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Chef Carter’s Flank Street Tacos

Prepare yourself because we’re talking tacos! There are tacos and then there are TACOS. This recipe is the real deal, so it’s time to say no to drive-thru tacos or the ones out of the box. Get excited and ready for a flavorful recipe that comes from Chef Carter, a Texas native and our April Chef of the Month. These Flank Street Tacos will live on as your go-to on Taco Tuesday.

Street Tacos

Flank Street Tacos

Ingredients:

1 pound of flank steak, tenderized

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp Kosher salt

1 tsp black pepper

½ tsp chili powder

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

Canola oil

Garnish:

½ medium white onion, diced

½ cup cilantro, chopped

Queso Fresco cheese (white Mexican cheese)

Wedge of lime
Corn Tortillas

Heat grill to high heat.

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, mix cumin, paprika, salt, black pepper and chili powder. Rub/pat mixture generously over steak then sprinkle garlic on meat. Drizzle with Canola oil.

2. Grill steak on high heat searing both sides for 3-4 minutes each. Steak should look brown. Move steak to another burner on low and let sit another 3 minutes on each side until internal temp reaches 130-140 degrees.

3. Remove meat from heat. Let rest 5-10 minutes.

4. Chop/dice onion. Chop cilantro.

5. Warm tortillas on the grill or on a stovetop in a pan.

6. Cut meat in strips or bite sized pieces against the grain of the meat. Place meat on tortilla and garnish with onions, cilantro, and cheese, to taste. Can place the lime wedge on side or squeeze over mixture before you roll up the tortilla.

Tacos are popular in my house and in Austin, we have a lot of food trucks that serve any kind of taco you can dream up. These Flank Street Tacos are so easy to make and taste so good!

Shop ChefUniforms.com now! Keep in touch with Carter, our April Chef of the Month and see all the amazing things he has coming in his future!

Instagram: @chef.carterhull

Twitter: @chef_carterhull

Chef Carter’s Smoked Gouda Fundido

As the temperature outside rises, so do the number of invitations to BBQs, pool parties, and potlucks. This Smoked Gouda Fundido recipe from our April Chef of the Month, Carter Hull is the perfect party appetizer! No need to spend the extra money on food platters or time on elaborate dishes, this recipe is simple and combines outstanding Southwest flavors. Plus, it is a definite crowd pleaser and marvelous for sharing.

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Smoked Gouda Fundido

Ingredients:

8 oz Gouda cheese (I use a Dutch Gouda by Mill Dance)

4 oz cream cheese

4 oz sour cream

4 oz mayonnaise

5 strips of bacon

2 oz green chilies

1 tablespoon pimentos

1 teaspoon garlic

1 teaspoon olive oil

Directions:

1. Cook bacon.  Pat dry and then crumble into small pieces. Set aside.

2. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to a saucepan on medium heat. Add minced garlic to the saucepan and cook until golden brown. Set aside.

3. Grate Gouda into a medium bowl. Add cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise. Mix together. Slowly add crumbled bacon, green chilies, pimentos, and garlic to the gouda mixture. Mix until well until combined.

4. Pour into individual ramekins. Put ramekins into the oven and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

Note: Fundido makes a great appetizer. The individual ramekins are nice for parties because you can place them in different locations so everyone is not gathered around the same dish.

Love Jr. Chef Carter’s recipes? See more of our April Chef of the Month here:

Instagram: @chef.carterhull

Twitter: @chef_carterhull

Guest Recipe: Chef Ana Birac’s Planika Mousse, Jam and Candied Planika

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We will be finishing off the month of March with a sweet treat from our September 2016 Chef of the Month, Ana! As our first international chef from Croatia, Ana shared amazing flavors and techniques with us last year and this recipe is no different! If you are in need of a new dessert idea or want to try something fresh this recipe will not disappoint. It brings together flavor, elegance, and flair.

