Tag Archives: chef life

July 2017 Chef of the Month John Offerdahl

Offerdahls Pic 1John Offerdahl began his professional football career in 1986, when he was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the second round. John was an inside linebacker, and had an extremely successful professional football career spanning a total of 8 years. He founded his first restaurant, Offerdahl’s Bagel Gourmet, while he was still playing football professionally, igniting his passion of freshly made food eventually leading to the creation of his quick-service chain of restaurants now known as Offerdahl’s Off the Grill.

Recently we had the opportunity to speak with John and we’re so thrilled to have him as our July Chef of the Month. Keep reading to learn more about his time on and off the grill, and words of wisdom for future chefs looking to enter the industry.

1. After your incredibly successful career in professional football, what got you interested in the food business?

I was in the midst of contract negotiations with the team – actually the longest holdout in Miami Dolphins history – and during that time my wife Lynn and I started doing research into the food business, especially bagels, knowing that my professional career could potentially end at any moment! We happened to be in the market at a time when new technology, including a new type of bagel-manufacturing machine that made the process much more efficient and cost-effective, was revolutionizing the industry by combining two separate processes into one. We asked our lawyer at the time if we should really attempt to enter the restaurant business, and he began asking us questions: Where did we grow up? Do you have any previous restaurant experience? Business experience? It became painfully clear that we had all the wrong answers to these questions. Despite that, he later sent us a package saying his answer was inside, and low-and-behold it was a bagel toaster.

2. Tell us a about your restaurant, Offerdahl’s Off the Grill.

We are a fast-casual diner specializing in providing fresh, healthy choices that let you leave feeling refreshed, not weighed down! Since our founding in 2000, we have grown to six stores around South Florida.

3. What is your favorite hobby/pastime to participate in outside of work?

Bridge. I love the game and it is by far one of my favorite pastimes. I play every Wednesday with a group of four close friends. It gets extremely competitive and I absolutely love it! It keeps my mind sharp.

4. How many employees do you have at your stores?

We have more than 120 employees across our six stores.

5. What made you choose Chef Uniforms as your uniform supplier for over 120 employees and are you satisfied with the service you have been provided?

We are not only beyond satisfied, we love them! I walk into our stores and I am so proud of the way my employees look. A combination of factors – the branding, the embroidery, the styling, it just all comes together really nicely. I wear mine almost every workday! They hide grease and stains really well, especially due to the dark colors we chose. Most importantly though was the customer service Chef Uniforms provided. My wife Lynn said she was so impressed by how responsive you guys were as a company and by how well we were able to work together as partners to create this uniform line.

6. What is your favorite/best dish you have ever made?

The Inside Lineburger! I love making them because I can customize it with whatever ingredients I want in the burgers, creating new tastes and flavors! The largest one I’ve ever made was about the size of my grill!

7. Tell us a little about the charitable work you do.

Working through a charitable Foundation I created called the Handoff Foundation, we assist in enabling the homeless to get off the street and focus on rebuilding their lives. We also host an annual charity event called the Gridiron Grilloff – a premier venue where football and food meet. As a food, wine, tailgate festival, it is a fun way to support the less fortunate by bringing together professional Dolphins players with some of South Florida’s best professional chefs!

8. What’s the best piece of advice you would give aspiring chefs?

The best piece of advice I could give to people considering entering the restaurant business would be to keep your 40 hour a week job and spend another 20 hours on top of that in working in the food industry. Not only will that give you appreciation for what working in food is like, but it will also give you an idea of how much time is required for a successful career in the restaurant industry. 60-hour work weeks are not only common, but nearly required for success! Also, I’m a big believer in pursuing your dreams, because after all, who would have thought I could have entered the bagel business!

Stay connected with our July Chef of the Month:

Website: http://www.offerdahls.com/

Instagram: @johnofferdahl

Twitter: @GridironGriller

5 Tips to help Chefs Survive Their First Job in the Kitchen

Chefs first job in the Kitchen Chefs first job in the Kitchen

We’ve seen how messy things can get when you don’t respect the kitchen. We’ve seen how accidents can happen when you aren’t paying attention. These things can and will happen, but a seasoned chef will know just how to avoid some common missteps and mistakes on the job. A newbie, however, will need all the help they can get – which is why we’ve compiled a list of tips to surviving your first job in the kitchen.

Be aware of your environment – kitchens can be loud, hectic and dangerous. Always know who and what is around you – and let others know when you’re near them. Learn to use these terms, if you want to keep your job (and your health), and look like you know what you’re doing:

  • Corner – coming around the corner
  • Behind you – walking behind someone
  • Sharp – walking with a sharp knife
  • Hot – walking with a hot pot

Keep a clean work space – Keep your station neat, clean and organized. That not only includes keeping all food and tools in their proper places, but keeping your chef coat or apron stain free, as well. For tips on how to keep your coat as clean as possible, read our blog, Keeping Your Chef Coat Clean During the Holidays.

