Photo: Chef Marshall searing a steak at Viking Cooking School at...
It’s tough sometimes to be a great cook and not make a mess. This can be especially difficult around the holidays, when there are so many different dishes cooking at once. It’s hard to stay neat and organized with so much chaos going on around you. Sometimes, you just have to throw caution to the wind and get your hands doughy. Doing this, however, can leave your chef coat a little worse for wear.
Whether you are a chef in a restaurant, at home, or anywhere in between, appearances can be everything, which is why keeping your chef uniform clean is so important. Think about it: if you’re dining in a nice restaurant and the chef comes out to greet you, do you want to see a disheveled, stained mess, or do you want to see the person who handles your food looking clean and neat? I think the choice is obvious.
So how can you keep it clean when juggling so many dishes during this high traffic time of year? We’ve put together some tips which might help with just that.
- Always follow the care labels and wash instructions on the garments. They are created by experts who really know what they’re talking about.
- Try washing your clothes inside-out. This helps to preserve the fabric, making your uniform last longer.
- Try to treat stains immediately before they set. Use a spoon or the back of a butter knife so that you don’t damage your clothing while scraping.
- Run cold water through the back of the stain as soon as possible.
- Rub liquid detergent onto the stain. You can also use lemon juice on white fabrics. Rinse well.
- Wash normally with laundry detergent. Don’t use bleach unless your garment is entirely white. If you have black or colored piping around the garment it can turn brown and eventually pink from bleaching. Use warm water rather than hot, as it can shrink cotton fabrics.
- If the stain remains, rub detergent into the stain and soak the garment in warm water for 30 minutes.
For on-the-go maintenance, always keep a stain remover stick in your pocket. You never know who you’re going to run in to!
Do you have any other tips for keeping your chef uniform clean during the holidays? Post them in the comments below!
The kitchen is often the heart of the home, especially in the case of chefs. That is why it’s so important (and so difficult) to keep this room clean. The same is also true in restaurants – a kitchen’s cleanliness can make or break your dining establishment. So how can we ensure that our kitchen is clean enough? Here are some quick and easy tips to keeping your kitchen as clean as possible.
- Wipe down all appliances, inside and out. Don’t forget to get under them too!
- Wipe down the walls, baseboards, floors and cabinets.
- Scrub out your sink and wipe down the faucet.
- Sanitize your trash can – wash and disinfect it to remove foul smells and stop bacterial growth. If you don’t have a lid, get one.
- Wash all surfaces people touch. Doorknobs, handles, buttons/controls, light switches
- Wash hands before and after handling food
- Use multiple cutting boards – prepare meat on one, produce on the other to avoid bacterial spread.
- Use plastic cutting boards instead of wood – wood shouldn’t be used in the dishwasher because it warps when wet – so it doesn’t get sanitized and can breed germs.
- Wash your rinds – raw produce causes more cases of food-sickness than uncooked poultry, because people don’t clean it well enough. Scrub and rinse all foods with inedible rinds to remove bacteria that can transfer to the flesh when you cut into it.
- Clean your sponges – kitchen sponges are a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria. Nuke them on medium for a minute or run them through the dishwasher, including a dry cycle to get them sanitized. The same can be said for your wash towels – be sure to wash these often as well.
- Keep your chef coat clean and stain free! This adds to the clean look of the kitchen overall… plus, don’t you just love a clean chef uniform?
Do you have your own cleaning tips to share? Leave a comment below for our readers!
Happy Halloween! We thought you might like to see some of the amazing works of culinary art (from people who aren’t chefs what-so-ever) that made the scene today at ChefUniforms corporate office.
Pretzel Mummy Sticks
Tombstone Banana Bread
Red Velvet Glass Cupcakes
And for the pumpkin decorating contest…
We’ll be posting some pictures of the costume contest soon, so be sure to check back!
Did your office or restaurant do anything fun for Halloween? Send us some pictures or tell us below!
It’s World Food Day again, and in case you missed it last year, today is the day that we put aside everything else to help fight world hunger, one small action at a time. There are almost 900 million hungry people in the world today (about 1 in 8 on the planet!), and that number will only keep rising if we don’t do something about it. Because of this, in 1979, United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization started putting together agricultural cooperatives that will provide much of the extra food needed to feed more than 9 billion people by 2050.