Planika is a Croatian seasonal fruit that grows in autumn. It looks very much like cherry tomatoes with small bubbles. It tastes something like a mixture of strawberries and raspberries. If you can’t find planika near you, substitute strawberries or raspberries for this recipe.

Ingredients

0.25kg Puff Pastry ≈ 8.8 ounces

0.5kg Planika ≈ 17.6 ounces

0.5kg Sugar ≈ 17.6 ounces

0.1kg Honey ≈ 3.5 ounces

0.25L Sweet Cream ≈ 1 cup

0.2L Yogurt ≈ 4/5 cup

0.1kg Butter ≈ 3.5 ounces

0.1L Triple Sec ≈1/4 cup

0.2L Prosecco ≈ 4/5 cup

0.2L Rum ≈ 4/5 cup

 

Directions:

  1. Roll out one thin crust of a puff pastry. Bake it in the oven about 15 minutes at 200⁰C (400⁰F). Leave it aside to cool down.
  2. Put water to boil. Add about half of planika and throw it in the boiling water and blanch for about 3 – 5 minutes (until if softens).
  3. Take it out and blend it. Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. During that time mix sweet cream with 0.1kg (3.5 ounces) of sugar, honey and yogurt and keep mix it until you get nice and firm mixture, but it must be soft enough to mix with a spatula.
  5. Add cold planika and stir well.
  6. Spread that mixture over cold puff pastry and put it in the cooler for a couple of hours.
  7. While your cake is cooling down, take one clear pan and melt the butter and add in (0.2kg/7 ounces) of sugar.
  8. Mix it well until the sugar completely melts, then add in Triple Sec and Prosecco and cook until the alcohol evaporates.
  9. When that happens mix in the rest of planika and cook until planika falls apart. Then strain it through a sieve and leave it in the fridge until if firms up a little.
  10. Caramelize (0.1kg/3.5 ounces) of sugar.
  11. Add in Rum and mix it until you get a nice thick mixture. When it cools down, throw in the rest of planika and then roll it in the sugar.
  12. Move it from freezer to the fridge 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

Do you want to be featured as our next ChefUniforms.com Chef of the Month? Apply here.

Chef Megan’s Spicy Gorgonzola Sweet Mashed Potatoes

Spicy MashSweet potatoes were arguably one of the trendiest foods in 2016. We saw sweet potatoes on toast, as bread substitutes, puddings, and pies. But March Chef of the Month, Megan puts an amazing spin on the trendy potato. Warning – recipe below will induce hunger.

 

Spicy Gorgonzola Sweet Mashed Potatoes

Serves:  4-6

Difficulty Level:  Easy

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cooking Time:  Approximately 30 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 Large Yams or a bag of small Organic Sweet Potatoes
  • 5oz of a smoky blue or Gorgonzola cheese (For those feeling adventurous, go with something extra smelly. For a family or for a dinner party, go with something mild to medium)
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Cayenne Pepper (If you love heat as much as I do, sub the Cayenne Pepper for something spicier – I used Trader Joes Ghost Chile Pepper).
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup of cream (I use a heavy whipping cream, but you could also use whole milk if you are looking to make it healthier)
  • ½ stick of unsalted butter – room temperature

You will need:

  • Food Processor
  • Large Pot filled half way with water
  • Knife

Directions:

  • Place a medium to large pot on your stove top, fill half way with water (enough to cover all the potatoes), add 1 teaspoon of salt, and turn on high to bring to a boil.
  • While the water is heating up, scrub the potatoes and peel off skin. Cut the sweet potatoes into small to medium even sized pieces.
  • Once water is boiling, add potatoes.
  • Cook for 10-15 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your potatoes.   Rule of thumb:  when you can use a fork and easily break a potato in half, they’re ready
  • Place all ingredients and the cooked sweet potatoes into the food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Pro Tip: Add salt/pepper/spice to taste – start slow and work your way up to the level you want. You can always add more, but if you make it too spicy right way you won’t be able to tone the heat down.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Top with roasted veggies for a hearty and filling Vegetarian Meal.
  • Serve alone as a side dish at your next dinner party.
  • Top with Scallops & Filet Mignon (pictured) for a romantic dinner or splurge meal.

