Personal Chef - Winter 2015

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From the President................................................................3 Membership Milestones........................................................4 Do You Serve Your Clients?..................................................5 Food Photo of the Year..........................................................6 San Francisco Chapter Retreat.............................................14 New Jersey and Greater Philadelphia Tamale Class............15 Origins of Decorated Easter Eggs.........................................16 Nine Ways to Stand Out........................................................19 Eat Right Seniors: Serving Our Elders..................................20 Winter Recipes......................................................................22 A New Approach to Winter....................................................34 Don’t Run Your Business Alone.............................................35 Compound Butter..................................................................36 Claim Your Local Listing........................................................37 The Sous Vide Cooking Technique.......................................39


Volume 21, Number 1 Winter 2015

Personal Chef is the official publication of the Personal Chef Industry. This publication is made possible by the United States Personal Chef Association. The purpose of this publication is to bring Personal Chefs the most useful and timely information and ideas from experts, working professionals, and industry leaders. Personal Chef welcomes any articles, manuscripts, tips, hints, photographs, recipes and ideas from our readers. We appreciate all submissions. Please include name, address and phone number. Send your contributions to: United States Personal Chef Association PC Editor 7680 Universal Blvd, Ste 550 Orlando, FL 32819

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Production Director:

Larry Lynch

Editor: USPCA Magazine Department Layout & Design: Designs by CJT Advertising: USPCA Magazine Department

Personal Chef is published by: United States Personal Chef Association 7680 Universal Blvd, Ste 550 Orlando, FL 32819 Copyright Š 2015 United States Personal Chef Association. Reproduction prohibited without permission. All rights reserved.

From the President’s Desk As this magazine hits your desk, we should find ourselves back on track with our Personal Chef Magazine. We’ve been testing new printers and, while that works, its amazing what a difference cities/postal delivery can make. To ensure that you get your news on time, we have started (effective with the last issue) sending you the digital link immediately upon publication. The new system is more interactive and we hope you like that early edition as you wait for the print edition. We have a number of other launches underway as well. I’d love to talk about them now but, with my luck, there will be some sort of delay and I don’t want to jinx it. The other thing I’ve learned is that if I don’t promise, it usually happens sooner than later so I will leave it at “watch for some exciting changes.” The other quick thought I had as we launch 2015 came from a presentation Robert and I did at the local Le Cordon Bleu campus here in Orlando. One of the students asked how we differ from our competition. I’ve never been one to shy from a discussion about completion. Honestly, in all of the businesses I’ve ever run, I pay little if any attention to competition. Rather, I want to be sure that USPCA delivers above and beyond what we promise at any point in time. But it begged the question…what IS that promise. When I think back to the business model of yore, it was a business designed to prepare you to become a personal chef then join the association. But I’m not sure the mission of USPCA by itself was clear. That’s one thing we have changed and are now articulating regularly among our staff: the mission of USPCA is to help members sustain and grow their personal chef business. Short and simple. We recognize that there are a host of resources that can help you build your business. But once you’re up and running, keeping it there, growing it and changing the models takes a different kind of focus. And you can bet that that is what you’ll be seeing from USPCA…an association providing you with the latest tools and information you need to make your business the best that it can be. Happy 2015 (albeit a bit late) to everyone!

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Membership Milestones 15 Years Greg Cross, CPC, Atlanta, GA Jacqueline Holtzman, Penfield, NM Miles Wilhelm, Bellaire, TX

10 Years Deborah Famoso, Weston, FL Lisa Givens, Westminster, CO Ann Gosse, CPC, Somerville, MA Malissa Grinnals, Redlands, CA Norlene Jones, Novato, CA Shoshana Klein, Albany, CA Deborah Miller, Severn, MD Jason Molinari, Cleveland, OH Brenda Monahan, Rochester, NY Sevilla Riley, CPC, Frisco, TX Joseph Rizzi, San Jose, CA Rosemary Rutland, CPC, Atlanta, GA Susan Semenec, Downers Grove, IL Barbara Shipley, Abingdon, MD Cindy Steinman, Evanston, IL

5 Years Karry Cumberland, Hilliard, OH Araminta David, Denver, CO Ken Eakins, Bellevue, NE Lester Esser, Roslindale, MA Thomas Grabot, McFarland, WI Carrie Hines, Sherwood, OR Lucinda Houdeshell, Oxnard, CA David Hull, Stone Mountain, GA Camika Jones, Glen Burnie, MD Diana Kramer, CPC, Rockford, IL Sarah Lujetic, McKeesport, PA Nancy McAveeney, Merrimack, NH Bridgit Moore, Eddy, TX Carolyn Stapleton, Albuquerque, NM Matthew West, CPC, Stamford, CT Robert Wezwick, CPC, Maynard, MA Joseph Yacino, Ft Lauderdale, FL

3 years Laurie Allmenger, Naples, FL Debra Desautels, Pittsburgh, PA Dania Gold Namdar, Brooklyn, NY Stephanie Jensen, CPC, Chicago, IL Cameron Kenne, Broomfield, CO Annette Landvatter, West Bend, WI Maggie Lawson, Oakland, CA Lara Moritz, Providence, RI Gwen Narcisse, Marietta, GA Catherine Richey, CPC, San Antonio, TX Jette Stroupe, Gastonia, NC Lesa Sullivan, Seattle, WA Kanella Thomas, Manassas, VA Nicole Woods, Red Bank, NJ

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New Members Rachel Armstrong Chef Rachel Armstrong Edmonton, AB 780-264-2445

Dianne Hancock Red Apron / Personal Chef Service Fort Worth, TX 682-521-0897

Sean Arnold Underground WestYork, PA 717-654-8368

Suzanne Hanzl TournÈ Cooking School Grand Junction, CO (970) 208-7770

Desiree Briel Rodi Able Table, LLC Kirkland, WA 203-640-2969 R.L. Cubit II Central Texas Culinary Solutions Martindale, TX 512-213-8283 Antonella Dewell Full Flavored Health Santa Cruz, CA 408-455-3710 Karen Doman Dishin’ It Somers, NY 914-582-5123 Joseph Durant In House Catering Washington, DC 240-392-3026 Alexandra Fitchener Girasole Creation Menlo Park, CA 310-927-0161 Tim Gauldin I Have A Chef Garner, NC 919-809-6330

Lana Imm Chef of the Hills Onsted, MI 517-467-5337 Fredrick Kunkel The Roasted Fig Ft. Lauderdale, FL 954-399-0271 Lisa Picou Lisa Marie’s Taste & See Gourmets Mansfield, TX 972-639-7639 Melissa Bess Reed Melissa Bess Reed, Chef Ventura, CA 805-701-9042 Chris J. Scalici Artistic Cuisine Greensboro, NC 336-355-9445 Lauren Schmier Kitchen2Table Chicago Chicago, IL 561-376-6224 Jenny Shearman My Sweet Beet Toronto, ON 647-457-0093

Antonio Torres Elevate Food Inc. Glen Ellyn, IL 630-442-3714

New Student Member Robert Brodzin St. Louis, MO 314-941-6366

Do You Serve Your Clients... or Just Make Money? Deb Cantrell, Executive Chef/Owner The Savor Chef, Arlington, Texas Recently after attending a workshop, I heard an interesting acronym about being in business and the necessary components of all businesses. It spells out WE SERVE. It goes like this:

W - Website. You must have one in today’s world. DO NOT do your website yourself. Have it professionally done. If you want clients to pay you for a high-end product, then high clients want to see a high-end website.

E - Email marketing. This means, do you have a list and do you have a relationship with them. Are you sending out periodic and consistent emails, blogs, newsletter, etc? You need to stay in front of them.

S - Social media. If you are not on it and don’t like it, it is time. Get busy and fake it until you make it. It is the way we do business now.

E - Engaging print media. This simply means use flyers, post cards, print advertising if

that has worked for you in the past, etc. I don’t buy print advertising unless there is an editorial or a story done on me as well.

R - Relationships. Your business will sky rocket when you realize that it is all about

relationships. Networking groups don’t work unless you develop relationships with people you network with and joint ventures won’t either unless you develop relationships. In today’s business world, you will gain more clients by who you know well and the connections you have with others.

V - Video. Video is huge for today’s business. People are in information overload and don’t

have time to read. They would rather watch a video and get to know you on a personal level and what you offer. They can be ugly and very real. Clients want to know whom they are buying from. Not to mention, video helps with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) on your website.

E - Events. If you are not currently doing events, they are a great way to market your

business. They will stretch you to grow and can be scary but you can do joint events with other people such as being a part of a group that puts on a Wellness Conference or a healthy living event. They take a lot of planning but establish you as an expert and are very profitable.

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Every Picture Sells A Story Food Photo of the Year Winner: Chef Garbo For the winner of the Photo of The Year Award, we will focus on the success that has come to Chef Garbo as a result of creating compelling food photos that bring in the business. The Art of Food Photography - Eating With Our Eyes Garbo’s story is about food photos that attract new business. She believes that food photography is essentially the “art of eating with our eyes.” Garbo states that when we dine, all of our senses are stimulated. We enjoy the visual appeal and color, we smell the savory aromas, we feel the texture on our palate, we hear the sizzle and pop and finally we taste the wonderful deliciousness. When viewing a food photo we rely on our eyes and memory to conjure up all the sensory pleasures that we connect with the food. If a food stylist and photographer is successful at their job, we can re-live the dining experience vicariously through the image of the food. How Chef Garbo Discovered Food Styling Through the USPCA In 2005, Chef Garbo joined the USPCA and it was the best career move she ever made. When it comes to a new business start up for a Personal Chef, the USPCA is the way to go according to Chef Garbo. As the Association offers all the education, licensing, insurance and state-of-the-art web resources, a budding Personal Chef can be up and running in no time. As a long-term member of the USPCA, Garbo relies on resources like Hire-A-Chef so that her business can continue to flourish in today’s competitive market place. Chef Garbo spent considerable time creating her tag line “Healthy Meals for Busy People” and this really resonates with prospects as most everyone is too busy to cook these days but still want to eat healthy meals. Like Thomas Keller of French Laundry, Chef Garbo has no formal culinary training, but she does have a lifetime of cooking and entertaining experience and certainly knows how to create mouth watering client pleasing meals. In 2008, she attended the USPCA Conference in Atlanta where she took Denise Vivaldo’s Food Styling Class followed by her 2-day Master

