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February 2018 Chef of the Month Amy Irizarry

Meet Chef Amy Irizarry, we’re happy to introduce her as our February 2018 Chef of the Month! Chef Amy is the Executive Pastry Chef at Bite Bakery and Café in Downtown Utica, NY. Read more below about Chef Amy Irizarry and her love of cooking.

  1. Where were you born?

I was born in Utica, New York.

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

I am the Executive Pastry Chef at Bite Bakery and Café in the historic Franklin Square of Downtown Utica, NY

  1. What is your favorite kitchen tool to use while creating your masterpieces/dishes?

My favorite kitchen tool would be my commercial grade KitchenAid mixer. It is the perfect size for small to medium batches of just about everything from macarons to bagel dough. My Thermoworks Thermopop digital thermometer is a close second. Baking is a science, and temperature is extremely important. Thermoworks has made a thermometer that is easy to use and accurate.

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

My sharpest sense would have to be my sight. I am obsessed with final touches and miniscule details. I love putting desserts together and making all the garnishes flow just right.

  1. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

If you’re an aspiring chef, I would like to offer this piece of advice: work hard. This is a crazy industry. You will work holidays, weekends, and in less than favorable temperatures. If you can work hard through all of that, you will be successful.

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

I think every chef should know and perfect the ability to understand what your customers want. Sometimes I want to put all these crazy flavors together and I have to stop and think about what my customers actually want. Over the years, I’ve struggled with finding a balance of being able to turn some of my ideas into a product that my customers will love. Having that ability is what makes you an amazing chef.

  1. What does good food mean to you?

Good food to me means happiness. Whether it’s an amazing dining experience at the best restaurant in the city, or Taco Bell after a 16-hour shift because it’s the only place open on your way home. That happiness you get from eating something you think is good is what every chef sets out to recreate.

  1. What features are important to you when selecting a Chef Coat? 

I believe the most important feature in a chef coat is the pockets. I always look for coats that have a lot of space in the arm pocket. As a pastry chef, I need a pocket that can hold more than just pens. The pocket must be big enough for pens, thermometers, mini offsets, and the occasional paring knife or pastry brush.

  1. Favorite ingredient to work with?

My favorite ingredient to work with is chocolate. From baking to tempering – it is by far the most versatile and challenging ingredient to work with. Chocolate is more than just a cupcake flavor. It can be a massive showpiece you’ve worked on for months, or it can be molded into the perfect bonbon. The possibilities are endless.

  1. Favorite City to dine out in?

My favorite city to dine out in is actually the city I work and live in; Utica, New York. Some of my favorites restaurants here are The Tailor and the Cook, Mötus, and The Local Farm to Table.

  1. Best Dish you have ever made?

One of the best desserts I have ever made was a Valentine’s special a few years ago while working at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino, for a restaurant called TS Steakhouse. The dessert consisted of layers of champagne bavaroise and strawberry curd over a chiffon base filled with a blood orange and champagne insert that sauced the plate when you cut into it. I made the insert using a technique called Spherification, where you create a chemical reaction by adding calcium lactate to the blood orange sauce and freezing it in small half sphere molds, then putting the frozen spheres into a sodium alginate bath which creates a thin skin around the insert while the center stays completely liquid.

  1. Who would you most like to cook for?

The person I would most love to bake for is Chef Dalia Jurgensen. I read her book in 2012 when I was a few years into my career and questioning why I was working in this industry. Her book solidified in me that crazy love for whatever being a Chef means. She is an amazingly talented Pastry Chef and instructor who inspired me to stay focused and work hard instead of walking away from the industry that I love so much. I would love to be able to sit down and swap kitchen stories and learn a t

hing or two from one of the greats.

  1. What made you decide to become a chef?

My parents inadvertently made me want to become a Chef. I’ve always loved art, drawing and painting. I wanted to go to school for art, but my parents were worried I would end up being a starving artist and told me how much I would struggle in an oversaturated field of work. I’ve loved all things food since I can remember, and I figured the closest thing to a career in art I could really succeed in was Pastry Art, so I ended up going to culinary school. It was by far the best decision I have ever made.

Connect with Our February Chef of the Month:

Instagram: @pastrykhaleesi

Chef John’s Beet Pasta

Beet pasta.jpgThis week, we’re thrilled to share a unique pasta recipe from our January Chef of the Month John Charles. Chef John Charles specializes in all aspects of Italian food. For a fun twist and color to homemade pasta, try this week’s featured recipe, Beet Pasta. Don’t forget to shop John Charles favorite chef coat here.


