Tag Archives: chefs

August 2021 Chef of the Month – James Couch (Chef Jaycee)

We’re happy to introduce our August Chef of the Month, James Couch (Chef Jaycee)! Chef Jaycee is currently a Sous Chef for Compass Group in Tysons, Virginia, and the owner and executive chef of Chef Jaycee LLC, serving the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area. Ever since he was a child, he was interested in cooking and found himself checking out cookbooks in the library instead of standard children’s books! He then went on to culinary school at JNA Institution of Culinary Arts in Philadelphia, PA and after graduation, he pursued a degree in Management at James Madison University. Chef Jaycee is a strong-willed, passionate chef. He has a keen eye for developing creative plates and encourages others to always keep an open mind and never stop learning. He’s cooked for various clients including Ambassadors to the United States and CNN news anchors. As a private Chef, he’s catered private meals to NFL players, CEOs and White House officials! We’re so impressed by Chef Jaycee’s story and can’t wait to share his delicious recipes.

1. Where were you born? 

I was born on the Fort Lewis Army Base in Seattle, Washington. My dad was in the Army and we moved to several places throughout my life.

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

I am a Sous Chef for Compass Group in Tysons, Virginia. I am also the owner and executive chef of Chef Jaycee LLC serving the DC, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) area.

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

My favorite kitchen tool is a Vitamix because I love making beautiful vibrant sauces and smooth purees, and a Vitamix helps get the job done perfectly.

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

I would say sight is my sharpest sense. I have a keen eye for developing creative plates and can quickly notice if anything is out of place on the plate itself or in pictures. Because of my sharp sense of sight, I’m able to react to things quickly – people are often so surprised at how fast I react to catch something that is falling!

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Work ethic and attitude means everything in the kitchen. Also, I would advise to never think you know everything and don’t have anything to learn. Even if you have your way of doing something, always be open to the point of view of others.

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

Every chef should know mise en place. Mise en place is a French term meaning to have all your ingredients in order. Not having your ingredients in order can easily throw off your entire meal.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food means the food tastes just as great as it looks. Good food gives you a feeling of excitement and has you walking away from the table looking forward to the next time you can taste the dish. It can take you back to when you were a kid, or even as deep as feeling it in your soul.

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

To me, the jacket is the most important piece of my chef outfit. The jacket itself has to fit just right – not too baggy, long enough, and has spaces for my thermometer, pens, etc. When I think I look good, I feel good about myself and give off a positive energy.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 

I love to work with anything acidic like lemon, limes, vinegar, and wine. Acid can be used in so many different ways to elevate a dish, from tenderizing meats to adding clean, fresh, bold flavors to your sauces.

10. Favorite city to dine out in? 

New Orleans, Louisiana has been my favorite city to dine out in. I love seafood and Creole food and love that they pack all their food with great flavor and seasonings.

11. Best dish you have ever made? 

My best dish is Grilled Porcini Crusted Beef Tenderloin and Butter Poached Lobster Tail with Truffle Potato Puree, Roasted Asparagus, Port Jus, and Microgreens. Surf and turf is one of my favorite dishes to make and this dish specifically always brings out the best reactions from my clients, which is one of the reasons I love to cook.

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

Top Ramen and Sandwiches! After being around food all week, I want the most simple and quick meals.

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

President Obama and his family. I look up to him because he has showed me that anything is possible with hard work. In my eyes, it would be an honor to cook for him.

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

Chefs need to be strong both physically and mentally in order to deal with the pressure from your job. Difficulties of a chef include staff calling out, food budgets, long hours, and keeping your composure when everything could be going wrong. As a chef, you often have to accept criticism on your food because no chef could ever appease to everyone’s palette.

15. What made you decide to become a chef?

I have always been interested in food. In elementary school, while other kids were checking out Magic School Bus and Goosebumps books, I would check out cookbooks from Julia Child and Emeril Lagasse. I was raised by a single mother, who worked 16 hour shifts at night and sometimes left my brother, sister, and I to cook for ourselves. I would go in the kitchen and try to make recipes with Top Ramen. When I left for culinary school, I found out my grandfather was also Chef, though he passed away before I could meet him. Knowing this solidified that the culinary world was for me.

Connect with our August 2021 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @chefjayceee
Website: https://www.chefjaycee.com/
Facebook: @infoChefJaycee 

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Chef Justin’s Honey-Drizzled Fried Chicken Recipe

Liven up your taste buds with our March 2021 Chef of the Month, Chef Justin‘s Honey-Drizzled Fried Chicken recipe! Whether you like your chicken crispy or extra crispy, this easy-to-make recipe is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Plus, the extra drizzle of honey gives it that sweet kick we crave!

Whether you like your chicken crispy or extra crispy, this easy-to-make recipe is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Plus, the extra drizzle of honey gives it that sweet kick we crave!

