Tag Archives: interview with a chef

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

 

January 2017 Chef of the Month Stefen Dobrec

 

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Chef Stefen is wearing ChefUniforms Bold Stripe Apron style #300BOL

Happy New Year, we hope you celebrated the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017 with loved ones and great food! All of us at ChefUniforms are excited for another year of awesome chefs, great recipes, and exciting news coming your way.

We’re starting 2017 off with a bang and are very excited to introduce our January 2017 Chef of the Month, Stefen Dobrec! Read more about his life and journey as a chef below.

1. Where were you born?

I am from a little town called Danville in California.

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

I run my own website called BigChefLittleKitchen.com. The inspiration for the name came from me being almost 6’4” and cooking in my small Manhattan apartment kitchen. The name was one of those “ah-ha” moments that just came to me, I checked the domain and it was available so that’s how it all started.

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

My chef knife. Honestly, I use it the most, it is the tool I have invested the most money in. So much chopping goes on in the kitchen. I always say to invest in two things, your shoes and your bed. My third is a good chef knife.

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

Probably my taste. I am not a big recipe guy. I visualize it first and hope that through trial and error it turns out tasting the way I want it. Then after I taste it and perfect it, I go back and figure out the measurements for a recipe.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

The main advice I would offer aspiring chefs is to cook every day. Doesn’t matter if it’s one meal, three meals, or five meals. Cook something every day. I try to cook something new but even if I don’t and I end up cooking one of my staple dishes, every time I cook it I try to make the dish better.

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

Make and master scrambled eggs. It is the simplest thing, but it goes a long way. I’m sure most people feel the same way. There is an ongoing joke with my girlfriend’s side of the family that you have to “make Stefen eggs.” My only secret to delicious eggs is season them before hand and whip them with a form to make them light and fluffy.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food means a lot of things to me. It’s almost an event. It’s sight, the smell, the taste, the sounds, and the people you are with. Good food is just being around a table with family and friends and enjoying a variety of things.

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

I am pretty standard; I like to wear business casual. The biggest thing is the apron for me. My go-to is my apron over the top of a collared shirt with rolled up sleeves. I like my apron to have one or two pockets in the front, with sturdy material that I know will last after multiple washes. I also keep a towel because I am constantly washing my hands and need a place for my phone just in case I get sudden inspiration and want to add it to my notes.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

My favorite ingredient to work with is beets. They are so versatile. My signature dish is my beet sliders. They are a very underutilized vegetable. You can roast, grill, shred them; they can be sweet or savory. To me, the possibilities are endless.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

I have to say New York City. It is the culinary capital for a reason. There is a great mixture of 5-star restaurants as well as mom and pop places. Both have high quality and equally delicious foods. Plus, you can find whatever you are craving during any time of the day or night.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

Honestly my breakfast mac and cheese, it’s not as healthy as most of the other stuff I make, but honestly, it is ridiculous.  The mac itself has sweet potatoes and jalapeño, and the whole thing topped with a sunny-side egg. I personally like to add Sriracha too. It’s even better served with mimosas.

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

My dining room table. I said my best advice is to cook every day and I try my best to abide by it. I cook breakfast and dinner almost every single day. And lunch most days as well. I am big on preparing my groceries the day I get them so it is easier to come home and throw something together.

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

Honestly Bobby Flay. My love for food and cooking came when I was young and would come home after various practices and watch Boy Meets Grill or Iron Chef America.  Just to be able to cook for him and get his input and just talk to him about food and cooking would be insane.

14. What is new on your DVR?

I was all in on Westworld; So on my DVR I would say I’m most looking forward to starting the new show by Donald Glover, Atlanta.

Stay tuned and check back for some amazing recipes from Chef Stefen that will be shared throughout the month. Make sure to check out his website BigChefLittleKitchen.com and follow him on Instagram @bigcheflittlekitchen.

December 2016 Chef of the Month Rod Knight

chef-rod-jump-with-hat2Can you believe 2016 is coming to a close already? We are extremely excited to showcase our last Chef of the Month for the year: Chef Rod Knight!

