Tag Archives: chefs of south florida

Ms.Cheezious Milkshakes!

Fire up the BBQ and get out the ice cream for this Fourth of July! There is nothing better than a creamy, cold milkshake on a hot summer day. We hope you celebrate your holiday in the sun with fun, friends, and food, of course! Chef Brian Mullins of Ms. Cheezious has come up with two unique shakes that you wont be able to resist!

First up is the Midnight Snack Shake.

Midnight Snack Coral Gables

Look no further for you sweet and savory needs than this outrageous shake! Your taste buds will be in heaven with a chocolate shake topped with chocolate covered potato chips, caramel corn, a peanut-dipped, chocolate covered pretzel and finally some whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.

For all of you with a need for sweet, check out the new Pastelito Shake.

Pastelito Shake

This new Miami-inspired concoction is a vanilla and guava shake garnished with a fresh guava filled pastelito on top of a mountain on whipped cream!

Don’t miss out on these delicious milkshakes and more from Ms.Cheezious!

Happy Fourth of July and happy eating!

Ms. Cheezious Fresh Pesto Grilled Cheese Recipe

Love grilled cheese? Our June Chef of the Month, Brian Mullins, shared some of his favorite grilled cheese recipes from Ms. Cheezious! Up first- Fresh Pesto Grilled Cheese!  Pesto Grilled Cheese

Ingredients:

4 slices sourdough bread
Salted butter, softened

8 slices mozzarella or provolone cheese
4 tablespoons basil pesto**

**To make the basil pesto:
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor or blender and pulse until coarsely chopped. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil and process until smooth. Add the cheese and pulse until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Directions:

Preheat your griddle or pan to medium heat.

Butter the outside of each slice of bread. Spread basil pesto on the inside of each slice of bread. Place the mozzarella or provolone cheese slices on top of one piece of bread. Top with the other slice of bread.  Place on the griddle or pan; cover with a metal bowl and let the sandwiches get a nice golden brown, wait 2 to 3 minutes. Flip, cover again and cook until the cheese is melted and the sandwiches are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

 

Chef Jimmy Rodriguez’s Smoked Wahoo Fish Dip Recipe

wahoo

“Our Wahoo Comes from the Florida Keys and all the smoking is done in our Historic Blue Marlin Fish House”

Try out this new recipe for your summer beach days!

Recipe:

  • 3 Fresh Smoked Wahoo (Large Diced)
  • 5 Philadelphia Cream cheese (Room Temperature)
  • 3ea Red Onions (Small Diced)
  • 2 Stalks of Celery (Small Diced)
  • 2 Whole carrots (Minced)
  • 1 cup Heavy cream
  • Natural preservatives

Method: 

  1. Mix all produce with room temperature cream cheese well.
  2. Add smoked wahoo and mix by hand folding over gently.
  3. Add heavy cream to batch and refrigerate covered with film for 3 hours
  4. Remove from cooler and gently fold in sea salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.
  5. Serve with Chef Jimmy’s Yogurt Cilantro sauce, Lime Wedges and Cuban Crackers.

May 2016 Chef of the Month – Jimmy Rodriguez

Chef Jimmy's Blue Pic.

Congratulations Chef Jimmy Rodriguez for being our Chef of the Month for May!  Find out what Chef Jimmy has been up to while introducing big, new flavors to the BG Florida State Parks!

  1. Where were you born?

I was born in Havana, Cuba.  I was in Cuba until I was 12 years old.  I came over to America in ‘85.

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

I currently work for BG Florida Parks.  The three state parks included are Oleta River State Park, Hugh Birch State Park, and John U Lloyd State Park.  I am involved in turning the state park concession stands and Blue Marlin Fish House into a better dining experience.  I am implementing the use of higher quality products and standardized recipes that the entire company will follow and produce to my personal standards.

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

My favorite kitchen tool is my chef coat.  This is an important tool to help protect me from being burned and scratched in the kitchen.  It also gives me a sense of pride and lets people understand that there is a professional behind the wheel, but also a graduate that loves his craft.  In my chef coat, I always carry a thermometer, a flashlight, a knife and a sharpie.

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

Taste is my strongest sense.  I have trained my palate to know exactly what a dish will taste like before even needing to taste it.  With my training and experience, I am able to follow a standardized recipe and use the knowledge of the ingredients I am incorporating and not need to taste the dish.  Nothing has too much or too little seasoning.  This knowledge has led to much of my success.

  1. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

You must love your craft.  I hate culinary programs that fill students’ minds with the idea that “he who wants a college degree, not knowing the fire they are about to jump into, can get a degree.”  College kids think they can get a degree and get a top dollar job, and it’s the furthest thing from that.  Students should have a job in the industry before going to school so they know what they are getting themselves into.  You have to have a love for food and for the craft.

