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March 2018 Chef of the Month Patty Francis

We are excited to introduce Chef Patty Francis as our March 2018 Chef of the Month! Chef Patty has a passion for creativity. She loves to express her creative side through many avenues, and we are lucky that baking is one of them! Read more below about Chef Patty and her love of baking.

  1. Where were you born?

I was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. I moved to the States when I was 13 years old. I’ve lived in Lynn, MA practically my whole life as this has been my adopted home for over 20 years.

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

I am the proud owner and cake artist of Luna Sweets in Lynn, MA.

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

My favorite kitchen tools are any that provide precision; measuring cups, spoons, scale, etc. I’m such a perfectionist and you need to be when you’re a baker, the wrong measurement can ruin a recipe in no time.

  1. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Believe in yourself. I still find myself doubting my skills and looking for approval sometimes. Confidence is the most important thing to have in the kitchen. It frees you up and lets you be the best you can be.

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

Know your temperatures. Whether it is food safety temperatures, sugar stages, etc. cooking temperatures are so important. They are the difference between a successful dish and a cooking/baking fail.

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

A chef outfit needs to be comfortable. I move about a lot in the kitchen, I don’t like feeling restrained, to warm or too cold. It needs to feel like second skin so I’m focused on what I’m doing, not on what I’m wearing.

  1. What is your favorite ingredient to work with?

My favorite ingredient to work with are eggs, they are so versatile. Eggs are in everything from cake, custard, meringue or savory dishes like quiche, Spanish tortilla, etc. Eggs make everything better and did I mentioned that breakfast is my favorite meal? I can have breakfast anytime and eggs are a quintessential part of it.

8. What is your favorite City to dine out in?

My favorite city to dine out is definitely Santo Domingo. There’s so much variety, especially if you are like me and love Dominican food.  I love to eat Chimis (a Dominican version of a burger) from a food truck, or have fried fish and Yaniqueques at the beach, or go to Jalao Restaurant for live music and great ambiance. There’s so much to eat and so little time when I visit my country.

9. What is the Best Dish you have ever made?

The best dish I’ve ever made is strawberry shortcake cake from Luna Sweets. It’s my favorite cake on the menu. It’s very light, has tons of fresh strawberries which is one of my favorite fruits. It’s made with sponge cake, filled with whipped cream and chopped strawberries and frosted with strawberry meringue buttercream. It’s so delicious, I almost ate a 8 inch cake by myself.

10. What is the place you eat most often on your days off?

When I eat out on my days off, I usually eat Mexican food. Mostly, because I love having chips and salsa with a tall glass of Margarita. It’s my guilty pleasure that I indulge in whenever I possibly can. Nothing like fried food and alcohol to help you get the edge off.

11. What is currently on your DVR or Netflix queue?

I’m currently watching all the Marvel Studios series on Netflix while waiting on my favorite shows to return. I just finished watching Daredevil and The Punisher, but I cannot wait until the new seasons of Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, and The Americans come back.

Connect with Our March Chef of the Month:

Website: http://www.lunasweets.com

Instagram: @luna_sweets_

Facebook: Luna Sweets

Twitter: @Luna_sweets_

Youtube: Luna Sweets

Chef Amy’s Marshmallow Cream Macaron Filling

marshmallowcreamMarshmallow is a Spring staple for the upcoming Easter holiday! Chef Amy has shared a great recipe for light and fluffy Marshmallow Cream filling that will leave you wanting more!

Marshmallow Cream Macaron Filling

Ingredients:

4 Large Egg Whites

1 C Light Corn Syrup

1/2 Tsp Cream of Tartar

1 1/2 C Granulated Sugar

1/4 Tsp Kosher Salt

2 Tsp Vanilla

1/2 C Water

Directions:

1. Place egg whites and cream of tartar in mixing bowl with whip attachment and mix on low.

2. In a sauce pot, bring corn syrup, water, vanilla, and sugar to 240°F.

3. Turn mixer up to high and stream sugar mixture into the egg white mixture.

4. Allow to whip until mixture is fluffy and cool to the touch.

5. Add Kosher Salt.

Love Chef Amy’s recipes? See more of our February Chef of the Month here:

Instagram: @pastrykhaleesi

Shop her look!

