Tag Archives: catering chef

February 2022 Chef of the Month – Chef Lauren Van Liew (Chef Covas)

We’re excited to welcome our February 2022 Chef of the Month into the mix – meet Chef Lauren Van Liew (Chef Covas). Chef Covas was born in Hackensack New Jersey and now resides in Middletown, New Jersey. She’s a previous Food Network’s Chopped champion AND Supermarket Stakeout champion! Today, Chef Covas is the Executive Chef and owner of Chef Covas Catering. Her catering company prides itself on its wide variety of services – no job is too big or small! Chef Covas has wanted to be a chef ever since she could remember, and we’re so glad that she’s accomplished her dreams! Read more about Chef Covas’ story below and keep an eye out for some of her delicious recipes.

1. Where were you born? 

I was born in Hackensack, NJ / raised in Middletown, NJ

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

I am the Executive Chef & owner of Chef Covas Catering

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

There is no other tool more important than my Chef Knife!

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

My smell is by far the sharpest sense I have.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Don’t be scared to challenge yourself, get out of your comfort zone and remember that it’s all trial and error. You could never go wrong with creativity!

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

Simple knife skills are the basis of any good chef and every chef should know how to clean raw garlic properly as well as dice an onion.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Food is life! Food is love! Food is everything! Food is what brings people together. Good food makes my soul complete.

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

When picking a “chef outfit” the most important thing is to be comfortable and look professional. I do like a tapered jacket look so I can come across feminine as well as well put together.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 

The base of my cooking starts with good olive oil & coarse sea salt so those two ingredients go a long way in making a dish and bringing out the flavor.

10. Favorite City to dine out in? 

NYC – the best city.

11. Best Dish you have ever made? 

I have to say my whole roasted Branzino Over Braised Escarole, Crispy Pancetta & White Beans is one of my best dishes. This dish is super flavorful and well-balanced.

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

I am obsessed with seafood and any type of seafood, but there is nothing better than a good raw bar and chilled seafood salad.

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

I find the most enjoyment when I cook for my family, especially my mother & grandmother who I really admire in the kitchen. To be able to cook for her and see her proud of me and enjoy the food I make is the best feeling ever.

14. What are some of the difficulties you’d say that chefs most often encounter?

Job stability right now. We live in a crazy time and keeping the small restaurants open has been hard for young chefs and small businesses. When you get into a kitchen, gaining respect and working your way up the line is never easy, so be modest and honest.

15. What made you decide to become a chef?

Being in the restaurant industry and in the kitchen is all I know; I have wanted to be a chef ever since I could remember. There is something about the kitchen that calms me. My family has taught me that so much can be said through food, and I have always been able to express myself that way.

Connect with our February 2022 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @chef_covas
TikTok: @chefcovascatering
Facebook: @ChefCovas
YouTube: Chef Covas Catering

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Chef Gina’s White Bean & Swiss Chard Soup

A hearty soup goes a long way. Our May 2021 Chef of the Month, Chef Gina, has shared her famous White Bean & Swiss Chard Soup recipe! Whether you’re staying cozy or just trying to spice up your soup game, this dish is the ideal crowd-pleaser.

Ingredients

  • 1-pound sweet raw Italian pork sausage
  • 1-pound spicy raw Italian pork sausage
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 medium brown onion, diced
  • 1½ cups celery hearts, diced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced]
  • 1 bunch rainbow swiss chard, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 can white beans, drained
  • 8 cups chicken stock (homemade or store bought)

Directions

Step 1: In a large soup pot over medium to medium-high heat, sauté pork sausages in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until golden brown, breaking up and rendering fat out. Transfer sausage to a bowl and return pan to stovetop.

Step 2: Over medium heat, add butter, diced carrot, onion, celery, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Sauté until soft, then add garlic and chopped chard. Add browned pork sausage and can of drained beans, stirring gently to combine.

Step 3: Add chicken stock and bring pot to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. Let soup sit for at least 30 minutes before serving, garnishing with thyme leaves. As always, soup is better the next day so it’s a great recipe to make ahead of time, too.

Connect with our May 2021 Chef of the Month

Instagram: @malibuseasidechef

Facebook: @malibuseasidechef 

Website: https://www.malibuseasidechef.com/

Chef Gina’s Fall-Inspired Spring Rolls

Our May 2021 Chef of the Month, Chef Gina, has shared her delicious fall-inspired spring rolls recipe! This dish is full of savory veggies like carrots, butternut squash and fresh additions like mint and cilantro. Her recipe serves 8 rolls – find it below!

