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November 2020 Chef of the Month- Robert Stewart

Chef Stew was born in Baltimore and now resides in Las Vegas. He's  a father, a gourmet chef/caterer, TV personality, celebrity chef and president of the Transition Kitchen Foundation

We’re happy to announce our excellent November Chef of the Month, Chef Robert Stew, also known as Chef Stew! A true chef at heart, Chef Stew was born in Baltimore and now resides in Las Vegas. He’s a father, a gourmet chef/caterer, TV personality, celebrity chef and president of the Transition Kitchen Foundation, a culinary arts program dedicated to teaching life skills through culinary arts in Baltimore. He’s appeared on ‘Guy’s Grocery Games’, ‘Supermarket Stakeout’ and was the winner of Cutthroat Kitchen Season 8. Stay tuned for some great recipes & shop his coat!

1. Where were you born? 

Baltimore, Maryland

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

Las Vegas, Nevada. Stew’s Stix is my restaurant concept that currently is being introduced to the market via catering in SF, LA and Las Vegas. However, I’m also President of Transition Kitchen Foundation a Culinary Arts Training based out of Baltimore, Maryland. I’ve begun to help other chefs get TV shows and it’s been rewarding for me because I get asked for help all the time and now, I have a way to do just that!

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

My favorite Kitchen tool is the whole kitchen… Tt narrow down to one thing is hard. Good pots and pans play a factor. A sharp

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

Sight would be the answer. Being as though people eat with their eyes, I’m constantly using my eyes to make sure my work pleases their eyes.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Be a sponge, absorb as much as you can, be willing to speak up and say I don’t know how to do certain things, I’ve watched so many Chefs try to prove they are skilled but fail on simple tasks. The best chefs aren’t afraid to get help, pointers and advice.  The worst chefs know how to do everything. Lastly, I always mention staffing agencies this is a great way to pop in and out of operations. This allows to earn while you learn.

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

Effective communication skills… let’s stop throwing the titles out so easily. A Chef must have lots of qualities and experience to back the claim… a real Chef runs the operation and IS a leader – great leaders know how to make the operation run effectively and smoothly.

7. What does good food mean to you?

When I can think about it days after. Or the idea of eating it already, it makes me feel amazing inside. I like to consider good food like a party in my mouth

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

Comfortability is key… I like to look nice, but I like being able to move accordingly.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 

Fresh herbs, fresh fish, fresh, fresh and again, fresh… sorry my answers aren’t simplistic. To create a dish, I’m using multiple things. If I need to choose a favorite, it would be steak or crabmeat.

10. Favorite City to dine out in? 

New Orleans.

11. Best Dish you have ever made? 

All of them…but, I would say a Blondie because I made 10k with this dessert.

12. What you like to eat most often on your days off? 

Great question… lately with so many Chefs coming on set to film, I’ve been eating their food. But, if I’m not actually cooking for someone and it’s my day off… Uber Eats isn’t a bad idea. I still enjoy Panda Express, Chipotle, pizza, wings… all the stuff that I could make but too lazy to do.

13. Person you would most like to cook for?

Bobby Flay, Jay Z, Janelle Monáe, or Halsey.

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

I didn’t. A Chef decided to become me. I grew up cooking as a kid as a means of survival, my mother worked nights and she did cook, but my big mouth complaining turned me into a child home cook. I then went to get trained and eventually I took an inventory of my life and realized that the natural qualities I possess and skills I acquired all wrapped into one thing made me a great Chef.

15. How to find Chef Stew?

Please visit Www.ChefStew.com

@Chef_Stew on Instagram

Robert Stewart on Facebook

Chef Stew on Linkedin

October 2020 Chef of the Month – Chef Eddie G.

We’re excited to re-introduce the talented Chef Edward Gallagher III A.K.A, Chef Eddie G., as our October 2020 Chef of the Month! An alumnus of Johnson & Wales University of Culinary Arts, Chef Eddie G. is also a celebrity chef, restaurant consultant, TV Personality and the star of his own TV show, Chef Eddie G. Locavore. This Chef is originally from New York and he likes to say that he’s now based in “whatever hotel [he’s] in that night”, and reflects on his love of traveling the world to share his love cooking for people. We’re honored to have him in our ChefUniforms family! Stay tuned for some delicious recipes & shop his look!

