Tag Archives: chef

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/

CHEF KARMA’S CARIBBEAN YELLOW RICE

rice

Rice is a staple food in the Caribbean (of course it is, it’s delicious!) and it’s often a great addition to any dish AND it’s easy-to-make. Chef Karma has a wonderful recipe to enhance any dish- her special Caribbean Yellow Rice! This is a flavorful & savory dish to make & we guarantee that it’s a crowd-pleaser! Get her recipe below!

Ingredients

1 cup Jasmine rice

1 cup Coconut Milk

1 cup Coconut Water

1/2 cup Water

1 tbsp kosher salt

1 pack Sazon

1/2 c chopped onions

1/2 c chopped bell peppers

Directions

1. Combine all ingredients.

2. Place in oven-safe baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees-or until rice is fully cooked.

3. Garnish with cilantro and peppers.

 

Connect with our January Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @prettychefsinternational

Facebook: @prettychefsllc

 

 

 

 

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

A Real Thanksgiving Treat From Chef Ace Champion

It’s 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. The aroma of baked turkey still simmers through the living room. The mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole and stuffing has already maneuvered itself into leftovers and now sits in the fridge inside a plastic container. The fall inspired tablecloth has been branded with gravy droppings and bread crumbs. Hungry gazes have glazed into satisfied smiles.

You can’t help but think: I couldn’t possibly have another bite. Except…

“What’s for dessert?” You utter the words that everyone is thinking.

Pecan pie? Pumpkin pie? Apple pie? 

Nope. Not this Thanksgiving. Thanks to Chef Ace Champion, we have a mouth-watering treat that is just waiting to be gobbled up at Thanksgiving dinner. It’s not your average pecan pie, it’s Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie with White Chocolate Ganache Drizzle. What can we say? There’s always room for dessert.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie with a White Chocolate Drizzle

Make 1 pie for 8 slice servings

Pie Ingredients:

3 large eggs

1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar – packed

1 Cup Light Corn Syrup

3 tablespoons Southern Comfort – 3 ounces

2 tablespoons Real Butter

1 tablespoon Heavy Whipping Cream – optional

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 tablespoon All-Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon/a pinch of Salt – Kosher or any Table Salt

1 – 1 1/2 Cups Pecan Halves – Ruff Chopped

3/4 Cup Chocolate Chips – Semi-sweet baking chips/half way melted

1 Pre-Made Pie Shell – to fit a 9″ deep dish pie plate

Drizzle Ingredients:

1 teaspoon Southern Comfort – optional

8 ounces White Chocolate – melted

1 tablespoon Cream – for the right consistency

1 teaspoon Dark Brown Sugar

Instructions for the Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie:

1. Roll pre-made pie shell to fit a 9-in. deep-dish pie plate.

2. Transfer pastry to pie plate; trim to 1/2 inch, beyond edge of plate and flute edges.

3. Par-bake the pie shells for 10 minutes on 325 degrees then remove from oven and cool.

4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, brown sugar, corn syrups, bourbon, butter and salt until blended.

5. Fold in 1 cup pecans and 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

6. Pour filling into crust; sprinkle with remaining pecans and chocolate chips.

7. Bake at 325° for about 1 hour & 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is puffed and set.

9. Cool completely on a wire rack.

10. Allow the pie to rest for at least 2 hours before cutting.

This is a great make a day ahead pie!

Instructions for the White Chocolate Ganache:

1. In a double broiler, add the cream and Southern Comfort and allow cooking for about 2 minutes on a steady medium high heat.

2. Add the chocolate chips in a few at a time to allow them to melt nicely with the cream and whiskey.

3. Cook until all chocolate is melted and you have a smooth consistency in your sauce.

4. Note if the sauce is too light, add more chips and if it’s too thick, line it out with a little cream or whiskey.

Presentation: Place a slice of pie on a small plate and top with pecans and drizzle.

Enjoy this delicious dessert!

Gridiron Grill-Off 2018 Chef Spotlight: Chef Rey De La Osa

If you are a true Floridian, you have a huge appreciation for Publix! Chef Rey De La Osa is the Resident Chef for Publix Aprons in Plantation, FL. Check out his culinary journey and what he has to say about participating in Gridiron Grill-Off Wine, Food & Music Festival for his third year in a row!

I joined Publix in 1999 to work in customer service. While attending Johnson & Wales University, I worked at The Four Seasons Hotel in Miami. In 2008, I transferred to the Prepared Foods Department at Publix Greenwise Market in Boca Raton to pursue his culinary career. I began working at the Apron’s Cooking School in 2010 to share his culinary passion with others.  I am now the Resident Chef in our Plantation location. Together with the Apron’s staff, we want students to “learn to have fun in the kitchen!”

