Tag Archives: pastry chefs

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

 

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!

Chef William Werner’s Matcha Snickerdoodle Recipe

William Werner, Chef/Partner of Craftsman and Wolves has created one of the hottest spots for pastries and if you love different and unique, you have to check them out! Great treats like Lavender Shortbread with fruits, flowers and herbs, Golden Cashew – Curry Brittle, Blood Orange and Coconut Marshmallows, Chocolate Fudge with Bourbon Sugar, Pate de Fruit, Smoked Almond Brittle and of course, our featured recipe Matcha Snickerdoodle.

If you are ever nearby their locations in San Francisco, please stop by and treat yourself. Check out their menus at their Valencia and Pacific locations.

Helloooo Matcha Snickedoodle. Great for the Holidays!

William Werner Matcha Snickerdoodle - Chefuniforms.com Dec. 2015 Chef of the Month

 

Makes 50 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2
 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 
teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2
 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 
tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons matcha, divided
  • 1 
cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
  • 1/2
 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 
tablespoons honey
  • 1 
large egg
  • 1 
large egg yolk
  • 2 
teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 
ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2
 cup granulated sugar

Method:

1. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and 2 tablespoons of matcha in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter, brown sugar, and honey in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the egg, egg yolk, and lemon zest, and mix until very pale, about 4 minutes.

2. Reduce mixer speed to low and, with motor running, add the flour mixture; mix until no dry spots remain. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, mix in the white chocolate.

3. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill at least 2 hours and up to 5 days. If chilling more than a few hours, let the dough sit at room temperature for 1 hour to soften before scooping and baking.

4. Whisk the 1/2 cup granulated sugar and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons matcha in a small bowl; set aside.

5. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Scoop the dough by the scant tablespoonful onto 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing each about 1 inch apart.

6. Bake the cookies, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, until bottoms and edges are barely golden and cooked (top will no longer look wet), 8 to 10 minutes.

7. Immediately, but gently, toss cookies in the reserved matcha sugar and place on wire racks; let cool. Store cookies airtight at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Enjoy!

 

 

Chefuniforms.com December 2015 Chef of the Month - William Werner, Chef/Partner Craftsman and Wolves

December 2015 Chef of the Month – William Werner, Chef/Partner Craftsman and Wolves

Chefuniforms.com December 2015 Chef of the Month - William Werner, Chef/Partner Craftsman and WolvesWilliam Werner is Chef/Partner of Craftsman and Wolves (CAW), an award-winning
contemporary patisserie and cafe with a nod to classic French technique and an
emphasis on seasonal change, offering pastries, cakes, confections, confitures, breads,
desserts, as well as savory fare and signature drinks. Current locations include CAW
Valencia in the vibrant Mission district of San Francisco, a farmers’ market stand at the
venerable CUESA Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, and an online retail shop shipping
nationwide.

Since opening the first location in 2012, Werner has garnered praise both locally and
nationally in publications, including New York Times T magazine, Wall Street Journal,
Real Simple, Esquire, and Bon Appétit, and GQ magazine named his famous “Rebel
Within” as #6 on “The 50 Best Things to Eat and Drink Right Now.”

In addition to opening a second location in San Francisco’s Russian Hill neighborhood
this fall, William and team are expanding the online retail shop with new products to ship
both nationally and internationally. Werner serves as a Valrhona Pastry Chef Consultant and leads professional culinary
demonstrations and classes around the U.S. and Canada.

Chef Werner is a James Beard Foundation “Outstanding Baker” 2015 finalist, Dessert Professional’s “Top Ten Pastry Chefs of America 2015,” The Passion Company’s “2015 Most Passionate Chef/Restaurateur in San Francisco,” San Francisco Magazine’s “2014 Best Pastry Chef,” Plate Magazine’s “2014 30 Chefs to Watch,” Star Chefs’ “2013 Rising Star Artisan” and James Beard Foundation “Outstanding Pastry Chef” 2012-2014 semi-finalist.

Congratulations Chef Werner on being our Chef of the Month for December!

1. Where do you work and where are you based?
Craftsman and Wolves, a patisserie and cafe with two locations in San Francisco.

