Tag Archives: chef of the month

Chef Chris’ Dulce De Leche Pavlova Recipe

Dulce De Leche Pavlova

We’re here for all of the meringue…good thing our January 2022 Chef of the Month, Chef Chris shared his delicious Dulce de leche Pavlova recipe! Crispy on the outside, soft and light on the inside – this dessert is a dream come true. Check it out below!

Ingredients

  • 6 egg whites, fresh and at room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup dulce de leche or condensed milk or both
  • Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries to use as toppings
  • Mint leaves, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 9-inch circle on the parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites at medium speed until stiff, about 5 minutes. Gradually add sugar, about 1 spoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until thick and glossy. Gently fold in vanilla extract, vinegar, and cornstarch.
  3. With a spatula, gently add the mixture inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper. Working from the center, spread mixture toward the outside edge, building edge slightly making sure all sides are even.
  4. Bake for 90 minutes. Turn the oven off and let it cool in the oven for an hour.
  5. In a small bowl, beat heavy cream. Add powder sugar, beat until stiff peaks form.
  6. Fill the center of the meringue with whipped cream, dulce de leche, and or condensed milk, and top with desired fruit and mint. Serve immediately.

Additional note from Chef Chris:

“So, I’ve made a few of these, and here are some of my tips to make the perfect Pavlova”…

  • Clean your mixer, spatula, and everything with white vinegar to make sure everything is extra clean.
  • Make sure to use fresh egg whites, and they must be at room temperature.
  • DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN, this will ruin it all.
  • Make sure you turn off the oven after an hour and a half of it cooking and allowing it to cool for an entire hour…. again, DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN.

Connect with our January 2022 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @chefchrisvaldes
Website: https://www.chefchrisvaldes.com/
YouTube: Chef Chris Valdes
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chefchrisvaldes
Twitter: @chefchrisvaldes
Order His Cookbook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0578886456

January 2022 Chef of the Month – Chef Chris Valdes

We’re kicking off 2022 with our January Chef of the Month, the talented Miami native, Chris Valdes! Chef Chris is a Celebrity Chef, cookbook author, and the owner of Chris Valdes Catering, a full production events company! You may have seen Chef Chris on his YouTube channel, on the cover of several magazines or even on the Food Network and Hallmark Channel. His passion for food began at a very young age. Growing up in a family restaurant allowed Chef Chris to experience his love of food first-hand. He dreamed of motivating people around the world to cook and have fun in the kitchen. Today, he’s made his culinary dreams come true. We can’t wait to share his story with you and some of his Latin-inspired dishes!

1. Where were you born?
I was born on May 11, 1991, in a place that I call paradise and home: Miami, Florida. Growing up in Miami in the ’90s was truly a gift. Miami is such a magical place. I’ve had the pleasure of traveling to many places around the world, and I always say the same thing: there is no place like home. You have to live here to understand its madness and why it’s so special. Our culture, the hot food scene, our beaches, and even our craziness make this place beyond special. You can walk the streets and see something new every day.

2. Where do you work and where are you based? 
I am Chef and Owner of Chris Valdes Catering, a full production events company in Miami, FL. This past July the company turned 11 years old. Yup, I opened it when I was 19 years young.

3. What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces/dishes?
My favorite kitchen tool is my chef’s knife. It’s the one tool that comes into contact with almost everything and anything that you prepare. It’s the one tool I will always need and rely on.

4. What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses?
One of my sharpest senses is my sight. I can tell if something is overcooked, undercooked, or even spoiled just by looking at it. It’s something that developed with experience and time, and it is truly a gift.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?
Follow your dreams. If a career in culinary arts is what you desire, go for it. In the meantime, I recommend a part-time job at a local restaurant because we all love food but being part of the creation process is a different token. If you see you like it, and your mind wanders around the possibilities of creating a dish, then pursue it and don’t look back.

6. What is one culinary tip every chef should know and perfect?
The one culinary tip that every chef should know is that love is the most important ingredient in any dish and it’s also the one ingredient that is missing in many dishes.

