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March 2021 Chef of the Month – Justin Robinson

We’re excited to introduce our talented March 2021 Chef of the Month – Chef Justin Robinson! Chef Justin was born in Mobile, Alabama and now resides in downtown Atlanta Georgia. He currently owns his own business called the Chef JRob Experience in which he’s a private chef, caterer and a content creator! Adding to the list of his successful endeavors, Chef Justin is also a tax preparer AND Epidemiologist for the Department of Public Health. Chef Justin is big on his work ethic and attitude, he strongly urges that being hard-working is one of the best traits you can have as a Chef. He’s been on MasterChef Season 10, Iron Chef Showdown and is a proud cookbook author! Read more about Chef Justin story below & shop his look!

1. Where were you born? 

I was born in Mobile, Alabama.

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

I am a located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, Georgia. I own my own business called the Chef JRob Experience, where I am a private chef, caterer, and content creator! I am also a tax preparer and Epidemiologist for the Department of Public Health.

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

My favorite tool in the kitchen is my thermostat. Getting the perfect cook temperature on my proteins is crucial to the presentation of a perfect medium rare steak or rare double-chop rack of lamb, or the perfect pink when slicing into my duck breast.

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

I believe that using your senses in the kitchen is key to your success in the kitchen. Multitasking all the time, your eyes can’t simultaneously see everything, so my hearing is my sharpest sense. Being able to tell whether a protein is finished cooking by the way it sounds in a pan or hearing the crackles and pops to time the execution of dishes.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs? 

You don’t have to be the best chef in the kitchen, but you have to be the most hard working chef in kitchen.

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

Plating- People eat with their eyes first and plating can make or break dishes!

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food brings good conversations and good conversations leads to great friendships. My motto is “changing lives one taste bud at a time”. I want my client’s first bite to be life changing and a lasting memory that sparks conversation and relationships outside of the kitchen.

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

I like comfortable material that doesn’t stain and that has a nice athletic fit!

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 

Lime: the acidity of a lime is so versatile in array of my dishes that I prepare. A coconut curry chicken, to a cilantro lime rice, or even a sprinkle of lime salt over a steak.

10. Favorite City to dine out in? 

I loved dining out in San Francisco. The culture of the food was so well thought out and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

11. Best Dish you have ever made? 

The best dish I have made to date was my Mediterranean salmon, over a sweet corn puree, cherry tomatoes and fresh buttered popped popcorn with thyme as a garnish. It was such a summery refreshing dish.

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

On my off days I find myself making tacos with leftover ingredients in the fridge!

13. Person you would most like to cook for?

I would love to cook for President Barak Obama or Snoh Aalegra.

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

After graduating graduate school and trying to figure out my next step in life. I just prayed more frequently than usual asking God for direction on a path that would bring both happiness to me and him and I received a whisper that said “I got you” and I knew that perusing my culinary business full time would bring me ultimate happiness!

Connect with our March 2021 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @chef.jrob
Facebook: @chefjrob
Website: https://chefjrob.com/

Shop His Look
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February 2021 Chef Of The Month – Amy Brace

We’re excited to welcome our February 2021 Chef of the Month into the mix – meet Pastry Chef Amy Brace! She’s the proud owner of Amy’s Cupcake Shoppe, a divine pastry shoppe in Hopkins, Minnesota that serves made-from-scratch custom cakes, gourmet cupcakes, macarons and more! Pastry Chef Amy has been baking her entire life and after working in the medical field for 10 years, she decided to follow her passion. She first began her baking journey out of her home in 2014 with 5 weddings. By 2015, she grew to 36 weddings, and in 2016, her dream came to fruition when she opened her first brick & mortar. Chef Amy is a lover of breakfast food, a proud small business owner and a dedicated, creative individual. Read more about her story below, check out her shoppe & shop her look!

1. Where were you born? 

Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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

I am the owner of Amy’s Cupcake Shoppe in Hopkins, Minnesota.

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

My favorite tool would have to be a piping bag! You can do so many different things with what you put in it such as frosting or macaron batter and changing out tips to create beautiful artwork that comes out of the bag.

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

I would have to say hearing is my sharpest sense. So no secrets around me, ha!

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs? 

For aspiring chefs, I would remind you to never stop learning. There are things to learn from every mistake, every person, and every situation you are put in. Learn not only about what you are passionate about, but what those around you are passionate about too.