1. Where were you born?

Manhattan, New York.

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

I do restaurant consulting, I film a TV show called Chef Eddie G. Locavore, and I’m based in whatever hotel I’m in that night. But seriously, I am fortunate to travel the world and share my love of food and cooking for people.

3. What made you decide to become a chef?

Originally, I had friends who were a lot older than me, like 5 or 6 years older, and they all worked in the restaurant business. They wanted me to work with them, and I got a job in an Italian restaurant in New York when I was 13 years old. I started in the restaurant washing dishes and worked my way up over the next few summers. Over time, the Chef said I should get into the culinary world and I thought, “that’s interesting.”

I went to Johnson & Wales University and graduated from their Culinary Arts Program, and I’ve been in the restaurant business my whole life.

That first job was just a summer job… and here we are 41 summers later.

4. What have been some of your favorite events that you’ve cooked at?

Personally, I love cooking at Super Bowl events. I’ve been doing that 10 or 12 years now, and I just love the activity around the Super Bowl.

I love cooking at food and wine festivals, and I’ve done Las Vegas, Atlantic City, South Beach, Saint Lucia, Jamaica and others.

In addition, I really enjoy doing culinary demos with large crowds — love the atmosphere — and I love the small and boutique events, too.

Super Bowl LIII

5. What television shows/cooking competitions have you appeared on?

Television Shows

Cooking Competitions

  • Maria Bartiromo competition on CNBC
  • Disney Food and Wine Festival
Chef Eddie G. Locavore Episode 4

6. You recently launched a new show called Chef Eddie G. Locavore on Amazon Prime. Tell us about that. What was the idea behind it?

It incorporates traveling, getting to see new places, meeting great people, learning about the culture and the different foods you don’t normally see.

I love that — seeing foods I’ve never experienced before and getting to cook with them.

And then every episode ends with an event, whether it’s a farmer’s dinner for four people or the Super Bowl last year in Atlanta for 250,000 people.

Cover photo for Chef Eddie G. Locavore

7. What has been your favorite experience during shooting?

Bringing my parents to the Tuscany Food and Wine Festival and the Florence Cheese Festival. All of us being together in Italy for the first time, learning about the cuisine, seeing the country… that was a definite highlight. 

8. What have you been doing during the recent pandemic?

As part of the restaurant consulting that I do, I’ve been helping restaurants formulate a game plan, figure out the social distancing aspect of it, the food safety part of it, all of those elements.

On a related note, I’ve been consulting with Gosman’s restaurant in Montauk, NY, for the past five years with the long-range focus on lowering food costs and labor costs and increasing revenue. And we’ve done that, successfully, even in this pandemic.

I’m so thankful for this, and it’s also a hard reality that a lot of my friends are losing their restaurants right now. It’s a very hard time in the restaurant industry.

Cooking for First Responders & National Guard

9. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Don’t do it! Go become a doctor or dentist or something like that.

Ok, truthfully, I love this industry.

It’s not for everybody. You have to be willing to work when everybody else is off, and be off when everyone is working. You work holidays and weekends.

But if you’re passionate about it, like I have been, there’s no greater industry to be in. To be able to nourish people, to help people —  there’s nothing more rewarding than that.

While the industry can be very thankless externally, internally it’s a very thankful industry.

During the pandemic, I’ve seen a lot more people being very thankful. More so in the beginning, but for the most part people have been grateful for our service.

Paso Robles Sip & Taste Festival

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

I would say my chef knife with the 10-12 inch blade. But I love an emulsion blender.

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

What a great question that is!

I believe it’s the art of pan searing. This is the technique that most people get the most jammed up on. I can always tell the abilities of a Chef or someone with culinary skills by how well they pan sear something, whether it’s tuna, scallops, steak. If you can put a good pan sear on a piece of meat or protein, I can usually tell whether someone knows what they’re doing or not. I think it’s the biggest technique to perfect.

And going in another direction, I’m big with sauces. To me, being able to make a good sauce shows how good a Chef or cook is. For example, I can tell by how well they can create the five Mother Sauces: béchamel, espagnole, hollandaise, tomato, and veloute.

Pan Seared Atlantic Halibut

12. What does good food mean to you?

I’ll answer that by sharing a story. Not too long ago, my team London and Tracey were in Montauk, and we had some other friends join us. We sat around the grill, enjoyed some wine, talked, and took our time grilling lobster and cooking off clams in cream sauce and sharing it all.

