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.