Tag Archives: cook

Chef Ale’s Tiramisù Truffles recipe

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In for a treat? Chef Ale has shared with us her Tiramisù Truffles recipe! This classic Italian dessert is a definite crowd-pleaser and a perfect finish to any dish. Get the recipe below and stir things up!

Ingredients 

  • 16 savoiardi (Italian ladyfingers)
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 1 shot espresso coffee
  • cocoa powder, to dust

Directions

1. In a food processor, pulverize the savoiardi. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine mascarpone cheese and powdered sugar. Blend in the espresso, then add the savoiardi and mix thoroughly.

3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

4. Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls then roll them into cocoa powder.

5. Store tiramisù truffles in an airtight container in the fridge.

6. Remove from fridge 10 minutes before serving.

 

Connect with our July Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @alegambinidt

Facebook: @aqueeninthekitchen 

Twitter: @alegambinidt

Website: https://aqueeninthekitchen.com/

 

CHEF ALE’S POTATO & ZUCCHINI LASAGNA

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Lasagna is one of the tastiest dishes out there. Potatoes and Zucchini make the world go ’round. Together, they create a recipe for satisfaction! Chef Ale has shared her delicious Potato & Zucchini Lasagna recipe, and once you try it, you’ll crave it every single day! Get the recipe below:

Ingredients 

  • 1 package (12 oz) fresh lasagna sheets
  • 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 large zucchini
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 cup water, warm
  • 2 cups whole milk, warm
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

Directions

1. Preheat oven at 350 F degrees.

2. Wash, dry and cut the zucchini into thin rounds. Peel, wash, dry and cut  the potatoes into thin rounds.

3. In a large skillet, brown the garlic with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Remove the garlic and add zucchini and potatoes. Sauté for a couple of minutes, then add 1 cup of warm water, salt and pepper to taste and cook at medium heat until tender.

4. In the meantime, prepare the béchamel sauce by melting the butter in a medium sauce pan over low heat. Remove the butter from heat then add the flour and stir until smooth. Slowly pour in the warm milk, whisking continuously. Return the mixture over medium heat, add nutmeg and cook until just thick. Set aside.

5. Boil the lasagna sheets on a large skillet of salted boiling water for a couple of minutes, then remove and lay on a kitchen towel to dry.

6. To assemble the Lasagna, grease the bottom of a rectangular baking dish with a knob of butter, then spread over a couple of tablespoons of béchamel sauce. Place the first layer of lasagna sheets then some zucchini and potatoes, spread over some béchamel sauce and sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano.

7. Repeat (lasagna sheets, béchamel sauce, zucchini and potatoes, Parmigiano Reggiano) for 3 more times or until all the ingredients are gone. (I usually prepare my lasagna with no more than 4 layers).

8. Cook for 35 minutes.

9. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

 

Connect with our July Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @alegambinidt

Facebook: @aqueeninthekitchen 

Twitter: @alegambinidt

Website: https://aqueeninthekitchen.com/

 

July 2019 Chef of the Month- Ale Gambini

We are proud and ecstatic to introduce our July Chef of the Month- Ale Gambini, also known as a Queen in the Kitchen! Chef Ale is not only a cookbook author and a cooking instructor, but she’s also a LA-based food writer AND an Italian food ambassador! Chef Ale also frequently travels the United  States and Italy as Keynote speaker for food-related events, a Queen in the Kitchen indeed! Read below to learn more about Chef Ale (prepare to be fascinated).

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Where were you born?

100% Italian, born and raised in beautiful Milan (Italy).

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

I’m a LA-based food writer, Italian food ambassador, cooking instructor and chef in online food programs. I also travel the U.S and Italy as a keynote speaker for food related events.

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

I’m a huge fan of the Kitchen Aid stand mixer, such a great help but as I always say to my students, your hands are your best tools in the kitchen.