To me, good food is the whole package. It’s the atmosphere, it’s the people around the table, it’s the love. It’s all that.

Good food is obviously fresh and local, but when it’s combined with the people you’re surrounded by and sharing it with, that’s what makes good food — and a great meal.

As part of our nonprofit Chefs for Vets, we also do a lot of serving of people less fortunate. It’s all about the people who are gathered around the table and sharing time.

Chef Federica Continanza’s kitchen with Chef Guy Mitchel

13. What sort of features do you look for in your chef outfit?

First of all, I love working with the team at ChefUniforms. They’re so easy to work with and they understand this industry.

Their entire collection of chef apparel — from jackets to pants to aprons — are all top of the line.

They’re great quality, have deep pockets, and the price points are extremely competitive. And they’re great looking.

The biggest thing in our business is safety, and ChefUniforms creates stylish protective gear.

As a Chef, you’re working around hot grease and flames. You don’t want grease soaking through and burning your arms or legs. Their chef coats and pants are safety-first. If grease comes off anywhere and on to these pants, it doesn’t burn you. And same thing with the chef coat. If I get a grease splatter from a pan on the stove, it’s going to hit the jacket and not burn my arm.

Their chef apparel is also comfortable while being stylish. I like the chef’s pants with the stripes. It’s like wearing sweat pants all the time — so nice when you’re spending long hours in a hot restaurant kitchen.

14. Favorite ingredient to work with?

This changes all the time! It changes based on where I am.

I love garlic. I love Sriracha. Those are the two I think of immediately.

In Montauk, horseradish is a good one. Ginger is another ingredient I like cooking with.

I also really enjoy cooking with local flavors. For example, if I’m cooking in the islands, I like a little heat — peppers, poblanos, or habaneros. If I’m in California, I go more citrusy, with lemons, oranges. In Costa Rica, it’s citrus and avocados.

Pinot Noir Braised Short Ribs, Horseradish Puree

15. Favorite city to dine out in?

I can be a homer and say New York, right?

Barcelona is also a great food town. Tuscany was out of this world, and Florence, too.

One of the best restaurants I ever went to was on the island of St. Kitts and Nevis with a view of the volcano. That was probably one of the best.

But I can appreciate a plate from the vendor on the beach selling ceviche and grilled fish out of a shopping cart just as much as a 5-star meal.

16. What is your favorite dish to make?

I get asked that a lot. I love tapas, small plates, picking and tasting different flavors. And I like people picking and tasting the different things I’m cooking.

But generically, I love doing plays on Surf & Turf — some kind of seafood and meat combination.

Maybe that’s because I’ve lived in both areas.

I was doing a cooking demonstration a few years ago at a food and wine festival and someone asked what was my favorite food to cook. I said Surf & Turf — like filet mignon and lobster tail, or a rib eye with some shrimp or scallops. I’ll never forget this young girl watching the demo raised her hand and asked, “Was that because you lived in Colorado and South Carolina?” I’d never thought about it, but maybe that is why.

Cooking in Guadalajara (Locavore Episode 1)

17. What food could you eat every day and never grow tired of?

Sushi!

But another that I could eat often is pizza. I try to keep carbs down in my normal diet and also not eat too many fried foods, but I do love pizza.

And one more — Cheerios and peanut butter. I eat this almost every day!

Contacts and Channels:

Website:

http://chefeddieg.tv/

Facebook:

@ChefEddieG/

@chefeddieglocavoretvshow/

@locavoremedia/

Instagram

@chefeddieg/

@locavoremedia/

September 2020 Chef of the Month- Roshara Sanders

We’re starting the month of September with our fantastic September 2020 Chef of the Month, Roshara ‘Ro’ Sanders! Chef Ro was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and now resides in New York City. This successful Chef is a proud United States Army Veteran, was featured in ‘Forbes Under 30’, served as a celebrity ambassador for Habitat for Humanity International and is a champion of Food Network’s Chopped! We can’t wait to share Chef Ro’s story and delicious recipes. Stay tuned & shop her look!

