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Women: Changing the Culinary Industry, One Palate at a Time

Up until recent years, women have been seen as homemakers, with the old-fashioned, traditional role in mind. However, women are breaking out now and outperforming their male counterparts in many roles and industries. While cooking is certainly not a new activity, many women have flourished in this field, and have even changed the game, so to speak, for the entire industry. We’d like to honor a few of them for their ground-breaking efforts, so read on!

Women - Changing the Culinary Industry_Julia Child

Julia Child

One of the most well-known female chefs, Child discovered her love of French cuisine while attending Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. After writing 19 books, including Mastering the Art of French Cooking, her first television show, The French Chef, debuted. This show was the most successful cooking show of its time (perhaps even to-date!), and brought French cuisine to the average American table.

 

 

 

Alice WatersWomen - Changing the Culinary Industry_Alice Waters

Waters is known as the inventor of “California Cuisine”, with her love of fresh, local ingredients. In 1971 she founded Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA. She wrote 12 food related books, and was the first female chef to win the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef in 1992. That same year, her restaurant Chez Panisse won Best Restaurant.

 

Women - Changing the Culinary Industry_Lidia Matticchio BastianichLidia Matticchio Bastianich

Bastianich arrived in New York City in 1958 after having escaped from Pola, Istria (present day Croatia) when she was just 11 years old. About 10 years later, her family opened an Italian restaurant called Buonovia, which means “On the Good Road” in Queens. When they saw how successful the restaurant was, they decided to open a second restaurant in Queens, Villa Secondo. It was here that Lidia gained the notice of food critics, going on to give live cooking demonstrations, which lead to her career as hostess on her own TV cooking show.  Years later, the family opened a third restaurant, Felidia, in Manhattan, where Bastianich became one of the first female chefs to receive a three star review.

Women - Changing the Culinary Industry_Cristeta ComerfordCristeta Comerford

Cristeta Comerford moved from the Philippines to the United States at just 23. She was recruited to be a chef during the Clinton White House, and soon became the first female executive chef of the White House. She still holds this position to this day. In early 2015, Comerford partnered with Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America, beating both Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batali.

Clare SmythWomen - Changing the Culinary Industry_Clare Smyth 

Head chef at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Clare Smyth was Britain’s first female chef to run a restaurant with three Michelin stars. Though she admits that restaurants tend to be “testosterone-driven,” Smyth didn’t let that affect her drive and perseverance to be successful. She is proud that as a female chef she can be collaborative and add a feminine touch to her cooking, while being tough enough to get things done in her kitchen. Her award winning South Kensington restaurant is proof of her passion and positive attitude.

Women - Changing the Culinary Industry_Rachael RayRachael Ray 

Rachael Ray is a TV cooking expert who offers daily lifestyle advice. She has created a very successful career as a TV personality, in addition to writing several best-selling cookbooks, as well as being a magazine editor. Her simple homemade 30-minute recipes are loved around the world, inspiring countless families to enjoy delicious and healthy meals. Her meals are designed to be easy, quick and low-cost.

Rachel KhooWomen - Changing the Culinary Industry_Rachel Khoo

Rachel Khoo is the epitome of a game-changer. She is young, creative, and unique in her approach to the industry. Khoo uses social media and out-of-the-box thinking to differentiate herself among her colleagues, putting her videos on YouTube and adding her own Malay-Chinese-Austrian-British spice to her food. She moved to Paris, where she opened a restaurant in her own flat, calling it the Little Paris Kitchen. Rachel used her knowledge of social media, along with her passion and creative style of cooking to become a worldwide sensation, and an overnight success.

Women - Changing the Culinary Industry_Paula DeenPaula Deen

The Food Network star was famous even before she was ever on TV. Deen, along with her sons Jaime and Bobby, owns and has operated the restaurant Lady & Sons in Savannah, GA, which serves traditional southern fare and was named “International Meal of the Year” by USA Today in 1999.

Paula did go through some rough times, though, losing both parents before the age of 19, and ending up with a severe case of agoraphobia after her divorce. She was, however, able to remain a successful cook, though, and with her famous love of all things butter, went on to become a Food Network Celebrity.