Chefs first job in the Kitchen

Move efficiently – Don’t just run around the kitchen aimlessly. Know what you need, where to find it, and minimize the amount of time you spend moving around the kitchen. This is not only for your safety, but for the safety of everyone else in that kitchen. Be considerate to those around you and don’t crowd their work space by being in an area you don’t need to be in.

Don’t act like a know-it-all – Stop trying to impress everyone and do what you are told. You are new to this, and your head chef knows that. Don’t pretend to know everything just to show off. If anything, he or she will be happier to see you learning and producing consistently well-prepared dishes than to see you try something you saw on TV once and fail miserably. Always under promise and over deliver. Listen to your head chef and do as he or she says.

Last but not least, Stay Calm! – A professional kitchen is a high-pressure environment. If you are nervous or unsure, you will make everyone around you nervous as well. You can freak out on the inside, but outside you need to be calm, cool and collected. Focus on the task in front of you. Take it one step at a time, and get it right the first time. Don’t start yelling at everyone, unless you’re the head chef – unless you want a one way ticket out of his kitchen.

Chefs first job in the Kitchen

Can you think of any other tips for new kitchen staff? Post it below!

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram found on blog.chefuniforms.comInstagram is the place to be! It has grown from just being another social media channel out there to one of THE social media channels to be on! According to Instagram’s press page, there are 300 million monthly active users sharing 70 million photos on average per day, and those photos get 2.5 billion likes! Holy Kamolee!!

Cooking is Personal! So as a Chef, new or seasoned, due to the intimate nature and visual sensations Instagram provides and let’s not forget to mention, free exposure to you, your brand and your place of work…this is the perfect medium for you to show off your masterpieces, bring your audiences behind the scenes and portray your journey as a culinary artist.

We researched many chefs, and below is our list to follow. They represent humility and fun, and their presentations of their dishes/pastries/cakes are off the chain! Their stories are real and relatable – we love to see what makes them tick, and they also show tips to help other chefs learn. No wonder they have such huge followings! We also included our past Chefs of the Month who are on Instagram, because they are just pretty cool dudes and dudettes and have a lot to offer….

Ch…Ch…Check them out!

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram, Eric Ripert

Creativity Meeting – taken from Eric Ripert’s Instagram page

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram_Lorenzo Boni

Family comes First for Lorenzo Boni – taken from his Instagram Page

Chefs with their Own Digs

Eric Ripert – 145k followers

Marcus Cooks – 112k followers

April Bloomfield – 90.3k followers

Camille Becerra – 71.1k followers

Marc Vetri  – 20.3k followers

Jenn Louis – 14.5k followers

Sam Talbot – 14.3k followers

Carlos Gaytan’s Mexique Restaurant – 5,002 followers

Maneet Chauhan – 5,830 followers

Dadisi Olutosin – 3,523 followers

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram_Jenn Louis

The new Hat Jenn Louis got taken from her Instagram page

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram_Tom Colicchio

Striped Bass Prep taken from Tom Colicchio’s Instagram Page

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram_Christina Tosi

Late Night with Seth Myers and Christina Tosi taken from her Instagram Page

 

Corporate Chefs

Lorenzo Boni, Executive Chef at Barilla America – 13.8k followers

 

Pastry Chefs

Jordi Roca – 53.4k followers

Christina Tosi – 35k followers

Charlise Johnson’s Intimate Eats – 6,044 followers

 

Chefs in Entertainment, Chef CookBook Authors

Tom Colicchio – 67.3k followers

Kristen Kish – 63,200 followers

Amanda Frietag – 27.8k followers

George Duran – 698 followers

 

Instagram Tip #1: Want people to find you? Below shows the total number of photos associated with these popular hashtags:

#foodporn – 63,081,411

#chef – 4,689,740

#chefs – 407,324

#cheflife – 1,342,239

#chefslife – 178,295

#chefsofinstagram – 362,153

#chefinthemaking – 37,226

#chefsoninstagram – 33,299

#pastrychef – 329,104

#pastrycheflife – 10,463

Instagram Tip #2: A picture is truly worth a thousand words! While it is easy to just take a picture and publish which works, we would like you to remember presentation is everything… Put some thought into how the dish will be plated and then displayed under the right lighting and Voila! Professional photography at its best! Enjoy the new likes, comments and regrams that will follow and ultimately, your growing fan base.

Instagram Tip #3: Have fun and show your personality! Allow your pics to reflect simplicity, creativity in design, background, showing the unseen and what makes you tick! People follow you because they like you.

Instagram Tip #4: Engage with your fans and other people in your industry. Grow your network. Like your fan’s photos, leave a comment and enjoy being part of your Instagram community.

We are on instagram too! Check us out at https://instagram.com/chefuniforms/

Which chefs do you love to follow on Instagram? Send us their links and let us know why you are a fan!

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram found on blog.chefuniforms.com

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