7. What does good food mean to you?
Good food is nurturing to the soul. Good food is love.

8. What features are important to you when selecting your chef outfit?
When selecting a chef outfit the one feature that is most important to me is durability because I don’t have time to be buying chef coats all the time. I like a good product, that will last and be worth what I paid for.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 
Garlic, who doesn’t love it? Goes good on everything!

10. Favorite city to dine out in?
New Orleans is one of my favorite cities to dine out. Every dish has a story, a tradition, and a method to it. It’s filled with layers of flavor, love, and comfort. As soon as I get to New Orleans the first thing on my mind is a shrimp, chicken, and smokey Andouille sausage gumbo.

11. Best dish you have ever made? 
One of the best dishes I’ve ever made was my stuffed pork shoulder. Juicy moist citrus and garlic marinated pork stuffed with rice, ground beef, and sweet plantain mixture, and as the pork cooks, all its drippings fall on that rice mixture and after a few hours, you have that crispy pork skin.

12. What do you like to eat most often on your days off? 
On my days off my cravings could run wild but I can usually settle for a crisp, juicy fried chicken or a seared steak cooked to perfection. And I always have to end it on a sweet note like a lite brownie or a warm toffee nut cake with cold ice cream.

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 
Chef Emeril Lagasse, the chef on TV, my culinary superhero (after my mom, of course), and he’s probably one of the reasons that I am part of the food world today. I wanted to be just like him. I wanted to motivate people from around the world to cook and have fun in the kitchen. I wanted to inspire kids to follow their dreams. He is the one person I would love to cook for and with.

14. What are some of the difficulties you’d say that chefs most often encounter?
One of the difficulties I encounter the most as a chef is asking myself after each and every dish, does that taste good? Was that my best? Will they like it? Will they understand and appreciate my vision and process for this creation? It’s something that always crosses my mind, not because of self-doubt but because as a chef I am always striving for perfection. It’s haunting!

15. What made you decide to become a chef?

Growing up in a family restaurant has had a huge impact on me. I’ve even asked my father if I was conceived there during the busy lunch hour, as I love food and am always in a hurry.

Walking inside the restaurant kitchen every day after school was truly a thrill for me. I would just close my eyes, and, with the smells lingering through the air, I would envision what creation Mom was cooking up. Anytime I would walk into that kitchen I had questions for my mom—questions that she always took the time to carefully answer. What are you cooking today? Why does it smell like that? What are you adding to that pot? What is today’s special? And the most important question of all… may I taste?

Sometimes I would just sit down on the kitchen counter and quietly observe everything from the cooking in the kitchen, to how my father ran the restaurant –  it was like a hobby for me. These observations taught me more than I could imagine, and they would one day prove to be very handy. This along with watching Emeril for the first time on TV led me to follow my dreams of becoming a Chef.

Connect with our January 2022 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @chefchrisvaldes
Website: https://www.chefchrisvaldes.com/
YouTube: Chef Chris Valdes
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chefchrisvaldes
Twitter: @chefchrisvaldes
Order His Cookbook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0578886456

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Chef Pablo’s Hibiscus Crème Caramelle, Lavender Crème Anglaise & Puffed Rice Recipe

Creamy, fragrant and delicious – Chef Pablo’s Hisbiscus Crème Caramelle, Lavender Crème Anglaise & Puffed Rice Recipe is a literal dream come true! Add this November Chef of the Month’s recipe to your cooking repertoire.

Recipe Components

Crème caramelle                           1 ea

Lavender dust                               1 tbsp

Lavender crème anglais               2 silver spoons

Hibiscus puffed rice                     2 tbsp

Crème Caramelle Ingredients

Water                                  300 grs

Cream                                 620 grs

Salt                                     0.6 grs

Recipe Components

Egg                                     150 grs

Hibiscus                              60

Agar                                    5.94

Sugar                                  120 grs

  1. Combine water, cream, hibiscus and agar and take to a boil. Simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it sit for 2 more minutes. Strain with a chinois.
  2. Cool down just enough to make sure the liquid will not cook the eggs.
  3. Mix eggs, salt and sugar without adding any air.
  4. Mix both preparations and pass through a chinois.
  5. Fill in the crème caramelle molds with 90 grs of the hibiscus batter.
  6. Cook at 300 for 40 minutes on a bain-marie.
  7. Remove the molds from the water and let it sit in a cooler for 24 hours.