1. Who inspired you to become a Chef?

I’d say my mom inspired me as she can put a great meal together with just about any ingredients she had laying around. I also watched a lot of Food Network when I was younger back when it was just starting.

2. What nationalities or trends inspire your cuisine?

Having my Latin background, it’s my biggest influence however I like different ethnic foods. I love creating recipes that fuse 2 or more ethnicities.

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

I love garlic!!!! Obviously it’s very versatile but I find a way to put some garlic in anything. No one can disagree with some roasted garlic spread on a nice piece of bread!

4. Why did you decide to participate in the Gridiron Grill-Off on November 11?

This would be my 3rd year, participating. Personally, I believe in the great causes it helps support. The event is very well organized for the chefs and guests.

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

Where to begin? I look forward to working with Mark Duper once again. I’m really excited that it’s now a multi-day event with the concert series. The BBQ pit master competition is going to be really cool for guests to check out and taste some great food. Lastly the corn hole competition is a must!!

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

Bring an appetite and plan on staying the entire day as there is lots to do. Make sure you download the Gridiron Grill off app and vote for your favorite! (It’ll be ours)

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Find Chef Rey at the Gridiron Grill-Off!

Connect with the Gridiron Grill-Off!

Get Your Tickets!

Instagram: @gridirongrilloff

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

Twitter: @GridironGriller

Follow Chef Rey on Instagram: @el_chef_rey

Chef Penelope’s Pork Belly with Peas & Carrots Recipe

IMG_4037Pair Pork Belly with a subtle blend of peas and carrots using Chef Penelope’s elegant recipe. This recipe highlights the use of various spices to activate rich, complex flavors in the pork and vegetable blend. Serves up to 4 plates – see Chef Penelope Wong’s recipe below!

Ingredients

Pork Belly

  • 10 oz. pork belly, skin diamond scored
  • 4 oz. store bought or house made hoisin sauce
  • 4 oz. light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground toasted fennel seeds
  • 2 oz. toasted sesame oil
  • 2 oz. olive oil
  • 2 C. chicken stock

Carrot Puree

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 C. peeled, rough chopped carrots
  • s&p
  • pinch star anise
  • ¼ tsp. ground toasted fennel seed
  • pinch ground clove
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground Szechuan peppercorn
  • 2 C. chicken stock

Anise Glazed Heirloom Carrot

  • 1 bunch assorted heirloom carrots, peel, tops trimmed and halved
  • 4 oz. unsalted butter
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 4 oz. granulated sugar
  • 4 oz. chicken stock
  • 1 C. cleaned English peas
  • 8 oz. brown butter
  • 2 oz. pea tendrils

Directions

Pork Belly

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

  1. Rub pork belly with hoisin, brown sugar, white pepper and fennel seeds.
  2. Heat a roasting pan on high heat with sesame oil and olive oil.
  3. When the pan is hot, place the pork belly, skin side down and sear. Cook for 8 minutes, or until skin starts to caramelize.
  4. Flip over and sear the other side for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Add in chicken stock and cover with aluminum foil and transfer to the oven.
  6. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until tender and cooked through. remove aluminum foil and continue to roast for 15-20 more minutes, or until skin is browned and crisp.
  7. Slice into 4 thick 2.5 oz. slices, reserve for plating.

Carrot Puree

  1. In a small stock pot, saute minced shallot with 1 tsp. olive oil.
  2. Add in chopped carrots, salt & pepper, star anise, fennel seed, clove, cinnamon and Szechuan peppercorn.
  3. Continue to saute for 3-5 minutes, until carrots begin cooking and spices become fragrant.
  4. Add in chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  5. Lower heat and allow to cook at a slow boil for 20 minutes.
  6. Transfer carrots and ½ amount of stock into a high speed vitamix blender.
  7. Add in 2 oz. chilled unsalted butter.
  8. Puree on low speed gradually increasing to high speed and continue to puree until mixture becomes smooth.
  9. Add in more of the cooking liquid if necessary.

Anise Glazed Heirloom Carrots

  1. In a saute pan, heat butter.
  2. When butter melts, add in halved carrots and saute for 3 minutes.
  3. Add in star anise pod and sugar, continue to saute for an additional 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add in stock and reduce heat to medium low, making sure carrots are mostly submerged.
  5. Continue to cook for 20-25 minutes, or until liquid has reduced to a syrupy glaze and carrots are cooked through. Reserve.