We guarantee this is one Chef of the Month you don’t want to miss! Chef Rod went above and beyond and his step-by-step recipes are incredible. Read more about his life and chef career below and make sure to check back next week for his first recipe!

1. Birthplace: Danbury, Connecticut

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

I work at a French brasserie called Thursdays on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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

My favorite kitchen tool is the vacuum chamber machine. It allows me to literally marinate or pickle something within seconds. It significantly cuts down a lot of time and the amount of waste. Plus, once you vacuum an item it increases the shelf life exponentially.

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

Interesting, I think that my sense of touch is my sharpest sense. I have never cut myself more than a nick and I think that has to do with my sense of touch.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

I would say stay curious and focus intently on the details. Good dishes are a combination of very small parts that are put together well. Make sure you are aware of how you communicate. How you communicate is a very important part of being a chef because how you speak and what you say translates to everyone you work with and it will literally better the team.

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

Keep your pans hot. You aren’t going to get far without hot pans.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food to me is something that is exciting to share with others. It also takes into account health and nutrition. I believe you can’t untwine the two. What we are eating and how we are eating but it has to be good for you. Also, good food is fresh with fresh ingredients. I guess to sum it up good food is passion on a plate.

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

There’s been a lot of talk about no tipping. All of the servers’ wages and all of the food prices would get raised to cover the no tipping paradigm. Personally, I think if companies do raise the minimum wage, they will expect more from the employees.

I see a lot more with digital cloud services for cooks training and communication. I think we are going to see a breakdown of titles and positions and see more of the cooks and prep cooks taking on more responsibility which would allow the chefs on duty to administer more effectively. With everything online we are learning faster and quicker and the guys on my team who are in school ask me questions that stump me all the time. On a broader level, this will lead to a lot more creativity to make the things.

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

I definitely go with a short sleeve. I like to go with styles that breathe easy. I do like a more traditional style but with a modern fresh approach. I am slim, so I prefer a slimmer fit. I don’t like button ups. The coats I have now have material like Nike dry fit that wicks away moisture and are light weight.

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

For my go-to workwear, I usually wear a cargo style black pant. I typically wear one of my white chef coats. Sometimes I will wear a cap but I always wear crocs.

11. Favorite ingredient to work with?

This is hard, my favorite ingredient I like to work with is Dijon mustard.  I specifically like to pair it with maple, mustard, and Cajun to make a really good marinade that is a little spicy. For a quick fix, I like to have pan seared salmon and splatter mustard on there and bread crumbs. Or red wine vinaigrette adding Dijon. I find it to be a very versatile condiment. But of course, you can’t live without eggs.

12. Best Dish you have ever made?

Okay, so this is fun. I came across this recipe maybe a year ago. I came across a website that had Berbere, an Ethiopian spice. Last year I really got into spices. This one is really cool, so I tried it out. It is smoky, spicy and red in color. It is extensive work to toast it and to process it. It has a very eastern flavor, I guess they have been using it for centuries. So I went to the fish market and got Bronzino. I was having some people over for dinner so I did a dry rub and got a really nice roast on the fish, it was almost magical. I served it with lemon roasted tomatoes. It was very exotic, with Chile peppers, garlic, ginger, basil, and a little bit of nutmeg.

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

There is a sushi place in Pompano Beach. It is called 9 Face Sushi and they knock it out of the ballpark. Always fresh, the service is amazing. I like to sit outside and enjoy the view.

14. Person you would most like to cook for?

You know what, I’d like to cook for Stan Lee.

15. What made you decide to become a chef?

I am an only child. My mom is a chemical engineer. I would get out of school and go home. I would watch 3 shows on Food Network. These shows got me into and gave me permission to get my hands dirty. I would have food made, I can’t imagine it was good at the time. So I started doing things in elementary school.

