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Meet Chef Yeikel! Our September 2022 Chef of The Month.

We are delighted to introduce our September 2022 Chef of the Month, Chef Yeikel Santos. Along the TV show hosts, he brings delicious and practical recipes to your screen through the show, El News Cafe, on national television in channels WLTV Univision 23 and UniMas in the United States. The News Café is a magazine broadcast from South Florida in which authentic conversations reign around topics of interest, as well as advice from experts in various areas to provide viewers with valuable content that allows them to start the morning on the right foot and greater knowledge.

Chef Yeikel is wearing the Basic Fit Men’s 2-Pocket Short Sleeve Snap Front Chef Coat for maximum comfort and style.

1. Where were you born? 

La Havana, Cuba.

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

 I am the Chef of The News Café program in the Univision 23 Miami network, content creator and author of 5 cookbooks. I am a personal chef for private events and I live in the city of Miami since 8 years ago.

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

The knife.

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

My sense of smell.

5. What advice would you offer to aspiring chefs?

That it is a career of many efforts, passion, dedication, and above all study. We must be committed to doing it well and improve ourselves day after day by sharing and learning from others.

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

Save, leverage all the ingredients to the maximum, and try not to waste anything.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Taste, color, presentation, temperature, and seasoning is the key to having a good meal.

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

Make it elegant, comfortable and simple.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 

Healthy, fresh, seasonal foods that are organic without preservatives.

10. Favorite City to dine out in? 

Paris, France.

11. Best Dish you have ever made? 

I would say that for all the dishes I prepare I try my best for them to taste good and that the person who tastes them enjoys them.

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

Healthy meals, made by me using fresh ingredients.

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

Friends and family.

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

Lack of order among the employees, lack of organization in a work team, or poor communication between the teams. To achieve great results you have to work as a team.

15. What made you decide to become a chef?
My passion and love for cooking. I love to spend time cooking and especially transmit my knowledge to others, so I have written 5 cookbooks and I share every week on television my passion to cook.

Connect with our September 2022 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @chefyeikel
Click here for his cookbook

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Chef Chris LaVecchia, our August 2022 Chef of the Month

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 & raised in Queens, New York. I was brought up in Woodhaven & Howard beach, then moved to Long Island with my family after I graduated from high school.

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

I am based out of Long Island, NY. I travel every week to various homes, and specialize in private, in-home dinner parties & cocktail parties for special occasions & milestone events. Most of my work is done in all areas of long island, the 5 boroughs, & the tri-state area (NY, NJ & CT).

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

It’s hard to pick just one because chefs love their box of tools & gadgets, but if I had to narrow it down to just one, I would say, recently my air pump for creating delicious foams. Foams have been around for decades, but every once in a while, we bring back old techniques that may be new to our clients.

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

I would have to say smell.

5. What advice would you offer to aspiring chefs?

Practice, practice, practice. What may seem impossible at first, will soon become effortless with enough practice.

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

Make it nice. People always eat with their eyes first. Yeah, it may taste great in the end, but if it doesn’t look pretty, then it is just another dish, cooked by another chef. Make it nice.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food to me is everything. So many times, I go out to eat, or order from somewhere, and say to myself: this has no flavor. Or has no soul. Good food to me not only looks amazing but tastes amazing. I’m not just talking about seasoned food. Anyone can season food, but to have multiple levels of flavor. Now that’s what food means to me. Cooks cook to feed people. But a chef nourishes people and leaves them wanting more.

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

Classy / elegant / comfortable. For an executive coat, I love something that looks classy, but is also comfortable, and can still function in the kitchen without baggy sleeves. For a regular dinner, I like something that looks professional but is very comfortable.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 

The egg. It is so simple, yet so versatile in the kitchen, and there are so many things you can do with not just the egg as a whole, but with it separated you can do so much with it as well with either just the yolks or just the whites. It can be used to make pasta, which is always on my menus. Or it can be used in so many ways to either make a pie, creme brulee, meringue & so much more. Something so simple, and often overlooked, has so many functions in the kitchen and can be used in so many ways. Or simply to just…make an omelet.

