Can you believe 2016 is coming to a close already? We are extremely excited to showcase our last Chef of the Month for the year: Chef Rod Knight!
We guarantee this is one Chef of the Month you don’t want to miss! Chef Rod went above and beyond and his step-by-step recipes are incredible. Read more about his life and chef career below and make sure to check back next week for his first recipe!
1. Birthplace: Danbury, Connecticut
2. Where do you work and where are you based?
I work at a French brasserie called Thursdays on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
3. What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces/dishes?
My favorite kitchen tool is the vacuum chamber machine. It allows me to literally marinate or pickle something within seconds. It significantly cuts down a lot of time and the amount of waste. Plus, once you vacuum an item it increases the shelf life exponentially.
4. What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses?
Interesting, I think that my sense of touch is my sharpest sense. I have never cut myself more than a nick and I think that has to do with my sense of touch.
5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?
I would say stay curious and focus intently on the details. Good dishes are a combination of very small parts that are put together well. Make sure you are aware of how you communicate. How you communicate is a very important part of being a chef because how you speak and what you say translates to everyone you work with and it will literally better the team.
6. What is one culinary tip every chef should know and perfect?
Keep your pans hot. You aren’t going to get far without hot pans.
7. What does good food mean to you?
Good food to me is something that is exciting to share with others. It also takes into account health and nutrition. I believe you can’t untwine the two. What we are eating and how we are eating but it has to be good for you. Also, good food is fresh with fresh ingredients. I guess to sum it up good food is passion on a plate.
8. What trends do you see emerging in the near future?
There’s been a lot of talk about no tipping. All of the servers’ wages and all of the food prices would get raised to cover the no tipping paradigm. Personally, I think if companies do raise the minimum wage, they will expect more from the employees.
I see a lot more with digital cloud services for cooks training and communication. I think we are going to see a breakdown of titles and positions and see more of the cooks and prep cooks taking on more responsibility which would allow the chefs on duty to administer more effectively. With everything online we are learning faster and quicker and the guys on my team who are in school ask me questions that stump me all the time. On a broader level, this will lead to a lot more creativity to make the things.
9. What features are important to you when selecting a Chef Coat? (particular fabric, style, sleeve length, pockets)
I definitely go with a short sleeve. I like to go with styles that breathe easy. I do like a more traditional style but with a modern fresh approach. I am slim, so I prefer a slimmer fit. I don’t like button ups. The coats I have now have material like Nike dry fit that wicks away moisture and are light weight.
10. What is your go-to chef outfit? Do you prefer coats, tees, pants, shorts, aprons, hats, etc?
For my go-to workwear, I usually wear a cargo style black pant. I typically wear one of my white chef coats. Sometimes I will wear a cap but I always wear crocs.
11. Favorite ingredient to work with?
This is hard, my favorite ingredient I like to work with is Dijon mustard. I specifically like to pair it with maple, mustard, and Cajun to make a really good marinade that is a little spicy. For a quick fix, I like to have pan seared salmon and splatter mustard on there and bread crumbs. Or red wine vinaigrette adding Dijon. I find it to be a very versatile condiment. But of course, you can’t live without eggs.
12. Best Dish you have ever made?
Okay, so this is fun. I came across this recipe maybe a year ago. I came across a website that had Berbere, an Ethiopian spice. Last year I really got into spices. This one is really cool, so I tried it out. It is smoky, spicy and red in color. It is extensive work to toast it and to process it. It has a very eastern flavor, I guess they have been using it for centuries. So I went to the fish market and got Bronzino. I was having some people over for dinner so I did a dry rub and got a really nice roast on the fish, it was almost magical. I served it with lemon roasted tomatoes. It was very exotic, with Chile peppers, garlic, ginger, basil, and a little bit of nutmeg.
13. Place you eat most often on your days off?
There is a sushi place in Pompano Beach. It is called 9 Face Sushi and they knock it out of the ballpark. Always fresh, the service is amazing. I like to sit outside and enjoy the view.
14. Person you would most like to cook for?
You know what, I’d like to cook for Stan Lee.
15. What made you decide to become a chef?
I am an only child. My mom is a chemical engineer. I would get out of school and go home. I would watch 3 shows on Food Network. These shows got me into and gave me permission to get my hands dirty. I would have food made, I can’t imagine it was good at the time. So I started doing things in elementary school.
But I applied and got into a Connecticut vocational technical school in the culinary department when I was in high school. I started learning techniques. My junior year, Johnson and Wales got accreditation and I got an associate’s degree in culinary. It took burning a lot of things and figuring out where I went wrong and teaching it to the next person. To sum it up, I became a chef because of curiosity and a lot of it has to do with the fact that I am creative. Being a chef, I found a happy place to be and express my creativity every day.
16. What is new on your DVR?
On my DVR is Preacher, The Walking Dead, and The Flash. Those are my top three shows that I make time to watch.
Once again thank you to Chef Rod Knight and don’t forget to stay tuned for his recipes that will be featured throughout the month.