Tag Archives: interview with a chef

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/

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_

 

MAY 2019 CHEF OF THE MONTH- DAYANNE KADOSH

We are so excited to bring in the new month, and with it, our May Chef of the Month! Meet Dayanne Kadosh, a Private Chef in the Miami area! Chef Dayanne envisions herself as an artist; an empty plate is her blank canvas. She was inspired by the skilled women in her family to follow her passion for food, and now her delicious dishes inspire us all! Read below to learn more about Chef Dayanne’s Story!

 

 

1. Where were you born?

I was born in Montevideo, Uruguay

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

I’m based in Bay Harbor, FL and I own a Personal Chef Business.  I work as a private chef for a family in Coral Gables. Before being a chef, I’m an artist, and food is the medium I choose to express my creativity. The colors, aromas and fresh produce inspire me and make me think of an empty plate as a blank canvas.

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

Good quality sharp Knives. I love the German brand Wüsthof. There was a before and after in my life after getting a Vitamix. I like to have what’s necessary and not overload my kitchen with tools and gadgets I would rarely use. I appreciate working in a clean clear surface and being able to find what I need at the right time.

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

My sense of smell is sharp as my knives.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Have fun, love what you do, be open to learn, learn from your mistakes and ALWAYS share your recipes, no one will make them as great as you do.

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

Every chef should develop their own style in the kitchen, find what type of cuisine they are passionate about and work on it ‘til they master what they do.

7. What does good food mean to you?

When I taste love, dedication and effort in a dish, that’s the best nourishment I can get.

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

Comfort, style, being able to move with ease and that the sleeves don’t touch the food!
Oh! And to be able to remove stains easily from the fabric. Messy days happen to the most experienced of us!

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Organic, local and cruelty-free foods. Good quality olive oils and special spices always make a regular dish stand out.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

New York and Punta del Este.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

I make a killer Shakshuka.

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

On my days off, I like to keep it simple yet delicious, a good avocado toast with mushrooms and scrambled eggs or baked salmon with roasted veggies. I love prepping healthy foods I can grab on the go during the week such as herbed egg muffins and nutty granola!

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

Enrique Iglesias and Gordon Ramsay

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

Since I was a child, I was inspired by the women in my family who are very skilled in the kitchen. My mother and both of my grandmothers are excellent cooks and my best teachers. I’m forever grateful to them for allowing me to find my passion.

Connect with our May Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @dkpersonalchef

Facebook: @dkpersonalchef

Website: http://www.dayannekadosh.com/

APRIL 2019 CHEF OF THE MONTH OSCAR DEL RIVERO

 

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We have an exciting April Chef of the Month- Chef Oscar Del Rivero! Originally from Mexico City, Mexico, Chef Oscar is now an Executive Chef at Jaguar Hospitality Group and a Partner at both Jaguar Latin American Kitchen and Tavera Cocina Mexicana in Miami! Chef Oscar is extremely passionate about enhancing his dishes and brings fresh Latin American flavors with each bite. Read below to learn more about Chef Oscar’s Story!

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Where were you born?

Mexico City, Mexico. Colonia del Valle. It is a nice area inside the one of the biggest cities in the world. It was lovely growing up there, parks, markets, restaurants, subway system, and the feel of a busy city with a humble charm- but definitely fast-paced.

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

I am the Executive Chef at Jaguar Hospitality Group and Partner at Jaguar Latin American Kitchen and Partner at Talavera Cocina Mexicana.
http://www.jaguarhg.com/
https://www.instagram.com/oscardelrivero/

In 2005 Family and Friends got together to form Jaguar. My father has always loved the symbol of a Jaguar as an Aztec warrior and as a symbol of spiritual strength, as well as an icon for Latin America, since it is a Jaguar’s natural habitat. My partners and I created and developed Jaguar as a welcoming place where you can feel at home and eat food that reminds you of your roots if you are from Latin America. If you are not, Jaguar will represent with authenticity the flavors of South America for your enjoyment. It was and still is a beautiful project. Now after 13 years, it has matured into a neighborhood favorite and a spearhead of Latin American flavors, recipes and ingredients with respect to ancient and modern techniques. We as a group are really passionate about what we bring to Jaguar, with guest satisfaction at the top of the list and a thriving working environment full of challenges and goals. I love Jaguar in Coconut Grove, the rest of the restaurants I’ll tell you in the next interview…. They are amazing as well.