10. Favorite City to dine out in? 

New York City for sure, but I also want to start traveling to other major cities in the U.S. to dine at Michelin restaurants. I am going to Alinea in Chicago (arguably the best restaurant in the world) in September, so I am really looking forward to that experience.

11. Best Dish you have ever made? 

There are so many. Sometimes I experiment with a dish until it is perfected. Then it becomes a signature dish and finds its way onto every seasonal menu as a selection.

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

Anything that takes 20 minutes or less (laughs out loud).

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

I would love to cook for a famous chef. Not only just to meet them, but more so to get their constructive criticism and/or advice.

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

Balancing work & personal life. Chefs have such a crazy schedule, that it is often hard to balance work life & personal life with family & friends.

15. What made you decide to become a chef?
This is such a long story for another day, but the short version is that I never actually thought of being or wanted to be a chef. One day it just happened. I took a different path and followed my passionate, creative side. They say things happen for a reason, and I haven’t looked back yet. I have been a professional chef now for almost 2 decades. Things always happen for a reason, and what’s meant to be…will be.

Connect with our August 2022 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @chefchrislavecchia
Website: www.chefchrislavecchia.com
TikTok: ChefChrisLaVecchia

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Lobster Risotto by Chef Chris LaVecchia

Preparation / Mise En Place:

     Put fresh lobster broth into a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low & simmer. Watch that the stock does not reduce too much.

     In a large pot, bring about 1 gallon of water and about 8oz of white vinegar to a boil. 

Put 4 bowls into a warming oven, or above the stove to keep hot.

Prepare an ice bath. 

     Place a small rack on the stove & turn it on high. Place 1 red pepper on the rack to roast. Rotate the pepper to roast each side. When the pepper is finished roasting, place it into an ice bath. Once chilled, remove from the ice bath. Skin & seed the roasted pepper. Discard the skin, seeds & innards. Julienne & small dice the roasted red pepper. Set aside for risotto.

Small dice 1 shallot. Set aside for risotto.

Prepare an ice bath.

     To kill the lobster, place the point of a chef’s knife at the top center of the head of the lobster. Drive the blade of the knife down through the face of the lobster. Place lobsters into a heat-resistant container. When the water & white vinegar mixture comes to a boil, turn off the heat & pour the boiling liquid over the lobsters, until fully submerged. Let the lobsters steep for about 3-5 minutes. Take lobsters out & place them into an ice bath.

     Once chilled, extract the lobster meat from the claws, tail & arms. Set the meat aside. Using a rolling pin, extract the meat from the legs & set the meat aside to make the lobster tuiles. 

     Remove & discard any innards & place all shells into a container for stock. Place the head & antennae into a bag to make another batch of lobster butter.

Clean station. On a tray lined with parchment paper, put all mise en place, garnishes & finishing salts, and prepare for plating.

Join us in this culinary adventure Chef Chris LaVecchia is inviting us on by sharing with us the preparation of this delicious plate. From generating the Lobster Stock, to the creamiest Lobster Butter; this journey will take us to the finished dish: Lobster Risotto and the finishing touches of the Beurre Monte.

