Tag Archives: Chef George Duran

The Top tools for every professional Chef

Chef in kitchen on blog.chefuniforms.comHave you ever heard the saying “A Tool is only as good as the person using it?”

Every professional chef has their favorites that they just can’t live without! They will use these items over and over even when it’s falling apart or broken, until they are like, “okay, I have to replace them now!”

From all of our Chef of the Month interviews this year, one of our questions asked was “what is your must have kitchen tool for professional chefs?”

Here’s the list of their “must haves” that made our Chefs of the Month celebrated for what they do in the kitchen:

Chef Ron Duprat – Thermal Circulating Bath. It enhances the flavor, texture and aroma of dishes.

Chef George Duran – Pickle Picker. It is a device that has 3 prongs and so easy to use to get those must have pickles! I love the name and it is a tool that not everyone has.

Chef Jenn Louis – Bob Kramer’s Knife. “Bob Kramer lives in Olympia, Washington. He’s one of the only guys in the US who makes handcrafted knives of really high quality. (He has an interest in samurai sword-making and has made a few.) I met him at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen in 2011. I told him I’d been wait-listed for years and that it was my birthday, and he made me a workhorse steel knife. He takes many, many layers of metal and puts them in a 2,300-degree kiln. His skill level is just phenomenal.”

Chef Brian Rutherford – Japanese Mandolin. It is a versatile veggie cutter and it cuts vegetables very thin and very fine like a julienne cut (cutting into long, thin strips, like matchsticks) and batonnet cut (another type of long strips).

Chef Anish Rana – Knives! I love Wüsthof knives which is a German brand.

Chef Jason Connelly – Spoons. I love my spoons like Banquet Spoons. They are versatile and can use them on fish and veggies and saucing.

Chef Lorenzo Boni – French Made Cast Iron Dutch Oven – I love the way it is designed and it cooks so easily and the food comes out great!

Chef Robyn Almodovar – Spoon. A nice tablespoon.

Chef Charlise JohnsonKitchenAid Mixer – they are so amazing. I make all kinds of things with it like dinner rolls and cupcakes. It makes life so much easier.

Chef Andrea Litvin – A Scale – I must know exact measurements down to the gram!

Chef Lisa Nakamura – A great pair of Knives – you can do anything with them. I like the brand, Global because they are easy to sharpen and maintain.

Chef Carlos Gaytan – Vitamix Blender. I can do many things with it like sorbets and purees.

Chef in kitchen on blog.chefuniforms.com

Professional Chef Knives seem to be the leading choice…..

We would like to know what are your favorites that you cannot absolutely live without in your kitchen?

 

CHEF GEORGE DURAN’S COLORFUL MEDIA PERSONALITY

George Duran w Pressure CookerChef George Duran is involved in several TV projects that continue to fuel his passions for food and media together. Taken from several sources including Wikipedia and his show’s sites listed below, you will see his light and humorous personality shine naturally and if you have not seen him on TV, you need to check him out or look back at past seasons!

FOOD NETWORK: HAM ON THE STREET

In 2005, Chef Duran returned to New York from Paris, taking his career as a TV Chef to the next level creating and hosting Food Network’s popular Ham on the Street. The program showcased his keen interviewing and culinary skills and determined once and for all that you can’t fry a fudge-cicle. Whilst it is not airing currently on the Food Network, please take a look at his recipes from the show and try them when you have time. They are quick and easy, with prep and cook times taking anywhere from 25 to 1hr and 15 mins and we would like to add, delicious!

White Bean Hummus – 10 mins

Winning Deviled Ham – 15 mins

Classic French Mussels – 25 mins

Breakfast Pizza – 30 mins

Spicy Buffalo Style Stuffed Chicken Breasts – 30 minsChef George Duran

The Juiciest Meat Balls Ever – 35 mins

Guiltless Oven-Fried Chicken Fingers – 35 mins

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever – 40 mins

Spice Rubbed Beer Can Chicken – 1 hr 15 mins

Deep-Fried Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – 1hr 15 mins

FOOD NETWORK: THE SECRET LIFE OF…..

In February 2007, Chef Duran expanded his presence on Food Network, hosting The Secret Life of…, a light hearted exploration of the history of the foods we love. The show combines history segments with recipe segments and features the origins of the foods and why we eat them.