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

Every chef should know how to make a beautiful silky buttercream. As a pastry chef, your cakes can live and die by the buttercream you make them with.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food to me is always made from scratch. Every aspect of the dish has been thought out and planned to be together to accent the other parts of the dish. Once they are put together in that perfect bite, you are transported to true beauty in food form.

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

When selecting my chef outfit, it needs to be comfortable, breathable, stretchable, and the arms aren’t too long that they have to be rolled up to not get caught in a mixer.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 

My favorite ingredient to work with would have to be butter. It can be added to so many different desserts, and completely transform them. From using it in ganache to using it in Swiss meringue buttercream, either one wouldn’t be the same without butter.

10. Favorite City to dine out in? 

We haven’t been to too many cities outside our own, so I would have to say Hopkins! We have everything we need from everyday staples, to authentic tacos and amazing pub food.

11. Best Dish you have ever made? 

The best dish I have ever made I would say was a turtle bonfire cake. It was a chocolate cake filled with salted caramel, chocolate ganache and pecans frosted in toasted homemade marshmallow frosting. It’s like a cozy summer night all wrapped up in a cake!

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

Breakfast! I would eat breakfast all day every day if I could. I started making our bread for home fresh anytime we need a new loaf, and my favorite has been French toast made with Japanese milk bread topped with bourbon maple syrup and bacon.

13. Person you would most like to cook for?

I would love to bake for Kristen Bell, because I think she would love the desserts we make at the Shoppe, and would think our little bakery in Hopkins is adorable not only for adults, but for families with kiddos.

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

I have been baking all my life with my mom, and had been working in the medical field for 10 years. After watching Cupcake Wars and bringing my experiments into work, it turns out I was ready for a change. I started out of my home in 2014 with 5 weddings, and quickly grew to 36 weddings in 2015, and opened my first brick & mortar in June 2016. We have grown a crazy amount as a company in the last 4.5 years, and say cheers to many more!

Connect with our February 2021 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @amyscupcakeshoppe
Facebook: @amyscupcakeshoppe
Twitter: @AmysCupcakeShop
Website: https://www.amyscupcakeshoppe.com/
Pinterest: @amyscupcakeshop

Chef Albertho’s Breakfast Potato Recipe

We’re a big believer in all things potatoes and our January 2021 Chef of the Month, Chef Albertho’s Breakfast Potato recipe does not fail to disappoint! Add poached eggs and homemade mayo to give the recipe a little kick.

Ingredients

● 2 Russet potatoes
● 5 organic eggs
● 2 limes
● 1 bottle red wine
● 1 cup of butter
● 2 cups vegetable oil

Potato Directions

  1. Peel the potatoes ( leave them in cold water while working).
  2. Cut potatoes into circles ( use a ring cutter to make different shapes if have one). Cut the potatoes half the length of an egg.
  3. Boil the potatoes on medium heat to not break them and cook until soft.
  4. Poke with a small knife in the middle. Add salt to taste on the water.
  5. Dry potatoes and sear on high heat with up to 2 oz of butter (sear until golden brown).

Poached Egg Directions

  1. Add red wine and squeeze a lime. Put lime juice in a medium pot on medium heat
  2. Bring water to a soft boil, and gently add the 2 eggs ( crack the eggs ahead of time and add to a small container).
  3. Keep wine on a soft boil until eggs are firm but soft in the middle. Add salt and pepper when eggs are done.

Fresh Mayo Directions

  1. Melt 4 oz of butter. Add 3 egg yolks in a blender.
  2. Blend on medium, add melted butter and 2 cups of oil slowly.
  3. Add 1 lime zest and juice to finish & salt to taste.

Chef Albertho’s Crispy Chicken & Tomato Puree

For a delectable and flavorful meal, try our January Chef of the Month, Chef Albertho’s Crispy Chicken & Tomato Puree recipe! This dish is packed with fresh ingredients and is simple to make. Whether you’ll want to share? That’s up to you.

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken thighs drums in
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 small can tomato puree
  • 4 fresh plum tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup of butter
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 lime

Directions

Chicken

  1. Season chicken with olive oil and salt ( let rest for 2 minutes).
  2. Sear chicken on a high to medium heat until golden brown and roast in oven at 350°  for 15 minutes (skin side only + add slices of butter and thyme to add flavor ).

Tomato Puree

  1. Cut tomatoes into big dices.
  2. Sauté the fresh tomato with garlic cloves and oil.
  3. When softening, add the tomato puree and blend on high with 2 TBS olive oil+ up to 4 oz of butter.

