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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

June 2018 Chef of the Month Julie Herrera-Lemler

 

YBC-Pic 2018 3
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We are excited to introduce you to our June Chef of the Month, Chef Julie Herrera-Lemler! She is an prize-winning baker as well as a jack of all trades! If she is not baking, you can find her teaching baking classes, public speaking or even officiating weddings! Read below for more on our June Chef of the Month and her tips and tricks to having a successful career in baking!

1. Where were you born? 

I was born in San Jose, CA.

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

I am the owner of You Betcha Cupcake! In Rochester, MN

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

I have a couple favorite kitchen tools. I love Several different sized cookie scoops.  These are essential for measuring just the right amount of batter for different sized cupcakes. I also need baking tips for creating different frosting looks to accompany the perfect garnish. Finally, I must have my multi kitchen timer – because a busy girl has a million things going at once.  Mine has four timers on it – all with different alarm tones.

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

My eyes. Everyone eats with their eyes first. Details and neatness matters. If you have a beautiful dish – that is the very first impression of what’s to come.

  5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

I have a couple of things. Volunteer in a kitchen whenever you can. Get the experience of working in different kitchens with different people. Another tip is to find yourself a mentor.  A good mentor (or two) will guide you on the right path.

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

Be organized. Set everything up prior to your start and you won’t have to run around looking for things.

  7. What does good food meant to you?

Good food makes everyone happy. Everyone has to eat but I means something when you take the time, make it right and it turns out good/great!

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

Color and comfort are most important.

 9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 

Berries. Berries are not only delicious but they are beautiful in any dish. The color of berries is like no other.

 10. Favorite City to dine out in? 

My own! Rochester, MN has many new places and has become quite the culinary town in the last couple of years.

 11. Best Dish you have ever made? 

Key Lime PIE Cupcakes. They are my prize winning cupcakes. It is made with a homemade pie crust at the bottom, a key lime cake, key lime cream cheese and butter frosting and a fresh raspberry on top.

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

Anything Asian!

 13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

My father. He passed away before seeing me thrive in my elements of baking. Before he passed, he told me he liked my cooking.  That has stuck with me to this day.  Although he enjoyed my cooking, I know he would have enjoyed my sweet treats.

 14. What made you decide to become a chef?

My passion started with a bake sale for charity. I held it two years in a row and by the end of the second year; I discovered that I really had a passion for creating beautiful small treats.

Connect with Our June Chef of the Month:

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

Instagram: @youbetchacupcake

Facebook: You Betcha Cupcake

Twitter: @YouBetchaCupcak

Chef Will’s Cajun Rubbed Pork Belly

Pork Belly Cheesy Grits.jpgOur May Chef of the Month has done it again with a show-stopping recipe full of delicious goodness! Try his Cajun Rubbed Pork Belly with Cheesy Grits if you are looking for a dish to indulge.

Ingredients:

1 lb Pork Belly

Cajun Rub (as needed)

Grits (as desired)

4 Tbsp Sliced Butter

Salt

Pepper

Thyme

1/2 Cup Fontina Cheese

1/2 Cup White Cheddar Cheese

Milk (1/2 liquid for the grits)

Chicken Stock (1/2 liquid for the grits)

Honey

Smoked Gouda

Pork Belly Directions:

1. Score the skin side of a 1lb pork belly, and rub entire pork belly with Cajun rub. Let refrigerate overnight if possible.

2. Roast pork belly in pan or baking sheet for 45 minutes at 425 degrees F for 1 1/2 hours. Cover with foil and let rest before slicing.

Cheesy Grits Directions:

 1. Cook grits mixture of half milk and half chicken stock – amount of grits and liquids are according to your package (usually 1 part grits to 4 parts water). Bring to a boil, constantly stirring.

2. When grits are finished, add 4 Tbsp sliced butter, cajun rub, salt, pepper, thyme, 1/2 c each Fontina and White Cheddar cheese (can use more for even creamier and cheesier grits).

3. Add more milk if grits are too thick and stir well. Taste for seasonings.

4. Quick pan fry sage, about 40 seconds, then immediately dip in honey. Shave the smoked Gouda and begin plating!

Hands down the best pairing of grits on this planet!

Enjoy!

Connect with Our May Chef of the Month:

Shop His Look! 

Website: https://www.ragincajuncookin.com/

Instagram: @theblackbeltchef

Facebook: Ragin’ Cajun Cookin’

Twitter: @ragincajuncookn

Chef Will’s Triple Citrus Dover Sole Ceviche Recipe

Dover SoleSummer is near and we are ready for the fresh, light summertime flavors! Our May Chef of the Month, Chef Will Staten of Ragin’ Cajun Cooking, has shared a fresh fish recipe that will leave your taste buds wanting more. He serves us fresh Dover Sole ceviche with triple citrus ingredients – perfect for the Summer season!

