Chef David Blackmon has been a professional in the culinary industry for 19...
With just under 600,000 restaurants in this country, it can be quite difficult to stand out as a waiter or waitress. For those of you who go above and beyond to provide exceptional service to your patrons, this day serves to honor your hard work and dedication to your craft.
For those of us who are not part of the wait staff, it is important to realize that across the country, about 70% of states pay less than $5.00 per hour to tipped employees. So, with that in mind, it is time to stop thinking of a tip as an “extra bonus for great service,” and start thinking of it as part of that person’s salary. So go ahead and give your server an extra few dollars today to thank them for their hard work, they’ve earned it!
It’s finally here! The National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago, Illinois stars tomorrow, May 18th, and goes on until Tuesday, May 21st. If you’ve never been to one of these shows before, imagine a giant convention all about food. Recipes, products, demonstrations, innovations, you name it. What could be better, right? This year, expect to see over 1,800 suppliers and tens of thousands of buyers all gathering for the event of the season. And speaking of seasoning…
Get ready to see demonstrations from some of your favorite celebrity chefs and restaurateurs, connect with exhibitors and learn about new processes in the industry, listen to presentations from some of the top people in the hospitality field, check out some cool food sculptures, and of course, even sample some delicious dishes.
Two years ago, a certain celebrity came over to visit our booth from a T.V. show that will remain nameless (though it does go well with dip), and ended up wearing our chef coat all day!
Are you going to the show this year? If so, be sure to stop by the ChefUniforms.com booth, # 514.
For more information on the show and a list of attendees, visit show.restaurant.org/Home.
Happy St. Patty’s Day, everyone! While many people would tell you that this holiday is about going out and being festive, it’s important to note that it’s about more than just drinking green beer and partying. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th every year on the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish observe today as a religious holiday, as it falls during the Christian season of Lent. So, Irish families would traditionally go to church in the morning and celebrate afterward with dancing, drinking and feasting. The customary meal for this holiday is Irish bacon and cabbage.
Up until recently in Ireland, the law mandated that all of the pubs be closed on March 17th. However, in 1995, in a campaign to drive tourism to the country, the Irish government decided to hold a multi-day celebration featuring parades, concerts, outdoor theater and fireworks.
In the United States, we celebrate this holiday a bit differently. The Chicago River is dyed green in celebration of the day – a creative way to bring the spirit of the season to its residents. This started in 1962, when city pollution-control workers used vegetable dyes to trace illegal sewage discharges. They then realized that this dye produced a very festive side-effect: it turned the river green!
This day has evolved from a religious holiday to one of Irish patriotism around the world. Whether you are Irish or not, you have undoubtedly sampled a green beer, or at least tasted one of these traditional Irish dishes:
- Irish Bacon and Cabbage
- Corned Beef and Cabbage
- Shepherd’s Pie
- Irish Soda Bread
- Stuffed Cabbage
- Potato Cakes
Whether you’re eating one of these tasty dishes or cooking it, don’t forget to wear your green chef coat for the occasion! Don’t have one? Pick one up at ChefUniforms.com, and shop till you drop!
HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!
In case you missed the action, here’s a recap of Florida’s Inaugural Bacon Festival. Bacon Fest Florida, 2013 was held at the Seminole Coconut Creek Casino on Saturday, February 23rd from 6-11pm. It was hosted by Chef Todd Fisher, Discovery’s Destination America TV Show, “United States of Bacon”. Over 20 South Florida restaurants turned out to the event wearing their chef coats, giving out samples of their… unconventional, yet delicious, bacon-inspired dishes. In order to showcase their creativity and culinary prowess, vendors needed to come up with some out-of-the-box uses for bacon, other than the classic bacon-wrapped chicken. Of course, that dish was in attendance, but it took a backseat to some of the stranger concoctions, such as Maple Bacon Cupcakes, Bacon-infused Popcorn, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Covered Bacon, among others. There was even a food truck, Ms. Cheezious, handing out grilled goat cheese and bacon sandwiches.
Bacon-wrapped shrimp (stuffed with jalapenos and cheese)
The Maple-Bacon Cupcake Tower
MS. Cheezious Food Truck
Entertainment for the event did not disappoint, either – from Radio Station Power 96’s DJ Zog to actor Kevin Bacon’s band, The Bacon Brothers, to The Dan Band, from movies such as Old School and The Hangover. Other activities at the event included bowling, bean bag toss, and even a mechanical hog named Harley. Everyone walked around wearing plastic bacon bracelets, drinking bacon-flavored vodka and wearing their bacon-inspired merchandise, which were for sale at the “Bacon Merch” booth.
DJ Zog – Power 96
The Dan Band – Pre-show
The Dan Band – Post-show
Overall, this sold out event was a great success, gathering thousands of bacon enthusiasts from across the state (and elsewhere). I can hardly wait to see what they come up with next year!
