Featured Chefs

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April 2017 ChefUniforms First Junior Chef of the Month Carter Hull

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Junior Chef Carter Hull is wearing Uncommon Threads Coat Style #426.

Spring is in full bloom and we’re thrilled to announce our April Chef of the Month – Junior Chef Carter Hull! Chef Carter is 13-year-old from Austin, Texas who shows us all you are never too young to be passionate, positive, and chase your dreams. Although Chef Carter is young in his career, he has been very successful, speaks eloquently and is wiser beyond his years! Plus, he tears it up in the kitchen, this is going to be a month of food you won’t want to miss. Read more about our first Junior Chef below and stay tuned for some of his amazing recipes!

 

 

1. Birthplace:

I was born in Austin, Texas. I currently live in Austin and am in 7th grade.

2. What are 3 things most people don’t know about you?

  • I am a twin, we are fraternal so we don’t look alike plus we have nothing in common not even hobbies. We are basically complete opposites.
  • I am involved in student council a lot and I am also a boy scout, whenever we go on campouts everyone always asks if I can cook. I usually I say no because I don’t want to be a full-time chef on cookouts.
  • I am starting to learn how to speak Chinese, not a lot of people know this because most people learn how to speak Spanish.

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

I would probably say my chef knife and my cutting board. The dishes that you are cooking always vary but your chef knife and cutting board stay the same. I feel like they are really important and my favorite tools to work with.

4. What are some cool things that have happened to you since you were on Kids BBQ Championship?

The biggest thing that happened was that my school district asked me to create a barbecue sauce recipe that they wanted to use. So I did that and now all the middle and high schools in my district use my barbecue sauce recipe, I am known as the BBQ guy.

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

I think probably my sense of smell. You only have one pair of eyes but your sense of smell is like having eyes on the back of your head in the kitchen. When cooking something, smell is really important.

6. What advice would you offer aspiring chefs?

I think the biggest piece of advice I would give aspiring chefs is to be you, be courageous and do what you are comfortable with. To start the best thing is to be you and put you on a plate. And as you get better and have more experience you can expand from that.

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

I would probably say learning how to make deviled eggs is important. It is pretty easy but you can do them so many ways and they are very versatile. Plus, regardless of your skill level, deviled eggs look fancy and sophisticated.

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

When I first started I stayed around aprons. But as I have grown a little as a chef, I moved over to chef coats because they look more professional. So right now, I am into the chef coats.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

I think my favorite ingredient is probably potatoes. You can do a lot with them and they are a great ingredient to work with and to have in the kitchen. You can do so many things with potatoes, grill, roast, and go so many directions. I like to experiment with potato dishes.

10. Best Dish you have ever made thus far in your career?

That’s really hard. I think my family’s favorite dish is a dish I make and it is basically little steaks on top of potatoes with roasted asparagus. All of the components are simple but the way you put it together is what makes the difference. This dish is really elegant.

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

I think my family or younger kids. My family gives me good constructive criticism especially if I make something completely out there they still give me positives that it tasted good. Also, I like cooking for younger kids because I think it helps inspire them. Kids can do hobbies besides play sports and I think cooking is such a good skill to have. I like being a part of their culinary journeys.

12. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Well, I haven’t really thought that far. But I really see myself going back to basics, solidifying a good base of what I have done in the past 5 years. Go over what I do well and what I can improve on. For now, I am looking towards some kind of culinary school.

Stay tuned for more from Junior Chef Carter! Want to be our next Chef of the Month?  Apply here: http://bit.ly/2oOndGV.

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 Meyer Lemon & Rosemary Hummus

Recipe10-All-NaturalRosemaryLemonHummusDip--800x533.jpgSpring is the perfect time to put all of your fresh ingredients to use. Our Chef of the Month, Megan wows us again with this fresh recipe. Not only is hummus a tasty treat, it also has a ton of health benefits. So get ready to hop into Spring with fresh food and spend less time preparing this dish and more time enjoying it with your friends.