But I applied and got into a Connecticut vocational technical school in the culinary department when I was in high school. I started learning techniques. My junior year, Johnson and Wales got accreditation and I got an associate’s degree in culinary. It took burning a lot of things and figuring out where I went wrong and teaching it to the next person. To sum it up, I became a chef because of curiosity and a lot of it has to do with the fact that I am creative. Being a chef, I found a happy place to be and express my creativity every day.

16. What is new on your DVR?

On my DVR is Preacher, The Walking Dead, and The Flash. Those are my top three shows that I make time to watch.

Once again thank you to Chef Rod Knight and don’t forget to stay tuned for his recipes that will be featured throughout the month.

 

November 2016 Chef of the Month Mikey Termini

We are happy to announce our new Chef of the Month for the month of November, Mikey Termini! He is a very talented chef, and we are excited to showcase Chef Mikey throughout the month. Read more below to find out about Chef Mikey’s life as a chef in Hawaii and now Florida. Make sure to stay tuned in the following weeks for his excellent recipes.

  1. Birthplacmikey.jpge:

I was born in Santa Cruz, Calfornia which is in Monterey Bay. Straight out of high school, I went to Maui, Hawaii and spent the last 15 years there cooking.

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

Currently, I work at the Four Seasons PB&G Pool Bar and Grill in Orlando, Florida a part of Walt Disney World.

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

My favorite kitchen tool is the spoon in my back pocket- I use it to taste dishes and spooning out sauces.

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

That would have to be touch. I am great with my hands. I like to create things, feel out all of the textures and turn food into something great.

  1. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Run. Just kidding, keep the passion and don’t burn out. Find the love for food in everything you do whether you are making burgers and french fries or a $60 halibut plate.

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

Have patience. In my experience, the one thing so many cooks and chefs don’t have a lot of is patience. Stay patient with the day to day work, if you have good patience, you can be a real strong leader in the industry.

  1. What does good food mean to you?

Love. The feeling of someone putting a lot of care into what I’m eating and bacon.

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

I wish breakfast food would get a little bit bigger and work towards transforming it to a dinner atmosphere. Breakfast is one of the least tapped parts of eating. It is a great meal, nice, full, rich food at breakfast time takes you back to when you were a kid.

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

The most important to me are the looks and style. I hate chef coats that are too baggy or the lines being too big for my build. I really look for nice lines that are not bunched in the back but at the same time are not too tight but fit just right.

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

I always go back to white coats. I always like a nice white coat with long sleeves that are rolled up, paired with black slacks and a waist apron with a loop for my towel.

  1. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Bacon is my number 1. But after spending so much time in Hawaii,  I love using sweet chili sauce. My favorite way to use it is by adding it to crab cakes for sweetness and a little bit of spice.

  1. Favorite City to dine out in?

San Francisco, California. Because I grew up in Monterey Bay going into the city, I have never eaten at a bad restaurant there.

  1. Best Dish you have ever made?

One thing everyone wants me to cook when I go home is a pasta carbonara. It is an Italian dish that I like to make with fresh pasta peas, pancetta egg cream sauce and top it with truffle oil

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

Home. I love going to the Asian markets and getting stuff there. I usually like to get duck or some kind of pork dish depending on what they have.

  1. Who is a person you would like to cook for?

Bruce Willis or Rob Zombie. They are not chefs, but I would love to cook for them and be around them for a night.

  1. What made you decide to become a chef?

When I first moved to Hawaii, I was doing dishes at a restaurant, and the chef there asked me if I wanted to be a cook or a bartender. I chose cook because I figured I could last a lot longer on food than alcohol.

  1. What is new on your DVR?

Stranger Things on Netflix, it is a TV show that has a Stephen King type vibe. Then once The Walking Dead comes back on, that will fill my DVR because I’m a diehard zombie fan.

OCTOBER 2016 CHEF OF THE MONTH ANTHONY HUNT

We are excited to announce our Chef of the Month for October is: Anthony Hunt!  See what Anthony is all about below and look out for his awesome recipes to come throughout the month!

Where were you born?anthony-face-with-bait

I was born in Laurel, Delaware.