Were you able to attend Bacon Fest this year? What was your favorite part?
For more information about this event, please visit: http://www.seminolecoconutcreekcasino.com/entertainment/baconfest-fl
‘Twas the night before Christmas in the gingerbread house,
All the cookies were baking, and shaped like a mouse!
The stockings were made from Rice Krispies and icing,.
And there were Santa Crackers, Oh so enticing!
The piggies were snug in their blankets and beds,
While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief and the pretzels in their caps,
And cheese shaped like snowmen was made with a snap..
When on the computer there arose such a clatter,
I ran in my chef coat (which was covered with spatter).
Away to ChefUniforms.com I flew like a flash,
And bought a new chef coat while saving some cash!
The website has chef coats and chef pants galore,
And an assistant to find what you’re looking for.
They’ve got aprons, hats and shoes for your feet,
Happy Holidays to all, and to all “Bon Appétit”!
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. This month, we try to raise awareness of this disease and raise funds for a cure. Did you know that nearly 26 million adults and children in the United States have diabetes? That’s about one new diabetes diagnosis every 30 seconds, with 41 of those cases per day being children! These alarming statistics are a wake-up call for our country to all do our part to create a life free of diabetes and the burdens that accompany this disease. This year’s theme is Protect Our Future. This theme highlights the startling fact from the CDC that if we continue on our current path, 1 in 3 US adults will have diabetes by 2050. The good part is that preventing Type 2 Diabetes is actually quite simple; eat a lower calorie diet and increase physical activity! Type 1 Diabetes, on the other hand, is tied to a combination of genetic and environmental causes, so parental risk factors and screenings are key to early diagnosis and treatment.
Since the goal of November’s National Diabetes Month is to raise awareness of the disease, there are events around the country to do just that. You can find local community resources near you to get screened or to help fundraise and volunteer in fun ways like a walk, dance, or bike race here.
If you would like to donate to the American Diabetes Association to help in this national fight you can do so here on their official organization page.
If you’re looking for some diabetic recipes for yourself or a loved one, be sure to check out Diabetic Living for some great recipes, tips and tricks!
As one of the event sponsors, the ChefUniforms.com team spent this past weekend at the 1st annual Flavors of Fort Lauderdale event held at the Las Olas Marina. We had an amazing time learning about and trying gourmet dishes prepared by South Florida’s finest chefs. Both days kept focus on the event’s overarching theme of sustainable seafood. The chefs educated attendees about Seafood Watch® and taught them how to easily incorporate sustainable seafood in their own kitchens.
On Saturday night, the featured event was Flavors After Dark with 5 fabulous female chefs all local to the area. These talented chefs all did live demonstrations to teach and engage the audience about their own unique cooking styles and expert tips and tricks. All of the fabulous female chefs looked extra fabulous in their white ChefUniforms.com #83113 women’s chef coats! The featured female chefs were Chef Lauren DeShields, Chef Shar Melwani, Chef Elizabeth Barlow, Chef Jennifer Erickson, and Chef Robyn Almodovar.
The Flavors Grand Tasting was held on Sunday, led by the grand “Ambassador of Flavor” Chef Allen Susser. There were more live demos featuring local male chefs including Chef Alex Feher, Chef Dean Max, Chef Olive Saucy, Chef Tony Sindaco, Chef Johhny Vincencz, and Chef Ralph Pagano.
Be sure to check out our ChefUniforms.com Facebook album for more pictures from the Flavors of Fort Lauderdale event!
Attention, food-lovers! Do you love free food and wine tastings and cooking demonstrations? Will you be in South Florida between November 8th and the 11th? Then you need to check out the first annual Flavors of Fort Lauderdale. The event will take place in Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Marina, and there will be over 35 different restaurants preparing their signature dishes for guests. But that’s not all! ChefUniforms.com has agreed to sponsor this event by way of donating our signature chef coats to the cause.
Twelve chefs will be participating and will be wearing our coats, and you get to see them in action, first-hand! Some will be wearing the Chef Uniforms style 63313, a traditional chef coat with underarm vents, and made with 100% cotton for maximum breathability. Others chose 83113, another traditional chef coat that contours to provide a more flattering fit for women.
You can see Chef Robyn Almodovar and the Five Fabulous Female Chefs in their brand new chef attire, by visiting the Flavors After Dark Event on Saturday, November 10th from 6-10 P.M. On Sunday you can see the “Ambassador of Flavor”, the event’s Master of Ceremonies, Chef Allen Susser in his new uniform (below), an Uncommon Threads Egyptian cotton chef coat.
The Flavors of Fort Lauderdale Event is a celebration of the culinary lifestyle and is open to anyone who has an appreciation for good food and fun. Many local and regional restaurants will be participating, as well as many great chefs from the area. A portion of the event’s proceeds will benefit a South Florida Charity called Feeding South Florida. This charity is a not-for-profit organization that helps to provide food and other grocery products to people in need, as well as to educate and engage the community in the fight against hunger and poverty.