Follow Chef Megan for more recipes:

Website: www.forkthisdish.com

Instagram: @forkthisdish

Twitter: @ForkThisDish

March 2017 Chef of the Month Megan Corcoran

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Megan is wearing ChefUniforms coat style 86515 in Pebble Grey w/ Black

The countdown to Spring has officially begun and we’re eager to introduce our March Chef of the Month, Megan Corcoran. A lover of fresh food, she has been cooking since high school and college but up until a year ago, she worked in Social Media, Marketing, and Sales. In the last year, Megan started her own website and company, auditioned and appeared on Food Network, and made numerous other television appearances. Her chef career has seriously taken off, read more about her success and life below and stay tuned for her amazing recipes throughout the month!

1. Birthplace:

I was born in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania. It is maybe an hour outside of Philadelphia.

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

I own my own website and soon to be catering company. It is called Fork This Dish. We are based out of Arlington Virginia.

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

I would definitely say my food processor more than anything. You can do anything with it. You can make sauces or purees. It is a great way to make bases for dishes. I used to never use it but slowly I started using it more and more. Now it has become a regular and I use it for everything.

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

Sight. I was a dancer my whole life. I don’t know what I’d do without visual keys and I think I have transferred that over to cooking. I see a dish first and then make it. I don’t think my presentation skills are the best they can be. But for me, the presentation of a dish is very important.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

I did cook in a couple restaurants. But I really have no formal training outside of that. I had been thinking about starting this blog and business for years. I told all my friends I wanted to do it. But I never felt ready. Finally, I just did it and it has been an amazing year. I guess I would just say do what you want even if you don’t feel ready. I never learned how to cook on the news but I just went and did it.

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

I would say cooking eggs. That is a good place to start. It sounds crazy but a lot of people overcook them. Or they don’t know how to make different kinds of eggs like over-easy eggs. Cooking eggs is great practice, you can use different pans techniques. Eggs are a good place to start and a cheap way to mess up. Honestly, I have spent an entire day making eggs and watching Bobby Flay’s YouTube Videos on how to make perfect eggs. Whatever he does, I follow.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food to me means fresh. I am very particular with where my food comes from. I think it is important to only buy organic and when I can I try and find it locally. I don’t eat a lot of meat but I do sometimes and I’m to the extent of on Thanksgiving my family and I go to a farm and pick our own turkey. I want to know where my food comes from. I don’t want to buy and eat food with chemicals, we should be more aware of what is in our food. For me buying fresh, organically, and local is good food.

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

When I cook, I really like being comfortable. I typically wear jeans or khakis. I used hard top shoes and wear a polo type shirt. For my chef coat, I like short sleeves with breathable material so it doesn’t get too hot.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

I really like cooking with white wine. I just like putting wine in my food. Plus, I cook a lot of seafood and white wine is the perfect base for seafood.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

I was dying to leave and my friends will laugh when they read this, but hands down, the best food is in Philadelphia.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

For my final audition to make it on Food Network, I had to make a dish live. It was extremely nerve-wracking and I was just getting over being sick so I didn’t have time to perfect the dish or practice. But I had an idea and vision and it was the best dish I’ve made. It was a truffle corn puree with scallops and shrimp with a ton of butter, bacon and fresh truffle. It was insane, I wish I wrote down the recipe.

12. Place you eat most often on your days off?

I work from home. So most days I cook for myself. But whenever I am home in Glenmoore. I go to Ron’s School House. It is so good, the food is fresh off the table and they have an extensive menu. They make this fresh pasta but also delicious carrot cheesecake.