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Food Styling Seminar in Los Angeles. Not only did this course work change her life, but her business grew exponentially as a result of loading her website with newly created food photos, and utilizing all the food styling tricks that she learned from Vivaldo’s classes and books. In 2014, Chef Garbo won the Best Food Photo of the Year Award at the USPCA Conference in Long Beach, CA. With this issue of Personal Chef Magazine, we will concentrate on the success that has come to Chef Garbo as a result of creating compelling food photos that sell her business visually. Getting Hired by Australia’s Wealthiest Entrepreneur & the CTO of Adobe Photoshop Appetizing food photography gave Garbo an edge on the competition when she was hired by the one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in Australia who is also on a first name basis with their Prime Minster. At the time of their initial phone conversation, Chef Garbo had no idea who the caller was. As with any potential client, she politely said that her schedule was full and tried to refer him to one of her fellow Chapter members. The caller insisted that he wanted to hire Chef Garbo as he loved her photography, website and business model. The more Chef Garbo said no, the more insistent he became with wanting to hire her. She finally agreed that she could accommodate his needs. After their conversation, Chef Garbo “Googled” his name only to discover that this renowned business man could have hired anyone in the world to cook for his family during their three-month sojourn in their San Francisco office, but he continually said how delicious her food looked on her website and how much his family would enjoy her organic healthy meals. The Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Adobe’s Photoshop also found her food photography quite compelling. After she was hired, she learned that her new client conducted a formal interview process with six other Personal Chefs in San Francisco and it was her portfolio of enticing dishes that won the business. When her new client inquired about her studio and camera equipment, he was stunned to learn that her gear consisted of a hand held Canon Point-And-Shoot camera, a table near her dining room window and no Photoshop for post editing. When he asked what her secret to creating great food photos was she replied that it was natural lighting and artfully styled food plates. It’s Not About The Camera You don’t need a lot of fancy expensive camera gear to create beautiful food photos. Garbo contends that it’s a keen eye for composition and an understanding of natural lighting. Her cardinal rule is to never, ever use a flash when taking pictures of food as it will make it look flat, greasy and harsh. Instead, she recommends that you shoot in daylight near a window with diffused light and your food will look great. Often times Chef Garbo receives compliments on her work and the first question asked is what type of camera she uses. People assume it’s the camera that enables one to take a great picture, not the artist behind the lens. You can have the best camera in the world, but if you can’t compose a visually pleasing and balanced image, your results will always be less than excellent. That is the essence of Garbo’s message to our USPCA readers when it comes to taking great food pictures. It’s not about the camera, it’s about creating appetizing visuals and of course obtaining some basic knowledge on food styling and lighting. Utilizing Food Photos as Marketing Tools with Google AdWords & SEO Garbo’s favorite marketing tools are her food photos, the Google Search Engine and Google AdWords used in tandem. She maintains a steady flow of new leads because she gives each image a strategic name utilizing her keywords for her San Francisco demographic. She learned that on the web, all search engines view and rank photos as content. In 2009 she redesigned her website on WordPress, which is free and Search Engine Optimized (SEO). She decided to communicate her service visually through appetizing images of food rather than text, as she firmly believes that people “Eat with Their Eyes..”Garbo adds new content to her website continuously which maintains her high Google rankings over time. The bottom line success here is that anytime anyone anywhere in the world searches for a Personal Chef in SF, they’re going to find Garbo at the top of the page in the Google search results. And this is exactly how she landed her Australian client and how she continues to grow her business. What Inspires Garbo to Create “Food as Art” Images Finding interest in everything from light, color, shapes and patterns is what inspires Garbo to create her pictures. Capturing these elements are often expressed in her collage images where repetition is highly emphasized as seen in her “Steak Salad” “Boozy Lime Ice Pops” and “Vintage Props” photos found later in this article. When it comes to table scapes, she adores a beautiful table setting and plating the food artistically as seen in the “Fall Harvest’ (page 9) and “Beef & Guinness Pie” (page 6) photos. Many years ago when she lived in Boston it was ice and snow that captivated her imagination. Her camera of choice was an Olympus SLR. She even built her own darkroom and developed all of her photos utilizing B&W Infrared film to create ethereal images of ice, water and snow. She used Marshall’s Oils to hand tint the prints she processed so that the

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images looked like paintings. Marshall’s Oils were used in the 1920’s to colorize photos prior to the invention of color film. Today, ice continues to fascinate Garbo and she’s even devoted a whole beverage gallery on her website that features ice in many shapes and forms. Check it out here: These days, Garbo is exploring the relationship between art and food to create her food photo stories. She’s inspired by producing images in the style of paintings where she takes everyday objects and blends them into a moody atmosphere, yet there is a feeling of illusion, created by the soft lighting and the juxtaposition of food and utensils. If her images can evoke an emotional response of ‘Wow, that’s beautiful” or “I could eat that picture” then her mission is accomplished! Garbo is intrigued by the way light hits an object and she is challenged by capturing it on camera. She likes to utilize the power of negative space in many of her images, as is this case with the “Fall Harvest” (page 9). She sees beauty in the way the shadow is cast on the white table cloth and the way the black background creates drama in and around the gourds. ` She shot this image as a still life, imitating the Dutch Masters of the 17th Century. During this period it was common to show lavish table settings with exotic foods and luxurious possessions that reflected the lifestyle of the wealthy of that time. Essentially, she wanted to make the food look like a work of art. Extensive propping is used to give the viewer a sense that this food has life. It isn’t just a still life; it’s set out on a table showcasing the bounties of Fall Harvest. Landscape shooting takes a lot time and thought, but they can really add to the storytelling power of a food photograph. Award Winning Photo: Beef and Guinness Pie And The Brown Food Challenge (see page 6) Ask any professional photographer and they will likely tell you that brown food (meat & pastries) is the most challenging subject they’ve ever dealt with. Garbo solved the problem by using Denise Vivaldo’s technique for stews (page 212 of The Food Stylist’s Handbook). For this award winning image, Garbo reserved nicely browned undercooked pieces of meat and raw slices of carrot and celery to add back into the sauce for the final shot. Once the pie was cooled, the meat and veggies were returned to the open sliced area and drizzled with gravy to create an appetizing appeal. Not an overcooked pile of brown mush. For the brown crust she made sure it was flaky with a deep golden hue and topped it with large pieces of finishing salt and sprigs of fresh thyme to add texture and color. She chose a dark background to add contrast to the brown meat pie and used directional side lighting aimed right at the crust to accentuate the surface texture. Some of her favorite images show a half-eaten piece of cake or an empty plate and this was the effect she was trying to achieve. Featuring the open slice not only shows its rich deliciousness, but hopefully it evokes a moment in time, as if someone is about to sit down to enjoy a satisfying meal. The Story & Props: A food landscape was created by using two images with multiple elements that give viewers the feeling of sitting at a table. She wanted to draw the viewer in by creating a cozy and “lived-in” look with warm and inviting props which helps make the picture look more appealing. The frayed burlap placemat not only adds interest and texture; but Garbo was also trying to achieve a rustic look as if this comfort food meal was set for a hard working field hand or a bookish recluse from the distant past. The left image tells the story with the use of rustic vintage props while the close up image makes the viewer want to dive right in and eat it up. Tips on Improving Your Food Photography Skills If you desire to improve your photographic and food styling skills, the best place to start is in your home near a window with good diffused lighting. If the light is too direct and casts harsh shadows you can simply hang a white bed sheet between the window and your subject and shoot away. There are numerous websites devoted to food photography and loaded with tips and tricks to help you hone your skills. In particular, Garbo recommends that you check out the “Learn Food Photography” blog This site is geared towards beginners, as well as proficient food photographers, and discusses techniques at length uncovering the tricks of the trade when it comes to food photography, composition, camera brands, low-cost home studio gear and, of course, food styling techniques. For food styling sites absolutely check out Denise Vivaldo here: Pinterest also offers a vast amount of boards showcasing food photography and food styling with lots of beautiful food pictures that will motivate you to dust off your camera and get to work. You will also find that many food bloggers love to discuss at length their photographic pursuits as it pertains to creating beautiful food imagery. One blog post that covers all the bases when it comes to creating beautiful food compositions is outlined on Check it out here: Most importantly, Garbo suggests that if you want to improve your food images then you must practice, practice, practice and be very open to learning from your mistakes!

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5th Annual San Francisco Bay Area USPCA Chapter Retreat Kick-Off at the Heidrun Meadery, Point Reyes, CA Chef Garbo hosted the 5th Annual San Francisco Bay Area Chapter Retreat which commenced at the Heidrun Meadery just outside Point Reyes Station in West Marin, CA. The Heidrun Meadery casts a spell of enchantment from the moment you enter its driveway. An arch of leafy Sweetgum trees welcomes you, then the view expands into a classic West Marin pastoral scene. Point Reyes has long been known for its artisanal cheeses, oyster farms, organic farms and historic cattle ranches but I was greatly surprised to have discovered the Heidrun Meadery which is perhaps the only producer of naturally sparkling mead in the country! This singular Meadery produces naturally sparkling varietal meads using the traditional French Méthode Champenoise and their trademark champagne-style of mead is light, dry, delicate and refreshing, with subtle exotic aromas and flavors found only in the essence of honey. Gordon Hull, owner of Heidrun Meadery acknowledges that there are hundreds of still mead producers in the country, but he knows of no other sparkling mead in the U.S. that uses the traditional French Méthode Champenoise. Heidrun’s name originates from the highest God in Norse mythology, who has a very special (mythological) goat that produces mead instead of milk. The goat’s name is Heidrun. During our tour, we learned that the flavor of any particular honey is largely a result of the source from which it came be it flowers, herbs or fruit blossoms and this determines the delicate flavor of the nectar. All flowers have their unique fragrance as does honey which has its own distinct essence. Heidrun mead varietals have their own unique characters as it is derived from the nectar of their bees and the flowers in their nearby fields. It is this signature essence that determines the delicate flavor of each of the Heidrun mead varietals. Our very knowledgeable tour guide added that; “In the fields, gardens and greenhouse of our farm in Point Reyes Station, Heidrun cultivates flowering plants to supplement the local natural forage available to our honey bees. Flower nectar is the fundamental substance from which bees make honey, and honey is the fundamental substance from which we make our mead.” At the end of our tour we enjoyed a tasting flight of the Heidrun sparkling meads which included; Oregon Radish Blossom, Alfalfa & Clover Blossom, Madras Carrot Blossom, Oregon Meadowfoam and “California Orange Blossom.”

Passing of the Torch – Kara’s Welcoming Speech to New Chapter President Gini Bortz Pictured right: Kara Lee Falcon & Gini Bortz (New Chapter President) Later that evening, Chef Garbo hosted a champagne cocktail event held at her family’s charming cottage located across Tomales Bay in Inverness. Former Chapter President Kara Lee Falcon beckoned everyone to gather round the deck and with her Heidrun sparkling mead in hand she raised her glass and proposed a toast to our new Chapter President Gini Bortz. Here’s what Kara said in her “passing of the torch” speech… “My sincerest thanks to all of my Chapter members for all the years we’ve spent together. With my relocation to southern CA, I will miss you all very much but have hopes of seeing you often. Claude… many years ago when we met at Conference in Atlanta we were on the same path to start a local Chapter in the San Francisco Bay Area. After gathering the potential members we got started. I have to admit that I was a little nervous about being President but with some hard work and patience and good feedback from the members we made it happen. Claude, you have been a good Secretary and author for the Chapter events, and thank you for having a great place for our Annual Chapter Retreats. Gini thank you for being a great Treasurer and gathering those Chapter dues! I’m positive you will make a great President. I would also like to thank all the other Chapter members who have been a constant over the last 10 years too. Please help Gini make this a smooth transition. I certainly will miss seeing you all and please invite me back sometime or come down to Southern CA for a Chapter meeting. This place is a foodie’s heaven! Again, thank you for being a great Chapter!” After Kara’s toast we all celebrated Gini’s new Presidential role and enjoyed a bountiful spread of appetizers followed by a full on grilled dinner which included barbecued oysters, smoked salmon and caper bruschetta, pickled quail egg nests (harvested from Chef Polina’s very own domesticated quails), BBQ Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Blue Cheese, BBQ Bacon Wrapped Fillet Mignon, BBQ Pork Ribs, a medley of grilled vegetables, Kale Salad and Rice Pilaf. A wonderful time was had by all and we look forward to the coming year in 2015 with Gini Bortz leading the way to new horizons! Pictured below: Chef Polina’s Pickled Quail Egg Nests & Chef Kara’s BBQ Drakes Bay Oysters

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Tamale Class and Fiesta On Sunday, November 2nd, the New Jersey and Greater Philadelphia Chapters came together for a Tamale Cooking Class and Fiesta! The class was inspired by the one held at the 2014 USPCA Conference in Long Beach, CA. Those of us from the Philly Chapter were not able to attend the tamale making class at the conference, but chefs from the New Jersey Chapter were and said that they would be happy to share their knowledge and talents with us. As is turns out Tanya Barbarics, the NJ Chapter president, is not only very well versed in preparing Tamales, but also many other Mexican delicacies and agreed to lead the class. She expertly guided us through the preparation of masa, the corn meal filling, and the proper rolling and wrapping technique for the corn husks necessary in making successful tamales. Tanya also prepared a wonderful pork filling and mole sauce. Karen Docimo generously offered to host the class in her beautiful home and prepared an incredible Black Bean and Chorizo Soup. We also rounded out the meal with Margaritas and Sangria provided by Lisa Cifelli, Guacamole and beer provided by Adela Flynn, Avocado, Cucumber and Tomato Salsa prepared by Michele Bagley. Leslie Kriebel made a sweet and creamy corn pudding, fresh from the farm veggies were provided by Emily Richardson who is currently working at Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA and Ceviche and Queso Blanco were prepared by Missy Gurmankin. For dessert, Tanya treated us to the lightest, fluffiest tri colored (green, white and red, the colors of the Mexican flag) whipped egg white molded confection topped with toasted almonds and custard sauce and Leslie Kriebel prepared yummy Chocolate and Raspberry Burritos. It was a fun, educational, delicious and totally enjoyable day for all. The only thing better than belonging to a local USPCA Chapter is having the opportunity to get together, share our talents, friendship and love of food with chefs from other chapters. Melissa Gurmankin More Thyme For You Philadelphia, PA

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Origins of Decorated Easter Eggs Chef Garbo, Garbo’s Personal Chef Service San Francisco, CA, Easter is a special time of year where many celebrate all its joyous spring festivities and the Easter egg rules! The egg has been the symbol of fertility and rebirth for centuries. In fact, the art of decorating eggs goes back to the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, and Persians as they enthusiastically celebrated the coming of spring. Today, the skill of decorating eggs comes in many different art forms, the most famous being the expensive Faberge eggs and the techniques used by the early American Pennsylvania Dutch settlers, who are credited with bringing the craft of dying Easter eggs to America.

