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September 2018 Chef of the Month Penelope Wong

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We are thrilled to introduce our September Chef of the Month, Chef Penelope Wong! Since childhood, Chef Penelope has spent her life in the kitchen, from working at her family’s restaurant to being the Executive Chef at Glenmoor Country Club in Colorado. She displays her passion for food in her dishes and in her diligent work towards learning something new every day. Chef Penelope will soon be exploring new goals in the world of cuisine! Read below to find out more about Chef Penelope Wong!

1. Where were you born? Denver, Colorado

Where do you work and where are you based? I am currently the Executive Chef at Glenmoor Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, CO.  I’ve been here for 20 years and have been the Executive Chef for the last 14 years.  I will be finishing up my tenure here in September of 2018 to pursue other goals.

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

I’m very old fashioned.  While I love my tweezers and my chef spoons, when it comes to kitchen tools I’m pretty simple, my favorite knife is my Messermeister Oliva santoku knife and a well-seasoned sauté pan that’s great for getting a perfect sear on a beautiful fish fillet as well as finishing a pan sauce in. I don’t even own a gnocchi board; whenever I make gnocchi (which is quite often), I use the back of a fork to shape them!

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

Hmmmmm…that’s a toss up between smell and taste.  I’ve got an extremely keen palette for layering of flavors and can easily pin point missing layers. And most times I can easily detect which items are being prepped by the aromas wafting through the kitchens and throughout the clubhouse.

4. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

 Never stop learning.  The greatest thing about this industry is that there is ALWAYS something to learn.  Whether you’ve been classically trained, or you grew up in restaurants your whole life, there is something new to learn every single day in the kitchen.  Humility is the gateway to knowledge. I come in to my kitchen everyday with the hopes of learning something new, whether it be from one of my dishwashers regarding cuisine from their childhood or from one of my fellow managers in how they dealt with a difficult situation.

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

If there’s ever just a little something missing and you can’t place your finger on it, add a splash of vinegar. It’ll brighten all the flavors you’ve already infused into the dish and add another layer.

6. What does good food mean to you?

Good food is everything.  Good food is nostalgia and integrity to me.  My integrity as a chef is because of the flavors of my childhood.  Most of my childhood memories center around food, and most of it involved my large family and close friends.  If you think about it, have you ever had a bad memory in which good food was involved?  Bad memories and good food simply cannot coexist.

7. What features are important to you when selecting your chef outfit?

Especially as a woman, comfort and durability are key.  I’ve purchased chef coats in the past that were cut ‘for a woman’s shape’ only to find out they were tailored to help accentuate a woman’s shape rather than to fit a woman’s shape.  When I’m in the kitchen all day prepping for service, prepping for large events, getting through service, going through inventories on order days and breaking down boxes on delivery days, I could really care less that my chef’s coat accentuated my womanly shape.  A woman’s chef coat and pants should fit her body with comfort and provide ease of movement that comes with being a working chef.

8. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Kaffir Lime

9. Favorite City to dine out in?

Bangkok

10. Best Dish you have ever made?

Yum Kai Dao – Thai fried eggs.  This was one of my father’s favorite dishes to eat. Although maybe not the best dish I’ve ever made; but one of the tastiest.  Most people have a misperception about chefs being difficult to please.  But this is one of my favorite dishes to cook and eat.  It’s rice and eggs.  It doesn’t take much more than that to satisfy chefs.

11. What you like to eat most often on your days off?

Noodles.  I’m a sucker for noodles.  Chinese hand pulled noodles. Thai noodles. Pho noodles. Pasta noodles. Dumplings (technically still a noodle, just flattened and stuffed with something!)

12. Person you would most like to cook for?

My mother.  She passed when I was 16; and although many childhood memories include dishes that she taught me how to make, I never had the opportunity to cook a meal for her when I finally took on this profession as a career.

13. What made you decide to become a chef?

The passion for food is in my blood.  As a child, I was always more interested in what was going on in the kitchen rather than running around with my cousins and playing.  I was always wanting to learn in the kitchen and when I was finally allowed to help in the kitchen with the matriarchs in my family during Sunday dinners, I remember how proud I was of myself to finally earn the privilege of being included in this weekly ritual.  When I turned 12, I would go to my family’s restaurant to help out on the weekends, and rather than staying in the front of the house to help seat people or ring people up, I ended up in the kitchen everyday helping my father and grandfather with prep and eventually getting through services.