Lobster Stock Ingredients

  • 5 lbs lobster bodies, about 4 whole 1.25lb lobsters 
  • Olive oil, about 2-3 ounces
  • 1 cup peeled & diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced white onions
  • 1 cup diced leeks, white & pale green parts only
  • 3/4 cup diced fennel, white part only
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 oz brandy
  • 8 oz white wine
  • Cold water, as needed
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 3 sprigs tarragon
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns & 1 tbsp white peppercorns 1 fresh bay leaf

Instructions

  1. Scrape & discard the gills from the sides of the bodies. Remove & discard the innards. Quarter the clean bodies. Reserve 2 lobster tails for the lobster risotto.
  2. In a large stock pot, heat the oil over high heat. Roast the lobster bodies in the pot until they are evenly caramelized, about 10 minutes.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the carrots, celery, onions, leeks, fennel, and garlic & sauté until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the tomato paste & sauté until caramelized, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the brandy & white wine and reduce by half. Add cold water until everything is fully submerged. Add the thyme, tarragon & peppercorns. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  5. Skim off any oils or impurities that rise to the top. Simmer for about 30-40 minutes.
  6. Prepare an ice bath. Strain through a chinois. Chill the stock over the ice bath. 

     Reserve refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 30 days. Extract all the meat out of the lobster bodies. Finely chop & reserve for lobster ravioli filling.

Lobster Butter Ingredients

  • 4-6 lobster heads & antennae, thoroughly rinsed
  • 1-2 oz oil
  • 20 g tomato paste
  • 1 lb butter
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup peeled & diced carrot
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup diced fennel, white part only
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs tarragon
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, chop the lobster heads until broken into small pieces. Heat the oil in a saucepan over high heat. Roast the crushed lobster heads in the oil, stirring occasionally until browned, about 7 minutes. Add the tomato paste & sauté for 2 minutes.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium, and add in the butter, onions, carrots, celery, thyme, tarragon & bay leaf. Bring the butter to a simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat. Cover with plastic wrap. Let the butter steep at room temperature for 1 hour.
  3. Strain the butter through a chinois
  4. Return to a clean saucepan & simmer for about 15 minutes, whisking occasionally to prevent the milk solids from browning.
  5. Once the butter is clear, strain it through a coffee filter to remove the milk solids. Let it cool at room temperature.

Reserve refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 30 days.

Lobster Risotto

Ingredients

4 lobster tails

4 lobster claws

Arm, knuckle & leg meat, rinsed & diced

Lobster broth, for risotto & beurre monte

About 1/2 – 1lb of butter for beurre monte

Lobster butter, as needed

1 shallot, peeled & small diced

About 1/3 cup carnaroli rice, rinsed

1 red bell pepper (roasted, skinned & seeded), small diced

About 1/2 tsp Persian saffron

About 1/2 cup of white wine, pinot grigio

Baby arugula, small hand-full

Kosher salt, to taste

Saffron sea salt, for finishing

Instructions

  1. Bring the lobster stock back up to a boil. Add boiling stock to the risotto as needed. Reserve the rest for Beurre Monte.     
  2. In a medium sauté pan, on low heat, add 1 tablespoon of the lobster butter & melt. Add shallots & sweat, but do not brown for about 2-3 minutes. Add in the saffron, and sauté for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the carnaroli & additional lobster butter if needed, and sauté for 1-2 minutes to lightly toast the carnaroli and to absorb some of the butter. 
  3. Turn the heat to high. Add in the white wine. Reduce until almost fully absorbed. Turn heat to medium, adding hot lobster broth as needed, until cooked 3/4 of the way. Stirring frequently.
  4. When the risotto is almost done, turn the heat to high. Add in the diced red pepper & remaining lobster meat (arm, leg & knuckle). Add additional stock, a touch of lemon juice, and finish the risotto.

Taste & season with salt as needed.

Once the risotto is ready to be served, fold in some baby arugula so that it is slightly wilted. 

Beurre Monte or Poaching Liquid

  • About 1 quart of lobster broth
  • Lobster butter as needed
  • Unsalted butter, as needed (about 1/2lb – 1lb)
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut butter into chunks. In a small sauté pan, bring the lobster stock up to a simmer. Add the chunks of butter a little at a time, whisking constantly to incorporate. Be careful to maintain the emulsion.
  2. Keep on medium to low heat before poaching the lobster tails & claws. About 5 minutes before the risotto is ready to be served, place the tails & claws into the poaching liquid, on low heat, being delicate to not break the lobster meat.
  3. Poach the claws for about 30 seconds to finish cooking, flipping over about halfway through.
  4. Poach the tails for about 45 seconds to 1 minute, flipping halfway through. Turn off the heat.
  5. Take the tails & claws out of the poaching liquid, and place them onto a small tray lined with parchment & paper towel to drain off any excess liquid.