Elizabeth FalknerWomen - Changing the Culinary Industry_Elizabeth Falkner

Elizabeth Falkner graduated from art school in 1989, but taking a job as a chef at Café Claude in 1990 took her off the beaten path and changed her career trajectory. She opened her first restaurant, Citizen Cake, in San Francisco in 1997, which she still owns and is the executive pastry chef. In addition to that, she is co-owner and executive chef at Orson. Falkner is known for her platinum, spiky hair and her creative desserts, and is involved in Les Dames d’Escoffier (a world-wide organization of professional women leaders in the culinary industry), and Women Chefs and Restauranteurs.

Do you know of any other female chefs that have left a mark on you or your industry? Let us know in the comments below!

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram found on blog.chefuniforms.comInstagram is the place to be! It has grown from just being another social media channel out there to one of THE social media channels to be on! According to Instagram’s press page, there are 300 million monthly active users sharing 70 million photos on average per day, and those photos get 2.5 billion likes! Holy Kamolee!!

Cooking is Personal! So as a Chef, new or seasoned, due to the intimate nature and visual sensations Instagram provides and let’s not forget to mention, free exposure to you, your brand and your place of work…this is the perfect medium for you to show off your masterpieces, bring your audiences behind the scenes and portray your journey as a culinary artist.

We researched many chefs, and below is our list to follow. They represent humility and fun, and their presentations of their dishes/pastries/cakes are off the chain! Their stories are real and relatable – we love to see what makes them tick, and they also show tips to help other chefs learn. No wonder they have such huge followings! We also included our past Chefs of the Month who are on Instagram, because they are just pretty cool dudes and dudettes and have a lot to offer….

Ch…Ch…Check them out!

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram, Eric Ripert

Creativity Meeting – taken from Eric Ripert’s Instagram page

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram_Lorenzo Boni

Family comes First for Lorenzo Boni – taken from his Instagram Page

Chefs with their Own Digs

Eric Ripert – 145k followers

Marcus Cooks – 112k followers

April Bloomfield – 90.3k followers

Camille Becerra – 71.1k followers

Marc Vetri  – 20.3k followers

Jenn Louis – 14.5k followers

Sam Talbot – 14.3k followers

Carlos Gaytan’s Mexique Restaurant – 5,002 followers

Maneet Chauhan – 5,830 followers

Dadisi Olutosin – 3,523 followers

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram_Jenn Louis

The new Hat Jenn Louis got taken from her Instagram page

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram_Tom Colicchio

Striped Bass Prep taken from Tom Colicchio’s Instagram Page

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram_Christina Tosi

Late Night with Seth Myers and Christina Tosi taken from her Instagram Page

 

Corporate Chefs

Lorenzo Boni, Executive Chef at Barilla America – 13.8k followers

 

Pastry Chefs

Jordi Roca – 53.4k followers

Christina Tosi – 35k followers

Charlise Johnson’s Intimate Eats – 6,044 followers

 

Chefs in Entertainment, Chef CookBook Authors

Tom Colicchio – 67.3k followers

Kristen Kish – 63,200 followers

Amanda Frietag – 27.8k followers

George Duran – 698 followers

 

Instagram Tip #1: Want people to find you? Below shows the total number of photos associated with these popular hashtags:

#foodporn – 63,081,411

#chef – 4,689,740

#chefs – 407,324

#cheflife – 1,342,239

#chefslife – 178,295

#chefsofinstagram – 362,153

#chefinthemaking – 37,226

#chefsoninstagram – 33,299

#pastrychef – 329,104

#pastrycheflife – 10,463

Instagram Tip #2: A picture is truly worth a thousand words! While it is easy to just take a picture and publish which works, we would like you to remember presentation is everything… Put some thought into how the dish will be plated and then displayed under the right lighting and Voila! Professional photography at its best! Enjoy the new likes, comments and regrams that will follow and ultimately, your growing fan base.

Instagram Tip #3: Have fun and show your personality! Allow your pics to reflect simplicity, creativity in design, background, showing the unseen and what makes you tick! People follow you because they like you.

Instagram Tip #4: Engage with your fans and other people in your industry. Grow your network. Like your fan’s photos, leave a comment and enjoy being part of your Instagram community.