Lavender Crème Ingredients

Egg yolk                              15 ea.

Milk                                     1500 grs.

Sugar                                   225 grs.

Lavender                            9 grs.

Lavender Crème Directions

  1. Mix the egg yolks with half of the sugar on a metal bowl.
  2. Take the milk to a boil with the lavender and the other half of the sugar.
  3. Slowly pour half of the hot milk over the yolks while whisking.
  4. Combine both preparations and cook until 185 F.
  5. Strain with a chinois on a bowl over an ice bath.

Sweet Hibiscus Powder

Hibiscus

Powder sugar

On the spice grinder blend the hibiscus until powder. Add the powder sugar, mix and sift.

Keep on an airtight container.

Hibiscus Puffed Rice

Jasmine rice

Sweet hibiscus powder

  1. Cook the rice in water for a few minutes until the rice is overcooked.
  2. Spread the rice on a parchment paper and dehydrate it in the dehydrator at F.
  3. Break down the dehydrated rice on the robotcoup.
  4. Deep fry at F until the rice puffs. Season with the sweet hibiscus powder

Lavender Powder

Dehydrate lavender at 110 F for 10 hrs. Blend and dehydrate at 110 F for 5 more hours.

Sift and keep in an airtight container.

Connect with our November 2021 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @chefpablolamon
Website: https://www.pablolamon.com/
Virtual Classes: https://www.pablolamon.com/virtual-cooking-classes

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Chef Pablo’s Beet-Glazed Short Rib Recipe

We’re drooling over our November 2021 Chef of the Month‘s Beet-Glazed Short Rib with Carrot puree & Oyster Mushrooms recipe! Whip up Chef Pablo’s delicious dish for a tasty fall meal or bring it to your next holiday potluck, and it may just become the new hit!

Braised Short Rib Ingredients

  • 135 grs Braised short rib    
  • Beet glaze
  • 70 grs Carrot puree                                 
  • 50 grs Pickled brussels                         
  • Oyster mushrooms         
  • Maldon salt       
  • Short rib
  • Beef stock
  • 40 gr Rosemary
  • 40 gr Kombu
  • Salt
  • 30 gr Whole black peppercorns
  • Canola oil

Braised Short Rib Directions

  1. Salt the short ribs and with the canola oil sear them on a pan.
  2. Deglaze with some of the beef stock.
  3. In a 4” hotel pan put the seared short ribs, the whole black peppercorns in a sachet, the rosemary and the kombu.
  4. Braise at 300 F for 3:40 hrs.
  5. Take the hotel pan out of the oven and let the short rib rest in the juice for 20 minutes.
  6. Carefully remove the beef and strain, first with a big colander to discard all the solids, then double strain 5 times with 2 fine mesh chinoises. The last time, put a sport towel between the colanders.
  7. Let the short rib rest in the walk-in cooler for 24 hours.
  8. Portion the short rib in 4.5 oz squares. Keep the trimmings for croquetas.

Beet Glaze Ingredients

  • 1,000 grs Cooking jus
  • 500 grs Beet juice
  • 50 grs Butter
  • Salt

Beet Glaze Directions

  1. Reducte the cooking juice and beet juice until glazy, finish with the butter off heat. Keep warm.

Carrot Puree & Brussels Ingredients

  • Carrots
  • 120 grs Orange juice
  • Thyme
  • 100 grs Brown Butter
  • 8.5 grs Dry Chipotle
  • 50 grs Garlic Confit
  • 50 gts Miso paste
  • Salt
  • 13.5 grs Guarg gum
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • 85 grs Sugar
  • Water
  • 25 grs Whole Coriander
  • Black Pepper

Carrot Puree & Brussels Directions

  1. Take all the ingredients to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 1 minute.
  2. Let cool down at room temperature and then whisk in the guar gum.
  3. Keep cold.
  4. For the Brussels: Clean the brussels, cut them in half and remove the middle hard part. Shave them and keep them on an airtight container.

