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APRIL 2019 CHEF OF THE MONTH OSCAR DEL RIVERO

 

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Get His Look

We have an exciting April Chef of the Month- Chef Oscar Del Rivero! Originally from Mexico City, Mexico, Chef Oscar is now an Executive Chef at Jaguar Hospitality Group and a Partner at both Jaguar Latin American Kitchen and Tavera Cocina Mexicana in Miami! Chef Oscar is extremely passionate about enhancing his dishes and brings fresh Latin American flavors with each bite. Read below to learn more about Chef Oscar’s Story!

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Where were you born?

Mexico City, Mexico. Colonia del Valle. It is a nice area inside the one of the biggest cities in the world. It was lovely growing up there, parks, markets, restaurants, subway system, and the feel of a busy city with a humble charm- but definitely fast-paced.

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

I am the Executive Chef at Jaguar Hospitality Group and Partner at Jaguar Latin American Kitchen and Partner at Talavera Cocina Mexicana.
http://www.jaguarhg.com/
https://www.instagram.com/oscardelrivero/

In 2005 Family and Friends got together to form Jaguar. My father has always loved the symbol of a Jaguar as an Aztec warrior and as a symbol of spiritual strength, as well as an icon for Latin America, since it is a Jaguar’s natural habitat. My partners and I created and developed Jaguar as a welcoming place where you can feel at home and eat food that reminds you of your roots if you are from Latin America. If you are not, Jaguar will represent with authenticity the flavors of South America for your enjoyment. It was and still is a beautiful project. Now after 13 years, it has matured into a neighborhood favorite and a spearhead of Latin American flavors, recipes and ingredients with respect to ancient and modern techniques. We as a group are really passionate about what we bring to Jaguar, with guest satisfaction at the top of the list and a thriving working environment full of challenges and goals. I love Jaguar in Coconut Grove, the rest of the restaurants I’ll tell you in the next interview…. They are amazing as well.

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

My Mexican Spoon (peltre), of course I have favorite knives and special tongs. But I have grown fond of “the Spoon”.

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

It might be sight. That is why I love taking pictures of the dishes I make. I feel that I can learn a lot about a dish by just looking at it.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Immerse yourself in everything food and absorb knowledge as fast as possible.

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

Reading = Learning. So many culinary tips come to mind, but in my opinion, always reading and keeping up with evolution is key to learn a spectrum of culinary tips.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Fresh, wholesome, colorful, balanced and it needs to have nutritional value. Delicious goes without saying!

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

Comfort, Durability and Design. I am known for splashing my jacket during service and I don’t mind. I believe that is what is for. Red sauce, guacamole and anything lurking in the kitchen can be a part of the design of my jacket. For that reason, it needs to be resistant to plenty of washes. Comfort in the kitchen is essential, lightweight and a smooth fabric is imperative. Now with so many different styles I think that “the chef” or “cook” can really express their personalities, not only in the dishes, but in the way they like to dress for creation and transformation.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Lately, Ancient Grains, mostly amaranth and quinoa. At Jaguar we specialize in Latin American dishes and Quinoa and Amaranth are grains or cereals that have been used in Latin America since the ancient civilizations cultivated them. Not only do I have great respect for natural grain, also the techniques in which they can be cooked.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

Miami, of course my restaurants are in this magical city. But I like diversity and the culture mix. From Cubans making tacos, to Mexicans doing sushi, the creativity never ends. It ranges from a taco stand or a food truck, to the most expensive and luxurious restaurants inside famous hotels and classics that only open 6 months of the year.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

Braised Pork in Tomatillo Sauce over White Rice. In all my career I’ve invented and cooked many dishes. This one in particular is special because I cook this for my sons. They love this dish, and I love to cook it for them. I always try variations and they always rate it comparing it to original. Sometimes I add kim chi to my salsa verde and wait for their reaction when they try it. I have done it with mushroom puree in the sauce. It is fun for me and it is a dish that brings us together.

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

Anything new. Always a new restaurant, or a new ingredient. I do have my favorite spots that I frequent. Following chefs and restaurants in social media is a great way to find the food I would like to try. This week was a clever version of Beef tartar and Yuca empanadas.

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

Diana Kennedy in my mind is intimidating, but the more reason to try my best. It would be an honor to have her taste my dishes and hear her feedback.

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

The magic of transformation of ingredients. It was an eye-opening and satisfying experience.