Meyer Lemon & Rosemary Hummus

Serves:  4-6

Difficulty Level: Easy

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Cooking Time: 5 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of Tahini (you can find this in the international food section at most grocery stores)
  • Juice from 2-3 Meyer Lemons (OR 1-2 regular lemons if you can’t find Meyer Lemon which is a sweeter version of a traditional lemon)
  • Fresh Rosemary Sprigs (a small box is plenty)
  • 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Jars of White Beans – drained and rinsed
  • Sea Salt

You will need:

  • Food Processor

Directions:

  • Place Beans, ½ the lemon juice, tahini, sea salt, and 2 rosemary sprigs (minus the stem) in the food processor along with ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Puree and taste. For a creamier hummus, add an extra ¼ cup of olive oil and ¼ cup of tahini
  • For a healthier/skinny version, cut the olive oil and tahini by half
  • Place the hummus in a circular deep serving bowl. Top with olive oil, a little fresh squeezed lemon juice, and some whole fresh rosemary sprigs

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve with grilled chicken & veggies
  • Serve as an appetizer at a cocktail party and pair with pita chips, pretzels, and fresh chopped broccoli, pepper, cucumber, carrot, etc.
  • Use as a topping for a Greek salad
  • Make it ahead of time and pack for a healthy snack at work/school/camp/etc.

Don’t wanna miss a thing from Chef Megan? Follow her here:

Website: www.forkthisdish.com

Instagram: @forkthisdish

Twitter: @ForkThisDish

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

 

Chef Alekka Presents “Mom’s Oat and Molasses Bread” Recipe

bread-imageAs the saying goes, we’ve saved the best for last. If you read Chef Alekka’s interview you know by now that her mother’s homemade bread is one of her all-time favorites and we’re so excited that she let us share it with you!

Chef Alekka says, “I grew up eating this bread. My Mom has been making this recipe for over 40 years and I always ask her to make it for me when I go home. The hardest part was getting the exact measurement from her. My Mom has made this so many times she does not need to measure ingredients- she does it by look and feel.”

Mom’s Oat and Molasses Bread 

Yield: 2 loaves

Ingredients:

4 ½ cups Bread Flour–may need more depending on the humidity in your area

1 Cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

2 Cups just boiled water

¼ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 tsp dried ground ginger

½ cup unsulfured molasses

1 tsp kosher salt

1 large egg, beaten

2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast (and ¼ cup warm water)

Procedure:

1. Place the oats in a large bowl and pour hot water over the oats to soften–let sit until cool. Meanwhile in a separate bowl proof the yeast in water and add the molasses.

2. When the oats are cool, add the molasses-yeast mixture. Stir in the beaten egg and salt.

3. Place entire mixture in a standing mixer with a dough hook and start on a low mixing speed.  Add the flour I cup at a time until dough comes together and is no longer sticky.

4. Place dough in a bowl coated with oil and cover with a damp towel. Place in the warmest part of your kitchen and let rise until doubled in size.

5. After the dough has doubled in size punch it down and knead it by hand with any remaining flour or additional flour until it’s no longer sticky.

6. Divide and shape the dough into two loaves and place into two standard loaf pans that have been sprayed with pan release.

7. Cover the pans with a damp towel and let rise until doubled in size again.

8. Pre-Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

9. Bake the bread for 40-45 minutes until nicely golden brown and listen for that hollow sound when you tap ‘em.

It was so great featuring Chef Alekka, get in contact with her for more great recipes and visit her shop Give Me Some Sugar if you happen to be in the Chicago area!

Website: Give Me Some Sugar 

Facebook: Give Me Some Sugar

Instagram: @givesugar

Twitter: @ChefAlekka

Chef Alekka’s Ode to the South Pralines

pralinesOur featured recipe of the week is a sweet southern treat. Did you know? Pralines first originated in France and were brought over by French settlers to New Orleans, Louisana. This praline recipe by our Chef of the Month Alekka is a delicious take on the American Southern praline.

Chef Alekka lived in Atlanta, Georgia from 1996-2001 and says,”I was the assistant pastry chef for a restaurant group there. I learned so much during my time there. These classic southern pralines are great crumbled on vanilla ice cream or you can dip half of them in tempered dark chocolate.”

Ode to the South Pralines

~for about 2 dozen

Ingredients:

2 cups light brown sugar
½ cup evaporated milk
¼ cup unsalted butter
2 ½ cups pecans, halves or pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Combine light brown sugar and evaporated milk in a sauce pan, boil, bring to soft ball stage.*
  2. Add butter and pecans, bring back to a soft ball stage while stirring.
  3. Remove from heat, add vanilla and beat until mixture begins to thicken.
  4. Drop by teaspoons on sheet pans lined with silicone mats.
  5. Let set and cool before serving; store in air-tight container.

*Soft Ball Stage for Candy Making using cold water test: 235 F to 240 F (118 C to 120 C)
A small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a soft, flexible ball, but flattens like a pancake after a few moments in your hand.

