Chef Robyn Almodovar is the owner and chef of her own Gourmet Food Truck,...
September eleventh. Just the mention of the date alone brings about feelings of anger and sadness to an entire nation of people. Just 13 years ago, one of the most tragic events in this country’s history took place, and many of us still feel the sting, even now. Nearly 3,000 people perished at the World Trade Center on that day, and their names will never be forgotten. The memorial that was built at Ground Zero draws about 10,000 visitors per day, whether or not they lost friends or loved ones on 9/11. We felt the pain as a nation, and we grieved as a nation. Now, 13 years later, we honor those who lost their lives in the attack by rebuilding as a nation.
One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, now stands as a beacon of hope for the citizens of New York and for the rest of the country. It opened its doors to tenants earlier this year, and is now a symbol of this great nation’s ability to get up and keep going after this unforgettable tragedy.
Do you remember where you were 13 years ago when you heard the news? Share your story in the comments below.
When things get heated in the kitchen (and we’re not talking about the food here…), personalities are bound to clash. Just the presence of so many independent, creative, passionate, and ambitious people in the same room will inevitably produce some disagreement. Whether you disagree with a fellow line cook about how the Beef Wellington should be prepared or are a chef who is frustrated with his or her brigade’s failure to execute up to standards, you need to know how to deal with conflict in a situation where teamwork is crucial. Learning how to cope with the multiple personalities in your kitchen and master group dynamics will bring your brigade together in the effort to put out some truly delicious food.
To facilitate this process and help you uplift your team to be its best, we have some advice on how to bring your team together by creating an environment for open, healthy communication. One of the most important things that you can realize as a chef is that each individual in your kitchen comes from different backgrounds. Some cooks may have gone to culinary school while others did not, some cooks prefer to learn how to prep a dish hands-on while others would rather observe. As a chef, it is your job to pick up on these learning styles and approaches to cooking within your brigade so that you can instruct and lead them first as individuals and then as a team. Another important thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to pull a Gordon Ramsay (even though he is extremely entertaining/talented) and verbally destroy one of your cooks at the top of your lungs in the middle of service. Instead, process your frustrations and discuss your problems with this particular cook away from the eyes and ears of others in an effort to preserve their dignity as well as really get to the heart of what their problem is.
In this more open, communicative environment, your team will feel more creative and united. Your encouragement of their potential should be rewarded with development in their career and some form of job advancement for those who truly shine.
What are some tips that you could give other chefs on how to overcome communicative barriers and become a more united team?
Chef Robyn Almodovar is the owner and chef of her own Gourmet Food Truck, Palate Party. Whether she is catering for celebrities such as mega producer Timbaland, actor John Corbett, Gym Class Heroes Travie McCoy and DJ Irie or hosting viewing parties of her own shot to stardom on Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen, a Season 10 “Top Finalist,” Chef Almodovar is out to ensure there is a party in the mouth every time. Since then, her path to the kitchen has made many twists and turns. Some of her accolades include Fabulous Five Female Chef’s Flavors of Fort Lauderdale 2012, Best Of the Best Miami New Times 2013 – Best Food Truck, Al Gusto Homestead Food Truck Basket- First Place and Top 30 Taste Makers of Broward County by Broward New Times 2013. The beauty school drop-out pursued nursing and cosmetology before officially coasting into cuisine professionally thanks to the coaxing of a late night infomercial. Throughout her career, Chef Almodovar has methodically mastered every position in the kitchen. Her culinary experience ranges from working as a line cook at Big Bear’s Brewing Company in Coral Springs, Florida, to Executive Chef at Jeff’s Beach House in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In 2008, she took to the high seas and managed the kitchen of a 172″ yacht, Lady Windridge. In 2011, with enough courage and tenacity to strike out on her own, she purchased a 24″ food truck and founded “Palate Party,” a fresh, mobile food caf that utilizes locally sourced ingredients. Plate Party was the first female-owned, non-dessert food truck in South Florida and it’s the only truck with a custom stage built on top for live entertainment, dancing and musical performances. Chef Almodovar manages the restaurant and splits her time between catering gigs and dominating the local food truck circle scene.
Congratulations Chef Robyn Almodovar on being our Chef of the Month for September!
Your food truck and Mushroom Risotto Balls rock!
1. What is the name of your company and where are you based?
Palate Party, South Florida
2. What is your birthplace?
Brooklyn, New York
3. What made you decide to become a chef?
I have always been great with my hands and found that the best way to help people is feed their bellies. Cooking is healing and I wanted to be a chef.
4. What do you enjoy doing outside of being a chef?
Riding bikes, skateboarding, dancing – hence the reason, I have a stage on top of my food truck).