TLC’S ULTIMATE CAKE OFF

In 2010, George was asked to join TLC’s prime time line-up by hosting Ultimate Cake Off in Season 2 where the nation’s top cake artists compete against each other to build the ultimate cake. The show is based on professional cake artists that go “head-to-head” in constructing cakes over five feet tall with the assistance of a team of chefs, designers etc. for a money prize. Enjoy his video testimonial about the show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJIejC16Qo0

HIS BOOK “Take this dish and Twist It.”

In October 2008, George launched his first book, Take This Dish and Twist It. Just like his personality, colorful and funny, Chef Duran’s book is packed with highly useful tips revealing his delectably unexpected take on comfort food.George Duran's Cookbook

IMUSA and Hunt’s Tomatoes

Chef Duran is part of IMUSA’s Chef Program, as one of their spokespersons and creates exclusive recipes, webisodes, instructional videos and demos. His Hispanic roots are expressed with featured recipes such as “Pumpkin Pie Tamales” and Chorizo Lentil Stew on YouTube. IMUSA is a Hispanic and International cookware company that has brought their grandmas’ recipes to life through their line of products. They have moved beyond borders to become the leading brand of Hispanic housewares and a culinary brand ambassador of other international cuisines including the new Pan-Asian line of products.

He also partnered with Hunt’s Tomatoes. The enormous success of both campaigns resulted in the expansion of George’s role with both companies including all ConAgra products on a national and Hispanic stage. Most recently he has hosted on HSN for kitchenware products by IMUSA and T-fal.

Chef George Duran

Chef of the Month George Duran’s Deep Fried Cheese Cake Nuggets

Sometimes you just have to ignore your desire to eat healthy and give in to your love of all things sweet and rich. If you’re going to have one cheat day, be sure to add this recipe for Deep Fried Cheese Cake Nuggets to your list of guilty pleasures.

Freeze: 1 hour / Prep: 10 minutes / Cook: 5 minutes / Yield: 8 to 10 servings

You’d think that deep frying one of the richest desserts in creation would be overkill. You’d be wrong. Enough said.

Ingredients:

  • Deep Fried Cheese Cake Nuggets1 7-inch purchased cheesecake, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Peanut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (aka Japanese-style bread crumbs)
  • 1 teaspoon cinammon (optional)
  • Raspberry Coulis
  • Purchased Chocolate Sauce

Place cheese cake pieces in the freezer for about 1 hour until really cold. Heat oil to 365 degrees.  Mix Panko breadcrumbs with cinnamon.  Beat egg with milk. Dip cheesecake into milk then roll inside the bowl of breadcrumbs.

Deep fry for approximately 20-30 seconds, until golden brown. Serve immediately!

Chef of the Month: The Birthplace of Chef George Duran

Chef George DuranChef George Duran is from Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. The country itself is located on the northern coast of South America and has an area of 912,050 km², a little more than twice the size of California. It is bordered by 3 countries: Colombia, Guyana and Brazil.

Here are some Facts about Venezuela taken from CNN.com:

The country’s formal name is the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and is one of the oldest democracies in South America. It is highly dependent on oil, which accounts for 95% of export earnings and 12% of GDP and is one of the world’s top 10 oil exporting countries, according to the Energy Information Administration. Baseball is the most popular sport in the country.

Population: 28,458,085 (July 2013 estimate)venezuela_flag

Capital: Caracas

Ethnic Groups: Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arab, German, African and indigenous groupsVenezuela Baseball

Official Language: Spanish but there are numerous indigenous dialects

Industries: agricultural products, livestock, raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, iron and steel products, and fuel

Money: Bolivar

Sports: Baseball, Basketball and Soccer

True Nomads “10 Interesting Facts About Venezuela” revealed some other fascinating facts:

Venezuela was one of the founding members of OPEC, along with Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

The term Venezuela literally means ‘Little Venice’. The country was so named by its explorers, who saw houses built on stilts in a lake here, reminding them of Venice.

Angel Falls is the highest waterfall in the world.

Venezuela has more Miss Universes and more Miss Worlds than any other country.

