Tag Archives: food trucks

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 BBQ PULLED PORK GRILLED CHEESE RECIPE

Kick off the summer with this outrageous BBQ Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese recipe. Chef Brian Mullins does not disappoint with this tasty treat!

BBQ Pulled Pork

BBQ Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese

(Adapted for pressure cooker)

Ingredients:

3 – 4 lbs pork butt (cut into chunks)
1 Medium yellow onion, diced
10 cloves garlic, crushed
Kosher Salt
Your favorite barbecue sauce
1 16 oz beer, your choice
4 slices Texas Toast or other thick cut bread

8 slices Cheddar cheese

Salted butter, softened

Directions:

Start by salting the pork once you’ve cut it into pieces.

Place the pork into slow cooker.  Add the diced onion and crushed garlic.  Mix all the ingredients around and cover with beer.  Close cooker and cook for 4-6 hours.

When the time is up open the lid and remove the meat setting it aside. It will be very fragile, so be careful when you try to move it. Cover with tin foil and let it cool for a little while to lock in the juices. Then, using two forks, shred the meat.

Add back some of the sauce and juices from the pot to the pulled pork.  Salt to taste.  Add some of your favorite BBQ sauce.

Butter the outside of each slice of bread. Place 2 cheddar slices on each piece of bread.  On two slices add big scoop of BBQ pulled pork the top with 2 other slices 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.

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!

 

June 2016 Chef of the Month – Brian Mullins

Brian Mullins-in the kitchen

Congratulations Chef Brian Mullins for being our Chef of the Month for June! See what cheesy concoctions he has been making in Miami!

Where were you born?                

I was born in Long Island, New York.

Where do you work and where are you based? 

I live and work in Miami.  I have food trucks and two brick and mortar locations for Ms. Cheezious.  It started as a food truck in 2010 and we opened our first brick and mortar on February 1, 2015 and our second this past April.

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

My favorite kitchen tool is a good knife.  It can become an expensive habit!

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

Hearing.  In the restaurant industry we need to listen to people and our guests’ feedback.  You can’t be emotional if someone doesn’t care for something.  You need to be able to hear them and make changes.  A lot of people don’t listen to what their customers have to say.

What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?  

Put in the time.  Learn to take every opportunity presented to you when you’re not working.  Ask to volunteer, to work with other chefs and offer to work at any event.  Keep your head, down mouth shut and observe what’s going on around you.  Be humble, pay attention and ask questions.

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

Proper seasoning in general, but especially salt.  It can change a lot of things so learn how to use it correctly.

What does good food mean to you?    

Good food means family. I grew up in a house where my mother, grandmother and aunts all cooked really well.  My best memories are of big meals made from scratch in the kitchen that took hours or days, depending on what they were cooking.  We all sat down together and ate really good meals. Now, my family and friends in the industry get together to create good meals and share those new memories.

What trends do you see emerging in the near future?  

No one is really doing shakes in Miami, so we brought it back. We launched them a month or so ago. Florida is so hot; everyone wants a cold milkshake.  We did a midnight snack shake – a chocolate shake with chocolate and peanut dipped pretzels, caramel popcorn and chocolate covered potato chips topped with whipped cream and sprinkles. For all the Miami people, we did a Pastelito shake with a guava cream cheese and vanilla base garnished with a fresh Pastelito on top.

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

I want it to fit well and look good.  Who doesn’t want to look good?  I am big in the shoulders, so I need to be able to move.  The coat needs to be moveable and breathable.  I wear a lot of chef shirts.  Being in South Florida, it is hot all day, every day and even hotter in the kitchen.

Favorite ingredient to work with?    

Obviously, cheese.  But besides doing grilled cheese, I really love smoking meats and BBQ.  I like making pulled pork and ribs.

Favorite City to dine out in?   

New York. I love every place. There are so many people from so many places around the world that you can get anything. It’s so rich in culture.  If you want Mexican, someone from Mexico will make it or if you want dumplings, someone will make you authentic dumplings.  I can always have one more slice of pizza as a snack in between meals too.  I come home 10 pounds heavier from every trip!

Best Dish you have ever made?     

Probably ribs.  Like I said, I love smoking meats and barbecuing.  You can take a long time to prepare them to impart a lot of flavor, and I create a good sauce.  I can make them ahead of time and heat them up when I have friends over.  I never have a problem having people show up for my barbecue.