Peas

  1. Heat a saute pan with 2 oz. olive oil, saute peas with salt & pepper until cooked through.

Brown Butter Foam

  1. Heat butter in a small sauce pan on low heat, until butter starts to brown.
  2. Once you notice the butter starting to brown, start whisking the butter lightly to evenly distribute and brown proteins.
  3. Once desired darkness of butter is reached, remove butter from the pan to prevent further browning and possible burning).
  4. Transfer browned butter into a deep vessel. Using a handheld immersion blender,
  5. Blend browned butter at a 45 degree angle to create a layer of foam on the top.

Plating

Swirl carrot puree onto plate, spoon English peas on puree, place slice of browned pork belly nestled into peas and spoon brown butter foam on top of pork belly.  Garnish with snipped pea tendrils.

Connect with Our September Chef of the Month:

Shop Her Look!

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 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. Check out our visit to Offerdahl’s Off the Grill!

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

May 2017 Chef of the Month Aryen Moore-Alston

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Chef Aryen is wearing ChefUniforms style 83355 in Black with White

Hooray for the Month of May! We’re excited to introduce our May Chef of the Month, Aryen Moore-Alston! Tune in this month for eclectic recipes and exciting exclusives like Chef Aryen featured on TV and even more. Read more below to find out more about our beaming May Chef of the Month!

 

1. Birthplace:

I was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. But I was raised in Naples, Italy and spent 12 years of my life there.

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

I am based out of Memphis, Tennessee. I work at Sweet Potato Baby which is a catering and baked goods company and café where I am the owner and executive chef.

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

My Sous Vide machine and kitchen tweezers.

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

Taste. Definitely taste.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

I like to relate it to the movie Finding Nemo, when Dory tells them to “Just keep swimming.” There are so many setbacks in this profession and all you can do is just keep swimming and trek forward. If you don’t get the dream job or you don’t like what you are doing right now just keep swimming and go after that goal. There is so much competition I always say infuse your personality into your cuisine.

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

Learn the basics. Know your sauces you can always start a great dish or meal with a good sauce. Oh, and keep lemons on hand.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food means love. There is not one thing that I can say about dining that doesn’t take me back somewhere, whether it is eating with my cousins at my grandma’s house. Food is the way I show love. Food is my soul and it warms my soul and gives me a natural high. This is one of the few careers that you still touch with your hands. I love when people say they love my food. It makes me want to be better and try harder with every dish.

8. What features are important to you when selecting a Chef Coat? (particular fabric, style, sleeve length, pockets).

Definitely the style. I am a female and normal chef coats can swallow the female shape. I don’t want to look like a man in an industry dominated by men. I do the same thing as men but I want to feel pretty. I want to feel like a female. So the most important thing is my coat having great style, cut to accent my figure, and the perfect fit. The fabric also needs to breathe and feel good.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Oh gosh, that is so hard. You can’t go wrong with garlic. Garlic is a staple ingredient in most of my dishes. Oh, and I love salmon. Salmon is my all-time favorite; it brings out so many different flavors. Salmon and garlic.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

New York, ah you know what I am going to have to go with L.A. Los Angeles is bringing so many new and different flavors, cuisines, and you can find any type of food you want.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

Oh wow- whoa. One of the best dishes I think I’ve ever made has to be recent. It was a Rosemary scented lamb with a mint pea puree. I made it for my Valentine’s Day Chef’s Table. It was definitely the most amazing lamb I have ever made. I was like, “oh yea, I just rocked it.”

12. Person you would most like to cook for?

I’d really like to cook for my dad again.  He passed away when I was 11 years old. He is the one I’d love to have one more meal with. He taught me how to cook. I’d like to just make a smorgasbord of food for him from different countries from all over the world. The way I found him and his death was very traumatic for me but he is the reason I cook now so I’d really like to just dine and sit with my dad and have one last meal together.

13. What made you decide to become a chef?

Passion and realizing that nothing else was making me happy. I have a BS in computer science and have worked in several industries. After appearing on Food Network Star, Season 10, I came to the realization that I love to cook and share my food with people. I am a giver and this is my way of giving to others. I realized I had to become a chef because by not doing it I was holding back sharing something amazing with the world.

Want to hear and see more of Chef Aryen? Connect with her online!

Website: http://www.sweetpotatobaby.com/

Facebook: Sweet Potato Baby

Instagram: @sweetpotatobabyco

Twitter: @SweetPotatoBC

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