Tag Archives: planning a menu for a new restaurant

November 2014 Chef of the Month – Lisa Nakamura

Chefuniforms.com Chef of the Month - Chef Lisa Nakamura featured on blog.chefuniforms.comLisa K. Nakamura is a writer, chef and owner of Allium Restaurant on Orcas Island, Washington. She hails originally from Hilo, Hawaii, where she spent many a rainy afternoon reading and re-reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Her love of languages and stories was nurtured by Dr. Seuss, Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume and strict elementary school teachers. A natural parrot and mime, Lisa has enjoyed living overseas and all over the United States, listening and learning new tongues, tales and traditions.

Bucky the Dollar Bill is Lisa’s first attempt at writing a book, and at self-publishing. This book tells the story of how a single dollar bill changes the lives of many people in a small town when he is spent, reflecting Lisa’s support of a strong local economy. Trivia information about Lisa: she has her degree in botany from Arizona State University; she was a flight attendant for almost nine years; she is an avid knitter of straight things like scarves, as she has not mastered the art of knitting something round like a hat.

Congratulations Chef Lisa Nakamura on being our Chef of the Month for November! It was our pleasure getting to know you! Our white chef coat looks great on you!

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

Gnocchi Bar, Seattle, WA.

2. What is your birthplace?

Seoul, South Korea

3. What made you decide to become a chef?

When I was a flight attendant, I used to do a lot of gourmet cooking on my time off and I used to watch a lot of cooking shows like Julia Child’s and other Chefs. With the practice, I got better at it and really enjoyed it.

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

I like being outdoors – skiing, hiking and biking with my husband. I like to spend time with my family and I also like to read a lot and write and blog – which is very therapeutic for me.

5. What is your favorite social media platform?

I am torn between Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is like a conversation that you share in depth about what you find interesting and Twitter is immediate news.

6. What is your Must Have Kitchen Tool?

A great pair of Knives – you can do anything with them. I like the brand, Global because they are easy to sharpen and maintain.

Chef Lisa Nakamura Must Have Kitchen Tool - Global Kitchen Knives

7. What is your specialty dish?

Gnocchi like polenta, sweet potato and potato. I do what matches the season and add my flair to it.

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

Slugs and live Octopus.

Chef Lisa Nakamura’s Pickled Beets and Bleu Cheese on Crostini Recipe

Chef Lisa Nakamura Pickled Beets and Bleu Cheese on Crostini Recipe found on blog.chefuniforms.com

Serves about 12

1 bunch medium size beets

4 ounces fresh arugula

1 lb of bleu cheese (bleu d’auvergne, Roquefort, Maytag or Gorgonzola)

¼ olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 baguette

 

For pickling brine:

1 cup red wine vinegar

¾ cup white sugar

1 T kosher salt 1 sprig thyme

1 bay leaf

3-4 all spice berries

1 piece star anise

Bring all of the pickling brine ingredients to a boil in a stainless steel pot. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat and let it cool.

Peel the beets, and then cut into fine julienne. When the brine is cool, add the beets to the brine. Refrigerate for at least one day.

For the crostini, take the baguette and slice on the diagonal into very thin slices, about ¼ inch thick. Lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes or until crispy. The crostini at the outer edges of the baking sheet will be done first. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely. These can be made the day before, and stored in an air-tight container.

To serve, place on each crostini slice a good amount of bleu cheese. Top with an arugula leaf (you can de-stem for a neater appearance). Add a few slivers of the pickled beets and serve.

9. Who would you most like to cook for?

American rapper, Macklemore. He is an American rapper from Seattle. I admire the fact that he launched himself into the stratosphere through hard work and determination and he has such an awesome story.

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

I do. I like Chinese or Indian and every now and then, sushi.

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

Fabric is huge. I like a good weight cotton, 100%. Not polyester because it makes me too hot. I like long sleeves and love the grommets under the arms and pockets are also huge for me.

~Her experience and advice~

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

I have been cooking for 18 years and studied at a small French culinary school in Maryland, called LAcademie de Cuisine.

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

Before you spend money on schools, go get a job in a kitchen first and if you like it, then go to school.

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

Get into the best restaurant when you can even if it means washing dishes or picking lettuce, because when you are there, you should be learning and be aware of everything. When the opportunity presents itself, you can step into those shoes. The first couple of jobs you take will show you the path you will follow in your culinary career.

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

When I was on Orcas Island, I really felt it. In Seattle, it is very seasonal but I do actually like to cook in the season. You have to be creative in what you serve as you don’t have the ingredients that you would normally use.

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

Oh yes. A lot of times…We live in a very competitive world and it is great to see what other people do.

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

Oh yes. First of all, if you do not go to the farmer’s markets once a month, you will not know what’s in season and what is good quality. You have to be aware. It reminds you of what you can do and also generate ideas.

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

If I am pretty sure it’s going to work, I will run it as a special. I also cook for my family and based on their feedback, put it on the menu.

19. What is your advice for planning a menu for a new restaurant?

You should be asking these questions…

  • Who is going to be cooking?
  • How much storage space will your restaurant have?
  • What kind of dining will you do – fine or casual?
  • How big is your kitchen?
  • How big is your dining area versus your kitchen space?
  • What is your restaurant location? Some dishes will fly and some will fall flat based on location.
  • What will be the age of your clients – teenagers, seniors, working class etc?

Once you open the restaurant, you might change these things again even if you have it all planned as you discover more.

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

  • I read the NY times Dining Section and many other sites which other chefs do as well.
  • Social media forums
  • The Internet – you can get so much info.
  • Square, Open Table applications
  • Payment processing systems so restaurants offer less waiting times for their client’s payments
  • Google – google places to eat or find out information about ingredients via our smart phones
  • Texting – this makes it so easy to communicate with your staff
  • Many advances in Kitchen Appliances – makes things so much easier for us to cook

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

Chef’s Feed – http://chefsfeed.com/

 

~2014 and The Future~

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

  • Restaurants are becoming more specialized and very individualized like ramen restaurants or gelato places
  • Casual dining – people are eating out more often 2 – 3 times a week
  • Adventurous – people are being more adventurous like trying out ramen restaurants for example
  • Food Sensitivities – restaurants are adapting their menus more to include these types of customers

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

I am a butter and cream kind of girl. It is hard not to have that in my dishes. I am learning that less is more and how to do that and still have people indulge. I think about do I serve dishes made with wholewheat or bleached flour or organic versus conventional? I would love to go organic all the time but will people pay the price? As a consumer, I do not go organic all the time but as much as possible. Also thinking of questions like how do we use the waste from our kitchens wisely can help us be more “green.”