13. Person you would most like to cook for?

I have two Food Network heroes. I have cooked for one of them but the other is Scott Conant. I would like to cook for him a lot, I think he is great.

14. What is new on your DVR?

So I pretty much religiously watch Chopped. The other thing I just finished watching was West World. It was so good but I just found out the next season isn’t coming out for another year and a half so I am pretty devastated. I might just re-watch the past season.

Want to see more from our March Chef of the Month? Follow Megan here:

Website: www.forkthisdish.com

Instagram: @forkthisdish

Twitter: @ForkThisDish

 

February 2017 Chef of the Month Alekka Sweeney

 

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Chef Alekka is wearing CU coat #86515 in Sky Blue

We’re celebrating February aka ‘the month of love’ by bringing you an extra sweet Chef of the Month Alekka Sweeney! Chef Alekka is an owner of a shop that teaches pastry and baking classes near Chicago. Alekka is not only a baking and pastry master chef, she also has with an amazing personality accompanied with great advice and experience. It was truly a special treat for us to chat with her. Read more about our awesome February Chef of the Month below and stay tuned for her delicious recipes throughout the month.

1. Where were you born?

I was born in Naples, Italy. But I am American and so are both of my parents. My dad was in the Navy and stationed there so I was born there.

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

I am the owner of my shop called Give Me Some Sugar that is located in Roscoe Village, Chicago.  But it is not a bakery, it is a school where we teach classes on baking and pastry. I started the company 10 years ago. The first 2 years were in classes in client’s homes so that I could build up a client base and test recipes. This was right at the beginning of shows like Ace of Cakes and Cake Boss. Back then my car was basically a mobile cake decorating machine; it was filled with buttercream. So eventually I had my real estate agent look for places. I visited so many places but then I found it. When I walked into the shop, I had a “this is it,” moment and we’ve been at this location for the past 8 years.

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

I can’t live without an offset spatula, serrated knife, and the mixer I’ve had since I was sixteen.

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

Smell.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

It is a tough industry to be in. You have to work nights, weekends, and holidays. But my best piece of advice is to find the pastry chef or chefs that you admire and respect. Try and work for them, even if it is for free and during that time learn as much as you can. Before you land on the place you want to work forever, the best thing you can do is learn and get as much as experience as possible. I’ve worked in hotels, bakeries, corporations, big business, small business. The culmination of doing all of that led me to where I am today.

Make sure to get your hands in everything and don’t settle on one thing. Work for as many people as you can so you learn new perspectives and different ways of doing things. And be prepared to stand on your feet for a long time, invest in your shoes.

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

Measuring properly. I see a lot of people using the wrong measure tool. Even on TV, I see people measuring dry ingredients with a tool that is for liquids. It is my pet peeve. First understand your recipes, master the basics, and make sure to read the recipes correctly. Baking is very precise.

7. What does good food mean to you?

I think the pastries I gravitate towards are the ones that make me think of my mom and being at home. I grew up eating my mom’s homemade bread. My mom saves water from mashed potatoes and makes potato bread, it is amazing. So I gravitate towards foods and desserts that are farm to table.

8. What features are important to you when selecting a Chef Coat? (particular fabric, style, sleeve length, pockets)

I am so happy the industry is coming out with chef coats for women. Cuts for women that show that you have a waist. I also like front and side pockets to hold my must have my sharpie. I really like the women’s style of pants and chef coats. Especially not having to look like a potato sack. The features I like are having something that is both flattering and functional.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Chocolate. I really like tempering chocolate and making chocolate candies. I kind of had to teach myself. I used to work at a candy place in Chicago and I really had to learn myself. At that job, I had to temper white chocolate in the middle of the summer. I just kept playing with it over and over again and now they call me the chocolate tempering queen.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

Chicago first and then Pittsburgh is a close second. Pittsburgh is getting up there. Chicago is the one I like the most. You can get any kind of food here from any culture. I like that Chicago has amazing hole in the wall restaurants. It doesn’t have to be super fancy but you can go down an alley and in a scary door and the food is amazing. Chicago is a city that can satisfy any type of craving.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

It’s really simple. I really want to blow you away with a fancy French pastry. But whenever I go to my friend’s house or a party they always ask that I make chocolate espresso brownies. They are really fudgy and rich.