Beet Pasta Ingredients:

4 cups “OO” flour

1 large beet, roasted

4 large eggs

5 large egg yolks


2 tablespoons olive oil


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Clean the beet well and dry. Rub the beet with olive oil, and then salt. Roast the beet in the oven for 1 hour. Let cool, and remove skin. Puree the beet in a high-speed blender.

Make a mound on the table with the flour and make a well in the center. Beat the eggs, egg yolks and beet in a bowl and add to the well. Add the 2 tablespoons of oil to the egg mixture, and salt to the whole mound. Using a fork start taking a little flour at a time from the inner well and add it into the egg mixture, stirring to incorporate. Continue doing this until the mixture starts to form a dough. Using your hands brings everything together and knead the dough until smooth. This will take about 10-12 minutes. Once the dough is smooth, wrap in plastic wrap tightly and let rest for at least 30 minutes. Once rested you are now ready to use the dough to make any pasta of your choice.

Connect with Our January Chef of the Month:


Instagram: @chef_john_charles

Facebook: Chef John Charles

Twitter: @chef_john_charl

January 2018 Chef of the Month John Charles


Meet Chef John Charles, we’re happy to introduce him as our January 2018 Chef of the Month! Chef John attended Le Cordon Bleu in Dallas and worked in various Italian restaurants in New York to perfect his craft. Our January 2018 Chef of the Month is now a private chef located in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, specializing in Italian cuisine. Read more below about Chef John Charles and his advice for current and future chefs.



1. Where were you born?

I was born in Utica, New York.

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

I am a private/personal chef out of Garland, TX. Serving the Dallas and surrounding areas. I also work as a manager for Sur La Table helping customers with their cooking needs.

3. What is your favorite kitchen tool to use while creating your masterpieces/dishes?

My pasta machine! I love using my Kitchen Aid pasta machine attachment. The tool is made in Italy and well made, enabling me to make sheets of pasta at a quick rate.

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

I would say my sense of taste. I had a lot of help refining my taste while attending Le Cordon Bleu. As a Chef, I am always tasting and adjusting until I get it just right.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Determination, and never give up. There will be ups and downs but always trust in yourself and trust in the process. Fight for what you want and always keep your standards high. Your name is on that plate, show the world who you are.

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

Taste your food throughout! When cooking pasta always cook it a minute or two less and never cook it with oil in the water. The pasta will continue to cook after it has come out of the water and if you add oil to the water the sauce will not stick to the pasta.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food to me means authentic. If I am eating Italian, I want to feel like I am in Sicily. Food is an experience and brings people together. Whether I am cooking for someone, or eating myself I want it to do just that.

8. What features are important to you when selecting a Chef Coat? 

I like long sleeve coats that are crisp and professional. I like color to add some personality with the standard pocket on the left arm.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

I really like cooking with wine. From a great Bolognese to a delicious risotto, wine really helps give another depth of flavor.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

I live a few minutes from Dallas, so I’d have to say Dallas. Dallas has so many great places to dine out. No matter what your craving you’ll find something great in Dallas.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

One of my signature dishes is a play on an old-world recipe for meatloaf. It’s an Italian Florentine meatloaf. That dish gets requested quite a bit. I also really like making Veal Marsala. I love the flavor the marsala wine gives the dish. A very elegant meal.

12. Who would you most like to cook for?

That’s a tough one. I would like to cook for Giada De Laurentiis, Gordon Ramsey, and from a different side of things, Clayton Kershaw of the LA Dodgers.

13. What made you decide to become a chef?

I have always had a love for wanting to cook and cook the best most authentic food I could. My Mom’s side of the family was from Sicily, and Italy so that’s where my passion for that cuisine came from. I would buy every cookbook I could on Italian food and study as much as I could. When I got the opportunity, I went to Le Cordon Bleu and learned from a lot of great people. Cooking for people is what I love.