Place you eat most often on your days off?      

The Hillstone.  I always know what I am getting.  The food is good and the service is always great.  Since I have so few days off, I want to have a meal served to me properly. I don’t want to leave a restaurant mad on my day off.

Person you would most like to cook for?         

I would like to cook for José Andrés.  He seems like a cool guy to hang out with.  I would love to make Spanish food and tapas with him.  He has always been a super nice guy when I have met him in the past.  Like I said before, my best memories are good meals with family and I think cooking for him would be like that.

What made you decide to become a chef in the first place?       

I started cooking at a very young age.  Growing up, my mom was a single mom.  We would fend for ourselves from an early age.  When I was like 7, I would wake her up while she was sleeping to open jars.  She was always in the kitchen cooking and making breakfast, lunch and dinner for everyone.  After seeing my mom, grandmother and aunts cook, I wanted to emulate what they were doing. I would figure things out and make stuff that tasted good and get everyone sit down to have a good meal.

What is new on your DVR?      

You would have to ask my wife.  When I come home, I sit down and she puts on whatever she wants and I can just sit still finally.  I don’t get much time at work to sit still.

The Food Truck Craze

food trucks

In recent years, food trucks have become a rapidly growing trend, as seen by several television series (The Great Food Truck Race, Food Truck Face Off, Food Truck Paradise) and many worldwide food truck events. Here in Plantation, FL., there is a local food truck event at Heritage Park every Tuesday night, in which several food trucks come from all over to serve to happy paying customers. Not only is it an interesting way to taste new, homemade, and often unique foods, but it is a simpler way that chefs and entrepreneurs are getting their businesses off the ground without the startup costs of a brick-and mortar-restaurant.

Yvonne

This is how our chef of the month, Yvonne Anderson-Thomas, got her start with Brown Shuga Soul Food. She started out selling baked goods at food festivals in Idaho and quickly moved on to operating a few food trucks selling her homemade Southern cuisine, complete with a flourishing catering business. This career move has proven to be a great decision on her part. Another great example of this success is Press Gourmet Sandwiches, which started out as a food truck, got featured on the Food Network, and now has a restaurant located in Fort Lauderdale, FL. This writer recommends “The Daily,” a sandwich featuring grilled chicken, brie, tomato, spinach, Applewood bacon, and apricot jam. Delicious!

If you are a chef or entrepreneur looking to break into this kind of business, Chef Uniforms is a great way to start browsing for professional chef coats and uniforms. Getting the right look, fit, and style is important. You can see for yourself what Yvonne Anderson-Thomas recommends to bring your chef attire to the next level.

Here are some tips and thoughts from Chef Yvonne herself if you are looking to start your own food truck:

  1. Everyone is not always happy with your success. Believe in Your dream.
  2. It’s hard to operate a truck year-round in a city that gets so cold during the winter that your water tank freezes up!
  3. Join a food truck association or start one. There is power in numbers.
  4. Make sure you buy a truck that fits your menu as far as the equipment you need.
  5. Give away free food in exchange for publicity every once in a while.
  6. It is more work than you can possibly imagine! This is not a job for lazy people, or people who want to retire or think it’s a get rich quick idea. It takes work and perseverance.
  7. Pay for quality equipment and marketing materials.

Good luck!

Chef Yvonne’s Path to Cooking

Chef Yvonne

Yvonne Anderson-Thomas, our Chef of the Month for March 2016, found both a solace and an unexpected, life-changing solution in cooking. She was willing to reveal her amazing story with us, so that we could share it with all of our readers. Once she had divorced her husband of twenty years, she was uncertain of her next steps. She had gone to school for nursing, but never finished her degree. Instead, drawing from her previous experience managing a bakery, she threw on her chef coat and started selling her baked goods at food festivals. Once she realized this wasn’t getting her quite far enough, she resorted to an old family recipe instead – smoked turkey legs. After some initial success and a very generous loan from a friend, Yvonne started her own food truck and dubbed it Brown Shuga. Suddenly she became very busy tending to three events a day, she enlisted several friends, seasonal employees, and volunteers to help get her business off the ground.