2. What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces?
Gray Kunz spoon

3. What is your Wisk Hand? Left or Right?
Right hand

4. What advice would you offer for aspiring pastry chefs?
Dig deep to the roots, don’t get caught up in the current trend, take time to understand the basics.

5. What is one tip every pastry chef should know and perfect?
How to work with chocolate.

6. What does a great dessert look like to you?
I believe you eat with your eyes first, so an appetizing dish is key, usually minimal wins for me, all ingredients on the plate are harmonious and make sense, nothing is there just to be there.

7. Favorite ingredient to work with?
Coconut

8. Favorite Dessert City?
Chicago

9. Best Dish you have ever made?
Braised beef cheek risotto on a camp stove

10. What trends do you see emerging in the near future for Pastry Chefs?
I see more health conscious desserts that don’t sacrifice flavor and texture — luxurious meets beneficial, if you will.

11. What features are important to you when selecting a Chef Coat? (particular fabric, style, sleeve length, pockets)
Short sleeved chef coats are my favorite, only one breast pocket, and definitely fitted. I’m not a fan of pen holders on the sleeve.

12. What is your go-to chef outfit?  Do you prefer coats, tees, pants, shorts, aprons, hats, etc?
Vintage Metallica t shirt, jeans and full bib apron.

Chefuniforms.com October 2015 Chef of the Month - Chef Chocolatier Maura Metheny

October 2015 Chef of the Month – Maura Metheny, Chef Chocolatier

Chefuniforms.com October 2015 Chef of the Month - Chef Chocolatier Maura MethenyChef Chocolatier and Head of Design and Innovation at Norman Love Confections, Chef Maura Metheny, a Massachusetts native, was formally trained in ceramic arts and glass before turning to a career in pastry and chocolate. She earned her bachelor’s degree in fine arts in New York and then, intrigued by the artistry of baking and pastry, earned an associate degree in pastry arts at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. At the end of her studies, Metheny moved to Lucerne, Switzerland, where she worked in pastry and chocolate. She returned to the United States to join The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, creating desserts and confections for the hotel’s acclaimed fine dining outlets.

In 2001, Metheny began assisting Chef Norman Love part time while continuing to work full time at The Ritz-Carlton. In 2003, she joined Norman Love Confections full time as the chocolate production manager for the Fort Myers-based confectioner. In this position, she designed and oversaw the daily production of more than 35,000 pieces of handmade, ultra-premium confections, as well as the production of G Chocolate for Godiva, FM Artisan by Norman Love for Fannie May Chocolates and numerous specialty lines for resorts, restaurants and shops nationwide.

Metheny was promoted to head of chocolate design and product innovation in 2011. She is responsible for the development of new products, packaging design and the continued development and execution of all chocolate lines produced by Norman Love Confections. Metheny, having traveled the world to numerous classes and competitions, takes her inspiration from both industry and art to design and create beautiful and indulgent lines of airbrushed confections.

Metheny was chosen as one of the 2015 Top 10 Pastry Chefs in the United States by Dessert Professional Magazine, and Johnson & Wales has invited Metheny to return to her alma mater as a Distinguished Visiting Chef in 2015. She was selected as a 2014 “40 under 40” honoree by Gulfshore Business magazine, she was the recipient of the 2014 National Product Design Award for the Love Origins product packaging; and she was selected as a judge for the 2014 Pastry Live competition in Atlanta.

She competed as a team captain in the Pastry Live 2013 National Showpiece Championship, heading one of only eight teams chosen to compete in Atlanta. Metheny, with co-worker Chef/Chocolatier Dan Forgey, was named National Showpiece Champion for the Best Overall/Most Excellent Showpiece and Best Chocolate Showpiece. She also placed second for Pastry Live 2013 Chocolatier of the Year.

In March 2013, she earned a bronze medal in the 24th annual U.S. Pastry Competition for Pastry Chef of the Year, sponsored by Paris Gourmet in New York City, and was featured on the cover of the April 2013 issue of Dessert Professional magazine for the competition. She had previously earned silver medals in the 2008 and 2009 Florida Showpiece Competitions.

A consummate professional, Metheny strives each day to be better than the day before, and to assist Norman Love Confections in continually raising the bar within the industry.