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

If you wouldn’t serve it to your mother, you should never serve it to your guests.  If you are in doubt, throw it out.  The quality of your product is a MUST.

  1. What does good food mean to you?

Good food is about texture and the timeliness of getting the dish to the customer.  The little details are important.  You want to be able to differentiate between every ingredient in each bite.  No one wants overcooked chicken and vegetables and mushy carrots.

  1. What trends do you see emerging in the near future?

I call it the Pan-American menu.  Many menus now relate to all types of people and can have French style cuisine, Caribbean style cuisine, etc. all on the same menu. With my real knowledge of different cuisines from Cuba, I want to make sure all restaurants have a mixture and that everyone has an alliance to the food being served.

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

It needs to be durable, breathable, good quality material, and washes and dries well.  I prefer long sleeves with arm pockets to protect my arms and hold everything I need.

  1. What is your go-to chef outfit? Do you prefer coats, tees, pants, shorts, aprons, hats, etc.?

I always wear a bandana to keep my hair out of my face. Also, I use aprons only when prepping.  Don’t walk out of the prep area with an apron.  The apron protects the food from you, not you from the food.

  1. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Lately it has been Greek yogurt.  I try to incorporate it into everything, even my Caesar dressing has Greek yogurt in it.  I no longer use preservatives in my food, so you will not find any mayonnaise or sour cream in my kitchen.  I preserve everything with lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, etc. to keep it fresh.  Smaller batches with no preservatives is the secret to success.

  1. Favorite city to dine out in?

Miami.  There is a wide range of restaurants in all the different areas that have been built up like the Art District and Liberty City.

  1. Best dish you have ever made?

My Cilantro yogurt sauce.  I make an emulsification of Greek yogurt, extra virgin olive oil and fresh herbs.  Always organic ingredients, no preservatives.  It goes with everything- fish, chicken, been, even French fries.

  1. Place you eat most often on your days off?

I eat mostly at home and don’t dine out a lot.  Lately I have been perfecting recipes for croquettes using different meats and fish with all fresh ingredients. I will have a line of croquettes and sauces out before 2017.

  1. Person you would most like to cook for?

My Wife! Dee Rodriguez, she is my biggest fan as well as my critic. My inspiration.

  1. What made you decide to become a chef?

In Cuba, I had been cooking since I was sitting in my grandmother’s lap.  When I came to America, I used to be a tour guide and air boat Captain.  At the end of the tour I would reach in and hold an alligator so people could take pictures.  Eventually, my wife told me it was too dangerous, so I went to culinary school.

  1. What is new on your DVR?

The Marlins baseball season from last year.  I didn’t watch it live, but I watch every minute of every game at my leisure.  I’m still finishing last season!

So you want to start a Food Truck…

Food Truck Scene at Plantation Park, Plantation Florida found on blog.chefuniforms.comThe food truck business continues to boom! And with an estimated 3 million trucks currently operating in the U.S. and more being added every month, it shows no indication of slowing down. An accepting public, reality TV shows and an instant gratification mentality have all added to the popularity and maturing of the business. There has been a 197% increase in the number of food trucks nationally from 2001 to 2013 according to Business Insider.

Food trucks, which started out more as a place to run to on the corner for a quick lunch have become much more mainstream. Going to a restaurant can be frustrating at times – waiting for a table, crying babies, waiting for your food and inefficient wait staff who are expecting a 20% tip. Food trucks eliminate a lot of these issues. And then there are those gourmet food trucks that take food to a whole different level. You can find them day and night, alone or in “meet ups” in office parks, empty lots, shopping districts, popular tourist areas, sporting events, festivals, conferences/conventions, parks, beaches, bus/train stations, college campuses and areas that have night life and music but not much in the way of anything more than bar food.

According to Business Insider, the top five cities based on the number of food trucks:

  1. Los Angeles 269
  2. San Francisco 127
  3. Miami 140 (Chefuniforms’ hometown)
  4. Austin 156
  5. Washington D.C. 172

And what are they serving? EVERYTHING! From the basic burgers, hot dogs and pretzels to dishes that cater to the more sophisticated palate like coriander-braised duck, pork belly in numerous ways, bahn mi, French take away including escargot lollipops and frog legs, ice cream sandwiches with flavors like Pistachio Black Truffle and Red Wine Reduction. There’s Cajun, B-B-Q, Korean, Japanese-Mexican fusion, Hawaiian and even a truck in Washington D.C. that serves Indian food in a carnival atmosphere from the fictional location of Merlindia.