12. Person you would most like to cook for?

Dorie Greenspan. I really respect and admire her career path. She just released Dories Cookies and it is something like her 12th baking book. She’s comparable to Martha Stuart. She was before all the food bloggers, Instagram and Twitter accounts. She just seems so nice and super sweet and I just would like to hang out with her and bake cookies all day.

13. What made you decide to become a chef?

Two different versions of this story. I will tell you the real one and you can decide whether it is appropriate to publish. I was 24 at that time and it was 1997. After you go to culinary school, you have to do an internship somewhere. Normally once you are done with school most people go back to their internship and work there. I did that as well. The pastry chef at the time was involved with the owner’s daughter and he had a problem with alcohol. One day, they didn’t know where he went and they needed a wedding cake made in two days. They turned to me. This was in 1997 remember, there is no google, no videos, no internet to help me.

I turned to Martha Stuart’s wedding cake books. I always say it chose me, I didn’t choose it.But I have a very statistical mind and I follow formulas and recipes very well. It was the best thing for me. Baking is strict but it still leaves room for creativity. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Final note from Chef Alekka:

It was a series of events that got me working in this industry and then staying in it. First, it is a great industry to work in and there are so many outlets where you can work as a chef. You can travel, be a personal chef, baker, own a business or restaurant.

And this industry and food will never be replaced by a robot. Food is how you show your love. I have met people and all the places I have got to go are because this industry helped me get there.

Get in touch with our February Chef of the Month:

Website: Give Me Some Sugar 

Facebook: Give Me Some Sugar

Instagram: @givesugar

 

January 2017 Chef of the Month Stefen Dobrec

 

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Chef Stefen is wearing ChefUniforms Bold Stripe Apron style #300BOL

Happy New Year, we hope you celebrated the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017 with loved ones and great food! All of us at ChefUniforms are excited for another year of awesome chefs, great recipes, and exciting news coming your way.

We’re starting 2017 off with a bang and are very excited to introduce our January 2017 Chef of the Month, Stefen Dobrec! Read more about his life and journey as a chef below.

1. Where were you born?

I am from a little town called Danville in California.

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

I run my own website called BigChefLittleKitchen.com. The inspiration for the name came from me being almost 6’4” and cooking in my small Manhattan apartment kitchen. The name was one of those “ah-ha” moments that just came to me, I checked the domain and it was available so that’s how it all started.

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

My chef knife. Honestly, I use it the most, it is the tool I have invested the most money in. So much chopping goes on in the kitchen. I always say to invest in two things, your shoes and your bed. My third is a good chef knife.

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

Probably my taste. I am not a big recipe guy. I visualize it first and hope that through trial and error it turns out tasting the way I want it. Then after I taste it and perfect it, I go back and figure out the measurements for a recipe.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

The main advice I would offer aspiring chefs is to cook every day. Doesn’t matter if it’s one meal, three meals, or five meals. Cook something every day. I try to cook something new but even if I don’t and I end up cooking one of my staple dishes, every time I cook it I try to make the dish better.

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

Make and master scrambled eggs. It is the simplest thing, but it goes a long way. I’m sure most people feel the same way. There is an ongoing joke with my girlfriend’s side of the family that you have to “make Stefen eggs.” My only secret to delicious eggs is season them before hand and whip them with a form to make them light and fluffy.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food means a lot of things to me. It’s almost an event. It’s sight, the smell, the taste, the sounds, and the people you are with. Good food is just being around a table with family and friends and enjoying a variety of things.