We met with Chef Metheny in Fort Myers and had such a good time getting to know her and seeing where she worked. She has a bubbly personality and is very talented! The process in making these chocolates is quite the undertaking but so worth it! Norman Love Confections sells their beautifully designed and delicious chocolates (which we gladly tasted and brought for our co-workers) retail in their Chocolate Salon and they also have a cafe selling their gelato icecream and savory meals for lunch and dinner.

Congratulations Maura Metheny on being our Chef of the Month for October! Enjoy getting to know this talented Chocolatier as we did!

Chefuniforms.com October 2015 Chef of the Month - Chef Chocolatier Maura Metheny at Norman Love Confections

Norman Love Confections Chocolate Salon

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

Norman Love Confections in Fort Myers, FL

 

2. What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces?

My hands. So many artistic techniques are done with your hands alone but if I had to pick something I would say a set of soft pastry brushes. Applying color or luster dust to transfers and molds, brushing away particles on a showpiece, melted butter or glaze on a pastry, they are very handy and versatile.

 

3. What is your Wisk Hand? Left or Right?

Mainly right but I use both interchanging.

 

4. What advice would you offer for aspiring Chef Chocolatiers?

Find a Passion and learn as much as you can about it, whatever aspect of the industry fascinates you most you can never go wrong in learning and it will lead you to working in what you love most.

 

5. What is one tip every Chef Chocolatiers should know and perfect?

It sounds silly but, Tempering. Knowing how to temper, maintain temper, and problem solve or correct a temper in various environments is the most crucial, even when working with machines. Most people rely on machines but if something goes wrong you won’t know how to properly adjust the settings if you don’t understand the principle.

 

6. What does a great dessert look like to you?

One that is stunning enough to make me pause and admire it but still appetizing enough to make me want to eat it the second I recover from admiring.

 

7. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Vanilla, I love simple flavors, and vanilla custard or cream is always my favorite.

 

8. Favorite Dessert City?

That’s very tough, I think from my core I say Paris. Only because the desserts I have eaten in other cities that I have loved have been because they have aspects of French pastry in them.

 

9. Best Dish you have ever made?

One of my favorites to this day is one that I learned the techniques from a Chef of mine from the Ritz and I’ve used in Fine Dining. It is a whole tangerine skin hollowed out and confit with an orange, chocolate and tangerine dessert built inside. Layers of orange cake, chocolate cream, fresh tangerine curd, and citrus granite. It is still one of my favorite desserts and techniques. It looked like a fresh tangerine dipped in clear syrup placed on a clean white plate with the stem still attached and the whole thing was edible.

 

10. What trends do you see emerging in the near future for Chef Chocolatiers?

I’ve seen some very fun influences from Art into chocolate décor and bon-bons. Things from faux finishing to wax sculpting and silk screening, great color combinations in plated dessert and entremets from the chocolate decors. It’s very exciting.

 

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

Short sleeved, curved fit with vents on sides or back and breathable material that will resist wrinkling, sleeve pockets, no breast pockets and flattering lines.

 

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

Thin suit pants with front square pockets for cell phones (yes multiple).

A very thin colored t-shirt under my coat for living in FL and having to run errands without a coat and still be presentable and comfortable in the heat.

And a company cotton ball cap, it’s helpful for very long hair and does not fall off when leaning over or when walking between buildings in the hurricane season. =)

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram found on blog.chefuniforms.comInstagram is the place to be! It has grown from just being another social media channel out there to one of THE social media channels to be on! According to Instagram’s press page, there are 300 million monthly active users sharing 70 million photos on average per day, and those photos get 2.5 billion likes! Holy Kamolee!!

Cooking is Personal! So as a Chef, new or seasoned, due to the intimate nature and visual sensations Instagram provides and let’s not forget to mention, free exposure to you, your brand and your place of work…this is the perfect medium for you to show off your masterpieces, bring your audiences behind the scenes and portray your journey as a culinary artist.

We researched many chefs, and below is our list to follow. They represent humility and fun, and their presentations of their dishes/pastries/cakes are off the chain! Their stories are real and relatable – we love to see what makes them tick, and they also show tips to help other chefs learn. No wonder they have such huge followings! We also included our past Chefs of the Month who are on Instagram, because they are just pretty cool dudes and dudettes and have a lot to offer….

Ch…Ch…Check them out!