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

The smell! Everything about my cooking starts from the smell. I want my dishes to be a bouquet of flavors through the nostrils first and then to the palate.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Passion and hard work are the key ingredients to succeed in the food industry.

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

I don’t have a tip, but a suggestion: always use the BEST quality ingredients.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Family, health and love. I grew up in a typical Italian family watching my Nonna prepare food for the whole family every single day. Cooking is one of the greatest acts of love. For us Italians, it is much more than fuel for the body, is sacred.

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

The fabric is the most important thing, I love lightweight coats made with natural fibers. The colors hot pink and black are A Queen in The Kitchen colors.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Flour. I love to bake especially bread and baked goods.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

Bologna in Emilia Romagna region (Italy), the capital of the Italian food: fresh egg pasta, lasagne, ragù, gnocco fritto, Prosciutto di Parma, Mortadella and so much more.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

People say that my Lasagne alla Bolognese is to die for.

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

I try to eat as good as possible every day, but if I have to choose something not Italian, I would say ceviche de pulpo.

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

My daughter, when she cleans her plate I’m the happiest person on this planet. Mangia, mangia is my motto!

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

The love for the good food.

 

Connect with our July Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @alegambinidt

Facebook: @aqueeninthekitchen 

Twitter: @alegambinidt

Website: https://aqueeninthekitchen.com/

Chef Stephanie’s Korean BBQ Braised Short Ribs

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Summer is the perfect time for BBQ and the perfect time to enjoy Chef Stephanie’s Braised Short Ribs! This dish is the sizzling recipe that all BBQ lovers will rave about. Get your recipe below and kick your summer up a notch!

Ingredients (Serves 4) 

  • 8 each – Short Ribs
  • 1 Tablespoon – Garlic powder (Spiceology)
  • 1 Teaspoon – Ground Pepper (Spiceology)
  • ½  Cup – Korean BBQ rub from Spiceology
  • 1 Can Dos Equis beer  (or any favorite beer will do)
  • ¼ Cup – BBQ sauce
  • Fresh Parsley

Directions

 

1. Mix together the garlic powder, ground pepper and Korean BBQ rub. Lightly oil the short ribs in a bowl and coat them with the seasoning mixture.

2. Heat up a Dutch oven with a tablespoon of oil on medium heat.

3. Sear all sides of the short ribs, once they are all browned, pour in the can of beer and your BBQ sauce, turn heat down to low,  place lid on the Dutch oven and let it cook on low for 4 hours.

4. (Optional) Before serving make some Mashed Potatoes.

5. For serving: Place mashed potatoes at the bottom of the bowl, place two short ribs on to and pour a small amount of the braising sauce over the top of the ribs.
Optional: chopped fresh parsley.

Connect with our June Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @chef_stephanie_

Chef Stephanie’s Cod Zucchini Salad in a Sweet Lemon Sauce

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Chef Stephanie’s Cod Zucchini Salad in a Sweet Lemon Sauce is a light and healthy dish that is easy-to-make, delicious and perfect for summer! Additionally, Chef Stephanie provides great tips on plating that are sure to impress. Get the yummy recipe below!

Ingredients (Serves 4) 

  • 4 Cod filets
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 Large Zucchinis (one green/one yellow)
  • 1 pint – black berries
  • 4 Meyer lemons
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. Peel the skin off the Meyer lemons with a vegetable peeler. Scrape away any white pith from the peels with a paring knife. Juice the lemons and strain.

2. Place the Meyer lemon peels, honey and 1 cup of water in a sauce pot.  Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer until peels are tender, (about 30 mins).

3. Transfer the mixture from the pot to a blender. Add lemon juice and salt, purée it until it is smooth. Keep warm for serving.

4. Season the fish on both sides with salt, pepper and lemon zest.

5. Heat a skillet on high heat until just smoking. Add a tablespoon of olive oil on the pan. Add the fish fillet- presentation side down first, and cook until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. When done, remove the fish from the pan and blot on a paper towel.