We are on instagram too! Check us out at https://instagram.com/chefuniforms/

Which chefs do you love to follow on Instagram? Send us their links and let us know why you are a fan!

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram found on blog.chefuniforms.com

Chef Dadisi Olutosin

August 2015 Chef of the Month – Dadisi Olutosin

Chefuniforms.com August 2015 Chef of the Month - Chef Dadisi Olutosin

It was a pleasure getting to know Chef Dadisi. He is humble, down to earth and has a great love of life! He is a true entrepreneur at heart and have so much to offer based on his diverse career background. Read on about his culinary life lessons…it is well worth the read!

Chef Dadisi Olutosin, a French trained chef, is a lover of wine, coffee, people and a bit of an iconoclast. He was raised on the foods of West Africa and the American South. Over the years he’s come to incorporate Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latin and Western European elements into his eclectic cuisine. His food, as he calls it, is gourmet comfort food and soul fusion with an international twist.  Basically he cooks whatever he feels and works to bring people together by tearing down cultural barriers through good wholesome food.  He’s the king of food porn and has been called a gastro sadist by many who follow up in DC and on social media. Food is his passion and soon you will come to experience it for yourself.

Congratulations Chef Dadisi Olutosin on being our Chef of the Month for August!

1. Where do you work and where are you based?

I’m based in Washington, DC and New York City. I spent years working in various restaurants in DC but in October 2014, I branched out on my own and launched the Center Plate Supper Club, which is a private dining pop-up I host twice a month.

Along with that, I also offer personal chef services and do some restaurant consulting. Suffice it to say, I’m one busy chef!

 

2. What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces?

My 10″ chef’s knife and my immersion blender – that thing is like a super powered kitchen tool.

 

3. What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses?

My sense of smell. I have a highly sensitive nose and like a superhero can differentiate various spices, foods, etc pretty accurately. When I walk into a restaurant, I can tell the different aromas. I rely on it a lot when cooking. People eat with their eyes and if you can’t smell, you can’t grasp everything about the food. As you get older, your taste buds change.

 

 4. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

The best advice I can give an aspiring chef is to stop seeking celebrity. Be careful of being in the spotlight. We live in a time where being a “celebrity chef” is a thing. It’s like a shiny object a magpie would seek out to place in their nest.

I tell aspiring chefs all the time, stay in the kitchen, perfect your craft as a cook, stay humble and continue to learn. Become known for your skills in the kitchen, your knowledge of technique, your ability to work well with and teach others and how to effectively run a kitchen. Regarding social media, present yourself always as a professional. Know who your audience is.

Ultimately every aspiring chef will want to be an executive chef one day. You must have these skills to be successful.

 

5. What is one culinary tip every chef should know and perfect?

It you’re cooking Western cuisine, you should know and perfect the French Mother Sauces. You can never go wrong with a great sauce that pulls everything together for a dish you’re creating. For example, if you cook a French cut chicken breast, mashed potato puree and asparagus with a sauce that brings the chicken and potatoes together like a tomato based or cream sauce, it will then create a spectacular dish because it tied in all of these items. These sauces – you should know them by heart.

 

6. What does good food mean to you?

Good food to me is food that’s comforting. Food that ties into your childhood memories of your favorite dishes from your mother, grandmother that brought that smile to your face that’s indescribable.

When I travel from city to city, I always view how good the comfort food is and not by how many high-end award winning restaurants they have. I like to eat in the hole in the wall restaurants where you will find the locals. Good food is that type of food that you enjoy immensely and leaves you satiated with a great experience.

 

Chef Dadisi Olutosin’s Grits Recipe – A Southern American favorite

Chef Dadisi Olutosin Creamy Southern Grits

In some circles they may be referred to as Polenta. But this is a classic grits recipe that will give you the creamiest grits known to man.
Serves 10-12.

Ingredients:

  • Sea Salt
  • Sour Cream
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Purified Water
  • Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Yellow or White Stone Ground Grits

Directions:
Using a 2 quart pot on high heat, pour 1.5 cup of purified water into the pot. While the water is coming to a boil and 2 tablespoons of sour cream, 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter and 1.5 teaspoons of sea salt. One note about salt amounts, season to taste. Just be sure not to make them too salty.