But running a food truck is expensive. It’s not just the ingredients and the cooking she’d have to worry about, but the licensing, any extra fees, prep tables, freezer, cookers, utensils, various other equipment, and managing the truck itself. Fortunately, Yvonne discovered a woman’s shelter that would allow her to park in its lot. She repaid this act of generosity in food and donated tips.

Soon enough, Brown Shuga grew to include many recipes in the soul-food and Southern comfort tradition. Yvonne added another food truck to help keep up with the demand for her cooking. There were a few setbacks along the way – including the truck’s burst pipes during the winter months – but Yvonne persevered. She fondly recalls her proudest moment during this time: “Finally, when I said, ‘Brown Shuga Soul Food,’ people knew the name, and it made me feel so good.” Now, five years later, she has received numerous accolades and awards, including one for Best Food Truck, acknowledged by the Idaho Statesman.

In retrospect, Yvonne admits her professional trajectory has been quite surprising. She never imagined she’d been running her own food trucks. However, back when she was married, she often found herself cooking for functions on the military bases her husband was stationed at. She recalls how she experimented and experimented until she arrived at the perfect recipes for her signature cornbread and ribs. In the end, these years relocating from base to base was a true test to her and her resourcefulness. “I feel like I have succeeded in letting people know who I am,” Yvonne concludes.

Thank you, Yvonne, for sharing this story with us! It is certainly inspiring, and we hope our readers will feel the same!

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?

Chef Robyn Almodovar

September 2014 Chef of the Month, Robyn Almodovar

Chef Robyn Almodovar, Chefuniforms.com Chef of the Month for September found on blog.chefuniforms.comChef Robyn Almodovar is the owner and chef of her own Gourmet Food Truck, Palate Party. Whether she is catering for celebrities such as mega producer Timbaland, actor John Corbett, Gym Class Heroes Travie McCoy and DJ Irie or hosting viewing parties of her own shot to stardom on Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen, a Season 10 “Top Finalist,” Chef Almodovar is out to ensure there is a party in the mouth every time. Since then, her path to the kitchen has made many twists and turns. Some of her accolades include Fabulous Five Female Chef’s Flavors of Fort Lauderdale 2012, Best Of the Best Miami New Times 2013 – Best Food Truck,  Al Gusto Homestead Food Truck Basket- First Place and Top 30 Taste Makers of Broward County by Broward New Times 2013. The beauty school drop-out pursued nursing and cosmetology before officially coasting into cuisine professionally thanks to the coaxing of a late night infomercial.  Throughout her career, Chef Almodovar has methodically mastered every position in the kitchen. Her culinary experience ranges from working as a line cook at Big Bear’s Brewing Company in Coral Springs, Florida, to Executive Chef at Jeff’s Beach House in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In 2008, she took to the high seas and managed the kitchen of a 172″ yacht, Lady Windridge. In 2011, with enough courage and tenacity to strike out on her own, she purchased a 24″ food truck and founded “Palate Party,” a fresh, mobile food caf that utilizes locally sourced ingredients. Plate Party was the first female-owned, non-dessert food truck in South Florida and it’s the only truck with a custom stage built on top for live entertainment, dancing and musical performances. Chef Almodovar manages the restaurant and splits her time between catering gigs and dominating the local food truck circle scene.

 

Congratulations Chef Robyn Almodovar on being our Chef of the Month for September!

Your food truck and Mushroom Risotto Balls rock!

 

1. What is the name of your company and where are you based?

Palate Party, South Florida

 

2. What is your birthplace?

Brooklyn, New York

 

3. What made you decide to become a chef?

I have always been great with my hands and found that the best way to help people is feed their bellies. Cooking is healing and I wanted to be a chef.

 

4. What do you enjoy doing outside of being a chef?

Riding bikes, skateboarding, dancing – hence the reason, I have a stage on top of my food truck).

 

5. What is your favorite social media platform?

Instagram and Twitter

 

6. What is your Must Have Kitchen Tool?

Spoon – a nice tablespoon

Robyn Almodovar's must-have kitchen tool found on blog.chefuniforms.com

 

7. What is your specialty dish?

Mushroom Risotto Balls

Robyn Almodovar's Mushroom Risotto Balls found on blog.chefuniforms.com

 

 

 Robyn Almodovar Palate Party Menu found on blog.chefuniforms.comRobyn Almodovar Palate Party Menu

 

8. What’s the strangest thing you ever ate?

Sheep Balls – just not for me.