1. Where were you born? 
Bridgeport, CT.

2. Where do you work and where are you based?
 I work at Oceana in New York City.

3. What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces/dishes?
Like every chef, my knife means the most to me. In order to create amazing dishes, there is so much prep and execution that goes into creating the perfect dish. My knife is the work horse of every dish that I prepare and my most prized positions

4. What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses?
SMELL. Without smell you would have no ability to taste. The sense of smell will tell you when you are creating a masterpiece in my opinion. It tells you what goes well together and what does not mix well. It also is the first step in getting your taste buds excited. Have you ever noticed that when you smell something good you get hungry right away? The power of smell is amazing!

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?
Have fun first and foremost. The industry is extremely difficult. There will be many obstacles, but please try and have fun. Learn from everyone and soak up as much knowledge as possible. This is what make legendary chefs different from the average chef because Knowledge is Power!

6. What is one culinary tip every chef should know and perfect?
I would say the 5 mother sauces and as many derivatives as possible. Sauce usually goes with 90% of all dishes and creates a refined texture for most dishes. Once you master the art of sauce, this opens up a new creative world for chefs to experiment in.

7. What does good food mean to you?
Good food is food that leaves the guest with an unforgettable experience! It will become a food memory and will be a part of the diner’s life! Good food will have you wanting to go home and share this meal with the people you love!

8. What features are important to you when selecting your chef outfit?  My chef uniform must be something most people never seen before! I love to wear unique colors and patterns on my jacket and explore unique colors and designs on my aprons as well. I love to bring personality through my chef apparel!

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 
I don’t really have a favorite ingredient because as a chef, I love to create new things every time I create a dish. I love to explore new herbs and spices all the time. I love to try to feature new vegetables, fruits, and different types of proteins. The culinary world is too big to just settle on one thing! If I had to choose one, it would be cumin!!!!

10. Favorite City to dine out in? 
NYC is an epicenter of food and cuisines. There are endless places with world renowned status in New York City and the boroughs as well. New York in my opinion, is truly a melting pot of the best food in the world!

11. Best Dish you have ever made? 
At the James Beard House, I created a Jerk Short Rib that was braised for about 5 hours served with pea and parsnip puree. It had rainbow carrots that had an agrodolce taste to it, making the spicy jerk mellow out with the sweetness from the carrots and puree. It was also a beauty to look at! Topped off with crispy parsnip skins to add crunchy texture, it was the best dish on the menu that night!

12. What you like to eat most often on your days off? 
I love to make my own pasta dough and pizza dough. I love to kneed pasta dough as I find it therapeutic and I love to study breads and the reaction of yeast. Both pasta and pizza is like a blank canvas where you can add anything you want to them.

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 
My all-time favorite chef is José Andrés!!! I would love to cook and talk with him and show my love and appreciation for his craft through my food!

14. What made you decide to become a chef?
After I got out of the United States Army, I wanted to find healing! I believe food saved my life. It allowed me to belong to a culture that is in some ways very similar to the military. I also love the hospitality industry; its main focus is to serve others and create an experience that will warm the mind, heart, and soul!

Connect with our September 2020 Chef of the Month

August 2020 Chef of the Month- Brazil Murphy

95386826_882076652217864_1571532304300891763_n (1)We’re excited to welcome the month of August and our August 2020 Chef of the Month, Brazil Murphy! Chef Brazil was born and raised in Washington, D.C., and is now a private chef with his own company, SpyceCo, LLC. His start to becoming a culinary expert started out as an accident – originally wanting to purse fashion design, Chef Brazil changed his major to Culinary Arts and never looked back. He’s an impressive chef who loves to incorporate sauces to his dishes. Stay tuned for some awesome recipes from Chef Brazil and shop his look!

1. Where were you born?

Washington, D.C.

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

I’m a Private Chef in the D.C. area. I work for my own company, SpyceCo, LLC.

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

My new favorite kitchen tool is my Smoke gun. I love infusing smoke flavor in fruits, veggies and meats.

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

My sharpest since is my sight. I can see if something is correct or incorrect with a dish before I taste it.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Practice, read and educate yourself as much as possible. The food trends change each year.

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

The basic sauces. Once you learn the basics. You can master any sauce.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food is food that is locally sourced and cooked using the freshest ingredients. You can taste the difference.