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

I am pretty standard; I like to wear business casual. The biggest thing is the apron for me. My go-to is my apron over the top of a collared shirt with rolled up sleeves. I like my apron to have one or two pockets in the front, with sturdy material that I know will last after multiple washes. I also keep a towel because I am constantly washing my hands and need a place for my phone just in case I get sudden inspiration and want to add it to my notes.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

My favorite ingredient to work with is beets. They are so versatile. My signature dish is my beet sliders. They are a very underutilized vegetable. You can roast, grill, shred them; they can be sweet or savory. To me, the possibilities are endless.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

I have to say New York City. It is the culinary capital for a reason. There is a great mixture of 5-star restaurants as well as mom and pop places. Both have high quality and equally delicious foods. Plus, you can find whatever you are craving during any time of the day or night.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

Honestly my breakfast mac and cheese, it’s not as healthy as most of the other stuff I make, but honestly, it is ridiculous.  The mac itself has sweet potatoes and jalapeño, and the whole thing topped with a sunny-side egg. I personally like to add Sriracha too. It’s even better served with mimosas.

12. Place you eat most often on your days off?

My dining room table. I said my best advice is to cook every day and I try my best to abide by it. I cook breakfast and dinner almost every single day. And lunch most days as well. I am big on preparing my groceries the day I get them so it is easier to come home and throw something together.

13. Who is the person you would most like to cook for?

Honestly Bobby Flay. My love for food and cooking came when I was young and would come home after various practices and watch Boy Meets Grill or Iron Chef America.  Just to be able to cook for him and get his input and just talk to him about food and cooking would be insane.

14. What is new on your DVR?

I was all in on Westworld; So on my DVR I would say I’m most looking forward to starting the new show by Donald Glover, Atlanta.

Stay tuned and check back for some amazing recipes from Chef Stefen that will be shared throughout the month. Make sure to check out his website BigChefLittleKitchen.com and follow him on Instagram @bigcheflittlekitchen.

November 2016 Chef of the Month Mikey Termini

We are happy to announce our new Chef of the Month for the month of November, Mikey Termini! He is a very talented chef, and we are excited to showcase Chef Mikey throughout the month. Read more below to find out about Chef Mikey’s life as a chef in Hawaii and now Florida. Make sure to stay tuned in the following weeks for his excellent recipes.

  1. Birthplacmikey.jpge:

I was born in Santa Cruz, Calfornia which is in Monterey Bay. Straight out of high school, I went to Maui, Hawaii and spent the last 15 years there cooking.

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

Currently, I work at the Four Seasons PB&G Pool Bar and Grill in Orlando, Florida a part of Walt Disney World.

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

My favorite kitchen tool is the spoon in my back pocket- I use it to taste dishes and spooning out sauces.

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

That would have to be touch. I am great with my hands. I like to create things, feel out all of the textures and turn food into something great.

  1. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Run. Just kidding, keep the passion and don’t burn out. Find the love for food in everything you do whether you are making burgers and french fries or a $60 halibut plate.

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

Have patience. In my experience, the one thing so many cooks and chefs don’t have a lot of is patience. Stay patient with the day to day work, if you have good patience, you can be a real strong leader in the industry.

  1. What does good food mean to you?

Love. The feeling of someone putting a lot of care into what I’m eating and bacon.

  1. What trends do you see emerging in the near future?

I wish breakfast food would get a little bit bigger and work towards transforming it to a dinner atmosphere. Breakfast is one of the least tapped parts of eating. It is a great meal, nice, full, rich food at breakfast time takes you back to when you were a kid.

  1. What features are important to you when selecting a Chef Coat? (particular fabric, style, sleeve length, pockets)

The most important to me are the looks and style. I hate chef coats that are too baggy or the lines being too big for my build. I really look for nice lines that are not bunched in the back but at the same time are not too tight but fit just right.