Connect with Our September Chef of the Month:

Instagram: @penelopewong

 

Chef Claude’s Sirloin & Mushroom Casserole Recipe

sirloinOur August Chef of the Month, Chef Claude of Pizza Rustica Hollywood, has shared with us a recipe to save for a romantic date or dinner party for two – his sirloin with a mushroom casserole and white bean tomato salad. Steak can sometimes be a daunting challenge, but Chef Claude’s elegant recipe, featuring two succulent side dishes, can be easily prepared with the steps below!

 Ingredients: 

1 7oz lean sirloin

Butter

Olive Oil

White Wine

Red Wine Vinegar

1 cup mushrooms

Minced garlic

Parsley

Asiago Cheese

2 Tomatoes

1/4 Onion

1/4 Can of White beans

Salt/Pepper to taste

Directions: 

Lean Sirloin

  1. Pre-heat a pan and brush your steak with half an ounce of olive oil and salt/pepper.
  2. Sear steak on hot pan for 2 minutes on both sides, if steak is an inch thick.
  3. Place on a cutting board to rest for at least 5 minutes. Once rested, slice steak against the grain.

Mushroom Casserole

  1. Pre-heat butter and olive oil in a pan.
  2. Cook mushrooms in butter and olive oil at medium heat until tender.
  3. Halfway through cooking, add minced garlic, parsley, salt/pepper, and a splash of white wine.
  4. Let liquids deglaze the pan and add asiago cheese. Let cheese melt at low heat while covered.

Tomato White Bean Salad

  1. Dice 2 tomatoes and a ¼ of an onion. Place in a bowl.
  2. Add fresh basil, parsley, olive oil, and ¼ can of white beans that have been rinsed.
  3. Splash with red wine vinegar and salt/pepper to taste.
  4. Toss salad and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Serve with tortilla chips on the side.

Connect with Our August Chef of the Month:

Shop his look!

Instagram: @pizzarusticahollywood

Facebook: Pizza Rustica- Hollywood

 

Chef Claude’s Sicilian Classic Pizza Recipe

IMG_3382Our August Chef of the Month, Chef Claude has shared with us a fan favorite recipe – his delicious Sicilian Pizza! As the owner of the Pizza Rustica Hollywood location, he is surrounded by pizza everyday. Everyone loves pizza and each person has their own favorite. However, you can never go wrong with a classic cheese Siclian pizza! Get his recipe below to make yours at home!

Ingredients: 

1 package of aged pizza dough, precooked

Tomato sauce (recommended with basil, parsley and garlic)

Fresh mozzarella cheese

Directions: 

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F°.

2. Roll out your precooked dough onto a sheet pan.

3. Add cold tomato sauce that has fresh basil, prasley and garlic on top of the dough. You can buy tomato sauce or make your own!

4. Top the dough and sauce with fresh mozzarella cheese.

5. Cook for 10 minutes. Slice into squares and enjoy!

Connect with Our August Chef of the Month:

Shop his look!

Instagram: @pizzarusticahollywood

Facebook: Pizza Rustica- Hollywood

 

August 2018 Chef of the Month Claude Luciani

We are proud to introduce our August 2018 Chef of the Month, Chef Claude Luciani! After growing up in the Bronx, he made the move to South Florida where he now owns the Pizza Rustica Hollywood location. His mouthwatering, cheesy pizza will not disappoint! Although he loves pizza, you will find him cooking all different meals during his time off. Read more below about Chef Claude’s love for the art of cooking.

1. Where were you born?

I was born in Bronx, NY.

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

I own the Pizza Rustica Hollywood location in Hollywood, Florida.

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

I actually have two favorite kitchen tools – my 8 inch knife and my stainless steel pan. I have cooked with these tools for over 12 years.
4. What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses?

My sharpest sense is touch. Feel is very important as a chef.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

My advice would be to never give up and always make every dish a masterpiece.

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

Every chef should know and perfect their knife skills. They are not only important for safety, but also for your dish’s presentation.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food is using quality ingredients and not trying to over complicate your dish.

8. What features are important to you when selecting your chef outfit?

Comfort and mobility are most important for my chef outfit.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

My favorite ingredient is olive oil.