Ingredients

  • Chicken breast
  • 1/2 TBS garlic pepper
  • 1/2 TBS cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 TBS ranch dry seasoning mix
  • Buttermilk
  • Flour
  • Honey

Directions

  1. Season each chicken breast with ½ tablespoon of each: garlic pepper, Cajun seasoning, and ranch dry seasoning mix. Note: Also, use the same seasonings in your flour.
  2. Place chicken breasts in a buttermilk and salt mixture.
  3. Then, batter in flour and seasoning mixture. After, fry at 356 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes (until golden brown). Note: Double-Dip if you like it extra crispaayyyyy!
  4. Lightly coat fried chicken with a drizzle of honey.

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

Chef Justin’s Mac Attack Recipe

You can’t go wrong with Mac and Cheese – no matter the circumstance, it’s always a good idea. Our March 2021 Chef of the Month, Chef Justin, has shared his famous Mac and Cheese recipe; otherwise known as “Mac Attack”. There’s garlic, there’s pepper, there are 3 different types of cheese…we’re all in. Find the recipe below!

Chef Justin, has shared his famous Mac and Cheese recipe; otherwise known as "Mac Attack". There's garlic, there's pepper, there's 3 different cheeses...we're all in

Ingredients

  • Noodles
  • Whipping cream
  • 1 TBS salt
  • 1 TBS pepper
  • 1 TBS garlic powder
  • 1 TBS ‘Slap Ya Mama’ Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 cup Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Gouda cheese
  • 1/4 cup Cheddar Jack cheese

Directions

  1. Bring water to a rolling boil, and pour ½ pound of noodles into a pot of 4 cups of water. Boil for 5-10 minutes. Cook hack: Throw your noodle on the wall when you think it’s done. If it sticks, rock and roll with it; If it falls off, continue to cook. 
  2. Pour ½ cup of heavy whipping cream into the saucepot on medium-high heat until it begins to boil. Caution: The cream may boil out of the pot so keep a close eye on it. 
  3. Season the cream with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Slap Ya Mama–- 1 tablespoon each. Add in ¼ cup of cheddar cheese and whisk until fully combined. Don’t be afraid to taste test in order to ensure the flavor of the base is to your liking.
  4. Pour the sauce into the noodles, and mix the combination thoroughly. Then add ¼ cup of shredded gouda cheese and mix in.
  5. Cover the top of your Mac Attack with cheddar jack cheese and cheddar cheese. Lastly, place under broil until a crisp cheese crust is achieved (1-3 min.)

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

Chef Justin’s Coconut Curry Chicken Thigh Recipe

Our March 2021 Chef of the Month, Chef Justin, is cooking up a juicy recipe – coconut curry chicken thigh. Prepared with coconut milk and mixed with a variety of delectable spices, Chef Justin’s chicken curry is sure to become your next go-to meal. Try it below!

Chef Justin's Chicken Curry Recipe

Ingredients

  • Coconut milk
  • 2 TBS of tomato paste
  • 2 TBS curry powder
  • 1/2 TBS pepper
  • 1/2 TBS salt
  • 1/2 TBS Cajun seasoning
  • Chickpeas
  • Chicken thighs
  • Salt to taste
  • Peppercorn
  • Garlic
  • Thyme

Directions

  1. Add your coconut milk to a saucepan and allow it to simmer on medium heat for 6 minutes, or until it starts to bubble.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 2 tablespoons curry powder, and ½ tablespoon of each of the following: pepper, salt, and Cajun seasoning. Give it some wrist work!
  3. Rinse your chickpeas off in a strainer, and then combine with your curry mixture. Stir until the mixture thickens. Note: Do not forget to turn off the eye! When the chickpeas are added into the sauce, do not turn the eye back on; instead allow the temperature of the curry sauce to engulf the chickpeas. Let it develop into a euphoric dish.
  4. Season Chicken thighs liberally with salt, peppercorn, garlic, and thyme.
  5. Cook on each side for 10 minutes and finish in over at 375 degrees for an additional 12-15 minutes.

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

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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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 Brazil’s Crab Fritters Recipe

Ever wake up feeling a bit…crabby? Luckily, Chef Brazil’s Crab Fritter Recipe is the crabby solution to a crabby situation (pun intended). Light, delicious and simple to make, you can find his recipe below!

Ingredients

  • 8 oz crab meat
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs (slightly beaten)
  • 1 tsp old bay or Cajun seasoning
  • tbsp fresh chopped parsley

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients together except crab meat.
  2. Fold in crab meat and set in fridge for an hour.
  3. Scoop into 1 to 2 oz size balls.
  4. Set in fridge for 30 minutes.
  5. Fry each crab ball in pre-heated 350 degree oil and add in mixed ingredients.
  6. Drain on towel and serve.

Connect with our August 2020 Chef of the Month

Instagram: @spyceco

Website: http://spyceco.com/

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