Featured Chefs

What's Cookin'?

Chef Jimmy Rodriguez’s Pulled Pork Recipe

pulled pork image

A message from Chef Jimmy:

“Our Pork Butts are slow cooked for 6-Hours and smoked with locally grown Button wood for 2 additional Hours at our World Famous & Historic Blue Marlin Fish House”

Recipe:

  • 10 Boston Butt
  • 1 Oven safe container large enough to submerge the entire Butt in.
  • Juice from 12 sour oranges
  • 25 Cloves of Garlic (Minced)
  • Quarter of a cup crushed black peppercorn.
  • Quarter of a cup of sea salt
  • Half of a cup fresh black oregano leaves
  • Soak inside water overnight – 5 Button Wood Logs Broken to 3” Pieces

 Method:

  1. Place the Butt Skin side up in the pan with all ingredients except wood inside the oven safe container and cover with film first and later with aluminum foil well covered.
  2. Set the oven to 250 degrees and put a timer for 4 hours. Cook straight through without opening.
  3. After timer, set the oven for 310 degrees and set another timer for 2 more hours.
  4. After timer, uncover the container and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes for browning.
  5. Set your smoker oven (preheated with soaked wood chips) when smoke starts, lower the heat to 140 degrees. Set the timer for (2-Hours) making sure to not go over temperature of 150 and constant smoke is abundant.

 

Chef Jimmy Rodriguez’s Smoked Wahoo Fish Dip Recipe

wahoo

“Our Wahoo Comes from the Florida Keys and all the smoking is done in our Historic Blue Marlin Fish House”

Try out this new recipe for your summer beach days!

Recipe:

  • 3 Fresh Smoked Wahoo (Large Diced)
  • 5 Philadelphia Cream cheese (Room Temperature)
  • 3ea Red Onions (Small Diced)
  • 2 Stalks of Celery (Small Diced)
  • 2 Whole carrots (Minced)
  • 1 cup Heavy cream
  • Natural preservatives

Method: 

  1. Mix all produce with room temperature cream cheese well.
  2. Add smoked wahoo and mix by hand folding over gently.
  3. Add heavy cream to batch and refrigerate covered with film for 3 hours
  4. Remove from cooler and gently fold in sea salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.
  5. Serve with Chef Jimmy’s Yogurt Cilantro sauce, Lime Wedges and Cuban Crackers.
Chef Jimmy's Blue Pic2.

May 2016 Chef of the Month – Jimmy Rodriguez

Chef Jimmy's Blue Pic.

Congratulations Chef Jimmy Rodriguez for being our Chef of the Month for May!  Find out what Chef Jimmy has been up to while introducing big, new flavors to the BG Florida State Parks!

  1. Where were you born?

I was born in Havana, Cuba.  I was in Cuba until I was 12 years old.  I came over to America in ‘85.

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

I currently work for BG Florida Parks.  The three state parks included are Oleta River State Park, Hugh Birch State Park, and John U Lloyd State Park.  I am involved in turning the state park concession stands and Blue Marlin Fish House into a better dining experience.  I am implementing the use of higher quality products and standardized recipes that the entire company will follow and produce to my personal standards.

  1. What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces/dishes?

My favorite kitchen tool is my chef coat.  This is an important tool to help protect me from being burned and scratched in the kitchen.  It also gives me a sense of pride and lets people understand that there is a professional behind the wheel, but also a graduate that loves his craft.  In my chef coat, I always carry a thermometer, a flashlight, a knife and a sharpie.

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

Taste is my strongest sense.  I have trained my palate to know exactly what a dish will taste like before even needing to taste it.  With my training and experience, I am able to follow a standardized recipe and use the knowledge of the ingredients I am incorporating and not need to taste the dish.  Nothing has too much or too little seasoning.  This knowledge has led to much of my success.

  1. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

You must love your craft.  I hate culinary programs that fill students’ minds with the idea that “he who wants a college degree, not knowing the fire they are about to jump into, can get a degree.”  College kids think they can get a degree and get a top dollar job, and it’s the furthest thing from that.  Students should have a job in the industry before going to school so they know what they are getting themselves into.  You have to have a love for food and for the craft.

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

If you wouldn’t serve it to your mother, you should never serve it to your guests.  If you are in doubt, throw it out.  The quality of your product is a MUST.

  1. What does good food mean to you?

Good food is about texture and the timeliness of getting the dish to the customer.  The little details are important.  You want to be able to differentiate between every ingredient in each bite.  No one wants overcooked chicken and vegetables and mushy carrots.

