Tag Archives: cooking recipes

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

 

 

 

 

Chef Penelope’s Black Mussels with Korean Street Corn Espuma

IMG_4803.JPGShellfish may seem intimidating to some cooks without experience, but our September Chef of the Month, Chef Penelope Wong, crafts a seafood recipe fit for anyone to attempt. Serve these Black Mussels with Korean Street Corn Espuma for your next casual dinner to impress your guests with the complex and delicate flavors of seafood!

Ingredients

Mussels:

  • 1 pound fresh black mussels
  • 1 ear corn
  • 2 oz. roasted garlic oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp. sambal chili garlic paste
  • 4 oz. Japanese mirin rice wine
  • 2 oz. unsalted butter

Espuma:

  • 2 ears fresh sweet corn, kernels cut off, reserve cobs
  • 1 shallot minced
  • ½ tsp. Spiceology Korean chili flake
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • pinch ground black peppercorn
  • ¼ C. Japanese mirin rice wine
  • 1 C. homemade chicken stock
  • 2 oz. unsalted butter, chilled
  • 6 oz. heavy whipping cream
  • Micro cilantro

Procedure

Espuma:

  1. In a small stock pot, add in 1 tbsp. olive oil, sauté shallots and cut corn for 2 minutes, until corn becomes slightly charred.
  2. Add in reserved corn cobs, Korean chili flake, salt and pepper and continue to sauté.
  3. Add in mirin rice wine and allow to reduce by half.
  4. Add in chicken stock and lower heat to a slow boil.
  5. Continue to cook for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove cobs and discard. Transfer items to a high-speed vita mix blender and add in cold butter.  Starting on low speed and low power, puree and gradually increase speed to high and turn power on high, slowly pour in heavy whipping cream.
  7. Allow mixture to cool slightly to approximately 80 degrees F.
  8. Transfer to an ISI charger and reserve.

Mussels:

  1. Submerge mussels in a bowl of cold water to clean.
  2. Rub fresh corn with garlic oil and salt & pepper. Char on a grill until lightly browned.
  3. Cut kernels off of the cob and discard cob.
  4. Strain mussels.
  5. Heat a sauté pan with 1 tbsp. olive oil, add in mussels and sauté for 2 minutes or until they just start to open.
  6. Add in cut corn and sambal and sauté for 1 minute.
  7. Add in mirin rice wine and cover to continue cooking mussels for 1 minute.
  8. Add in butter and swirl in pan to slightly emulsify.

For plating: apply corn espuma into the center of a shallow bowl.  Spoon mussels on top of espuma and sprinkle with additional Korean chili flake and garnish with micro cilantro.

Connect with Our September Chef of the Month:

Shop Her Look!

Instagram: @penelopewong

Chef Penelope’s Pan Roasted Snapper Recipe


IMG_4536Our September Chef of the Month, Chef Penelope Wong, has shared with us a gourmet recipe for your next dinner party or event – her Pan-Roasted Red Snapper with Star Anise roasted Bok Choy, Radishes, and Dashi. This Asian-influenced dish offers mild, earthy flavors and sweetness blended with the nuttiness of red snapper. Follow the steps below to recreate Chef Penelope’s masterpiece for yourself!

Ingredients:

4-6 oz. skin-on red snapper fillet, scaled

8 oz. unsalted butter

2 bulbs bok choy, quartered

½ tsp. ground star anise

4 oz. roasted garlic oil

1 tsp soy

8 assorted radishes, cleaned and tops trimmed

4 oz. dashi broth

½ gallon cold water

16 oz. dried kombu seaweed

3 cups bonito flakes

1 shallot

4 oz pickled ginger

1 oz soy

6 oz Japanese mirin

Steps:

Dashi Broth

  1. Soak kombu in water over a very low flame for 1 hour.
  2. Add bonito flakes and increase heat slightly.
  3. Continue to simmer to 45 minutes and strain.
  4. In a separate stock pot, heat 1 tbsp sesame oil and saute minced shallot and pickled ginger.
  5. Add in soy and mirin, reduce by half.
  6. Add in strained bonito broth.
  7. Simmer 30 minutes – strain and plate.