Recipe for Cracked Dyed Easter Eggs 1 Dozen Eggs Food coloring (blue, purple, red, orange work best) 1 Tb White Vinegar Water Bring eggs to a rolling boil, boil 1 minute then turn off heat and let sit for 15 minutes, then quickly immerse eggs in ice water and let sit 5 minutes. In each tall glass add food coloring, 1 tablespoon of vinegar and fill with water half way full, stir well. Take eggs out of ice bath, and crack all over, leaving the shell intact. Add 2-3 eggs to each glass full of food coloring and let sit 4-8 hours or overnight. The longer the darker the color. Remove shells to reveal the pretty colored cracks. Easter Egg Eats So what do you do with all those beautiful Easter eggs? You make Deviled Eggs of course! Check out the below recipe for an interesting twist on a classic recipe!

Deviled Egg Recipe 8 hard-boiled eggs 4 tbsp mayonnaise 2-4 tsp Dijon mustard, to taste 2 tsp white vinegar 2 tsp minced shallots 1/4-1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce 1/4 tsp ground black pepper pinch of curry powder 6 drops hot red pepper sauce paprika for garnish ramps or chives for garish Hard boil your eggs for 15 minutes, then plunge in cold water and let them cool completely. You could even boil them the day before you want to make your deviled eggs. Once the eggs are completely cooled, shell them, then cut them in half lengthwise and leave the whites intact. Carefully remove the yolks, and place them in a bowl. In the bowl, mash the yolks with the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, shallots, salt, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, curry powder and hot sauce. Spoon or pipe the egg yolk mixture into the indent of the egg whites, mounding the mixture slightly. If you wish to pipe the mixture in, use a star tip on a pastry tube. Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika, and a couple of sliced ramps or chives. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

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9 Ways to Stand Out Among Lower Cost Competitors (Without Lowering Prices)

by The Young Entrepreneur Council (Originally published on

There are two things we know about how the majority of consumers make their purchasing decisions. It’s no secret that most people want to be getting the appropriate value for what they are paying. And many potential customers make their purchasing decisions before even leaving the house by comparing products or services through an online search. This makes it difficult for companies that are intentionally undercut by their competitors on price. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should cut your costs. We asked nine entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC):

“What is one tip for dealing with competitors that are intentionally undercutting you on price?” Be Explicit

“Find areas where you compete favorably and put up a comparison chart on your website. Be explicit — assume that your customers know about your competitors.”~ John Rood, Next Step Test Preparation

Provide Value and Customer Service

“When prices can’t be lowered, focus on the ways you’re ahead of your competitors in terms of quality. Clients care about price, but they care more about the quality of what they’re getting for their money. Customer service is also a key point. This, in many cases, is more important, and clients are willing to pay higher prices to have a partner, not a just a hired gun, working for them.”~ Simon Casuto, eLearning Mind

Raise Your Prices

Don’t Play the Game

“As our market becomes more competitive, we increased prices to help us tell the story of how we are different. When our prices were lower, it was harder to tell a compelling story. As the difference in price points became greater, we had the opportunity to tell a better story and we did. Our prices have increased as more and more low-cost competitors jump into the market.” ~ Andrew Angus, Switch Video

Only Engage If You Must

“Competition is the ugly truth of business and sometimes it can get nasty. If a competitor is undercutting your price, then you need to react by further positioning your offerings as more valuable than others in the market. It is all about keeping your company on its own path. Racing to the bottom against someone setting the pace can easily end up with your business crashing and burning.” ~ Brian Honigman,

“Our competitors went free recently. There’s always buzz when people make sales or drop prices, but it eventually dies down, and the one with the better product or service returns to the winning position.” ~ Ioannis Verdelis, Fleksy

Stress Your Core Differentiator

“In these situations, companies have to clearly communicate what differentiates them. Apple did not panic and reduce all their prices as smartphone companies undercut them on price, because they differentiated themselves. When we think of Apple, we all think of high quality products and great innovation.” ~ Randy Rayess, VenturePact

Separate Yourself as the Premium Offer Stay Firm on Prices and Offer More Free Content

“Engaging in a price war only harms your niche in the long term because it drives down profit margins for everybody. Stay firm on your prices and focus on adding value by creating more free content on your website and on social. Make help videos, write lots of great guest blog posts and share on social. Consumers will increasingly see you as a trusted authority which will justify your prices.” ~ Dave Nevogt,

“If you cannot lower your prices to compete, then separate yourself as the premium offer in the market. Invest in your branding and customer service to make it stick. If the market allows, then you may end up with the higherend clients and higher margins than your competitor.” ~ Faraz Khan, Khan Investments

Uphold the Value of Your Brand

“If you focus on price alone, you’ll never win the war. Focus on the value your product will bring your customers and why your product is what they need to become more profitable. This is worth far more than shaving off a few dollars for the initial investment. Remain true to the pricing structure you’ve set in place and uphold the real value of your brand!” ~ Kelsey Recht, VenueBook

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Eat Right Seniors:

Serving Our Elders It’s All About Relationships Melinda Rand, MA Recently I received a phone inquiry about my personal chef services from an aging couple. The first thing the wife stated was that her husband was very nervous about some stranger cooking in their kitchen. Presently the husband is preparing their meals and concerned whether he could trust someone else to do his job. She then confided that her nervousness stemmed from someone unknown being in their home for an extended period and using their personal possessions. All of these are reasonable concerns that come with the territory of being an in-home personal chef. What makes this especially relevant to working with the aged is that often their relationship with the world has narrowed. Navigating daily life can be a challenge. No longer are there the dinner parties, bridge games and Sunday barbeques hosted for friends and family. And who wants to admit that they are lonely for company and not up to taking care of themselves? A stranger entering their home can trigger a sense of vulnerability that none of us want to reveal. Recognizing that by stepping into their world I am potentially upsetting the status quo means that I must be sensitive to their personal space, needs and concerns. It is up to me to find the entrée into their home and common ground in which to build a trusting relationship. So. if they are able to relieve their initial reticence I will set up a free initial in-home assessment for all of us to meet, see if my services are a viable option for them and if we get along. Whether it is the elder or a family member who has inquired, I always encourage family members to be present if they live in the area. That way everyone gets to participate in the discussion, ask questions and voice concerns. It is also a good way to establish a personal relationship with family members who often times need support in their caretaking responsibilities. I love meeting new people, learning their history, their interests, who they are. I view my initial assessment as an opportunity to begin a conversation, get to know each other and establish a positive,

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supportive relationship. The assessment is a jumping off point to learn how I can serve not only their nutritional requirements. It also serves as a window into their personal needs, moods, possible memory issues and what they are and are not capable of doing for themselves. The nuts and bolts of the assessment are quite straight forward. I have it divided into 3 sections, each giving me the information I need. Food selection • Favorite/least favorite foods by categories: meats, fruits, veggies, dairy, grains etc. • Favorite/least favorite tastes, range of spiciness, special condiments, ethnic preferences. • Preferred food prep methods and types such as soup, stews and casseroles. • Favorite family recipes. • Special food needs: soft/easy to chew, liquid or small pieces, etc. • Specific dietary requirements: low sodium, low/high calorie, no roughage, low carb or fat. • Medically necessary diets: diabetes, transplant, weight loss/gain, cancer, IBS, gluten free, specific allergies. Medical Issues: Listing of current medical diagnosis such as: • High blood pressure • Diabetes • Adema • Diminished eye sight or hearing • Denture or chewing problems • Arthritis • Problems with walking requiring a cane, wheel chair or walker Cooking Details • A listing of kitchen equipment they are comfortable with my using. • Preference for packaging: individual, 2 servings, family style. • Preferred packaging for fridge and freezer. • Any other info they wish to share.

Now for me the fun begins. I have either forwarded on the assessment to them or a family member or I bring it along with me, depending on computer access. Either way, I arrive at their home looking forward to what usually is a lively discussion of food, life style, family history and personal stories. Because food is the universal thread that weaves families, peoples and cultures together sharing food experiences past and present opens the doors to sharing who we are and who we have been. One conversation I remember was with a couple I discovered had lived in Greece for a number of years. When I initially asked about preferred tastes they both agreed that oregano was their herb of choice. Questioning them further they shared their experiences in Greece, travel adventures and favorite food memories. It was a rich conversation on so many levels. They were able to share a piece of themselves with me. For them the memories were affirming of their life lived. A bond began forming between us and I was given a beginning glimpse into their world. And I now knew that I had better find some delicious Greek recipes to prepare for them! Initially my focus is on them, their family, needs and lifestyle. At some point during this conversation I introduce myself. It is important to know who I am, my background working with elderly and why I have chosen to be a personal chef. Usually I include my own 4 generation family story and my history of working in the geriatric field as well as my present PhD studies in Transformational Aging. As well, I share my love of food and history as an impassioned cook for family and friends. I encourage everyone at the table to ask questions about me, how an in-home chef can be of assistance and what is to be expected. At this point I explain the nuts and bolts of my services, cost and time involved, letting them know what to expect if they decide to try me out. There is no point in taking the time to go through the complete assessment if they don’t want me to prepare meals for them. This is when having family members present can make a difference. For elders who may have some doubts, it is the family who can best point out the benefits and encourage their parents to “at least give it a try.” I never ask for a long term commitment or have the family sign a contract. Rather, I recommend that we try out 4 cook dates and evaluate how it’s going after each visit, encouraging everyone to give me honest feedback so that I can correct my cooking to their personal preferences. If they agree (yes, some don’t at this point) then we complete the assessment, carry on with our “getting to know you” conversation and have them give me a tour of the kitchen, fridge and pantry. Do not be surprised if you find old pots and pans, dull knives, thread bare dish towels, aluminum utensils and measuring cups, collections of plastic butter containers and out of date food. Let it go. Don’t say anything about it. It’s not important. Remember, the last time they updated their kitchen was probably 30 years ago and there is no one cleaning out their fridge, freezer or cupboards. In the next article we will talk about how to best handle these situations. Rather, find something positive to comment on and ask to see their favorite cookbooks. This will bring them back to sharing favorite recipes. I was contacted by a Discharge planner at a hospital clinic about cooking for an 80-year-old gentleman who was grieving the very recent loss of his wife of 60 years. He was overweight, suffering from out of control diabetes, understandably depressed and had no idea how to cook for himself. I agreed for him to contact me (medical HIPAA law requires strict medical patient confidence). During our conversation he and his daughter reminisced about his wife’s’ special recipes. One of them was cassoulet, which I had never made before. However, I asked for her recipe and offered to make it for a special family dinner. His eyes lit up. We made plans for the event and I prepared it according to his wife’s recipe. When everyone arrived for the gathering I received one of the most meaningful complements I have ever been given. They told me that from the aromas I had “channeled our mom and we can feel her with us.” My heart is filled every time I think of that. This is why I do what I do. I never rush these initial conversations. They can last up to 2 hours or until someone finally poops out, whichever comes first. I could be the first “guest” they have had that week. The opportunity to share themselves and not be rushed or judged is a gift that I offer when I sit down and listen. It is all about them; identifying ways to fulfill their needs, acknowledging and respecting who they are, adding ease to their daily life and maybe lifting their spirits. I am more than a personal chef. I am an integral part of supporting a life of independence and dignity for my elders. And they are an integral part of my understanding what it means to age. A lesson we all need to learn as aging is what we are all doing day by day.

two of Melinda’s clients

Coming next issue: • • • •

Challenges of working in a kitchen stuck in a time warp. How to tactfully clean out the old dead food. Hoarding as a way of life. She really shouldn’t be cooking any more.

