Tag Archives: chefs

August 2017 Chef of the Month Lauren Lawless

 

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Chef Lauren is wearing Coat #83315 in Black with Hot Pink

We’re so excited to introduce our newest addition to our Chef of the Month program, Lauren Lawless! Our August chef is self-taught and owns her mark as being an out-of-the-box, “unique” chef for the modern, ever-changing consumer. Chef Lauren is a mother who manages a full time job, as she finishes her bachelor’s degree in business, all while breaking into the food industry. Watch Chef Lauren compete on MasterChef season 8.

Read more about Lauren below and shop her look!

 

1. Where were you born? 

I was born in Orange County but I grew up in San Diego my entire life.

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

I work for Accredited Debt Relief I am in a senior account executive and I help people become debt-free, we are based out of San Diego.

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

I love a good cast iron skillet and a high-quality sharp knife.

4. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Don’t be scared to take risks, be creative, try new flavors, textures and techniques. Plus, always make your creation your own, be original because it will set you apart.

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

I think all chefs should master how to chop and how to perfectly cook your protein.

6. What features are important to you when selecting your chef outfit? 

When I am picking out my chef outfit, the three most important things to me are fit, comfort, and style.

7. Favorite ingredient to work with? 

I really like working with different global spices such as turmeric, ginger, and saffron. I also love all kinds of pepper, fresh herbs, and chili peppers.

8. Favorite City to dine out in? 

San Diego of course and Las Vegas.

9. Best Dish you have ever made? 

Halibut with creamed corn.

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

A few of my favorite restaurants in San Diego – Mr. Sushi, Costa Brava, Arrivederci and C Level & Island Prime.

11. Who would you like to cook for? 

Oh, I would love to cook for Anthony Bourdain or Wolfgang Puck

12. What is currently on your DVR or Netflix queue? 

Some of my favorites are Chopped, MasterChef, Anthony Bourdain, Chefs Table, Bizzare Foods with Andrew Zimmern and Burnt.

Connect with Our August Chef of the Month:

Website: https://www.cheflawless.com/home

Instagram: @chef_lawless

Twitter: @chef_lawless

Chef John Offerdahl’s Ultimate Stuffed Inside LineBurger

Offerdahl's Recipe Pic.jpgWe’re so excited to share another excellent recipe with you! Presenting, our Chef of the Month, John Offerdahl’s signature Ultimate Stuffed Inside LineBurger recipe! There is no time like Summer to start up the grill and cook some amazing burgers. This mouth-watering burger is a must-try Summer recipe that will rock your grill!

Ingredients: 

2 lbs Ground Chuck or Sirloin

2 T. Mustard

7 oz. Taco Chips, finely crushed

1/2 tsp. Garlic Salt

1 Egg

1/4 tsp. Pepper

8 oz. Sliced Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

1 Ripe Tomato, sliced and seasoned with Lemon Pepper

1/2 Red Onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup Dill or Sweet Pickle, sliced

1/4 cup Black or Green Olives, sliced

1/4 cup Melted Butter

1 T. Chili Powder

Directions: 

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Stay connected with our July Chef of the Month:

Website: http://www.offerdahls.com/

Instagram: @johnofferdahl

Twitter: @GridironGriller

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

Chef Marcela’s Chocolate Madeleines

00214.jpgSummertime calls for sweet treats. Our June Chef of the Month took the traditional madeleine recipe and added everyone’s favorite ingredient… chocolate. Enjoy this fantastic chocolate madeleine recipe and start baking to share these delectable sweets with your friends, family, clients, or customers.

Chocolate Madeleines

Ingredients:

3 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder

zest of one lemon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 pinch of salt

4 oz butter, melted and cooled

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Spray madeleines mold with non-stick spray and set aside.
  3. Whisk together the eggs and sugar until the mixture is pale and thick.
  4. In a bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, salt, and zest.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the eggs and sugar mixture. Mix until combined, add the melted butter and mix until smooth.
  6. Spoon batter into the molds and bake for 12 minutes.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.

Connect with Our June Chef of the Month:

Website: http://www.thesweetbrigadier.com/

Facebook: The Sweet Brigadier Chocolate Truffles

Instagram: @thesweetbrigadier

Twitter: @SweetBrigadier

Shop her look!

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

Shop her look!