6. Shave ribbons off zucchini with a mandolin . Dress with olive oil, salt-pepper and lemon juice. Roll the zucchini strips into small cylindrical shapes.

7. For plating:  Lemon sauce at the bottom, place fish in the middle, arrange zucchini rolls along the sides of the fish, and add blackberries.

Connect with our June Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @chef_stephanie_

Chef Stephanie’s Strawberry Cheesecake Recipe

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Cheesecake is undoubtedly one of the yummiest desserts out there, but picture this: a strawberry cheesecake with an Oreo crust! Chef Stephanie’s Strawberry Cheesecake recipe is guaranteed to satisfy. Get the recipe below!

Ingredients (Serves 16) 

  • 2 cups – Oreo cookies with cream center removed; finely ground (2 sleeves)
  • 1/4 cup – butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons – sugar
  • 4 each 8-oz.-  packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups – sugar
  • 3 tablespoons-  all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon – salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons – pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup – sour cream
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 3 tablespoon- water
  • 2 tablespoons- sugar
  • 1 teaspoon-  cornstarch
  • Red food coloring, (optional)
  • 1 pint fresh small strawberries, washed and hulled

Directions

1. Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325º F. Put a tea kettle or large pot of water on the stove to boil for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into 9” spring form pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too – baker’s choice. Set crust aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and sour cream. Pour the batter into the spring form pan on top of crust.

4. Place the spring from pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. (If your cheesecake pan is not leak proof, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water).

5. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 70 to 80 minutes.

6. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or overnight. (Overnight is the best).

7. Purée frozen strawberries in a small food processor or with an immersion blender. Press blended strawberries through a fine mesh strainer in to a small saucepan. Add water.

8. In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cornstarch. Stir into the puree in saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue cooking and stirring until thickened and clear. Add food coloring, if desired. Cool to room temperature.

To serve: Top each piece of cheesecake with broken Oreo cookies and drizzle strawberry sauce over the top!

 

Connect with our June Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @chef_stephanie_

 

June 2019 Chef of the Month- Stephanie Hamilton

We are so ready for the month of June (can someone say summer?) and with it, we are happy to introduce our June Chef of the Month- Stephanie Hamilton! Chef Stephanie is a creative chef in the Pacific Northwest. When she’s not running her own catering company, she is putting on events and constantly looking for different ways to create delicious new recipes. Read below to learn more about Chef Stephanie’s story!

 

1. Where were you born?

The Great Pacific Northwest is my home. I was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington. The Pacific Northwest has so much to offer-fresh seafood with local farmers all just right in my backyard and really an amazing place to live.

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

I am super active in many aspects of the culinary industry, I also have my own catering company ” The Creative Menu”. I pretty much will take on any event that comes my way, since it’s just me. At times, I get those large events that will challenge me, but at the end of the day it is so rewarding. I also love to put on “Pop Up” events, taking smaller groups of guests and creating a fine dining experience in the comfort of a home or small venue. It’s such a fun and creative way to challenge myself by taking a menu and being able to transport the guest somewhere new and exciting with the story you have behind each dish as you go through the night.

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

It’s really hard to pick a favorite kitchen tool, of course I love my Chef’s Knife. Thinking of something even more simple is the actual dish you plate on. The color, shape of the plate or board can change the whole dynamic of a dish. I want a dish that would be brought to life and contribute to the story.

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

My sharpest sense would be my sight, I am able to visualize and create a dish and keep great attention to detail, while not over complicating a dish, keeping it simple and letting ingredients shine. To me food should be vibrant, balanced and just simply put, make you happy.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Have a mentor that you respect and look up to and learn as much as you can from that Chef. Being able to work side-by-side with a Chef and having a hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Never stop learning and always challenge yourself and finally, do not be afraid to fail, that is the only way to truly learn and grow to be better.

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

What was taught to me was to never waste anything! Learn your ingredients and know how to utilize every component.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food to me is simplicity and elegance, not over complicating a dish where flavors get lost.