Connect with our April Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @oscardelrivero

Website: http://www.jaguarhg.com/

March 2019 Chef of the Month- Chef John Wilson

 

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We’re happy to introduce our March Chef of the Month- Chef John Wilson! Chef John, also known as “The Soup King” is a Chef at Sophie’s Cork and Ale in North Carolina. He is a believer in going the extra mile for his customers and strongly believes that one must “be passionate or go home.” He first fell in love with the kitchen back in high school, and it his positive attitude , perseverance and passion that has led him to his successful chef career! Read below to learn more about Chef John’s Story!

 

 

 

 

1. Where were you born?

Frederick, MD

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

Sophie’s Cork and Ale, Lexington, NC

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

An immersion blender because it can be used for so many different things and dishes.

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

Vision. I like to believe I see everything around me.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Be passionate or go home.

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

Customer service and by that, I mean always going the extra mile for the customer and making the answer “no” impossible for the guests.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Bringing joy and smiles to faces with “good food”.

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

I mostly look for style, pockets, and heavy or light weight coats or shirts depending on the time of year.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

I could not survive without honey

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

Winston Salem, NC

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

In my opinion, it was the time I made bacon fat confit rabbit with cornmeal dusted okra, and parmesan polenta cakes.

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

Go to Mom’s house for dinner, good ‘ol southern food, hamburger steaks, friend chicken, mashed potatoes, greens beans etc.

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

The first chef that ever gave me a chance in the kitchen when I was 17 years old, Sean Devine, I haven’t seen him since I was about 19, and I feel I’ve come such a long way and I know he would enjoy and be proud to eat one of my dishes.

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

The kitchen culture and lifestyle, I feel in love with it as a young dishwasher still in high school.

Connect with our March Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @chefjohnwilson

 

FEBRUARY 2019 CHEF OF THE MONTH- CHEF KRISTAL

We’re excited to introduce our February Chef of the Month- Chef Kristal Kirkland! Chef Kristal is a personal chef in the New York and New Jersey area with a passion for paprika, good food and determination! Chef Kristal followed her dreams and became a successful chef- and she advocates all aspiring chefs to do the same. We are thrilled to share her delicious AND healthy recipes, and we know that she will inspire current and future chefs to keep on dreaming. Read below to learn about Kristal’s story!                                               

 

 

1. Where were you born?

I was born in Long Island, NY, but raised in Queens, NY!

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

I am a Personal Chef so I don’t have a set location for work, but my clients live in New York and New Jersey and I cook out of their homes

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

My favorite tool in the kitchen would have to be a channel. I love using it to create fruit platters! It makes an ordinary fruit platter look extraordinary. I use the channel by carving out pieces of oranges, lemons or watermelon and turn it into a cool design!

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

My sharpest sense is my sense of touch! Without using a thermometer, I can tell if steak or chicken is cooked by simply touching it.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

My advice to aspiring chefs would be to learn as much as you can and to keep practicing! After a while cooking will become so natural to you. Learn what flavors work well together and never stop believing in yourself (as cliché as it sounds)! When I first started cooking, I didn’t really see my full potential and always looked at other chefs and felt as if I would never be as good as them. But here I am, living out my dream and I’m so much better than I could have ever imagined! That’s why I say never stop believing in yourself…you never know what you are capable, and you might even surprise yourself.

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

Taste, taste, taste! You must always taste your food while cooking it and before sending it out to the customer/client!

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food to me means that it is seasoned well, has fresh ingredients and is cooked to perfection. Overcooked food can really ruin a meal for me.

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

I look for quality material when picking out a chef outfit because I want my chef outfits to last. I would rather spend the money on a good quality chef jacket than to buy a cheap jacket and have to constantly replace it throughout the year because of tears or the stains that won’t come out.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

My favorite ingredient to work with would have to be paprika/smoked paprika. I put that stuff in almost everything!

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

New York City, of course! It’s home for me but you can find almost every cuisine here!

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

My baked macaroni and cheese because my clients always wonder what’s in it. The spices and cream cheese that I put in it really kicks the macaroni up a notch.

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

I’m actually a pretty boring eater on my days off. I feel like I cook all of these gourmet meals for clients, but I never cook anything gourmet for myself. On my days off I tend to eat baked chicken, roasted sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli. If I’m not being healthy I will get something to eat from the Spanish spot by my house. I order baked chicken, rice and beans with a side of fried plantains!