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

Comfort is most important. I have to feel like I can wear it everyday. I also love zippers and hidden pockets.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Mushrooms. They are so versatile – earthy and meaty. It can be used in a plant based dish to give a meat-like texture and can also stand up to every high temperature cooking technique.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

Washington D.C.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

Miso glazed Mahi Mahi with Sriracha potatoes.

12. What you like to eat most often on your days off?

Sushi and Tacos.

13. Person you would most like to cook for?

Chef Jeff Henderson. I always admired his story and I purchased a few of his books.

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

I actually wanted to be a fashion designer. Culinary Arts happened by accident. I changed my major from fashion to culinary arts on the first day of college.

 

Connect with our August 2020 Chef of the Month

Instagram: @spyceco

Website: http://spyceco.com/

 

July 2020 Chef of the Month – Jameel Chambers

94187353_912544842511938_3456538743924792535_n (1)We welcome the sizzling month of July with our impressive July Chef of the Month, Jameel Chambers! Born & residing in Cleveland, Ohio, the talented Chef Jameel comes from a family of cooks. It was only expected that he too, would continue in the talented profession. He owns the Atrium Cafe – a Cleveland-based restaurants. Chef Jameel also does catering & private events. Get ready to hype up your July, there’s a lot of awesome recipes that will be coming your way. Plus, check out his look

 

1. Where were you born?

Cleveland, Ohio.

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

I’m self-employed. I have two restaurants: The Sauce Boiling Seafood Express, as well as the Atrium Cafe. Both are Cleveland based.

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

I would have to say my knife and tongs.

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

My sense of touch.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

To any young chefs coming up, I would tell them to keep cooking and ask as many questions as possible!

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

Knife skills are very important.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food is just a feeling you get in your spirit.

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

The colors are the most important when looking for my chef coat.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 

I love working with either steak cuts, or cuts of meat that are good for braising.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

Louisville, Kentucky.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

This is a very good question, I would have to say my short ribs recipe.

12. What you like to eat most often on your days off?

Any pasta dish.

13. Person you would most like to cook for?

Lebron James.

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

My background honestly, I came from a family of really good cooks and I followed in their footsteps.

 

Connect with our July 2020 Chef of the Month

Instagram: @chefmeels

YouTube: ChefMeelsCooksTv

Restaurants: @atriumcafe_

 

June 2020 Chef of the Month – Anthony Smith

83124168_143985300394312_7640340911424039420_nWe’re welcoming the month of June with our fantastic Chef of the Month, Anthony Smith. Originally from Chicago, Chef Anthony now resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he works at Chef’s Kitchen– a full-service catering & restaurant company. Chef Anthony first began his career as a dishwasher, and has worked his way up to where he is today. He’s an innovative, creative chef, who has keen love for Rosemary and plating. Learn more about this impressive chef below and shop his look!

 

 

1. Where were you born?
Chicago, Illinois

2. Where do you work and where are you based?
Chefs Kitchen in Charlotte, North Carolina

3. What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces/dishes?
I love plates! Starting with a nice plate sets you up for success.

4. What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses?
Smell, taste and sight are about even.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?
Just stay at it! Learn and respect the craft.

6. What is one culinary tip every chef should know and perfect?                                       Knife skills are important.

7. What does good food mean to you?
Everything! But it’s so hard to find it.

8. What features are important to you when selecting your chef outfit?                           The bases are important, and pockets!

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?                                                                                          Rosemary.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?
Chicago and Charlotte

11. Best Dish you have ever made?
That’s a hard one, it’s difficult to just choose one!

12. What you like to eat most often on your days off?
Can’t go wrong with snacks and Redbull.

13. Person you would most like to cook for?
Gordon Ramsey

14. What made you decide to become a chef?
Having kids pushed me into it. I was a dishwasher when I had my first two kids, and I had to step up quick.

 

Connect with our June 2020 Chef of the Month

Instagram: @chef.anthony.smith

Website: https://chefskitchencatering.com/

May 2020 Chef of the Month- Karen Padilla

3We’re happy to introduce our May Chef of the Month, Karen Padilla! Chef Karen was born in lovely Puerto Rico and now resides in New York as a cake artist and luxury cake designer. Her craft was inspired by her mother, who first began a small side business making cakes that then developed into a prestigious company. Chef Karen’s impressive cakes are a result of talent, passion and a love of the arts. Read more about our creative chef below and shop her look!

 

1. Where were you born? 

I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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

I currently work in Maritime Parc, Jersey City.