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

When selecting an outfit, I look for material that is comfortable, washes well and holds its color. I like being able to customize my coat.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Favorite ingredients would have to be “Beef & Spices from Spiceology” (tenderloin, trip-tip, brisket, short ribs, etc.) Cooking up a beautiful filet seasoned perfectly with the balanced flavors of Spiceology will hands raise your dish to that next level.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

Seattle, Washington is such a great city to dine in. Big variety of cultures with some of the best little mom and pop places to eat. The best part is being down by the waterfront and taking a stroll through Pike Place Market.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

One that is my favorite to make and turns out perfect every time is the Tri – tip coated in a dry rub from Spiceology. It’s cooked on the smoker at 225 degrees for about 90 mins then kick the grill up to high and reverse sear. Top it off with a fresh Chimichurri sauce and serve it up with your favorite side.

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

I love to eat Tacos! Steak, Shrimp, Brisket.  If you’re making it, I’m eating it. Plus, put a fresh bowl of salsa and chips down, and I’m one happy camper.

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

I would be honored to cook for Chef Thomas Keller.  He is so talented and the chance to cook for and listen to his feedback would be incredible. Being able to learn about his experiences in the kitchen and how he got to where he is would be a great learning experience for me.

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

I did not realize in the beginning, but my journey started when I was just a kid. I am very grateful of how it began. I grew up on a little farm, between our farm and my grandparent’s farm we had about 15 acres. We raised our own meat, poultry, beef, lamb, rabbit and had a very large vegetable garden. I was taught the importance of working hard for what you have and never wasting anything.

Growing up I always loved to cook but not sure I really thought I was going to have such a passion for cooking, but then, it really kind of hit me all at once, (That fire & passion that burns inside of you) I took that desire to learn and started teaching myself everything I possibly could learn. Cooking for others makes me so happy, seeing the joy your guest has sitting around a table enjoying their meal and making new memories with their family… that right there is the best thing in the world!

Connect with our June Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @chef_stephanie_

 

March 2019 Chef of the Month- Chef John Wilson

 

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We’re happy to introduce our March Chef of the Month- Chef John Wilson! Chef John, also known as “The Soup King” is a Chef at Sophie’s Cork and Ale in North Carolina. He is a believer in going the extra mile for his customers and strongly believes that one must “be passionate or go home.” He first fell in love with the kitchen back in high school, and it his positive attitude , perseverance and passion that has led him to his successful chef career! Read below to learn more about Chef John’s Story!

 

 

 

 

1. Where were you born?

Frederick, MD

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

Sophie’s Cork and Ale, Lexington, NC

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

An immersion blender because it can be used for so many different things and dishes.

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

Vision. I like to believe I see everything around me.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Be passionate or go home.

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

Customer service and by that, I mean always going the extra mile for the customer and making the answer “no” impossible for the guests.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Bringing joy and smiles to faces with “good food”.

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

I mostly look for style, pockets, and heavy or light weight coats or shirts depending on the time of year.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

I could not survive without honey

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

Winston Salem, NC

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

In my opinion, it was the time I made bacon fat confit rabbit with cornmeal dusted okra, and parmesan polenta cakes.

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

Go to Mom’s house for dinner, good ‘ol southern food, hamburger steaks, friend chicken, mashed potatoes, greens beans etc.

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

The first chef that ever gave me a chance in the kitchen when I was 17 years old, Sean Devine, I haven’t seen him since I was about 19, and I feel I’ve come such a long way and I know he would enjoy and be proud to eat one of my dishes.

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

The kitchen culture and lifestyle, I feel in love with it as a young dishwasher still in high school.

Connect with our March Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @chefjohnwilson

 

November 2016 Chef of the Month Mikey Termini

We are happy to announce our new Chef of the Month for the month of November, Mikey Termini! He is a very talented chef, and we are excited to showcase Chef Mikey throughout the month. Read more below to find out about Chef Mikey’s life as a chef in Hawaii and now Florida. Make sure to stay tuned in the following weeks for his excellent recipes.