Where do you work and where are you based?

I currently work at Yolo Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, as a corporate pastry chef and works for the restaurant people (group).

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

The Sous-Vide cooking immersion cooker.  It slowly cooks to keep the flavor locked inside. It doesn’t have an effect on the texture and keeps the food moist.

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

Taste. Some of your senses intertwine with each other. But I always try to taste as much as I can. I hated mango and cilantro because my taste buds did not understand it. After tasting it over and over I could finally understand the beauty in the flavors. I look for something different than what I pick up the first time.

What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Do something else. Be a teacher or be a chef only if this is something that is in your heart.  It is not a fly by night career, you have to really love it. Sometimes you may not figure that out right away. It takes time maybe 10 years after you start your career, then you’ll find out whether you aren’t into it or you’ll really love it. I was following my brother in the industry and I didn’t think I had it. I watched him fall out and I found that I really had a knack for it. Make sure you love cooking, pastries, and people – everything that is in the industry.

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

How to make an egg. The simple foundation in culinary is worth that if you can’t make an egg, he/she probably can’t boil a hot dog or make a steak. Knowing how to make a good scrambled egg is paying attention to the coagulation and the residual heat otherwise it will kill your egg every time.

What does good food mean to you?

Something you experience and taste. You can give the most expensive wagyu or whatever but I can taste the person’s passion in their food.

What trends do you see emerging in the near future?

Super-foods are taking over. Quinoa evolving kale and kale pesto alongside hearty greens and spinach. Healthier trends will evolve into the restaurant side and the heavy sauces will disappear, it’s happening already.

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

For me a few things make good qualities in a chef coat. Egyptian cotton is a fabric I have grown to love over the years because its lighter. Having mobility is important you want to be able to stretch and make sure it’s not pulling on you. I shouldn’t have to put pounds of starch on it, I also like breathing holes. Dressing as a chef now is at its coolest point ever. We are not the traditional tall hat guys anymore; the style is a lot looser now.

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

A custom chef coat that looks like every day clothes. How cool and breathable the jacket is. A pair of jeans and clogs. Then top it off with a cool apron and baseball cap and an old school Buff fishing bandanna, I have a mop head.

Favorite ingredient to work with?

I get excited about fish.  Especially fish that is caught by me. I love the freshness of fish – it cannot touch water, must be on ice and cooked the same day. Saltwater fish only. My favorite fish is flounder.

Favorite City to dine out in?

I am going to have to say Miami. I really like The Federal Restaurant, my friend is the owner.

Best Dish you have ever made?

I think it is a mojo pork belly with a cilantro key lime pie filling custard. Crispy curry lentils succotash grits cheesy grits and corn chutes (micro corn chute).

Place you eat most often on your days off?

Probably at the S3 restaurant. I really like the fresh sushi options and they have one of the best macaroni and cheese in the world.

Who is the person you would like to cook for the most?

My mom.  I haven’t cooked for my mom yet. I have been cooking for a long time, over 20 years. I have also been away from my mom for 20 years. Every time I go home my brother cooks so I haven’t had the chance to cook for my mother.

What made you decide to become a chef?

I kind of needed to pay for fishing. Fishing was the priority I never knew I would be in the chef industry this long. It took 10 years to learn that I loved it. I started to realize how many contrasts and textures flavors there are. The creativity and the artsy flow of cooking was the main force and reason, outside of wanting to compete and beat my brother.  The creative process is what I really love. I am at a point in my chef career where I don’t pull from other chefs anymore I pull from my own palate.

What is new on your DVR?

My episode of my food network chopped.  Episode 26 season 5 desserts.

 

 

Chefuniforms.com’s First International Chef of the Month- Ana Birac

Congratulations to Chef Ana Birac- our September 2016 Chef of the Month! She is Chefuniforms.com first featured International Chef. All the way from Croatia, Chef Birac was almost as excited as we were to have her as our September 2016 Chef. Read below to learn more about her life cooking across the globe and stay tuned for some awesome recipes she sent us for you to check out!