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

I would like to cook for Barack Obama. I admire him as a person because I like the way he carries himself, how he speaks, how he treats others and his sense of humor. I think he has a lot of wisdom and I would love to learn from him

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

I decided to become a chef simply because I enjoyed cooking and I realized I was happy whenever I was in the kitchen. However, when I attended culinary school I realized that there is a difference between cooking for your family and cooking for large groups of people. Culinary school was hard for me at first, but I stuck it out because the love for cooking was still there and it was always my dream to be a chef!

Connect with our February Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @ksoulsservices

Facebook: @KsoulsServices

Website: https://www.ksoulsservices.com/

JANUARY 2019 CHEF OF THE MONTH- CHEF KARMA

It’s the new year & we’re so happy to introduce our January Chef of the Month, Chef Karma! Chef Karma is a private chef and event planner in South Florida! She is also one of the few female hibachi chefs in the United States. Highly innovative and creative, Chef Karma enjoys fusion-style cooking and loves to stand out in bright colors! We can’t wait to share her story and yummy recipes. Read below to learn more about Chef Karma!                                                                   

 

1. Where were you born?

St. Thomas United States Virgin Islands

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

I work as a private chef and event planner in South Florida.

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

I am a hibachi chef. This is the best way to describe how I create my masterpiece. I am one of the only female hibachi chefs in the US. I love to be innovative and creative, so I would call my style of cooking, fusion.

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

My sharpest sense out of the five senses would be taste. I have a very sensitive palette, so I can almost pinpoint every ingredient in a dish.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

The advice I would give you an aspiring chef is to make sure that cooking is what you love, not like, so that it does not feel like work.

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

Mise en plac…. This means everything in its place, preparation is imperative to a good service.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Euphoria. People eat with their eyes first, there nose second, and lastly their mouth.

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

I love bright colors, so my chef uniform always has to stand out.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

I love the Mediterranean spice Tahini, it amplifies any taste in any type of food.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

Miami, of course.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

Honey barbecue pulled pork on top of corn bread topped with homemade Cole Slaw

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

I love sushi, all types of sushi!

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

I would love to cook for our last president, Barack Obama

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

I believe that food brings people together, so I chose Culinary arts to make sure that I am a part of every single person’s laugh and every single person’s tear and making it memorable.

 

Connect with our January Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @prettychefsinternational

Facebook: @prettychefsllc

 

 

 

November 2018 Chef of the Month Gina Sansonia

Shop Her Look!

Image 2We’re delighted to introduce our November 2018 Chef of the Month, Gina Sansonia! Chef Gina is the Executive Chef/Owner of Cucina Bambina, a mobile, gourmet Italian eatery that is located in Hollywood, FL. Gina is a driven and passionate chef, with a zest for life…and basil! We can’t wait to share her story and delicious recipes!  Read below to learn about Chef Gina Sansonia and her passion for food.

 

 

1. Where were you born? 

I was born and raised in New York.

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

I’m the Executive Chef/Owner of Cucina Bambina Inc. We’re a mobile, Gourmet Italian Eatery based out of Hollywood, FL. We travel all over the state participating in various festivals in addition to catering private events.

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

I have an obsession with spoons…. they’re just so handy!

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

I have a keen sense of smell.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. If you have passion, drive, a strong work ethic and a vision….you can make it happen-you just have to put in the work

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

Work smarter …. not harder.

7. What does good food mean to you?

I firmly believe that good food comes from the heart, along with quality ingredients.

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

COMFORT and style.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 

I’m OBSESSED with basil.😍

10. Favorite City to dine out in? 

NYC, baby! Although I would like to check out the Chicago food scene. I hear amazing things.

11. Best Dish you have ever made? 

I make a mean rice ball if I do say so myself and many call me “The Meatball Queen”. Both of those are always crowd pleasers.

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

I typically don’t sit down and eat structured “meals”. I’m content with a good old bag of Doritos surprisingly enough!

13. Person you most like to cook for? 

Hands down my nieces and nephews. I love how excited and engaged they become.  It really is special.

14. What made you decide to become a chef? 

After losing my father to cancer, and being diagnosed with Celiac Disease, it made me look at food differently and (not to sound cliché) made me realize that life is too short. I just went for it!