 

Chef Amy’s White Chocolate Passion Fruit Ganache

whitechocolateganacheSpringtime is full of fresh ingredients with bright flavors and colors. Our February Chef of the Month, Amy, shares some of her favorite recipes that will not disappoint! Try her recipe for White Chocolate Passion Fruit Ganache for Springtime parties and you will be sure to impress yourself and your guests.

White Chocolate Passion Fruit Ganache

Ingredients:

2 lb White Chocolate

1 lb Heavy Cream

4 oz Unsalted Butter

4 oz Passion Fruit Puree

.10 oz Sea Salt

Directions:

1. Boil heavy cream and passion fruit puree.

2. Pour over white chocolate and unsalted butter.

3. Immersion blend until smooth; finish with sea salt.

4. Portion into tart shells and refrigerate until set.

5. Finish and decorate as desired.

Love Chef Amy’s recipes? See more of our February Chef of the Month here:

Instagram: @pastrykhaleesi

Shop her look!

February 2018 Chef of the Month Amy Irizarry

Meet Chef Amy Irizarry, we’re happy to introduce her as our February 2018 Chef of the Month! Chef Amy is the Executive Pastry Chef at Bite Bakery and Café in Downtown Utica, NY. Read more below about Chef Amy Irizarry and her love of cooking.

  1. Where were you born?

I was born in Utica, New York.

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

I am the Executive Pastry Chef at Bite Bakery and Café in the historic Franklin Square of Downtown Utica, NY

  1. What is your favorite kitchen tool to use while creating your masterpieces/dishes?

My favorite kitchen tool would be my commercial grade KitchenAid mixer. It is the perfect size for small to medium batches of just about everything from macarons to bagel dough. My Thermoworks Thermopop digital thermometer is a close second. Baking is a science, and temperature is extremely important. Thermoworks has made a thermometer that is easy to use and accurate.

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

My sharpest sense would have to be my sight. I am obsessed with final touches and miniscule details. I love putting desserts together and making all the garnishes flow just right.

  1. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

If you’re an aspiring chef, I would like to offer this piece of advice: work hard. This is a crazy industry. You will work holidays, weekends, and in less than favorable temperatures. If you can work hard through all of that, you will be successful.

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

I think every chef should know and perfect the ability to understand what your customers want. Sometimes I want to put all these crazy flavors together and I have to stop and think about what my customers actually want. Over the years, I’ve struggled with finding a balance of being able to turn some of my ideas into a product that my customers will love. Having that ability is what makes you an amazing chef.

  1. What does good food mean to you?

Good food to me means happiness. Whether it’s an amazing dining experience at the best restaurant in the city, or Taco Bell after a 16-hour shift because it’s the only place open on your way home. That happiness you get from eating something you think is good is what every chef sets out to recreate.

  1. What features are important to you when selecting a Chef Coat? 

I believe the most important feature in a chef coat is the pockets. I always look for coats that have a lot of space in the arm pocket. As a pastry chef, I need a pocket that can hold more than just pens. The pocket must be big enough for pens, thermometers, mini offsets, and the occasional paring knife or pastry brush.

  1. Favorite ingredient to work with?

My favorite ingredient to work with is chocolate. From baking to tempering – it is by far the most versatile and challenging ingredient to work with. Chocolate is more than just a cupcake flavor. It can be a massive showpiece you’ve worked on for months, or it can be molded into the perfect bonbon. The possibilities are endless.

  1. Favorite City to dine out in?

My favorite city to dine out in is actually the city I work and live in; Utica, New York. Some of my favorites restaurants here are The Tailor and the Cook, Mötus, and The Local Farm to Table.

  1. Best Dish you have ever made?

One of the best desserts I have ever made was a Valentine’s special a few years ago while working at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino, for a restaurant called TS Steakhouse. The dessert consisted of layers of champagne bavaroise and strawberry curd over a chiffon base filled with a blood orange and champagne insert that sauced the plate when you cut into it. I made the insert using a technique called Spherification, where you create a chemical reaction by adding calcium lactate to the blood orange sauce and freezing it in small half sphere molds, then putting the frozen spheres into a sodium alginate bath which creates a thin skin around the insert while the center stays completely liquid.