Using a whisk, stir the mixture while at the same time pouring 1 cup of grits in the pot. Continue to whisk/stir until you see it begin to thicken. Then add 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream and whisk/stir continuously until all of your ingredients are mixed together.

Lower the heat setting to low and cover your pot as the grits completely cook through. Voilà they are done and you have some of the best grits you’ve ever cooked. One final consideration, if you find they are too thick for what you’re going for just add water and stir.

 

7. What trends as a chef do you see emerging in the near future?

The biggest trends I’m seeing is more chefs are moving away from working in large restaurants and moving towards smaller platforms where they can focus on the quality of their food. This tends to manifest itself in the form of them working in restaurants with no more than 40 seats.

Along with that trend, more chefs are moving to serving multi-course meals based on pre-fixed menus. This allows them to be thematic and more creative with their cuisine. The other trend I’m seeing is coming from diners. Many of them are starting to focus on hosting private dinners with their family and friends opposed to eating out.

You find this to be true with the large number of Internet based chef services that have emerged over the past 3 years throughout the country. Especially in large urban areas where there’s a large migratory and millennial population. I think these trends will continue for some time to come.

 

8. What features are important to you when selecting a Chef Coat? (particular fabric, style, sleeve length, pockets)

I’m simple when it comes to chef coats. I simply need comfort, something that breathes and can stretch and move with my activities in the kitchen. I prefer short sleeves and only wear long sleeves when I’m doing a photo op. Ha!

 

9. What is your go-to chef outfit? Do you prefer coats, tees, pants, shorts, aprons, hats, etc?

My go to is a black short sleeved chefs shirt that has mesh sides that breathe. Great fabric and easy to clean to use over and over.

I typically wear standard chef’s pants or jeans depending on the environment I’m cooking in. I also were proper chef shoes. They are a must!

I always wear a hat of some sort and a couple aprons, one covering my pants and then a full one covering my chef’s coat.

 

10. Favorite ingredient to work with?

I have ALOT of favorites but it’s probably garlic. It is a versatile ingredient that should be respected and used properly where it does not over power your dishes but helps complement them.

 

11. Favorite Foodie City?

I have three in North America: New Orleans, Chicago and Montreal.

 

12. Best Cake/Dish you have ever made?

I’m not much for making cakes but I love making a good pie or tart. Sweet Potato Pie is my all-time favorite pie to make. I simply love sweet potatoes because it is a versatile root vegetable. As for my favorite dish, New Orleans Creole Shrimp n’ Grits.

Is Asian Fusion Cuisine Dead or More Interesting than Ever?

“Fusion” as a descriptor for food has gone out of style, and often leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth – reminding one of unauthentic and uninspired Asian Fusion restaurants. “Fusion Cuisine” was coined in the 1980’s by Florida chef Norman Van Aken, who borrowed the term from a style of music that combines Jazz, Funk, R&B and Rock n’ Roll. The style was then made popular by Wolfgang Puck who opened several Asian fusion restaurants on the west coast. But true Asian fusion cuisine has its roots planted far earlier, since what “fusion” really signifies is a mixture of culinary cultures – the first American Chinese restaurant opened in 1849! These Chinese restaurants were owned and operated by Cantonese immigrants (mostly from Guangdong). Chefs quickly realized they needed to appeal to American tastes, leading to the creation of an American Chinese cuisine that most Americans are very familiar with to this day.

Is Asian Fusion Cuisine Dead, or More Interesting than Ever? General Tso’s Chicken Recipe

As the fusion food style became very popular and mainstream in the 90’s, push back started coming from chefs, criticizing the influx of Asian fusion restaurants and seeing the food as lazy and lacking creativity. Some saw the food as a misappropriation of Asian culture where ingredients were taken and used without studying traditional recipes and cooking methods. In the 2000’s, there was an enormous trend of developing authentic American cuisine with strong demand for organic local farm-to-table restaurants. But it’s more or less impossible to completely ignore all outside influence and ingredients in the kitchen, and if America really is a melting pot of culture, then isn’t there nothing more American than fusion cuisine?

Is Asian Fusion Cuisine Dead, or More Interesting than Ever? From Zen Sai in Miami, FL

Here at ChefUniforms.com, we believe fusion cuisine to be a mixture of a chef’s life experiences and an expression of their true artistry. We believe that chefs craft food as an expression of their self and American experiences, i.e. Cook what you want, who cares what it’s called.