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram, Eric Ripert

Creativity Meeting – taken from Eric Ripert’s Instagram page

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram_Lorenzo Boni

Family comes First for Lorenzo Boni – taken from his Instagram Page

Chefs with their Own Digs

Eric Ripert – 145k followers

Marcus Cooks – 112k followers

April Bloomfield – 90.3k followers

Camille Becerra – 71.1k followers

Marc Vetri  – 20.3k followers

Jenn Louis – 14.5k followers

Sam Talbot – 14.3k followers

Carlos Gaytan’s Mexique Restaurant – 5,002 followers

Maneet Chauhan – 5,830 followers

Dadisi Olutosin – 3,523 followers

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram_Jenn Louis

The new Hat Jenn Louis got taken from her Instagram page

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram_Tom Colicchio

Striped Bass Prep taken from Tom Colicchio’s Instagram Page

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram_Christina Tosi

Late Night with Seth Myers and Christina Tosi taken from her Instagram Page

 

Corporate Chefs

Lorenzo Boni, Executive Chef at Barilla America – 13.8k followers

 

Pastry Chefs

Jordi Roca – 53.4k followers

Christina Tosi – 35k followers

Charlise Johnson’s Intimate Eats – 6,044 followers

 

Chefs in Entertainment, Chef CookBook Authors

Tom Colicchio – 67.3k followers

Kristen Kish – 63,200 followers

Amanda Frietag – 27.8k followers

George Duran – 698 followers

 

Instagram Tip #1: Want people to find you? Below shows the total number of photos associated with these popular hashtags:

#foodporn – 63,081,411

#chef – 4,689,740

#chefs – 407,324

#cheflife – 1,342,239

#chefslife – 178,295

#chefsofinstagram – 362,153

#chefinthemaking – 37,226

#chefsoninstagram – 33,299

#pastrychef – 329,104

#pastrycheflife – 10,463

Instagram Tip #2: A picture is truly worth a thousand words! While it is easy to just take a picture and publish which works, we would like you to remember presentation is everything… Put some thought into how the dish will be plated and then displayed under the right lighting and Voila! Professional photography at its best! Enjoy the new likes, comments and regrams that will follow and ultimately, your growing fan base.

Instagram Tip #3: Have fun and show your personality! Allow your pics to reflect simplicity, creativity in design, background, showing the unseen and what makes you tick! People follow you because they like you.

Instagram Tip #4: Engage with your fans and other people in your industry. Grow your network. Like your fan’s photos, leave a comment and enjoy being part of your Instagram community.

We are on instagram too! Check us out at https://instagram.com/chefuniforms/

Which chefs do you love to follow on Instagram? Send us their links and let us know why you are a fan!

Up and Coming and Top Chefs To Follow on Instagram found on blog.chefuniforms.com

Charlise Johnson - Intimate Eats

October 2014 Chef of the Month – Charlise Johnson

Charlise Johnson - Intimate Eats found on blog.chefuniforms.comChef Charlise Johnson is the owner of Intimate Eats, a bakery that specializes in made from scratch baked goods. As the daughter of a caterer, she was exposed to various cooking techniques at a young age, but it was her love of baking that really warmed her heart. Her goal as a baker is to not only make visually stunning confections but to also make sure they taste as good as they look. For more information, please visit her online at www.IntimateEats.com, www.Facebook.com/IntimateEats, and on Instagram @intimateeats.

Congratulations Chef Charlise Johnson on being one of our Pastry Chefs for the Month for October!

Your desserts look fantastic and we appreciate your business! Our chef coats look great on you….

 

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

I am the Pastry Chef for my Baking company, Intimate Eats based in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

2. What is your birthplace?

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 

3. What made you decide to become a chef?

My mom is a caterer and I grew up around food my entire life and fell in love with baking which fueled my passion to start my own baking company.

 

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

Love going to the Movies. I like romance and all Marvel Studio movies like XMen and Spiderman series.

 

 5. What is your favorite social media platform?

Instagram

 

6. What is your Must Have Kitchen Tool?

KitchenAid Mixer – they are so amazing. I make all kinds of things with it like dinner rolls and cupcakes. It makes life so much easier.