Ingredients

  • 1 pack spring roll wrappers
  • 1 pack edible flowers (sourced here from Gourmet Sweet Botanicals)
  • 2 red or orange bell peppers, julienned
  • 1½ cups carrots, julienned
  • 1½ cups butternut squash, boiled until tender and julienned
  • 1 bunch each of fresh basil, cilantro and mint, stems removed

Roll Directions

Step 1: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add rice noodles to cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain rice noodles and pour cold water over to cool.

Step 2: In a medium bowl, mix carrots, bell peppers and butternut squash.

Step 3: Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip 1 wrapper for a few seconds and lay flat on a wooden board. (Two wrappers can be used if they break easily.) On the center of wrapper, place edible flowers first, then continue with a handful of rice noodles, vegetable and squash mix, and herbs.

Step 4: Fold uncovered sides towards the center of wrapper, then roll gently from one end to the other until sealed snugly. Rolls can be kept whole, cut into pieces like sushi, or cut in half diagonally.

Dipping Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 10-ounce bottle of your preferred sweet chili sauce
  • 1 bunch each fresh basil, cilantro and mint, stems removed.

Dipping Sauce Directions

Blend sauce and herbs in a blender until herbs are in small bits. Serve beside spring rolls.

Connect with our May 2021 Chef of the Month

Instagram: @malibuseasidechef

Facebook: @malibuseasidechef 

Website: https://www.malibuseasidechef.com/

May 2021 Chef of the Month – Gina Clarke

Our May 2021 Chef of the Month is the talented Chef Gina Clarke! Chef Gina is California-born and raised and now resides in Malibu. She’s the head chef and owner of Malibu Seaside Chef, a high-end private chef service that provides catering, fine dining and more!
Chef Gina first studied at the French Epicurean School in Los Angeles and then apprenticed under renowned Chef Giuliano Bugialli in Florence and Wolfgang Puck in Malibu. Among this chef’s clientele are movie stars, musicians and athletes!
Chef Gina is passionate about traveling and creating delicious masterpieces. She is strong-willed and open for new techniques, ideas and methods of cooking. She believes that you can always learn from someone else when it comes to food. We can’t wait to introduce her and some delicious recipes!

1. Where were you born? 

I was born and raised in San Luis Obispo, California which lies on the Central Coast. Incredible coastline with beautiful beaches, farms, vineyards and farm to table food.

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

I am head chef and owner of Malibu Seaside Chef. I am a high-end private chef that provides services for catering, fine dining, and events. I am based out of Malibu, California, but service all of Southern California and have traveled to other states and countries to work.

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

Anything “Le Creuset” I’ve been using their pans for years and they are tried and proven with all dishes. They are beautiful, nonporous, not-reactive and resistant to scratches. They retain the heat and cook evenly throughout.

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

For me, the sense of “smell” is the sharpest of any. I can almost tell what food will taste like by the smell and if it needs any adjustments. Smell also brings back memories of prior food, restaurants and travel.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

You need to always educate yourself and be open for new techniques, ideas and methods of doing things. You can always learn from someone when It comes to food.

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

Every Chef should be able to improvise in times of need. You may be faced with many obstacles that force you to adapt and overcome in order to succeed. I’ve shown up to cook five course meals and the oven doesn’t work, thus, I’ve had to improvise and cook entire meals on the BBQ.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food to me incorporates all sense, I love the way food smells, tastes, the color, the textures and how it makes me feel. There’s no better food than when it brings people together.

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

The features to me that are important in a chef’s outfit are comfort, proper fit, durability and it has to be stylish.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 

I love using aged Balsamic, I can use it in marinates, salads dressing, soups, drizzled over fruit and veggies.

10. Favorite City to dine out in? 

Florence, Italy. I attended cooking school in Florence, Italy and was able to sample the flavors throughout the region. It’s a magical city with incredible dining, flavors, wine and old-world restaurants.

11. Best Dish you have ever made? 

It’s hard to pick, but my husband dies over my Osso Buco. Veal shanks braised with vegetables, wine, and broth served over risotto or polenta.

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

I definitely enjoy food and dining out gives me inspiration. My favorite foods to eat on my days off are Indian, Persian, Thai and Sushi. I love big, bold flavor and lots of spices.

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

I think it would be amazing to cook for the Pope, I’d make him some amazing Italian food and finish it off with dessert and a good espresso.

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

I was an international model from the age of 16 to my early 30’s and was fortunate travel, dine and sample food around the world. This captured my attention to food and I wanted to do something after my modeling days were over that was creative and innovative. Becoming a chef fulfilled that creative side in me and allowed me to continue supporting myself in a way that I felt needed.

Connect with our May 2021 Chef of the Month

Instagram: @malibuseasidechef

Facebook: @malibuseasidechef 

Website: https://www.malibuseasidechef.com/

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