Chef Carter’s Southwest Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are making a comeback, we’ve been seeing them on menus left and right. But our Chef of the Month, Carter’s recipe will make you rethink traditional deviled eggs and will have you dying to try tons of deviled egg variants. I mean, let’s be honest, it is not a party unless someone brought the deviled eggs. Try these out on your friends and family and you’ll surely be adding them as one of your regular go-to recipes!

Deviled Eggs

Southwest Deviled Eggs

Ingredients:

6 eggs

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon yellow mustard

Salt, to taste

Ground pepper, to taste

2 large avocados

1 tablespoon of prepared Picante Sauce

Garnish: Paprika, Fresh cilantro (if desired)

For the Eggs:

Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with enough water to cover the top of the eggs. Heat on high until water begins to boil, then cover, turn the heat to low, and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and leave covered for 14 minutes, then rinse under cold water continuously for 1 minute.

Crack egg shells and carefully peel under cool running water. Gently dry with paper towels. Slice the eggs in half, removing yolks to a bowl, and placing the whites on a serving platter. Mash the yolks into a fine crumble using a fork. Add mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper, and mix well.

For the Guacamole:

Cut open the avocado in half, length wise, and remove the seed. Then scoop the avocado out of the skin. Dice the avocados into cubes. Using a fork mash the avocados into a paste. Add picante sauce, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined.

Putting it all Together:

Add the guacamole into the egg yolk mixture and mix well. Place the yolk mixture into a pipping bag or a zip lock bag with the tip cut off. Pipe the yolk mixture into the egg whites, garnish with paprika and serve. Place a little cilantro on the side for color.

Deviled eggs are a great thing to serve. Since I am from Texas, we like to serve guacamole on everything. One day, I decided to mix them together and my family loved the flavor.

Want to see more of Jr. Chef Carter’s recipes? Connect with our April Chef of the Month here:

Instagram: @chef.carterhull

Twitter: @chef_carterhull

April 2017 ChefUniforms First Junior Chef of the Month Carter Hull

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Junior Chef Carter Hull is wearing Uncommon Threads Coat Style #426.

Spring is in full bloom and we’re thrilled to announce our April Chef of the Month – Junior Chef Carter Hull! Chef Carter is 13-year-old from Austin, Texas who shows us all you are never too young to be passionate, positive, and chase your dreams. Although Chef Carter is young in his career, he has been very successful, speaks eloquently and is wiser beyond his years! Plus, he tears it up in the kitchen, this is going to be a month of food you won’t want to miss. Read more about our first Junior Chef below and stay tuned for some of his amazing recipes!

 

 

1. Birthplace:

I was born in Austin, Texas. I currently live in Austin and am in 7th grade.

2. What are 3 things most people don’t know about you?

  • I am a twin, we are fraternal so we don’t look alike plus we have nothing in common not even hobbies. We are basically complete opposites.
  • I am involved in student council a lot and I am also a boy scout, whenever we go on campouts everyone always asks if I can cook. I usually I say no because I don’t want to be a full-time chef on cookouts.
  • I am starting to learn how to speak Chinese, not a lot of people know this because most people learn how to speak Spanish.

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

I would probably say my chef knife and my cutting board. The dishes that you are cooking always vary but your chef knife and cutting board stay the same. I feel like they are really important and my favorite tools to work with.

4. What are some cool things that have happened to you since you were on Kids BBQ Championship?

The biggest thing that happened was that my school district asked me to create a barbecue sauce recipe that they wanted to use. So I did that and now all the middle and high schools in my district use my barbecue sauce recipe, I am known as the BBQ guy.

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

I think probably my sense of smell. You only have one pair of eyes but your sense of smell is like having eyes on the back of your head in the kitchen. When cooking something, smell is really important.

6. What advice would you offer aspiring chefs?

I think the biggest piece of advice I would give aspiring chefs is to be you, be courageous and do what you are comfortable with. To start the best thing is to be you and put you on a plate. And as you get better and have more experience you can expand from that.

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

I would probably say learning how to make deviled eggs is important. It is pretty easy but you can do them so many ways and they are very versatile. Plus, regardless of your skill level, deviled eggs look fancy and sophisticated.

8. What features are important to you when selecting your Chef outfit?

When I first started I stayed around aprons. But as I have grown a little as a chef, I moved over to chef coats because they look more professional. So right now, I am into the chef coats.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

I think my favorite ingredient is probably potatoes. You can do a lot with them and they are a great ingredient to work with and to have in the kitchen. You can do so many things with potatoes, grill, roast, and go so many directions. I like to experiment with potato dishes.