If you’re thinking about starting a food truck business, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that it is a business – your business. Here are some things to take into consideration:

Starting a Food Truck Business found on blog.chefuniforms.com

  • Like any new business, you will need a business plan – so do your homework in advance. Research the demographics and cost of doing business in your area
  • You will need to do all the research for permits, licenses, certifications and insurance needed in order to operate. They vary from state to state, county to county and city to city. And they are constantly changing and can be very confusing. Check here for an example.
  • Check out the competition. How many trucks are operating in your area? Is your product unique? Can you price your menu competitively?
  • Research locations in your area. Check with promoters, farmers markets etc. Some have long waiting lists or give exclusive parking to only one truck with a certain type of food
  • Do some soul searching – will you be able handle the disappointment and stress of the unexpected: truck breaks down, you sell out too soon, you prepared too much, torrential rain on the day of a huge festival and the list goes on
  • How are your time management skills? The food truck business is not just about your passion for food and cooking ability. There is networking, finding reliable suppliers and ordering, marketing – especially in social media, employee schedules/issues to handle. Can you commit to hands-on ownership, long days, working 6-7 days a week and giving up vacations?
  • The industry relies a lot on cooperation – with other food truck owners, local businesses and suppliers – so you want to earn the respect of these people

 The Social Side of A Food Truck Business found on blog.chefuniforms.com

We love food trucks here at Chefuniforms.com!

If you own a food truck, what do you wish you had known before starting out?

An Interview with Holger Strütt, Executive Chef, Chops Lobster Bar, Boca Raton, FL

Recipe Below: Filet Au Poivre 8 Servings

Presented by: Chefuniforms.com

Chef Holger Strütt’s career spans three continents and many countries, all bringing him to a high level of culinary excellence, applied at Chops Lobster Bar in Boca Raton, Florida. In his native Germany, he made his first strides to a career in the kitchen at the young age of 15, when he decided to pursue vocational training in the culinary arts. His impressive resume includes positions in Germany, Italy and Switzerland, where he perfected the finer points of regional European cuisine. Chef Holger believes in perseverance, consistency, attention to detail and leadership by example. He thrives on the pressure of a busy kitchen and he knows that working at the helm of Chops Lobster Bar’s kitchen is always an exhilarating experience. He has an intense hands-on approach to managing his kitchen and enjoys working with the talented chefs of south Florida. I had a chance to catch up with Holger to ask him about his experiences as an Executive Chef and wanted to share this with you. I invite your comments.

Why did you want to become a chef? My sister worked in a restaurant and introduced me to the business. I was 15 when I had to decide what I wanted to do in life.

What education would you recommend for aspiring chefs? Definitely go to Culinary School and after that go and spend some time in Europe, Germany, France, Switzerland or Austria to learn the basics and the European way of cooking.

What do you recommend for on job training? Don’t be shy of spending 12 hours a day in the kitchen and work closely with the chefs. Get as much input as you can while you’re in the beginning stages of your culinary career.

What is your greatest challenge in getting the ingredients you need? I am very fortunate to work with the best purveyors in the country. Sometimes it takes a little longer for products to get to Florida.

Has the price of energy affected your industry? Absolutely. You have to be very cautious with when you turn your equipment on and off. Power and water are not cheap.

I know that previously you were a chef in Northeast and now you are in South Florida, are their differences in dining trends including types of food? Of course. In New York you find every kind of cuisine and the quality is very high. It is very difficult to find some ethnic foods here in south Florida.

Do you see any dining trends surfacing for the future? I believe that Classic dishes are going to come back very strong. Traditional food like Crab Cakes, Beef Wellington and Dover Sole always are favorites and that will not change.

How much of the recipes are Chops corporate and how much is your own? Many of the signature dishes are from the restaurants in Atlanta. I also developed many recipes with the owner and his son. I also do a lot of specials. When the specials become popular and the owner likes it then we might put them on the menu.

What fabric and style of uniform do you enjoy wearing most? I prefer Egyptian cotton and recently started to like short sleeve jackets.

What is your method of developing your sous chefs? I like for them to spend as much time with me as possible and pay attention to what I do during the day. You learn a lot by listening and observing and by being in the kitchen, not at home. We have a job that demands a lot of time being at the restaurant. But if you work hard, the profession of a chef can be a lot of fun and very rewarding in many different ways.

Do you try to create a team spirit and environment with the kitchen staff? If so how do you accomplish it? You have many different characters in the kitchen and most of them need a different management style. We spend a lot of time together in the kitchen, so it is important to have fun, but never forget why we are here. We have to produce quality food and make sure that our guests leave happy. I have a young team and I believe in teamwork. Teamwork is the key for a good spirit in the kitchen.

When preparing your menu do you consider health and try to prepare foods that are healthier? You always have to have both; Healthy food and then hearty food which is not so healthy. In Chops Lobster Bar, I have many health oriented people that like light food, so some of my fish dishes are very healthy in comparison to my meat dishes that are mostly steaks or braised meats.

Do you notice any resistance to unhealthy dishes? Yes. Many of our guests don’t like too much butter or any kind of fat.