  1. Who would you most like to cook for?

The person I would most love to bake for is Chef Dalia Jurgensen. I read her book in 2012 when I was a few years into my career and questioning why I was working in this industry. Her book solidified in me that crazy love for whatever being a Chef means. She is an amazingly talented Pastry Chef and instructor who inspired me to stay focused and work hard instead of walking away from the industry that I love so much. I would love to be able to sit down and swap kitchen stories and learn a t

hing or two from one of the greats.

  1. What made you decide to become a chef?

My parents inadvertently made me want to become a Chef. I’ve always loved art, drawing and painting. I wanted to go to school for art, but my parents were worried I would end up being a starving artist and told me how much I would struggle in an oversaturated field of work. I’ve loved all things food since I can remember, and I figured the closest thing to a career in art I could really succeed in was Pastry Art, so I ended up going to culinary school. It was by far the best decision I have ever made.

Connect with Our February Chef of the Month:

Instagram: @pastrykhaleesi

Chef John’s Asparagus Risotto

Asparugus RisottoThis is not your typical risotto. In fact, Chef John Charles’ Asparagus Risotto recipe features a combination of exhilarating ingredients. Another Italian recipe that you can knock your guests out of the park with. Devour the recipe below and stay tuned for Chef John’s final recipe next week.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1-1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced on a bias, set tips aside

¼ pound pancetta, small dice

1 quart of homemade chicken stock

1 ¼ cups of Italian arborio rice

Pinch of saffron

¾ cup of dry Italian white wine

2 tablespoons butter

¾ cup – 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

 Directions:

1. In a risotto pan or large skillet heat the olive oil over medium to just above medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until crisp, about 3 minutes.

2. Add the onion, garlic, and thinly sliced asparagus to the pan. Cook until onion softens, about another 2-3 minutes.

3. Add the arborio rice and stir constantly making sure to coat the rice evenly with the oil, about a minute.

4. Add the wine and continue stirring until wine evaporates. Start adding the stock a cup at a time, stirring constantly.

5. When the stock has been absorbed add another cup of stock and repeat this process until the rice is al dente. About 18-20 minutes.

6. About five minutes before the rice is al dente, stir in the asparagus tips.

7. Finish the risotto with butter, and then stir in the cheese and season to taste.

Connect with Our January Chef of the Month:

Website: https://www.chefjohncharles.com/

Instagram: @chef_john_charles

Facebook: Chef John Charles

Twitter: @chef_john_charl

Chef John’s Beet Pasta

Beet pasta.jpgThis week, we’re thrilled to share a unique pasta recipe from our January Chef of the Month John Charles. Chef John Charles specializes in all aspects of Italian food. For a fun twist and color to homemade pasta, try this week’s featured recipe, Beet Pasta. Don’t forget to shop John Charles favorite chef coat here.

 

Beet Pasta Ingredients:

4 cups “OO” flour

1 large beet, roasted

4 large eggs

5 large egg yolks

Salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Clean the beet well and dry. Rub the beet with olive oil, and then salt. Roast the beet in the oven for 1 hour. Let cool, and remove skin. Puree the beet in a high-speed blender.

Make a mound on the table with the flour and make a well in the center. Beat the eggs, egg yolks and beet in a bowl and add to the well. Add the 2 tablespoons of oil to the egg mixture, and salt to the whole mound. Using a fork start taking a little flour at a time from the inner well and add it into the egg mixture, stirring to incorporate. Continue doing this until the mixture starts to form a dough. Using your hands brings everything together and knead the dough until smooth. This will take about 10-12 minutes. Once the dough is smooth, wrap in plastic wrap tightly and let rest for at least 30 minutes. Once rested you are now ready to use the dough to make any pasta of your choice.

Connect with Our January Chef of the Month:

Website: https://www.chefjohncharles.com/

Instagram: @chef_john_charles

Facebook: Chef John Charles

Twitter: @chef_john_charl

January 2018 Chef of the Month John Charles

 

Meet Chef John Charles, we’re happy to introduce him as our January 2018 Chef of the Month! Chef John attended Le Cordon Bleu in Dallas and worked in various Italian restaurants in New York to perfect his craft. Our January 2018 Chef of the Month is now a private chef located in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, specializing in Italian cuisine. Read more below about Chef John Charles and his advice for current and future chefs.

 

 

1. Where were you born?

I was born in Utica, New York.