There are many ways in which you can help this great cause. At WorldFoodDayUSA.org, you can learn about the different events that are being held in order to raise money and awareness, and you can also get some ideas on how to host your own. Here are some of the ideas listed on the website:
- 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.
October is a tough month to stay healthy. You’ve got pumpkin pie, chocolates and candies surrounding you at all times, and it only gets worse as the month comes to a close. Whether its sneaking that piece of your kid’s Halloween haul or all of the tempting smells and flavors of the season that are so hard to turn down, there’s always something to lure you back to the sweets.
So how do you lighten up your diet without completely cutting out the candy corn? A good start would be to try one of these healthy Halloween treat alternatives with the family. Just be sure not to tell the kids these are healthy – they may go right back to their candy bars!
Halloween Apple Cutouts
- Mini Halloween Cookie Cutter Set
- 5 Granny Smith Apples (or more for a larger crowd)
- Store bought or homemade caramel dip (or peanut butter)
- Cut apples into thin slices across apple, leaving round apple pieces.
- On a cutting board, use mini cookie cutters to cut out assorted halloween shapes in apple pieces. Save both pieces.
- Arrange both the cut-out shapes and round pieces on plate with a bowl of caramel dip. You can sprinkle apple pieces with lemon juice to preserve and prevent browning. However, it is best to prepare these treats just prior to serving.
White Chocolate Strawberry Ghosts
- 30 fresh strawberries
- 8 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped
- 1 teaspoon shortening
- 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
- Wash strawberries and gently pat with paper towels until completely dry. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt white chocolate and shortening at 50% power; stir until smooth. Stir in extract.
- Dip strawberries in chocolate mixture; place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet, allowing excess chocolate to form the ghosts’ tails. Immediately press chocolate chips into coating for eyes. Freeze 5 minutes.
- In microwave, melt remaining chocolate chips; stir until smooth. Dip a toothpick into melted chocolate and draw a mouth on each ghost. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.
Banana Ghost Pops
- 1 cup dried shredded coconut
- 6 raisins
- 12 chocolate chips (mini)
- 3 bananas
- 1.5 cups of orange juice (You can drink it after you dunk the bananas.)
- 6 Popsicle sticks
- Cut the banana in half widthwise and insert a Popsicle stick into the flat end.
- Freeze for a few hours
- Dip in orange juice, followed by shredded coconut. Be sure to grab the dried shredded coconut. We found that moist coconut flakes did not stick to the banana well.
- Place two chocolate chips for eyes and a plump raisin for the mouth.
- Mozzarella string cheese
- Green bell pepper
- Cream cheese
- Wearing plastic gloves or sandwich bags over your hands to keep the cheese as smudge-free as possible, use a paring knife (parents only) to cut each string in half and then carve a shallow area for a fingernail just below the rounded end of each half.
- Mark the joint right below the nail as well as the knuckle joint by carving out tiny horizontal wedges of cheese, as pictured.
- For the fingernails, slice a green bell pepper into 3/8-inch-wide strips. Set the strips skin side down on your work surface and trim the pulp so that it’s about half as thick. Then cut the strips into ragged-topped nail shapes and stick them in place at the ends of the fingers with dabs of cream cheese.
- Slivered almonds
- Quarter and core an apple
- Cut a wedge from the skin side of each quarter
- Press slivered almonds in place for teeth
Do you have a favorite healthy Halloween snack? Put on your chef hats and chef coats and post it in the comments below!
October is Vegetarian Awareness Month, the time of year when we are asked to see things from a different perspective and try something new. For those of us who haven’t tried it, there are some simple options for celebrating this event, if you want to start out small. Everyone celebrates in his or her own way, of course, but here are some easy steps you can take to eating a little healthier and seeing what vegetarianism is all about.
Try to participate in Meatless Monday. Meatless Monday has become extremely popular in the last few years. It calls for everyone to take a day out of their week (Monday, to be specific) in which you don’t eat any meat. This is a great way to dip your toe in and see what it’s like to be a vegetarian for a day.