Seared Oyster Mushroom Ingredients

  • 1 pint Cleaned Oyster Mushrooms
  • 1 tasting spoon Shallots brunoise
  • 1/2 spoon Rosemary

Meal Plating

  1. Sear one portion of short rib on a small saute pan, deglaze with 2 oz of beef stock, and covered, put it in the oven.
  2. Dress 50 grams of shaved brussels with 3 tasting spoons of pickling juice.
  3. Pull out the short rib and check with a cake tester that is hot in the middle. Let it rest over a resting rack.
  4. Heat oil on a small sauté pan and sear the mushrooms. When they are well seared on one side, flip them, and add the shallots and rosemary. Cook for 30 more seconds and salt them. Pull them out of the heat.
  5. Plate the warm carrot pure, place the short rib over it and glaze it with the beet glaze.
  6. On one side place the sautéed mushrooms and next to them the pickled Brussels sprouts.

Connect with our November 2021 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @chefpablolamon
Website: https://www.pablolamon.com/
Virtual Classes: https://www.pablolamon.com/virtual-cooking-classes

November 2021 Chef of the Month – Pablo Lamon

We’re eager to kick off this month with our talented November 2021 Chef of the Month, Pablo Lamon. Chef Pablo was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and began his culinary career at the Mausi Sebess culinary institute. Success is not unknown to this chef – he’s worked at the award-winning Palacio Duhai – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, onboard Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Silhouette, and has even competed on Top Chef! Today, he lives in Miami Beach and is the Executive Chef at the Conrad Hotel Miami. Chef Pablo encompasses passion and dedication. He loves every single thing about cooking and has never looked back. All his accomplishments further prove the notion.

1. Where were you born?
Buenos Aires, Argentina. Most beautiful City in the World!

2. Where do you work and where are you based? 
I am the Executive Chef at the Conrad Hotel Miami, and I live in Miami Beach.

3. What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces/dishes?
Well, I really like using tweezers, they allow you to be very precise when plating.

4. What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses?
I would say smell.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?
Make learning your number one priority, not the money, not the city you want to live in. Find a Chef that you want to work for, and apply to work at his/her Restaurant, no matter where the Restaurant is located or how much they pay you.

6. What is one culinary tip every chef should know and perfect?
How to properly make an omelette. It is embarrassing when I see Chefs that have great experience and don’t know how to do make an omelette.

7. What does good food mean to you?
A good dish, for me, must be nutritious, delicious, meaningful and beautiful. In that order.

8. What features are important to you when selecting your chef outfit?
Well, it has to be fresh, to breathe well and to look good!

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 
I guess it would have to be some cut of beef that you can braise, like Ossobuco. I love long cooking methods!

10. Favorite city to dine out in?
New Orleans for sure!

11. Best dish you have ever made? 
I am pretty proud of my Beet Hummus, people love it!

12. What do you like to eat most often on your days off? 
Well, I usually try to have a balanced diet, so I try to go for veggies and maybe fish or chicken breast. I also eat a lot of sushi!

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 
Definitely Daniel Humm, I would love his feedback.

14. What are some of the difficulties you’d say that chefs most often encounter?
I guess a big one is living a balanced life, especially at the beginning of your career. There is a lot unnecessary stress, crazy long hours, and bad nutrition. Luckily, now that is changing and there is more consciousness about having a healthy lifestyle in the kitchen.

15. What made you decide to become a chef?
It is weird because even though my Mom is a great cook, I did not have that “growing up cooking with your mother” type of childhood. I did start experimenting at around 15-16 years old, just because I was bored during lunch and I would play with the different ingredients…and then eat them! So that was definitely fun. When the time came to decide what I wanted to do after college, for some reason, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to become a Chef. And from the first time that I stepped into my Culinary School, I just loved every single thing about cooking and that love has never left me!

Connect with our November 2021 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @chefpablolamon
Website: https://www.pablolamon.com/
Virtual Classes: https://www.pablolamon.com/virtual-cooking-classes

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Chef Carline’s Thai-Inspired Chicken Curry & Coconut Milk Recipe

We’re drooling over Chef Carline’s Thai-inspired Chicken Curry & Coconut Milk Recipe. The savory flavors paired with the creaminess of the coconut milk create a memorable dish for meals to come!