10.Favorite City to dine out in?

New York!

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

Baked avocado with tomato basil salad and sauteed shrimp in a wine and butter sauce.

12. What you like to eat most often on your days off?

I like to grill different varieties of meats and vegetables on my days off.

13. Person you would most like to cook for?

I would most like to cook for Gordon Ramsay.

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

I always loved to cook and it allows me to be creative in my every day life.

Connect with Our August Chef of the Month:

Instagram: @pizzarusticahollywood

Facebook: Pizza Rustica- Hollywood

 

Chef Andres’s Thai Chicken Empanadas Recipe

thaichickenempanadasIf you like sweet, spice and everything nice you are in for a treat with Chef Andres’s Thai Chicken Empanadas! Add some extra flavor into your kitchen with this delicious dish. You wont be disappointed with the blend of curry and coconut and some heat! Read below to get his recipe.

Ingredients:

6 # boneless chicken thighs

3 large white onions (sliced)

4 tbs red curry paste

2 cans coconut milk

2 cans coco Lopez

4 cups water

1 pk 15 oz disco dough

1 qt Thai basil (leaves only)

1 cup garlic cloves

2 Tbs chopped ginger

1/2 cup chopped scallions

1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 cup chili paste

1 cup blended oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Chicken filling directions:

  1. Heat your oven to 375.
  2. On a sheet tray, place the chicken thighs and add oil, salt and pepper. Marinade well and place it into the oven until fully cooked (about 18 minutes).
  3. On a rondeau pan, add cooking oil and add white onions until caramelized. Add red curry paste until fully incorporated.
  4. Add coconut milk and coco Lopez to mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the water and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Work on the chicken thighs – fully cook and shredded with your hands into thin strings, then add to the cooking sauce and let it incorporate it for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a sheet tray and let it cool down.
  6. Once the mixture has cooled, add 2 Tbs of the chicken mixture to a disco dough. Then close it with your hands making sure you seal both ends, set aside until finish the rest of the mixture.

Thai basil mojo directions:

  1. In a blender add the Thai basil leaves, garlic, ginger, scallions, lime juice, and chili paste.
  2. Blend until it’s fully incorporated, then add the oil slowly and let it infuse.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste, set aside.

Cooking and plating directions:

  1. In a deep fryer at 375 f, add 2 of the empanadas and cook until golden brown for about 3/4 minutes.
  2. After is done, cut it in half add the Thai basil mojo as a dipping sauce and garnish with micro cilantro.

Enjoy!!!!

Connect with Our July Chef of the Month:

Shop His Look!

Instagram: @chef_andy_one

Facebook: Andres Sen Sang

 

Chef Andres Callao Mahi Tacos Recipe

mahitacosWith Summer coming to an end, we are ready to take advantage of all the freshest seasonal ingredients before Fall arrives! A delicious fish dish is always welcome in the Summertime. Our July Chef of the Month, Chef Andres, has shared his Callao Mahi taco recipe with smoky aioli, huacatay sauce and Peruvian salsa criolla. Get his recipe below to taste for yourself!

Ingredients:

2 lb mahi fish
2 Qts whole milk
2 cups cusqueña beer
1 can chipotle peppers
1 Qt mayonnaise
1 Qt basil leaves
1 Qt mayonnaise
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup white vinegar
1  lemon
Salt and pepper
1 red onion
1 carrot
1/4 bunch of chive batton
1 pc Fresno pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 limes
Micro cilantro
Corn tortilla

Directions:

  1. Cut the mahi into thin, but wide pieces.
  2. Marinate fish with milk and cusqueña beer .
  3. Make the smoky aioli: Combine 1 part chipotle peppers and 2 parts mayonnaise into a bowl. Add salt and pepper and a little lemon juice into mixture.
  4. Make the huacatay sauce: In a vita mix add basil leaves, mayonnaise, garlic, white vinegar, juice from lemon, salt and pepper and blend until combined into a smooth sauce.
  5. Make the Salsa Criolla: In a metal bowl mix sliced red onions, julienne carrots, chive Battons and Fresno peppers, and chopped cilantro. Add lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Plate with corn tortillas garnished with sliced limes and micro cilantro (a lot of layers of flavors and kick).

Enjoy!