  1. What trends do you see emerging in the near future?

I call it the Pan-American menu.  Many menus now relate to all types of people and can have French style cuisine, Caribbean style cuisine, etc. all on the same menu. With my real knowledge of different cuisines from Cuba, I want to make sure all restaurants have a mixture and that everyone has an alliance to the food being served.

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

It needs to be durable, breathable, good quality material, and washes and dries well.  I prefer long sleeves with arm pockets to protect my arms and hold everything I need.

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

I always wear a bandana to keep my hair out of my face. Also, I use aprons only when prepping.  Don’t walk out of the prep area with an apron.  The apron protects the food from you, not you from the food.

  1. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Lately it has been Greek yogurt.  I try to incorporate it into everything, even my Caesar dressing has Greek yogurt in it.  I no longer use preservatives in my food, so you will not find any mayonnaise or sour cream in my kitchen.  I preserve everything with lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, etc. to keep it fresh.  Smaller batches with no preservatives is the secret to success.

  1. Favorite city to dine out in?

Miami.  There is a wide range of restaurants in all the different areas that have been built up like the Art District and Liberty City.

  1. Best dish you have ever made?

My Cilantro yogurt sauce.  I make an emulsification of Greek yogurt, extra virgin olive oil and fresh herbs.  Always organic ingredients, no preservatives.  It goes with everything- fish, chicken, been, even French fries.

  1. Place you eat most often on your days off?

I eat mostly at home and don’t dine out a lot.  Lately I have been perfecting recipes for croquettes using different meats and fish with all fresh ingredients. I will have a line of croquettes and sauces out before 2017.

  1. Person you would most like to cook for?

My Wife! Dee Rodriguez, she is my biggest fan as well as my critic. My inspiration.

  1. What made you decide to become a chef?

In Cuba, I had been cooking since I was sitting in my grandmother’s lap.  When I came to America, I used to be a tour guide and air boat Captain.  At the end of the tour I would reach in and hold an alligator so people could take pictures.  Eventually, my wife told me it was too dangerous, so I went to culinary school.

  1. What is new on your DVR?

The Marlins baseball season from last year.  I didn’t watch it live, but I watch every minute of every game at my leisure.  I’m still finishing last season!

Give the Gift of Style for Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful moms out there! Today is the official day to honor our mothers and do for them what they do for us every day.  Today, we shower them with love and appreciation as we give them the day to sit back and relax.

There is nothing mothers love more than special moments shared with family.  We like to show our moms we care with gifts that will last a lifetime and help keep those special memories close to heart.  Make this Mother’s Day one she’ll remember forever with this stylish kitchen apparel.

Make sure your mom always looks dressed to impress in the kitchen with these great styles!

Women's Traditional Fit S-Shaped Chef Coat

Style # 61311

Add some style to your mom’s daily routine with this fitted, lightweight chef coat that is the perfect blend of comfort and style.

Full Length Butcher Apron

Style # F8

A mom’s best friend in the kitchen is her apron.  Check out this traditional apron available in a wide variety of colors.  Her new apron will ensure she is comfortable and protected while making great meals for the family!

Women's Attitude Chef Women's T-Shirt - Wonder Chef

Style # 11134WCH

If you want to make sure your mom feels like the super mom that she is, you can’t go wrong with this chef t-shirt! Let everyone know she is not only wonder mom, but also a wonder chef in the kitchen!

Your mom will shine like the star she is with some embroidery to her new coat or apron. Feel free to choose from our selection or create your own custom image or monogram to add some personal touches to her new kitchen gear.

Get all these great items and more at Chefuniforms.com!

Chef Sean Thompson’s Summer Gazpacho with Tequila Lime Sour Cream

Summer Gazpacho with Tequila Lime Sour Cream

Ingredients

  • 5 Ripe Tomatoes,
  • ½ Vidalia Sweet Onion
  • ¼ Red onion
  • 2 Cucumbers, peeled
  • 6 Garlic cloves
  • 1 Shallot
  • ½ Jalapeno, de-seeded
  • ½ Cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 Cup fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 cup Stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup Tomato juice
  • 1/8 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil, Extra Virgin
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire
  • Salt to taste
  • White Pepper to taste
  • Tabasco to taste

Tequila Lime Sour Cream Ingredients

  • 1 cup               sour cream
  • 1 whole           lime, zested and juiced
  • ½ cup              tequila

 

Preparation

  1. Take all 5 tomatoes, cut in half, and charr on a gas or charcoal grill, set aside and cool
  2. Once tomatoes are cooled, combine w/ remaining ingredients in the first group and pulse thoroughly w/ an emmersion blender
  3. Strain through a china cap
  4. Check seasoning, store in a refrigerator to keep cool

For the sour cream

  1. Reduce Tequila to 1 Tbsp, set aside
  2. Once cooled, combine tequila w/ sour cream , lime zest and lime juice

 

For serving, simply ladle 4 ounces of gazpacho into a bowl, garnish w/ a dollop of the tequila sour cream, and fresh cilantro leaves if desired.