Is Asian Fusion Cuisine Dead, or More Interesting than Ever? Kung Pao Pastrami from Mission Chinese Food in San Francisco, CA

In recent years fusion has made a comeback, although many chefs are quick to renounce that title, preferring to call it “Americanized Oriental Food” or “modern-American cuisine.” There has been a proliferation of new restauranteurs with a focus on Asian street foods, Baohaus in NYC started by chef Eddie Huang only uses traditional Asian ingredients and recipes but restaurants such as Mission Chinese Food started by chef Roy Choi have a wider interpretation of traditional foods. The San Francisco based food truck-turned-restaurant has dishes such as Kung Pao pastrami, thrice cooked bacon with rice cakes and cumin lamb ribs.

Is Asian Fusion Cuisine Dead, or More Interesting than Ever? Trout Carpaccio with Avocado Mousse from Crane and Turtle in Washington DC

With the globalization of the world, it is easier than ever to learn about other cultures and visit them too. At Crane and Turtle in Washington DC, a restaurant that blends French technique with Japanese cuisine, Chef Makoto Hamamura brought his line cooks with him on a 10-day food pilgrimage in Japan in order to better understand Japanese techniques and food history. We see that nowadays chefs truly respect the ingredients they use and the cultures they are from, and are constantly innovating, pushing American cuisine into uncharted waters.

We want to hear from you!

What are your opinions on Fusion Cuisine?

Is it played out or are we entering the heyday of innovation in food culture?

Sources

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/food/2012/04/asian_fusion_comeback_american_s_love_hate_relationship_with_asian_inspired_cooking_.single.html

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304610404579404951993253512

http://dc.eater.com/2014/12/18/7417301/crane-turtle-closing-briefly-for-japanese-pilgrimmage

The Art of Plating: The Importance of Presentation

The Art of Plating: The Importance of PresentationMany of us have to wear multiple hats day to day. We fill many roles at the workplace – we could be a marketer one minute and a graphic artist the next, or an accountant as well as a salesperson. In the case of the culinary industry, many chefs also have to be artists to be able to stand out and draw in more customers. There is an art to dish presentation, which adds to the customer experience as a whole. The goal is to create a dining experience that tempts all of the senses, rather than simply taste alone.

There are a few different types of plating, which include “classic,” which arranges the main item in front of the plate with the veggies and starches behind, “stacked,” which is exactly as the name implies, and “shingled,” in which you would find the main item on top of a bed of vegetables or another side item. Knowing when to use each type and how to do so in a way that grabs the eye and takes the patron on a culinary adventure, is why chefs are true artists.

The Art of Plating - The Importance of Presentation_2

We included a video from Executive Chef Don Walker from Five Fishermen featuring his tips on how to plate meals at home.

 

Which plating method works best for you? Send us pictures of some of your best presentations!

It’s All Fun and Games until Someone Takes a Fryer to the Face

It’s All Fun and Games until Someone Takes a Fryer to the Face found on blog.chefuniforms.comIt’s great to have fun while at work. It makes time go faster, it makes the job seem less like work and more like an enjoyable activity, and it makes it, well… entertaining, for lack of a better word. However, certain work environments are not conducive to horseplay, like kitchens, for instance. Kitchens can be extremely dangerous if you aren’t careful. One slip of the wrist or even walking without paying full attention to where you’re going could be the difference between having 10 fingers and being generally healthy to being covered in boiling oil, or worse.

Imagine trying to look like a big shot, your first day on the job, and throwing battered, still-frozen fish in a deep fryer. The resulting eruption of boiling oil is enough to make that first day, also your last.

What about dancing to some salsa music, waving your arms around and having a great time (you know you love it!), and bumping into someone carrying a pot of boiling water? Sure you’ll live to cook another day, but who wants to go home with second-degree burns?

Or reaching into a blender to clean it without making sure it’s unplugged first and getting the sleeve of your chef coat caught. You may not be able to play guitar anymore, let’s just put it that way.

I don’t even want to think about goofing off around the knives. Let’s just leave that one to the imagination.