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

Restaurants that are old buildings – it is harder for them to convert to “green” and be outfitted that way. They cannot adapt so easily to recycling or monitoring chemicals or how much compost they can use.

With a new restaurant, you can set it up from scratch by using solar panels, auto heaters and the costs will eventually pay these off. You can push it as far as you want too with a new restaurant and hopefully we can all get to that point.

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

It flattens the pyramid. It makes me more approachable and I can connect directly with my consumers or guests. I am not just a person in a white chef coat. You can tell a lot about chef’s personalities via social media. A lot of the time chefs receive praise and criticisms but to share great things and have a dialogue and get feedback is even greater. It gives us an idea what is important to them. When we work during the social hours, it is great to know what is going on about them and connect as we only see them once or twice during the year.

October 2014 Chef of the Month – Andrea Litvin

Executive Pastry Chef Andrea Litvin - Chefuniforms.com October Chef of the MonthAthens native Andrea Litvin brings her pastry expertise to The Spence as she teams up with Top Chef All-Stars winner, Chef Richard Blais. Growing up in Athens, Litvin was very much influenced by her mother who worked for The University of Georgia’s Horticulture Department. Litvin enjoyed learning about how food is grown and how it makes its way into her home. During this time, Litvin planted a garden at their home where she harvested and cooked everything that came through their kitchen, furthering her passion for cooking. After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Atlanta, Litvin’s first stint in the kitchen was at Chef Richard Blais’ restaurant Home. From there, she worked briefly at Flip Burger Boutique before accepting her first pastry position, under Gary Mennie, as part of the opening team at The Livingston. Here, Litvin was able to build a solid foundation of basic pastry techniques. After a year at The Livingston, Andrea was off to New York where she accepted a position on the opening crew at famed Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s ABC Kitchen.  At Richard Blais’ The Spence, Litvin creates amazingly simple and classic desserts with a twist. She has been featured nationally in Garden & Gun magazine and The Chicago Tribune, to name a few. Tasting Table named her one of the “Best Pastry Chefs of 2013″ and she was a recent nominee for Food & Wine Magazine’s “The People’s Best New Pastry Chef.”  Litvin currently lives in Buckhead and spends her free time reading, exercising and going to movies. She is also a proud member of Slow Foods Atlanta.

Congratulations Chef Andrea Litvin on being one of our Pastry Chefs for the Month for October!

 

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

I am the Executive Pastry Chef for The Spence in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

2. What is your birthplace?

Johnstown, Pennsylvania

 

3. What made you decide to become a chef?

When I was younger, my mom worked at the University of Georgia in the horticulture department and from growing and tending to our garden in our backyard, I developed my love for cooking.

 

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

Reading magazines, trying different fashion, art, museums.

 

5. What is your favorite social media platform?

Instagram

 

6. What is your Must Have Kitchen Tool?

A Scale – I must know exact measurements down to the gram!

Scale Kitchen Tool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. What is your specialty dish?

Making ice creams that are vegetable based like carrot mint.

 

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

Lung – when I was working for Richard Blais and we worked at the Food and Wine Festival in Hong Kong, there was a food festival nearby. There was a street vendor that sold it and it was covered with hot mustard and when I tasted it, it stuck to my teeth. I will never eat it again.

 

Chef Andrea Litvin’s Lemon Meringue Pie with Aerated White Chocolate Mousse

Lemon Meringue Recipe

150g lemon juice

110g butter

130g sugar

3 eggs

44g yolks

Cook the lemon juice, butter, and sugar together in a double boiler.

Temper in the eggs and the yolks and cook into thick

Pipe into a prepared mold and bake at 300F until set

Brown Butter Crust 

24g oil

130g butter

72g water

72g brown sugar

300g AP flour

Brown the butter with the oil.

Add in the water and the brown sugar.

Mix in the flour and combine.

Rest in the fridge.

Roll out between parchment paper and bake at 325 until brown

Aerated White Chocolate Mousse 

4 yolks

90g sugar

250g white chocolate

65g butter

4 whites

150g heavy cream

Whip the yolks and the sugar together until light and fluffy.

Brown the white chocolate in the oven.

Combine the white chocolate and the butter together in a blender.

Drizzle into the sugar, yolk mixture.

Whip the whites until soft peak.

Whip the heavy cream until soft peak.

Fold the whites into the egg/white chocolate mixture.

Next fold the whipped cream into the above mixture.

Fill an isi canister and charge twice.

 

9. Who would you most like to cook for?

Chef Pichet Ong. He specializes in desserts and I follow him on Instagram.

 

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

I do. I like asian Cuisines like Vietnamese and Szechuan, BBQ, Miso and Bangladeshi as well. I like to try stuff that’s unusual.

 

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

As a woman, it is hard to find a good fitting chef coat especially for small frames like me. I like a short sleeved, fitted chef coat that is light weight.

 

~Her experience and advice~

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

5 years. I went to the Culinary School at Le Cordon Bleu College in Atlanta.

 

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

Work somewhere for free. Work in the kitchen first. You can do different things like baking or food and when you work in many places as possible, you will see what you like. I love cookbooks and have over 500. My husband and I are big collectors and we read a lot which is my next piece of advice.

 

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

I like to see people bring notebooks and take notes on techniques and getting down the basics which is very important.

 

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

Seasonal stuff is hard to get. I work with Mother Nature and find sustainable alternatives and improvise with what is available.

 

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

Believe it or not, I am not a big dessert person. I only try desserts form people who I look up too. When I am travelling, I eat and try more things but in Atlanta, I don’t eat much dessert.

 

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

Absolutely. Atlanta is very diverse and it is important to visit markets.

 

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

I ask the Chef and the Sous Chefs for their input as well as the cooks and waitresses so they can get excited about it and promote it to our guests.

 

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

I look at what we are serving and do modern twists. With respect to southern cuisine, it depends on the clientele whether they like bold portions and different flavors and like to try new things.

 

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

I use nitrogen and a refractometer to measure sugars and fruits.

 

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

I use Ratio app which is an all-purpose kitchen tool and guide that gives me basic methods and calculates ingredient amounts for all critical cooking preparations.

 

~2014 and The Future~

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

More comfort foods and less portions. I pay attention to food trends like gluten free and cook with less sugar or if the news is featuring foods with alot of flavors, I incorporate that into new dishes.