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

I am a private/personal chef out of Garland, TX. Serving the Dallas and surrounding areas. I also work as a manager for Sur La Table helping customers with their cooking needs.

3. What is your favorite kitchen tool to use while creating your masterpieces/dishes?

My pasta machine! I love using my Kitchen Aid pasta machine attachment. The tool is made in Italy and well made, enabling me to make sheets of pasta at a quick rate.

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

I would say my sense of taste. I had a lot of help refining my taste while attending Le Cordon Bleu. As a Chef, I am always tasting and adjusting until I get it just right.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Determination, and never give up. There will be ups and downs but always trust in yourself and trust in the process. Fight for what you want and always keep your standards high. Your name is on that plate, show the world who you are.

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

Taste your food throughout! When cooking pasta always cook it a minute or two less and never cook it with oil in the water. The pasta will continue to cook after it has come out of the water and if you add oil to the water the sauce will not stick to the pasta.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food to me means authentic. If I am eating Italian, I want to feel like I am in Sicily. Food is an experience and brings people together. Whether I am cooking for someone, or eating myself I want it to do just that.

8. What features are important to you when selecting a Chef Coat? 

I like long sleeve coats that are crisp and professional. I like color to add some personality with the standard pocket on the left arm.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

I really like cooking with wine. From a great Bolognese to a delicious risotto, wine really helps give another depth of flavor.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

I live a few minutes from Dallas, so I’d have to say Dallas. Dallas has so many great places to dine out. No matter what your craving you’ll find something great in Dallas.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

One of my signature dishes is a play on an old-world recipe for meatloaf. It’s an Italian Florentine meatloaf. That dish gets requested quite a bit. I also really like making Veal Marsala. I love the flavor the marsala wine gives the dish. A very elegant meal.

12. Who would you most like to cook for?

That’s a tough one. I would like to cook for Giada De Laurentiis, Gordon Ramsey, and from a different side of things, Clayton Kershaw of the LA Dodgers.

13. What made you decide to become a chef?

I have always had a love for wanting to cook and cook the best most authentic food I could. My Mom’s side of the family was from Sicily, and Italy so that’s where my passion for that cuisine came from. I would buy every cookbook I could on Italian food and study as much as I could. When I got the opportunity, I went to Le Cordon Bleu and learned from a lot of great people. Cooking for people is what I love.

Connect with Our January Chef of the Month:

Website: https://www.chefjohncharles.com/

Instagram: @chef_john_charles

Facebook: Chef John Charles

Twitter: @chef_john_charl

Chef Jonathan’s Famous Lemon Chicken Piccata 

Lemon Chicken Piccata Pic.jpgOur final recipe from our November Chef of the Month, Jonathan Scinto is his famous Lemon Chicken Piccata. The perfect dish for a special occasion, Chef Jonathan turns a few simple ingredients into a delicious meal. Serve with the French bread or pasta and stay in touch with our November Chef of the Month for more impressive and tasty recipes!

Cook time:  30 mins

Serves: 2 people (2 Chicken breasts ea.)

Ingredients: 

1 ½ lbs. Boneless skinless chicken breasts (Pounded ½” thickness)

½ cup flour

Kosher Salt & Cracked Pepper

4 oz. Premium Salted Butter

2 Tbsp. EVOO (Mie Radici Real Sicilian EVOO)

½ cup white wine

1½ cups chicken broth (Kitchen Basics)

2 large lemons, (1 sliced thinly for garnish)

¼ cup jarred capers (drain before use)

Fresh parsley

1 garlic bulb (Chopped)

Directions:

  1. Cut the breasts in half (4 pieces). In a large bowl add flour, salt & pepper. Dredge the chicken, set aside.
  2. Heat 2 oz. of butter & E.V.O.O in a heavy pan. Add the chopped garlic and sauté until a light brown.
  3. Add the chicken cooking about 4 minutes on ea. side, flip once. Both sides should be golden brown. Remove chicken and set aside.
  4. Add wine to the pan & reduce alcohol (about 2 mins), scrape browned bits in the pan. Add broth, lemon juice, capers & butter. Let the mixture reduce by 1/2.
  5. Transfer chicken cutlets to 2 plates, pour sauce on top & garnish with chopped parsley and lemon slices. Serve with French bread.