Connect with our November Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @cucinabambinainc

Twitter: @CucinaBambina

Facebook: Cucina Bambina Inc

Gridiron Grill-Off 2018 Chef Spotlight: Chef Eric Kaszubinski

The Gridiron Grill-Off Food, Wine & Music Festival is almost here! We have loved getting to know some of the talented chefs who will be participating in this year’s event. We’d like to introduce you to Chef Eric Kaszubinski of Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa.

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1. Who inspired you to become a Chef?

Food Network was not around till I was in high school.  However I would see chef’s including the late Julia Child and a program called Great Chefs on television which drove me to want to discover and learn more about food from around the world.  On a more personal level, my family has always been involved in the food business.  Some of my fondest memories are being in the kitchen with my family cooking up a traditional Polish meal.

2. What nationalities or trends inspire your cuisine? (ie Thai, French, casual American, tex-mex)

Growing up, my family hosted exchange students from Japan and China.  I feel that my curiosity of their cuisine has played a role in some of the items I put on my menus today.  I would not say that I represent one style of food, instead I cook what I want and what my guests want; great food inspired by what is around us.

3. What is one of your favorite ingredients and why?

This is a tough question to narrow down just one ingredient as my favorite.  I have many items that I like to use and I also feel that this continues to change as I evolve my cuisine.  I would say that one of my favorite ingredients would be a sea scallop.  There are many ways to prepare this, whether it is raw or cooked.

4. Why did you decide to participate in the Gridiron Grill-Off on November 10?

Pompano Beach Marriott  has been a longtime supporter of this event and as the Host Hotel… we wouldn’t miss it! It benefits a great Foundation, it’s here in our Pompano Beach community, it showcases the area’s culinary talents, and of course… it’s a blast!

5. What are you looking forward to the most at this years Gridiron Grill-Off Food, Wine and Music Festival?

Connecting with all the people in the community that I live and work in, seeing all the Dolphin “Greats”, participating in the corn-hole tournament, and the opportunity to win fan-favorite this year.

6. Any recommendations for those planning to attend the Gridiron Grill-Off for the first time?

Come early, pace yourself and make sure you vote…for me!

Connect with the Gridiron Grill-Off!

Get Your Tickets!

Instagram: @gridirongrilloff

Facebook: Gridiron Grill-Off Food, Wine & Music Festival

Twitter: @GridironGriller

October 2018 Chef of the Month Morghan Medlock

We are so excited to introduce our October 2018 Chef of the Month, Chef Morghan Medlock! Chef Morghan is one of a kind – she went from playing basketball to whipping up masterpieces in the kitchen. Chef Morghan has all aspects of the meal perfected from breakfast to dessert. Read below to find out more fun facts about our October Chef of the Month and her new found love of cooking.

1. Where were you born?

Pasadena, California

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

I am self employed personal chef and food blogger.

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

My favorite kitchen tool when creating mater piece dishes is my Chef’s knife that was gifted to me upon graduation of culinary school.

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

My sharpest sense out of all my senses is taste.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

The advice I’d offer aspiring chefs is that if their heart and soul is not on the kitchen then please get out of it. Food is emotional and takes everything you have to produce a delicious dish.

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

One tip every chef should know and perfect is the ability to adjust on the fly. Stuff happens in the kitchen at any given moment and as a chef your job is to be able to transform mistakes into masterpieces.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food to me means a dish that takes my soul on a ride as I fork around the plate. Or a dish that triggers a memory or inspires me to create.

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

The features important to me when selecting a chef outfit are color, fit and style all of which should tell someone who I am without me having to utter a word.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Favorite ingredient to work with is an egg because you can literally put it in or on almost anything and call it brunch if you want. Not to mention it’s a hell of a binding agent. when baking.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

Favorite City to dine out in is Houston, Texas.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

The best dish I have ever made was a braised squid ink pasta.

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

I like to eat all things brunch on my days off.

13. Person you would most like to cook for?

The person I would most like to cook for is Gordon Ramsay.

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

I decided to become a chef because it is the only thing that makes me feel alive as I did when I played basketball (my first career). It’s the only other way for me to entertain a crowd, inspire people, and tell my story like I did with basketball. And lastly so my kid would never have to grow up in a drive thru at a fast food spot.

Connect with our October Chef of the Month:

Instagram: @chefmorghan

Facebook: Morghan Medlock

Website

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

 

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

 

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

 

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