  1. Birthplacmikey.jpge:

I was born in Santa Cruz, Calfornia which is in Monterey Bay. Straight out of high school, I went to Maui, Hawaii and spent the last 15 years there cooking.

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

Currently, I work at the Four Seasons PB&G Pool Bar and Grill in Orlando, Florida a part of Walt Disney World.

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

My favorite kitchen tool is the spoon in my back pocket- I use it to taste dishes and spooning out sauces.

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

That would have to be touch. I am great with my hands. I like to create things, feel out all of the textures and turn food into something great.

  1. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Run. Just kidding, keep the passion and don’t burn out. Find the love for food in everything you do whether you are making burgers and french fries or a $60 halibut plate.

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

Have patience. In my experience, the one thing so many cooks and chefs don’t have a lot of is patience. Stay patient with the day to day work, if you have good patience, you can be a real strong leader in the industry.

  1. What does good food mean to you?

Love. The feeling of someone putting a lot of care into what I’m eating and bacon.

  1. What trends do you see emerging in the near future?

I wish breakfast food would get a little bit bigger and work towards transforming it to a dinner atmosphere. Breakfast is one of the least tapped parts of eating. It is a great meal, nice, full, rich food at breakfast time takes you back to when you were a kid.

  1. What features are important to you when selecting a Chef Coat? (particular fabric, style, sleeve length, pockets)

The most important to me are the looks and style. I hate chef coats that are too baggy or the lines being too big for my build. I really look for nice lines that are not bunched in the back but at the same time are not too tight but fit just right.

  1. What is your go-to chef outfit? Do you prefer coats, tees, pants, shorts, aprons, hats, etc?

I always go back to white coats. I always like a nice white coat with long sleeves that are rolled up, paired with black slacks and a waist apron with a loop for my towel.

  1. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Bacon is my number 1. But after spending so much time in Hawaii,  I love using sweet chili sauce. My favorite way to use it is by adding it to crab cakes for sweetness and a little bit of spice.

  1. Favorite City to dine out in?

San Francisco, California. Because I grew up in Monterey Bay going into the city, I have never eaten at a bad restaurant there.

  1. Best Dish you have ever made?

One thing everyone wants me to cook when I go home is a pasta carbonara. It is an Italian dish that I like to make with fresh pasta peas, pancetta egg cream sauce and top it with truffle oil

  1. Place you eat most often on your days off?

Home. I love going to the Asian markets and getting stuff there. I usually like to get duck or some kind of pork dish depending on what they have.

  1. Who is a person you would like to cook for?

Bruce Willis or Rob Zombie. They are not chefs, but I would love to cook for them and be around them for a night.

  1. What made you decide to become a chef?

When I first moved to Hawaii, I was doing dishes at a restaurant, and the chef there asked me if I wanted to be a cook or a bartender. I chose cook because I figured I could last a lot longer on food than alcohol.

  1. What is new on your DVR?

Stranger Things on Netflix, it is a TV show that has a Stephen King type vibe. Then once The Walking Dead comes back on, that will fill my DVR because I’m a diehard zombie fan.

An Interview with Holger Strütt, Executive Chef, Chops Lobster Bar, Boca Raton, FL

Recipe Below: Filet Au Poivre 8 Servings

Presented by: Chefuniforms.com

Chef Holger Strütt’s career spans three continents and many countries, all bringing him to a high level of culinary excellence, applied at Chops Lobster Bar in Boca Raton, Florida. In his native Germany, he made his first strides to a career in the kitchen at the young age of 15, when he decided to pursue vocational training in the culinary arts. His impressive resume includes positions in Germany, Italy and Switzerland, where he perfected the finer points of regional European cuisine. Chef Holger believes in perseverance, consistency, attention to detail and leadership by example. He thrives on the pressure of a busy kitchen and he knows that working at the helm of Chops Lobster Bar’s kitchen is always an exhilarating experience. He has an intense hands-on approach to managing his kitchen and enjoys working with the talented chefs of south Florida. I had a chance to catch up with Holger to ask him about his experiences as an Executive Chef and wanted to share this with you. I invite your comments.