I invite you to contact me with your ideas, requests and questions. I would love to hear from you and get your input. My articles are for you, so any way I can be of assistance please let me know. Be well, Melinda

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In this Winter 2015 edition of Personal Chef Magazine, fellow Personal Chefs share some of their winter favorites, including recipes for Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras and Easter. Enjoy!

Valentine’s “Dates” For Valentine Season, I offer a hands-on couple’s class with recipes build around the ingredient name “Dates” and call it “The Romantic Date” The class is always sold out! The menu includes: • • • •

Dates stuffed with goat cheese and topped with chili-lime spicy almonds Baby Spinach salad with dates, almonds and a light balsamic vinaigrette Roasted Pork Tenderloin roll stuffed with dried fruits (including dates) and pistachios, served with port shiitake mushroom sauce Finikia for dessert - a traditional Greek/Middle Eastern cookie filled with Medjool dates & walnuts and scented with rose water & orange blossom water

Here are two of the recipes. Maria A. Sakellariou, Culinary Odyssey LLC, Chesterfield, MO

Baby Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds (4 Servings) Ingredients: 6 oz. baby spinach leaves 1 tbsp red wine vinegar ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced 6 pitted Medjool dates, sliced lengthwise into quarters 4 tbsp olive oil 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar ½ cup almonds, coarsely chopped 2 tsp sumac Salt and freshly ground black pepper Directions: 1. In a small bowl, place red wine vinegar, red onion and dates along with a pinch of salt. Combine and let marinate for 15 min. 2. Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add almonds and stir ‘till they are golden. Remove from heat and mix in sumac, ¼ teaspoon salt and some ground black pepper 3. To assemble the salad, toss the spinach leaves with the almond mix in a large bowl. Add the dates and red onions, the remaining olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

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Finikia with Dates & Walnuts Maria A. Sakellariou, Culinary Odyssey LLC, Chesterfield, MO (30 cookies) Ingredients: 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons semolina 3½ tablespoons sugar ¾ cup unsalted butter 2 tablespoons orange blossom water 1 tablespoon rose water 1½ tablespoons water Pinch of salt Confectioners’ sugar for dusting Filling: 2½ cups walnuts ½ cup Medjool dates, coarsely chopped 3½ tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1½ teaspoon rose water 1 tablespoon orange blossom water Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F 1. In a large bowl mix together flour, semolina, sugar and salt. Add butter and work with your fingers until mixture becomes the consistency or bread crumbs. Add orange blossom and rose waters, and the 1 ½ tablespoons of water bringing the mixture together into a ball. Place dough on a clean surface and knead for about 5-6 minutes, until smooth. Cover with a damp towel and let stand for about 30 minutes. 2. To make the filling, place walnuts, dates, sugar and cinnamon in a food processor and process until nuts are quite fine, but not ground. Add rose water and orange blossom waters and pulse briefly until a uniform coarse paste is formed. 3. To mold the cookies, have a bowl of water close by to keep hands damp while you work. This will help form the dough and prevent it from cracking. Take walnut-size pieces of dough and roll into a ball. Flatten each ball in the palm of your hand, using your thumb and fingers to press it flat. Lift the edges to form a little pot. 4. Fill pastry with a tablespoon of the walnut filling. Pinch the dough over the filling so that the pot is sealed, and then roll into a ball again. Then shape the ball into oblong shape and place on baking sheet lined with non-stick silicone pad or parchment paper. Repeat until all the dough and filling is used. Using the tines of a fork, go down gently on top of each cookie to make a row of tiny holes.

Valentine Eggs Chef Donna Ondriska, Cookin’ 4 U PCS, Midlothian, IL Ingredients 1- Egg 1- Slice of bread (any kind you like) Butter to your liking Directions: Take a heart-shaped cookie cutter and cut a heart in the center of your bread. Be sure to keep all edges intact. Save the center heart that has been cut out. Heat a frying pan with a little bit of butter so your eggs don’t stick. Place bread in the pan and let it toast slightly. Break the egg into the center of the bread and fry it as if you normally would. You can also toast your cut out heart on in the pan at the same time. Turn over and fry the other side. Serve cut-out heart off to the side of the hole-in-the bread to be used to mop up the yolk. Serve with side of hash brown casserole and fruit of choice.

Hash Brown Casserole Chef Donna Ondriska, Cookin’ 4 U PCS, Midlothian, IL Ingredients 1 bag (26 ounces) frozen country-style hash browns 2 cups shredded Colby or cheddar cheese 1/4 cup minced onion 1 cup milk 1/2 cup beef stock or canned beef broth 2 tablespoons butter, melted Pinch of garlic powder 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper Directions Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine the hash browns, cheese and onion in a large bowl. Combine the milk, beef stock, half of the butter, garlic powder, salt and pepper in another bowl. Mix until well-blended. Pour over hash-brown mixture and mix well. Heat the remaining butter in a large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Spoon in the hash brown mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until hot and the cheese melts, about 7 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake 45 to 60 minutes or until the surface is brown. Alternately, spoon the potato mixture into a 9-inch baking dish instead of a skillet. Bake until the surface is brown, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Glasses and Polished Silver Place Settings. I often use Deep Red or Silver Chargers, under White Plates to make the Table-scape pop with Romance! Here is the menu that I offer for Valentine’s Day. Appetizer Option 1: Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus with Sweet Balsamic Sauce Option 2: Fried Mozzarella Cheese Sticks with Marinara Sauce Salad Option 1: Fresh Green Salad with Tomatoes and Almonds, Choice Dressing Option 2: Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil- with Infused Olive Oil Entrée Option 1 Pasta: Heart Shaped Lasagna with Meat Sauce or Spaghetti Marinara with Fresh Grated Parmesan Option 2: Savory Galettes Offer Fresh Herbed Baked Bread with Meal (optional) Beverage Suggestion: Red Wine or Champagne of Choice Dessert Dipped Strawberries: Option of White, Milk or Dark Chocolate

Mini King Cakes Donna Ondriska, Cookin’ 4 U PCS, Midlothian, IL Yield: 12 cakes Dough 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, melted 3/4 cup lukewarm milk 2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk, white reserved 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk 1 1/4 teaspoons salt 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 3 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast Icing 1 cup confectioners’ sugar ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 1 tablespoon + ½ to 1 teaspoon milk, enough to make a thick but pourable glaze Topping Yellow, purple, and green sparkling sugars

Romantic Valentine’s Day Meal Chef Melissa Bess Reed, Ventura, CA Valentine’s Day is for all things regarding “Love” therefore, I base meal services around the theme and the color Red, as it is often used to symbolize love. Food and beverage include Asparagus, Chocolate, Wine or Champagne, and Almonds. Those foods have all been regarded over the years as “Love Foods” so meals I create have these ingredients used in them. I set the romantic mood by setting the table with White Linen and Red Accents, such as Red Rose Petals and a Red or White Votive Candle. I go further by adding the Clear Wine

Directions: 1) Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients to make a smooth, soft dough. 2) Let the dough rise, covered, for 1 hour. 3) Place 12 mini-panettone papers on a baking sheet. Or line a standard muffin pan with cupcake papers, and grease the papers. 4) With greased hands, divide the sticky dough into 12 equal pieces, forming each into a smooth ball. 5) Place the balls of dough into the papers. Cover the pan, and let the cakes rise for 1 hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the

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oven to 350°F. 6) Whisk the reserved egg white with 1 tablespoon water, and brush it over the cakes. 7) Bake the cakes for 20 minutes, then tent them lightly with aluminum foil and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes until they’re a deep golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool. 8) Beat together the icing ingredients, dribbling in the final teaspoon of milk until the icing is thick yet pourable. 9) Dip the top of each cake in the icing or drizzle icing over the tops of the cakes. While the icing is still tacky, sprinkle with the colored sugars.

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya Chef Hardette Harris, Your Chef Concierge Chef Services, Inc., Haughton, LA 1 2-3 lb. chicken (cut into small pieces) 1 1/2 lbs. peeled shrimp 1/2 lb. smoked sausage cut in to bite size pieces (your favorite) salt and pepper dash cayenne pepper dash flour for dredging chicken 2 tablespoons of oil 2 large onions chopped 2-3 ribs of celery chopped 3 large cloves garlic chopped 1 med green bell pepper chopped 2 cups of rice 1-16 oz can stewed tomatoes 2 1/2 cups water Directions: Season chicken generously with salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Coat chicken with flour. In a heavy skillet or sauté pan, heat oil and brown chicken on all sides, remove and set aside. Add sausage pieces, brown on all sides and drain. To the same pan and oil, add onions, celery, garlic and bell pepper. Sauté until soft. Add browned chicken to pan, cover and simmer until tender (about 30 minutes). Add rice, stewed tomatoes, water and sausage. Cook on low until rice is cooked. Adjust seasonings and Enjoy! Serves 6 to 8 full sized servings “in a bowl.”

White Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding with Amaretto Sauce Bread pudding is one of NOLA’s most amazing dessert offerings. It is delicious and easy to make. It involves five basic steps: mix the custard; soak the bread; fold in any additional flavorings; bake; eat! I created this version and it has become a family, friend and client favorite! The amaretto sauce recipe is the perfect accompaniment and was from the New Orleans General Store when I enjoyed a class there several years ago. It can also be enjoyed with white chocolate sauce. Rosemary Rutland, Chef’s Table Personal Chef Service, Atlanta, GA Yield: 12+ servings

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8 cups day old bread, cut in 1-inch cubes (French, Challah, Croissant or Brioche) 5 tablespoons unsalted butter plus 1 tablespoon for greasing the baking dish 4 cups half and half, whole milk, or a combination of the two Pinch salt 1 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 5 large eggs plus 2 yolks, at room temperature 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1 cup dried tart cherries such as Montmorency 1 cup white chocolate chips Amaretto sauce – recipe follows Equipment: Mixing bowls & measuring spoons; 9 x 13-inch baking dish; dessert plates or bowls; hand mixer or whisk for whipping cream; small sauce pan for sauce Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the 9 x 13 inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter or spray with cooking spray. Place bread cubes into a large bowl. Melt 5 tablespoons butter in a small sauce pan and allow to cool slightly. In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter, milk, half and half, salt, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, eggs, yolks, and vanilla together and whisk or use a hand blender to combine. Pour over bread, and then fold in the cherries and chocolate chips. Turn the mixture into the prepared pan and allow to sit for about 5 – 10 minutes. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. The unbaked pudding should be very wet but not too soupy. Cover with foil. If time permits, allow to sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour (preheat oven just before ready.) Bake for about 50 minutes then remove foil and bake for 20 - 25 more minutes. The pudding should be browned on top with no visible liquid when you poke a small hole in the center with a paring knife. It will fall a bit when cooling. Serve warm or at room temperature with sauce. Note: If desired, omit the cherries and white chocolate, and use one or two optional “add ins” to create a different flavor and texture for your bread pudding: 1 cup toasted, sweetened coconut; 1 cup chopped, toasted pecans; 1 cup golden raisins Amaretto Sauce 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick) 1 cup powdered sugar ¼ cup Amaretto or Frangelico 2 tablespoons brandy Melt butter in a sauce pan over low heat. Whisk in sugar until dissolved. Whisk in the Amaretto and brandy then heat through for a minute. Serve warm over bread pudding.