 

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

It is hard to be sustainable in the kitchen because it is not setup that way and costly to run. We do as much as we can.

 

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

Huge for chefs like Instagram and Twitter – I follow chefs and see what they have and do.

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.

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

Chefuniforms.com August Chef of the Month, Lorenzo Boni

August 2014 Chef of the Month, Lorenzo Boni

Chefuniforms.com August Chef of the Month, Lorenzo BoniChef Lorenzo Boni grew up with a passion for Italian food in Bologna, Italy. While studying culinary arts, Lorenzo traveled extensively throughout Italy, immersing himself in the regional cuisines of Italy working at many top rated restaurants such as Paracucchi in Amelia, San Domenico in Imola, Pappagallo in Bologna, Tentativo in Rome and Casanova grill in Milan. He then traveled to the United States, where he served as the Second Chef and Pastry Chef at the San Domenico Restaurant in New York City, which was rated as the best Italian restaurant in the country at the time. After working in New York, he returned to Italy and opened his own restaurant, Osteria du Madon, in Bologna, which was awarded by Fodor’s guide as best Osteria of Italy, while serving as consultant to Barilla Italy at the R&D center. In 2001, Lorenzo joined Barilla Italy full time at their world R&D headquarter in Parma. In 2003, he was promoted to Executive Chef for Barilla America, returning once again to the U.S. In his current role, Lorenzo is responsible for product and recipe development, as well as managing the culinary execution of all Barilla sponsored events. Lorenzo is also being a relator and spoke person for Barilla in many food conferences around the country. He resides in Evanston IL. with his wife, Beata and his daughter Valentina.

 

Congratulations Chef Lorenzo Boni on being our Chef of the Month for August!

We really enjoyed getting to know you!

 

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

I am the Executive Chef for Barilla America (Canada, US, Brazil, Mexico) and am based in our Corporate Office in Chicago. I am responsible for developing recipes to be posted on our website, social media sites, at the back of our packaging, in our advertising, flyers, booklets and support food service business for restaurants and events like the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.

 

2. What is your birthplace?

Bologna, Italy

 

3. What made you decide to become a chef?

I always loved cooking and learnt from my Dad when I was growing up and became more interested in it. When I was thinking about my career, I chose to be a chef and studied at my culinary school here in Italy.

 

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

Two things – Spending time with my family, I have 1 daughter who is 7 years and Photography which I apply on my job for our Marketing efforts. I also love sports – biking, swimming, running and I normally run marathons in New York and Chicago.

 

5. What is your favorite social media platform?

Instagram for Professional and Facebook for Personal.

 

6. What is your Must Have Kitchen Tool?

French Made Cast Iron Dutch Oven – I love the way it is designed and it cooks so easily and the food comes out great!

Cast Iron Dutch Oven - Lorenzo Boni's Must Have Kitchen Tool found on blog.Chefuniforms.com

7. What is your specialty dish?

Pasta  – Mediterranean Inspired Pasta like Seafood Pasta. My favorite is Spaghetti with clams and colorful and light pastas.

 

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

When I was working for Barilla Italy, I went to Australia for a food show and next door, there was a booth that serves crocodile meat which I tried. It was okay.

 

Chef Lorenzo Boni’s Gluten Free Penne with Mushrooms and Sweet Peas from Barilla

Prep time: 10 min                              Cook time:    10 min

 BARILLA Gluten Free Penne with Mushrooms and Sweet Peas on Chefuniforms.com Blog

Preparation:

4Tbsp (50 ml)              extra virgin olive oil

½                                 onion, diced

½ pound (227 g)         mixed mushrooms, sliced

1cup (200 ml)              heavy cream

1cup (150g)                 peas

1 Box                            BARILLA Gluten Free Penne

½ cup (75g)                 Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

To Taste                       salt and black pepper

 

Directions:

BRING a large pot of water to a boil. In a large skillet SAUTE the onion in olive oil for about 5 minutes or until slightly browned. ADD the mushrooms and saute for an additional 5 minutes. ADD the heavy cream and the peas, season with salt and pepper, bring to a simmer. COOK the pasta according, drain and toss with the sauce. REMOVE from the heat and add the Parmigiano cheese, toss to combine.

 

9. Who would you most like to cook for?

Muhammad Ali. He is the greatest athlete and an iconic American figure. He was a hero for us in Italy because of what he stood for and through his achievements in sport.

 

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

Yes, I love dining out. I am on the road a lot and I like several: Japanese, Italian and Rustic French.

 

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

Fabric is very important to me. I like Egyptian cotton. I like white long sleeved jackets that are light and allows your body to breathe well.

 

12. What fabric and style of chef uniform do you enjoy wearing the most?
Barilla keeps it classic with white jackets and blue finishes on the sleeves, cuffs and collar as one of Barilla’s corporate colors is Blue.

 

 

~His experience and advice~

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

I went to the Culinary Institute off the coast of Rimini, Italy.

 

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

Be in school as long as you can. Studying at Culinary Institutes is very important. They should get to know the general culture too and learn different languages. Like with Instagram, which I use a lot, I communicate with international chefs and learn from them as well.

 

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

In your first year, look for the best restaurants and hotels that are high end to work with and learn as much as you can. You will gain a lot of experience even though they will pay you less. Further along in your career, you will get paid more and will be more flexible to pursue other opportunities.

 

16. Can you offer some advice for aspiring chefs?

Keep an open mind having different careers in this industry. Have a scientific approach in understanding food because it will help you with different opportunities that you can pursue as a career other than restaurants and hotels.

 

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

We have a defined line of recipes we feature but we do try other competing pastas and monitor it.

 

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

It is key to understand markets and growers. When I was based in Italy, I learnt about the produce they carried and built deep relationships with them especially as there were no standards like the US.

 

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

We do not have permanent menus like that of restaurants but we test recipes in small amounts and support our local farmers through this process.

 

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

Cooking technology has seen a big revolution in the last 10 years. A few months ago, I met with a chef from Spain by the name of Ferran Adria. He invented Molecular cuisine. It is based on deconstructing ingredients and using them in different forms. He started a movement of using different technologies with nitrogen liquid where it freezes foods instantly to preserve its freshness. In thawing out the foods, you cook with low temperatures which is called sous vide cooking and you put in a device into the water to keep the temperatures controlled. You can cook the food for longer periods of time which will give you a bigger yield and the texture is more tender and softer. There is less wastage and this type of cooking is normally done in higher end restaurants.