Why did you want to become a chef? My sister worked in a restaurant and introduced me to the business. I was 15 when I had to decide what I wanted to do in life.

What education would you recommend for aspiring chefs? Definitely go to Culinary School and after that go and spend some time in Europe, Germany, France, Switzerland or Austria to learn the basics and the European way of cooking.

What do you recommend for on job training? Don’t be shy of spending 12 hours a day in the kitchen and work closely with the chefs. Get as much input as you can while you’re in the beginning stages of your culinary career.

What is your greatest challenge in getting the ingredients you need? I am very fortunate to work with the best purveyors in the country. Sometimes it takes a little longer for products to get to Florida.

Has the price of energy affected your industry? Absolutely. You have to be very cautious with when you turn your equipment on and off. Power and water are not cheap.

I know that previously you were a chef in Northeast and now you are in South Florida, are their differences in dining trends including types of food? Of course. In New York you find every kind of cuisine and the quality is very high. It is very difficult to find some ethnic foods here in south Florida.

Do you see any dining trends surfacing for the future? I believe that Classic dishes are going to come back very strong. Traditional food like Crab Cakes, Beef Wellington and Dover Sole always are favorites and that will not change.

How much of the recipes are Chops corporate and how much is your own? Many of the signature dishes are from the restaurants in Atlanta. I also developed many recipes with the owner and his son. I also do a lot of specials. When the specials become popular and the owner likes it then we might put them on the menu.

What fabric and style of uniform do you enjoy wearing most? I prefer Egyptian cotton and recently started to like short sleeve jackets.

What is your method of developing your sous chefs? I like for them to spend as much time with me as possible and pay attention to what I do during the day. You learn a lot by listening and observing and by being in the kitchen, not at home. We have a job that demands a lot of time being at the restaurant. But if you work hard, the profession of a chef can be a lot of fun and very rewarding in many different ways.

Do you try to create a team spirit and environment with the kitchen staff? If so how do you accomplish it? You have many different characters in the kitchen and most of them need a different management style. We spend a lot of time together in the kitchen, so it is important to have fun, but never forget why we are here. We have to produce quality food and make sure that our guests leave happy. I have a young team and I believe in teamwork. Teamwork is the key for a good spirit in the kitchen.

When preparing your menu do you consider health and try to prepare foods that are healthier? You always have to have both; Healthy food and then hearty food which is not so healthy. In Chops Lobster Bar, I have many health oriented people that like light food, so some of my fish dishes are very healthy in comparison to my meat dishes that are mostly steaks or braised meats.

Do you notice any resistance to unhealthy dishes? Yes. Many of our guests don’t like too much butter or any kind of fat.

Do you enjoy dining out in your free time? Yes I do. I like to try new restaurants. There are also some restaurants where I like to go on a regular basis.

Do you try to experience the food at your competitors? Do you ever get ideas from competitors? Not really. I like to cook food that I like and my guests like to eat. I go to the competitors for dinner, but don’t steal recipes. Although, you might get ideas you can work with.

Do you think it is important to visit the markets rather than just have standard orders? I am sure if you go to the market you see things that you would like to cook rather than just ordering the food. Not too many chefs’ though have the luxury of time to drive to the fish or produce market every day. My purveyors have such a large variety of things that I don’t really need to go to the market.

How do you test a new recipe without putting it on the permanent menu? I try it as a special for a couple of weeks and then take it off. If people keep asking for it I will bring it back and after discussing it with the owner it may appear on the menu.

Do you pick the wines or is there a separate beverage manager? We have a Beverage Manager, although I love good wines.