Sautéed Kale

  1. Sauté the kale on a small sauté pan on medium heat with 2 oz butter
  2. Add half a squeeze of lime juice (add salt to taste).

White Wine Sauce

  1. From the pan that the chicken was cooked in, add wine and reduce on medium heat until 50% reduction.
  2. Add 3 oz of butter and mix until incorporated (add half of the lime).

Connect with our January 2021 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @the_upcoming.chef
Twitter: @Chef_Albertho
YouTube: Albertho Appolon
Young Chef Generation: @youngchefgeneration

Chef Albertho’s Cake of Heaven Recipe

It’s the new year and we’ve got just the treat for you: Chef Albertho’s Cake of Heaven Recipe! This sweet, creamy cake is made with fluffy pancakes, sweet cream and candied pecans to top it off. No wonder Chef Albertho calls this cake the ‘Cake of Heaven’ – your taste buds would agree!

Chef Albertho's Cake of Heaven Recipe

Serves: 5

Ingredients

Pancake Ingredients
Double for 5 people

  • 2 cups flour.
  • 3 tablespoons sugar.
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder.
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  • 1 3/4 cups milk or as needed.
  • 2 eggs. Beat white separate until fluffy
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil

Syrup Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cup blueberries
  • 2 jalapenos

Spicy Cream Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeno

Candied Pecans Ingredients

  • 2 cups pecans
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup  water

Directions

Pancake Directions

  1. In a large bowl, add banana, egg yolks, melted butter, sugar and salt ( mix well ).
  2. Add milk, and all dry ingredients ( mix well until fully incorporated).
  3. In a separate bowl or a electrical mixer, add the egg whites and beat until smooth and fluffy.
  4. Fold the egg white into the cake mixture.
  5. Cook pancakes on medium heat until golden on each side ( use a 3oz ladle ).

Syrup Directions

  1. Add all ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Once boiled, it’s done. Cut jalapenos in half.

Spicy Cream Directions

  1. Add sugar and cream in a mixer or a large bowl.
  2. Whip the cream until nice and firm .
  3. Add lime zest and jalapeno zest.

Candied Pecans Directions

  1. Add all ingredients in a small sauté pan
  2. On a medium heat, cook together until sugar is mixed well with the pecans.zest.

Connect with our January 2021 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @the_upcoming.chef
Twitter: @Chef_Albertho
YouTube: Albertho Appolon
Young Chef Generation: @youngchefgeneration

January 2021 Chef of the Month- Albertho Appolon

We’re starting off the new year with our January 2021 Chef of the Month, Albertho Appolon! Born in Haiti, Chef Albertho is now based in Texas. His scratch-made cuisine is composed of French and Caribbean creations – his dishes often use fresh and in season ingredients to dazzle his customers.
In addition to being an excellent executive chef, he’s a food photographer, traveler and consultant. Chef Albertho is the founder of the Young Chef Generation, a program that aims to help young chefs who are often looked over for opportunities and visibility because of their age. His dream to be a role model for a young generation of chefs has already become a reality. Find the rest of his story below, stay tuned for his upcoming recipes & shop his look!

1. Where were you born? 
I was born in Haiti.

2. Where do you work and where are you based? 
I’m currently an Executive Chef. I’m also traveling and cooking. 

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

4. What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses?
That would be taste.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs? 
Be Committed to Self-Improvement 
● You must be willing to take constructive criticism, and be aware of your  weaknesses.
● To improve, you must first draw a map.
● Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses.
● Balance continued practice of what you’re already good at, with learning new  things.
● Keep moving. Keep trying new things. Switching to a new restaurant can open your eyes to a new world, new techniques, and new culture. No matter how much I thought I knew, it always surprised me how many different ways there could be to prepare the simplest dishes.

6. What is one culinary tip every chef should know and perfect?
Build Your Brand
● Although most of your time is spent in the kitchen, you must build a visual  brand that invites people to see your own personal creativity.
● Social Media is a crucial component of connecting to your customers
● As a Chef, you are more than just your current job. You are a leader, an  influencer, and an entrepreneur; you must create your own platform to showcase your creations.

7. What does good food mean to you?
Good food means great taste and creativity.

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

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 
Anything in season.

10. Favorite City to dine out in? 
Los Angeles.

11. Best Dish you have ever made? 
I’ve made a lot of dishes in the past couple years, but if I must choose it will be the  Fluke Crudo that I made. The Fish is cured with salt and sugar, smoked. serve with orange citrus, sliced jalapeño, avocado puree, and crispy Quinoa. 