Connect with Our January Chef of the Month:


Instagram: @chef_john_charles

Facebook: Chef John Charles

Twitter: @chef_john_charl

Chef Jonathan’s Filet Mignon Steak Diane with Roasted Asparagus Hollandaise

Steak Diane Filet Mignon.jpgFilet Mignon Steak Diane with Roasted Asparagus Hollandaise 

Servings: 4 people


4 Filet Mignons, approx. 8-10 oz.

5 Shallots, peeled

8 ounces Baby Bella Mushrooms, cleaned

1 1/2 cups Unsalted Butter

3 Garlic Clove, peeled

2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce, to taste

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1/2 cup brandy

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups EVOO

Small handful of Flat-leaf Parsley

1 Bunch Fresh Asparagus

Micro Greens (Radish, Baby Arugula, Kale, Broccoli)

1 cup Greek yogurt

Coarse Black Pepper

Sea Salt

1 cup grated Parm Cheese

2 Fresh Lemons

2 Egg yolks

1 tsp Cayenne pepper

2 tbsps. Honey

1 tsp Poppy Seeds


Season the steaks on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat on medium-high 2 tbsp. EVOO and 2 Tbsp. butter in a skillet large enough to accommodate the 4 steaks. Quickly sauté the steaks for up to a minute on each side then remove from the pan and set aside to rest.

Preheat an oven to 425 degrees. Place the asparagus into a mixing bowl, drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat the spears, then sprinkle with parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Arrange the asparagus onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in the preheated oven until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice just before serving.

Super Quick Hollandaise Sauce: Beat egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne pepper together in a microwave-safe bowl until smooth. Slowly stream melted butter into the egg yolk mixture while whisking to incorporate. Heat in microwave for 15 to 20 seconds; whisk.

Poppy Seed Yogurt Sauce: Whisk together yogurt, honey, 2 tbsp. lemon and poppy seeds in a small bowl. Put aside.

To make the sauce for the steaks, heat some olive oil in a separate pan. Slice the shallots and add to the pan, allow to soften briefly before slicing and adding the mushrooms with a tablespoon of butter.

Crush in the garlic. Add the Worcestershire sauce, then the mustard and heat through for a minute. Turn up the heat and tilt the pan away from you. Pour the brandy into the far end and allow it to ignite – be careful that the flame that flares up doesn’t singe your eyebrows!

Once the alcohol has burnt off, swirl the juices around the pan. Add the cream and allow the sauce to thicken before turning down the heat. Set aside.

On a 12” Circular Plate, with a plating spoon give a teardrop of Hollandaise in the center and place the asparagus offset the center, then the steaks on top of the asparagus, drizzle a line in the middle with the mushroom sauce over the steak and spoon on top of the steak the micro greens and yogurt sauce.

Connect with Our November Chef of the Month:


Instagram: @chefjonathans

Facebook: @ChefJonathanS

Chef Jonathan’s Mock Scallop Rumaki & Soy Ginger Sauce


This weeks recipe will become a household favorite dish, especially if you’re a seafood lover. We can thank Chef Jonathan for sharing the recipe to one of his signature dishes! This recipe has so much versatility, add a side and create a delicious meal or serve it alone as a tasty appetizer! Stay tuned for some more amazing recipes from our November Chef of the Month Jonathan Scinto! 


8 slices bacon, halved

18 sea scallops

2 green onion, thinly sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

18 toothpicks

24 canned water chestnuts, drained and halved horizontally

Fresh chives (optional)


Microwave bacon on high for 2-2 1/2 minutes, or until partially cooked but still flexible.

Top each scallop with some of the onion and ginger.

Drizzle evenly with lemon juice. Wrap a bacon piece around each scallop, and secure with wooden toothpicks.

Grill scallops on grill tray 2-3 minutes on each side, or until done.

Or broil 3 inches from heat for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until bacon is crisp and scallops are cooked.

Drain on paper towels. Garnish with chives, if desired.

Connect with Our November Chef of the Month:


Instagram: @chefjonathans

Facebook: @ChefJonathanS

Chef Eddie G’s Sauteed Seafood Medley

Sauteed Seafood Medley with Safron Pasta Garlic Cream Sauce (1).pngI’ll title this, “All Chefs Detest Recipe Writing.”

I’m assuming anyone reading this recipe is a more advanced cook/Chef, based on Chef Uniforms demographics and following. Rather than focus on the recipe let’s focus on the techniques. Let’s assume we are cooking for 2 to 4 people.

The most important part of any dish is the sauce, and all sauces are derived from 5, “Mother Sauces.” RE: Escoffier 1910. In this case, it is a Bechamel Sauce.

2 – Bunches Garlic – cleaned

1 – pt. Heavy Cream

In a medium saucepan simmer garlic until soft.

2 oz –  EVOO coat large saute pan

4 oz – grape tomato halved, mushroom sliced, scallop, clam, mussel, shrimp, lobster – anything you like – asparagus …, think color . Saute in a large pan until cooked through.