  1. What is your go-to chef outfit? Do you prefer coats, tees, pants, shorts, aprons, hats, etc?

I always go back to white coats. I always like a nice white coat with long sleeves that are rolled up, paired with black slacks and a waist apron with a loop for my towel.

  1. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Bacon is my number 1. But after spending so much time in Hawaii,  I love using sweet chili sauce. My favorite way to use it is by adding it to crab cakes for sweetness and a little bit of spice.

  1. Favorite City to dine out in?

San Francisco, California. Because I grew up in Monterey Bay going into the city, I have never eaten at a bad restaurant there.

  1. Best Dish you have ever made?

One thing everyone wants me to cook when I go home is a pasta carbonara. It is an Italian dish that I like to make with fresh pasta peas, pancetta egg cream sauce and top it with truffle oil

  1. Place you eat most often on your days off?

Home. I love going to the Asian markets and getting stuff there. I usually like to get duck or some kind of pork dish depending on what they have.

  1. Who is a person you would like to cook for?

Bruce Willis or Rob Zombie. They are not chefs, but I would love to cook for them and be around them for a night.

  1. What made you decide to become a chef?

When I first moved to Hawaii, I was doing dishes at a restaurant, and the chef there asked me if I wanted to be a cook or a bartender. I chose cook because I figured I could last a lot longer on food than alcohol.

  1. What is new on your DVR?

Stranger Things on Netflix, it is a TV show that has a Stephen King type vibe. Then once The Walking Dead comes back on, that will fill my DVR because I’m a diehard zombie fan.

July 2016 Chef of the Month – Joy Crump

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Congratulations to Chef Joy Crump for being our Chef of the Month for July! See what Chef Crump has been cooking up at FOODE!

Where were you born?                

I was born in Pittsburgh, PA.

Where do you work and where are you based? 

I am based in Fredericksburg, VA.  FOODE and Mercantile, my two restaurants, are both in Fredericksburg.  I’m usually at both restaurants all day every day.

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

My grill.  I think fire touching food is very basic and there is no substitute for it. I put anything and everything on the grill- fruits, vegetables, protein, herbs, anything at all!

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

I think sight has become my sharpest sense.  I have learned to look at everything very macro. I can walk into the room and see what’s going on with 30 employees while at the same time seeing if something is cooking too long.  I can see the vibe and see if were in trouble in the kitchen all at once.

What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?  

Be patient with your growth.  What’s getting young chefs now, is they expect everything to happen overnight and to receive a lot of rewards for their work. Reality is the very opposite in this industry.  The culinary profession is very thankless.  You are on a team and not singled out, but if you work hard, before you know it you will be standing out.

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

There is a discipline that goes along with being a good chef.  I think every chef should be making lists to never forget the a,b,c,d that goes along with every day.  Having a list for every task helps build your habits in the kitchen.  I live and die by list making, there is nothing more satisfying than crossing something off!

What does good food mean to you?    

What we try and do is remind people what they love about a thing, a dish, or even Thanksgiving. We like to remind people what they remember and love about that thing and introduce something new in how we present it to them.  We give you a little different twist on your everyday food, but it should still feel familiar and comforting.

 What trends do you see emerging in the near future?  

Definitely hyper local ingredients.  Chefs are now counting on themselves more than farmers to provide their products.  People want to feature things that they have grown themselves, which now has become everything- the meat they have cured, cheese they have made, herbs they have grown.  People don’t only want what is made just in your zip code, but what is made in your kitchen.  Chefs are reinventing their list of ingredients based on what they can accomplish in their own space.  Everything we have in our restaurants, we make in house.  We are working on moving to another location where I hope we can smoke and cure more than we have been able to in our own commissary where we have a small smoker now.  We like to smoke not just proteins, but also oils and vinegars, fruits, cheeses and even seasoning, especially salt.  Being able to accomplish this on a bigger scale makes me very happy!