Countries with the most Miss Universe Winners

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Venezuelan cuisine finds its roots from a lot of European influences specifically Italian, Spanish and French.  According to Venezuelan Cooking, the “Pabellón Criollo” is the most traditional Venezuelan dish after the Arepas. Pabellón is a word for “pavilion”, but it can also mean the national flag, an ensign, or even a tent.   The Pabellón Criollo, the traditional Venezuelan dish is made up of shredded (or pulled) beef, black beans, rice and fried plantains, as the most basic version of it.   Some people, depending on the part of the country, also add a plain arepa on the side, some avocadoes, some delicious grated white cheese and even a fried egg.  When fried plantains are added, it is known as the “Pabellón con Baranda”. This dish is their National Dish and you can find this tasty recipe below.

Main Components for Pabellón Criollo:

– Carne Mechada (Venezuelan Shredded/Pulled Beef)

– Caraotas Negras (Venezuelan Black Beans)

– Arroz Blanco (Venezuelan White Rice)

– Tajadas (Venezuelan Fried Plantains)Pabellon Criollo

Preparation:

1. Make sure you soak the black beans overnight!

2. Prepare the shredded/pulled beef first, as this will take the longest to cook (4 hours).

3. When the beef has been cooking for about 1½ to 2 hours already, begin to cook the black beans (this will take 2 hours).

4. Proceed to remove the beef from the boiling water.  Shred/pull the beef and continue cooking as directed on the recipe (adding the sofrito and stir frying it).

5. Proceed to finish the black beans recipe as well.

6. Set the beef and beans aside, and begin cooking the rice.

7. Make the plantains while the rice is cooking.

8. Finish the rice and the plantains.

9. Serve all together.

Do we have any Venezuelans in the house? Would love to hear about your favorite Venezuelan dishes or fun childhood memories!

March 2014 Chef Of The Month, George Duran

George DuranGeorge Duran is not your traditional chef. His passion for food and media has differentiated him from typical chefs, that being in restaurants.  He has always worked in media and technology since he was in College. He is an International Chef and Entertainer and Author of “Take this Dish and Twist It.” He is known for his Food Network Show, “Ham on the Street” and has been the host of TLC’s Ultimate Cake Off since 2010. He has appeared as guests on The Dr. Oz Show, NBC Today Show, CBS This Morning, The Wendy Williams Show, The Nate Berkus Show and many others. He is one of the Celebrity Chefs for IMUSA, a Hispanic and International cookware company.

Born and raised by Armenian parents in Caracas, Venezuela, George’s diverse background helped him succeed at NYU as the Host of the Award Winning Radio Talk Show, HYE Time Radio. Duran’s interests lie in French, Armenian and South American cuisines as well as cinematography and video editing. He currently lives in Long Island City, NY. Enjoy getting to know George below as we did…..

Congratulations Chef Duran and Thank You for bringing your Unique Flair to ChefUniforms.com!

1.   Where were you born?

Caracas, Venezuela

2.   What made you decide to become a chef?

I have always had a passion for food and an inclination to be on the air for Radio and TV. It was just part of my destiny. In my single days, my food affair took off in college when I used to cook for my dates and cooked not your typical college food, like mac and cheese or sandwiches but gourmet food. It turned out, they really enjoyed my food! (laughs heartily)Cooking is such a social tool and many of my dorm mates were also happy to be my tasters. On the other hand, I became the host of the award winning radio talk show, HYE Time Radio and it became the #1 in the radio market.

 3.   What do you enjoy doing outside of being a chef?

My life encompasses TV and cooking. My passion for food is so immense and surrounds eating and always looking for food but I must say that I love to bike and playing with technology. I am a computer nerd and also do video editing. Since my son came into my life, I love hanging out with him and playing with him.

4.   What is your favorite social media platform?

Facebook – I can embed pictures and videos. Pinterest is a close 2nd.

5.   What is your Must Have Kitchen Tool?

A Pickle Picker – It is a device that has 3 prongs and so easy to use to get those must have pickles! I love the name and it is a tool that not everyone has.

Pickle Pickler

6.   Do you enjoy dining out on your free time? What is your favorite type of cuisine?

I really love it! I love authentic Asian cuisine – Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese…

7.   What fabric and style of chef uniform do you enjoy wearing the most?

Organic Cotton – it feels nice and light. I always have my uniforms custom made and work with a silk screening artist in Brooklyn. Your uniforms are a reflection of who you are as well as your cooking. I like to make it as entertaining as possible.