Ladle Garlic Cream Sauce into Large saute seafood mixture and continue saute until desired consistency, usually to coat the back of a spoon.

1/2 lb.  Add any cooked pasta to mixture; cavatelli, linguine or fettuccine.

Top with chopped parsley, grated cheese and crushed black pepper .

Restaurant cooks love this recipe because it is a quick pick up. If a kitchen is in the weeds, this dish if mise en place correctly can be ready in 2 to 3 minutes, as opposed to a medium-well filet mignon which can take 20 minutes cooked correctly.

Stay tuned for more recipes and techniques to follow.

Follow Chef Eddie G’s #CulinaryJourney 

Twitter: @eddiegchef

Instagram: @ChefEddieG

Facebook: @ChefEddieG 

Chef Michelle’s Rich Trini Rum Cake

fruitake.jpgThis cake is very popular in the Caribbean and especially in Trinidad, where it’s been the traditional flavor for wedding cakes for many years! It lasts very long when stored in an airtight container, so cakes weighed a ton! Recently, however, mainly the top tier is kept with traditional rum cake. It is a cherished treat for Christmas time, for all the office parties and family get-togethers, and given even as presents. It can be decorated with candied fruits, glazed with royal icing, and very good when covered with fondant.

Ingredients for Cake Mix:

454g butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup brown sugar

2 tsp almond essence

2 tsp baking powder

6 eggs or 3 cups apple sauce

2 cups browning

1/4 cup candied orange peel

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp nutmeg

*2 cups pureed fruit mix

1 cup rum (leave out if you don’t want alcohol)

Ingredients for Fruit Mix:

Prepare in advance by marinating in 6 cups cherry brandy (use a berry juice if you want to keep it free of alcohol).

1 lb currants

1 lb raisins

1 lb cherries

1 lb prunes


1. Sift all the dry ingredients together.

2. Cream butter and brown sugar, then slowly add eggs.

3. With the mixer on medium speed, add dry ingredients in 4 parts until fully blended. Do not overbeat.

4. Add the browning and the fruit puree mix, fold in with a spatula.

5. Pour into a greased and floured 8” tin about ¾ full. Bake at 250F for about 1 ½ hours. It will still be moist when a stick is inserted, but the sides will aleady start to release from the pan.

6. Pour the cup of rum and cover with aluminum foil until it cools.

This cake tastes better as it ages, and you can continue to moisten with extra rum as desired. Also served very nicely with a brown butter rum sauce and a scoop of homemade coconut ice-cream!

Connect with Our September Chef of the Month:

Website: BakeryTreatz

Instagram: @bakerytreatz

September 2017 Chef of the Month Michelle Sohan


Chef Michelle Sohan based in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago runs her own bakery where she is the lead cake artist and designer. It was a treat to learn more about Chef Michelle and chat about how she designs her stunning sweet treats. So without further ado, we’re happy to introduce you to Michelle Sohan, the September Chef of the Month!



Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

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

I own my bakery, Bakery Treatz, where I am also the Lead Cake Artist and Designer.

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

I love working with the basic modeling tools, as I can create almost any shape or structure. When I started, and even now, I have to be as creative as possible, as many cutters and modern tools are not always available when needed, and very costly to ship last minute into the island. So I improvise! And that’s been the best training for me.

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

Has to be both sight and taste!

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs? 

There’s no easy way to become a professional, take your time to develop your talents, be nice to others in the industry,  and remember, we never stop learning!

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

Learn your ingredients, so you know how to find that perfect balance when using them, from colors, textures, and taste.

7. What does good food mean to you? 

Oh! Good food to me means finding the flavors in harmony with each other from the first bite! I absolutely appreciate when there is a thought process combining ingredients.

8. What features are important to you when selecting a Chef Coat? 

I have to feel comfortable in how I look and how it fits! I’ve actually been wearing jackets for the last six years! And I recommend to all my colleagues as they’re always complimenting me.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 

Spices and herbs, cardamom, nutmeg, bay leaf, ginger, basil, and turmeric.

10. Favorite City to dine out in? 

Chicago and more recently, Miami, especially the new Wynwood district. My favorite pastry chefs include Stephane Treand in Costa Mesa, California, Antonio Bachour in Miami and in Trinidad, Chef Josef Habr, who makes the most delicious Lebanese food.

11. Best Dish you have ever made? 

Spiced Trini Rum Cake (recipe coming soon!)