Try growing your own veggies. Growing your own vegetables will not only be great for the environment, but it will enable you to eat more vegetables than you normally would. You won’t have to sift through partially rotten veggies at the grocery store; you’ll have fresh produce right outside of your house.
Educate yourself and others. Take a moment to put yourself in another’s shoes. Don’t just dismiss something that you don’t know anything about. Educate yourself. Learn more about what vegetarianism means, beyond just “not eating meat”, and then take that knowledge and spread it to others.
Try steering clear of meat when dining out. Go for the salad or pasta instead of the burger or steak the next time you go out to a restaurant. Give it a try, and see how you feel after. You won’t be too full, too tired, or too bloated.
Share vegetarian recipes with others. Find a vegetarian or vegan recipe and share it with your friends and family. Better yet, cook it for your friends and family and watch them enjoy it for yourself! Here’s one of our favorite vegetarian recipes for a great zucchini appetizer for the whole family.
- Organic zucchinis
- Organic grape tomatoes, halved
- Olive oil
- Crushed garlic (or minced if that’s all you have on hand…that’s what I had. I’ve also used garlic powder!)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bread crumbs
- Fontina or mozzarella cheese, diced
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut zucchinis in half, lengthwise. To help the boats sit still on a baking dish, trim a little of the bottom off each boat (the outer skin/edge) for a flatter surface.
- Scoop out the seeds in the center with a spoon. (reserve seeds for something else…like a pasta sauce or in soup or muffins!). Arrange the boats on a baking dish with the inside facing up.
- Brush the surface of each zucchini with garlic, olive oil, and a little salt and pepper.
- Arrange the grape tomatoes into the zucchini boat grooves.
- Sprinkle each boat with breadcrumbs.
- Bake for about 30 minutes.
- Remove boats from the oven and place the diced cheese in between each tomato.
- Set the oven to broil and place the cheese and tomato boats back into the oven. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbling (allow them to have a golden crisp if you want too!)
- Remove boats from the oven, drizzle with a little more olive oil and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. Top with fresh basil.
Want more recipes like this? Visit our friends at WildMintShop.com!
Chef Barbie Marshall has been a professional in the culinary industry since the young age of 14, though she’d been cooking since age 5. While working at catering halls and restaurants through school, she was able to graduate from Johnson and Wales University in Norfolk, Virginia. Chef Marshall completed her culinary externship and was hired at Todd Jurich’s Bistro, where she began researching local sustainable ingredients. This work led her to a new position at Green Meadow Farm in Pennsylvania, where her culinary and farming experiences, combined with the fact that she often uses ingredients she has grown herself in her dishes, contributed to her being called The Farming Chef. She appeared on Hell’s Kitchen in 2012 with Chef Gordon Ramsay, where she finished a semifinalist, and has since been doing celebrity chef appearances and demonstrations. Chef Barbie was kind enough to share some of her knowledge and experiences in order to inspire our readers. Below, find our interview with the chef.
1. What made you decide to become a chef?
I decided to become a chef because I have always loved food and cooking. Instead of watching Saturday morning cartoons, I was watching cooking shows on PBS. When it was time for me to invest in myself for college I thought it would be great to do something I loved.
2. What education or experience would you recommend for aspiring chefs?
I recommend aspiring chefs start by going to culinary school. You’re not going to get all the information you need from culinary school but you will have a great foundation. After you invest in your education, go work in the type of establishment under the type of chef you want to become. Don’t go work in a diner, if you want to become a fine dining chef.
3. Can you tell us a little about your work in sustainable foods that led to you becoming a farmer at Green Meadow Farm?
Learning about sustainable foods started at home. I was the youngest and baby by 12 years so I spent lots of alone time with Mom. Every weekend she was shopping for the week at Farmer’s Markets and Butcher Shops. In the summer, we’d pile into the car and come into Lancaster County to actually go to the farms. Mom taught me to ask all the right questions and established the ground work. While in culinary school I started a research project to learn about Sustainable vs. Organic and Traditional vs. Conventional Farming. It was then that I decided to go work for restaurants that had a commitment to using small local farms.
A decade later I moved back to Philadelphia and soon after met Farmer Ian Brendle of Green Meadow Farm. I started slowly, seeding flats in the greenhouses in the late winter, to eventually transplanting the seedlings into the ground and harvesting the vegetables. Farmer Glenn Brendle, Ian’s partner and dad, was in a terrible car accident one day and asked that I step in for him while he recovered. None of us knew it would be 3 years but the opportunity to experience food from soil to plate is priceless.
4. What did you take away from your experience on Hell’s Kitchen?
One day I was explaining to my kids the importance of getting good grades, giving them the college talk and somehow the conversation wound up with me being dared to go on Hell’s Kitchen. I struck up a deal with them, if I tried out for HK, they had to try to do everything and anything in life.
Hell’s Kitchen was a wonderful opportunity to work with Chef Gordon Ramsay and his team professionally but having the opportunity to inspire the kids through it was priceless.
5. Do you see new dining trends surfacing?
Yes, people are becoming more aware of their ingredients and becoming more sustainable which is driving chefs and restaurants to keep up with their demands and I love it!
6. What fabric and style of chef uniform do you enjoy wearing the most?
I enjoy wearing my Mesh fabric Style #86717 jacket (Short Sleeve Chef Coat with Side Mesh Panels) the most not only because of how cool it keeps me, it also has a beautiful fit for my size.
7. Do you enjoy dining out on your free time?
Absolutely, dining out and traveling combined are my favorite free time activities! You never know when or where an inspiring dish will come from.
8. Do you try to experience your competitors’ food?
I try to experience as much food as I possibly can, prepared as many ways as I can get it. If I am competing, I definitely want to try what I am up against.
9. Where do your ideas for new recipes come from?
I get ideas from everywhere I possibly can! Some of my recipes are modified family recipes that have been passed down and some are from places I’ve traveled. While I was farming many recipes were developed based on what was harvested that day.
10. Do you think it is important to visit the markets rather than just have standard orders?
Absolutely, but I would take it a step further and actually visit the farms also. I like to be able to tell my diners that I was there, that I saw the conditions their ingredients were grown or raised in with my own eyes.
11. How do you test a new recipe before putting it on the permanent menu?
First I have to say, I don’t have a permanent menu. I cook with the seasons so everything isn’t always available all year round. Testing is a long process; first I develop the concept and make it for myself. The next step is preparing for a test group. I evaluate my group’s feedback and make adjustments if necessary.
12. Do you notice any growing resistance to the unhealthier dishes?
I think we will always have a place for our unhealthy guilty pleasures. What I am noticing more than a resistance to unhealthy dishes is a resistance to unhealthy ingredients and processed foods.
13. What is your advice for planning a menu for a new restaurant?
My advice for planning a menu for a new restaurant is to plan it properly for your demographics and staff. Don’t make your food so complicated that your diners can’t see your vision on the plate and your staff can’t execute it. Also make sure your menu fits your theme. It has to make sense.
14. Can you offer some advice for aspiring chefs?
My advice to aspiring chefs is to be committed and plan on working long, hard hours. We work while everyone else is at the party. It’s not a Monday-Friday 9-5 career so if that is what you are looking for, it won’t be for you.
15. Would you please send us a recipe?
As featured on the Celebrity Chef Stage in the Grand Market of the 2013 Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival
Pan Seared New York Strip Steaks:
- 2-6 ounce boneless New York Strip Steaks
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 1 T Olive Oil
Preheat a large sauté pan over medium High heat.
Season steaks with salt and pepper. Add the oil to the preheated pan.
Sear the steaks on all sides. 7 minutes for medium rare.
Allow meat to rest while you make the salad.
Crab, Corn and Tomato Salad:
- 2 ears of corn, steamed, cooled and cut from the cob
- 1 large ripe tomato, cored and diced
- 4 ounces Lump Crab Meat
- 2 T red onion, minced
- 1 T fresh chives, minced
- 1 T White Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 T Meyer Lemon Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients, tossing gently. Slice steak and serve over the salad.Follow Chef Barbie Marshall on Facebook.com/FarmingChef, Twitter and Instagram @BarbieMarshall, and subscribe to ChefBarbie.com for more recipes.