Do you enjoy dining out in your free time? Yes I do. I like to try new restaurants. There are also some restaurants where I like to go on a regular basis.

Do you try to experience the food at your competitors? Do you ever get ideas from competitors? Not really. I like to cook food that I like and my guests like to eat. I go to the competitors for dinner, but don’t steal recipes. Although, you might get ideas you can work with.

Do you think it is important to visit the markets rather than just have standard orders? I am sure if you go to the market you see things that you would like to cook rather than just ordering the food. Not too many chefs’ though have the luxury of time to drive to the fish or produce market every day. My purveyors have such a large variety of things that I don’t really need to go to the market.

How do you test a new recipe without putting it on the permanent menu? I try it as a special for a couple of weeks and then take it off. If people keep asking for it I will bring it back and after discussing it with the owner it may appear on the menu.

Do you pick the wines or is there a separate beverage manager? We have a Beverage Manager, although I love good wines.

If so does he try to pick wines that work well with the type of food that chops is known for? Yes, he tries to pick wines that work well with Steaks and Seafood.

What is your advice for planning a menu for a new restaurant? You have to consider what the majority of people want to eat. It can be different from State to State and City to City. Make sure that the food is tasty and not too wild. Don’t go crazy putting too many ingredients on the plate. Keep it simple!

As a special surprise, Chef Holger offered up one of his recipes that will be sure to make your mouth water and your taste buds tingle. Let me know how it comes out.

Filet Au Poivre 8 Servings

  • 8 each Filet Mignon (8 ounces each)
  • 4 tablespoons ounces vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • 1 cup cracked peppercorns (black, white and green)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sliced Portobello mushrooms (see recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons chives finely cut
  • 8 port wine shallots (see recipe)
  • 2 cups peppercorn sauce (see recipe)
  • 3 tablespoons green peppercorns (canned)
  • I cup port wine glaze (see recipe)
  • Brush the steaks with the vegetable oil and season both sides with the salt. Crust the filets with the cracked peppercorns on one side. Heat up 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a sauté pan and sear the steaks on both sides. Place the steaks on a baking pan and put them in a pre- heated oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes (medium rare).
  • Place the butter in a pan with the Portobello mushrooms. Garnish with the shallots and chives.
  • Pour 2 ounces of peppercorn sauce in the middle of a plate and place the filet mignon in the middle of the plate. Place the Portobello mushroom on top of the filet and a port wine shallot on top of the mushrooms. Poor one tablespoon on port wine glaze over the shallot.
  • Garnish the sauce with the canned green peppercorns and the port wine shallot with some chives.

 

 

Recipe for Portobello Mushrooms:

  • 1 pound Portobello mushrooms (stems removed)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ cup garlic cloves, halved
  • Drizzle half of the oil in a sauté pan and place the Portobello mushroom topside down. Garnish with the thyme and garlic. Drizzle the other half of the oil on the Portobello mushrooms and place in a pre-heated 400 degrees oven for about 8 minutes or until tender.

 

Recipe for Port Wine Shallots:

  • 2 cups port wine
  • 2 cups red wine
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 8 shallots, peeled, whole
  • Poor the wines and the sugar in a narrow sauce pot and reduce half way. Add the shallots and cook for 15 minutes or until tender.

 

Recipe for Peppercorn Sauce:

First Stage:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 5 each shallots, sliced
  • 8 each garlic cloves, cut in half
  • 3 twigs fresh thyme
  • 1 each bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon whole white peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon green peppercorns, dry
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Second Stage:

  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 tablespoon whole white peppercorns, freshly ground
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, freshly ground
  • 1tablespoon whole green peppercorns, dry, freshly ground
  • 2 quarts veal stock, (available in any supermarket)
  • 1quarts heavy cream
  • Pour the oil into a sauce pot and bring to the first smoke point.
  • Add the mushrooms, shallots, garlic, thyme, bay leave and whole peppercorns and cook until slightly caramelized.
  • Season with the salt.
  • Deglaze with the brandy and reduce until dry.
  • Add the ground peppercorns and veal stock and reduce.
  • Reduce the sauce to a glaze.
  • Whisk in the heavy cream, bring to a boil, adjust the salt if necessary and strain through a fine strainer.

 

Recipe for Port Wine Glaze:

  • 1 cup port wine
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 pound butter, room temperature, diced
  • Pour the wines and sugar in a narrow sauce pot and reduce at medium heat down to a quarter cup. Then pull the pot away from the heat to the edge of the stove. Whisk in the butter cubes in small amount until emulsified. Do not boil the sauce.

Bon Appetite!!

Visit Chops Lobster Bar Website for Dining Locations in Atlanta and Boca Raton
http://www.chopslobsterbar.com/

For reservations in Boca Raton, Fl, please call: 561-395-2675

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