12. Who would you like to bake for?

I would love to bake for the Wounded Warriors Project after meeting one of their reps at a cake convention in Virginia recently. It is one of my goals after I compete this upcoming October in Milan, Italy, at the Cake Designers World Championships.

13. What made you decide to become a chef? 

I actually had never liked being I the kitchen whilst growing up! In fact, my two sisters were the cook and baker, I did all the other chores, like making the beds etc. But I had a very serious accident whilst at work, and I was just finishing my masters in Food technology at our local university. Our faculty had a bake sale, and I took my sister’s cakes, which sold out immediately, and everyone came asking to place orders! That’s when it happened, I said yes I do! And I’ve never stopped since! It’s like a switch you can’t turn off, everything around me I use as inspiration.

Connect with Our September Chef of the Month:

Website: BakeryTreatz

Instagram: @bakerytreatz


Chef Lauren’s Spicy Sticky Ribs

Spicy Sticky Rips ImageThe heat of Summer isn’t over just yet. We’ve got another hot recipe that is perfect for your end of Summer party or a tasty Fall gathering. Chef Lauren Lawless has brought flavor and spice to her Spicy Sticky Ribs recipe! Continue on reading for a mouthwatering recipe.

Shop Chef Lauren’s Look!


  • 2-3 pounds bone-in country-style pork ribs bone and fat cut away
  • 1/4 cup rice wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup GF soy sauce*
  • 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup sesame seed oil
  • 4 TBSP honey
  • 2 TBSP sriracha sauce
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1/4 Tsp ground ginger
  • Green onions, sliced thin
  • Sesame seeds (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In the meantime, in a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add the ribs and let marinate in the fridge for 4-6 hours, occasionally stirring.
  3. Lay ribs in a large piece of foil with sides up and pour half the sauce on top. Form a pocket with the foil and bake at 325 degrees F for 2 1/2 hours or until fork tender.
  4. While the ribs are cooking, place the rest of the marinade in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer until thickened, approx. 5-7 minutes.
  5. Remove ribs from oven and let cool. Cut ribs so they are all in one-bone pieces.
  6. Drizzle the reduction over the ribs. Sprinkle with green onion and sesame seeds if desired. Serve with my delicious Asian Pear Slaw. Enjoy!

Connect with Our August Chef of the Month:


Instagram: @chef_lawless

Twitter: @chef_lawless

Chef Lauren’s Lump Crab Cake

Lump Crab Cakes.jpgChef Lauren’s featured recipe is perfect for the end of Summer and anytime! Our August Chef of the Month, Lauren brought her A-game with this tasty treat. Trust us, her Lump Crab Cake recipe will not disappoint customers or friends!

Ingredients for Crab Cakes:

2/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 finely chopped red onion

1 stick celery chopped

2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 large egg, lightly beaten

8 ounces lump crabmeat, shell pieces removed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 lemon, quartered


Combine panko and next 10 ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl, stirring well. Add crab; stir gently just until combined. Using wet hands, shape crab mixture into 4 equal balls. Gently flatten balls to form 4 (4-inch) patties.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add patties; cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden.

Remoulade Ingredients:

1/2 jar roasted red bell peppers

1 c mayonnaise

1/2 tbs Dijon mustard

1/2 tbs capers, drained

1/2 tbs lemon juice

Pulse thoroughly in a food processor and set aside.

For the roasted garlic aioli:

1 whole heads garlic

Extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Cracked black pepper

1 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Dash Worcestershire sauce

Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Take the whole head of garlic and cut the tops off to expose the garlic cloves. Place on a large piece of aluminum foil and drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap up the foil into a tight pouch, and then place in the oven and roast for 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Squeeze the pulp from the skins (you’ll need 1/3 cup).

In a food processor, combine the roasted garlic, mayonnaise, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce and some salt and pepper. Pulse until well combined. Refrigerate to allow the flavors to meld together. Garnish with parsley.

Salad Ingredients:



Granny Smith apple

Red wine vinegar

Olive oil


Slice radishes and cut apples into matchsticks. Toss ingredients in bowl and drizzle with lemon, vinegar, and oil. Top the crab cakes with salad and serve. Enjoy!

Connect with Our August Chef of the Month:


Instagram: @chef_lawless

Twitter: @chef_lawless

Chef Lauren participated in the Pacific Wine & Food Festival and would like to thank her sponsors Anderson Seafoods and Gelson’s!

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