Tag Archives: cash for the holidays contest

Interview with Chef Aimee Bacon

Aimee was one of the contestants in our ChefUniforms.com Cash for the Holidays Contest with the highest number of votes, and is March’s Chef of the Month! Below is a short interview with Aimee about her experiences in the contest and her career thus far. Enjoy!

1.       How did you go about getting all of your votes? What did you do that helped the most (Facebook, Emails, etc)?

I got many of my votes through Facebook and email.  Also, a lot of my friends and family shared my link on their Facebook pages and emails to help get votes.

2.       Why did you want to become a chef?

I wanted to become a pastry chef/baker because of my creativity.  Also, my parents had brought me up with a great appreciation for food, and I think baking and pastry is a beautiful art form, and I wanted to create that.  Also, I have a huge sweet tooth!

3.       What fabric and style of uniform do you enjoy wearing most?

My favorite style of uniform is the polyester/cotton blend traditional chef coats with long sleeves.  They are very professional looking and comfortable too!

4.       Do you enjoy dining out in your free time?

I love to dine out!!! I constantly seek out new restaurants and bakeries to try to enjoy new dining experiences.

5.       Do you see any changes in food trends?

I find that baking and pastry is becoming very popular.  Especially small portions such as cupcakes and cake pops because they are the perfect size, make great gifts, and are very eye appealing.

6.       What are your future plans for your business?

I have so many future plans for my business.  I would like to build my clientele before opening a store front, so I would preferably like to start with a small shop that is used for cake consultations and wedding cake designing.  I eventually hope to open a huge traditional bakery that offers a variety of everything, and maybe even open a huge business that includes a bakery, restaurant, vineyard, orchard, etc. that offers the ultimate dining experience.

7.       Is there any one thing you would have done differently in starting your culinary career?

I can’t specify something that I would have done differently.  In this career, you work hard, make your mistakes, and learn from them.  Making mistakes is the best way to learn and perfect your skills.  Practice definitely goes a long way!

8.   What advice would you give to someone who wants to go into culinary school?

My advice would be, if you absolutely love to cook/bake and are passionate about food, follow your instincts.  It is truly a rewarding career if you love it and put your hardest work into it.

Thanks again to all who participated in the ChefUniforms.com Cash for the Holidays Contest!

Interview with Chef Amanda Hartigan

Amanda was one of the contestants with the highest number of votes in the ChefUniforms.com Cash for the Holidays Contest, and is February’s Chef of the Month! Below is a short interview with Amanda about her experiences in the contest and her career thus far, followed by a recipe that she submitted. Bon Appétit!

1.  How did you go about getting all of your votes? What did you do that helped the most (Facebook, Emails, etc)?

I created a page on Facebook with the link and information for the contest and sent it out to all my friends and family. I also updated my status on Facebook everyday with the link reminding people to vote and pass it on. Family members also shared my link and my Grandparents e-mailed their whole address books to help me get votes. I also had co-workers vote for me and they passed it on as well.

2.  Why did you want to become a chef?

I wanted to become a chef because I have always loved to be in the kitchen. Ever since I was little I loved baking for my family or helping my mom make dinner.

3.  What fabric and style of uniform do you enjoy wearing most?

I love the women’s pants! I bought my first few pairs 3 yrs ago when I graduated from college. And I am still wearing the same ones today, so I am very happy about winning the gift certificate because I could use some new ones!

4.  Do you enjoy dining out in your free time?

Yes I do, my boyfriend and I love to check out new restaurants in the area. We also live close to NYC so sometimes we will plan a trip to head into the city and just go from restaurant to restaurant.

5.  Do you see any changes in food trends?

I have noticed at the restaurant I work at that when I make a dessert special, the homey more rustic desserts will sell rather than the more intricate ones. I think this is because of the hard economic times we are living in. People find comfort in the more homey desserts because it reminds them of a better time perhaps.

6.  What are your future plans for your business?

I hope to one day open my own place, but with the economy the way it is, nothing is going to happen soon.

7.  Is there any one thing you would have done differently in starting your culinary career?

No, I don’t think so. I like where I am at in this stage of my career.