 

 

~2014 and The Future~

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

I was always health conscious as that is how I was brought up in Italy. I love healthy food and being active. I am always finding techniques and ways to cook healthy.

 

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

At Barilla, we do our best to recycle everything and be a great corporate player in preserving the environment.

 

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

When I started in this industry in the 1980s, everything was a mystery and it was hard to learn from restaurants and other cultures. Now, with social media, everything is open and the exchange of information is unparalleled. It is great to exchange ideas with people all around the world.

Chefuniforms.com Chef of the month for July

July 2014 Chef of the Month, Jason Connelly

Chefuniforms.com Chef of the Month for JulyChef Jason Connelly is modest, humble and passionate about his cooking. He is a graduate of the Baltimore International Culinary College. His culinary journeys have included Windows restaurant at the Renaissance Harbor Place Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland, the launch of Water Table restaurant by Dean James Max in Baltimore, Maryland, banquet chef at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes in Orlando Florida, the opening of Sea Level Restaurant & Ocean Bar at the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa and the opening of Stonegrill Restaurant at the JW Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. In his fourteen years of experience, Jason has been involved with local organizations such as Coalition for the Homeless and Kids in Distress here in Florida. Jason also has participated in the Las Olas Wine & Food Festival, SOBE Wine & Food Festival, Taste of the Nation and as a guest celebrity chef during 2010 Fleet Week aboard the USS Halyburton. Jason has been featured on Deco Drive & Bite with Belky’s sharing some of Sea Level’s best recipes and also on Cory’s Corner on FOX 45 in Phoenix, AZ delighting guests with food offerings at the JW resort. After a successful restaurant opening on the west coast, Jason was very happy to have another opportunity at Sea Level. Jason is very excited to have fun with the Sea Level chalk board by taking advantage of our great relationships with our local farmers to ensure the most fresh and seasonal foods. Jason is looking forward to reuniting with the Harbor Beach club members who enjoy the exciting Sea Level atmosphere on a daily basis.

Congratulations Chef Jason Connelly on being our Chef of the Month for July!

It was great chatting you with in person and getting to know your flavor…

 

1. What is the name of the Restaurant you work with and where are you based?

Sea Level Restaurant & Ocean Bar, Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, Florida

 

 2. What is your birthplace?

Chester, Pennsylvania

 

3. What made you decide to become a chef?

I am very close to my grandma and used to watch her cook. During one summer, it just clicked and I have never looked back. I worked for MBNA in an office environment and decided to leave that for the culinary profession and replaced it working for less money and 12 – 14 hours. I used to make $7.00 an hour then but I fell in love with cooking. I started with the Marriott right away after leaving MBNA 14 years ago in Baltimore and worked my way to Florida, then Phoenix and back to Florida and opened up Sea Level in 2010. They required 2 years experience on their hiring application which I did not have but applied anyway and got the job. Marriott’s culture loves to groom people from the ground up which I truly appreciated. I am fortunate to work here and under great chefs and just became a sponge and started absorbing everything.

 

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

I cannot stay away from the Beach! I play Basketball and love playing with my dogs and spending time with my family. I like to keep things simple.

 

5. What is your favorite social media platform?

Facebook

 

6. What is your Must Have Kitchen Tool?

Spoons. I love my spoons like Banquet Spoons. They are versatile and can use them on fish and veggies and saucing.

Chefuniforms.com

7. What is your specialty dish?

I like to make simple food. That has always been my style. You only need 4 or 5 components like your starches, veggies, a great sauce that is simple and quick. When your dish has really good ingredients, you do not need to change it up.

 

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

Tripe – I wanted to try it as I have never eaten it but the texture really messed me up and there won’t be a next time. : )

 

Chef Jason Connelly’s “Super Food” Kale Salad

Jason Connelly Super Food Kale Salad on Chefuniforms.com's Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

3 oz Kale, chopped thin

1 oz Cherry tomato

1/2 oz Carrot

1/2 oz Cucumber

1/2 oz Radish

1 oz Quinoa

1 oz Almonds, toasted

3 oz Salmon, grilled

3 oz, Mahi Mahi, blackened

2 oz Jalapeno-agave vinny

 

Method:

Toss kale with the jalapeno-agave vinny and place into the bowl first.

Place grilled, chopped salmon on one side and then the flaked blackened mahi mahi on the other side.

In rows as shown lay the carrot, cucumber, radish and cherry tomato.

Finish with the quinoa and toasted almonds.

Serve.

 

9. Who would you most like to cook for?

My Grandmother. I have always remained close and she has Alzheimer’s now. I have never cooked for her and would love to do it now and do it the way she used to cook when I was a kid.

 

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

I love to dine out and try anything new and any new spots too. I get recommendations from my chef friends and try them out. I like to try spots off the beaten path like Gastropub, Pubbelly and Yardbird – Southern Table & Bar.

 

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

Egyptian Cotton, Mesh Sleeves and light fabrics.

 

 ~His experience and advice~

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

11 years. I studied at the Baltimore International Culinary College.

 

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

School is nice to have the paper but I would have started with the Marriott right away if I had to go back in time. I learnt so little in school and in this business, everything is on the job training. I recommend that chefs should work with experienced chefs and get themselves in an experienced kitchen or hotel and just learn, learn, learn.

 

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

Be hands on. From a cook to an executive chef, get yourself dirty and work the long hours. As a Senior Sous Chef, I feel people out so if they came from a restaurant like the Cheesecake factory where the environment is hectic, I know they have experience and can work cold-side. If they are green, I will have them working on salads and then rotate them. I also don’t want to put someone in a position where they can fail. I always ask them before assigning them to different areas.

 

15. Can you offer some advice for aspiring chefs?

Be patient. I see a lot of kids wanting everything now and you need to experience different areas in the kitchen like working cold-side, fried, sautéed and the grill. You have to earn the position.

 

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

Weather. Sometimes, too much rain can wipe a crop out and also due to seasons, it is harder to get specific ingredients. When I was in Arizona, there was no pales cactus for my grilled cactus salad. Due to the success of it over there, when I came to Florida, I wanted to cook it here but it took us several weeks to get it but when we did eventually serve it, my customers loved it here in Florida.

 

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

All the time. I am always googling things, and my chef friends would recommend me to try specific places and I also research places similar to hotels on the beach like the Marriott. When I was in Arizona, I would always think of ideas to try for Florida. I experimented with making an edamame hummus and due to the success, it is it is now going to be included in our spa menu as well as included as a staple at the Sea Level restaurant.