5. What is your favorite social media platform?
Instagram and Twitter
6. What is your Must Have Kitchen Tool?
Spoon – a nice tablespoon
7. What is your specialty dish?
Mushroom Risotto Balls
8. What’s the strangest thing you ever ate?
Sheep Balls – just not for me.
9. Who would you most like to cook for?
My grandmother, “my Nanny.” She inspired me to become a chef.
10. Do you enjoy dining out on your free time? What is your favorite type of cuisine?
I do. I love Italian – Casa D’Angelo is my favorite restaurant.
11. What features are important to you when selecting a Chef Coat?
Mobility around the arms, lightness and flexibility. I like Egyptian cotton and short sleeves as I do a lot of outside events and ¾ sleeves for high end events.
~Her experience and advice~
12. How long have you been a chef and where did you study?
4 years and I studied at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta.
13. What education or experience would you recommend for aspiring chefs?
To never give up. Stay true to who you are, be passionate and never stop learning. Starting from the bottom is not a bad thing.
14. What would you recommend as far as on-the-job training?
To be a sponge. Absorb everything thing you can. Respect the Head Chef and who you work with. Always ask questions. Don’t be afraid to continue your education.
15. What is your greatest challenge in getting the ingredients you need?
Finding local purveyors that have a reputable product.
16. Do you try to experience your competitors’ food? Do you ever get ideas from them?
Yes. I always find ways to make their ideas better.
17. Do you think it is important to visit the markets rather than just have standard orders?
Yes. It is very important to find out what the local farmers are putting out there. You can’t eat what we don’t have.
18. How do you test a new recipe without putting it on the permanent menu?
I run features to test my customer’s palette.
19. How do chefs use technology in their day to day operations?
Timers, computers, molecular gastronomy which younger chefs are practicing.
~2014 and The Future~
20. What dining trends do you see taking place for 2014?
Farmer Table – more support for local markets using fresh sustainable ingredients
21. How has the revolution to eat healthy influenced you as a Chef?
A lot of products have chemicals that are harmful and I cook with a cleaner palette using lot of fresh ingredients.
22. What do you think of “Green Kitchens?” Is it realistic to outfit your kitchens to be environmentally friendly?
It is very costly to have a Green Kitchen. If you have sponsors behind it, you can have one and also if you are a big company but for small mom and pop restaurants, you can’t.
23. How does Social Media play a role for Chefs today?
This is the way to get themselves known. Everyone is on their phones. If you want to put yourself out there, get on one.
Most people get to leave their jobs behind when they leave work at 5 PM. But what about chefs? What do they do when their long shift filled with management and cooking is behind them? Do they wind down and relax with a nice meal when they get home, or does the very thought of prepping a meal sound like a chore?
For most chefs, cooking is a true passion – many chefs believe that using their creativity and skills to create delicious meals is a calling in life. The thought that the food they created has the power to brighten someone’s day, dazzle their pallet, and show them the wonders of flavor is what many chefs believe makes their job so fulfilling. But even in light of all these positive, fulfilling perks that come with the job, many chefs want to leave the kitchen behind them when they arrive home. According to a Yahoo! Answers forum, many chefs prefer to eat store-bought, prepared foods, such as a frozen pizza when they get home! Some even have their spouses prepare meals for them! However, many chefs just can’t get enough of the kitchen and continue to prepare delicious meals when they arrive home – whether the meal be simple and robust or elegant and complex. According to an article from the Huffington Post, world-renowned French Chef David Boulud winds down by preparing a vegetable salad Meridionale featuring eggplant, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, and shrimp.
So, chefs, what do you do when you get home at the end of the day? Do you prepare to make your own culinary creation or sit back, relax, and let the food come to you? Leave a comment below!
Italy is one of the most beautiful and romantic places in Europe and the world. It is a vibrant, rich and romantic culture and our current Chef of the Month, Chef Lorenzo Boni, hails from this popular location. When one thinks of Italy, images of art, fashion, great cuisine and a strong history comes to mind. Italy is one of the oldest countries in the world and the 5th most visited (47.7 million tourists, 2013 behind France, USA, Spain and China. Chef Lorenzo’s hometown is Bologna, Italy and located in the northern part of the country.
Here are some facts about Italy:
Population: 61.7 million (2014 estimate)
Official Languages: Italian as well as German, French and Ladin.
Popular Italian Brands:
BVLGARI: Jewelry and luxury goods brand
Giorgio Amani: fashion house
Barilla Group: food company that makes pasta, ready-made sauces and bakery products
Ferrari S.p.A: luxury sports car manufacturer
- Italians love sports. Among the popular ones are cycling, skiing, soccer and motor racing.