I’m based in Staten Island, New York.

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

I Love using the Hobart Mixer, but my favorite tools to create my masterpieces are my hands.

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

My sense of taste which allows me to make sure my cakes not only look amazing, but taste amazing as well.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

My best advice is to be organized, clean and to be very creative and enjoy what they do! My husband always tells me the phrase “I think therefore I am”, It reminds me to always think positive, because your mindset gives you the ability to always do more.

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

Always use the best ingredients and do it with lots of love.

7. What does good food mean to you?

A good food is the one that nourishes my soul.

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

To be stylish and comfortable.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 

Love to work with fondant!

10. Favorite City to dine out in? 

Definitely San Juan, the best food ever.

11. Best Dish you have ever made? 

My decadent and signature Vanilla Cake infused with Brandy.

12. What you like to eat most often on your days off? 

A good filet mignon with steamed vegetables, a good wine, followed by a tasty Crème brûlée.

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

My clients and of course, my dear husband.

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

My mother’s determination to overcome obstacles. She raised 4 kids while working as a teacher, and decided to run a small side business making cakes. This side business eventually became a prestigious company where its unique taste and skills set itself apart. This led me to study arts such as painting, sculpting and even graphic arts.

Thanks to her, I was able to learn from her experience and combined it with my love for traveling around the world, appreciate different cultures and sceneries. Also, my love for art and creativity helped me to become the cake artist I am today.

Connect with our May 2020 Chef of the Month

Instagram: @sweetville_cake_shoppe

Facebook: Sweetville Cake Shoppe

 

APRIL 2020 CHEF OF THE MONTH- BARBARA POLLASTRINI

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Born in the beautiful city of Rome, and now residing in sunny Los Angeles, we’re proud to introduce our April 2020 Chef of the Month- Barbara Pollastrini! Chef Barbara is an impressive, creative chef with an incredible talent for food styling. She even worked as a food stylist for movies! She attributes her love of cooking back to her mom, who would create unforgettable meals with the simple things she had in her fridge. Now, due to COVID-19, she is giving back and serving food to hospitals, caregivers, law enforcement and first responders along with Domingo Deli in Encino. We’re so honored to feature Chef Barbara. See her story below and shop her look!

 

1. Where were you born?
I come from the Mediterranean world; where eating is the highlight of the day, looked forward to and enjoyed as if it were a sacred ritual.
Italy is my home. I was born and raised in Rome, one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

2. Where do you work and where are you based?
I worked as a personal chef for many years and as a food stylist for movies. I am also the only Italian ambassador of The Taste USA and I am an Executive Chef. Currently during this COVID-19 crisis, I am giving back and serving our heroes: children hospitals, general hospitals, law enforcement and first responders with Domingo Deli in Encino. I love this initiative.

3. What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces/dishes?
A sharp knife can help you accomplish a number of tasks quicker and more efficiently than any machine. I also use my hands a lot (with gloves, of course).

4. What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses?
As a chef, it would have to be the sense of taste. However, learning to trust all your senses in the kitchen takes time and practice, but definitely smell is my sharpest sense. You can distinguish over 1 trillion unique scents. Most of the eating experience is actually experienced by your sense of smell.  Any flavors you perceive beyond the basic flavors (Salty, Savory, Spicy, Sour and Sweet) are perceived nasally.

The sense of Sight, for me as a chef and food stylist, is super important : your sense of sight is not as broad as your sense of smell, but can still distinguish several million shades of colors. Ugly food turns people off fast!

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?
Work ethic and attitude is everything. Never stop learning, from anybody and or anything.

6. What is one culinary tip every chef should know and perfect?
Consistency is the key for a successful career

7. What does good food mean to you?
Good food means love, passion and dedication.

8. What features are important to you when selecting your chef outfit?
Style and comfort. Short sleeves is a must.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?
I can’t live without Sicilian Sea Salt Sea, sun and wind are the only ingredients used to obtain this unrefined sea salt.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?
Naples.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?
Recently, I created Pasta with Santa Barbara Spot prawns, uni and caviar. Its different flavors and texture make it delicious.
12. What you like to eat most often on your days off?
I love trying new restaurants, there are so many talented chefs in Los Angeles!
If I am home, I enjoy pizza and take-out food (Chinese food is one of my favorites ever)!