Veggies

  1. Heat dashi broth in a small stock pot.
  2. Add in cleaned radishes and allow to simmer on low heat to poach the radishes for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  4. Marinate quartered bok choy in star anise, roasted garlic, and soy.
  5. Place in shallow baking pan and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until cooked through and browned.

Pan-roasted Red snapper

  1. Put 2 tbsp. olive oil in a high-heat well-seasoned saute pan.
  2. When oil starts to smoke, add fish fillets skin side down to sear,
  3. Sear 1 minute and flip with a fish spatula,
  4. Add in butter and start to baste the skin of the fish with the hot butter to crisp the skin,
  5. Continue to baste for 1-2 minutes, or until fish is cooked through and skin is browned and crisp,
  6. Plate pan-roasted red snapper on top of roasted bok choy (and wasabi whipped potatoes if desired). Ladle dashi broth around, garnishing with a few poached radishes.

Connect with Our September Chef of the Month:

Shop Her Look!

Instagram: @penelopewong

Chef Eddie G’s Sauteed Seafood Medley

Sauteed Seafood Medley with Safron Pasta Garlic Cream Sauce (1).pngI’ll title this, “All Chefs Detest Recipe Writing.”

I’m assuming anyone reading this recipe is a more advanced cook/Chef, based on Chef Uniforms demographics and following. Rather than focus on the recipe let’s focus on the techniques. Let’s assume we are cooking for 2 to 4 people.

The most important part of any dish is the sauce, and all sauces are derived from 5, “Mother Sauces.” RE: Escoffier 1910. In this case, it is a Bechamel Sauce.

2 – Bunches Garlic – cleaned

1 – pt. Heavy Cream

In a medium saucepan simmer garlic until soft.

2 oz –  EVOO coat large saute pan

4 oz – grape tomato halved, mushroom sliced, scallop, clam, mussel, shrimp, lobster – anything you like – asparagus …, think color . Saute in a large pan until cooked through.

Ladle Garlic Cream Sauce into Large saute seafood mixture and continue saute until desired consistency, usually to coat the back of a spoon.

1/2 lb.  Add any cooked pasta to mixture; cavatelli, linguine or fettuccine.

Top with chopped parsley, grated cheese and crushed black pepper .

Restaurant cooks love this recipe because it is a quick pick up. If a kitchen is in the weeds, this dish if mise en place correctly can be ready in 2 to 3 minutes, as opposed to a medium-well filet mignon which can take 20 minutes cooked correctly.

Stay tuned for more recipes and techniques to follow.

Follow Chef Eddie G’s #CulinaryJourney 

Twitter: @eddiegchef

Instagram: @ChefEddieG

Facebook: @ChefEddieG

ChefEddieG.com 

Chef Lauren’s Asian Pear Slaw

This Asian Pear Slaw recipe from Chef Lauren pairs perfectly with her previous recipe, Spicy Sticky Ribs. Whether you are craving a delicious light meal or you need a side salad to serve with your main course this recipe will do the trick!

Asian Pear Slaw Image

Ingredients for Slaw:

2 cups shredded napa or savoy cabbage

2 cups shredded radicchio or red cabbage

1 Asian pear, sliced into bite-size pieces

1/2 Persian cucumber, cut into matchsticks

1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks (about 1 cup)

1 Serrano, jalapeño or red chili, cut into thin slices

Chopped salted peanuts

Fresh torn cilantro and basil

2 teaspoons sesame seeds black or white (optional), toasted

Ingredients for Peanut Dressing:

1/3 cup peanut butter natural creamy or smooth

2 tablespoons lime juice

3 tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup

1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce low sodium

1 teaspoon Sesame oil

1 teaspoon sriracha

1/2 teaspoon ginger minced

1 clove garlic roughly chopped

1 tablespoon water

Directions: 

Salad:

In a large bowl, add all salad ingredients except peanuts and sesame seeds; cabbage, radicchio, cucumber, carrot, pear, cilantro, mint, and Serrano. Set aside while you make the dressing.

