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

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

1. Where were you born? 

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

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

I am the Executive Chef & owner of Chef Covas Catering

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

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

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

My smell is by far the sharpest sense I have.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

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

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

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

7. What does good food mean to you?

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

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

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

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 

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

10. Favorite City to dine out in? 

NYC – the best city.

11. Best Dish you have ever made? 

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

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

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

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

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

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

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

15. What made you decide to become a chef?

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

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

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Chef 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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