Baked Brown Sugar Ham Croquettes This is a version of ham croquettes similar to those my grandmother made – perfect for Easter or Kentucky Derby day! Rosemary Rutland, Chef’s Table Personal Chef Service, Atlanta, GA

Yield: about 4 - 5 servings (3 pieces each) Croquette ingredients: 1 pound ham steak, ground ½ pound ground pork ½ tablespoon butter 1/4 cup minced sweet onion 1 teaspoon ground ginger 3/4 cup minced fresh breadcrumbs 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper ½ cup whole milk (more if needed) Sauce ingredients: ½ cup pineapple juice 2/3 cup brown sugar 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 3 tablespoons cider vinegar (substitute rice vinegar if necessary) Equipment: meat grinder; bowls; small saucepan; measuring cups & spoons; oven-safe baking dish 9 x 13 inch; small whisk Method: Preheat oven to 350 F. Grind the ham using a meat grinder. Place ham and pork in a bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and sauté the onion for about 3 minutes until soft. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Place all croquette ingredients in the bowl and with gloved hands, mix gently until mostly combined. (Do not over mix!) Butter the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Form the mixture into 1 x 2 ½ inch finger-shaped logs and place about 1 inch apart in the baking dish. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes. While croquettes are baking, whisk the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour over the croquettes and reduce heat to 325 F. Bake for another 20 minutes until browned and bubbly. To serve, place croquettes on serving plate and spoon sauce over them. Serve warm.

Sweet Potato Biscuits Rosemary Rutland, Chef’s Table Personal Chef Service, Atlanta, GA Yield: about 18 biscuits 12 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour plus more for rolling out dough 1 ½ teaspoons salt 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons baking powder ¼ cup brown sugar 8 ounces cold unsalted butter (2 sticks) ½ cup dry milk powder 25 ounces baked sweet potato, mashed and cooled Equipment: scale, baking sheet, measuring cups & spoons, rolling pin, biscuit cutter, plastic spatula, bench scraper Method: Preheat oven to 375 F. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and brown sugar. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a uniform, coarse meal. Combine potatoes with milk powder and blend until smooth. Stir into the flour mixture. Knead lightly just until smooth, about 15 times, adding a little more flour as needed. Dough will be soft. On a clean, floured surface roll or pat out the dough to about ½-inch thick. Cut and bake for 16 – 18 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Note: Biscuits may be cut and then frozen until ready to bake. The easiest way to do this is to place biscuits on a small parchment-lined sheet tray, cover with foil or plastic wrap, and freeze. Once frozen, remove biscuits and store in a freezer bag or in an air-tight container. These biscuits are great plain or with ham & mustard or jam/jelly.

Baked Eggs in Tomato Shell Chef Donna Ondriska, Cookin’ 4 U PCS, Midlothian, IL Makes 4 servings 4 large ripe tomatoes Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 2 tablespoons olive oil 4 medium eggs 4 tablespoons feta cheese 1 pound spinach Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut off tomato tops and set aside (may be used later as garnish). Run a paring knife around the inside edge of the tomato and scoop out insides, creating a tomato shell. Sprinkle the insides with salt and pepper and turn the tomatoes upside down on a towel to dry and drain out any excess liquids. In the meantime, sauté the spinach until it wilts. Drain out any excess water once the spinach is cooked. Stand the tomatoes right side up in a pan, and place approximately 1/4 cup spinach into the bottom of each, pressing down to make room for other ingredients. Break an egg inside each tomato shell. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and feta cheese. Optional: top with breadcrumbs for crunchier topping. Drizzle very lightly with olive oil. Place in the oven & bake for 20-25 mins.

Stuffed Boneless Leg of Lamb - Baked in Grape Leaves A more rustic lamb recipe for Easter Maria A. Sakellariou, Culinary Odyssey LLC, Chesterfield, MO (5-6 generous portions) Ingredients: 1 boneless leg of Lamb (about 3 lbs) 1 (16oz) jar Grape leaves Marinate: ¼ cup olive oil ¼ cup red wine Juice of ½ lemon 1 bay leaf 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary 2 cloves garlic, finely minced Filling: 3 cloves garlic, minced 3-4 roasted red peppers 10oz Kefalotyri cheese– cut into ‘sticks’ 1 teaspoon dried Greek Oregano 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves Salt and Pepper Sauce: 3 cups low sodium Chicken Broth, divided

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¼ cup white wine 1 bay leaf 2-3 carrots peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces 2-3 medium onions, peeled and cut into quarters 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves Salt and Pepper Directions: 1. Rinse Leg of Lamb and pat dry. Using a meat mallet, even out thickness of meat. In a zip lock bag, combine marinate ingredients and add Lamb. Coat meat well with marinate. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours. 2. Take Lamb out of bag. Pat dry and reserve marinate. Place a piece of foil on work surface, big enough to wrap Lamb in it. Place grape leaves on foil, rib side up, slightly overlapping with each other. Season both sides of lamb with salt, pepper, thyme and oregano, and place on top of grape leaves (skin side down). Sprinkle minced garlic over entire area of meat. Place roasted red peppers along the length of the leg and top with kefalotyri cheese. Using the part of foil closest to you, use as a guide to help you roll Lamb, squeezing foil close to the Leg of Lamb. Place Lamb in roasting pan, along with carrots and onions, and reserved marinade. Add more stock, if needed to cover vegetables, but not Lamb. 3. Place pan in a preheated 375 degrees oven for about 90 minutes. Remove roasting pan from oven, open foil and place back in oven for 10-15 minutes for grape leaves to crisp up. Transfer Lamb to a platter along with the carrots and onions. Pour white wine into roasting pan to deglaze and scrape all the brown bits from the bottom. Pass through a strainer and place strained liquid in blender or food processor along with ½ of the carrots and onions. Blend until smooth 4. Unwrap foil, slice Lamb into medallions. Spoon some sauce over & serve with oven roasted potatoes.

Beet Salad Chef Sarah Lujetic, McKeesport, PA 4 each, Beets steamed and peeled 1 medium shallot, peeled and sliced 1 container fresh raspberries 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar cracked black pepper, to taste Mix all together let marinate 2 hours to overnight for best flavors. Garnish with...sunflower seeds, pea shoots, and hard boiled eggs (chopped). Great as a side dish or add grilled chicken for an entree.

1 ½ c, plus 2 Tbsp flour ¾ cup sugar 2 tsp baking powder ¼ tsp salt ¼ tsp nutmeg Topping 1/3 cup melted butter 1 tsp cinnamon ½ cup sugar ½ tsp vanilla Beat egg; add milk and 1/3 cup melted butter. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Blend well with the egg mixture. Fill greased muffin tins half full and bake in a 400 oven for 15 minutes until browned. Immediately remove muffins from the pan and dip in the remaining 1/3 cup melted butter. Roll in cinnamon, sugar, vanilla mixture. Serve warm Chef Notes: You can also make them in mini muffin pans. Adjust cooking time. I add the vanilla to the butter and bake instead of adding it to the topping. Recipe courtesy of the Junior League Maine cookbook

Cinnamon Apricot Glazed Salmon Serves 4 I got this recipe a long time ago from a former personal chef, Julie Pietz. If you cannot find apricot nectar use peach. Laura Slavney, What’s For Dinner Personal Chef Service, Memphis, TN 2 Tbsp soy sauce, low sodium 1 Tbsp ginger root, fresh, minced 2 cinnamon sticks 1 12oz can apricot nectar 4 6oz salmon fillets Combine the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to ¾ cup, about 30 minutes. Strain through a sieve into a bowl and discard solids. Cool completely, package and refrigerate or freeze. Have client bake or broil salmon basting with a little of the glaze. Serve with remaining apricot sauce.

Sesame Orange Tofu French Donut Muffins

serves 3 to 4 depending on how many sides you serve with it

These make wonderful client treats. You can make them in regular muffin tins or make mini muffins for bit size treats.

I have gained more and more vegetarian clients over the years and this recipe has always gotten rave review. Double the sauce if your client loves a lot of sauce, which I do and it freezes well.

Laura Slavney, What’s For Dinner Personal Chef Service, Memphis, TN

Laura Slavney, What’s For Dinner Personal Chef Service, Memphis, TN

Makes 12 muffins

¼ cup olive oil 12 oz extra firm tofu ¼ cup sesame seeds…can use a combination of white and black if you wish 1/8 tsp salt

1 large egg, beaten ½ cup milk 1/3 cup melted butter

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Orange Sauce ½ cup vegetable broth 2 Tbsp sugar 2 Tbsp cornstarch 4 Tbsp orange marmalade 2 Tbsp minced garlic 3 Tbsp rice vinegar…not seasoned 2 Tbsp soy sauce Drain and press tofu and pat dry. Cut into cutlets or strips….first cut in half length wise and then ½ width wise. In a large shallow bowl, place the sesame seeds. Place cutlets face down into seeds and press firmly to adhere. Flip over and coat the other side. In a cast iron or other heavy duty skillet, heat the oil to medium high. When you sprinkle water on the oil, it should dance. Place the tofu in a pan and cook until crispy, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove and place onto paper towels to drain. Prepare orange sauce: Whisk all ingredients together. Pour into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to low and let cook another 5 minutes or until thick. Cover cooked tofu slices in sauce, cool and freeze. To serve: place sesame tofu over rice, cover with orange sauce.

Grilled Eggplant Salad with Walnuts Serves 8 This recipe comes from Food and Wine magazine. It is fantastic served with pita bread or chips. But it’s also great served in the summer with a piece of grilled fish, chicken breast, scallops or shrimp for a main dish salad. There have been times where a grill was not available or the weather was not cooperating so I have used a grill pan and even used the broiler….worked just as well. This salad will keep for several days in the refrigerator. Laura Slavney, What’s For Dinner Personal Chef Service, Memphis, TN 2 1-lb eggplants, sliced lengthwise ½ inch thick 1 large jalapeno vegetable oil, for brushing salt ¼ cup chopped cilantro 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar 1 garlic clove, minced 5 medium tomatoes cut into ½ inch dice 1 small red onion, thinly sliced into rings 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts Light a grill. Brush eth eggplant slices and jalapeno all over with oil an season with salt. Grill the eggplant over moderate heat until nicely charred and tender, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the eggplant to a work surface and let cool. Grill the jalapeno, turning, until charred and almost tender, about 4 minutes. Peel and seed the jalapeno, then finely chop it. Cut the eggplant into ½ inch dice. In a large bowl, combine the cilantro, vinegar and garlic. Add the eggplant, jalapenos, tomatoes and onion, season with salt and toss. Garnish with the walnuts and serve.

Summer Vegetable Ceviche Serves 8

I love this recipe in the summer time…its fresh, colorful and easy to put together with any grilled meat, fish, or poultry. It keeps in the refrigerator for several days. Laura Slavney, What’s For Dinner Personal Chef Service, Memphis, TN 1 cup fresh baby lima beans or other shelling beans 1 tsp finely grated lime zest 1/3 cup fresh lime juice ¼ cup olive oil 1 scallion, thinly sliced 1 jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced 1 small shallot, thinly sliced sea salt 1 ½ cups fresh corn, kernels…raw from 2 ears. 2 nectarines, cut into thin wedges 1 Hass avocado, cut into ½ inch cubes 1 large orange bell pepper, finely julienned 1 pinto heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved ½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro In a small sauce pan of salted boiling water, cook the lima beans until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the beans and rinse under cold water. In a large bowl whisk the lime zest, and juice with the olive oil, scallion, jalapeno and shallot; season the dressing with salt. Gently fold in the lima beans, corn, nectarines, avocado, orange pepper and tomatoes. Refrigerate the ceviche for at least 2 hours. Fold in the cilantro just before serving and the ceviche chilled. Chef Notes: when serving to a client I leave the avocado out and have them dice into the dish before serving. Also if your client will chop their own cilantro have them add it along with the avocado so it looks better. Recipe is from Food and Wine.