Chef Carline's Thai-Inspired Chicken Curry & Coconut Milk Recipe

Ingredients

*Please make substitutions where necessary based on dietary needs or food allergies

  • 1 package chicken for stir fry approximately ~1 lb.
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 teaspoon Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons Yellow Curry Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Red Curry Paste
  • 2 teaspoons Tsang Bangkok Peanut Sauce (optional)
  • ½ cup Vegetable Broth
  • 1 can Coconut Cream (Unsweetened)
  • 1 glass container Roasted Red Pepper (2-3 diced red peppers)
  • 1 bunch Cilantro (or parsley) (1cup chopped)
  • 1 small package Sugar Snap Peas (1cup diced)
  • 1 bunch Mint (diced 1/3 of a cup)
  • 1 jalapeño (6-9 thin slices)
  • Salted Planters Peanuts (optional)
  • 1 package 8.5 oz Seeds of Change Organic Seven Whole Grains (Microwaveable Rice)

Cooking Tools

  • Large Steak Pan with cover
  • Measuring Cup
  • 2-3 small bowls for chopped vegetables

Directions

  1. Turn stove to high heat and in large steak pan add chicken, extra virgin olive oil, Montreal steak seasoning, yellow curry powder, Thai red curry paste, Tsang Bangkok peanut sauce (optional) and vegetable broth.
  2. Cook covered under medium heat (stirring often) until chicken is ready, about 5-10 minutes.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the vegetables, dicing up the snap peas, roasted red peppers, mint, cilantro or parsley and thin slices (6-9 slices) of jalapeño.
  4. To the cooked chicken, stir in can of coconut cream (reduce the liquid), bring to a simmer, then add in mint, cilantro, or parsley, snap peas, and red peppers.
  5. Prepare microwaveable rice per instructions
  6. When rice is ready, divide into serving bowls equally
  7. Add chicken mixture and then sauce to boarder (outer rim) of rice
  8. Sprinkle with salted peanuts, cilantro or parsley, and jalapeño slices
  9. Enjoy!

Chef Carline’s Pan-Seared Halibut Filet Recipe

Fish fanatics, gather round…Chef Carline’s, our October 2021 Chef of the Month, pan-seared halibut filet recipe is light, refreshing and full of flavor. It’s the right choice for a great dinner dish!

Chef Carline's Pan-Seared Halibut Filet Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 Halibut Filets
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • Fresh oregano de-sprigged
  • Fresh basil chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Minced garlic
  • Salt to taste
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • Steak seasoning to taste
  • 1 cup Vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1/3 of cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 tablespoons Butter

Directions

  1. In steak pan, add butter and canola oil; under high heat sear Halibut filets 2-3 minutes depending on thickness of the filet. 
  2. Flip the filet to continue cooking another 2-3 minutes.  Remove from steak pan and place on a platter.
  3. Add vegetable broth, olive oil (if needed), lemon juice, black pepper, salt, minced garlic, basil, oregano, capers, and heavy cream to the steak pan.
  4. Stir ingredients together, bringing to a simmer for about a minute.  Serve filet on a bed of your favorite carb (e.g., potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, rice) dressed with the sauce.

Chef Carline’s Rustic Fall Quiche Recipe

Fall is among us…and what better way is there to celebrate the spooky season than with our October 2021 Chef of the Month’s Rustic Fall Quiche recipe? Get your taste buds ready!

Chef Carline's rustic fall quiche recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 roll pie crust
  • 2 to 3 cups diced whole tender artichokes
  • 2 to 3 cups diced sweet potato (prepared ahead of time (sautéed in olive oil and a pinch of steak seasoning)
  • 8 oz package grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 oz package goat cheese
  • 1 cup chopped arugula salad
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • butter for 10 ½ inch baking dish
  • 1 egg yolk for edges of pie crust

Directions

  1. Follow label instructions for bringing pie crust to room temperature.
  2. Liberally coat baking dish with butter and form the pie crust in the dish. 
    1. Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl combine diced artichokes, sweet potato, grated parmesan, crumble and add goat cheese, and chopped arugula.
    2. Wet Ingredients: In another bowl combine and wish together egg, heavy cream a pinch each of salt and pepper. 
  3. Transfer the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and use a stainless steel two prong fork to stir and coat all the ingredients. 
  4. Transfer the coated ingredients to the pie crust in the baking dish.  Turn in and crimp the excess pie crust, finish by brushing egg yolk around the edges of the pie crust.
  5. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees and bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes on the lowest shelf until golden brown. 
  6. Remove from oven; let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.  Slice like a piece of pie and add to serving dish. 
  7. Garnish with water cress or salad greens.  Leftovers can be eaten cold or delicately re-heat sliced pieces in microwave.  Enjoy!  Bon Appetit!