13. Person you would most like to cook for?
Keanu Reeves. I am sure he will appreciate my cooking skills

14. What made you decide to become a chef?
My mother, she was my inspiration. I would say I started my love of cooking just by watching her create unforgettable meals with only what was available in her refrigerator.

Connect with our April 2020 Chef of the Month

Instagram: @barbara_pollastrini

Facebook: Barbara Pollastrini

 

March 2020 Chef of the Month-Kryssie Tinsay

Photo Credit: @steven_suarez_media

We’re bringing in the month of March with our creative Chef of the Month, Kryssie Tinsay. Born in the Philippines, Kryssie then moved to Orange County, California at the age of 15. From there, she has worked tirelessly to perfect her craft, and her positive attitude and determination has led her to where she is today. She now works at the Hilton Orange County in Costa Mesa, does popup dinners and has a side business selling delicious Filipino-inspired delicacies such as cookies, breads, cakes and more! Learn more about Chef Kryssie below and shop her look!

 

1. Where were you born?

I was born and raised in Iloilo City, Philippines and moved to Orange County, California at age 15.

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

I currently work at the Hilton Orange County in Costa Mesa, California, and I also do popup dinners and have a side business making cookies, breads, cakes, etc.

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

My favorite kitchen tools are my Chef’s knife and my honing steel. Chef’s knives are so versatile and the steel helps keep its edge.

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

It would definitely be my sense of taste and fortunately, it hasn’t failed me so far. I have made and served some dishes I made without testing them first, and it has been well-received.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

It’s not all glitz and glamour like you see on TV! You HAVE to start from the bottom, put in your work and learn from as many chefs as you can.

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

Knife cuts! Learn your knife cuts. You’d be surprised at how many cooks cannot tell the difference between a small, medium or large dice.

7. What does good food mean to you?

It means a well thought-out, well-seasoned and well-cooked dish. You can tell if a chef has put effort in their dish by the way it’s conceptualized, seasoned, and presented. Good food to me also means it’s well balanced with contrast in texture. It should also delight and make you feel happy as you’re eating.

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

Comfort and breathability! I don’t like to feel constricted,  and I also like a short sleeve jacket when I’m moving around in the kitchen.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

I have two ingredients I love to work with and that’s Ube (purple yam) and pork belly! I don’t even need to explain pork belly, but Ube is an Asian ingredient used in desserts. I’m always finding ways to incorporate Ube into my baked goods.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

New York City. NYC is probably one of the best cities to dine out in. There are just so many options…you can literally eat out every day of the week for the whole year and you would still not be able to eat at every restaurant in the city.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

I made Lechon Porchetta for a NYE popup dinner I hosted last year, and it was the best Lechon Porchetta I have ever made. I seasoned the pork with salt, pepper, lemongrass, garlic, ginger and kaffir lime leaves, rolled, tied and sous-vide for 24 hours. I then took it out of the bag after it cooled the next day, and roasted it until the skin was crispy. The meat was so flavorful and moist, and it had crispiest skin ever. It was just perfection.

12. What you like to eat most often on your days off?

Korean BBQ. It’s simple, straight forward and good!

13. Person you would most like to cook for?

Anthony Bourdain. He was such an icon in the Culinary Industry. I’d want to sit down, eat Lechon Porchetta with him and just talk about all the things he’s eaten at all the places he’s visited.

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

I’ve always loved to cook and to eat. For me, cooking is such a hands-on experience and it’s very gratifying to conceptualize a dish from start to finish and have it come out exactly how you have in mind. Cooking is such a never-ending process and that’s why it’ll always be interesting. There’s always something new to learn every day.

Connect with our March 2020 Chef of the Month

Instagram: @chefkryssie.eats

Website: Kitchen 1726

 

February 2020 Chef of the Month- Benjamin Kal

serving-looks-pose-wine-cheese-1We’re happy to introduce our amazing February Chef of the Month, Benjamin Kal! Chef Benjamin currently operates a high- end French Chalet in San Diego that offers breakfast, dinner & private cooking classes. Although based in San Diego, Chef Benjamin is also a private gourmet travel chef and travels all over to share his fantastic food. Chef Benjamin didn’t always want to be a chef, but he found his calling when he least expected it. His story is inspirational, find it below and shop his look!