10. Best Dish you have ever made thus far in your career?

That’s really hard. I think my family’s favorite dish is a dish I make and it is basically little steaks on top of potatoes with roasted asparagus. All of the components are simple but the way you put it together is what makes the difference. This dish is really elegant.

11. Who is the person you like to cook for the most?

I think my family or younger kids. My family gives me good constructive criticism especially if I make something completely out there they still give me positives that it tasted good. Also, I like cooking for younger kids because I think it helps inspire them. Kids can do hobbies besides play sports and I think cooking is such a good skill to have. I like being a part of their culinary journeys.

12. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Well, I haven’t really thought that far. But I really see myself going back to basics, solidifying a good base of what I have done in the past 5 years. Go over what I do well and what I can improve on. For now, I am looking towards some kind of culinary school.

Stay tuned for more from Junior Chef Carter! Want to be our next Chef of the Month?  Apply here: http://bit.ly/2oOndGV.

March 2017 Chef of the Month Megan Corcoran

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Megan is wearing ChefUniforms coat style 86515 in Pebble Grey w/ Black

The countdown to Spring has officially begun and we’re eager to introduce our March Chef of the Month, Megan Corcoran. A lover of fresh food, she has been cooking since high school and college but up until a year ago, she worked in Social Media, Marketing, and Sales. In the last year, Megan started her own website and company, auditioned and appeared on Food Network, and made numerous other television appearances. Her chef career has seriously taken off, read more about her success and life below and stay tuned for her amazing recipes throughout the month!

1. Birthplace:

I was born in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania. It is maybe an hour outside of Philadelphia.

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

I own my own website and soon to be catering company. It is called Fork This Dish. We are based out of Arlington Virginia.

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

I would definitely say my food processor more than anything. You can do anything with it. You can make sauces or purees. It is a great way to make bases for dishes. I used to never use it but slowly I started using it more and more. Now it has become a regular and I use it for everything.

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

Sight. I was a dancer my whole life. I don’t know what I’d do without visual keys and I think I have transferred that over to cooking. I see a dish first and then make it. I don’t think my presentation skills are the best they can be. But for me, the presentation of a dish is very important.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

I did cook in a couple restaurants. But I really have no formal training outside of that. I had been thinking about starting this blog and business for years. I told all my friends I wanted to do it. But I never felt ready. Finally, I just did it and it has been an amazing year. I guess I would just say do what you want even if you don’t feel ready. I never learned how to cook on the news but I just went and did it.

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

I would say cooking eggs. That is a good place to start. It sounds crazy but a lot of people overcook them. Or they don’t know how to make different kinds of eggs like over-easy eggs. Cooking eggs is great practice, you can use different pans techniques. Eggs are a good place to start and a cheap way to mess up. Honestly, I have spent an entire day making eggs and watching Bobby Flay’s YouTube Videos on how to make perfect eggs. Whatever he does, I follow.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food to me means fresh. I am very particular with where my food comes from. I think it is important to only buy organic and when I can I try and find it locally. I don’t eat a lot of meat but I do sometimes and I’m to the extent of on Thanksgiving my family and I go to a farm and pick our own turkey. I want to know where my food comes from. I don’t want to buy and eat food with chemicals, we should be more aware of what is in our food. For me buying fresh, organically, and local is good food.

8. What features are important to you when selecting your Chef outfit?

When I cook, I really like being comfortable. I typically wear jeans or khakis. I used hard top shoes and wear a polo type shirt. For my chef coat, I like short sleeves with breathable material so it doesn’t get too hot.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

I really like cooking with white wine. I just like putting wine in my food. Plus, I cook a lot of seafood and white wine is the perfect base for seafood.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

I was dying to leave and my friends will laugh when they read this, but hands down, the best food is in Philadelphia.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

For my final audition to make it on Food Network, I had to make a dish live. It was extremely nerve-wracking and I was just getting over being sick so I didn’t have time to perfect the dish or practice. But I had an idea and vision and it was the best dish I’ve made. It was a truffle corn puree with scallops and shrimp with a ton of butter, bacon and fresh truffle. It was insane, I wish I wrote down the recipe.