What features are important to you when selecting a Chef Coat? (particular fabric, style, sleeve length, pockets)   

Having pockets and a nice fit are definitely the most important to me in finding a chef coat.  I have to make sure that the things I need and use every day are in there- my phone, sharpie, notebook, thermometer.  I find a lot of chef coats that look great, but with no pockets to hold anything.  I’m not a small chick, but I don’t like wearing men’s chef coats.  They’re usually too boxy for me.  I want something that is fitted and a women’s cut, but I hate when they are super girly and bell out at the bottom.  Just a simple chef coat with a tailored fit and pockets is what I like.

Favorite ingredient to work with?  

Salt!  Food is asleep without it and awakens with it.  People are afraid of salt and afraid to overuse it.  We have a fast-casual restaurant where you sit down and if you need a refill, you get up and get it for yourself.  We do not put salt and pepper shakers on the table, but we will put them out in the common area.  Our goal is to make the food perfect and for the customer to not need extra seasoning.

Favorite City to dine out in?   

That changes all the time, but I think right now it would be Nashville. Every year my business partner and I go to a new city to check out the food scene.  Last year we went to Burlington, Boston, Chicago and Nashville to eat our faces off and try as much as we could.  The food scene in Nashville was so cool and community based.  It was somehow so friendly and down home, while being refined at the same time.

Best Dish you have ever made?     

You’d probably have to ask someone else that! But my favorite dish that I have made would be my fried chicken.  My mom recently passed away, and she taught me how to make fried chicken. To me, family and things that reflect that for me are most important.  My fried chicken even won an award for us and nothing can top that!  Our chicken and waffles are the best in Virginia and I’m so happy we could share that recipe and tradition with a lot of people.

Place you eat most often on your days off?     

I go between Soup & Taco and Tarntip Thai.  Tarntip Thai has really authentic, yummy, cheap food.

Person you would most like to cook for?         

Probably my mom.  If I could cook for her, that means she would still be here.

What made you decide to become a chef in the first place?       

I have a big family. I have 5 brothers and sisters and my parents got divorced when I was 3.  My siblings and I all traveled a lot back and forth because my parents lived in different cities.  We had to get on a plane and travel to each other, which was really expensive. We didn’t have money to buy each other gifts for every occasion, so we stayed at home and cooked together.  It was such a great expression of love when we could all be together with family.  Holidays were huge in our family!  Thanksgiving is the day you don’t dare miss and it gets bigger every year than the year before.  Cooking together is what you do to say I love you and we cook our asses off! I didn’t realize until I was in my 30s that I could do what I love for a living.  It really is a real extension of my family for me.

What is new on your DVR?      

I’m watching a show called S.T.R.O.N.G!  Sylvester Stallone is the executive producer and Gabrielle Reece is the host.  It’s awesome! They pair up women who are on a journey to find their strength and their inner bad-ass with top male trainers.   It’s not just a weight loss program, it’s really to help empower these women who have gone through bad circumstances.

Ms. Cheezious Fresh Pesto Grilled Cheese Recipe

Love grilled cheese? Our June Chef of the Month, Brian Mullins, shared some of his favorite grilled cheese recipes from Ms. Cheezious! Up first- Fresh Pesto Grilled Cheese!  Pesto Grilled Cheese

Ingredients:

4 slices sourdough bread
Salted butter, softened

8 slices mozzarella or provolone cheese
4 tablespoons basil pesto**

**To make the basil pesto:
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor or blender and pulse until coarsely chopped. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil and process until smooth. Add the cheese and pulse until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Directions:

Preheat your griddle or pan to medium heat.

Butter the outside of each slice of bread. Spread basil pesto on the inside of each slice of bread. Place the mozzarella or provolone cheese slices on top of one piece of bread. Top with the other slice of bread.  Place on the griddle or pan; cover with a metal bowl and let the sandwiches get a nice golden brown, wait 2 to 3 minutes. Flip, cover again and cook until the cheese is melted and the sandwiches are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

 

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