Peanut Dressing:

In a blender add all peanut dressing ingredients; peanut butter, lime juice, honey, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, ginger, garlic, and water. Puree until smooth and combined, about 1 minute. You can also whisk the ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Add more water if needed to thin out the dressing if desired. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

To Serve:

Gradually add enough dressing to coat the salad, toss to combine. Drizzle with more dressing if there is any remaining, top with toasted sesame seeds and roasted peanuts. Enjoy!

 

 

Connect with Our August Chef of the Month:

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

Instagram: @chef_lawless

Twitter: @chef_lawless

Shop Chef Lauren’s Look!

Chef Lauren’s Lump Crab Cake

Lump Crab Cakes.jpgChef Lauren’s featured recipe is perfect for the end of Summer and anytime! Our August Chef of the Month, Lauren brought her A-game with this tasty treat. Trust us, her Lump Crab Cake recipe will not disappoint customers or friends!

Ingredients for Crab Cakes:

2/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 finely chopped red onion

1 stick celery chopped

2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 large egg, lightly beaten

8 ounces lump crabmeat, shell pieces removed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 lemon, quartered

Directions:

Combine panko and next 10 ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl, stirring well. Add crab; stir gently just until combined. Using wet hands, shape crab mixture into 4 equal balls. Gently flatten balls to form 4 (4-inch) patties.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add patties; cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden.

Remoulade Ingredients:

1/2 jar roasted red bell peppers

1 c mayonnaise

1/2 tbs Dijon mustard

1/2 tbs capers, drained

1/2 tbs lemon juice

Pulse thoroughly in a food processor and set aside.

For the roasted garlic aioli:

1 whole heads garlic

Extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Cracked black pepper

1 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Dash Worcestershire sauce

Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Take the whole head of garlic and cut the tops off to expose the garlic cloves. Place on a large piece of aluminum foil and drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap up the foil into a tight pouch, and then place in the oven and roast for 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Squeeze the pulp from the skins (you’ll need 1/3 cup).

In a food processor, combine the roasted garlic, mayonnaise, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce and some salt and pepper. Pulse until well combined. Refrigerate to allow the flavors to meld together. Garnish with parsley.

Salad Ingredients:

Frisée

Radishes

Granny Smith apple

Red wine vinegar

Olive oil

Lemon

Slice radishes and cut apples into matchsticks. Toss ingredients in bowl and drizzle with lemon, vinegar, and oil. Top the crab cakes with salad and serve. Enjoy!

Connect with Our August Chef of the Month:

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

Instagram: @chef_lawless

Twitter: @chef_lawless

Chef Lauren participated in the Pacific Wine & Food Festival and would like to thank her sponsors Anderson Seafoods and Gelson’s!

Chef Megan’s Spicy Gorgonzola Sweet Mashed Potatoes

Spicy MashSweet potatoes were arguably one of the trendiest foods in 2016. We saw sweet potatoes on toast, as bread substitutes, puddings, and pies. But March Chef of the Month, Megan puts an amazing spin on the trendy potato. Warning – recipe below will induce hunger.

 

Spicy Gorgonzola Sweet Mashed Potatoes

Serves:  4-6

Difficulty Level:  Easy

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cooking Time:  Approximately 30 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 Large Yams or a bag of small Organic Sweet Potatoes
  • 5oz of a smoky blue or Gorgonzola cheese (For those feeling adventurous, go with something extra smelly. For a family or for a dinner party, go with something mild to medium)
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Cayenne Pepper (If you love heat as much as I do, sub the Cayenne Pepper for something spicier – I used Trader Joes Ghost Chile Pepper).
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup of cream (I use a heavy whipping cream, but you could also use whole milk if you are looking to make it healthier)
  • ½ stick of unsalted butter – room temperature

You will need:

  • Food Processor
  • Large Pot filled half way with water
  • Knife

Directions:

  • Place a medium to large pot on your stove top, fill half way with water (enough to cover all the potatoes), add 1 teaspoon of salt, and turn on high to bring to a boil.
  • While the water is heating up, scrub the potatoes and peel off skin. Cut the sweet potatoes into small to medium even sized pieces.
  • Once water is boiling, add potatoes.
  • Cook for 10-15 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your potatoes.   Rule of thumb:  when you can use a fork and easily break a potato in half, they’re ready
  • Place all ingredients and the cooked sweet potatoes into the food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Pro Tip: Add salt/pepper/spice to taste – start slow and work your way up to the level you want. You can always add more, but if you make it too spicy right way you won’t be able to tone the heat down.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Top with roasted veggies for a hearty and filling Vegetarian Meal.
  • Serve alone as a side dish at your next dinner party.
  • Top with Scallops & Filet Mignon (pictured) for a romantic dinner or splurge meal.