For more information about the event and for complete time, location and ticketing information, please visit http://www.flavorsfortlauderdale.com/.
Today is World Food Day, the day in which we help fight world hunger, one small action at a time. Did you know that one in every seven people on Earth goes hungry almost every day, and the world has a means to stop this? There are nearly 900 million hungry people in the world today, and that number will only keep rising if we don’t do something about it. Realizing this fact, the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization put together agricultural cooperatives that will provide much of the extra food needed to feed more than 9 billion people by 2050.
So what can we do to help the cause? At WorldFoodDayUSA.org, you can learn about the different events that are being held in order to raise money and awareness, as well as get some ideas on how to host your own. Here are some of the ideas listed on the site:
- Host a World Food Day meal
- Organize a food packaging event
- Walk to end hunger
- Grow a garden
- Engage local schools
- Volunteer your time
- Raise money for the effort
Even a small donation to the cause would make a difference, and could save a person’s life. So get started today, put on your chef coat and help put an end to world hunger.
Chef David Blackmon has been a professional in the culinary industry for 19 years now, and currently works as the Program Administrator for Hospitality, Culinary Arts and Agricultural Sciences in the Chicago Public School System. His style of cooking has been known to have multicultural influences, including Southwestern, Italian, Southern and Asian. As October’s Chef of the Month, Chef David was happy to share some of the wisdom with us that he has gained over the years with his experiences in the field. Below, find our interview with the chef. To learn more about Chef David Blackmon, visit his website: www.chefdavidblackmon.com.
1. What made you decide to become a chef?
In high school, I used to sell homemade cookies. I got a lot of good comments from people about them. Plus I found out it was a great way to get a girlfriend. So I pursued it when I graduated.
2. What education or experience would you recommend for aspiring chefs?
Culinary schools can be very expensive. I recommend that you try working in a kitchen for free (unpaid) to see if it fits first. If it still feels good, then go get professional training.
3. What would you recommend as far as on-the-job training?
Seek out and learn as much as you can from the best chef you can find that cooks the way you want to. Be humble.
4. What is your greatest challenge in getting the ingredients you need?
I live in the Midwest, but love to cook with Seafood from Coastal regions. So getting them without all the up charges has been challenging. Man, I wish crabs and lobsters would grow in Lake Michigan!!!
5. Has the price of energy and fuel affected your industry?
Yes it has. I fold the fuel charges into my food cost. I also joined a local CO-OP that increases my buying power for “green” cooking technology to add to my kitchen and save on energy.
6. Do you see new dining trends surfacing?
Handcrafted DONUTS!!! & Food Trucks
7. What fabric and style of chef coat do you enjoy wearing the most?
8. Do you enjoy dining out on your free time?
Yes of course. I enjoy Sushi and Korean BBQ.
9. Do you try to experience your competitors’ food? Do you ever get ideas from them?
No I don’t. I don’t mind saying this but my product is better than theirs. LOL!!
10. Do you think it is important to visit the markets rather than just have standard orders?
I have a standard order for rotational inventory. But also like to visit the markets. I draw my culinary inspiration from what I see there, plus I get a chance to form face to face relationships with the vendors and farmers.
11. How do you test a new recipe without putting it on the permanent menu?
First the kitchen staff, then I run it as a special, go out and touch the table to speak with the diners on the dish.
12. Do you notice any resistance to the unhealthier dishes?
No. Butter, Fat and Sugar still rule my kitchen. But I do preach eating food in moderation.
13. What is your advice for planning a menu for a new restaurant?
Try to incorporate costly protein items across the menu to 2 or more items so they don’t go to waste.
14. Can you offer some advice for aspiring chefs?
Cook with your heart. If you put love into your food, it will be adored by others.
15. Would you please send us a recipe?
- 6 Cooked Catfish fillets, cooled, roughly chopped.
- 1 cup Red Bell Pepper, fine diced
- 1 cup Mayonnaise
- 2 Jalapenos, seeded, deveined, finely chopped
- 6 Green Onions, both green and white, finely chopped
- ½ cup Cilantro, finely chopped
- ¼ cup Old Bay
- ¼ cup Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 cups Panko Breadcrumbs
- 3 cups Corn flake crumbs
Mix first 9 ingredients and form into mini patties with 2 oz scooper. Roll in Corn flake crumbs. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Bake in 425 oven about 8 minutes until heated through. Serve with Fruit Salsa. Yield: 50 Pieces.
- 1 Red Pepper, fine diced
- 1 cup Pineapple, diced
- 1 cup Mango or Papaya, diced
- 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced
- 1 Red onion finely diced
- 1 bunch cilantro
- ¼ cup lime juice
Mix all ingredients. Chill.
Yield: 1 quart