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  1. Birthplace:

I WAS BORN ON JULY 31ST, 1991 IN ZAGREB, CROATIA.

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

I WORK IN ROVINJ – ISTRIA ON THE CROATIAN ADRIATIC COAST, WHERE I ALSO LIVE AT THE MOMENT. I’M BASED AT THE A LA CARTE RESTAURANT IN THE OLEANDER HOTEL– THAT IS BASED BETWEEN SOME OF THE BEST HOTELS IN THE WORLD: MONTE MULLINI (NO.1 IN THE WORLD), LOND (NO.3 IN THE WORLD) AND EDEN.

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

MY FAVORITE KITCHEN TOOLS ARE: A SHARP KNIFE, GOOD TWEEZERS AND A THERMOMIXER.

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

TASTE, MOST DEFINITELY.

  1. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

DON’T EVER LOSE MOTIVATION. BEING A CHEF IS THE BEST JOB EVER BECAUSE THERE ARE A MILLION WAYS TO SURPRISE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM FEEL ENCHANTED, HAPPY AND SATISFIED. YOU CAN CREATE YOUR OWN COLORFUL LITTLE WORLD MADE OF INGREDIENTS.

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

A SHARP KNIFE AND AN ENDLESS IMAGINATION ARE YOUR BEST FRIENDS IN THE KITCHEN. AND OF COURSE, A TOUCH OF LOVE AND CRAZINESS.

  1. What does good food mean to you?

FOR ME GOOD FOOD IS MADE WITH LOVE. IT DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN EXPENSIVE AND NUMEROUS INGREDIENTS. YOU JUST NEED TO PREPARE IT WITH LOVE AND PASSION, YOU NEED TO GIVE YOURSELF TO THAT DISH.

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

UNFORTUNATELY, IT SEEMS THAT TECHNOLOGY IS TAKING OVER THE KITCHENS AND REPLACING CHEFS. BUT AS LONG AS THERE ARE YOUNG CHEFS TRYING TO BEAT THE MACHINES, I SEE A LOT OF NEW VEGETABLES, SPICES AND PLANTS ENTERING THE KITCHEN SCENE.

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

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR ME IS THAT MY CHEF COAT IS COMFORTABLE. AS AN EXECUTIVE CHEF, I SPEND 15 HOURS PER DAY IN THE KITCHEN WEARING MY UNIFORM. IT HAS TO BE LIGHT AND COMFY, BUT ALSO I LIKE IT TO BE A LITTLE FUNKY – WHETHER IS IT COLORFUL, WITH DOTS, WITH SOME PICS OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. I ALSO PREFER LITTLE POCKETS ON MY LEFT UPPER ARM TO KEEP MY PEN, TWEEZER AND SPOON.

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

MY GO – TO CHEF OUTFIT DEFINITELY MEANS PANTS AND COATS. APRONS HERE AND THERE, HATS (I HATE TO ADMIT IT, BUT ONLY WHEN HEALTH INSPECTOR COMES J ) AND GOOD SHOES.

  1. Favorite ingredient to work with?

MY FAVORITE INGREDIENTS TO WORK WITH ARE VEGETABLES (NO ONE SPECIFICALLY), BUT BEFORE EVERYTHING I ADORE THYME!

  1. Favorite City to dine out in?

I DON’T REALLY HAVE FAVORITE CITY TO DINE OUT IN. IN GENERAL, IN CROATIA THAT WOULD PROBABLY BE ZAGREB. FOR ME THAT IS MY LIVING TOWN  – ROVINJ. BUT DON’T GO OUT TO A RESTAURANT, GO TO YOUR FRIENDS HOME AND ASK THEIR GRANDMA TO COOK FOR YOU. YOU’LL HAVE THE BEST DINNER EVER!

  1. Best Dish you have ever made?

HOME MADE “ŠTRUKLI” FILLED WITH SQUID RAGOUT, DRIED TOMATO AND MOTAR SAUCE

 Place you eat most often on your days off?

