1 hour or until juices run clear.

~His experience and advice~

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

Since 2002. I was a home chef but also studied in Paris at the École Supérieure de Cuisine Française (ESCF – Higher School of French Cuisine at Ferrandi) for 3 years.

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

Go and work in a restaurant for 2 weeks for free and work hard with long hours and if you are still excited about becoming a chef, then there’s your answer.

11.   Can you offer some advice for aspiring chefs?

It is important to know where you want to go whether it is TV, open your own restaurant or bistro or actually work in a restaurant. Your brain is a goal oriented organ and humans are designed to follow goals. Give yourself a goal and achieve it.

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

Good seasonal ingredients are difficult to get during the winter. I live in Harlem and they do not have high end markets. For example, organic grapes are impossible to find outside of winter but you end up working with you have.

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

I research online, read magazines and cookbooks and then merge all the info together. I try it and keep perfecting it until I am satisfied it has the taste and texture and look I want.

14.   What is your advice for planning a menu for a new restaurant?

See what’s out there and then perfect it.

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

Technology has made things so much easier for us like searching databases depending on the topic, see what is in season and choosing recipes.

16.   What phone apps do Chefs use in their day to day?

        – Dirty Dozen – an informative app that gauges the safety of various fruits and vegetables based on pesticide levels.

        – Seafood Watchprovides recommendations to help you choose ocean-friendly seafood at your favorite restaurants and shopping to cook meals.

        – Still Tasty – it shows you how long you can store food to keep it fresh.

~2014 and The Future~

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

For the US, I am seeing more Europeanized methods influence us here like charcuterie. We are also providing better cuts of meat to our customers like salami or ham. Our ham slices are competing with the quality that Spain is known for and sells. Artisan cheeses are also a big hit but the biggest trend is local food where people want to eat and support local food markets.

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

A lot of my clients want healthy food because they are more health conscious. I also have a preference to make healthy dishes based on how I have grown up. Our ways of cooking in Venezuela was not the healthiest. This revolution has also motivated me to teach my son when he gets older to eat healthy and also I have gotten involved with Dr. Oz’s Healthcorps to teach little kids to make healthier choices. Imagine chicken breasts are the size of a human breast….I want to continue educating people to stop making poor eating habits.

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

I don’t think a kitchen can be 100% green but it is realistic to have a balance of green and non green kitchens just by the small things. For example, composting – just by using a grain of wood that you can salvage rather than cutting a new tree to get new wood will save the environment. In culinary school, I was taught there is a lot of wastage generated by kitchens and it really does not have to be like that.

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

It gives us feedback. People can see where I am and what I am doing and ask questions without any problems to get a response. I like to get in touch with my customers.

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