Roasted Butternut Squash & Bacon Pasta with Chicken and Spinach Deb Cantrell, Savor Culinary Services, Fort Worth, Texas Ingredients: ¾ teaspoon salt, divided. ½ teaspoon dried rosemary ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash Cooking spray 6 sweet hickory-smoked bacon slices (raw) 1 cup thinly sliced shallots 1 pound cooked, shredded chicken breast 2-3 cups roughly chopped baby spinach 8 ounces uncooked mini penne ¼ cup all-purpose flour 2 cups 2% reduced fat milk ¾ cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp provolone cheese 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh parmesan cheese Preparation Preheat oven to 425°. Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, rosemary, and pepper. Place squash on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with salt mixture. Bake at 425° for 45 minutes or until tender and lightly

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browned. Increase oven temperature to 450°. Cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 1/2 teaspoons drippings in pan; crumble bacon. Increase heat to medium-high. Add shallots to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until tender. Combine squash mixture, bacon, and shallots; set aside. Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well. Combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a Dutch oven over mediumhigh heat. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add provolone, stirring until cheese melts. Add pasta to cheese mixture, tossing well to combine. Stir in shredded chicken and chopped spinach. Spoon pasta mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray; top with squash mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown.

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie A vegetarian version of the traditional cottage pie, this dish comes together quickly, freezes wonderfully, and is a delicious, healthy, and warming meal for the colder months. You can really make this cottage pie your own by varying the vegetables used. Peas, carrots, corn, cut green beans, or bell pepper all work well. I’ve even used frozen vegetables in a pinch and they work very well. Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food. Halimah Celestine, Celestial Cuisine, Alexandria, VA Serves 4-6

mixture into a 9x9 baking dish, spoon the sweet potato on top, spreading it carefully to seal the edges. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese and remaining thyme. The pie can now be covered and chilled for 2 days, or frozen for up to a month. When ready to cook: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cook the pie for 20 minutes if cooking straight away, or for 40 minutes from chilled, until golden and hot all the way through. Serve with broccoli on the side, if desired.

Warm Mushroom Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette Jenny Shearman, My Sweet Beet, Toronto, ON M6P Serves 6 1 tbsp butter 3 garlic cloves, crushed 1 pound mixed mushrooms, such as oyster, enoki and shiitake- stems discarded and caps, sliced Salt and Pepper 1/2 pound thick sliced bacon, cut into 1/4-inch strips 3 shallots, brunoise 1/4 cup sherry vinegar 1 tbsp grainy mustard 1 tsp honey 3/4 cup pecans 6 oz hearty baby green such as arugula, mustard or spinach 3 oz fresh goat cheese 1. Preheat oven to 300 F. In a large fry pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add shallots and sauté until translucent about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender and moisture evaporates about 6 minutes season with salt and pepper.

1 tablespoon olive oil 1 large onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 large carrots, cut into sugar-cube size pieces 1 red bell pepper, chopped 2 tablespoon thyme chopped ½ cup red wine 1 14oz can diced tomatoes 1 vegetable stock cube 2 14oz can green or brown lentils, drained 2lbs sweet potatoes 2 tablespoons butter 3oz sharp cheddar, grated

2. In another pan over medium-high heat, sauté bacon stirring occasionally until crispy about 6 minutes. Add vinegar, mustard and honey. Set aside and keep warm.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and sauté the onion until golden. Add the garlic, saute 30 seconds. Add the carrots, bell pepper, and all but a sprinkling of thyme. Pour in the wine, tomatoes, and lentils, then sprinkle in the stock cube and stir. Add ¼-1/2 cup of water if needed (consistency should be thick and stew like, not too soupy) and simmer for 15 minutes or until the carrots are tender but still have a bit of bite.

Spice up the winter blues with this Middle Eastern inspired Za’atar Chopped Salad. Za’atar is a warm, earthy spice mix but not at all spicy. It can be used in numerous ways including on salads, vegetables, meats and even bread. Sometimes I make this salad into a hearty main course by adding healthful grains and beans for my vegetarian clients.

Meanwhile, prick the sweet potatoes a few times with a fork, then microwave for 5-10 minutes, turning once or twice, until tender all the way through (exactly how long will depend on the size and power of your microwave). Allow to cool, then slice in half and scoop out the sweet potato into a large bowl. Mash the sweet potatoes with the butter and season to taste (I use a handheld blender to get them nice and smooth). Scoop the lentil

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3. Toast pecans in oven until light brown approximately 10 minutes. Remove and cool 4. In a large bowl add mushrooms and dressing. Mix together, season if it needs it. Add pecans and greens. Arrange salad on plate and add goat cheese.

Za’atar Chopped Salad

Halimah Celestine, Celestial Cuisine, Alexandria, VA Serves 4 (as a side dish) 1 cup diced English cucumber 1 cup diced red bell pepper 1 cup diced plum tomatoes 4 cup chopped romaine lettuce

½ c thinly sliced scallions 4 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled 8 Kalamata or Greek green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped Vinaigrette: 1 large lemon juiced (about 3-4 tablespoons or to taste) 1 teaspoon Za’atar spice mix (found in specialty stores like Penzey’s Spices or online) 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil Place the cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes, lettuce, and olives in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and Za’atar spice. Slowly add the olive oil while whisking to combine until dressing comes together. Drizzle half of the dressing on the salad and gently toss to combine. Divide the salad onto 4 plates, drizzle with remaining dressing, and sprinkle with feta and scallions before serving. Note: To make this into a healthy vegetarian main course salad, add 2 cups cooked quinoa, couscous, or bulgur wheat and 1.5 cups garbanzo beans. Increase dressing by half again. Diced chicken breast, seasoned with Za’atar spice mix and sautéed or grilled, also makes a good add in for meat eaters. To ensure a fresh, not soggy, salad, remember to pack each salad component, as well as the dressing, separately, when preparing for later clients to eat later.

Nutty Meatballs (Vegetarian) Little more than a year ago, our daughter announced she wanted to become a vegetarian. This was one of the first recipes we tried and it instantly became a family favourite in our house. We enjoy them served over mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes and topped with gravy, but you can also add them to a tomato sauce and serve with pasta. However you enjoy them, be prepared to share this recipe. Jennifer Gatis, Chef at Heart, Barrie, ON 2.5 Cups mixed nuts (walnuts, cashews, almonds) 1.5 cups breadcrumbs 2 medium onions, quartered 1 celery stick 1 small carrot, peeled 2-3 garlic cloves 1 small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley 3-5 tbsp olive oil 1 tsp dried thyme salt & pepper ½ cup vegetable broth 1 egg, beaten 1-2 tbsp milk (or non-dairy alternative or water) Preheat oven to 350. Put the nuts in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground. Add to the breadcrumbs and set aside. Add onions, celery, carrot, garlic and parsley to the food processor and process until finely chopped. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a large skillet. Add the onion mixture and thyme, and cook for 5-7 minutes, until softened. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool slightly.

Add the onion mixture to the nut mixture, season and stir to combine. In a small saucepan, heat the vegetable broth and add to the onion mixture. Stir well. Add the egg and mix to combine. If the mixture is very dry, add the milk, 1 tbsp at a time. The mixture needs to be soft (but not wet) or the finished product will be dry. Use your hands to shape the mixture into golf-ball size balls and arrange them on a baking sheet. Bake in oven for 35 minutes, until browned. Adapted from a recipe by Laura Washburn

Bolognese A great sauce/stew for over pasta, white beans or just by itself with crusty bread! It is all in the cutting of the veggies, and the choice of meat. For a sauce, you want a ground meat and finely chopped veggies. For a stew, larger cuts on the veggies, and cubes of meat are perfect. I have done this with ground beef, pork, veal or turkey and also with pork or boar stew meat. Jen Sternfeld, CPC, Dinner Vacations, Schenectady, NY 1 medium onion, chopped 2 carrots, chopped 1 ounce pancetta, diced (or a tablespoon of melted bacon fat if you want to be lazy) 1 pound meat (ground or stew) 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 1 cup cream (or full fat milk) 1 cup dry white wine 1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes with their juices Cook pancetta over low heat until it renders all its fat. Or start with bacon fat.Toss the diced veggies into the fat, turn heat to medium and cook until soft. Remove veggies, leaving fat in pan. Turn heat up to medium high add meat and brown on all sides. Return veggies to pan and add wine. Lower heat to medium and allow it to cook until almost all the wine has cooked away. Add tomatoes and their juice. Lower heat to low and cover pan. Simmer for 1 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Add cream for the last half hour, make sure it doesn’t boil. Shorter times for ground meat, longer times for larger stew cuts. You have a rich decadent meal! Pictured is a batch with wild boar meat, double all the veggies, and I used shredded carrots and bacon fat.

Lamb Shanks This is one of my favourite winter recipes to enjoy après ski (and as a Canadian, having one or two of these is essential). This recipe for lamb shanks is prepared in the slow cooker in a rich red wine, tomato and balsamic vinegar sauce that pairs beautifully with a glass of red wine, and served on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes. This is an impressive hearty dish that is made in the slow cooker. It’s a winter favourite in our house and is a perfect dish for dinner guests,

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or with a glass of red wine après ski. Jennifer Gatis, Chef at Heart, Barrie, ON Serves 4 2 red onions, finely sliced 1 garlic bulb, cloves separated 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary 400 gram can chopped tomatoes 20 ml good-quality balsamic vinegar 125 ml red wine 200 ml lamb or chicken stock, hot 4 x 350 gram lamb shanks Place the onion, whole garlic cloves and rosemary in the slow cooker. Add the tomatoes, vinegar, wine, and stock. Season well and stir well to mix together. Brown the lamb shanks all over in a large frying pan over high heat, then add them to the slow cooker, pushing them into the tomato sauce so that they are almost completely covered. Cover with a lid and cook on low for 8 hours. Skim off any fat that has risen to the surface, and then serve with creamy mashed potatoes. This recipe freezes well. Original source: Delicious Magazine, November 2009

Bean Burger with Guacamole Fire up the grill and flip for this spiced-up, protein-rich veggie burger from triathlete-chef Diane Elmore. Diane Elmore, Diane Elmore’s Personal Chef Service, Hamilton, NJ For burgers: 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced 1 poblano pepper, finely chopped 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and well rinsed ½ cup cilantro, minced ½ cup breadcrumbs (gluten-free, if desired) 1 large egg 1 Tbsp. chili powder 1 Tbsp. cumin Salt, to taste For guacamole: 2 ripe avocadoes 1 Tbsp. cherry tomatoes, minced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 jalapeño pepper, minced ¼ cup cilantro, minced 1 lime, juiced Salt, to taste Instructions Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet. Add scallions, poblano, jalapeño and garlic. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook to soften—about 5–7 minutes over medium heat. Transfer to a food processor. Add the beans and pulse 3–4 times to chop ingredients. (Be careful not to turn the mixture into mush by over-processing.)

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Transfer the black bean mixture to a large bowl and mix in the cilantro, breadcrumbs, egg, spices and salt. Shape into 4–6 burger patties. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 30 minutes. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Cook burgers until browned on both sides. To prepare the guacamole, mash the avocado. Then add all ingredients and continue mashing together. Adjust flavor to your liking, then serve burgers with guacamole spread.