BEACH OR WOODS – IT’S IMPORTANT THAT IT IS IN THE OUTDOORS AND WITH FRESH INGREDIENTS.

 Person you would most like to cook for?

FOR ALL MY FRIENDS AND PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN SUPPORTING ME DURING THIS WHOLE PROCCESS OF BECOMING AN EXECUTIVE CHEF.

ALSO FOR ALL THE PEOPLE THAT MEAN SOMETHING TO ME IN MY LIFE.

FROM CELEBRITY CHEFS: GRANT ACATZ – OF COURSE, RENE REDZEPI, ALEX ATALA AND

ANDONI LUIS ADURIZ.

  1. What made you decide to become a chef?

LOVE FOR THE INGREDIENTS, LOVE FOR THE FOOD, LOVE FOR THE JOB, LOVE FOR THE UNIFORM.

I’M TELLING YOU – THE BEST JOB EVER!

THERE ARE NO LIMITS, THE IMAGINATION IS ENDLESS, COLOR YOUR PLATES AND MAKE THEM LOOK DIFFERENT AND PERFECT EVERY SINGLE TIME.

  1. What is new on your DVR?

THERE’S PRETTY MUCH NOTHING AND EVERYTHING NEW ON MY DVR! YEAH, FUNNY SENTENCE, I KNOW.

WELL, LET ME PUT IT THIS WAY: I AM TRYING TO DO SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY. SOMETIMES IT WORKS AND I GET COMMENDATION AND SOMETIMES I JUST… DO SOMETHING WRONG AND EVERYTHING GOES DOWN THE TOILET.

BUT I NEVER GIVE UP AND ALWAYS KEEP POSITIVE, SO THERE IS USUALLY SOMETHING GOOD TO TAKE A LOOK AT.

Come back next week for a new recipe from Chef Ana Birac!

August 2016 Chef of the Month Dakota Soifer

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Congratulations Chef Dakota Soifer for being our Chef of the Month for August! See what he has been cooking up at his restaurant Cafe Aion, in Colorado.

Where were you born:

I was born in South China, Maine.

Where do you work and where are you based?

I am the chef and owner of Café Aion in Boulder, Colorado

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

My Paella pan is my favorite tool. It is made out of pounded carbon steel and the shape and thickness of the pan are great. I have one that is 12 inches and some that are 3 feet for when I cook for big farmer’s markets and large parties. I can get 40 or so servings out of each pan! I have a Spanish and Mediterranean restaurant, so we make a lot of Paella.

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

I think touch would be my sharpest sense.  Growing up, I was always playing in the dirt in the garden helping my dad who was a carpenter.  We did a lot of hands on and hands in things. I love to be hands on in all aspects- feeling the fresh produce we get in and even in rebuilding the restaurant. I have a degree in architecture, so when we remodeled the restaurant I was able to build the bar, design the community tables and the kitchen.

What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Don’t rush to open your own restaurant or jump from position to position. In this day and age, people move around quite often and try to get a sous chef or executive chef position as quickly as they can and there is really something to be learned while spending years at the same restaurant throughout the seasons.  Try to enjoy the process or you will burn out quickly if you don’t go slow.

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

Everyone chef should know how to bake bread. It is something that’s kind of become lost and it adds a complexity and another layer of wonderfulness to a restaurant. The difference of a fresh quality is a special thing. It is really nice when you can see people slowing down and baking bread well.

What does good food mean to you?

Good food is thoughtful. It has a human touch.  It’s not an assembly line.  It is interesting how many of the very best or highly regarded restaurants become scientific and industrial in prep and production now. Everything has become too perfect. As a business owner, I understand how important it is for consistency and controlling your product, but in a way its gets away from the real joy of cooking.  I also think good food is created on a wood fired grilled.  The real fire introduces a part of nature that can’t be tamed or totally perfected at home. There should be a difference in eating at home and eating out at a restaurant.

What trends do you see emerging in the near future?