The moral of the story is, leave the horseplay out of the kitchen and you’ll all live long, healthy lives. Almost every accident in the kitchen could be avoided with some proper attention and care, so do your part to ensure that your fellow kitchen staff goes home in one piece.

It’s All Fun and Games until Someone Takes a Fryer to the Face found on blog.chefuniforms.com

Let’s play a game.

How many accidents waiting to happen can you spot in this picture?”

 

Chef Advice – Humility, Prep, Culture, Work Ethics and Patience

Chef Advice and Words of Wisdom found on blog.chefuniforms.com

You should never underestimate the value of experience. It is likely that people who have been around longer know a thing or two that you may not. In that light, it is always important to learn as much as we can from those people, and take whatever advice they are willing to give. With that said, here are a few words of wisdom from some great chefs around the country that just might be useful to you one day.

Chef Advice and Words of Wisdom from Chef Kristen Kish found on blog.chefuniforms.com

Kristen Kish, winner of Top Chef’s 10th season: “Honestly, one thing I wished I learned earlier on was humility and how to humble yourself, and how to start from the bottom, because that’s where you learn the most. You don’t have to be in a million places at once, you’re in charge of one thing and you have to learn and listen and be more aware of what’s happening around you. But at the end of the day, it’s a hard industry. It’s hard. There’s sacrifices that are made and work will come before personal life. You’ll give up friends and family and holidays and events and you’re gonna lose people out of your life. But that being said, you get to surround yourself with people who share the same passion. You have to choose wisely though, because there’s a lot of restaurants that breed bad habits. Whether it’s how the restaurant runs or late-night partying, it’s the restaurant industry. And it’s hard not to give into those temptations, because it’s kinda fun. But once you find that professional kitchen that truly knows how to run and breed true talent, you stick with that. It’s one of the hardest industries I’ve ever been a part of, but also the most rewarding once you make that breakthrough. You go through culinary school and have that idea of working in kitchens, and it’s a harsh reality once you go into your first real kitchen. A lot of people give it up, but another great thing about the industry is you get to jump around from city to city, restaurant to restaurant. Give it two years and move on. For a commitment-phobe like myself, it works out well.”

 

Chef Advice and Words of Wisdom from Paula Deen found on blog.chefuniforms.com

Paula Deen, Paula’s Best Dishes: “Remember, y’all, it’s all about the prep. Take away the stress by doing the prep the night or day before. You’ll look like a star.”

 

 Chef Advice and Words of Wisdom from Tony Mantuano found on blog.chefuniforms.com

Tony Mantuano, Spiaggia in Chicago, IL: “It’s important to look at tradition and culture for inspiration. Look to the past to move forward. Go and spend time in the region of the cuisine you’re interested in. Learn the techniques and how local chefs are modernizing their own culinary traditions. See how people actually live. That experience will certainly come through in your food and help create a unique point of view.”

 

Chef Advice and Words of Wisdom from Marc Vetri found on blog.chefuniforms.com

Marc Vetri, Sara’s Weeknight Meals: “Work ethic and attitude is everything. It’s the only thing that matters. I would take a less knowledgeable cook with a great attitude and work ethic over a talented prodigy with pissy attitude any day of the week. It will always make for a better team at the restaurant. I can’t tell you how many amazing cooks have been through my kitchens and simply have not made the cut because of their attitude. And guess what? Three, four, five years later those cooks are still line cooks. They still complain about how much everybody else sucks around them. If you’re a line cook at 25 and still one at 35, it’s time to look in the mirror. I can guarantee that YOU are the problem not anyone else.”

 

Chef Advice and Words of Wisdom from Gaston Acurio found on blog.chefuniforms.com

Gaston Acurio, La Mar: “The most important ingredient in this food world for young chefs is to be patient. When I was 20-years-old I had to go to a library, now if I want a recipe I can have it anywhere – maybe one million recipes. All this information that you’re receiving makes you think that you’re prepared but you’re not, the experience of life is very important to cook better. You don’t have to worry, you don’t have to rush – wait for your moment and listen to your soul to know when is your moment to go further. In the meanwhile learn, learn and learn.”

And finally, a bit of advice from us at ChefUniforms.com: “Always keep your chef coat clean and stain-free (as much as you can – you are in a kitchen, after all!). For information on how to take care of your chef coats, see our blog “Keeping Your Chef Coat Clean During the Holidays”.