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

I work from home. So most days I cook for myself. But whenever I am home in Glenmoore. I go to Ron’s School House. It is so good, the food is fresh off the table and they have an extensive menu. They make this fresh pasta but also delicious carrot cheesecake.

13. Person you would most like to cook for?

I have two Food Network heroes. I have cooked for one of them but the other is Scott Conant. I would like to cook for him a lot, I think he is great.

14. What is new on your DVR?

So I pretty much religiously watch Chopped. The other thing I just finished watching was West World. It was so good but I just found out the next season isn’t coming out for another year and a half so I am pretty devastated. I might just re-watch the past season.

Want to see more from our March Chef of the Month? Follow Megan here:

Website: www.forkthisdish.com

Instagram: @forkthisdish

Twitter: @ForkThisDish

 

February 2017 Chef of the Month Alekka Sweeney

 

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Chef Alekka is wearing CU coat #86515 in Sky Blue

We’re celebrating February aka ‘the month of love’ by bringing you an extra sweet Chef of the Month Alekka Sweeney! Chef Alekka is an owner of a shop that teaches pastry and baking classes near Chicago. Alekka is not only a baking and pastry master chef, she also has with an amazing personality accompanied with great advice and experience. It was truly a special treat for us to chat with her. Read more about our awesome February Chef of the Month below and stay tuned for her delicious recipes throughout the month.

1. Where were you born?

I was born in Naples, Italy. But I am American and so are both of my parents. My dad was in the Navy and stationed there so I was born there.

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

I am the owner of my shop called Give Me Some Sugar that is located in Roscoe Village, Chicago.  But it is not a bakery, it is a school where we teach classes on baking and pastry. I started the company 10 years ago. The first 2 years were in classes in client’s homes so that I could build up a client base and test recipes. This was right at the beginning of shows like Ace of Cakes and Cake Boss. Back then my car was basically a mobile cake decorating machine; it was filled with buttercream. So eventually I had my real estate agent look for places. I visited so many places but then I found it. When I walked into the shop, I had a “this is it,” moment and we’ve been at this location for the past 8 years.

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

I can’t live without an offset spatula, serrated knife, and the mixer I’ve had since I was sixteen.

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

Smell.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

It is a tough industry to be in. You have to work nights, weekends, and holidays. But my best piece of advice is to find the pastry chef or chefs that you admire and respect. Try and work for them, even if it is for free and during that time learn as much as you can. Before you land on the place you want to work forever, the best thing you can do is learn and get as much as experience as possible. I’ve worked in hotels, bakeries, corporations, big business, small business. The culmination of doing all of that led me to where I am today.

Make sure to get your hands in everything and don’t settle on one thing. Work for as many people as you can so you learn new perspectives and different ways of doing things. And be prepared to stand on your feet for a long time, invest in your shoes.

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

Measuring properly. I see a lot of people using the wrong measure tool. Even on TV, I see people measuring dry ingredients with a tool that is for liquids. It is my pet peeve. First understand your recipes, master the basics, and make sure to read the recipes correctly. Baking is very precise.

7. What does good food mean to you?

I think the pastries I gravitate towards are the ones that make me think of my mom and being at home. I grew up eating my mom’s homemade bread. My mom saves water from mashed potatoes and makes potato bread, it is amazing. So I gravitate towards foods and desserts that are farm to table.

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

I am so happy the industry is coming out with chef coats for women. Cuts for women that show that you have a waist. I also like front and side pockets to hold my must have my sharpie. I really like the women’s style of pants and chef coats. Especially not having to look like a potato sack. The features I like are having something that is both flattering and functional.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Chocolate. I really like tempering chocolate and making chocolate candies. I kind of had to teach myself. I used to work at a candy place in Chicago and I really had to learn myself. At that job, I had to temper white chocolate in the middle of the summer. I just kept playing with it over and over again and now they call me the chocolate tempering queen.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

Chicago first and then Pittsburgh is a close second. Pittsburgh is getting up there. Chicago is the one I like the most. You can get any kind of food here from any culture. I like that Chicago has amazing hole in the wall restaurants. It doesn’t have to be super fancy but you can go down an alley and in a scary door and the food is amazing. Chicago is a city that can satisfy any type of craving.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

It’s really simple. I really want to blow you away with a fancy French pastry. But whenever I go to my friend’s house or a party they always ask that I make chocolate espresso brownies. They are really fudgy and rich.