Chefuniforms.comSea Level Restaurant and Ocean Bar’s Edamame Hummus Dish

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

For sure. I do 3 – 4 farm tours and bring my cooks with me and we build relationships with the farmers. As they get to know my style, they come to me and I collaborate with them to grow specific items for me. We also have our own garden growing herbs as well.

Chefuniforms.comSea Level Restaurant and Ocean Bar’s Herb Garden setup on location

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

I have a chalkboard which is my testing ground and canvas. I display choices for our guests that they can eat during the day and for dinner. Guests see it and are always happy to try them. The Banh Mi Burger and Super Food Salad are very popular dishes. Based on the popularity levels, they will then go on the menu.

Chefuniforms.comSea Level Restaurant and Ocean Bar’s Chalkboard located in their restaurant where guests sit and eat

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

They use computers and different software to develop recipes, plan menus, email suppliers and also use a point of sale system that helps with nutrition analysis and managing inventory. All of this helps in keeping food costs down and tracking schedules.

 

 

~2014 and The Future~

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

The economy is improving and people are spending more at hotels now. They are interested in high priced items like good quality cuts of beef and chicken. There are a lot of Mexican restaurants opening up as well as asian restaurants like noodle bars, Thai and Vietnamese restaurants. Baby Boomers are playing a major role in the dining scenes especially the mature boomers and they are eating healthier like eating less carbs, more salads, less butter and more olive oil based foods and sometimes only fish more than the red meat or chicken. People are also using a lot of discount sites like Groupon too. They are leaving reviews about what they eat and where they went to eat. Fine dining is also coming back and its a lot more casual from the décor to the dresscode.

 

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

Anything I do, I cook for my guests in mind. Most of them want gluten free dishes and I am always thinking of where I can leave butter out and use olive oil instead. As the health revolution evolves, at the Marriott, where we do 1,000 covers or guests in a night or day, when we do an audit, the tickets used to show all the changes guests are making to the meals so I plan ahead and keep those changes in mind so nothing needs to be modified and give our guests what they want. A great example is a kid had Celiac disease and was staying with his family here for a week. I customized his meals and it was so appreciative by his mom.

 

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

Not 100%. At the Marriott, we use stainless steel and cast iron which are green friendly. We use high quality knives that last so they wear well with time. We use cloth instead of paper towels to cut down on wastage. We use induction banners so no gas is being used. We grown our own herbs in our garden and buy in bulk. We use veggie scraps for our sauces. Marriott also has a Corporate Green program.

 

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

It allows us connect with people like we never did before and share recipes and you can see what restaurants people are enjoying and not as well.

 

 

 

Anish Rana - chef of the month June

June 2014 Chef of the Month, Anish Rana

Anish Rana - chef of the month JuneExecutive Chef Anish Rana has over 15 years experience in culinary arts and training. He started off as a Sous Chef with Carnival Cruise Lines and moved up the culinary track to the Executive Chef of several South Florida establishments such as Bimini Boatyard, The Pin Deck and Bistro Mezzaluna which has been his home since 2012. He was also the Private Chef for NFL Running Back – Jamal Lewis, CEO of Dicks Sporting Goods – Richard Stack, CEO of Maclean Fog Company – Barry Maclean, CEO of The Expert Planet – Steve Doumar and CEO of Everglades Diesel – Nick Gibrants.

He loves variety and experimenting with different cuisines. Hence the fusion concept merging different cuisines together is a very big part of his culinary repertoire. His specialties are French, Italian and Continental Cuisines. The dish he prepared for me in our interview and included in this blog post, Peppercorn Crusted Yellow Fin Tuna, had an Asian and Middle Eastern flair. Chef Rana said “I like to take a classic dish and make it modern and put a little twist to it.”

 

Congratulations Chef Anish Rana on being our Chef of the Month for June!

Your Peppercorn Crusted Yellow Fin Tuna was very tasty and we truly appreciate your creative finesse!

1.  What is the name of the Restaurant/Hotel you work with and where are you based?

Bistro Mezzaluna, Fort Lauderdale

 

2.   What is your birthplace?

Udiapur, Rajasthan, India

 

3.  What made you decide to become a chef?

My mom was a very big inspiration. I decided at a very young age, that I wanted to cook and make a living as a chef. Her health was not 100% and she was bedridden. As the older sibling, I would sit next to her bed and she would show me how to cook as we had a makeshift stove to prepare foods. This really made me very interested in cooking. I always looked forward to it after school!

 

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

I work 14 hours a day but cooking is one of the things I really, really enjoy and after a long day, I will still go home and cook. In the free time I do have, I watch a lot of sports like American Football and I actually used to play for the junior national soccer team for India. I also love fast cars and working on them. I own a Mini Cooper right now.

 

5. What is your Must Have Kitchen Tool?

Knives! I love Wüsthof knives which is a German brand.

Wüsthof knives used by Chef Anish Rana

 

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

Yes, absolutely! Nothing in particular but I like to go out and see what other restaurants have, not like big chain restaurants but smaller restaurants where they go out and do different things – soul food kinds of places. Love to explore different foods and different flavors.

 

7.  What fabric and style of chef uniform do you enjoy wearing the most? 

Poly Cotton Mix – kitchen friendly material. I am a very hands on chef and work behind the line. I like to wear short sleeves. When they started making short sleeves, I was in heaven!

 

Chef Anish Rana’s Peppercorn Crusted Yellow Fin Tuna 

Ingredients:

Yellowfin tuna… 6 oz.

Medium eggplant… 4 slice aprrox. Sliced 1/2 inch thick.

Baby heirloom tomato… 6 ea. cut in half

Seedless cucumber medium dice… 4 oz.

Pitted kalamata olive cut in half… 2 oz.

Fresh squeezed juice of 1 lemon.

Fresh Oregano 1 tsp.

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper.

Micro greens for garnish

 

For the Vinaigrette:

2 tbs. tahini paste

1 tbs. fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil.

 

Method: 

Marinate the eggplant slices with oregano, olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill the eggplant 2 min each side. Crust the tuna with coarse ground black pepper and spray olive oil and grill the fish just enough so it has nice grill marks outside and still rare inside.  To make the salad – add the cucumber, tomato, and olives together and season with salt and pepper and lemon juice. Let it sit for 10 min.