As with any advice you are given, BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten? Leave it below for our Chefs!

Drawing Inspiration from Grandma

You don’t meet many people in the culinary industry who just wake up one day and decided to start cooking for a living. Those with a true passion for cooking and food typically got their start at an early age, learning from their parents or grandparents, or even by watching some of the great chefs on TV. But it is a special bond between a grandmother and her grandchild, where inspiration and true passion grow into a love of all things culinary. Many of the great chefs of our time get their inspiration from their grandmothers, and even use recipes that have been passed down for generations.

Celebrity Chef Curtis Stone recently opened a restaurant in Beverly Hills called Maude, which is named after his grandmother. According to Stone, his grandmother is the one who got him interested in food when she taught him how to make her homemade fudge. “I always remember sitting around the dining room and smelling her getting the roast dinner ready. She’s been gone now for seven or eight years now, but I wanted to call the restaurant after her to keep those memories alive.” – LAist

Chef Curtis Stone drawing Inspiration from his Grandma

Chef Curtis Stone

 

Executive Chef Stephen DeMarco of Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center in Blue Ridge Virginia, also started cooking with his grandmother and mother at an early age. According to DeMarco, he would watch them pull leftovers from the fridge and “throw a meal together and have it taste and look great.” Even now, after more than 28 years of experience in the industry, owning his own restaurant consulting firm and serving as a private chef in New York, DeMarco remembers where he got his start, and how he learned to love food from his grandmother.

Chef Stephen DeMarco drawing Inspiration from Grandma

Chef Stephen DeMarco

 

Chef Kyle Fowlkes, executive chef of the Embassy Suites Hotel in Hampton, Virginia, says that his Nana is at the heart of everything he cooks. He remembers cooking in the kitchen with her when he was 4 or 5 years old, making pound cakes, pies and fried chicken. Now, he uses her recipes in his own kitchen at the Cypress Grille Restaurant in the Embassy Suites. Fowlkes’ grandmother is still inspiring him today, years after she taught him the basics of cooking, and his love of the craft is just as strong.

Chef Kyle Fowlkes drawing Inspiration from Grandma

Chef Kyle Fowlkes

 Did your grandmother have anything to do with your interest in food?

What would she say if she saw you in your chef uniform today? Where do you get your inspiration?

Cooking Up some Good Karma

Chefs Giving BackThey say a good deed is its own reward. Some people just love helping others, without a second thought of their own personal gain. They are simply in it for the satisfaction of knowing they have acted selflessly and helped someone else in a time of need. It is these “good eggs” (pun intended!) who should be celebrated for their noble acts of kindness, and in that light we’ve chosen some culinary heroes to honor.

 

Chef Mason Wartman

Mason Wartman quit his Wall Street job at the age of 25 to open up his own pizzeria in Philadelphia, selling slices for $1 each. He left what he called “the best job I ever had” in order to follow his dream of opening his own restaurant. Mason’s restaurant, Rosa’s Fresh Pizza, is different, however, because of his innovative business model, in which people would buy a slice and then “pay it forward” for the next patron. Mason would take the extra dollar and put a post-it note on the wall, signifying that a slice of pizza had been bought. When a homeless person would enter his establishment, he would use a post-it note as a coupon, allowing that person to take an already bought slice of pizza. Mason’s “Pay-it-forward Pizza” model even earned him a spot on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, and though he does make a profit (it is a restaurant, after all!), he takes pride in helping those who are less fortunate.

Chefs Mason Wartman giving back with his "Pay-it-forward Pizza” model

To learn more about Mason and his restaurant, Rosa’s Fresh Pizza, visit: http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-why-this-entrepreneur-quit-his-job-on-wall-street-to-sell-pizza-2015-3

 

Chef Christopher Neary

Another great example of an unsung hero is Chef Christopher Neary. Neary used two weeks of his personal vacation time to travel to the Philippines in order to teach culinary students there about New England Cooking, as well as American history. He taught the students how the early American settlers lived off the land and how they ate chowder, clams, corn and potatoes, codfish stew and cakes, and he taught them how to cook these dishes as well. Though he missed his own wife and children during his time away, he loved the opportunity to help the people there learn about a different culture, and the experience there changed his life forever. Neary is now quite involved in the Chef & Child Foundation, which helps to fight childhood hunger and obesity through culinary education and donations.