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

My Mexican Spoon (peltre), of course I have favorite knives and special tongs. But I have grown fond of “the Spoon”.

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

It might be sight. That is why I love taking pictures of the dishes I make. I feel that I can learn a lot about a dish by just looking at it.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Immerse yourself in everything food and absorb knowledge as fast as possible.

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

Reading = Learning. So many culinary tips come to mind, but in my opinion, always reading and keeping up with evolution is key to learn a spectrum of culinary tips.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Fresh, wholesome, colorful, balanced and it needs to have nutritional value. Delicious goes without saying!

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

Comfort, Durability and Design. I am known for splashing my jacket during service and I don’t mind. I believe that is what is for. Red sauce, guacamole and anything lurking in the kitchen can be a part of the design of my jacket. For that reason, it needs to be resistant to plenty of washes. Comfort in the kitchen is essential, lightweight and a smooth fabric is imperative. Now with so many different styles I think that “the chef” or “cook” can really express their personalities, not only in the dishes, but in the way they like to dress for creation and transformation.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Lately, Ancient Grains, mostly amaranth and quinoa. At Jaguar we specialize in Latin American dishes and Quinoa and Amaranth are grains or cereals that have been used in Latin America since the ancient civilizations cultivated them. Not only do I have great respect for natural grain, also the techniques in which they can be cooked.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

Miami, of course my restaurants are in this magical city. But I like diversity and the culture mix. From Cubans making tacos, to Mexicans doing sushi, the creativity never ends. It ranges from a taco stand or a food truck, to the most expensive and luxurious restaurants inside famous hotels and classics that only open 6 months of the year.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

Braised Pork in Tomatillo Sauce over White Rice. In all my career I’ve invented and cooked many dishes. This one in particular is special because I cook this for my sons. They love this dish, and I love to cook it for them. I always try variations and they always rate it comparing it to original. Sometimes I add kim chi to my salsa verde and wait for their reaction when they try it. I have done it with mushroom puree in the sauce. It is fun for me and it is a dish that brings us together.

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

Anything new. Always a new restaurant, or a new ingredient. I do have my favorite spots that I frequent. Following chefs and restaurants in social media is a great way to find the food I would like to try. This week was a clever version of Beef tartar and Yuca empanadas.

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

Diana Kennedy in my mind is intimidating, but the more reason to try my best. It would be an honor to have her taste my dishes and hear her feedback.

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

The magic of transformation of ingredients. It was an eye-opening and satisfying experience.

Connect with our April Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @oscardelrivero

Website: http://www.jaguarhg.com/

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

 

FEBRUARY 2019 CHEF OF THE MONTH- CHEF KRISTAL

We’re excited to introduce our February Chef of the Month- Chef Kristal Kirkland! Chef Kristal is a personal chef in the New York and New Jersey area with a passion for paprika, good food and determination! Chef Kristal followed her dreams and became a successful chef- and she advocates all aspiring chefs to do the same. We are thrilled to share her delicious AND healthy recipes, and we know that she will inspire current and future chefs to keep on dreaming. Read below to learn about Kristal’s story!                                               

 

 

1. Where were you born?

I was born in Long Island, NY, but raised in Queens, NY!

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

I am a Personal Chef so I don’t have a set location for work, but my clients live in New York and New Jersey and I cook out of their homes

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

My favorite tool in the kitchen would have to be a channel. I love using it to create fruit platters! It makes an ordinary fruit platter look extraordinary. I use the channel by carving out pieces of oranges, lemons or watermelon and turn it into a cool design!