12. What you like to eat most often on your days off? 
I usually cook anything in my fridge because I enjoy cooking a lot.

13. Person you would most like to cook for?
My girlfriend…she’s a big fan of my delicious dishes.

14. What made you decide to become a chef?
Growing up, I was always in the kitchen with my mom as she prepared food for our family  and friends. Being in the kitchen was a way to connect more deeply with my mom, and I began to find satisfaction in the act of feeding people.
After moving to America, I began  working at a Brazilian restaurant called Beer 360. My moment of inspiration happened when I moved up from dishwasher to food runner. Being a Food Runner was more exciting than being a dishwasher. I was the final person touching the plates before they reached the  customers. It gave me a special feeling to watch someone look at the food when it first  arrived and say thank you to me after taking the first bite. In this position, I was able to see all of their delighted facial expressions, and it made me feel good, even though I wasn’t the one cooking. It was there that I fell in love with the idea of feeding people. I remember spending  most of my time at work standing in the kitchen, because that was the place where the food  runners waited for the food to be finished so that it didn’t get cold on its way to the  customers.
From that point of view, I got to see the whole preparation process: the fire, the  cooking, the baking, the roasting, the sautéing, the frying, the sauce making, the joy the cooks had when they finished a dish, and how happy they were when I told them that the  customers really enjoyed the food. It sparked a desire in me to be the one preparing the food  for people to enjoy. Through this experience, I fell in love with food, and the way that the entire experience, from kitchen to table, could bring people joy.

Connect with our January 2021 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @the_upcoming.chef
Twitter: @Chef_Albertho
YouTube: Albertho Appolon
Young Chef Generation: @youngchefgeneration

Chef Roshara’s Blackened Sea Scallops and Shrimp Recipe

Scallops, Shrimp and Seafood broth – that’s what we call a delectable mixture of flavors and delicious food! Chef Ro, our September 2020 Chef of the Month‘s Blackened Sea Scallop and Shrimp Recipe, with an exceptional focus on the Seafood broth, is a mouthwatering seafood recipe that you’ll be craving.

Ingredients

  • 7 1/2 stick butter
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 5 shallots, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14 cups white wine
  • 2 qt Seafood Broth (reduce) 
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp
  • 1 tbsp. saffron
  • ¼ c chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the shallots and garlic and cooked until softened, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the wine and saffron.
  4. Cook the scallops and shrimp and season. Toss into butter & coat with sauce.
  5. Add and reduce seafood broth and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Finish with fresh herbs.
  6. Give it a good stir, cover the pot, serve with crostini bread, scallops and shrimp.

Connect with our September 2020 Chef of the Month

Chef Roshara’s French Cut Chicken Recipe

A juicy piece of seared chicken goes a long way. Chef Roshara, our September Chef of the Month, has provided her French Cut chicken recipe. Her use of fresh ingredients and seasoning make it a succulent dish you’ll crave and love.

Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 3 tbsp Black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Turmeric
  • 3 bunches Rosemary chopped
  • ¼ C Dried basil
  • 5 tbsp dried oregano
  • 4 tbsp Paprika
  • 1 ½ tbsp cayenne

Directions

  1. Marinate the chicken with the ingredients.
  2. Let the chicken rest at room temperature after marinating.
  3. Using a skillet, sear the chicken skin-side down until it’s nice and golden.
  4. Serve with blistered tomatoes.

Connect with our September 2020 Chef of the Month

Chef Roshara’s Jerk Short Ribs Recipe

We’re in for a treat – our September Chef of the Month has shared her Jerk Short Ribs recipe, which she famously served at the James Beard House! The key to the mouth-watering dish? The marinade!

Ingredients

  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Spanish onions sliced 
  • 1 Habanero/Scotch Bonnets 
  • Canola oil 
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 ½ C brown sugar smoked 
  • 4 TB smoked paprika
  • 4 tsp fresh thyme
  • 4 tsp fresh bay leaf
  • 4 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp each allspice, cinnamon, ground cloves, cumin, nutmeg, ground black pepper
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 2 TB Worcestershire 

Directions

  1. Combine everything in a blender or mortar and pestle and make a paste.
  2. Use the paste as a marinade and marinate the short ribs for 24 hours. Put the ribs in a covered container and refrigerate for those 24 hours.
  3. Braise short ribs for 5 hours or until tender.
  4. Serve & enjoy!

Connect with our September 2020 Chef of the Month

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

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