Connect with Our November Chef of the Month:

Website: https://chefjonathans.wixsite.com/jonathanscinto

Instagram: @chefjonathans

Facebook: @ChefJonathanS

Chef Jonathan’s Filet Mignon Steak Diane with Roasted Asparagus Hollandaise

Steak Diane Filet Mignon.jpgFilet Mignon Steak Diane with Roasted Asparagus Hollandaise 

Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

4 Filet Mignons, approx. 8-10 oz.

5 Shallots, peeled

8 ounces Baby Bella Mushrooms, cleaned

1 1/2 cups Unsalted Butter

3 Garlic Clove, peeled

2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce, to taste

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1/2 cup brandy

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups EVOO

Small handful of Flat-leaf Parsley

1 Bunch Fresh Asparagus

Micro Greens (Radish, Baby Arugula, Kale, Broccoli)

1 cup Greek yogurt

Coarse Black Pepper

Sea Salt

1 cup grated Parm Cheese

2 Fresh Lemons

2 Egg yolks

1 tsp Cayenne pepper

2 tbsps. Honey

1 tsp Poppy Seeds

Directions

Season the steaks on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat on medium-high 2 tbsp. EVOO and 2 Tbsp. butter in a skillet large enough to accommodate the 4 steaks. Quickly sauté the steaks for up to a minute on each side then remove from the pan and set aside to rest.

Preheat an oven to 425 degrees. Place the asparagus into a mixing bowl, drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat the spears, then sprinkle with parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Arrange the asparagus onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in the preheated oven until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice just before serving.

Super Quick Hollandaise Sauce: Beat egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne pepper together in a microwave-safe bowl until smooth. Slowly stream melted butter into the egg yolk mixture while whisking to incorporate. Heat in microwave for 15 to 20 seconds; whisk.

Poppy Seed Yogurt Sauce: Whisk together yogurt, honey, 2 tbsp. lemon and poppy seeds in a small bowl. Put aside.

To make the sauce for the steaks, heat some olive oil in a separate pan. Slice the shallots and add to the pan, allow to soften briefly before slicing and adding the mushrooms with a tablespoon of butter.

Crush in the garlic. Add the Worcestershire sauce, then the mustard and heat through for a minute. Turn up the heat and tilt the pan away from you. Pour the brandy into the far end and allow it to ignite – be careful that the flame that flares up doesn’t singe your eyebrows!

Once the alcohol has burnt off, swirl the juices around the pan. Add the cream and allow the sauce to thicken before turning down the heat. Set aside.

On a 12” Circular Plate, with a plating spoon give a teardrop of Hollandaise in the center and place the asparagus offset the center, then the steaks on top of the asparagus, drizzle a line in the middle with the mushroom sauce over the steak and spoon on top of the steak the micro greens and yogurt sauce.

Connect with Our November Chef of the Month:

Website: https://chefjonathans.wixsite.com/jonathanscinto

Instagram: @chefjonathans

Facebook: @ChefJonathanS

Chef Jonathan’s Mock Scallop Rumaki & Soy Ginger Sauce

mock-scallop.jpg

This weeks recipe will become a household favorite dish, especially if you’re a seafood lover. We can thank Chef Jonathan for sharing the recipe to one of his signature dishes! This recipe has so much versatility, add a side and create a delicious meal or serve it alone as a tasty appetizer! Stay tuned for some more amazing recipes from our November Chef of the Month Jonathan Scinto! 

Ingredients

8 slices bacon, halved

18 sea scallops

2 green onion, thinly sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

18 toothpicks

24 canned water chestnuts, drained and halved horizontally

Fresh chives (optional)

Directions

Microwave bacon on high for 2-2 1/2 minutes, or until partially cooked but still flexible.

Top each scallop with some of the onion and ginger.

Drizzle evenly with lemon juice. Wrap a bacon piece around each scallop, and secure with wooden toothpicks.

Grill scallops on grill tray 2-3 minutes on each side, or until done.

Or broil 3 inches from heat for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until bacon is crisp and scallops are cooked.

Drain on paper towels. Garnish with chives, if desired.

Connect with Our November Chef of the Month:

Website: https://chefjonathans.wixsite.com/jonathanscinto

Instagram: @chefjonathans

Facebook: @ChefJonathanS

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