September 11th is a difficult day for many people throughout the country, and particularly so for the friends and families of the nearly 3,000 people who died 12 years ago today. The site of the World Trade Center has become a place to remember those who lost their lives in the tragic events in 2001. The area known as “ground zero” is now home to two reflection pools and a beautiful new tower, as well as a Memorial Museum.
Located within the footprints of the Twin Towers, the two reflection pools symbolize the loss of life and the physical void that was left after the attacks. They are each 1-acre in size, and contain the largest man-made waterfalls in the United States. Along the edge of each pool is inscribed the names of the people who lost their lives in the events of 9/11.
Standing tall next to the reflection pools, One World Trade Center (or Freedom Tower, as it was originally named in 2003), is an impressive 1776 feet tall. The height of the building, besides being the tallest in the United States and 3rd tallest in the world, is symbolic of the year of the Declaration of Independence, when we became our own nation. Though the building’s interior has yet to be completed, people are able to go to ground zero, sit by the reflection pools and the museum and view this massive building from ground level.
The Memorial Museum was built with the existing foundations of the original world trade center, and is thus as much an artifact of 9/11 as the exhibitions within its walls. Though One World Trade Center towers over it, the Museum descends more than thirty feet below ground into a central memorial hall, where visitors can touch the steel and concrete of the slurry wall that held back the Hudson River during the attacks. A private room is reserved at bedrock level for victims’ families to gather and share memories with one another.
Future plans for the area include four more office towers, 550,000 square feet of retail space and a performing arts center. While visitors flock to ground zero to see the awe-inspiring memorial gardens, One World Trade Center stands as a beacon of hope for the entire country, and promises a brighter future.
Tonight is the first night of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. For those of you who celebrate, Happy New Year! For everyone else (and even for some who celebrate), we thought we would take this opportunity to explain this holiday, and why it is held at this time of year. Though tomorrow is technically the first day of the seventh month in the Hebrew calendar, Rosh Hashanah is the new year of people, animals, and legal contracts. In Jewish tradition, this holiday marks the completion of the creation of the world.
In celebration of the New Year, Jewish people from around the world gather in synagogues for extended services in which a shofar, or ram’s horn, is blown. This serves as a literal and spiritual wake-up call for all. A common greeting on Rosh Hashanah is shana tovah u’metukah, meaning “a good and sweet new year.” It is for this reason that traditional Rosh Hashanah foods are sweet, such as apples and honey, raisin challah and honey cake. Another traditional food for this holiday is Noodle Kugel, and we’ve found a great recipe for you below, from EatingWell.com!
- 10 ounces wide egg noodles (8 cups)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 cups nonfat cottage cheese
- 2 cups nonfat plain yogurt
- 1 cup skim milk
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1 1/2 cups crushed cornflakes
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Put on your chef coat.
2. Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water until tender but firm, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and refresh with cold water. Set aside.
4. Melt butter in a small skillet over low heat. Skim off froth and cook until it begins to turn light, nutty brown, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. (Be careful not to burn the butter.) Pour into a small bowl and let cool.
5. Whisk together eggs, egg whites and cornstarch in a large bowl. Mix in cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, sugar, raisins, vanilla, salt and the browned butter. Stir in the cooked noodles and turn into the prepared baking dish. Stir together cornflakes, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over the noodle mixture.
6. Bake until browned and set, about 1 hour. (If topping starts to burn, cover with aluminum foil.) Let cool for at least 20 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm or cold.
Recipe found here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/simple-noodle-kugel_n_1048750.html
Labor Day Weekend is finally here! We all work so hard throughout the year, sometimes it’s nice to feel appreciated and receive something in return. That’s why we’re giving all of our loyal customers and fans Free Shipping on all orders over $99! This offer won’t last long, so be sure to take advantage and pick up a new chef uniform before 9/2/13 at midnight, EST! Simply enter the source code HOORAY2 at checkout.
Also, if you haven’t participated in our Photo Contest yet, it’s not too late! Simply follow the instructions below, and you could be one of two lucky winners to receive a $100 E-Gift Card to ChefUniforms.com! Good Luck!