Tag Archives: chefs

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 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/

Chef Jaycee’s Crab Dip Recipe

The perfect appetizer? We call that Chef Jaycee’s Crab Dip. Our August 2021 Chef of the Month shared his famous crab dip recipe – complete with delicious seasoning and a fiery kick. Get the recipe below!

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/3 cup Cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1/3 cup Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, mix cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, Cajun Seasoning, paprika, hot sauce, and ground mustard until combined well.
  3. Add crabmeat and fold it all in.
  4. Spread the mixture into a cast iron or baking dish.
  5. Sprinkle with Mozzarella and Cheddar cheese.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes or until hot and has bubbly edges. Garnish with parsley and left over crab meat.

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

Chef Jaycee’s Cinnamon Apple Cast Iron Pancakes Recipe

You can never go wrong with pancakes. Make them Chef Jaycee’s specialty Cinnamon Apple Pancake recipe, and you’re in for an even bigger treat! Our August 2021 Chef of the Month truly knows how to up his breakfast (or dinner, why not?) game!

Cinnamon Apple Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil to coat the pan

Apple Topping Ingredients

  • 3 Red delicious apples (large diced)
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon

Pancake Directions

  1. Mix all your dry pancake ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) in a bowl.
  2. Next mix all your wet pancake ingredients (buttermilk, eggs, butter) in a bowl.
  3. Combine your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients until combined into a smooth mixture.
  4. Place a cast iron pan on medium-low heat. Grease it with oil. Drop a dollop of the batter on the pan. Once bubbles form, flip the pancakes and cook for 1-2 more minutes.

Cinnamon Apple Directions

  1. Add butter to a nonstick pan.
  2. Add diced apples, lemon zest, lemon juice, brown sugar, and cinnamon to the pan.
  3. Cook until the apples are tender and sauces thickens.

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

Chef Jaycee’s Lobster Mac and Cheese Recipe

Add a twist to your favorite feel-good dish. Chef Jaycee, our August 2021 Chef of the Month, shared his Lobster Mac and Cheese recipe! The lobster makes for a delicious addition to an already tasty meal. Find his recipe below.

Chef Uniform's Chef of the Month, Chef Jaycee's Lobster Mac & Cheese

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided use
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 4 cups milk (I use whole milk)
  • 1 pound elbow pasta
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Smoked Gouda cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped, cooked lobster meat plus extra for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chives thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven 350 degrees.
  2. Boil pasta in water for 10-12 mins and drain.
  3. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the flour, then whisk until combined.
  4. Pour in the milk and whisk until smooth and combined.
  5. Stir in salt, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and pepper, then bring the mixture to a simmer
    Turn the heat to low, then stir in the cheeses. Stir until the sauce is smooth.
  6. Fold in the pasta first and next the lobster meat. Transfer the pasta to the baking dish.
  7. Sprinkle with chives and garnish with extra pieces of lobster meat.

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

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 chefs 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/

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