For the vinaigrette, add all the ingredients together and whisk.  To present the dish, lay the eggplant on the plate overlapping each other and put the salad on top of the eggplant and slice the tuna thin and also lay on top of the salad. Drizzle with tahini vinaigrette and garnish with some micro greens.

 

Chef Anish Rana Peppercorn Crusted Yellow Fin Tuna on chefuniforms.com

 

 

~His experience and advice~

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

19 years. I studied the Culinary Program of Arts at Johnson and Wales University.

 

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

Going to school is very important. Learning the basics and getting your hands dirty and seeing what you want in the future. It’s up to you and what you want to become. You will learn only if you do it which is something I tell my own guys in my kitchen. You grasp faster. At my stage of learning, I had to write everything and after that, I pushed a lot of paper and said let’s redo this process to the Training Chef.

 

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

Hands on Training – take a pen away from the chefs. You are in the business where you have to show what your hands can do.

 

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

It is difficult in getting what I want at times. You may want something in California as it may not be grown in Florida but for the most part, it is easier as most people carry everything. I go to the local farms/fresh markets and see what’s out there. I have my local network who supplies me with what I need. They also make suggestions to try out several items.

 

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

Yes. I go to restaurants around work. Being in the kitchen as much as I am, you want to also keep yourself knowledge able and be current in your restaurant. Always have a great attitude to learn.

 

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

Yes but not possible daily. I love local growers and they normally come to me and bring me samples.

 

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

I put together all the ingredients, make a plate and have my employees try it because they are promoting the dish. We list it as a special and get feedback from our guests and based on the amount of positive feedback, it then goes on the permanent menu.

 

15.  What is your advice for planning a menu for a new restaurant? 

Think of the theme, then design the menu to fit the theme. It takes a lot and you have to take into consideration your kitchen as it plays a big role on the kind of menu you should have and what kind of equipment you can fit in it. When putting the dishes together, you have to think of the kind of manpower you will have to put forth a lot of dishes. You can offer a combination of classic and unique dishes and balance it. Also, take into effect healthy and non-healthy dishes.

 

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

Technology makes a big difference. From the little things to the big things like tenderizing meat for example…you used to take a mallet and pound it, not there are tenderizers to do that work for you. There are machines that shows you temperatures of water, mixers and all sorts of gadgets.

 

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

I don’t use any apps but Google is my best friend and the Food Network.

 

~2014 and The Future~

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

  • Healthy Foods/Dishes
  • Small Plates
  • Gluten Free
  • Kid’s Meals – 7 out of 10 parents ask me what goes into our dishes for their kid’s meals

 

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

Every dish I make, I am conscious of making them healthy. Eating healthy is part of my lifestyle and I transfer that philosophy to my dishes.

 

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

To the latter question, yes, to a certain level. You can do it in little touches. Regarding ‘green kitchens,’ you can recyle using recycled paper, bottles and plastics – one of the biggest things in being green. You can also apply this mentality in the way you use your materials as well.

 

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

It plays a big role especially in trying out places and our restaurant uses social media in this way to bring exposure of the meals I prepare and using a reservation system called OpenTable.

Chefuniforms.com Chef of the Month May

May 2014 Chef of the Month, Brian Rutherford

Brian Rutherford - chef of the month MayChef Brian Rutherford is a native of Philadelphia who has called South Florida home for the past 17 years. A graduate of the prestigious CIA (Culinary Institute of America) in Hyde Park, New York, he honed his craft first in Philadelphia before landing in Boca Raton at Max’s Grille in Mizner Park. At Max’s Grille, he worked for South Florida restaurant icons Burt Rapoport and Dennis Max, while training with Chefs John Belleme and Joe Longo. After a three year stint at Max’s, Chef Rutherford moved to South Beach to head up the kitchen as the Executive Chef in opening Pearl Restaurant and Champagne Lounge. Pearl was a hip, innovative restaurant that on any given night entertained the likes of Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart and Michael Jordan. Being the Executive Chef of Pearl for over two years allowed Chef Rutherford’s creative abilities to blossom. From South Beach, Chef Rutherford moved to Ft Lauderdale, heading up the kitchen at Bistro Mezzaluna, a neighborhood favorite on the east side of town. Bistro Mezzaluna was where Chef Rutherford was most comfortable, spending the next 10 years as the chef. He was able to refine his talents in serving the best quality products while using simple, fresh ingredients, while satisfying even the most discerning palates.

In his latest endeavor, Chef Rutherford has spent the past few years working as a Chef Instructor teaching his craft to young culinary students at Sheridan Technical Center in Hollywood, Florida. Chef Rutherford’s focus has changed dramatically from being an Executive Chef to training the future chefs of tomorrow. Sharing his passion and dedication with young chefs has always been a dream of his after realizing how important the culinary school experience was in his own career path.

Along with teaching, Chef Rutherford keeps busy by spending time with his wife Michele and their two children, ages 7 and 9. Chef Rutherford also enjoys golfing and eating at other restaurants as much as possible.

Read on for our in-depth interview with our Chef of the Month for May.

Congratulations Chef Brian Rutherford on being our Chef of the Month for May! We love your personal touches on everything…

 

1.   What is your birthplace? 

Doylestown, Pennsylvania

 

2.  What made you decide to become a chef? 

I like to eat and my parents used to cook the same food all the time and I got bored eating the same dishes. I started experimenting and then got a job in a restaurant when I was attending high school and this where I fell in love with it.  I get a major rush every time I work in a restaurant.

 

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

I love spending time with my family – my wife and 2 kids and golfing is my next passion.

 

4.  What is your Must Have Kitchen Tool?

I like all kitchen tools but the Japanese Mandolin is one of my favorites! It is a versatile veggie cutter and it cuts vegetables very thin and very fine like a julienne cut (cutting into long, thin strips, like matchsticks) and batonnet cut (another type of long strips).

 

Japanese Mandolin Chefuniforms.com

 

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

Yes. I love to eat at ethnic or small out of the way places.

 

6.  What fabric and style of chef uniform do you enjoy wearing the most? 

Egyptian cotton and Seersucker chef jackets. I love that they are short sleeve perfect for the Florida weather and they are very light and has high textured patterns.