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

My sharpest sense is my sense of touch! Without using a thermometer, I can tell if steak or chicken is cooked by simply touching it.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

My advice to aspiring chefs would be to learn as much as you can and to keep practicing! After a while cooking will become so natural to you. Learn what flavors work well together and never stop believing in yourself (as cliché as it sounds)! When I first started cooking, I didn’t really see my full potential and always looked at other chefs and felt as if I would never be as good as them. But here I am, living out my dream and I’m so much better than I could have ever imagined! That’s why I say never stop believing in yourself…you never know what you are capable, and you might even surprise yourself.

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

Taste, taste, taste! You must always taste your food while cooking it and before sending it out to the customer/client!

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food to me means that it is seasoned well, has fresh ingredients and is cooked to perfection. Overcooked food can really ruin a meal for me.

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

I look for quality material when picking out a chef outfit because I want my chef outfits to last. I would rather spend the money on a good quality chef jacket than to buy a cheap jacket and have to constantly replace it throughout the year because of tears or the stains that won’t come out.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

My favorite ingredient to work with would have to be paprika/smoked paprika. I put that stuff in almost everything!

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

New York City, of course! It’s home for me but you can find almost every cuisine here!

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

My baked macaroni and cheese because my clients always wonder what’s in it. The spices and cream cheese that I put in it really kicks the macaroni up a notch.

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

I’m actually a pretty boring eater on my days off. I feel like I cook all of these gourmet meals for clients, but I never cook anything gourmet for myself. On my days off I tend to eat baked chicken, roasted sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli. If I’m not being healthy I will get something to eat from the Spanish spot by my house. I order baked chicken, rice and beans with a side of fried plantains!

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

I would like to cook for Barack Obama. I admire him as a person because I like the way he carries himself, how he speaks, how he treats others and his sense of humor. I think he has a lot of wisdom and I would love to learn from him

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

I decided to become a chef simply because I enjoyed cooking and I realized I was happy whenever I was in the kitchen. However, when I attended culinary school I realized that there is a difference between cooking for your family and cooking for large groups of people. Culinary school was hard for me at first, but I stuck it out because the love for cooking was still there and it was always my dream to be a chef!

Connect with our February Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @ksoulsservices

Facebook: @KsoulsServices

Website: https://www.ksoulsservices.com/

JANUARY 2019 CHEF OF THE MONTH- CHEF KARMA

It’s the new year & we’re so happy to introduce our January Chef of the Month, Chef Karma! Chef Karma is a private chef and event planner in South Florida! She is also one of the few female hibachi chefs in the United States. Highly innovative and creative, Chef Karma enjoys fusion-style cooking and loves to stand out in bright colors! We can’t wait to share her story and yummy recipes. Read below to learn more about Chef Karma!                                                                   

 

1. Where were you born?

St. Thomas United States Virgin Islands

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

I work as a private chef and event planner in South Florida.

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

I am a hibachi chef. This is the best way to describe how I create my masterpiece. I am one of the only female hibachi chefs in the US. I love to be innovative and creative, so I would call my style of cooking, fusion.

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

My sharpest sense out of the five senses would be taste. I have a very sensitive palette, so I can almost pinpoint every ingredient in a dish.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

The advice I would give you an aspiring chef is to make sure that cooking is what you love, not like, so that it does not feel like work.

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

Mise en plac…. This means everything in its place, preparation is imperative to a good service.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Euphoria. People eat with their eyes first, there nose second, and lastly their mouth.

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

I love bright colors, so my chef uniform always has to stand out.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

I love the Mediterranean spice Tahini, it amplifies any taste in any type of food.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

Miami, of course.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

Honey barbecue pulled pork on top of corn bread topped with homemade Cole Slaw

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

I love sushi, all types of sushi!

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

I would love to cook for our last president, Barack Obama

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

I believe that food brings people together, so I chose Culinary arts to make sure that I am a part of every single person’s laugh and every single person’s tear and making it memorable.

 

Connect with our January Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @prettychefsinternational

Facebook: @prettychefsllc

 

 

 

November 2018 Chef of the Month Gina Sansonia

Shop Her Look!

Image 2We’re delighted to introduce our November 2018 Chef of the Month, Gina Sansonia! Chef Gina is the Executive Chef/Owner of Cucina Bambina, a mobile, gourmet Italian eatery that is located in Hollywood, FL. Gina is a driven and passionate chef, with a zest for life…and basil! We can’t wait to share her story and delicious recipes!  Read below to learn about Chef Gina Sansonia and her passion for food.

 

 

1. Where were you born? 

I was born and raised in New York.

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

I’m the Executive Chef/Owner of Cucina Bambina Inc. We’re a mobile, Gourmet Italian Eatery based out of Hollywood, FL. We travel all over the state participating in various festivals in addition to catering private events.

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

I have an obsession with spoons…. they’re just so handy!

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

I have a keen sense of smell.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. If you have passion, drive, a strong work ethic and a vision….you can make it happen-you just have to put in the work

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

Work smarter …. not harder.

7. What does good food mean to you?

I firmly believe that good food comes from the heart, along with quality ingredients.

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

COMFORT and style.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 

I’m OBSESSED with basil.😍

10. Favorite City to dine out in? 

NYC, baby! Although I would like to check out the Chicago food scene. I hear amazing things.

11. Best Dish you have ever made? 

I make a mean rice ball if I do say so myself and many call me “The Meatball Queen”. Both of those are always crowd pleasers.

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

I typically don’t sit down and eat structured “meals”. I’m content with a good old bag of Doritos surprisingly enough!

13. Person you most like to cook for? 

Hands down my nieces and nephews. I love how excited and engaged they become.  It really is special.

14. What made you decide to become a chef? 

After losing my father to cancer, and being diagnosed with Celiac Disease, it made me look at food differently and (not to sound cliché) made me realize that life is too short. I just went for it!

Connect with our November Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @cucinabambinainc

Twitter: @CucinaBambina

Facebook: Cucina Bambina Inc

October 2018 Chef of the Month Morghan Medlock

We are so excited to introduce our October 2018 Chef of the Month, Chef Morghan Medlock! Chef Morghan is one of a kind – she went from playing basketball to whipping up masterpieces in the kitchen. Chef Morghan has all aspects of the meal perfected from breakfast to dessert. Read below to find out more fun facts about our October Chef of the Month and her new found love of cooking.

1. Where were you born?

Pasadena, California

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

I am self employed personal chef and food blogger.

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

My favorite kitchen tool when creating mater piece dishes is my Chef’s knife that was gifted to me upon graduation of culinary school.

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

My sharpest sense out of all my senses is taste.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

The advice I’d offer aspiring chefs is that if their heart and soul is not on the kitchen then please get out of it. Food is emotional and takes everything you have to produce a delicious dish.

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

One tip every chef should know and perfect is the ability to adjust on the fly. Stuff happens in the kitchen at any given moment and as a chef your job is to be able to transform mistakes into masterpieces.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food to me means a dish that takes my soul on a ride as I fork around the plate. Or a dish that triggers a memory or inspires me to create.

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

The features important to me when selecting a chef outfit are color, fit and style all of which should tell someone who I am without me having to utter a word.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Favorite ingredient to work with is an egg because you can literally put it in or on almost anything and call it brunch if you want. Not to mention it’s a hell of a binding agent. when baking.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

Favorite City to dine out in is Houston, Texas.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

The best dish I have ever made was a braised squid ink pasta.

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

I like to eat all things brunch on my days off.

13. Person you would most like to cook for?

The person I would most like to cook for is Gordon Ramsay.

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

I decided to become a chef because it is the only thing that makes me feel alive as I did when I played basketball (my first career). It’s the only other way for me to entertain a crowd, inspire people, and tell my story like I did with basketball. And lastly so my kid would never have to grow up in a drive thru at a fast food spot.

Connect with our October Chef of the Month:

Instagram: @chefmorghan

Website

September 2018 Chef of the Month Penelope Wong

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We are thrilled to introduce our September Chef of the Month, Chef Penelope Wong! Since childhood, Chef Penelope has spent her life in the kitchen, from working at her family’s restaurant to being the Executive Chef at Glenmoor Country Club in Colorado. She displays her passion for food in her dishes and in her diligent work towards learning something new every day. Chef Penelope will soon be exploring new goals in the world of cuisine! Read below to find out more about Chef Penelope Wong!

1. Where were you born? Denver, Colorado

Where do you work and where are you based? I am currently the Executive Chef at Glenmoor Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, CO.  I’ve been here for 20 years and have been the Executive Chef for the last 14 years.  I will be finishing up my tenure here in September of 2018 to pursue other goals.

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

I’m very old fashioned.  While I love my tweezers and my chef spoons, when it comes to kitchen tools I’m pretty simple, my favorite knife is my Messermeister Oliva santoku knife and a well-seasoned sauté pan that’s great for getting a perfect sear on a beautiful fish fillet as well as finishing a pan sauce in. I don’t even own a gnocchi board; whenever I make gnocchi (which is quite often), I use the back of a fork to shape them!

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

Hmmmmm…that’s a toss up between smell and taste.  I’ve got an extremely keen palette for layering of flavors and can easily pin point missing layers. And most times I can easily detect which items are being prepped by the aromas wafting through the kitchens and throughout the clubhouse.

4. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

 Never stop learning.  The greatest thing about this industry is that there is ALWAYS something to learn.  Whether you’ve been classically trained, or you grew up in restaurants your whole life, there is something new to learn every single day in the kitchen.  Humility is the gateway to knowledge. I come in to my kitchen everyday with the hopes of learning something new, whether it be from one of my dishwashers regarding cuisine from their childhood or from one of my fellow managers in how they dealt with a difficult situation.

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

If there’s ever just a little something missing and you can’t place your finger on it, add a splash of vinegar. It’ll brighten all the flavors you’ve already infused into the dish and add another layer.

6. What does good food mean to you?

Good food is everything.  Good food is nostalgia and integrity to me.  My integrity as a chef is because of the flavors of my childhood.  Most of my childhood memories center around food, and most of it involved my large family and close friends.  If you think about it, have you ever had a bad memory in which good food was involved?  Bad memories and good food simply cannot coexist.

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

Especially as a woman, comfort and durability are key.  I’ve purchased chef coats in the past that were cut ‘for a woman’s shape’ only to find out they were tailored to help accentuate a woman’s shape rather than to fit a woman’s shape.  When I’m in the kitchen all day prepping for service, prepping for large events, getting through service, going through inventories on order days and breaking down boxes on delivery days, I could really care less that my chef’s coat accentuated my womanly shape.  A woman’s chef coat and pants should fit her body with comfort and provide ease of movement that comes with being a working chef.

8. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Kaffir Lime

9. Favorite City to dine out in?

Bangkok

10. Best Dish you have ever made?

Yum Kai Dao – Thai fried eggs.  This was one of my father’s favorite dishes to eat. Although maybe not the best dish I’ve ever made; but one of the tastiest.  Most people have a misperception about chefs being difficult to please.  But this is one of my favorite dishes to cook and eat.  It’s rice and eggs.  It doesn’t take much more than that to satisfy chefs.

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

Noodles.  I’m a sucker for noodles.  Chinese hand pulled noodles. Thai noodles. Pho noodles. Pasta noodles. Dumplings (technically still a noodle, just flattened and stuffed with something!)

12. Person you would most like to cook for?

My mother.  She passed when I was 16; and although many childhood memories include dishes that she taught me how to make, I never had the opportunity to cook a meal for her when I finally took on this profession as a career.

13. What made you decide to become a chef?

The passion for food is in my blood.  As a child, I was always more interested in what was going on in the kitchen rather than running around with my cousins and playing.  I was always wanting to learn in the kitchen and when I was finally allowed to help in the kitchen with the matriarchs in my family during Sunday dinners, I remember how proud I was of myself to finally earn the privilege of being included in this weekly ritual.  When I turned 12, I would go to my family’s restaurant to help out on the weekends, and rather than staying in the front of the house to help seat people or ring people up, I ended up in the kitchen everyday helping my father and grandfather with prep and eventually getting through services.

Connect with Our September Chef of the Month:

Instagram: @penelopewong

 

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