OCTOBER 2021 CHEF OF THE MONTH – CHEF CARLINE BENGTSSON

We’re pumped to feature our October 2021 Chef of the Month, Chef Carline Bengstsson! Chef Carline was born in Jamaica and grew up in Minnesota. Quite the world traveler, she’s also lived in Switzerland and has traveled throughout Scandinavia and the Asia Pacific! Today, she’s the founder and sole proprietor of Dine4Dinners®, a program dedicated to combating hunger & partnering with organizations that provide meals to those who need it, based outside the Twin Cities of Minneapolis & St. Paul in Lindstrom, Minnesota. Through the company, more than 73,000 meals have been donated to feed the hungry! In addition to her work as a Chef, she’s the proud author of the cookbook, Carline’s Fork & Cork, Simply Delish, dedicated to treasured moments in the kitchen with loved ones. Chef Carline is a passionate, selfless Chef, and we can’t wait to share her story with you this month! Find out more about her story below and keep your eyes peeled for some delicious recipes.

1. Where were you born?
I was born on the Caribbean Island of Jamaica; moved to Minnesota as a child but consider myself a citizen of the world as I worked and lived in Europe (Switzerland), spending lots of time in Scandinavia and traveled to Asia Pacific.  I now reside in the beautiful little town of Lindstrom located forty minutes northeast of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.

2. Where do you work and where are you based? 
 I am the founder and sole proprietor of Dine4Dinners® based outside the Twin Cities of Minneapolis & St. Paul in Lindstrom, Minnesota.

3. What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces/dishes?
Because I grew up learning the simplicity of creating good eats with minimal tools, I have come to love using a good stainless-steel handle, rubber spoons & spatulas with high temperature tolerance.

4. What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses?
My sharpest sense out of the five senses is sense of sight.  I see, eat, and taste food with my eyes.  For me, food must look appealing initially (plated well), driving that excitement of the taste buds to want that first bite, and yet looks too pretty to want to eat, but you dive in anyway to experience that first bite.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?
To aspiring chefs, I offer, to stay the course, not losing sight of your brand of cooking, continue to push forward bringing it to light any way that you can.  Social media provides a platform for sharing about one’s passion.  Be bold, focused, and positive in making a difference in the kitchen and your respective community.

6. What is one culinary tip every chef should know and perfect?
When working in the kitchen, consider prepping all ingredients ahead of time and make a concerted effort to clean up as you go versus waiting until the very end.

7. What does good food mean to you?
Good food means to me nourishment for body and soul – a delightful consumption of amazing combinations of foods and ingredients from around the world making unique flavors to satisfy the palate.

8. What features are important to you when selecting your chef outfit?
When selecting a chef outfit, I am drawn first to styling, followed by breathability and comfort in wearing it while working in the kitchen.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 
My all-time favorite ingredient to work with is steak seasoning.  In my opinion steak seasoning is not just for steak and compliments any dish well: shrimp, fish, chicken, soups to name a few.

10. Favorite city to dine out in?
This is a difficult one to respond to because we have so many fabulous restaurants in Minneapolis and St. Paul, so I will say when I am traveling, my favorite city to dine out in, is Las Vegas, so many restaurants with sophisticated food experiences to enjoy.  

11. Best dish you have ever made? 
As simplistic as this sounds, but it would be chili. Chili is not something I grew up with eating as a child or adult for that matter, but my husband loves a good chili and so I created my own recipe which has become the talk of my neighborhood and it’s on the menu for our annual (out in the winter elements) fire and ice party each February.

12. What you like to eat most often on your days off? 
On my days off and more so at the end of the week, homemade pizza is the meal for the evening with a nice glass of wine.  Why pizza?  All leftover ingredients from meals throughout the week is used to make unique pizzas such as sausage, spinach, artichoke with mozzarella finished with extra virgin olive oil and fig balsamic.

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 
There is not one specific person I would most like to cook for; my passion is to cook and serve those who believe in and share in the mission of giving back to those in need because there is joy in giving back and in making a difference in other’s lives. Gathering around the dinner table to share in a meal and conversation translates to a bigger purpose – paying it forward to nourish the souls of many.

14. What are some of the difficulties you’d say that chefs most often encounter?
Difficulties chefs often encounter is finding time to take for themselves to recharge.  I think this is particularly important to do deliberately, although I know it can be personally rewarding to know your food creations are loved and enjoyed by those who partake.  Also being a chef does not often come with fame or high monetary recognition.  Chefs’ work is for the passion of cooking and making a difference.

15. What made you decide to become a chef?
I decided to become a personal chef after retiring from corporate life following careers within the insurance, military avionics and medical technology industries at Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Honeywell and most recently Medtronic, where I was a people/program manager. 

As previously mentioned, I immigrated to Minnesota from Jamaica as a child.  Later in life, grew up to marry a native Swede which sealed my affinity for the culture, language, and country.  Following the death of my first husband, Lars, I published my first cookbook “Carline’s Fork & Cork, Simply Delish!” which is dedicated to treasured moments together in the kitchen creating and partaking in good eats with my mom, siblings, husband, extended family, and friends. 

I have always had a passion for cooking.  Being a leader in the community and giving back to others, came later in life, through understanding how to serve others from a place of empathy and good will.  The pivotal moment that bridged my two passions of cooking and giving back came from a decision to donate a gift of recognition points to a local food organization – giving them the opportunity to provide 400 meals to feed the hungry. I realized my calling and blended my two loves:  creating memorable meals and helping others to nourish their bodies and souls.  Dine4Dinners® was born and launched June 2020.  The business model benefits both foodies and people in need of daily nourishment. Through the company’s initial flagship model of sharing in an in-home restaurant style dining experience, greater than 73,000 meals have been donated to feed the hungry. 

Imagine, the next time you sit down to eat a meal, that you are also feeding another family. 25% of the cost of a Dine4Dinners® dining experience goes to a food organization of the client’s choice – paying forward the memorable dining experience to feed those in need.

Connect with our October 2021 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @mosaicdelish
Facebook: @carlinesforkandcork  
Website: https://dine4dinners.org/
Blog: https://mosaicdelish.wordpress.com/blog/

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