I see fast casual currently trending.  It is really interesting from a business point of view.  You see people taking the farm to table and sourcing things carefully and then applying that on a larger scale. It is somewhat sad to see restaurants becoming more standardized. You can now have wine on draft from a keg.  Everything has become fast and easy.  There is no patience in cooking anymore.

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

Definitely comfort and breathability.  I need to be able to move around and not feel like I’m wearing a cardboard box. You wear a chef coat because it’s a sign of your profession.  They’re white, which in our industry is ridiculous, but if you can work and keep it white, you’re skilled.  You can take pride in knowing that you look good to your guests and clean to keep your professional mentality.

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

Jeans and a white t-shirt with my Dansko clogs.

Favorite ingredient to work with?

I really love bread.  It is so cool what you can do with a loaf of bread.  It is obvious that you can create sandwiches, but you can also tear it up and roast it to create crunchy croutons. You can do anything with these! You can use them to absorb sauces, add to a soup to create a luxurious consistency, create breadcrumbs to add texture to seafood pastas. It is so versatile and simple.  It lives on after its fresh state to being stale and has many different uses throughout its lifespan.

Favorite City to dine out in?

It may be clichéd, but San Francisco has a special place in my heart.  I moved out there after I graduated college to pursue my cooking career.  I moved around to get myself into the best places to work on my career, had no responsibilities, and was in my early 20s.  I had extra cash to go and try all these different places and explore the culture of San Francisco.

Best Dish you have ever made?

Paella.  It is a special dish for the restaurant, but one time a few friends of mine and I had an idea to have a mid-day picnic party.  We went into a field and made a fire. We had wine and cooked a paella and homemade sausage. It was great!

Place you eat most often on your days off?

Probably a dumpling shop that I go to with my daughter.  She is 8 and loves dumplings equally as much as I do. I have my partner in crime and we take down a large spread of them.  Dumplings are not something I cook or do often at home.  They are of a different cuisine and use other flavors than what I am around at work. My daughter and I have either pan fried pork or Chinese soup dumplings.

Person you would most like to cook for?

My grandmother was always very supportive, but she never got a chance to come to my restaurant. It would be cool to have had her to come to the restaurant.

What made you decide to become a chef?

I was in college for architecture, but I got a job cooking to make some money.   It was really fun! I was 20 or 21 and working late was always a party scene.  It was really cool and fun, and I was doing well.  Eventually I got a promotion and was taken under the wing by guys in the industry that I thought were cool and doing good stuff.  I didn’t get into it as my end goal.  I just followed a path and different opportunities opened up.

What is new on your DVR?

Bob’s Burgers is pretty funny.  I am not much of a drama person.  I want to giggle and relax when I’m watching tv. It’s a funny show and has to do with food.

Look out for some mouth-watering recipes from Chef Soifer this month!

July 2016 Chef of the Month – Joy Crump

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Congratulations to Chef Joy Crump for being our Chef of the Month for July! See what Chef Crump has been cooking up at FOODE!

Where were you born?                

I was born in Pittsburgh, PA.

Where do you work and where are you based? 

I am based in Fredericksburg, VA.  FOODE and Mercantile, my two restaurants, are both in Fredericksburg.  I’m usually at both restaurants all day every day.

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

My grill.  I think fire touching food is very basic and there is no substitute for it. I put anything and everything on the grill- fruits, vegetables, protein, herbs, anything at all!

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

I think sight has become my sharpest sense.  I have learned to look at everything very macro. I can walk into the room and see what’s going on with 30 employees while at the same time seeing if something is cooking too long.  I can see the vibe and see if were in trouble in the kitchen all at once.

What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?  

Be patient with your growth.  What’s getting young chefs now, is they expect everything to happen overnight and to receive a lot of rewards for their work. Reality is the very opposite in this industry.  The culinary profession is very thankless.  You are on a team and not singled out, but if you work hard, before you know it you will be standing out.