Get in contact with Chef Alekka and visit her shop Give Me Some Sugar if you’re in the Chicago area so you can learn how to make these amazing treats!

Website: Give Me Some Sugar 

Facebook: Give Me Some Sugar

Instagram: @givesugar

Twitter: @ChefAlekka

Chef Alekka’s Chocolate Espresso Brownies

brownies2.jpgThis recipe comes from our February Chef of the Month, Alekka Sweeney. Valentine’s Day is approaching and we all like to take this time to indulge in some dessert. This recipe caters to anyone with a sweet tooth and love for all things chocolate. Take a break from your New Year’s diet and enjoy the finer things in life… and one of those things is sugar!

Chocolate Espresso Brownies

Yields 32 brownies

Ingredients: 

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter

5 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon instant-espresso powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 large eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup 64% Chocolate pistols (I prefer Valrhona)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 15- by 10- by 1-inch baking pan with foil, allowing 2 inches of foil to hang over ends of pan, and grease foil well (except overhang) with 1 tablespoon butter.
  2. Melt remaining 11 tablespoons butter with unsweetened chocolate in a large metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and whisk in sugar, espresso powder, vanilla, and salt (mixture will be grainy), then add eggs 1 at a time, whisking after each addition until batter is smooth.
  3. Toss together flour and chocolate pistols in another bowl and add to batter, stirring until just combined.
  4. Spread batter evenly in baking pan and bake in middle of oven until top is firm and edges just begin to pull away from sides of pan, about 20 minutes –be careful not to overbake.
  5. Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then carefully lift brownies from pan by holding both ends of foil and transfer to rack to cool 10 minutes more. Cut into 32 squares and lift brownies off foil with a spatula.

Love this recipe? Get in contact with Chef Alekka and visit her shop Give Me Some Sugar if you’re in the Chicago area so you can learn to bake like a pro!

Website: Give Me Some Sugar 

Facebook: Give Me Some Sugar

Instagram: @givesugar

Twitter: @ChefAlekka

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

 

Chef Stefen’s Breakfast Mac n’ Cheese

recipe-2-0For all of the breakfast lovers, this recipe goes out to you. We’re stoked to showcase this recipe from Chef Stefen but we wish we had more! Not to worry, this one will have you drooling and ready for breakfast, brunch, or brinner. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day (both mom and science say). Breakfast and brunch foods have become even more popular and trendy in recent years, this recipe is cutting edge. We hope you enjoy and get ready to salivate!

Breakfast Mac n’ Cheese

For this recipe you will need:

  • 1 large sweet potato, unpeeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 jalapeños, diced
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 box penne rigate
  • 3-4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bottle golden ale (I prefer Kona Big Wave Golden Ale)
  • 1/2 quart (16 ounces) heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup fontina cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 24 eggs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Yield: ~12 servings

Step 1: The Prep (Prep 5 min, Cook 30-40 min)

Preheat oven to 400°F degrees.

Place sweet potato and jalapeño on a sheet tray and toss in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until fork tender. Pull out and set aside for later.

In a large pan bring some salted water to a boil. Add the box of penne rigate and a teaspoon of olive oil. Cook for about 10 minutes or until al dente (you are going to bake this again later in the mac so you don’t want the noodles overcooked). Drain and save for later.

Step 2: Make Your Cheese Sauce (Prep 10 min, Cook 25-30 min)

Heat butter in a large pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook for about 10 minutes until they are a nice golden color. Slowly add in the flour, stirring constantly to create a roux. Cook the roux until it is lightly golden in color, about 10-15 minutes. While whisking vigorously, slowly pour in your bottle of golden ale to create a smooth sauce. Add in the heavy cream and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add a few squirts of your favorite hot sauce (I like Sriracha and/or Tabasco). Add in your cheese, being sure to constantly mix to create a smooth and delicious sauce.

Step 3: Finishing Touches (Prep 5 min, Cook 30-40 min)

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Once your cheese sauce is ready, it’s time to assemble the mac! Combine the noodles, roasted sweet potato and jalapeño mixture, and cheese sauce into a baking dish. Top with the panko breadcrumbs and bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and bubbly.

When the mac is almost done, cook your eggs any style of your choosing. I prefer sunny-side up for the presentation and runny yolk.

For presentation. I like to add a pool of Sriracha to the bottom of the plate. Add a slice of the mac, and then top the whole thing with the eggs, some fresh green onion, and thinly sliced fresh jalapeno.

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