If so does he try to pick wines that work well with the type of food that chops is known for? Yes, he tries to pick wines that work well with Steaks and Seafood.

What is your advice for planning a menu for a new restaurant? You have to consider what the majority of people want to eat. It can be different from State to State and City to City. Make sure that the food is tasty and not too wild. Don’t go crazy putting too many ingredients on the plate. Keep it simple!

As a special surprise, Chef Holger offered up one of his recipes that will be sure to make your mouth water and your taste buds tingle. Let me know how it comes out.

Filet Au Poivre 8 Servings

  • 8 each Filet Mignon (8 ounces each)
  • 4 tablespoons ounces vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • 1 cup cracked peppercorns (black, white and green)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sliced Portobello mushrooms (see recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons chives finely cut
  • 8 port wine shallots (see recipe)
  • 2 cups peppercorn sauce (see recipe)
  • 3 tablespoons green peppercorns (canned)
  • I cup port wine glaze (see recipe)
  • Brush the steaks with the vegetable oil and season both sides with the salt. Crust the filets with the cracked peppercorns on one side. Heat up 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a sauté pan and sear the steaks on both sides. Place the steaks on a baking pan and put them in a pre- heated oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes (medium rare).
  • Place the butter in a pan with the Portobello mushrooms. Garnish with the shallots and chives.
  • Pour 2 ounces of peppercorn sauce in the middle of a plate and place the filet mignon in the middle of the plate. Place the Portobello mushroom on top of the filet and a port wine shallot on top of the mushrooms. Poor one tablespoon on port wine glaze over the shallot.
  • Garnish the sauce with the canned green peppercorns and the port wine shallot with some chives.

 

 

Recipe for Portobello Mushrooms:

  • 1 pound Portobello mushrooms (stems removed)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ cup garlic cloves, halved
  • Drizzle half of the oil in a sauté pan and place the Portobello mushroom topside down. Garnish with the thyme and garlic. Drizzle the other half of the oil on the Portobello mushrooms and place in a pre-heated 400 degrees oven for about 8 minutes or until tender.

 

Recipe for Port Wine Shallots:

  • 2 cups port wine
  • 2 cups red wine
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 8 shallots, peeled, whole
  • Poor the wines and the sugar in a narrow sauce pot and reduce half way. Add the shallots and cook for 15 minutes or until tender.

 

Recipe for Peppercorn Sauce:

First Stage:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 5 each shallots, sliced
  • 8 each garlic cloves, cut in half
  • 3 twigs fresh thyme
  • 1 each bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon whole white peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon green peppercorns, dry
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Second Stage:

  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 tablespoon whole white peppercorns, freshly ground
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, freshly ground
  • 1tablespoon whole green peppercorns, dry, freshly ground
  • 2 quarts veal stock, (available in any supermarket)
  • 1quarts heavy cream
  • Pour the oil into a sauce pot and bring to the first smoke point.
  • Add the mushrooms, shallots, garlic, thyme, bay leave and whole peppercorns and cook until slightly caramelized.
  • Season with the salt.
  • Deglaze with the brandy and reduce until dry.
  • Add the ground peppercorns and veal stock and reduce.
  • Reduce the sauce to a glaze.
  • Whisk in the heavy cream, bring to a boil, adjust the salt if necessary and strain through a fine strainer.

 

Recipe for Port Wine Glaze:

  • 1 cup port wine
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 pound butter, room temperature, diced
  • Pour the wines and sugar in a narrow sauce pot and reduce at medium heat down to a quarter cup. Then pull the pot away from the heat to the edge of the stove. Whisk in the butter cubes in small amount until emulsified. Do not boil the sauce.

Bon Appetite!!

Visit Chops Lobster Bar Website for Dining Locations in Atlanta and Boca Raton
http://www.chopslobsterbar.com/

For reservations in Boca Raton, Fl, please call: 561-395-2675

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