KitchenAid Mixer - Charlise Johnson's Must Have Kitchen Tool found on blog.chefuniforms.com

 

7. What is your specialty dish?

My Signature Chocolate Chip Cookies. I have been making it since I was 9 years old and it makes me always think of home every time I bake them.

 

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

Squid Pasta – I love it!

 

Chef Charlise Johnson’s Gingerbread Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Frosting       

Charlise Johnson Gingerbread Cupcake, Chefuniforms.com Chef of the Month for October 2014

Ingredients:

2 cups cake flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons ginger

2 teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon cloves

2 cups dark brown sugar

½ cup melted butter

¾ cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

1 cup milk

½ cup molasses

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line 24 cupcake pans with liners.

In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Set Aside. Cream butter, oil, dark brown sugar, eggs, milk, and molasses with electric mixer. Add flour mixture to butter mixture a little at a time until blended.

Pour batter into cupcake liners and bake about 15 – 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool in pans on wire racks for 2 minutes and then remove from pans.

When completely cool frost with Whipped Cream Frosting.

 

Whipped Cream Frosting

1 cup butter

5 cups powdered sugar

¾ cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Beat butter with electric mixer. Alternately add powdered sugar and whipping cream until smooth and frosting reaches desired consistency. Add more or less cream if necessary. Stir in vanilla.

 

9. Who would you most like to cook for?

Oprah Winfrey – I would love to just meet her and because she loves food, bake a great dish for her. She is such a phenomenal woman!

 

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

I love to dine out. My favorite cuisine is Italian because I love pasta.

 

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

Color is the most important feature for me. I don’t like the traditional white chef coat and love colors like red and pinks. I also like black piping and soft fabrics.

 

12. Are you familiar with Chefuniforms.com? 

Yes. My favorite chef item is the Women’s Traditional Fit Chef Coat with Piping, style # 83315. I had bought from you guys earlier in the year and got 2 colors: True Red with Black and Pink Lady with Black. I like the embroidery done.

 

 

~Her experience and advice~

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

2 years ago when I started my baking company. I did not go to Culinary school but learnt from my mom and I also take classes during the year.

 

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

Keeping current with trends. There are always new things to learn like for example, I took a few classes to help me perfect my skills: Modeling Chocolate class by Award Winning Food Network cake designer Lauren Kitchens, Classes at The International Sugar Art Collection by Nicholas Lodge and at craftsy.com.

 

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

Having consistency with your ingredients. I make Apple Cinnamon cupcakes and the apples have to be cut the same way or else I will produce a different result and my cupcakes will not turn out the same way as it has done before.

 

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

I like to use Seasonal ingredients all the time but my greatest challenge is getting them out of season when my customers are asking for them and I have to purchase them from international sources instead of my local markets. I prefer buying from them.

 

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

Yes. So many people are in the baking industry and I don’t see my competitors as competitors because everyone has a sweet tooth and a lot of bakers have their own niches so as an industry together, we can satisfy many consumers. I personally have a sweet tooth and always eat from them as well and get ideas from other chefs on Instagram.

 

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

Yes. It is important to always use local produce in your dishes.

 

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

I use my brother and boyfriend to try new recipes and get feedback from them and they are very objective too! I then make adjustments as necessary.

 

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

I use social media a lot and get orders via email to my phone as well as from Facebook. I also use new techniques via looking at videos on YouTube. I use conversion charts online to get my measurements verified as well as in the kitchen, I use a tool called The Fondant Mat which helps roll out the fondant easier.

 

21. What phone apps do Chefs use in their day to day?

I only use social media.

 

~2014 and The Future~

 

22. What dining trends do you see taking place in 2014?

People want organic fresh ingredients more in their food and also expect the same in pastries as well.

 

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

I have never grown up like that and it is a difficult thing to implement in baking. People have asked me for sugar free and gluten free products but I don’t do it because it is not my area of expertise but I have been thinking about it more and will probably learn about it and test a few products down the road.

 

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

It is great but not realistic right now. If it got easier to implement, then a lot of chefs would move in that direction. Whoever does it, I highly commend them.

 

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

It puts me in direct contact with my customers and I am able to build better relationships with them. I am also able to network with other chefs whom I would not normally meet. It also raises the bar and pushes me to make better products as well from ideas I see posted from other chefs.

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