Ingredients:

1 lb Dover Sole

Juice from 1 Large Navel Orange

Juice from 8 Limes

Juice from 1 Lemon

1 Cup Crème Fraiche

3 Tbsp Dill, chopped

3 Tbsp Basil, chopped

1 Fresno Chili, minced

10 Corn Tortillas

Sea Salt (as desired)

Sriracha (as desired)

Directions:

1. Cut the Dover Sole into thin but wide pieces – silver dollar size.

2. Combine the orange juice, lime juice and lemon juice (about 2 cups).

3. Marinate the 1lb of Dover Sole in the citrus juices for 30-40 minutes.

4. Mix together 1 cup of crème fraiche with the chopped dill, chopped basil and Fresno chili (can use more chili if you prefer more heat).

5. Cut 10 corn tortillas in fourths and deep fry to make crispy chips. Drain on paper towel and immediately season with sea salt and lime juice.

6. Use Chef Will Staten’s Piri Piri sauce or Sriracha for less heat.

7. Toss Dover Sole in crème fraiche mix.

8. Spoon Dover Sole onto chips and drizzle the sauce around the plate. Garnish with dill fronds.

Enjoy!

Connect with Our May Chef of the Month:

Shop His Look! 

Website: https://www.ragincajuncookin.com/

Instagram: @theblackbeltchef

Facebook: Ragin’ Cajun Cookin’

Twitter: @ragincajuncookn

 

Chef Will’s Jerk Chicken Platter Recipe

Jerk Chicken plantainsChef Will’s featured recipe is perfect for a family meal full of flavor and zest! Our May Chef of the Month’s recipe will test your skills and taste buds with his New Orleans inspired Jerk Chicken Platter and add some Creole spice into your kitchen.

Ingredients:

1 Whole chicken, broken down

1-1 ½ Cups marinade

1 Onion, diced

1 Thumb ginger, minced

7 Garlic cloves, minced, divided

Vegetable oil, as needed

1 ½ tsp Salt

1 ½ tsp Pepper

1 ½ tsp Allspice

1 ½ tsp Cloves

1 ½ tsp White pepper

1 Cup Long grain rice

1 Cup Black beans

1/3 cup Chopped scallions

1 cup Chicken stock

1 cup Coconut milk

3 Habanero peppers, divided

1 Plantain

Brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon – for dusting

1 Mango, diced

4 Sprigs of cilantro

1 Lime

½ tsp Cumin

Jerk Chicken Directions:

1. Season and marinade chicken pieces in Chef Will Staten’s Jerk Marinade, or use a pre-made spice rub and sauce (fresher is better for best results and flavors). Marinade overnight for best results.

2. Grill chicken until slightly charred, then finish in oven, or put chicken in roasting pan, and bake at 375 for 1 to 1 1/2 hrs, until juices run clear. Turn over twice during cooking process. When juices run clear, turn on broiler and char skin (about 5-7mins).

3. While chicken cooks, prepare rice & peas, Mango-Habanero salsa & fried plantains.

Rice & Peas Directions:

1. Saute 1 diced onion, 1 thumb of minced ginger & 5 minced garlic cloves in vegetable oil. Season with 1 1/2 tsp each salt, pepper, allspice, cloves, and white pepper.

2. Add 1 cup long grain rice and toast. Add 1 cup black beans and stir to mix.

3. Add 1/3 cup chopped scallions, then add 1 cup chicken stock & 1 cup coconut milk and bring to a boil.

4. Add 1 pierced Habanero to the pot and drop heat to low. Cover and cook for 15-18 minutes until rice is done.

5. Fluff and season more if needed.

Fried Plantains Directions:

1. Slice plantain(s) lengthwise and deep fry for 3 minutess until crispy and done.

2. Drain on paper towel and dust with brown sugar, nutmeg & cinnamon as desired.

Mango Habanero Salsa Directions:

1. Dice 1 mango, 2 Habaneros, 4 cilantro sprigs, 2 minced garlic, the juice & zest of 1 lime, and 1/2 tsp each cumin, salt & pepper.

2. Plate and garnish with sliced jalapenos (YES, it’s supposed to have a kick!)

Enjoy!

Connect with Our May Chef of the Month:

Shop His Look! 

Website: https://www.ragincajuncookin.com/

Instagram: @theblackbeltchef

Facebook: Ragin’ Cajun Cookin’

Twitter: @ragincajuncookn

 

May 2018 Chef of the Month Will Staten

Meet Chef Will Staten, we’re happy to

Will_Coat_Grill
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 introduce him as our May 2018 Chef of the Month! Chef Staten is the founder and head chef of Ragin’ Cajun Cookin’, Dubs’ Rubs Spice Line and Dubs’ Po’ Boy Shop. You can find him in Las Vegas cooking or working on special projects. Read below to find out more about Chef Will Staten!