Bordelaise Sauce I love this over prime rib or filet mignon! Chef Donna Ondriska, Cookin’ 4 U PCS, Midlothian, IL Makes 1 ½ cups 1 cup red or white wine (I prefer using white) 1 cup basic brown soup stock ¼ lb mushrooms, sliced 3 tbsp chopped shallots (or yellow onion) 1 tbsp butter 2 tbsp parsley, chopped salt & pepper to taste 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed w/2 tbsp water (or use part of stock or wine) garlic, crushed Place the wine and soup stock in small saucepan. Reduce the liquid by half. Sauté mushrooms, shallots and garlic in butter until tender; add to reduced wine/stock mixture. Add the parsley, salt & pepper and simmer for a few minutes. Thicken w/the cornstarch/water mixture. Love this over prime rib or filet mignon!

Sweet Potato Gratin with Gruyere Cheese There is so much going on with the combination of earthy thyme, garlic cream sauce and nutty Gruyere cheese. Darnell Harness, Simply Dine, Henderson, NV Servings: 12 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced thin 1 1/2 cups heavy cream 2 garlic cloves, minced pinch nutmeg 1 teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon thyme, dried 1/2 cup brown sugar 2 cups Gruyere cheese, grated Directions: 1. Preheat your oven to 375 F. Grease a 9x13-inch casserole dish. Peel and clean the potatoes. 2. Slice the potatoes 1/8-inch thick and set aside. 3. In a saucepan place the garlic, nutmeg, pinch salt and heavy cream and bring to a simmer and set aside. 4. In a casserole dish start making a layer of the potatoes sprinkle the thyme, brown sugar and pour some of the cream mixture and layer some of the cheese. 5. Repeat this process until you have 4 to 5 layers. At the end sprinkle some of the cheese. 6. Cover dish with foil. Place in the oven and cook for 40 minutes. 6. Take out of the oven and remove foil. Bake again for 20 minutes

until cheese is golden brown. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes before serving. Serving Suggestions: Rack of Pork or Roasted Chicken and a good Pinot Noir wine

Chile Colorado (Colorful Chili) We lived in Mexico for over a decade and this was one of my favorite recipes. I use it now for clients in Canada. it won first place in the chili cook off at my culinary school, Liaison College, Barrie, ON, Canada Anyone who has ever tried this chili, absolutely loves it! From a regular client who asks for the meat version on each cook date, to serving the vegetarian version as samples at a craft show, it’s a delicious & easy recipe. Top with yummy things like cubes of avocado, grated cheese, sour cream/yogurt etc. Eat as is or all loaded on a baked potato, or use tortilla chips for dipping. Fantastic any way you serve it! Suzanne Redman, Let’s Eat In, Midland, ON Yield: 3 quarts, 12 – 1 cup servings Ingredients: 1 lb high quality lean ground beef 8 oz small diced yellow pepper 4 oz small diced red pepper 4 oz small diced Spanish onion 2 cloves garlic finely minced 2 – 28 oz cans San Marzano type whole tomatoes 1 – 19 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed 1 tbsp regular chile powder 1 tsp Mexican chile powder 1½ tsp chipotle chile powder ½ tsp ground coriander 2 tsp sea salt 2 tbsp finely diced jalapeño peppers 1/4 cup chopped cilantro 2 tbsp olive oil Procedure: 1. Sweat peppers, onion, and garlic in olive oil for 5 mins in a large Dutch oven or sauce pot. 2. Sauté ground beef in a separate pan, drain fat, then combine with peppers and onions in Dutch oven. 3. In a large metal bowl, puree tomatoes with an immersion blender. 4. Add tomatoes to meat and pepper mixture and bring to a simmer. Add spices and salt. 5. Simmer chili for 2 hours, adjust seasoning if necessary. Add jalapeños and cilantro during last half hour of cooking. 6. Serve with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and fresh chopped cilantro garnish.

Risotto with Spinach, Chick-peas, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes Here’s a favorite recipe of mine. This recipe is one I usually start people off with who are new to eating plant-based meals. It’s pressurecooked - which makes it cook in half the time as the stove top - and it’s a one-pot meal. Did I mention it’s delicious? Round it off with a side salad and some whole-grain bread. You can also make it on the stovetop allowing for twice as long to cook. Christine Scalfo, HHC, AADP, Food for Living,Vineland, NJ

Pressure cooker: 25 minutes high pressure Ingredients: 1 tablespoon oil from sun-dried tomatoes 1 cup coarsely chopped onions 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped 1½ cups brown rice, rinsed and drained 3½ to 4 cups vegetable stock 1 teaspoon dried basil ½ teaspoon dried rosemary leaves 1 teaspoon sea salt (less if using salted stock) ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and coarsely chopped 1 package frozen, organic chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove liquid 1 cup cooked chick-peas or 1 can rinsed and drained Black pepper to taste Vegan parmesan (such as Go Veggie brand) Directions: 1. Heat the oil in the cooker. Sauté the onions and garlic until soft. Add the rice and stir to coat with oil. 2. Stir in 3½ cups of the stock, basil, rosemary, and salt. Lock the lid in place and over high heat bring to high pressure. Place a flametamer under the pressure cooker. Lower the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 25 minutes. Allow the pressure to come down naturally. Remove the lid carefully. 3. The risotto may be slightly soupy as it absorbs more of the broth. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, chick-peas, and pepper and add more vegetable stock if needed. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the rice is tender and the spinach is cooked, about 2 more minutes. Serve immediately topped with vegan parmesan. Serves 4 as a main course - 6 as an appetizer. Adapted from Lorna Sass’ Complete Vegetarian Kitchen

Sage Turkey Meatloaves with Onion Cider Gravy This is a client favorite! Alison Bennett, Alison’s Personal Chef Service, Germantown, TN 1 ½ lbs ground turkey 1 cup shredded peeled apple ½ cup dry breadcrumbs 2 Tbsp minced fresh sage ½ tsp salt ½ tsp pepper Cooking spray Preheat oven to 425. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, divide turkey mixture into 6 equal portions, shaping each into an oval-shaped loaf. Place loaves on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425 for 25 minutes or until thermometer inserted in centers registers 165 degrees. While meatloaves bake prepare the gravy. Gravy 1 Tbsp butter 1 large Vidalia or other sweet onion, vertically sliced 1 cup fat free less sodium chicken broth 1 Tbsp cornstarch 1 Tbsp water

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¼ tsp salt Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium -high heat; add onion. Cook 10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. While onion cooks, bring cider and broth to a boil in a medium saucepan, boil 23 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup. Combine cornstarch, water, and salt and add to the cider mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook over medium heat for 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Stir in onion.

Crown Cheesecake This is a light, simple cheesecake. It’s great to make for dinner parties because it doesn’t take long, is impressive looking, and can be customized per client request. I’ve topped it with raspberry, blueberry, cherry as well as strawberry. It is also adaptable in that I can make several mini-cheesecakes with different toppings to accommodate different tastes at one party. This has become one of my most requested desserts - I guess you could say my “signature dessert.” In fact, I had a client drive over 45 minutes to pick one up this last Christmas. Barbara Moul, Simply Delectable, Baldwinsville, NY Servings: 12 3 3 oz. ladyfingers, packages - soft 2 8 oz. cream cheese, softened 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract 1 cup(s) sugar 1 pint(s) heavy cream 1 cherry filling and topping, raspberry or blueberry

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Directions: Place ladyfingers on the bottom and around the edge of a 9 inch springform pan. In medium bowl whip cream until peaks form. In large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Spoon 1/2 of cream cheese mixture into springform pan; spread 1/2 of pie filling and cover with a layer of ladyingers. Add remaining cream cheese mixture on top. Top all with remaining pie filling. Chill before serving.

One-Pan Short Ribs Dinner for 2 This is an easy stove-top method. Chef Donna Ondriska, Cookin’ 4 U PCS, Midlothian, IL Ingredients 4 medium sized Short Ribs 4 russet potatoes (cut into 4 pieces each) 8 carrots 1 medium onion (chopped) 2 tbsp olive oil 1 14½ oz. can of low sodium beef broth 1 cup of wine (I used white) A sweet wine is best. Course Sea Salt to taste Pepper to taste Directions Heat the olive oil on a high heat in a medium sized skillet. Place the Short Ribs in the hot pan and brown each side of beef. Add the onions to the pan while browning. When the ribs are browned pour in the can of beef broth and wine. Bring to a boil turn the heat down to simmer and allow the beef to cook for 30 minutes. Add potatoes and cook for 15 minutes then add the carrots and cook for another 30 minutes. Add course sea salt and pepper to meat. The short ribs will be tender, your potatoes creamy and the carrots just right.

Pan Seared Prawns with Blood Orange Liqueur Sauce

pasta is well coated. 8. In the center of the plate place the pasta and let the prawns fall wherever they land and finish with some chives or basil for garnish.

This amazing winter dish features U-8 Prawns and Blood Orange Liqueur. Lime and Tangerine juice and basil round out the flavor profile.

Serving Suggestion: Asian noodles are fantastic with this dish

Darnell Harness, Simply Dine, Henderson, NV Servings: 4 1 pound shrimp, jumbo, peeled and deveined (U-8’s work perfectly for this dish) 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted, divided 1 teaspoon salt and pepper 1 tablespoon butter, unsalted SAUCE 1 large shallot, peeled and minced 1/4 cup liqueur, Blood orange work best 1 cup clam juice 2 tablespoons lime juice 1 tablespoon tangerine peel, grated 1/4 cup heavy cream 4 tablespoons basil leaves, chopped. You can also add fresh chopped chives as a garnish 8 ounces fettuccine, cooked Directions: 1. Season the prawns with salt, pepper and the bay seasoning and set aside. 2. In a sauté pan on medium-high heat, add butter and melt until foamy. Place the prawns and do this in batches and cook for 90 seconds on each side. 3. Remove from the pan and place on a plate and wrap with foil. 4. In the same pan the prawns were cooked add the butter until melted and add the shallots and cook for about 2 minutes until aromatic. 5. Off the heat add the liqueur and place back on the heat. It should flame up and cook until pan look dry. 6. Now add the clam juice and reduce until almost dry. Add the juice and peel and the heavy cream and cook until thickened. 7. Add the shrimp and any juice and the cook pasta and toss until

Note: Total Wine has this Blood Orange Liqueur. It also makes a wonderful winter cocktail Martini.

Savory Palmiers This has become my signature appetizer/hors d’oeuvre recipe. I have used feta in place of the goat cheese and substituted Kalamata olives for the sundried tomatoes. They can be made ahead and frozen, then baked before serving. They make the kitchen smell heavenly and everyone seems to love them. There are never any leftover! Christina Vincent, As You Like It PCS, Panama City, FL Ingredients 1 package frozen Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, defrosted 1/4 cup prepared pesto, store bought or homemade (recipe follows) 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese, such as Montrachet 1/4 cup finely chopped sundried tomatoes in oil, drained 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts Kosher salt Homemade Pesto 1/4 cup walnuts 1/4 cup pignolis 3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves) 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 1/2 cups good olive oil 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese Directions Lightly flour a board and carefully unfold one sheet of puff pastry. Roll the pastry lightly with a rolling pin until it is 9 1/2 by 11 1/2-inches. Spread the sheet of puff pastry with half the pesto, then sprinkle with

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half the goat cheese, half the sundried tomatoes, and half the pine nuts. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Working from the short ends, fold each end halfway to the center. Then fold each side again towards the center until the folded edges almost touch. Fold one side over the other and press lightly. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat the entire instructions for the second sheet of puff pastry using the remaining ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the prepared rolls of puff pastry in 1/4 inch thick slices and place them face up 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 14 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm. Homemade Pesto: Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 30 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is finely pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Serve, or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top. Yield: 4 cups Recipe courtesy of Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Sometimes I’m lazy or pressed for time to cook & roll individual cabbage rolls - One of my favorite comfort foods! Chef Donna Ondriska, Cookin’ 4 U PCS, Midlothian, IL Serves: 6-8 Tomato Sauce: 1 large onion, chopped 1 medium head cabbage, coarsely chopped 1 15 oz. can tomato soup, undiluted 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with liquid 1 cup water 1-2 tbsp of olive oil Meatballs: 1 lb. lean ground beef (or 1/2 lb. ground pork & 1/2 lb. lean ground beef) 1/2 c. uncooked long grain rice (or if really in a hurry - substitute instant rice) 1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce 1/2 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. pepper Sauté onions in 1-2 tbsp. of olive oil in a Dutch oven till translucent about 3 minutes. Combine rest of sauce ingredients in Dutch oven and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer. Meanwhile, combine meatball

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ingredients; mix well. Shape into 36 balls, about 1 1/4 in. in diameter. Add to simmering sauce, cover and simmer about 45 minutes or until the cabbage is tender. Uncover and cook about 15 minutes longer or until sauce thickens.