Connect with Our July Chef of the Month:

Shop His Look!

Instagram: @chef_andy_one

Facebook: Andres Sen Sang

 

July 2018 Chef of the Month Andres Sen Sang

We are so excited to introduce our July Chef of the Month, Chef Andres Sen Sang!  He is a recent winner of Chef Showdown 8 with his signature Quinoa Latina and Chili 35 dish. If you do not find him in the kitchen as the Executive Chef for Suyo, a GastoFusion restuarant in the Bronx, you can find him with his family or working on his own business ventures – Eighty6Brand. Read below to find out more about Chef Andres!

1. Where were you born?

I was born and raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador. After High School, I came to the states with my father and brother to visit. My father asked me if I wanted to go back home or stay in the states and I chose to stay. It was one of the best decisions I made in my life!

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

I am currently the Executive Chef at Suyo GastroFusion in the Bronx. It’s a New Restaurant and Bar in the Bronx serving Peruvian and Asian infused dishes. We just released the Bar menu and will be releasing the Dinner menu in a few weeks. We are bringing progressive/ modern cuisine to the Bronx. Now you don’t have to go to the city to get that kind of dining experience. The Bronx is where it’s at right now, we are really up and coming.

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

My favorite tool in the kitchen is my knife that I got while I was at The International Culinary Center. I decorated the end of the knife with yellow, blue and red tape to represent my Ecuadorian flag. I’m proud of where I came from.

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

I would have to say my sight and touch – these two go together for me. I use my sight to take in my surroundings. I look at colors, shapes and sizes and then I also feel the texture of things. I combine these things to create my dishes. This is why they go hand in hand.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

My advice for aspiring chefs would be to keep grinding. You have to keep motivating yourself daily. Always be consistent in your work and always maintain a good work ethic. Make connections with people everywhere you go, networking is a powerful thing in this industry. Stay humble and grateful for all the opportunities you get. Don’t ever be afraid to fail, it actually turns out to be a great lesson for next time.

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

I would say to always listen and pay attention to details. Always make sure that your kitchen is organized. Your stations should be prepped and set for success. A successful Chef once told me, “always be proactive not reactive.” That has really stuck with me.

7. What does good food meant to you?

Good food to me means that it was cooked with love and passion. Good food is that type of food that you always remember exactly where you were, who you were with and how delicious and satisfying the food was. It becomes more than just good food, it becomes a memorable dining experience.

8. What features are important to you when selecting your chef outfit?

Bronx Chefs are all about swag. You don’t necessarily have to be professional all the time, but you should always look clean. I’m all about a fitted hat, ripped jeans and sneakers. It should be comfortable and allow me to move. It’s a new generation out here and I’m so proud to be a part of it.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Salt and pepper. Sometimes these two ingredients are all you need… oh and love. Salt, pepper and love.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

I would have to say my hometown of Guayaquil. I mean, there is nothing more satisfying that food from your home town. It’s delicious and nostalgic.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

Sesame crusted Salmon with Sesame Edamame Mash and Jicama tossed in Ginger Carrot Miso Dressing.

12. What you like to eat most often on your days off?

Days off, what are those?!?! Just kidding… On the rare occasion that I get a day off I like to have a nice piece of steak with a baked potato and a beer.

13. Person you would most like to cook for?

I would most like to cook for my parents. They are back in Ecuador and I have not had the honor of cooking for them as of yet. I hope to make it happen soon.

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

First of all, I never in my life imagined that I was going to be a Chef. I got my first job in this industry in the bakery at Virgil’s BBQ in NYC. I took the job because I was young and needed money. I slowly realized that I actually liked what I was doing. I worked my way up from that position. As I worked my way up, my passion for cooking grew. It just came so natural. I guess it was my “calling” as people put it. I couldn’t have made this all happen without support from my wife, family and friends. I truly love what I do and I love the journey I’ve taken to get here.

Connect with Our July Chef of the Month:

Instagram: @chef_andy_one

Facebook: Andres Sen Sang

 

Chef Julie’s Cream Cheese Frosting

Our June Chef of the Month Julie Herrera-Lemler of You Betcha Cupcake! has shared some delectable sweets with us! To top it all off, she has given us the secret to her delicious cream cheese frosting. Feel free to use this recipe for cupcakes, cake or even dip if you prefer! Take a look below and taste for yourself!