 

Chef Neary giving back to culinary students in the Phillipines

For more information about Chef Neary’s experiences and the Chef & Child Foundation, visit: http://liherald.com/eastrockaway/stories/East-Rockaway-Chef-serves-up-some-good-food-and-good-deeds,43008?page=1&content_source=

 

Chef Lyndon Honda

Finally, Maui Chef and catering company owner Lyndon Honda raised over $40,000 to help the people of Pahoa during a very difficult period. Tropical Storm Iselle, as well as volcano Kilauea’s ongoing eruptions had devastated the area, and Honda took it upon himself to reach out to his representatives for help. He rallied the chefs from Maui and Big Island, and organized culinary events to help raise money for the cause. Thanks to his efforts, the schools, local farmers, medical center and many more people received grants to help them recover from the disaster. Honda’s selflessness may well have saved countless lives, and for that we thank him!

 

Chef Lyndon Honda raised over $40,000 to help the people of Pahoa

For more details about Chef Honda’s accomplishments, visit: http://damontucker.com/2015/06/04/74589/

Do you know any other unsung heroes in the culinary industry? Post their stories below, we’d love to hear about them!

Dining Out beats Grocery Sales for the first time since 1992!

Chefuniforms.com Blog - Dining out Sales vs Grocery Sales

Chefuniforms.com Blog - Dining out Sales vs Grocery SalesChefuniforms.com Blog - Dining out Sales vs Grocery Sales

For the first time since 1992, in March of this year, grocery store sales has been surpassed by dining out sales. This is truly a testament of the times in which we live in, proving that we are a mobile culture, now more than ever, always on the go. Could it be that people would rather spend the money dining out than cooking at home? Or is it that people just don’t have the time or the patience to cook at home anymore? Let’s dig a little deeper into the cause of this change.

1. Which age groups are dining out the most? Baby Boomers and Millennials, followed by Generation X-ers. Most Baby Boomers are in retirement and are eating out a lot and also spending more on each visit. Millennials, the 2nd largest generation, are a diverse, mobile, tech-savvy group who generally live in mid-sized metropolitan areas. Though they have less spending power than the Baby Boomers typically do, Millennials tend to dine out at least twice a week. These 2 generations, at opposite ends of the spectrum, are very social generations, with Baby Boomers having more time with their current lifestyle to enjoy life and Millennials, most either living at home or in the city, go out more to hang out with their friends.

Chef Blog - Dining out Sales vs Grocery Sales

2. The U.S. economy has been improving since the recession of 2009, when the unemployment rate was 9.3%. Now unemployment has decreased to just 6.2%, meaning that more people are working, and in turn have more disposable income. Naturally, more disposable income equates to more dining out. Today’s typical consumer has a very busy lifestyle; some are working multiple jobs and night shifts, and are looking for convenient and quick dining options. Customized menus and new dining formats are on the increase and are driving significant revenues to restaurants’ bottom lines. The National Restaurant Association’s positive outlook for 2015 specified that the industry’s sales this year are forecasted to reach an impressive $709 billion, with 1 million restaurants employing 14 million people.

Chefuniforms.com Blog - Dining out Sales vs Grocery Sales

Are you surprised by this? Do you dine out a lot or cook more at home?

 

Sources:

  1. (2015, May 5). Re: Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, retrieved from The Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNU04000000?years_option=all_years&periods_option=specific_periods&periods=Annual+Data
  2. (2013, January 15). Re: Boomers Increase Restaurant Visits While Millennials Cut Back, Reports NPD, retrieved from NPD’s Crest Foodservice Market Research, https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/boomers-increase-restaurant-visits-while-millennials-cut-back-reports-npd/
  3. (2014, October). Re: 15 Economic Facts about Millennials, retrieved from The Council of Economic Advisers, https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/millennials_report.pdf
  4. (2015, January 27). Re: Positive Outlook for 2015, retrieved from National Restaurant Association, http://www.restaurant.org/News-Research/News/Restaurant-Industry-Forecast-Positive-outlook-for
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