12. Person you would most like to cook for?

Dorie Greenspan. I really respect and admire her career path. She just released Dories Cookies and it is something like her 12th baking book. She’s comparable to Martha Stuart. She was before all the food bloggers, Instagram and Twitter accounts. She just seems so nice and super sweet and I just would like to hang out with her and bake cookies all day.

13. What made you decide to become a chef?

Two different versions of this story. I will tell you the real one and you can decide whether it is appropriate to publish. I was 24 at that time and it was 1997. After you go to culinary school, you have to do an internship somewhere. Normally once you are done with school most people go back to their internship and work there. I did that as well. The pastry chef at the time was involved with the owner’s daughter and he had a problem with alcohol. One day, they didn’t know where he went and they needed a wedding cake made in two days. They turned to me. This was in 1997 remember, there is no google, no videos, no internet to help me.

I turned to Martha Stuart’s wedding cake books. I always say it chose me, I didn’t choose it.But I have a very statistical mind and I follow formulas and recipes very well. It was the best thing for me. Baking is strict but it still leaves room for creativity. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Final note from Chef Alekka:

It was a series of events that got me working in this industry and then staying in it. First, it is a great industry to work in and there are so many outlets where you can work as a chef. You can travel, be a personal chef, baker, own a business or restaurant.

And this industry and food will never be replaced by a robot. Food is how you show your love. I have met people and all the places I have got to go are because this industry helped me get there.

Get in touch with our February Chef of the Month:

Website: Give Me Some Sugar 

Facebook: Give Me Some Sugar

Instagram: @givesugar

 

Chef Stefen’s Breakfast Mac n’ Cheese

recipe-2-0For all of the breakfast lovers, this recipe goes out to you. We’re stoked to showcase this recipe from Chef Stefen but we wish we had more! Not to worry, this one will have you drooling and ready for breakfast, brunch, or brinner. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day (both mom and science say). Breakfast and brunch foods have become even more popular and trendy in recent years, this recipe is cutting edge. We hope you enjoy and get ready to salivate!

Breakfast Mac n’ Cheese

For this recipe you will need:

  • 1 large sweet potato, unpeeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 jalapeños, diced
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 box penne rigate
  • 3-4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bottle golden ale (I prefer Kona Big Wave Golden Ale)
  • 1/2 quart (16 ounces) heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup fontina cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 24 eggs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Yield: ~12 servings

Step 1: The Prep (Prep 5 min, Cook 30-40 min)

Preheat oven to 400°F degrees.

Place sweet potato and jalapeño on a sheet tray and toss in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until fork tender. Pull out and set aside for later.

In a large pan bring some salted water to a boil. Add the box of penne rigate and a teaspoon of olive oil. Cook for about 10 minutes or until al dente (you are going to bake this again later in the mac so you don’t want the noodles overcooked). Drain and save for later.

Step 2: Make Your Cheese Sauce (Prep 10 min, Cook 25-30 min)

Heat butter in a large pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook for about 10 minutes until they are a nice golden color. Slowly add in the flour, stirring constantly to create a roux. Cook the roux until it is lightly golden in color, about 10-15 minutes. While whisking vigorously, slowly pour in your bottle of golden ale to create a smooth sauce. Add in the heavy cream and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add a few squirts of your favorite hot sauce (I like Sriracha and/or Tabasco). Add in your cheese, being sure to constantly mix to create a smooth and delicious sauce.

Step 3: Finishing Touches (Prep 5 min, Cook 30-40 min)

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Once your cheese sauce is ready, it’s time to assemble the mac! Combine the noodles, roasted sweet potato and jalapeño mixture, and cheese sauce into a baking dish. Top with the panko breadcrumbs and bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and bubbly.

When the mac is almost done, cook your eggs any style of your choosing. I prefer sunny-side up for the presentation and runny yolk.

For presentation. I like to add a pool of Sriracha to the bottom of the plate. Add a slice of the mac, and then top the whole thing with the eggs, some fresh green onion, and thinly sliced fresh jalapeno.

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If you can’t get enough of our January Chef of the Month, Stefen, make sure to keep following him:

Facebook: Big Chef Little Kitchen

Instagram: @bigcheflittlekitchen

Twitter: @BigChefLilKitch

Website: http://www.bigcheflittlekitchen.com/

Chef Stefen got his aprons from CU ChefUniforms.com, make sure to go check out our amazing chef and cooking apparel!

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