 

9. Who would you most like to cook for?

My grandmother, “my Nanny.” She inspired me to become a chef.

 

10. Do you enjoy dining out on your free time? What is your favorite type of cuisine?

I do. I love Italian – Casa D’Angelo is my favorite restaurant.

 

11. What features are important to you when selecting a Chef Coat?

Mobility around the arms, lightness and flexibility. I like Egyptian cotton and short sleeves as I do a lot of outside events and ¾ sleeves for high end events.

Robyn Almodovar Palate Party Food Truck found on blog.chefuniforms.com

Food Truck Scene in Plantation Park, Plantation Florida

~Her experience and advice~

12. How long have you been a chef and where did you study?

4 years and I studied at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta.

 

13. What education or experience would you recommend for aspiring chefs?

To never give up. Stay true to who you are, be passionate and never stop learning. Starting from the bottom is not a bad thing.

 

14. What would you recommend as far as on-the-job training?

To be a sponge. Absorb everything thing you can. Respect the Head Chef and who you work with. Always ask questions. Don’t be afraid to continue your education.

 

15. What is your greatest challenge in getting the ingredients you need?

Finding local purveyors that have a reputable product.

 

16. Do you try to experience your competitors’ food? Do you ever get ideas from them?

Yes. I always find ways to make their ideas better.

 

17. Do you think it is important to visit the markets rather than just have standard orders?

Yes. It is very important to find out what the local farmers are putting out there. You can’t eat what we don’t have.

 

18. How do you test a new recipe without putting it on the permanent menu?

I run features to test my customer’s palette.

 

19. How do chefs use technology in their day to day operations?

Timers, computers, molecular gastronomy which younger chefs are practicing.


~2014 and The Future~

20. What dining trends do you see taking place for 2014?

Farmer Table – more support for local markets using fresh sustainable ingredients

 

21. How has the revolution to eat healthy influenced you as a Chef?

A lot of products have chemicals that are harmful and I cook with a cleaner palette using lot of fresh ingredients.

 

22. What do you think of “Green Kitchens?” Is it realistic to outfit your kitchens to be environmentally friendly?

It is very costly to have a Green Kitchen. If you have sponsors behind it, you can have one and also if you are a big company but for small mom and pop restaurants, you can’t.

 

23. How does Social Media play a role for Chefs today?

This is the way to get themselves known. Everyone is on their phones. If you want to put yourself out there, get on one.

Robyn Almodovar Palate Party Food Truck Logo found on blog.chefuniforms.com

The Rise of the Food Truck

It seems like only a few years ago that people would run to the street vendors in New York City for an authentic New York hot dog, thinking that was the best they could do with such little time to spare for lunch. In those days, a meal from a to-go cart may have entailed some sort of greasy kabob made of who knows what, or a pretzel that had spent a little too much time in the sun. Nowadays, however, these food carts are becoming healthier and the quality of the food itself is becoming better as well. Along with the growth of the food cart in this country came the rise of the food truck as a means to a quick meal on the go.

Food trucks aren’t new. But, what is new is the number of them, and quality of the food that is served from them. Today, there are dozens of food trucks on the streets of New York City, with cuisine ranging from ice cream to falafels, and from pizza to tacos. There are sandwich trucks, burger trucks and even steak trucks!

The best way to break into this business, much like any other, is to tackle the untapped markets. If you are expecting to see much growth, it’s probably not a great idea to start in a big city like New York, where food trucks are a dime a dozen. That is, unless you can offer something that none of the others can (like a particular type of cuisine that only you make). But the best way to break out is to go into a market where these trucks aren’t as common. That way, everyone will know your truck, and they will become your loyal followers.

And speaking of followers, it has been said that the most successful food trucks are those that are up to date with the social networks. That way, you can Tweet “I will be at the intersection of X and Y Street at 12:30 today”, and your customers will know to meet you there. A shining example of a social media savvy food truck owner is Chef John Schulze, whose Cajun-inspired dishes are causing quite a stir in Wadsworth, Ohio. Schulze’s Zydeco Bistro not only serves upscale, quality cuisine, but also has its own website, Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin pages, so that customers can get the inside scoop on menu changes, pictures, events, and the locations of the food truck itself. We had a chance to interview this chef, and will be posting it very soon, so be sure to check back for that article!

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