Follow Chef Megan for more recipes:

Website: www.forkthisdish.com

Instagram: @forkthisdish

Twitter: @ForkThisDish

Chef Alekka’s Ode to the South Pralines

pralinesOur featured recipe of the week is a sweet southern treat. Did you know? Pralines first originated in France and were brought over by French settlers to New Orleans, Louisana. This praline recipe by our Chef of the Month Alekka is a delicious take on the American Southern praline.

Chef Alekka lived in Atlanta, Georgia from 1996-2001 and says,”I was the assistant pastry chef for a restaurant group there. I learned so much during my time there. These classic southern pralines are great crumbled on vanilla ice cream or you can dip half of them in tempered dark chocolate.”

Ode to the South Pralines

~for about 2 dozen

Ingredients:

2 cups light brown sugar
½ cup evaporated milk
¼ cup unsalted butter
2 ½ cups pecans, halves or pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Combine light brown sugar and evaporated milk in a sauce pan, boil, bring to soft ball stage.*
  2. Add butter and pecans, bring back to a soft ball stage while stirring.
  3. Remove from heat, add vanilla and beat until mixture begins to thicken.
  4. Drop by teaspoons on sheet pans lined with silicone mats.
  5. Let set and cool before serving; store in air-tight container.

*Soft Ball Stage for Candy Making using cold water test: 235 F to 240 F (118 C to 120 C)
A small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a soft, flexible ball, but flattens like a pancake after a few moments in your hand.

Get in contact with Chef Alekka and visit her shop Give Me Some Sugar if you’re in the Chicago area so you can learn how to make these amazing treats!

Website: Give Me Some Sugar 

Facebook: Give Me Some Sugar

Instagram: @givesugar

Twitter: @ChefAlekka

Chef Alekka’s Chocolate Espresso Brownies

brownies2.jpgThis recipe comes from our February Chef of the Month, Alekka Sweeney. Valentine’s Day is approaching and we all like to take this time to indulge in some dessert. This recipe caters to anyone with a sweet tooth and love for all things chocolate. Take a break from your New Year’s diet and enjoy the finer things in life… and one of those things is sugar!

Chocolate Espresso Brownies

Yields 32 brownies

Ingredients: 

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter

5 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon instant-espresso powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 large eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup 64% Chocolate pistols (I prefer Valrhona)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 15- by 10- by 1-inch baking pan with foil, allowing 2 inches of foil to hang over ends of pan, and grease foil well (except overhang) with 1 tablespoon butter.
  2. Melt remaining 11 tablespoons butter with unsweetened chocolate in a large metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and whisk in sugar, espresso powder, vanilla, and salt (mixture will be grainy), then add eggs 1 at a time, whisking after each addition until batter is smooth.
  3. Toss together flour and chocolate pistols in another bowl and add to batter, stirring until just combined.
  4. Spread batter evenly in baking pan and bake in middle of oven until top is firm and edges just begin to pull away from sides of pan, about 20 minutes –be careful not to overbake.
  5. Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then carefully lift brownies from pan by holding both ends of foil and transfer to rack to cool 10 minutes more. Cut into 32 squares and lift brownies off foil with a spatula.

Love this recipe? Get in contact with Chef Alekka and visit her shop Give Me Some Sugar if you’re in the Chicago area so you can learn to bake like a pro!

Website: Give Me Some Sugar 

Facebook: Give Me Some Sugar

Instagram: @givesugar

Twitter: @ChefAlekka

February 2017 Chef of the Month Alekka Sweeney

 

FullSizeRender (9).jpg

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

 

%d bloggers like this: