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June is here and so is our Chef of the Month, Claudia Diawara!

Join us in getting to know more intimately this incredibly versatile Chef by reading her interview below:

1. Where were you born? 

I was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka and I got adopted by a Swiss family, so I grew up in Switzerland.

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

I’m a private chef in Miami, Florida but I travel all over the world with my clients or for my clients. I’m based out of Atlanta, Georgia.

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

My favorite kitchen tool is the Pacojet. I love making all kinds of ice creams, spices, dishes, spreads, you name it. I call this machine the Ferrari of tools. I just love it. Probably also because it’s made in Switzerland.

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

My taste for sure.

5. What advice would you offer to aspiring chefs?

My advice for aspiring chefs: Stay true to yourself and know what you can and can’t do.

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

Every chef should know the basics because every recipe is based on that.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Food means everything to me – raw, cooked to eat, or just to cook.

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

To me, the most important features of a chef uniform are pockets. Also, that it’s not too hot, and that it has shape. I don’t want to feel like I’m wearing a garbage bag.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 

My favorite ingredient to work with is duck.

10. Favorite City to dine out in? 

My favorite city to dine in is Los Angeles.

11. Best Dish you have ever made? 

The best dish I have ever made is probably an African Fish Stew that I made up with ingredients I had on hand. I could never come close to that one time. It was so good.

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

I love to eat Chinese hot pots all day every day lol.

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

Gordon Ramsey.

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

We often get downgraded for “just” being a chef, when really, we bring people together. Everyone needs to eat.

15. What made you decide to become a chef?
My passion for food and the way it brings people together.

Connect with our June 2022 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @chef_claudiad
Business: @greenlabkitchen

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Chef Chris’ Cilantro Chimichurri & Grilled Skirt Steak Recipe

Cilantro Chimichurri & Grilled Skirt Steak

What do you call a skirt steak’s best friend? We call that chimichurri. Our January 2022 Chef of the Month, Chef Chris Valdes’ Cilantro Chimichurri & Mojo Soy Marinated Churrasco recipe holds the key to our hearts. Say hello to your new and juicy steak recipe!

Mojo Soy Marinated Churrasco (Skirt Steak) Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh sour orange juice
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 pounds skirt steak
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mojo Soy Marinated Churrasco Directions

  1. Whisk all of the ingredients together and pour into a large Ziploc bag, except for the steak, salt and pepper.
  2. Add skirt steak to the ziploc bag with marinade and allow to marinate overnight or at least an hour.
  3. When ready to grill, liberally season with salt and pepper. Grill until crisp and golden brown. Allow to rest for 10 minutes and serve.

Cilantro Chimichurri Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced 
  • 1⁄2 cup olive oil
  • 1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano 
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Cilantro Chimichurri Directions

1. Add all the ingredients to a bowl and combine.

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

Chef Chris’ Banana Foster French Toast Recipe

French toast may be your go-to breakfast item, but add banana foster and you’ve got yourself a new go-to breakfast (or dessert) option that we think is the real winner! Celebrity Chef Chris’ Banana Foster French Toast is the sweet perfection that we need to fuel our days. Find the recipe below – we dare you to resist eating more than one slice (it’s impossible).

French Toast Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 whole bread loaf, sliced in 1-inch thick slices

Banana Foster Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 whole bananas, sliced 1/2 inch rounds
  • 1/2 ounce bourbon or dark rum

French Toast Directions

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and cinnamon.
  2. Melt butter in a small pan with medium heat.
  3. Dip each slice of toast one at a time into the egg mixture for about 3 seconds per side and place in the pan.
  4. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip and repeat.

Banana Foster Directions

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add brown sugar and cook for about 4 min until melted butter is mixed with the brown sugar.
  3. Add the sliced bananas and cook until the bananas are soft and lightly cooked for about 3 minutes.
  4. Carefully add the bourbon or rum and allow to flambé.
  5. Serve on top of the french toast and top with desired toppings.

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

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 Pablo’s Hibiscus Crème Caramelle, Lavender Crème Anglaise & Puffed Rice Recipe

Creamy, fragrant and delicious – Chef Pablo’s Hisbiscus Crème Caramelle, Lavender Crème Anglaise & Puffed Rice Recipe is a literal dream come true! Add this November Chef of the Month’s recipe to your cooking repertoire.

Recipe Components

Crème caramelle                           1 ea

Lavender dust                               1 tbsp

Lavender crème anglais               2 silver spoons

Hibiscus puffed rice                     2 tbsp

Crème Caramelle Ingredients

Water                                  300 grs

Cream                                 620 grs

Salt                                     0.6 grs

Recipe Components

Egg                                     150 grs

Hibiscus                              60

Agar                                    5.94

Sugar                                  120 grs

  1. Combine water, cream, hibiscus and agar and take to a boil. Simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it sit for 2 more minutes. Strain with a chinois.
  2. Cool down just enough to make sure the liquid will not cook the eggs.
  3. Mix eggs, salt and sugar without adding any air.
  4. Mix both preparations and pass through a chinois.
  5. Fill in the crème caramelle molds with 90 grs of the hibiscus batter.
  6. Cook at 300 for 40 minutes on a bain-marie.
  7. Remove the molds from the water and let it sit in a cooler for 24 hours.

Lavender Crème Ingredients

Egg yolk                              15 ea.

Milk                                     1500 grs.

Sugar                                   225 grs.

Lavender                            9 grs.

Lavender Crème Directions

  1. Mix the egg yolks with half of the sugar on a metal bowl.
  2. Take the milk to a boil with the lavender and the other half of the sugar.
  3. Slowly pour half of the hot milk over the yolks while whisking.
  4. Combine both preparations and cook until 185 F.
  5. Strain with a chinois on a bowl over an ice bath.

Sweet Hibiscus Powder

Hibiscus

Powder sugar

On the spice grinder blend the hibiscus until powder. Add the powder sugar, mix and sift.

Keep on an airtight container.

Hibiscus Puffed Rice

Jasmine rice

Sweet hibiscus powder

  1. Cook the rice in water for a few minutes until the rice is overcooked.
  2. Spread the rice on a parchment paper and dehydrate it in the dehydrator at F.
  3. Break down the dehydrated rice on the robotcoup.
  4. Deep fry at F until the rice puffs. Season with the sweet hibiscus powder

Lavender Powder

Dehydrate lavender at 110 F for 10 hrs. Blend and dehydrate at 110 F for 5 more hours.

Sift and keep in an airtight container.

Connect with our November 2021 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @chefpablolamon
Website: https://www.pablolamon.com/
Virtual Classes: https://www.pablolamon.com/virtual-cooking-classes

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November 2021 Chef of the Month – Pablo Lamon

We’re eager to kick off this month with our talented November 2021 Chef of the Month, Pablo Lamon. Chef Pablo was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and began his culinary career at the Mausi Sebess culinary institute. Success is not unknown to this chef – he’s worked at the award-winning Palacio Duhai – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, onboard Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Silhouette, and has even competed on Top Chef! Today, he lives in Miami Beach and is the Executive Chef at the Conrad Hotel Miami. Chef Pablo encompasses passion and dedication. He loves every single thing about cooking and has never looked back. All his accomplishments further prove the notion.

1. Where were you born?
Buenos Aires, Argentina. Most beautiful City in the World!

2. Where do you work and where are you based? 
I am the Executive Chef at the Conrad Hotel Miami, and I live in Miami Beach.

3. What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces/dishes?
Well, I really like using tweezers, they allow you to be very precise when plating.

4. What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses?
I would say smell.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?
Make learning your number one priority, not the money, not the city you want to live in. Find a Chef that you want to work for, and apply to work at his/her Restaurant, no matter where the Restaurant is located or how much they pay you.

6. What is one culinary tip every chef should know and perfect?
How to properly make an omelette. It is embarrassing when I see Chefs that have great experience and don’t know how to do make an omelette.

7. What does good food mean to you?
A good dish, for me, must be nutritious, delicious, meaningful and beautiful. In that order.

8. What features are important to you when selecting your chef outfit?
Well, it has to be fresh, to breathe well and to look good!

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 
I guess it would have to be some cut of beef that you can braise, like Ossobuco. I love long cooking methods!

10. Favorite city to dine out in?
New Orleans for sure!

11. Best dish you have ever made? 
I am pretty proud of my Beet Hummus, people love it!

12. What do you like to eat most often on your days off? 
Well, I usually try to have a balanced diet, so I try to go for veggies and maybe fish or chicken breast. I also eat a lot of sushi!

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 
Definitely Daniel Humm, I would love his feedback.

14. What are some of the difficulties you’d say that chefs most often encounter?
I guess a big one is living a balanced life, especially at the beginning of your career. There is a lot unnecessary stress, crazy long hours, and bad nutrition. Luckily, now that is changing and there is more consciousness about having a healthy lifestyle in the kitchen.

15. What made you decide to become a chef?
It is weird because even though my Mom is a great cook, I did not have that “growing up cooking with your mother” type of childhood. I did start experimenting at around 15-16 years old, just because I was bored during lunch and I would play with the different ingredients…and then eat them! So that was definitely fun. When the time came to decide what I wanted to do after college, for some reason, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to become a Chef. And from the first time that I stepped into my Culinary School, I just loved every single thing about cooking and that love has never left me!

Connect with our November 2021 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @chefpablolamon
Website: https://www.pablolamon.com/
Virtual Classes: https://www.pablolamon.com/virtual-cooking-classes

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Chef Albertho’s Breakfast Potato Recipe

We’re a big believer in all things potatoes and our January 2021 Chef of the Month, Chef Albertho’s Breakfast Potato recipe does not fail to disappoint! Add poached eggs and homemade mayo to give the recipe a little kick.

Ingredients

● 2 Russet potatoes
● 5 organic eggs
● 2 limes
● 1 bottle red wine
● 1 cup of butter
● 2 cups vegetable oil

Potato Directions

  1. Peel the potatoes ( leave them in cold water while working).
  2. Cut potatoes into circles ( use a ring cutter to make different shapes if have one). Cut the potatoes half the length of an egg.
  3. Boil the potatoes on medium heat to not break them and cook until soft.
  4. Poke with a small knife in the middle. Add salt to taste on the water.
  5. Dry potatoes and sear on high heat with up to 2 oz of butter (sear until golden brown).

Poached Egg Directions

  1. Add red wine and squeeze a lime. Put lime juice in a medium pot on medium heat
  2. Bring water to a soft boil, and gently add the 2 eggs ( crack the eggs ahead of time and add to a small container).
  3. Keep wine on a soft boil until eggs are firm but soft in the middle. Add salt and pepper when eggs are done.

Fresh Mayo Directions

  1. Melt 4 oz of butter. Add 3 egg yolks in a blender.
  2. Blend on medium, add melted butter and 2 cups of oil slowly.
  3. Add 1 lime zest and juice to finish & salt to taste.

Chef Albertho’s Crispy Chicken & Tomato Puree

For a delectable and flavorful meal, try our January Chef of the Month, Chef Albertho’s Crispy Chicken & Tomato Puree recipe! This dish is packed with fresh ingredients and is simple to make. Whether you’ll want to share? That’s up to you.

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken thighs drums in
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 small can tomato puree
  • 4 fresh plum tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup of butter
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 lime

Directions

Chicken

  1. Season chicken with olive oil and salt ( let rest for 2 minutes).
  2. Sear chicken on a high to medium heat until golden brown and roast in oven at 350°  for 15 minutes (skin side only + add slices of butter and thyme to add flavor ).

Tomato Puree

  1. Cut tomatoes into big dices.
  2. Sauté the fresh tomato with garlic cloves and oil.
  3. When softening, add the tomato puree and blend on high with 2 TBS olive oil+ up to 4 oz of butter.

Sautéed Kale

  1. Sauté the kale on a small sauté pan on medium heat with 2 oz butter
  2. Add half a squeeze of lime juice (add salt to taste).

White Wine Sauce

  1. From the pan that the chicken was cooked in, add wine and reduce on medium heat until 50% reduction.
  2. Add 3 oz of butter and mix until incorporated (add half of the lime).

Connect with our January 2021 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @the_upcoming.chef
Twitter: @Chef_Albertho
YouTube: Albertho Appolon
Young Chef Generation: @youngchefgeneration

Chef Albertho’s Cake of Heaven Recipe

It’s the new year and we’ve got just the treat for you: Chef Albertho’s Cake of Heaven Recipe! This sweet, creamy cake is made with fluffy pancakes, sweet cream and candied pecans to top it off. No wonder Chef Albertho calls this cake the ‘Cake of Heaven’ – your taste buds would agree!

Chef Albertho's Cake of Heaven Recipe

Serves: 5

Ingredients

Pancake Ingredients
Double for 5 people

  • 2 cups flour.
  • 3 tablespoons sugar.
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder.
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  • 1 3/4 cups milk or as needed.
  • 2 eggs. Beat white separate until fluffy
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil

Syrup Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cup blueberries
  • 2 jalapenos

Spicy Cream Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeno

Candied Pecans Ingredients

  • 2 cups pecans
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup  water

Directions

Pancake Directions

  1. In a large bowl, add banana, egg yolks, melted butter, sugar and salt ( mix well ).
  2. Add milk, and all dry ingredients ( mix well until fully incorporated).
  3. In a separate bowl or a electrical mixer, add the egg whites and beat until smooth and fluffy.
  4. Fold the egg white into the cake mixture.
  5. Cook pancakes on medium heat until golden on each side ( use a 3oz ladle ).

Syrup Directions

  1. Add all ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Once boiled, it’s done. Cut jalapenos in half.

Spicy Cream Directions

  1. Add sugar and cream in a mixer or a large bowl.
  2. Whip the cream until nice and firm .
  3. Add lime zest and jalapeno zest.

Candied Pecans Directions

  1. Add all ingredients in a small sauté pan
  2. On a medium heat, cook together until sugar is mixed well with the pecans.zest.

Connect with our January 2021 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @the_upcoming.chef
Twitter: @Chef_Albertho
YouTube: Albertho Appolon
Young Chef Generation: @youngchefgeneration

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