Frosting Ingredients:

(Frosting makes approximately 20 cupcakes)

8 oz  Cream Cheese

8 oz  Butter (salted)

2-3 cups of Powdered Sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla (or Vanilla Bean paste)

Prep:

Bring cream cheese and butter to room temperature.

Directions:

1. Add Cream Cheese and Butter to mixing bowl with wire whisk.

2. Mix on low for 1 minute.

3. Scrap sides of bowl and add vanilla.

4. Mix on low for 1 minute. Add powdered sugar. Be sure to scrape sides as you go.

5. Once powdered sugar is incorporated, mix on high for 2 minutes.

6. Spread onto your dessert of choice & enjoy!

Connect with Our June Chef of the Month:

Website: http://www.youbetchacupcake.com/

Instagram: @youbetchacupcake

Facebook: You Betcha Cupcake

Twitter: @YouBetchaCupcak

Chef Julie’s Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Pumpkin Pie is always a fan favorite during the holiday season. Time to lighten it up with Chef Julie’s Pumpkin Pie Cupcake recipe! Experience the holiday warmth in a fluffy cupcake all year round finished off with a whipped cream frosting – what could be better!?  YBC-pic Pumpkin Pie

Cupcake Ingredients:

Homemade pie crust

1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin

4 large eggs

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup water

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Whipped Cream Frosting:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Ground cinnamon or nutmeg

 Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 24 muffin cups with grease proof liners.
  2. On a work surface, roll out pie crust.
  3. Cut 24 circles with a floured 2-1/4-in. round cookie cutter, re-rolling scraps as necessary.
  4. Press one pastry circle into each liner. Bake 5 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
  5. In a large bowl, beat pumpkin, eggs, oil, water and vanilla until well blended.
  6. In another bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, pie spice and salt; gradually beat into pumpkin mixture.
  7. Pour 1/4 cup batter into each prepared cup.
  8. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, rotating pans halfway through baking. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
  9. For whipped cream frosting: in a large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners’ sugar; beat until soft peaks form. Pipe onto cupcakes with your favorite piping tip and sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg.

Enjoy!

Connect with Our June Chef of the Month:

Shop Her Look!

Website: http://www.youbetchacupcake.com/

Instagram: @youbetchacupcake

Facebook: You Betcha Cupcake

Twitter: @YouBetchaCupcak

 

Chef Julie’s Prize Winning Key Lime Pie Cupcakes Recipe

YBC-pic Key Lime Pie CupcakeOur June Chef of the Month, Chef Julie, has a special treat to share with us! Her Key Lime Pie cupcakes can’t be beat – they even won a prize! These delicious cupcakes, perfect for a refreshing Summer treat, are made with a homemade pie crust at the bottom, a key lime cake, key lime cream cheese and butter frosting complete with a fresh raspberry on top. Get her prize-winning recipe below!

Ingredients:

Homemade Pie Crust

1 cup butter, softened

2-1/2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

1/2 cup Key lime juice

2 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 cups self-rising flour

1-1/2 cups buttermilk

Frosting:

12 ounces cream cheese, softened

1-1/2 cups butter, softened

2-3/4 to 3 cups confectioners’ sugar

6 tablespoons Key lime juice

Fresh raspberries

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Line 32 muffin cups with greaseproof liners. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out pie crust. Cut 32 circles with a floured 2-1/4-in. round cookie cutter (discard remaining pastry or save for another use). Press one pastry circle into each liner. Bake 5 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

1. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until crumbly. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in lime juice. In another bowl, whisk flours; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.

2. Pour batter into prepared cups.

3. Bake 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

4. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until blended. Beat in confectioners’ sugar, alternate with lime juice, to reach desired consistency.

5. Frost cupcakes; top with raspberries. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 32 cupcakes.

**Recipe Note: As a substitute for 1-1/2 cups self-rising flour, place 2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a measuring cup. Add all-purpose flour to measure 1 cup. Combine with an additional 1/2 cup all-purpose flour.

Connect with Our June Chef of the Month:

Shop Her Look!

Website: http://www.youbetchacupcake.com/

Instagram: @youbetchacupcake

Facebook: You Betcha Cupcake

Twitter: @YouBetchaCupcak

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