 

 

Chef Sean Thompson2

No Foolin’! Our Chef of the Month for April is Sean Thompson

Chef Sean Thompson

Chef Sean Thompson, Executive Chef at Chops Lobster Bar in Boca Raton, Florida, is our Chef of the Month for April! Chef Thompson’s 13+ years of hospitality experience and his ability to make our mouths water with a simple picture of his food made him the obvious choice to be our next featured Chef. Below is our interview with him. Enjoy!

Where were you born?                               

I was born in Memphis, TN. We stayed there until I was ten years old, then we moved to Atlanta.

Where do you work and where are you based? 

I work at Chops Lobster Bar in Boca Raton.

What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces/dishes? 

My chef knives – because they are the most necessary. I couldn’t do anything without them.

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

Taste – from day 1, when I decided to do this as a career, I was constantly training my palate. My palate is much more distinguished than any other sense because I put an emphasis on making it that way.

What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?  

The best advice I could give is to work hard, and don’t let anything get in the way of your dreams. Do whatever it takes – that’s exactly what I did, and how I got to the level I’m at. If you are not 100% passionate about this, don’t do it. It’s one of those careers where you have to live for it. I am more passionate about this than anything else on the planet. I could not see myself doing anything else.

The main chef that took me under his wing reminded me on a daily basis that food has integrity. It is honest – it’s either good or it’s not. It never lies.

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

Knife skills. If you want the title of “chef” – the title of “chef” is overused in today’s culture, but if you want to actually earn the title – your knife skills need to be on point. People eat with their eyes before they eat with their mouth. You must have a serious attention to detail or you won’t be taken seriously in this industry.

What does good food mean to you?    

When it comes to me and food, I’m very different than a lot of chefs. I always taste my food, but I’m not passionate about eating. I’m more passionate about cooking for other people. I rarely cook for myself. The one thing I love about food is that it is the universal language – it’s the best way to bring people together. Fond memories always have food as the centerpiece.

What trends do you see emerging in the near future?   

So many trends come and go. History always repeats itself. Classic French cuisine seems to be coming back, along with a return to the fine dining experience. Casual food has been such a big thing in past years.

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

Comfort is important, but I like the sleeves to be tight. Nothing too baggy. I prefer long sleeves to short sleeves – I like to be able to roll them up.

What is your go-to chef outfit?  Do you prefer coats, tees, pants, shorts, aprons, hats, etc?       Comfortable chef pants, a white coat, and a long dark-colored bistro apron. I enjoy wearing the bistro aprons.

Favorite ingredient to work with?      

Salt. Can you imagine a kitchen without salt? Without salt, you have nothing.

Favorite City to dine out in?   

Memphis, TN – it’s my hometown, and I love the feeling of home I get while dining there.

Best Dish you have ever made?     

I can’t answer that question because a chef is only as good as his last dish.

Place you eat most often on your days off?      

At home. In the past five years, I’ve lost about 70 lbs. I eat very healthy now. You are what you eat, and you only have one body, so you have to take care of it. You’re the only one who can.

Person you would most like to cook for?         

My grandfather. He passed away when I first started getting into cooking. He’s my hero, and I’d love for him to see what I’ve been able to accomplish.

What made you decide to become a chef in the first place?       

I was going to school, not knowing what to do. I’d thought about a business degree, but my personality does not work well with a cubicle. I had kitchen jobs that I found enjoyable in high school, and I reminded myself of the intensity of working in the kitchen. It was a rush. I loved being in the kitchen and I love the work aspect of it.

What is new on your DVR?      

Mostly ESPN 30 for 30. I love watching documentaries (especially sports ones).

 

Thank you and congratulations again, Chef Thompson!

The Food Truck Craze

food trucks

In recent years, food trucks have become a rapidly growing trend, as seen by several television series (The Great Food Truck Race, Food Truck Face Off, Food Truck Paradise) and many worldwide food truck events. Here in Plantation, FL., there is a local food truck event at Heritage Park every Tuesday night, in which several food trucks come from all over to serve to happy paying customers. Not only is it an interesting way to taste new, homemade, and often unique foods, but it is a simpler way that chefs and entrepreneurs are getting their businesses off the ground without the startup costs of a brick-and mortar-restaurant.

Yvonne

This is how our chef of the month, Yvonne Anderson-Thomas, got her start with Brown Shuga Soul Food. She started out selling baked goods at food festivals in Idaho and quickly moved on to operating a few food trucks selling her homemade Southern cuisine, complete with a flourishing catering business. This career move has proven to be a great decision on her part. Another great example of this success is Press Gourmet Sandwiches, which started out as a food truck, got featured on the Food Network, and now has a restaurant located in Fort Lauderdale, FL. This writer recommends “The Daily,” a sandwich featuring grilled chicken, brie, tomato, spinach, Applewood bacon, and apricot jam. Delicious!

If you are a chef or entrepreneur looking to break into this kind of business, Chef Uniforms is a great way to start browsing for professional chef coats and uniforms. Getting the right look, fit, and style is important. You can see for yourself what Yvonne Anderson-Thomas recommends to bring your chef attire to the next level.

Here are some tips and thoughts from Chef Yvonne herself if you are looking to start your own food truck:

  1. Everyone is not always happy with your success. Believe in Your dream.
  2. It’s hard to operate a truck year-round in a city that gets so cold during the winter that your water tank freezes up!
  3. Join a food truck association or start one. There is power in numbers.
  4. Make sure you buy a truck that fits your menu as far as the equipment you need.
  5. Give away free food in exchange for publicity every once in a while.
  6. It is more work than you can possibly imagine! This is not a job for lazy people, or people who want to retire or think it’s a get rich quick idea. It takes work and perseverance.
  7. Pay for quality equipment and marketing materials.

Good luck!

Chef Yvonne’s Path to Cooking

Chef Yvonne

Yvonne Anderson-Thomas, our Chef of the Month for March 2016, found both a solace and an unexpected, life-changing solution in cooking. She was willing to reveal her amazing story with us, so that we could share it with all of our readers. Once she had divorced her husband of twenty years, she was uncertain of her next steps. She had gone to school for nursing, but never finished her degree. Instead, drawing from her previous experience managing a bakery, she threw on her chef coat and started selling her baked goods at food festivals. Once she realized this wasn’t getting her quite far enough, she resorted to an old family recipe instead – smoked turkey legs. After some initial success and a very generous loan from a friend, Yvonne started her own food truck and dubbed it Brown Shuga. Suddenly she became very busy tending to three events a day, she enlisted several friends, seasonal employees, and volunteers to help get her business off the ground.

But running a food truck is expensive. It’s not just the ingredients and the cooking she’d have to worry about, but the licensing, any extra fees, prep tables, freezer, cookers, utensils, various other equipment, and managing the truck itself. Fortunately, Yvonne discovered a woman’s shelter that would allow her to park in its lot. She repaid this act of generosity in food and donated tips.

Soon enough, Brown Shuga grew to include many recipes in the soul-food and Southern comfort tradition. Yvonne added another food truck to help keep up with the demand for her cooking. There were a few setbacks along the way – including the truck’s burst pipes during the winter months – but Yvonne persevered. She fondly recalls her proudest moment during this time: “Finally, when I said, ‘Brown Shuga Soul Food,’ people knew the name, and it made me feel so good.” Now, five years later, she has received numerous accolades and awards, including one for Best Food Truck, acknowledged by the Idaho Statesman.

In retrospect, Yvonne admits her professional trajectory has been quite surprising. She never imagined she’d been running her own food trucks. However, back when she was married, she often found herself cooking for functions on the military bases her husband was stationed at. She recalls how she experimented and experimented until she arrived at the perfect recipes for her signature cornbread and ribs. In the end, these years relocating from base to base was a true test to her and her resourcefulness. “I feel like I have succeeded in letting people know who I am,” Yvonne concludes.

Thank you, Yvonne, for sharing this story with us! It is certainly inspiring, and we hope our readers will feel the same!

CHEF YVONNE ANDERSON-THOMAS SMOKED CHICKEN LEGS RECIPE

smoked chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 6 chicken legs
  • ¼ c. apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ c. water
  • ¼ c. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 tsp. molasses
  • 1 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 c. wood chips

Method

  1. In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, paprika, 2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper. Rub the spices all over the chicken and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to a day.
  2. Place the wood chips in the smoker (according to manufacturer’s instructions) and heat to 225 Place the chicken on the racks (bone-side down) and cook, turning halfway through, until the internal temperature is 165F, 2-3 hours.
  3. If you do not have a smoker: Remove the grill grates from one side of a gas grill and heat over medium-high heat. Tear 4 pieces of heavy-duty foil. Divide the chips between two pieces of foil, then sandwich with the other pieces. Fold over all of the edges to seal. Use a fork to poke holes in the top piece of foil. Place one foil package directly on the burner and let cook until the package begins to smoke, about 5 minutes. Let smoke for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to medium-low (the package should still be smoking).
  4. Place the chicken on the other side of the grill opposite the foil package, bone-side down (the chicken should be on the grill grates over the burners not in use). Cover the grill and cook, turning the chicken halfway through, until the internal temperature reaches 165F, 2-3 hours (if your grill has a temperature gauge, try to maintain 225-235F with the burners not directly under the chicken). If the foil packet stops smoking, replace with the second one, increasing the heat to get it smoking and reducing heat after it has started to smoke.
  5. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, ketchup, molasses, liquid smoke, and garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, 15-20 minutes. Brush over the cooked chicken. Or, if desired, before serving, increase grill to medium-high and grill the chicken, turning and basting with the sauce, until the skin is beginning to char, about 5 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

Chef Yvonne

Chef Yvonne also sent us a picture of herself in her new chef coat from ChefUniforms.com. Thank you and congratulations again, Chef!

Yvonne2

March 2016 Chef of the Month – Yvonne Anderson-Thomas

 Yvonne

  1. Where did you grow up?

I was born in New Brunswick, NJ, but I moved to Maryland after my grandmother passed away in 3rd grade. During my first year of college, I moved to Florida and lived there for 9 years. Once I got married, I moved with my husband to wherever the military stationed him. I was in Iceland for 2 years, followed by Germany for 4 years, and now I’m based in Idaho.

  1. Where do you work?

I do corporate events and catering in Idaho. I also drive a food truck called “Brown Shuga Soul Food” and teach culinary skills at a high school. During the holidays, I help out at the Boise Rescue Mission.

  1. What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces/dishes?

Knives and mandolines. With a mandoline, you can make nice, uniform slices of carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, etc. Having good knives and tools makes you way more effective in the kitchen. You have less accidents with sharp knives because you aren’t trying so hard to make the cut.

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

Sense of taste – not everyone tastes their food as they cook, but they should. Sense of touch as well. I have what I call “hot hands” – I can pick things up that other people can’t.

  1. What advice would you offer aspiring chefs?

Lighten up. You will make mistakes, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Your training will always get you out of a pinch, so remember your training.

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

Knife skills – know what knife to use for what job. Also, know how to make your “mother sauces”: your Consommé, Brown Sauce, and White Sauce.

  1. What does good food mean to you?

Food that doesn’t have to be expensive. Plain, down-home, country cooking!

  1. What trends do you see emerging in the near future?

Locally grown foods are big. A lot more microgreens are being used. Breweries and wineries are popping up everywhere. Sous-vide is becoming popular – the method of sealing your food in an airtight plastic bag and placing it in a water bath to cook.

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

I like the poly/cotton blend, as well as mesh vents under the arms or on the back. I always wear long sleeves to protect my arms, and I have to have a pocket on the front of the coat.

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

Long sleeve chef coat, cargo pants, baseball cap, and tennis shoes. I always color-coordinate my shoes and hat.

  1. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Grits. I am a Southern girl at heart – I grew up eating grits with all my meals. I’m trying to get people in Idaho to embrace grits!

  1. Favorite city to dine out in?

Portland, OR – this is where food trucks started. Great restaurants there. I have to go to Voodoo Donuts every time before I leave.

  1. Best dish you have ever made?

Shrimp and grits, with collard greens.

  1. Place you eat most often on your days off?

I don’t dine out much. I cook a lot at home. I tend to be very critical of other peoples’ food. My favorite restaurant is Tucanos Brazilian Grill.

  1. Person you would most like to cook for?

President Obama, Bobby Flay, and Giada De Laurentiis.

  1. What made you decide to become a chef?

I’ve always had a passion for cooking. I started out baking custom cakes for military balls and decided to open my own bakery when I outgrew my kitchen. At first I just walked around with a basket of muffins, going to stores and seeing if my muffins would sell before opening my own restaurant. This was what I called a “muffin run”. I finally started my food truck in 2011 and love it. My favorite thing is seeing peoples’ reactions after taking their first bite.

  1. What is new on your DVR?

I don’t have a DVR, but I watch a lot of Netflix. I love The Great Food Truck Race, The Great British Bake Off, as well as Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, The Voice, and American Idol.

 

Stay Tuned for more from Yvonne, including recipes and tips! Congratulations to our Chef of the Month!

 

 

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