 

7.  Chef Brian Rutherford’s Chicken and Italian Sausage with Rigatoni and Balsamic Recipe

Ingredients:

1.5 Ounces Olive Oil
3 Ounces Diced, Marinated Chicken (oil, garlic, basil, parsley)
Salt and Pepper
3 Ounces Italian Sweet Sausage (cooked and cut on the bias)
2 Ounces Roasted Red and Yellow Peppers (mixed)
2 Tablespoons Basil, chopped
1 Tablespoon Parsley, chopped
1 Teaspoon Pepperoncini, chopped
1 Teaspoon Garlic, minced
4 Ounces White Wine
2 Ounces Balsamic Vinegar
4 Ounces Roasted Chicken Stock
1 Ounce Butter
7-8 Ounces Rigatoni, cooked
Salt and Pepper
1 Ounce Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 Tablespoon Parsley, chopped
1 Ounce Olive Oil

 

Method: 

Heat oil in a sauté pan until it just starts to smoke. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper. Brown chicken a little on both sides. Add the sausage, roast peppers, basil, parsley, pepperoncini, and garlic, and sauté for 1-2 minutes.

Deglaze the pan with white wine and reduce by half. Add balsamic vinegar and reduce by half. Add roasted chicken stock and reduce by half. Stir in butter, and let simmer for 1-2 minutes. Toss in the pasta and add olive oil, salt, pepper, grated cheese, and parsley. Buon Appetito!

 

Brian Rutherford's Chicken and Italian Sausage with Rigatoni and Balsamic Recipe - Chefuniforms.com Chef of the Month May

 

~His experience and advice~

 

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

Since 1985. I studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.

 

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

I highly recommend an apprentice program using the format I teach at Sheridan Technical Center. My students get hands on experience and learn a lot of different techniques and styles of the culinary profession and they practice what they learn. It is inexpensive, they build a good foundation with the basics and they also eat what is cooked getting exposure to casual and formal culinary styles. Experience is the best teacher and it is the little things that you pick up from being hands-on and experimental that theory cannot teach you which is what I try to impart to my students. Cooking schools are also another great choice as well because they also show you a wide variety of cooking techniques as well.

 

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

Go to a Technical School first as it’s a short program and learn the basics and get your hands dirty as you are practicing what you are learning and see if you still want to be a chef after that. If you do, then go and work at a restaurant. I would not recommend working for a restaurant only as you will only learn one or two specific specialties depending on what the restaurant’s niche is. Learn to be a great manager because as you move up the career path, you will be dealing with many personalities in high pressure environments. As part of Sheridan Technical Center’s curriculum, I teach my students in 3 courses: food handling and servsafe practices, culinary nutrition and management. They spend 30 hours a term for each class.

 

11.  Can you offer some advice for aspiring chefs?

Read and follow chefs who you can learn from and be your mentors.

When I was working at Max’s Grille in Boca Raton, Chef John Belleme asked “What I was doing outside of working” and I said “nothing.” He said “I should be bettering myself and reading all kinds of different materials and constantly learning so I can continue to be current and innovative.”

 

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

I used a technology called Chef Tech where you plug in everything you bought plus the recipes you want to create and the it then calculates the yields and estimates of how many meals you can create as well as the food costs associated with it each meal.

 

~2014 and The Future~

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

I see a lot of comfort foods coming back. A lot of Grilled Cheese places are popping up all over and Mac and Cheese is another favorite being served more in restaurants. People relate to these foods from when they were growing up and they want to continue enjoying them.

 

14.  How has the revolution to eat healthy influenced you as a Chef? environmentally friendly? 

I have always cooked healthy and like my meals to be light and fresh. At my last job at Bistro Mezzaluna, Fort Lauderdale, we had 10 pasta dishes on our menu and none of them were cream based but more olive oil based. At Sheridan Technical Center, we have a Chef’s Corner where 2 students get to try dishes that are healthy.

 

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

To a certain degree. It is still hard to do and if you choose in going that direction, you have to be 100% committed. Wood Burning grills is a good example and is used in many places.

 

April 2014 Chef Of The Month, Jenn Louis

Chef Jenn LouisChef Jenn Louis is consistent, simple and purposeful. This is the philosophy and approach that has propelled her to a culinary career spanning nearly two decades. After graduating from Pitzer College in Claremont, CA, Louis traveled throughout Europe and North and South America, even settling in Southern Israel for several months to work on a dairy kibbutz. Upon her return to California, she learned of a job opening from a close friend cooking for an Outward Bound base camp deep in the North Carolina woods. Louis landed the job and after a few short weeks at the camp, she had an epiphany that cooking was her passion and could lead to a successful and fulfilling life-long career – something she had never considered before. Louis followed this dream all the way to the Western Culinary Institute of Portland, and shortly after began working as a line cook at the prominent Portland restaurant, Wildwood.

She successfully runs 3 businesses in Portland, Oregon: a full service catering company called Culinary Artistry, Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern. Just a few short months after opening Lincoln Restaurant, it was recognized as one of Condé Nast Traveler’s “Hot List” of 50 top new restaurants in North America, while Louis was recognized as a semifinalist for the 2010 and 2011 James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef Northwest.” In 2012, the popularity of Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern catapulted Louis’ presence on a national scale and she was named one of Food & Wine’s prestigious Best New Chefs. The following year, Jenn was selected as a cast member of season five of the hit Bravo TV show, “Top Chef Masters.” When not in the kitchen or planning events, Louis can be found traveling the globe with her husband, teaching cooking classes, playing the drums or spending time with her three cats, White Cat, Orange Cat and Wasco and sipping her favorite drink, Bourbon!

Congratulations Chef Jenn Louis on being our Chef of the Month for April and sharing with us your sunny personality!

 

1. What is the name of the Restaurant you work with and where are you based?

Lincoln Restaurant, Portland, Oregon 

 

2. What is your birthplace?

Pomona, California

 

3. What made you decide to become a chef?

I did not have a passion for cooking but after taking a job at Outward Bound base camp, I found my love for it. 

 

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

I love movies (documentaries, action movies, period films to name a few), working out, spending time at home as I am at the restaurant most of the time and travelling

 

5. What is your favorite social media platforms?

Instagram and Twitter

 

6. What is your Must Have Kitchen Tool?

A really good knife – Bob Kramer’s knife. “Bob Kramer lives in Olympia, Washington. He’s one of the only guys in the US who makes handcrafted knives of really high quality. (He has an interest in samurai sword-making and has made a few.) I met him at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen in 2011. I told him I’d been wait-listed for years and that it was my birthday, and he made me a workhorse steel knife. He takes many, many layers of metal and puts them in a 2,300-degree kiln. His skill level is just phenomenal.”