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

OCTOBER 2021 CHEF OF THE MONTH – CARLINE BENGTSSON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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September 2021 Chef of the Month – Jahnesta Watson (Chef Shaiheem)

We’re so excited to introduce our talented September 2021 Chef of the Month, Jahnesta Watson (Chef Shaiheem)! Originally from Mississippi, Chef Shaiheem moved around a lot before he permanently settled in Atlanta, Georgia. He owns The Guilty Plate Co. LLC, an Atlanta based catering company that he started back in 2016. Chef Shaiheem has been cooking ever since he was 17 years old! His first full-time job was at a burger spot in the Atlanta airport, and it helped him realize that food fueled his passions. Today, he continues to inspire his customers with the love he has for his craft and truly believes that he was placed on this earth to “Spread Light Through Food”. After all, feeding people is his love language.

1. Where were you born?
 I am originally from Gulfport, Mississippi but I moved back and forth between there and Georgia all my life. I moved to Atlanta, GA permanently in 2008.

2. Where do you work and where are you based? 
I’m a Project manager/Sampling & Projections operations analyst.

3. What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces/dishes?
My Cleaver is my favorite tool, it’s the sharpest knife in my kitchen and it’s never nicked me!

4. What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses?
Hearing, I am also a singer so working on that has always been important to me. No one is ever going to sneak up on me!

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?
Never stop creating, I challenge myself to create at least two things a week with ingredients I have never touched. I think it is important to venture out into other styles of cuisine to bring nuanced flavors to your foundational cooking style.

6. What is one culinary tip every chef should know and perfect?
The culinary tip that I think everyone should know and perfect is effectively seasoning and building flavor profiles. Every seasoning that is in your cabinet, does not belong on your food.

7. What does good food mean to you?
Good food to me is food that is cooked with love and food where every single flavor profile is vocal in your dish in the way that it needs to be heard.

8. What features are important to you when selecting your chef outfit? 
Comfortability and style is important. I want to be able to move around easily and to not sweat too much in the kitchen. Even more so, I want to look damn good in it!

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 
I love acidity so any excuse to use citrus and I am there for it!

10. Favorite city to dine out in?  
Chicago, IL hands down! Chicago is such a culinary melting pot and I love diving into everything I can get my hands on when I’m there. There is no such thing as a diet when I am in The Chi!

11. Best dish you have ever made? 
I honestly try to top myself every time I step in the kitchen, I feel like superiority to the chef I was yesterday is always my goal, so I feel like I’m only as good as my last dish. Now that I’m done pontificating, Hazelnut Coffee braised Oxtails w/ Smoked Manchego gremolata over creamy polenta.

12. What you like to eat most often on your days off? 
OXTAILS & JAPANESE FOOD

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 
I would love to cook for Michelle Obama, I just love that woman!

14. What are some of the difficulties you’d say that chefs most often encounter?
I would say the most difficult thing is staying inspired and keeping yourself separated and special. It is a blessing and a rarity that you can make the money you need to survive cooking full time if that is your dream. The Chef community is infiltrated because everyone claims the word in a community that is already so oversaturated.

15. What made you decide to become a chef?
I have been cooking professionally since I was 17. Cooking truly centers me. When I am in the kitchen creating dishes for others to eat, it nothing brings me more joy.  I truly believe that I have something special in store for anyone who tries my food. I believe I was placed on this Earth to “Spread Light Through Food” and just want everyone to experience the love I have for my craft because Feeding People is My Love Language.

Connect with our September 2021 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @thechefshaiheem
Website: https://theguiltyplate.com/
TikTok: @thechefshaiheem

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