- Family is very important to Italians.
- Italians love their food and they are known for pizza, pasta, pesto, gelato, lasagna and mozzarella cheese.
- Italy surrounds two of the world’s smallest countries. They are San Marino in Northern Italy, the oldest republic in the world and Vatican City in Rome, the smallest country in the world. Vatican City is led by the Pope and is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, also led by the Pope.
Sources: retrieved from
Chefuniforms.com, a leading retailer of restaurant and chef uniforms, sponsored Traditional Fit Chef coats for all contestants on Food Network’s ice cream-themed competition series, King of Cones.The series which premiered August 4th, 2014, can be seen Mondays at 8pm ET/PT on Food Network.
ChefUniforms.com sponsored all of the traditional fit chef coats for each contestant on the series, outfitting each team in 4 colors: Ocean Blue, Ember Orange, Wine and Apple Green. The colors add a stylish flair and complement the ice cream theme of the competition. The Traditional Fit Chef coats have knotted cloth buttons and are made with a 65/35 Poly/Cotton blend which adds a richer fashion detail to each chef’s professional look. The coats provide a more contoured, tailored cut with extra room built into the biceps and underarm areas that both men and women can wear.
King of Cones is an ice-cream competition challenging dessert chefs to make the most incredible frozen treats imaginable. In three heart-pounding elimination challenges, a giant ice cream truck arrives with a new theme and a mystery ingredient that the four talented contestants have to translate into a uniquely delicious ice cream dessert – before time runs out. In the end, only one will scoop up the grand prize of $10,000 and be named King of Cones.
In an extremely male-dominated industry, it is no surprise that over 90% of executive chefs are men. In spite of this, many female chefs are working hard to break the glass ceiling that is keeping them from leading brigades and are paving the way to inspire other female chefs with their dedication, passion, and talent. Aside from these creative attributes and well-versed skillset, female chefs also appreciate looking professional on the job. That’s why we offer flattering, professional, and elegant choices for all of our female chefs out there.
Our best sellers tend to be black, red, and grey across the board, but many female chefs appreciate adding a touch of pink to their wardrobe. Pink contrasted with black gives female chefs a bold, fun, and professional look. This coat offers mesh side details to provide a slimming look and a cool, comfortable feel. Made from 200% Cotton Fine Line Twill, this coat is a breeze to take care of, making it extremely durable. The short sleeves and front snap closure give this coat a sophisticated, stylish look.
Available in 9 color-blocked options, this short sleeve chef coat achieves the perfect balance between style, comfort, and utility. Featuring adjustable back ties for fit, this coat makes tailoring as easy as can be! The Poly/Cotton blend makes this coat light and comfy to last you all day in the kitchen. A reversible closure and high quality fabric covered buttons complete the look.
For fans of the longer chef coat, our traditional fit coat is just for you! This elegant, fashion-forward look features plenty of storage for tools and has extra room in the arms for a more relaxed fit while maintaining a sleek look. Available in four color-blocked options, this coat also has piping to break up the garment. Chefs who love tradition will appreciate this timeless, classic look.
What do you look for in your chef coats?
Summer is sweltering and so is your kitchen! As you know, looking professional in your chef coat is very important. But staying cool and comfortable when your entire torso is heating up is quite the challenge! So, knowing which fabrics are more breathable than others is key for chefs who value comfort in their work wear.
Luckily, ChefUniforms.com has plenty of coats to keep you feeling and looking cool. Lightweight coats allow you to maintain that professional look that you value while enjoying the flexibility and moisture-wicking properties of these coats. Typically made from cotton, polyester, or a blend of both, these chef coats are crafted to keep you feeling fresh in the kitchen. These coats offer a sleek, fitted look that you’ll love made from light, silky smooth fabric that you need!
- This double breasted chef coat has our seal of lightweight approval! Featuring fashionable color-blocking details, this coat has plenty of pocket storage. Not to mention, it is easy to wash and maintain! Enjoy this tailored, classic look, in the colors you love.
Mesh coats are perfect for chefs that don’t “mesh” around in the kitchen! Our collection, offered in short and long sleeve options, retains the signature chef coat look that you appreciate as a professional.
- Our Basic Fit Mesh Back Chef coat, available in black and white, is perfect for the chefs who value the classics. The subtle mesh back detail gives you some breathing room and keeps you dry all day long! Durable and versatile, this chef coat features details such as a reversible closure, breast pocket, thermometer pocket, and finished cuffs and collar.
What fabrics keep you feeling cool in the kitchen?