  1. Where were you born? Mesopotamia
  2. Where do you work and where are you based? I operate a high end 4-story French Chalet exclusive stay called “The Chamber House” in San Diego, offering breakfast and dinner, as well as private cooking classes 4 days a week. Although I am based in San Diego, I travel everywhere, local and across state lines as a Private Gourmet Chef for small and large functions. The Chamber House maintains a 92% occupancy rate and I am booked nearly two months out. I also hold a Five-Star rating in three categories: Food, Hospitality and Experience. You can find me on Instagram @chefbenjaminepicure
  3. What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces/dishes? A Spoon. Believe it or not, I use all parts of a Spoon when plating and certainly creating abstract and ornate designs. I utilize handle, the back, the neck, the bowl, the tip and even the inside. Each part gives me the desired outcome and whether I am pouring, shaping, smashing or spreading sauces and purees, I must have my trusted and handy spoon nearby.
  4. What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses? Being an Artist first and foremost, I consider sight as being my sharpest attribute. The nexus between universal beauty and the endorphins that the receiver of my dishes gain is in and of itself the magic and secret behind my success as a Chef, humbly.
  5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs? Being a Chef isn’t something you choose. I truly believe that it chooses you. It’s not enough that food is your passion or that art is your calling. It’s beyond—it’s enchanting and addictive, spiritual and philosophical, pragmatic and absurd. Somewhere in that, it finds you, let it I say, if you’re the few lucky ones.
  6. What is one culinary tip every chef should know and perfect? Know the basics. Forget trying to be impressive with fancy dishes, colors and abstract. Make an egg or a burger. Embrace the classical rudimentary food techniques.
  7. What does being a good Chef mean to you? Being a Chef actually saved my life. I didn’t always want to be a Chef, food was not a passion of mine, nor was it something I thought about. Growing up, my level and interest in cooking was essentially nonexistent. It wasn’t until a minor time ago where I unknowingly suffered from depression and triggering levels of anxiety. I was in a different job, a completely unrelated career accompanied by arguably the most toxic environment one could be in. I would describe my state of mind at that time as that of traveling on a freeway tied up in the back seat of a car, desperately attempting to get noticed by all the cars passing, yet I cannot scream and when I do, they cannot hear me. Voiceless, nonexistent and living anticlimactic. I was, you can say in a very, very dark place. One day, I ended up at a Korean Market, I was drawn in by the large crowd and then gravitated to the array of colors, cooking components, and all the crustaceans galore. Without having any cooking experience, technique or skill I purchased ingredients. I don’t know why or for what. I still remember however, I purchased Quail, Rabbit, Octopus and Japanese Parrot Fish and various garnishes as well. I had never tasted, let alone prepared such exotic proteins before. When I got home, I remember being in a trance; a heightened sense of mindfulness hijacked my calm state of being. Without recipe or training, I went onto create 3 high-end Gourmet Dishes. I know that readers will find this hard to believe and trust me, as unbelievable as you find it, I find it even more so. It was such a spellbound moment that I was convinced there was something wrong with me. Soliciting the help of my siblings who are doctors, I frantically sought answers to these mystical questions. How was I able to create such works of art? Where is this coming from? How am I able to know these unlearned techniques? How is it that I tapped into this sphere in my brain? In short, rewriting my brain in such a way that shocked those around me. Likened to cases where people rise out of a Coma or experienced brain trauma and suddenly speak another language or having an accent in their native language or waking up one day spectacularly playing an instrument. Believe me, I am not complaining, and my wife certainly isn’t. We both view this as a gift, albeit unexplained and organic. My life you can say, is simply extraordinary.
  8. What features are important to you when selecting your chef outfit? Form fitting, there is nothing like a well-tailored outfit.
  9. Favorite ingredient to work with? Eggs
  10. Favorite City to dine out in? Chicago
  11. Best Dish you have ever made? The first dish I ever made, sliced Duck Breast over veggies and topped with a thick Cherry Reduction.
  12. What you like to eat most often on your days off? Chateaubriand.
  13. Person you would most like to cook for? My wife, she is one of the best food critics I know, she is a fantastical foodie.
  14. What made you decide to become a chef? The universe aligned itself in such a way that I didn’t decide. It made the decision for me.
Connect with our February Chef of the Month
Instagram: @chefbenjaminepicure
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