Bob Kramer knives

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

I do! I love to try different foods other than what I normally cook. I am pretty open-minded and like all types such as Asian, Italian, Indian to name a few.

 

8. What fabric and style of chef uniform do you enjoy wearing the most?

I normally wear a t-shirt, black dickies pants with clogs and a nice Blunt Roll apron.

 

9. Chef Jenn Louis’ Eggs and Beans Recipe with tomatoes, chipotle chilies and black beans

This is one of David’s and my favorite late night dinners. I can make it from start to finish in about 20 minutes, just enough time to drink a bourbon before dinner is served!

 Serves 2

1T vegetable oil

1/8 small yellow onion

1 small clove garlic, peeled

1/2 c whole peeled tomatoes

¼ c chicken stock

½-1 chipotle chili in adobo

2 t cumin, ground

1X 14-ounce can black beans, with liquidEggs and Beans_Jenn Louis

4 eggs

Salt

Lime

 

Garnishes:

Lime wedges

Cotija, crumbled or grated

Avocado, peeled and sliced

Cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

Jalapeno, chopped finely

White onion, chopped finely

 

In a blender, finely puree onion, garlic, tomatoes, stock, chilies and cumin.

Heat oil in a 7 or 8-inch non-stick pan over medium high heat. Pour contents of blender into hot oil, season sauce lightly with salt and reduce sauce by half, about 3 minutes. Stir beans, un-drained, into sauce. Cook for 2 minutes to thicken sauce. Crack eggs into 4 corners of pan, not touching the sides of the pan, reduce heat to medium low and cover pan to bake eggs. Continue gently cooking until whites are set and yolks are runny. Serve with warm tortillas and garnishes.

 

~Her experience and advice~

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

20 years. I studied at the Western Culinary Institute of Portland.

 

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

Go to college and also culinary school. Learn what you need to know to be good at what you do and then get hands on learning.

 

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

Commit to working at a restaurant no less than a year to see what the cyclical calendar looks like. 

 

13. Can you offer some advice for aspiring chefs?

Be open-minded. New cooks form opinions before they get experience and exposure to learning new techniques and styles.

 

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

I am lucky in this area. I have easy access to high quality meats and ingredients in Portland. Regarding seasonal ones, I purchase all over the country and there are so many more products from overseas available in the US, it is much easier to get them without any problems.

 

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

I travel a lot within the U.S. and outside of the U.S and get exposed to many ideas. I also use social media as well to see what people are sharing and talking about.

 

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

Yes and no. As I work 60 – 70 hours a week, my time is very valuable and I can’t always visit. Our local farmers in Portland send me emails letting me know what they have available and there is no need for me to go to the markets. Email is so great because I place my orders with them depending on what I want. 

 

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

We change our menus every day and make little changes but if we have a lot of produce from farms, we continue to make dishes with those ingredients. 

 

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

My iPhone is such a great tool because I use it to stay active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I am able to show people what I am doing and what we offer. We also use a Point of Sale system to track reservations and sales.

 

~2014 and The Future~

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

People are becoming more open minded to eating foods that used to be served in the 1920s – 1950s like liver and heart. People are eating more off cuts because they are accepting it and enjoying it more now.

 

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

My typical lifestyle has always been healthy and I believe in eating everything and in moderation. I don’t eat fast foods.

 

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

It allows us to show what we are doing and see what other people are doing.

Chef of the Month: The Birthplace of Chef George Duran

Chef George DuranChef George Duran is from Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. The country itself is located on the northern coast of South America and has an area of 912,050 km², a little more than twice the size of California. It is bordered by 3 countries: Colombia, Guyana and Brazil.

Here are some Facts about Venezuela taken from CNN.com:

The country’s formal name is the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and is one of the oldest democracies in South America. It is highly dependent on oil, which accounts for 95% of export earnings and 12% of GDP and is one of the world’s top 10 oil exporting countries, according to the Energy Information Administration. Baseball is the most popular sport in the country.

Population: 28,458,085 (July 2013 estimate)venezuela_flag

Capital: Caracas

Ethnic Groups: Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Arab, German, African and indigenous groupsVenezuela Baseball

Official Language: Spanish but there are numerous indigenous dialects

Industries: agricultural products, livestock, raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, iron and steel products, and fuel

Money: Bolivar

Sports: Baseball, Basketball and Soccer

True Nomads “10 Interesting Facts About Venezuela” revealed some other fascinating facts:

Venezuela was one of the founding members of OPEC, along with Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

The term Venezuela literally means ‘Little Venice’. The country was so named by its explorers, who saw houses built on stilts in a lake here, reminding them of Venice.

Angel Falls is the highest waterfall in the world.

Venezuela has more Miss Universes and more Miss Worlds than any other country.

Countries with the most Miss Universe Winners

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Venezuelan cuisine finds its roots from a lot of European influences specifically Italian, Spanish and French.  According to Venezuelan Cooking, the “Pabellón Criollo” is the most traditional Venezuelan dish after the Arepas. Pabellón is a word for “pavilion”, but it can also mean the national flag, an ensign, or even a tent.   The Pabellón Criollo, the traditional Venezuelan dish is made up of shredded (or pulled) beef, black beans, rice and fried plantains, as the most basic version of it.   Some people, depending on the part of the country, also add a plain arepa on the side, some avocadoes, some delicious grated white cheese and even a fried egg.  When fried plantains are added, it is known as the “Pabellón con Baranda”. This dish is their National Dish and you can find this tasty recipe below.

Main Components for Pabellón Criollo:

– Carne Mechada (Venezuelan Shredded/Pulled Beef)

– Caraotas Negras (Venezuelan Black Beans)

– Arroz Blanco (Venezuelan White Rice)

– Tajadas (Venezuelan Fried Plantains)Pabellon Criollo

Preparation:

1. Make sure you soak the black beans overnight!

2. Prepare the shredded/pulled beef first, as this will take the longest to cook (4 hours).

3. When the beef has been cooking for about 1½ to 2 hours already, begin to cook the black beans (this will take 2 hours).

4. Proceed to remove the beef from the boiling water.  Shred/pull the beef and continue cooking as directed on the recipe (adding the sofrito and stir frying it).

5. Proceed to finish the black beans recipe as well.

6. Set the beef and beans aside, and begin cooking the rice.

7. Make the plantains while the rice is cooking.

8. Finish the rice and the plantains.

9. Serve all together.

Do we have any Venezuelans in the house? Would love to hear about your favorite Venezuelan dishes or fun childhood memories!

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