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

There is a discipline that goes along with being a good chef.  I think every chef should be making lists to never forget the a,b,c,d that goes along with every day.  Having a list for every task helps build your habits in the kitchen.  I live and die by list making, there is nothing more satisfying than crossing something off!

What does good food mean to you?    

What we try and do is remind people what they love about a thing, a dish, or even Thanksgiving. We like to remind people what they remember and love about that thing and introduce something new in how we present it to them.  We give you a little different twist on your everyday food, but it should still feel familiar and comforting.

 What trends do you see emerging in the near future?  

Definitely hyper local ingredients.  Chefs are now counting on themselves more than farmers to provide their products.  People want to feature things that they have grown themselves, which now has become everything- the meat they have cured, cheese they have made, herbs they have grown.  People don’t only want what is made just in your zip code, but what is made in your kitchen.  Chefs are reinventing their list of ingredients based on what they can accomplish in their own space.  Everything we have in our restaurants, we make in house.  We are working on moving to another location where I hope we can smoke and cure more than we have been able to in our own commissary where we have a small smoker now.  We like to smoke not just proteins, but also oils and vinegars, fruits, cheeses and even seasoning, especially salt.  Being able to accomplish this on a bigger scale makes me very happy!

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

Having pockets and a nice fit are definitely the most important to me in finding a chef coat.  I have to make sure that the things I need and use every day are in there- my phone, sharpie, notebook, thermometer.  I find a lot of chef coats that look great, but with no pockets to hold anything.  I’m not a small chick, but I don’t like wearing men’s chef coats.  They’re usually too boxy for me.  I want something that is fitted and a women’s cut, but I hate when they are super girly and bell out at the bottom.  Just a simple chef coat with a tailored fit and pockets is what I like.

Favorite ingredient to work with?  

Salt!  Food is asleep without it and awakens with it.  People are afraid of salt and afraid to overuse it.  We have a fast-casual restaurant where you sit down and if you need a refill, you get up and get it for yourself.  We do not put salt and pepper shakers on the table, but we will put them out in the common area.  Our goal is to make the food perfect and for the customer to not need extra seasoning.

Favorite City to dine out in?   

That changes all the time, but I think right now it would be Nashville. Every year my business partner and I go to a new city to check out the food scene.  Last year we went to Burlington, Boston, Chicago and Nashville to eat our faces off and try as much as we could.  The food scene in Nashville was so cool and community based.  It was somehow so friendly and down home, while being refined at the same time.

Best Dish you have ever made?     

You’d probably have to ask someone else that! But my favorite dish that I have made would be my fried chicken.  My mom recently passed away, and she taught me how to make fried chicken. To me, family and things that reflect that for me are most important.  My fried chicken even won an award for us and nothing can top that!  Our chicken and waffles are the best in Virginia and I’m so happy we could share that recipe and tradition with a lot of people.

Place you eat most often on your days off?     

I go between Soup & Taco and Tarntip Thai.  Tarntip Thai has really authentic, yummy, cheap food.

Person you would most like to cook for?         

Probably my mom.  If I could cook for her, that means she would still be here.

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

I have a big family. I have 5 brothers and sisters and my parents got divorced when I was 3.  My siblings and I all traveled a lot back and forth because my parents lived in different cities.  We had to get on a plane and travel to each other, which was really expensive. We didn’t have money to buy each other gifts for every occasion, so we stayed at home and cooked together.  It was such a great expression of love when we could all be together with family.  Holidays were huge in our family!  Thanksgiving is the day you don’t dare miss and it gets bigger every year than the year before.  Cooking together is what you do to say I love you and we cook our asses off! I didn’t realize until I was in my 30s that I could do what I love for a living.  It really is a real extension of my family for me.

What is new on your DVR?      

I’m watching a show called S.T.R.O.N.G!  Sylvester Stallone is the executive producer and Gabrielle Reece is the host.  It’s awesome! They pair up women who are on a journey to find their strength and their inner bad-ass with top male trainers.   It’s not just a weight loss program, it’s really to help empower these women who have gone through bad circumstances.

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