A New Approach for Winter January and February are usually slow months in my business. This year, I’m trying something new that seems to help pick up some business. A potential customer approached me to use the service but didn’t want to pay the price for the weekly or the 5x4 service. Instead, she wanted to do the shopping or use some of the ingredients that she already had in her house. It’s working quite well. On a weekly basis, I put together a menu with 2-3 entrees and/ or sides, give her a list of ingredients, and on the morning of the cook day I just show up with my tool box and nothing else. I spend three hours in her kitchen for a flat fee that we have agreed on. At the end of the session I clean up and leave. It’s a great deal not to have to lift and carry all my cooking equipment and run around to the grocery stores to shop. She is happy and I’m delighted! She got me to try a different approach to providing the service which I can now market to others. Maria A. Sakellariou Culinary Odyssey LLC, Chesterfield, MO

Don’t Run Your Business Alone We all know by now that trying to run your company completely alone is almost impossible, especially if you want to grow or realize any sufficient income. Besides calling in other chefs to help, servers, your accountant and other people to help in your business what about the other needs? The other needs can include changes to your website, any graphics you may need for flyers, creating landing pages/sales pages, managing your social media, and writing your newsletter or blog. If you do not have a clue what some of these things are or how they will bring you business, you will as we proceed along. There are a few websites where I can find people to help me with those various things. I encourage you to take a look at each one of these to find what you are looking for next time. These sites are great because you get the advantages of professionals for your company for minimal costs and you can use them as needed. I encourage you to always check references and call the references and ask questions. The first time you hire someone to help you can be a bit scary but normally the investment is low cost to get your feet wet. Take a look at: - great website for logo design and very cost effective - help with websites, designers, marketers, etc. - reelance people like elance that can do the above - another website for freelance people like the above I encourage you to step out and find what you are looking for with these sites and if you don’t know if you need someone yet to help in some of these areas of your business, you will as you grow. I promise. If you have any questions about this article or just help in general with growing your chef business, please contact me at 817 277 3031 or Deb Cantrell Savor Culinary Services Fort Worth, Texas

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Compound Butter ... This Is Slick Stuff! Have you ever wondered what separates a good steak from a great steak? Sometimes it isn’t easy to quantify, but it could be something as simple as a homemade compound butter to put on the steak just after it is taken off the grill. If you don’t know what compound butter is you may ask, “Aren’t all butters the same?” In short: No! To understand this, one must first know what it is and consider the ingredients, preparation, as well as kitchen tools used and savor the difference in taste between plain butter and compound butter. Compound butter is butter that is softened at room temperature and then placed in a stand mixer with herbs, spices and other condiments possibly including mustard, vinegar or other similar acidic ingredient(s) and salt and pepper. How can adding these items make a difference? They enhance and enrich dishes like a grilled steak. When the butter hits the steak and melts, it forms an incredible sauce to go with your steak. When compound butter is added to fish and chicken, the end result is like a five star dining experience. It creates a rich and luscious sauce for fish, chicken and steak. The most traditional compound butter is Maître D’hôtel butter. It is made with parsley, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. All of these ingredients go well with any protein and most vegetables. There are five wonderful herbs that can be added to make homemade compound butter stand out; they are Garlic, Parsley, Chives, Rosemary and Thyme. Fresh or dried herbs both work the same in the butter. Always remember to mince these herbs as finely as possible. The best technique to get more flavor out of the garlic would be to roast it with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then, place it in a foil pouch in a 400 degree F oven for 40 minutes. Preparation is made easy with a stand mixer with a paddle attachment; it is the tool of choice for making compound butter. Place your softened butter in the mixer and add your favorite herbs and spices. Add a touch of acid with lemon, lime or white or balsamic vinegar along with some zest from the citrus. With the paddle attachment ready on the blender, set the blender to the lowest setting and slowly increase the speed until the mixture is smooth. At this point add a pinch of sea salt, not regular table salt, and pepper if you wish. Have some parchment paper on the counter and add the butter from the mixer to it and form a log. Roll it up and twist the ends and refrigerate for 24 hours to let flavors develop. When you’re ready to use the prepared compound butter for a dish you want to add that “Bam” to, just add a pat of the butter and revel in amazement at the experience of what you’re eating. The first word out of your mouth should be “WOW!” The second thing you should do is hire an agent to represent you as a new celebrity chef that makes magical food using compound butter (grin). A couple of things I like to add to the butter are fruit and it juices for seafood, pancakes, muffins, breads and crepe dishes. Pancakes with a strawberry compound butter are over the top. When I bake fresh French bread I like to add shrimp, basil, roasted garlic and a small amount of anchovy paste to my butter and spread it on the hot bread. It is better than any garlic bread you’ll eat. The simplicity of fresh pasta with two pats of an herbal compound butter can take your breath away. I am always excited to explore new worlds with the many flavors you can create with compound butters. The only thing that will limit you is your imagination in this simple yet powerful condiment. Open up your refrigerator and add some curry, garlic, ginger, Thai Basil and fish sauce in, or along with, a compound butter and spread it over some hot Ramen noodles and amaze your family and friends’ taste buds with a new culinary condiment. You have been introduced to a whole new world of things you can create with compound butter. Vegetables, toast, pasta, fruit off the grill, beef, pork, shrimp and even your Thanksgiving turkey can benefit from using compound butter. Darnell Harness Simply Dine Henderson, NV

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Stop What You Are Doing & Claim Your Local Listings Now.... Local listings are the foundational first step to your business success in 2015. It’s confirmed 2015 is the year for small businesses to focus on their local market. Why? Because Google is making it mandatory. While many small business owners have grand intentions to take over the world most of the time, the marketing solution to local success is right in front of them being overlooked. Having worked with hundreds of small business owners over the years, one thing remains constant: “There is no magic bullet to getting business.” However, if you’re a local business or a multi-location operation, it’s all pretty simple; you need to build a local online foundation first. Think of this analogy. Say you were in the process of building a new home from scratch, would your contractor talk to you about windows and cabinets before the concrete foundation was poured? The answer is 100% no!!!! Most small business owners ignore their business’s local market listings and, get this, its FREE. Yet business owners do this all the time when it comes to local listings and building their own businesses and its completely out of logical sequence. What happens is they engage in marketing out of logical business sequence both online and offline? You spend more and it takes longer. Some examples are businesses spending heavily on Yellow Pages, Pay Per Click, Billboards, or even Advertisements in local publications with the hopes that the phone will ring off the hook (they do this without having any sorts of tracking mechanisms in place). Better yet they do these things and spend all this money and then they complain that “All marketing is expensive and waste of money.”and vow never to do it again, which is your guaranteed ticket out of business. When you register your business with the state you live in, your business information is pushed out to local directories like Google My Business (AKA Google Places), Yahoo Local, Bing Local, Yelp, and a host of other data aggregators. Then it’s listed and it’s your job to go and claim them, make sure there are no duplicates, that they all have consistent information and are robust with pictures, the correct categories etc. Or you can find a digital partner to get this done for you. It can be a daunting task for a non technical business owner but you can’t just walk away from them if you want a strong foundation. Why should you as a business owner worry about this local listing data? There are over 300 ranking factors that Google says are important. Well over 20% of those factors are directly associated with local data or “citations” pointing back to your business. Having consistent and accurate Name, Address and Phone numbers (NAP info) will truly lay the foundation for moving forward with your other online marketing strategies as well. “80% of people research online before purchasing in a 10-20 mile radius.” (Pew Research Center 2014) Here is what you must have to qualify for a local business listing in Google My Business and other directories. Your business must meet all four of the following criteria: 1. You have an official business name or DBA 2. You have a local phone number that matches your city of location (not a shared phone number, toll-free number, or call tracking number it should start with your local area code.) 3. Have a dedicated physical street address (not a shared address, PO box, or virtual office). If you work from home that will work remotely or from home it can be done. (Contact a professional) 4. Make face-to-face contact with your customers (business is not conducted virtually) (Local Business) Next Step: GOOGLE YOUR BUSINESS......Then start by claiming and managing your local business listings. We recommend creating an Excel spreadsheet to track them all. Then, once completed, any online or offline marketing, social media, promotions, you name it, will generate much more return because people AND GOOGLE will be able to find your business online. George Tsafonias is the CEO and co-founder of Market Loyal is a digital marketing agency with a focus on helping associations, small businesses, franchises and agencies target prospects and drive clients on a hyperlocal level. He has consulted for some of the world’s top brands such as NASCAR, Hewlett-Packard, AT&T and has also worked in the trenches with hundreds of small businesses across the country to create improve their competitive edge within their local markets. George Tsafonias| | 877-959-1260 | Facebook - | Twitter - @MarketLoyal LinkedIn -

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The Sous Vide Cooking Technique: Cooking in Water I would like to share with you a method of cooking that most home cooks aren’t familiar with; it’s called Sous Vide cooking. We have to thank the French for giving us this amazing cooking technique. Sous Vide means “under vacuum” in water. Cooking with this method means understanding how it is accomplished, the differences between this cooking method and traditional methods, cost and expected outcomes. The Sous Vide method of cooking is to place food in a pouch and then the air is removed from the pouch. The pouch is then placed in a water bath at a perfect cooking temperature for a period of time until it’s done. The bag is then removed from the water and allowed to cool slightly before serving. This method of cooking the food in a pouch with the air removed does many different things to your food. It allows the food to be cooked in its own juices which makes for food that is more flavorful than you are used to eating and it also allows for no loss of vitamins and minerals during the cooking process in the water. This technique makes for a healthier dish. By cooking the food in water at the correct temperature, it will be cooked perfect every time. It will not be overcooked or undercooked. All food cooked on a stovetop, oven or grill will only reach its perfect cooking temperature for a few minutes of the cooking process. If you’re cooking steaks outdoors on your grill when it’s windy, the temperature will be up and down with you adjusting for the conditions of the wind. This is why some steaks are undercooked or overcooked from the same grill. The water oven prevents this from occurring. The water can come up for a medium-rare Rib Eye Steak in the pouch at 130 degrees F while your steak is cooked for three hours in the oven. You then take the steak out of the pouch and place it on a hot grill for one minute on each side to create grill marks on the meat. Your guests will be impressed when they look at the appearance of the grilled (Sous Vide) Rib Eye. When they bite into the perfectly cooked medium-rare steak, they will be shocked at the incredible flavor of it. They will tell you to try out for the Next Food Network Star show (grin). Who would have ever thought cooking food in water would change how we prepare our meals? If you purchase this product, one of the first things you should do is prepare some eggs that would be scrambled and place them in a pouch. Cook them at 135 degrees F for one hour. These will be the creamiest and richest eggs you’ve ever eaten. Sous Vide cooking is an incredible technique for cooking all kinds of food to perfection. The current home units can be expensive depending on brands and models; they generally range from hundreds to thousands of dollars for professional units. The prices are coming down each year and the products are getting better. I had the privilege of working with this product for several years now and have produced perfect food each time. A Sous Vide oven will change the way you look at water and food forever. Darnell Harness Simply Dine Henderson, NV

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7680 Universal Blvd. Ste 550 Orlando, FL 32819

40 | Personal Chef

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