 1. Where were you born? 

I was born in Maine, but due to my parents both being in the military, we traveled the United States and the world living in various cities, states and countries.

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

I own and operate Ragin’ Cajun Cookin’, which is a private chef, catering & restaurant consulting business. We are currently finishing up the outfitting of a food truck as well as creating a restaurant/service industry hospitality group to go along with a site location for 2 cafes and grab-n-go’s.

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

My favorite kitchen tool for creating dishes has got to be my spoons from Chef Spoons. They allow me to precisely place each ingredient where needed, plus they give me the ability to mix perfectly and taste test as I cook.

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

My sharpest sense would probably have to be my ears and nose (yes 2). My reasoning is because you should be able to actually hear when food is done, as well as smell when something is good or bad. I know when fried chicken is done by the sound it makes (or stops making), much like I know when gumbo is finished or ruined, by the smell it gives off.

 5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

The advice I’d give young chefs would be the advice that was given to me as a teenager and throughout college while earning my degrees. Enjoy it to the fullest and learn as much as you can. When you feel you know everything about the business, it’s time for you to walk away because you no longer can offer anyone anything due to being closed-minded.

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

With my expertise being in the Cajun-Creole realm, I would personally have to say every chef should know how to make a roux. Not just one type, but multiple types since they cover many different dishes and cuisines.

 7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food means that people are smiling, their mouths are full, and their bellies are content. Good food is the feeling of always wanting more, yet knowing when to stop as to not get tired of the cuisine or style of cooking.

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

The features I look for most when selecting my chef outfits are those that represent my personality, my character, my interests and my culinary view. I like contrasting colors because it represents my understanding of the Yin-Yang concept, the give and take of the culinary world and life.

 9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 

My favorite ingredient to work with has got to be garlic. There’s so many ways to incorporate it and have different effects on the dish and the palate. From fried garlic and black garlic, to garlic paste and garlic infused oils, the possibilities are endless.

 10. Favorite City to dine out in? 

From living in many places and doing business and vacations across the globe, I’ve got to say that my hometown of Las Vegas is my favorite dine-out city. I have friends in many restaurants and because we are now the “Culinary Capital of the World”, how could I NOT pick Vegas?!

 11. Best Dish you have ever made? 

Judging by my belief, my daughter’s, my wife’s, friends or clients, there is a different answer for each. In my personal opinion, I would have to say my Jambalaya. It’s what everyone knows me for in every city I travel to.

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

On my days off I think I’m like every other chef. I like to eat steak, bacon cheeseburgers and tacos. Simple stuff that takes no time and little cleanup (if done right).

 13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

I’ve cooked for many world renowned chefs in the past, but I would say I would love to cook for Paul Prudhomme and Justin Wilson (if they were still alive) or Leah Chase, as they represent the style of cooking that I have adopted through years of tradition, learning and experiences.

 14. What made you decide to become a chef?

I actually stumbled on to becoming a chef because of the redundant and crappy meals my parents would always make. I got my first job at 15 years old and started experimenting with the ingredients we had at the restaurant where I worked. Because the choice was mine to create something new or stick with the regular menu items, I never got bored of what I got to eat. Being creative lead me to many different careers within culinary and even the martial arts world, which in turn was a mirror image of culinary.

Connect with Our May Chef of the Month:

Website: https://www.ragincajuncookin.com/

Instagram: @theblackbeltchef

Facebook: Ragin’ Cajun Cookin’

Twitter: @ragincajuncookn

Chef Patty’s Nutella Churros

Nutella Churros_croppedWhat could be better than fried dough covered in sugar? Fried dough stuffed with Nutella! Chef Patty Francis of Luna Sweets has shared her mouth-watering Nutella Churro recipe with us to try for ourselves. Don’t waste any time- get cooking!

Nutella Churros

 Ingredients:

1 C water

1/2 C unsalted butter

1/4 tsp salt

1 C all-purpose flour

3 large eggs (beaten)

canola oil (for frying)

1/4 sugar

Directions:

1. Boil water, salt and butter over high heat in a saucepan.

2. Stir in flour using a wooden spoon. Lower heat to low and stir until a ball of dough is formed (about 1 minute).

3. Remove from heat, keep stirring and add eggs gradually to mixture.

4. Insert dough in a piping bag and pipe dough with a big tip.

5. Fry in Med-High heat oil (once the oil reaches 360 degrees F).

6. Sprinkle hot churros with sugar.

7. Fill the inside by piping Nutella once the churros have cooled.

Dig in and enjoy!

Shop her look!

Website: http://www.lunasweets.com

Instagram: @luna_sweets_

Facebook: Luna Sweets

Twitter: @Luna_sweets_

Youtube: Luna Sweets

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