8.   Chef George Duran’s Spice Rubbed Beer Can Chicken Recipe (with options for game hen and turkey)

Prep Time: 15 minutes / Grill: 1 hour / Yield: 4 servings

Maybe it’s just me, but when I see a chicken standing upright and begging to be eaten, I can’t help but comply! Caution: Don’t drink the leftover beer!

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oilSpice Rubbed Beer Can Chicken

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon kosher salt or 2 teaspoons table salt

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 (3 1/2 to 4-pound) chicken

1 (12-ounce) can beer

Heat a gas or charcoal grill with a lid big enough to accommodate the bird. Put a drip pan below the grates.

Mix the ingredients for the Spice Rub until they are well blended. (This will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for 1 week.) Rub it all over the chicken, inside and out.

Open the beer and take a big swig or just pour out a couple of ounces. Sit the chicken on the beer can so the legs are at the bottom and the wings are at the top. Stand the beer can on the grates over the drip pan. Put the cover on and cook over indirect heat until the juices run clear, about 1 hour. (If using charcoal, push the coals to 1 side so the chicken is not over direct heat.)

Note: This chicken can also be cooked in a 350 degrees F oven. Just stand the beer can in a shallow roasting pan and cook about 1 hour or until juices run clear.

~His experience and advice~

9.   How long have you been a chef and where did you study?

Since 2002. I was a home chef but also studied in Paris at the École Supérieure de Cuisine Française (ESCF – Higher School of French Cuisine at Ferrandi) for 3 years.

10.   What education or experience would you recommend for aspiring chefs?

Go and work in a restaurant for 2 weeks for free and work hard with long hours and if you are still excited about becoming a chef, then there’s your answer.

11.   Can you offer some advice for aspiring chefs?

It is important to know where you want to go whether it is TV, open your own restaurant or bistro or actually work in a restaurant. Your brain is a goal oriented organ and humans are designed to follow goals. Give yourself a goal and achieve it.

12.   What is your greatest challenge in getting the ingredients you need?

Good seasonal ingredients are difficult to get during the winter. I live in Harlem and they do not have high end markets. For example, organic grapes are impossible to find outside of winter but you end up working with you have.

13.   How do you test a new recipe without putting it on the permanent menu?

I research online, read magazines and cookbooks and then merge all the info together. I try it and keep perfecting it until I am satisfied it has the taste and texture and look I want.

14.   What is your advice for planning a menu for a new restaurant?

See what’s out there and then perfect it.

15.   How do chefs use technology in their day to day operations?

Technology has made things so much easier for us like searching databases depending on the topic, see what is in season and choosing recipes.

16.   What phone apps do Chefs use in their day to day?

        – Dirty Dozen – an informative app that gauges the safety of various fruits and vegetables based on pesticide levels.

        – Seafood Watchprovides recommendations to help you choose ocean-friendly seafood at your favorite restaurants and shopping to cook meals.

        – Still Tasty – it shows you how long you can store food to keep it fresh.

~2014 and The Future~

17.   What dining trends do you see taking place for 2014?

For the US, I am seeing more Europeanized methods influence us here like charcuterie. We are also providing better cuts of meat to our customers like salami or ham. Our ham slices are competing with the quality that Spain is known for and sells. Artisan cheeses are also a big hit but the biggest trend is local food where people want to eat and support local food markets.

18.   How has the revolution to eat healthy influenced you as a Chef?

A lot of my clients want healthy food because they are more health conscious. I also have a preference to make healthy dishes based on how I have grown up. Our ways of cooking in Venezuela was not the healthiest. This revolution has also motivated me to teach my son when he gets older to eat healthy and also I have gotten involved with Dr. Oz’s Healthcorps to teach little kids to make healthier choices. Imagine chicken breasts are the size of a human breast….I want to continue educating people to stop making poor eating habits.

19.   What do you think of “Green Kitchens?” Is it realistic to outfit your kitchens to be environmentally friendly?

I don’t think a kitchen can be 100% green but it is realistic to have a balance of green and non green kitchens just by the small things. For example, composting – just by using a grain of wood that you can salvage rather than cutting a new tree to get new wood will save the environment. In culinary school, I was taught there is a lot of wastage generated by kitchens and it really does not have to be like that.

20.   How does Social Media play a role for Chefs today?

It gives us feedback. People can see where I am and what I am doing and ask questions without any problems to get a response. I like to get in touch with my customers.

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