To Finish

Place any remaining stock & Beurre Monte into a heat-resistant container.

Spoon the risotto into the center of the hot bowls.

Place the poached tail on top of the risotto.

Place the poached claw off to the side.

Pour some of the beurre monte into a small container. Using a small pastry brush, dip into the liquid & brush over the tail, to glaze. Repeat the process for the claw. 

Freshly grind the saffron sea salt onto the tail & claw.

Place some of the lemon foam off the side of the claw in between the risotto & claw.

Place the lobster tuile in between the tail & the claw sticking out of either the risotto or the foam.

Garnish with micro-greens & flowers.

Connect with our August 2022 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @chefchrislavecchia TikTok: ChefChrisLaVecchia
Website: www.chefchrislavecchia.com

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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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Meet Chef Simona Lauren, our May 2022 Chef of the Month

As we walk ourselves into warmer weather, it is with a lot of excitement that we introduce or May 2022 Chef of The Month, Chef Simona Lauren. Her presence in the kitchen and our tables can easily be described as a ray of sunshine. While obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in Lithuania in Economy Sciences, her true love for food was always going along with her. Her set of skills which features fine dining cuisine, wine, and food pairing, kitchen design, menu development, budgeting, and other hospitality standards has been highly influenced by her  Austrian, German, Italian, French, Scandinavian chefs training. Over the years she has had the opportunity to help open nine different restaurants  in Lithuania, Norway and the United States, including one of her own.

Providing her clients with a delicious and nutritious meal that meets each of their requirements is a priority for her. Chef Simona Lauren has been certified as a Nutrition Coach at the National Academy of Sports Medicine in the United States.

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

1. Where were you born? 

Lithuania

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

Phoenix, Arizona. Private Chef Simona Lauren.

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

My Kitchen Aid appliances and my Santoku knife.

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

I would say all of them. My most preferred ones are taste and vision.

5. What advice would you offer to aspiring chefs?

Never give up, follow your dreams and do what is right. Never forget to treat everyone around as you would like to be treated.

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

An organized and clean space will help to make your work not only easier but also greater. The way you and your workspace look will affect your dish too.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Memories. A great dish should bring you memories and become a topic of conversation.

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

Comfort.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 

Chocolate and fish.

10. Favorite City to dine out in? 

London.

11. Best Dish you have ever made? 

There’s a lot of them so it’s really hard to say, but from the dessert side, I would say the Chocolate Morel Truffle Sphere in Bavarian Mousse cloud.

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

Good homemade mama’s food. Lithuanian Stuffed Cabbage is my favorite, or Asian Ramen Soup.

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

My grandfather.

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

A bad and disrespectful restaurant environment, where long hours of dedication can literally kill you.

15. What made you decide to become a chef?
My grandmother when I was 4 years old. We were making ravioli. I told her I wanted to have my own restaurant.

Connect with our May 2022 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @chefsimonalauren
Website: www.chefsimonalauren.com
Facebook: Simona Lauren

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

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

1. Where were you born? 

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

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

I am the Executive Chef & owner of Chef Covas Catering

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

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

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

My smell is by far the sharpest sense I have.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

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

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

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

7. What does good food mean to you?

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

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

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

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 

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

10. Favorite City to dine out in? 

NYC – the best city.

11. Best Dish you have ever made? 

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

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

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

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 

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

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

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

15. What made you decide to become a chef?

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

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

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September 2021 Chef of the Month – Jahnesta Watson (Chef Shaiheem)

We’re so excited to introduce our talented September 2021 Chef of the Month, Jahnesta Watson (Chef Shaiheem)! Originally from Mississippi, Chef Shaiheem moved around a lot before he permanently settled in Atlanta, Georgia. He owns The Guilty Plate Co. LLC, an Atlanta based catering company that he started back in 2016. Chef Shaiheem has been cooking ever since he was 17 years old! His first full-time job was at a burger spot in the Atlanta airport, and it helped him realize that food fueled his passions. Today, he continues to inspire his customers with the love he has for his craft and truly believes that he was placed on this earth to “Spread Light Through Food”. After all, feeding people is his love language.

1. Where were you born?
 I am originally from Gulfport, Mississippi but I moved back and forth between there and Georgia all my life. I moved to Atlanta, GA permanently in 2008.

2. Where do you work and where are you based? 
I’m a Project manager/Sampling & Projections operations analyst.

3. What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces/dishes?
My Cleaver is my favorite tool, it’s the sharpest knife in my kitchen and it’s never nicked me!

4. What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses?
Hearing, I am also a singer so working on that has always been important to me. No one is ever going to sneak up on me!

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?
Never stop creating, I challenge myself to create at least two things a week with ingredients I have never touched. I think it is important to venture out into other styles of cuisine to bring nuanced flavors to your foundational cooking style.

6. What is one culinary tip every chef should know and perfect?
The culinary tip that I think everyone should know and perfect is effectively seasoning and building flavor profiles. Every seasoning that is in your cabinet, does not belong on your food.

7. What does good food mean to you?
Good food to me is food that is cooked with love and food where every single flavor profile is vocal in your dish in the way that it needs to be heard.

8. What features are important to you when selecting your chef outfit? 
Comfortability and style is important. I want to be able to move around easily and to not sweat too much in the kitchen. Even more so, I want to look damn good in it!

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 
I love acidity so any excuse to use citrus and I am there for it!

10. Favorite city to dine out in?  
Chicago, IL hands down! Chicago is such a culinary melting pot and I love diving into everything I can get my hands on when I’m there. There is no such thing as a diet when I am in The Chi!

11. Best dish you have ever made? 
I honestly try to top myself every time I step in the kitchen, I feel like superiority to the chef I was yesterday is always my goal, so I feel like I’m only as good as my last dish. Now that I’m done pontificating, Hazelnut Coffee braised Oxtails w/ Smoked Manchego gremolata over creamy polenta.

12. What you like to eat most often on your days off? 
OXTAILS & JAPANESE FOOD

13. Person you would most like to cook for? 
I would love to cook for Michelle Obama, I just love that woman!

14. What are some of the difficulties you’d say that chefs most often encounter?
I would say the most difficult thing is staying inspired and keeping yourself separated and special. It is a blessing and a rarity that you can make the money you need to survive cooking full time if that is your dream. The Chef community is infiltrated because everyone claims the word in a community that is already so oversaturated.

15. What made you decide to become a chef?
I have been cooking professionally since I was 17. Cooking truly centers me. When I am in the kitchen creating dishes for others to eat, it nothing brings me more joy.  I truly believe that I have something special in store for anyone who tries my food. I believe I was placed on this Earth to “Spread Light Through Food” and just want everyone to experience the love I have for my craft because Feeding People is My Love Language.

Connect with our September 2021 Chef of the Month
Instagram: @thechefshaiheem
Website: https://theguiltyplate.com/
TikTok: @thechefshaiheem

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Chef Jaycee’s Crab Dip Recipe

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

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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

Chef Jaycee’s Cinnamon Apple Cast Iron Pancakes Recipe

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

Cinnamon Apple Ingredients

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

Apple Topping Ingredients

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

Pancake Directions

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

Cinnamon Apple Directions

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

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

Chef Jaycee’s Lobster Mac and Cheese Recipe

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

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

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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

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