8.  What advice would you give to someone who wants to go into culinary school?

Take every opportunity that is offered to you while in school; absorb as much information as you can because it will help you once in the industry. If you can, work while you’re in school, I did and was able to take what I learned in school and use it at work. Some of my friends did not work while in school and were very nervous about their first job out of school and even just trailing at a restaurant. A part-time job will help boost your confidence and your skill level.

9.  Would you please send us a recipe (either a favorite food or one you made up) to post for our readers?

This is a recipe I make at Nisi (the Greek restaurant I am the pastry chef at). They are Greek cookies called Kourabiedes which have roasted almonds and are coated in powdered sugar. They are very popular!

Kourabiedes (Powder Cookies)

1 lb.         Butter
1 C           Powdered Sugar
1 1/3 T     Vanilla Extract
4 1/3 C     AP Flour
1 ½ T       Baking Powder
1 2/3 C     Almonds, Roasted and Chopped
1 T           Brandy

Method:
1. Roast Almonds (whole with skins) till they are golden brown inside, set aside to cool.
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add the vanilla and brandy to the creamed butter mixture.
4. Add the flour and baking powder gradually, mix until incorporated.
5. Chop almonds into large chunks once they are cool and add to the mixture.
6. Shape dough into crescent shapes, bake in a 325*F oven for about 12 min.
7. Allow cookies to cool a little then sift powdered sugar on top, once the cookies are completely cool cover them in powdered sugar (firmly press the sugar on top of the cookies). Store in an air tight container.

Thanks again to all who participated in the ChefUniforms.com Cash for the Holidays Contest!

Interview with Chef Jose Luis Usquiano

Jose Luis Usquiano

667 Votes

Jose was one of the contestants with the most votes in the ChefUniforms.com Cash for the Holidays Contest, and is January’s Chef of the month! Below is a short interview with Jose about his experiences in the contest and his career thus far, followed by a recipe that he submitted. Enjoy!

The Interview

1.       How did you go about getting all of your votes? What did you do that helped the most (Facebook, Emails, etc)?

Email, my friends’ Facebook pages, coworkers, etc…

2.       Why did you want to become a chef?

The reason being, I would like for people to know my work and to be able to show others what I learned in my culinary experience.

3.       What fabric and style of uniform do you enjoy wearing most?

I love the ones that have mesh panels.

4.       Do you enjoy dining out in your free time?

Yes. I do enjoy going out to have lunch or dinner on my time off. That is how I’m able to try new dishes. I learned new combinations of tastes and styles of foods, especially plates from different countries. This is how I’m able to experience other culinary cultures.

5.       Do you see any changes in food trends?

Yes, well going to different places that serve international food, I can say that the culinary art is changing and everything is in the imagination of the cook.

6.       What are your future plans for your business?

Being from Peru, I have not seen many places to eat the food of my country, and I would really like to one day open a Peruvian restaurant. It would be really traditional, and would show people how good Peruvian food is!

7.       Is there any one thing you would have done differently in starting your culinary career?

My mother Beatriz Chale showed me how to cook when I was 10 years old. Afterwards when I came to the United States I had to cook for myself for necessity. I love eating so I had to cook a large amount of food. Because of this, my cooking improved as well as my culinary knowledge. This is when Chef Leon Teow gave me the opportunity to work beside him and direct me to what I am today.

8.       What advice would you give to someone who wants to go into culinary school?

I honestly believe and would say go to culinary school if you really want to work in the culinary industry. You must enjoy cooking, and not only because people would be calling you a “cook”, because you would just waste your money. The kitchen is a place that you have to love, and care about doing it right.

9.       Would you please send us a recipe (either a favorite food or one you made up) to post for our readers?

Ceviche de Pollo

  1. Cut a chicken in small pieces with skin and bone.
  2. Marinate the chicken with yellow hot sauce (Peruvian yellow pepper) for about one hour (the amount of hot sauce depends on how spicy you would like it).
  3. Fry cut red onion (julienned) until it is translucent (about one and a half red onions).
  4. Add a spoon full of chopped garlic with the onion until it is well cooked.
  5. Add a little bit of chicken base, then add the chicken and let it cook.
  6. When well cooked, turn off the stove and add a little lime juice. Stir well.

Afterwards, the chicken is served with white rice and yellow Peruvian potatoes

Thanks again to all who participated in the ChefUniforms.com Cash for the Holidays Contest!

%d bloggers like this: