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Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

Eat my Words – Chef Kayne Raymond

Monday, September 29th, 2014

This week we talk with Chef and adventurer Kayne Raymond. Chef Kayne commenced his passion with food very early on in his life and has travelled the world as a  Private Chef. He has also appeared on the US TV network BBC America in an adventure cooking show called No Kitchen Required.

Kayne you developed an early passion for cooking from your Mother. What is a fun or special moment you shared with her when learning to cook as a child/teen?  

I have quite a few good stories about food and growing up in the Raymond household.

I think I will share these two goodies…

My mum is a great cook! As a child I remember vividly my love for her pikelets. Most weekends started with warm pikelets, strawberry jam and whipped cream for breakfast.

I would constantly harass her to make pikelets at any opportunity! So one day after obviously having enough of me asking she told me to go ahead and make them myself.

I had the recipe and knew how it went as I’d watched her make them numerous times. I made the batter carefully adding everything and continued to cook the batch of pikelets.

They looked awesome. My brother and mum tucked into them and spat them out instantly. The recipe was completely correct except for the fact that that I had added salt instead of sugar to the recipe. I couldn’t help but burst into tears. Mum stepped in and remade the pikelets and all was good. I have never done that again!

Something we laugh a lot about these days also is how when I was a kid I would smell all my food! I still do whether Iʼm at home or a restaurant. I have always leant down and taken a good whiff! I would do it at the dinner table as a kid and it would drive my mum crazy! She would yell at me how that was terribly bad mannered and not to do it. There were a few occasions where there was a clip to the ear. 38 years down the track and I’m still smelling my food but she understands that it was those smells that drove me to follow my scent into a career as a chef. I haven’t been yelled at or had my ear clipped for a loooooooong time. Love you Mum!

When did you know you wanted to be a Chef professionally? At what age or particular moment in your life?

I started working in kitchens probably when I was 16 years old. Doing dishes and food preparation. I was the bloody fastest, most thorough dishwasher ever. I think I always pushed hard to be the best at whatever I did. I think that has something to do with being the middle child also. I remember working at a restaurant “Cin Cin” on quay in Auckland and I remember watching the chefs in awe. I felt that if I busted my ass doing the dishes and doing a good job with the food preparation they would notice me and give me a chance on the line. That didn’t happen but it really was that moment, at that restaurant that ultimately led me to want to be a chef.

You’re based in New Zealand and have travelled around the world working with many Chefs and have also worked as a Private Chef for the rich and famous. What would be one (or a few) tip/s you would give to those Chefs looking to work for wealthy clients on a one-on-one basis?

I think the most important tip I could give a chef wanting to get into a personal chef career is to be themselves, be personable and really make an effort to read and understand your client’s needs. Very Important!

Yes, you have to be a great chef but you also want the clients to feel comfortable and at ease around you. Your clients may have children, there are guests and friends that drop in etc. Its important that they trust you and feel safe. I treat my clients as I would treat anyone that was a close friend or family member. For me it has created great trust with my clients that gives them the freedom to be who they are around me. Its important not to pretend to be someone who you aren’t, to just please the client. I can’t express that enough, to just be yourself.

On another note I think a great tip is to broaden your repertoire of food. If you can cook Italian one night, Japanese the next, French, Indian etc it keeps the clients and yourself interested, excited and employed longer. Bonus!

Aside from excellent knowledge of food preparation, what are the soft skills that you think are needed for upcoming Chefs to have when looking to enter the Private/Personal Chef arena?

I think when entering the private chef arena you need to have a balance of several things. You need to know your profession well obviously, but private chef work is a lot more than just the food. You are sometimes working closely with wealthy high end clients from all nationalities and backgrounds who at times can be very demanding. I think you need to love food no 1 but also get on well with people, have strong social skills, honesty, integrity, patience and flexibility. This helps to navigate the demanding schedules that can occur not just from a “food” perspective but from a mental perspective. You have to be able to think on your feet and adjust at a moment’s notice.

What is one thing that you’ve learnt from your mentor/s that you still do to this very day?

My mentor always would say to me “life’s short, cook hard” I do this to this day and have never forgotten this!

It’s also a bad ass saying. Give it your best or go home.

Who in the industry is your favourite Chef or is there anyone in the industry you would like to cook with?

I don’t really have a favourite chef as such. There are so many chefs that are incredible in their styles and techniques that it’s impossible to choose. If I had to pick one I would feel I let down another. That being said, one of my most memorable meals was at a restaurant named “Sant Pau” many years ago in Spain. The chefs name is Carme Ruscalleda. It was one of those life long memories that I will cherish. From the train ride north of Spain along the coast (stopping outside the restaurant) to Carme cooking the most incredible dinner ever then coming out to our table and taking me for a tour of the kitchen, it just went on and on. It was awesome. Not many people I knew had known anything about her. She is a self taught Michelin star award chef, which at the time really inspired me to go there instead of El Bulli. She had the goods and it was one of my favourite food memories to date. I’m sure many people know who she is now.

What is the strangest/quirkiest request you’ve had from one of your Private clients?

Wow there has been many crazy things I have seen in the last 7 years of private chef work. Here is a G rated one for you.

One of the strangest or ridiculous things that happened was one Christmas when the client brought their 235 foot Mega Yacht to San Francisco and moored it down by the ferry building. I was to cook an elaborate dinner for 100 guests on the yacht.

I employed a team of chefs to assist me in preparing an enormous Christmas banquet, appetizers, midnight snack menu, etc. It turned out that all the food was for the clients and a couple of friends. I think 7 people showed up. My pastry chef was making bonbons and needed to run them to the freezer on another other level of the boat and had to have a security escort. It was a bloody waste of time, money and food. It was a total self indulgent waste of Christmas cheer.

What are 3 favourite places/dishes you love to prepare?

My three favourite places or dishes to eat are dim sum. I love soup dumpling, shumai, congee and make congee often. My favourite is Dungeness crab, pork and green onion.

Anything from New Zealand that has green lipped mussels in it. In particular I make a killer green lipped mussel fritter. It goes great with a little shaved beet, fennel and arugula salad.

I also think one of my favourite things to make is risotto! The fact that you have to “nurse” the risotto throughout the cooking process and stay with it from start to finish, from pan to plate I love. It a very versatile dish that lends to many types and styles. This is a dish I like to cook for friends.

I definitely cannot forget the Kiwi BBQ!!!!! I’m a GRILL-IN VILLAIN

If you could prepare a full course menu for anyone in the world, who would it be?

Probably the All Blacks rugby team (and I’d ask pro surfer Kelly Slater to turn up also)

If you don’t know who the All Blacks are you better act like ya know :-)

Do you have plans that you can share with our readers about your future projects or aspirations?

Right now I’m heading to NYC for another TV show test and working hard on some adventure cooking television shows.

I have been working on a nutritional juice company for the last seven months and hope to get that off the ground early 2014. Hopefully that will pan out. If not I will just hang out with my beautiful family and keep living the dream surfing cooking and paying the bills.

Life’s short cook hard!!!

Do you have a simple recipe that you would be happy to share with our readers? 

Polynesian Halibut Ceviche serves 6-8

  • 1.5 lbs halibut diced in half-inch cubes
  • 5 lemons juiced (enough to cover fish)
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • ¼ c fine diced red onion
  • ¼ c sliced green onion, green parts only
  • 1 large celery stick finely diced (about half a cup)
  • 2 plum tomatoes, quartered, de-seeded and diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt + more to taste
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed ginger juice
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • ¼ c chopped cilantro

-Dice halibut and cover in lemon juice
-Marinade at least 5 hrs, no more than 10
-Add remaining ingredients and mix
NB: Do not use bottled lemon or ginger juice for this recipe.
To make ginger juice, simply grate fresh ginger (skin and all)
and squeeze juice through cheesecloth, paper towel or your
hands!

Many thanks Kayne for sharing your love of food and of your professional experiences as a Private Chef. For our readers who would like to follow Kayne’s activities, visite his website at: www.kayneraymond.com , follow him on Twitter @kayneRaymond and his Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/CHEF.KAYNE.RAYMOND Thanks Kayne and we look forward to seeing you do more adventurous cooking!

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The 21 Most Romantic Foods to Eat

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Valentines Day is seen as a symbolic day of celebrating your relationship with your partner, spouse or lover. Legend has it that Saint Valentine of Rome was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. During his imprisonment he also healed the daughter of his jailer and wrote her a letter titled “Your Valentine” before his execution.

It is therefore seen as a day to write a letter and/or send a card to your loved one to acknowledge and celebrate your love. Along with celebrations, there is always food and if you need ideas on what to eat then the following list will get you on the right track.

This list is compiled as being the most romantic foods and some with aphrodisiac qualities!

  1. Whipped Cream – accompanied with any romantic dessert one can’t go wrong!
  2. Chocolate – eaten as is or cooked within a dish, it is seen as a the universal romantic food. It has a similar alkaloid to caffeine therefore giving us a good feeling
  3. Fondue – chocolate or cheese, a beautiful way to share a romantic evening together
  4. Champagne – a definite must when celebrating with food
  5. Steak  – cooked perfectly with accompanying vegetables, this dish will hit the spot
  6. Oysters – seen as a food with aphrodisiac qualities as they are high in zinc which raises testosterone levels… this is a great way to start the celebrations
  7. Coffee – in many cases most couples may have met over coffee, so it makes this drink a romantic hit
  8. Chicken and creamy mushrooms – this delicious combination makes this a tasty hit
  9. Spaghetti and meatballs – made from scratch, this meal can make a delicious impact
  10. Fruit Salad – especially with strawberries, blueberries, bananas and covered with honey
  11. Basil – known as a herb for lovers, it can heal headaches, promote circulation and has an alluring aroma
  12. Avocados – the Spanish saw this fruit as so sexy that the Priests banned it!
  13. Truffles – Since times of Ancient Rome, this was seen as an aphrodisiac. It emits a pheremone compound called Androstenone, which is similar to male sweat and will certainly be a hit for most women too!
  14. Chilli Peppers – They release endorphins and can increase the mood. It was famously used in ancient times by ruler Montezuma by being mixed in with a chocolate drink to stimulate his tongue and pulse before he met with his concubines
  15.  Watermelon – after research it is found that watermelon is known as nature’s Viagra for men. It has a phytonutrient in it which helps to relax the blood vessels similar to Viagra and is a great source of lycopene which supports heart health
  16. Figs – Many cultures associated figs with fertility, seen as a sexy fruit by many cultures
  17. Goji Berries – also seen as an aphrodisiac, this fruit is used in sweet and savoury dishes and are high in Beta Carotene. The Chinese have also learnt that this fruit treats metabolic syndrome which can lead to the onset of erectile dysfunction
  18. Ice Cream – Made in every flavour possible, this is the dessert to share and enjoy with a loved one
  19. Strawberries – Dipped in chocolate, or whipped cream, you have a perfect romantic match!
  20. Bananas – not only for the phallic shape of this fruit but it also contains Bromelain which is an enzyme  that triggers Testosterone production and along with its Potassium and vitamin B levels it gives you energy too
  21. Honey – It is a symbol of procreation as it is created via pollination. The word ‘Honeymoon’ also got its name from an alcoholic beverage made from honey given to the bride and groom. It also contains boron, which regulates Estrogen and Testosterone levels and provides a natural energy boost.

Enjoy creating some romantic meals with the above foods, they are certainly a great way to celebrate with your love. If cooking yourself is not your style, why not think about getting a Personal Chef for the night, make sure you give them this list and they will be sure to make you a perfect romantic meal!

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Eat my Words – Sean Bone

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

This week we talk with Chef Sean Bone. Sean is a Private Chef in Vancouver, Canada and has worked on large Estates and Private Yachts for wealthy clients and also works as a ‘TV station Chef”.  He talks with us about his current work and what it takes to be a Private Chef.

Sean you are a Certified Private Chef working for a large family in Vancouver on their motor vessel. Is this a full time job for you or do you have other clients you attend to also? 

I am a Red Seal Certified Chef who has worked in the private industry since 2009.  I have worked both on an estate and on yachts.  I recently retired my position working for a large Canadian family and am now focusing my efforts on building my personal business – which exclusively aims to provide private chef services.   At present I have numerous clients and have recently been picked up by a local television station as “station chef”.

What is one thing that you need to be aware of or prepare for when working in a non-standard environment like a boat?

Excellent organization, time management and pre-planning are vital to your personal success.  It is also always important to expect the unexpected.  Last minute changes are commonplace in this industry.  

You started cooking from an early age with a heavy influence from your Mother and Grandmother both of Italian descent. What is one thing they taught you that you still do to this very day?  

I still use a number of skills that my mother and grandmother taught me.  One that I hold dear to my heart is incorporating courgette flowers into summer cuisine.

Who in the industry is your favourite Chef or is there anyone in the industry you would like to cook with? 

I have a number of Chefs that are my favourite, but if I had to choose one – I would have to choose David Everitt-Matthias.  He has had a humble, yet rewarding career.  He works with his wife and he is an advocate of foraging. 

What’s one piece of advice you valued receiving in your career from your mentors? 

The best piece of advice I ever received from one of my mentors (Chef Michel Jacob) was to always work as though you had a video camera on you.  This helped me to always be aware of my demeanor, cleanliness and overall organization.

What tip/s would you give to those who are looking to be a Private or Personal Chef? 

The list of advice that I would give is very large.  However, the top three tips would be: 1). You must love your food first before anyone else can love it, but you shouldn’t be arrogant about your food, you also should learn to accept that you cannot please everyone, 2). Your job is to please your client and guests first and foremost; therefore it is extremely important to create thoughtful and nutritious food, 3).  Always be organized by knowing your menus in advance.

What is the strangest request you’ve had from one of your Private clients?   

I suppose it’s not really THAT strange, but in my entire career as a Private Chef, the one thing that stands out is that I was asked to prepare potatoes as a side dish for every single dinner for 3 full years.  Let’s just say that I have a “large” repertoire of potato recipes under my belt.

What are 3 favourite places/dishes you love to prepare? 

I love to prepare braised meats (traditional and sous vide methods), stuffed pastas and breads made from natural starters.

If you could prepare a full course menu for anyone in the world, who would it be? 

I would love to prepare a full course meal for someone who is underprivileged.

Do you have a simple recipe that you would be happy to share with our readers? 

You can find a few of my simple (homestyle) recipes online at www.chefseanbone.com/blog

Anything else you’d like to say or share? 

Being a Private Chef seems glamorous but it is equally as challenging as being a restaurant chef.  Be prepared to be the first one awake and the last one to leave your post.  However, receiving compliments from your guests can make any long day worth every minute.  

Many thanks to Sean for taking time out of his very busy schedule to take part in our interview. Sean’s website can be found at www.chefseanbone.com and you can follow him on Twitter @ChefSeanBone as well as Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/SeanBonePrivateChefServices

 

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Eat My Words – Stacie Pierce

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Today we talk with Stace Pierce a Private Chef who serves the very wealthy in Manhattan and the Hamptons in New York, an exclusive holiday destination for the elite.

Stacie was in great demand when we spoke to her therefore due to time constraints,  she sent a short bio of her career so far, which will give you great insight and inspiration…

I knew I wanted to be a chef since I was 14 years old, I am now 46.

I worked in a French restaurant and pleaded to get a job at 15 years old.  They finally gave me a shot  as a dishwasher and I had to work for free for two months to show that I really wanted it.

After two months I was given a prep job… no more dishes for me!  I loved the feeling of family within the kitchen and it feels very much like a team of any type such as sports, acting etc… 

I began to change my classes around in High School  to allow me to get to the restaurant by 1:00.

 By 17, I was accepted into the prestigious Culinary school “The Culinary Institute of America“.  I was one of the youngest at the time to be accepted! 

After CIA I went straight to New York and pounded the pavement and showed up over and over to the restaurants I wanted to work in. My first was “The Four Seasons”.

From there I had a 15 yr career in New York City as a Pastry chef to Union Square Cafe , Monkey Bar, Gotham Bar and Grill, to name a few.

I’ve been in many magazines and on T.V.  I’ve been lucky to have been given many opportunities to cook for movies and photo shoots.

I ended up (unfortunately)  going through a divorce. My husband and I had a home in Park Slope, Brooklyn as well as Sag Harbor, New York. I stayed in Sag Harbor and literally fell into becoming a private chef.

I’ve been doing this for years now and work with clients who ask me to help them celebrate their most special moments.

When I cook I allow the food to be the focal point . I live in an area that is filled with farm stands and artisanal shops.

The clients I have eat at the Best Restaurants in the world. They own planes, trains and lots of automobiles, not to mention the Yachts!  They do nothing small and entertain big. They have butlers, chauffeurs and lots of “people” (which is also a big part of the job). 

A couple of years ago I bought a large catering company 185 employees. We did Big clam bakes on the beach , huge soirees, benefits etc.  Although it was fun, I missed the personal relationship between myself and the client. I sold the company to work on two other projects I am now pursuing presently.

Stacie’s projects are specifically working on a small restaurant where it will be more like a home environment it is very unique and she has wanted to cook in this type of setting forever. Stacie is also working with a woman who wants her to help roll out a dessert line,  mostly frozen cakes.

The above along with beginning to book up for the holiday season is a challenging yet exciting time for her now. For more info about Stacie visit her site: www.beautifulfoodbystacie.com

Thanks Stacie and all the best wishes for your business!

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Eat My Words – Ameerah Watson (Creole Peach)

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

This week we talk with Ameerah Watson, aka ‘Creole Peach’. Chef Ameerah was born in New Orleans where she received the foundation of her flavoring style. Later in life her mother, who was raised vegetarian, moved the family to Atlanta where Ameerah was primarily raised but still spent her summers in New Orleans. Each of these two southern cities are well known for their unique styles of cooking and flavours.

Paired with her Culinary Arts degree, she completed her Naturopathic Medicine certification in 2008 through the Phoenix Rising Institute to support her focus on the true root of food and what it can do for the human body. These two backgrounds, along with her upbringing, have resulted in Chef Ameerah being well versed in meeting every dietary need with flavour and colour.

We contacted Chef Ameerah during a very exciting time. She has been chosen as one of 9 Chefs to take part in a new TV reality competition show called “Restaurant Express” which aired in November.

Ameerah, you fell in love with cooking at an early age and eventually became a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, worked at amazing places such as The Marriott and Ritz Carlton and appearing very soon on The Food Network on TV. What is the main message that you want to give to others through the food that you prepare & make?

I would like people to respect food and love it for its qualities. Cook food in a way that praises its original flavor. Be simple yet creative. Most of all put your soul and heart in every dish.

What is the story around your nickname The Creole Peach?

I was born in New Orleans and the smell and taste of this unique place has always been in my veins. My upbringing has mostly been in Atlanta which is also a place that embodies Southern Hospitality. My flavor style matches this history. It was my sister who began calling me Creole Peach as one on my biggest fans of my food.

You specialise in vegetarian, vegan and raw foods, what was the main driver for you to focus in these particular areas and what is the most memorable comment from a client/customer who has eaten your food?

My mother’s side of the family has always been mostly vegetarian and my father’s side excellent farmers. All though I do cook for all diets, fresh food and health has always been my foundation. Food should feed your mind, body and soul.

Most of my clients are pleasantly surprised by fusion of seasonal ingredients. I pride myself on perfecting the basic and layering colorful jazz on top. The most memorable response from a client was a woman’s expression to me that she was in shock and amazement at my talent for cooking, and then she begged for a picture and my autograph.

You not only have your business as a Personal Chef but you are now commencing a new adventure by appearing on a Nationally televised show called ‘Restaurant Express’ where you and 8 others travel around the country cooking and competing on a large bus to win a chance to be Executive Chef at an exclusive resort. Congratulations on being part of this project! Do you have any game plan that you can share and what is something you’ve learnt so far on this project that is a good piece of advice to other Chefs? 

Always set a standard for each dish you create to be to best that someone has ever tasted. With this you will always be remembered. It was word of mouth that got me noticed and my passion that landed me there. I can’t go too far into the show except to say I am on it. I am also on season 2 of Cutthroat Kitchen.

Who in the industry is your favourite Chef or is there anyone in the industry you would like to cook with?

My favorite Chef is Todd Richardson. He is the chef that invested so much care in to me and still does. He is an excellent man with a lot of talent.

What’s one piece of advice you valued receiving in your career?

Always do your best even when you feel the job is too easy.

What tip/s would you give to those who are looking to be a Private or Personal Chef?

You have to always be looking for opportunities. Do not get caught in a box, listen for the needs and wants of people. The market is changing and you can make it a fun challenge or stressful failure.

What is the strangest request you’ve had from one of your Private clients?

In this field if there is no strange request then something is wrong. So there are too many to call one out.

What are 3 favorite places/dishes you love to prepare?

I love making simple biscuits it brings warm memories and comfort. My favorite place to visit is my grandmother’s farm in Louisiana. Soon as I get there I lose my shoes on purpose and cook up all of her fresh eggs.  The country girl in me gets fed.

If you could prepare a full course menu for anyone in the world, who would it be?

My  Mother, I find her to be the most amazing woman I know. I’m her biggest fan.

Do you have a simple recipe that you would be happy to share with our readers? 

Blackened Shrimp with avocado grapefruit salad and chili powered vinigarette

blackened-shrimp-creole-peach

1/2 lb 16/20 shrimp, butterflied
2 tbs blacking seasoning
2 tbs olive oil

Salad
2 avocados large dice
1 grapefruit segmented
1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
Chilli Powder Dressing
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tbs chives
2 tbs honey
2 tbs chili powder
1 1/2 tsp mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Start by making the dressing. In a medium bowl place vinegar, chives, honey, chili powder, and mustard.
Whisk ingredients together then slowly add olive oil until fully incorporated. Salt and pepper to taste.
In another bowl gently mix together diced avocado, grapefruit segments and cut cherry tomatoes. Little by little and dressing and gently toss.
Place in refrigerator for holding.
Take shrimp and drizzle with olive oil and then dust with blackening seasoning. Sear in a skillet on medium high until cooking just right, blacken yet juicy!
Dish out chilled avocado grapefruit salad among 4 bowls and serve hot blackened shrimp on top. Let your guests enjoy this full flavoured unknowingly healthy dish.

Many thanks Ameerah, we wish you all the best with your TV projects and good luck! If you want to follow Ameerah’s progress, she is now on Facebook and Twitter @CreolePeachChef.

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Eat My Words – Terri Moser

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

If you think you could never do a career change, then you will enjoy our interview this week from Terri Moser, who runs her own In-Home Custom Catering service in Baltimore &  Harford areas in the state of Maryland the USA. Terri had a career of nearly 27 years in public health before retiring and starting Terri’s Table, a personal chef company.

1. What do you love in particular about being a Private/Personal Chef?

My favorite part of being a personal chef is the cooking! I love being able to provide healthy, home cooked meals for busy families. I grew up with that tradition in my parents’ family, and made sure that my kids grew up with home cooked meals. The slow food movement and the other efforts in this country to direct kids to healthy, whole foods rather than fast food is the way I grew up and the way I believe kids should eat.

2. Who in the industry is your favourite Chef or is there anyone in the industry you would like to cook with?

In terms of celebrity chefs, I use many of Giada DeLaurentis’s recipes in both my personal and professional meals. I love how she combines simple ingredients in healthy combinations, and I’m a big fan of the Mediterranean style of eating. I would love to cook with Ann Burrell because I love her attitude and passion. Alton Brown appeals to the scientist side of me. On the non-celebrity side, we have a wonderful local restaurant called Pairings in Bel Air, Maryland, and I would love to cook with their chefs and learn how they make their killer butternut squash soup! 

3. What’s one piece of advice you valued receiving in your career?

Another personal chef told me, after I confessed to feeling uncomfortable with “Chef” in my title (since I am not professionally trained), that the definition of a chef is someone who cooks professionally for other people. As I gained more experience and saw how my meals were valued by my clients, I realized that she was right. 

4. What tip/s would you give to those who are looking to be a Private or Personal Chef?

I would tell people to jump in and do it. I began by cooking for friends and neighbors for free – they paid me for groceries, but my labor was free. This allowed me to get my timing down (important when making 20 meals by yourself!), figure out the most efficient way to tackle recipes, get my “gear” pared down to the essentials, etc. It also allowed me to get those all-important references for future clients. 

5. You also say on your website that you look forward to continuing your education through culinary classes and experimenting with new flavours and dishes. How regularly would you do extra classes to skill up further on your craft?

Although I’ve not had the opportunity to take formal classes, I continue to experiment with new recipes and foods – pomegranate molasses is my current favorite new ingredient! I’ve also attended a great annual event in Baltimore for the past few years – “The Foodie Experience.” It’s a symposium/tasting event that involves many great local restaurants, and includes a keynote address by a celebrity chef. My favorite was Alton Brown. 

6. What is the strangest request you’ve had from one of your Private clients?

The strangest request was to provide all of my grocery receipts so that my client could verify that I was really purchasing organic ingredients! 

7. When preparing for a client’s menu, what would be something that you need to be aware of or prepare for that you would never need to consider in a typical restaurant setting as a Chef?

If you will be preparing more than, say 3 meals, you need to ensure that your recipes will retain quality after freezing. You always need to be mindful of how reheating will affect the food quality and cook the food accordingly.

8. What are 3 favourite places/dishes you love to prepare?

I love to do risotto in my pressure cooker – the other day, I did a chicken and asparagus risotto that was awesome. I love Vietnamese food, although I don’t commonly cook that for clients. I love a good grilled salmon – I lived for a time in the Pacific Northwest and wild salmon can’t be beat. 

9. If you could prepare a full course menu for anyone in the world, who would it be?

I would prepare salmon for my son, Casey. We lost him 6 months ago and it would be wonderful to prepare him a meal he loved. 

10. Do you have a simple recipe that you would be happy to share with our readers? 

Absolutely! Every summer, I plant several pots of basil. In addition to using it fresh, I make many batches of pesto for the freezer. There’s nothing better than that taste of summer on some pasta in the dead of winter!

Pesto
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/3 C olive oil
1 C firmly packed basil leaves
1/2 C freshly grated parm
2 T pine nuts
1/2 t salt
1/8 t freshly ground pepper

Heat garlic gently in the oil for a few minutes – don’t brown.
Cool oil for a few minutes.
Combine remaining ingredients in a food processor with metal blade.
Pulse several times to chop, then process while slowly drizzling oil/garlic mixture into the processor.
Process to a paste like consistency.

Freeze in zip-top freezer bags.

Personal cheffing is a great career! I get to do what I love while making my own schedule. And I get to make people happy, which is always a good thing!

Many thanks Terri for your inspiring story and for your Pesto recipe! For more info about Terri and great tips, visit her website at www.chefterristable.com

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Eat my Words – Chef Ben Quinn

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Introducing Chef Ben Quinn, Dad, husband, surfer and private chef in Cornwall. Ben has a career that spans the UK and Australia as well as a coveted role as a Trainer at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen in 2009. He went out on his own offering Private Chef services in 2010 and provides them in a non-traditional setting which would be considered a ‘food experience’ rather than just a meal. Read more about Ben’s style and approach towards being a Private Chef.

Ben after many years cooking commercially and then as a trainer for Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, you then went out on your own to provide true food experiences for people as a Private Chef. What was your main motivation to take that direction?

My main motivation was to give a service that I felt was going to be true to what I love about cooking. Private chefing is for me that great balance of service, food and experience that I craved to get right in a restaurant setting.

Your services include ‘Catch & Cook’ where you take clients out to fish for their food, do you do other non water based food activities also?

I also offer a ‘cook together, eat together’ service. This is a crossover of teaching and eating. A typical day might involve buying fish at market, learning how to clean and prepare the fish, then cooking it to perfection and finishing it off with a meal for us all to enjoy.

What is the most amazing/interesting or just plain weird experience you have had with a client when cooking for them?

Offers of marriage!  For me, as a chef, it always amazes me how interesting guests find tasks we do every day in kitchens around the world! One particular client couldn’t get enough of rolling pasta! To this day I still receive updates as to how they are getting on with different filled pastas.

Who in the industry is your favourite Chef?

I look up to chefs like Yotam Ottolenghi. My aspiration for my food is to cook simply with confidence in my ability and produce.

What’s one piece of advice you valued receiving in your career?

Love what you do because if you are going to plough 60 hours a week plus into it otherwise it would be a waste of a life!

What tip/s would you give to those who are looking to be a Private or Personal Chef?

Be sure you can cook and enjoy serving your guests, lots of chefs are fantastic at the stove, but no good front of house!

Do you still train or coach other up and coming chefs in the industry? If so what is the most valuable piece of advice would you give?

I often help friends out in restaurants and love working with ‘green’ chefs. I love to ask them what they eat at home. Passing on the importance of being passionate about food is the best advice I can give them.

Where was the last place you dined out and what did you have?

Porthmeor Beach Café. Black Rice. Cameron Jennings the Head Chef is an amazing chef and it’s a great location.

What is your favourite Local Restaurant?

No.4 in St Agnes in Cornwall. Nola and Adam are running a fun restaurant based on their passion. You can eat well year round in Cornwall, which is brilliant.

What are 3 favourite places/dishes you love to prepare?

  1. Sunday breakfast with my wife Sammy and my daughter Evie.  We do it together and anything they make tastes brilliant
  2. Preparing food with a pint of cider at home, in Somerset, with my brothers
  3. Sunday roast.  We are about to start a Sunday roast club at my friend’s restaurant.  To start with we’ll be serving local smoked salmon, soda bread and salty butter – just perfect!

If you could prepare a full course menu for anyone in the world, who would it be?

All my friends. That’s what cooking is about for me now. Get a good group of mates together, feed them, water them and you’ll have a memory that’ll last a lifetime.

Do you have a simple recipe that you would be happy to share with our readers?

I was shown this salad at the beginning of the summer in Greece. A massive perk of the job is getting to cook in amazing locations with interesting people.
An old lady made this for me all in her hands with no chopping boards.  It was a refreshing salad with loads of depth. I can’t get enough of it!

Salted Cucumber and torn fish salad serves 2 well!

1 cucumber cut into chunks,
Good pinch of salt
100 g cooked white fish (such as bream or bass)

30 g feta
Mint. (1 handful ripped up)
Olive oil splash
1 lemon

Salt the cucumber and leave to stand for 5 minutes
Tear the fish into bite size chunks and mix with crumbled feta, mint and a dress with a splash of olive oil.   Divide the cucumber onto two plates, pile fish mix on top and serve with lemons to squeeze fresh.

Thanks for your time. I would be interested to see how many chefs out there would want to be a private chef they can always get in touch with me.

Thanks to Ben for sharing with our readers his experiences as a Private Chef and a delicious recipe! Ben can be contacted via Twitter @chefbenquinn or via his website: benedictquinn.co.uk

Photo courtesy of Fieldgrazer Productions

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Eat My Words – Luiz Hara

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

This week we interview Luiz Hara the blogger behind The London Foodie. Luiz was a former banker turned food writer and trained Cordon Bleu Chef! Read below about Luiz’s transition into the world of gastronomic delights! You can also follow Luiz on Twitter: @thelondonfoodie  Instagram: thelondonfoodie, Facebook: thelondonfoodie and Pinterest: thelondonfoodie

From reading your blog you moved from a corporate banking career to food. Can you explain to our readers what were the key reasons you decided to take a bold step and change careers completely?

I have always been interested in working the food industry, but I didn’t have the confidence in my early adult years to take that interest to a professional level.  After years in finance and investment banking, and facing a big birthday, I decided it was time to take the plunge and pursue this interest professionally.  I had been planning the move for around 5 years before leaving the City.  Given that work takes up over half anyone’s waking life, I decided it was time to devote myself to a career I felt passionate about. When the time came in 2011, it was difficult to leave the security of a stable job I had long trained for, with a good income, but I am now very glad to have made that decision. 

You have not only taken on the task of being a serious foodie and writing about it but you also trained to be a Cordon Bleu trained Chef! So if there was a title of you, combining the two into their own special ‘recipe’ what would the name be? Or what would be your most prominent title?

Writing as The London Foodie, I would say I am a food writer who can cook. One complements the other – as a trained chef, my understanding of food and cookery, and therefore my ability to write knowledgeably about food has improved.  Equally, as a writer, I get to visit restaurants all over London, which in turn has helped me to raise my game as a supperclub host and chef.   

How do you choose a restaurant to review?

I am not particularly interested in newly opened or expensive restaurants, but am equally happy reviewing a good Italian pizzeria, a dim sum venue or a Michelin-starred restaurant.  I want to find good examples of whatever restaurant style or cuisine I will be featuring, where the chef himself or herself actually cooks the food served rather than spends their time on TV shows.  

Who is your current favourite chef?

Nuno Mendes of Viajante.  I have known Nuno for years, since I first went to his Loft Project supperclub in Hackney.  I have been lucky enough to dine at Viajante on a number of occasions since then. I find his food innovative, creative and very sophisticated.

Most underrated Local Restaurant?

I love Saponara, a local Italian delicatessen and pizzeria in Prebend Street, Islington, serving up what I think is the best pizza in London, with a fine Italian wine selection. It has been serving its local clientèle for years, and I go there often.

How has blogging in general changed your outlook on food/restaurants?

Blogging has broadened my horizons considerably.  Whereas I used to have a few favourite food haunts I would visit regularly, now I need to visit a variety of venues. Blogging has also made me much more observant than I used to be of skills in restaurant design, cooking, value, atmosphere and front of house service.

What are 3 favourite places/dishes you love to prepare and or love at another restaurant?

Japanese and French cooking are close to my heart.  For my recent series of Japanese supperclubs, I created a summer dish of cold green tea noodles served in an ultra-chilled dashi broth topped with deep-fried aubergines and chillies. A perfect dish for a hot summer’s day.

I love unusual sushi combinations. My latest creation, Seabass Sushi Gangnam Style, combines sushi rice and seabass sashimi with elements of Korean cooking including white radish and carrot sweet pickles, wilted spinach in sesame oil, and a garlic and soy sauce jus.

Another favourite is a French classic I love to prepare whenever I can – Pomme Dauphine.  This is a mixture of mashed potatoes and choux pastry, eggs and butter. These are made into dumplings and deep-fried.  Like profiteroles, the dumplings puff up, with a crispy choux exterior, and a light, deliciously fluffy potato centre. They’re great to accompany a main dish with a rich creamy sauce, to soak up all the goodness!

What’s the biggest mistake a restaurant can make in your opinion?

Stop trying to improve.

What do you think the London food scene is missing?

A more continental approach to drinking or in other words partnering small affordable appetizers with drinks. Much as I love pork scratchings with my pint, I also love going to Spain, Portugal or Italy, where I will routinely be served a flavoursome local snack with a glass of wine or beer.

Who’s your favourite food writer/critic?

Jay Rayner.  He’s an entertaining writer, equally at home celebrating a hot chilli dish in a neighbourhood Asian restaurant as critiquing the most stellar chefs.

What has been your all-time favourite restaurant experience to date?

Three Michelin starred Martin Berasategui in San Sebastian, Spain. I was lucky enough to go there for lunch a couple of months ago, and have his tasting menu with accompanying Spanish wine flight.   This was an epic feast, with astonishing culinary skill and exquisite presentation.

Do you have a simple recipe that you would be happy to share with our readers?

I have just made some Avocado Ice Cream, it couldn’t be simpler to prepare. Add 340g avocado flesh, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 340ml whole milk, 120g sugar and 240ml double cream in a food prcessor and blend until smooth. Process the mixture in an ice cream maker for 45 mins. For a firmer texture, you can freeze it for a couple of hours before serving, and voila!

Thanks for the interview and receipe Luiz!

Posted By Mise En Place Hospitality Recruitment

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Eat my Words – Phil Howard

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

This week we introduce another of Britain’s accomplished chefs, Phil Howard co-owner of Michelin Star awarded The Square Restaurant. Phil has achieved great highs in his career and also some lows, some of which he shares below…

Phil, you’re one of Britian’s most accomplished chefs, awarded two Michelin Stars at The Square Restaurant which you co-own and named as the Chef’s Chef of the Year at the National Restaurant Awards last year. These are major accomplishments, where to from here? What direction are you planning to take your career and expertise in the next few years?

In the pursuit of all round fulfilment it is important to achieve in all areas of life and going forward I intend to try and simplify my professional life, to enable me to maintain focus on The Square and to commit any free time to the enjoyment of my family and my interests outside work. I am absolutely determined to keep The Square relevant in the fast changing eating scene in London and this will be my professional challenge over the next few years.

phil_1Working with other chefs, what would be the best tip you’ve received? Who did you enjoy working with the most?

The appreciation of harmony of flavour is perhaps the most important thing I have learnt as it is this, more than anything else that ensures my cooking delivers pleasure. My three experiences prior to The Square were all equally enjoyable and inspiring – albeit for differing reasons.

You’ve had your fair share of challenging times in your life, addressing a drug addiction while running your business at The Square back in the early 90′s. Out of adversity there can be people or moments that one remembers as turning points or learnings. What was a significant learning or turning point that you think has helped you changed your perception and have regularly referred to in order to achieve the success you have now?

Good question! Insuring return business is the key to any successful restaurant and in terms of cooking my partner Nigel helped me to get over my youthful cheffiness and see that honest cooking is the surest route to wonderful food. And wonderful food brings back customers. There is also no shadow of doubt that overcoming drug addiction was instrumental to my growth as a human being and this, above all else has enabled me to stay balanced and grounded through the ups and downs of life.

Where was the last place you ate out and what did you have?

Dabbous – tasting menu and it was a phenomenal display of contemporary cooking.

What is your favourite Local Restaurant?

River Café – it is my local anyway.

Which dish to you have most fun making?

Sunday roast

Which chefs do you most admire and who would you like to work with in the future?

Brett at The Ledbury, Rob Weston at La Trompette, Simon Rogan, Ollie Dabbous – they are all at the top of their game. I hugely admire David Mulcahy and Steve Munckley for their commitment to the profession in general. They give back so generously.

Without giving away any trade secrets, is there a simple recipe that you would like to share with our readers? 

Certainly not!  Two books published in the last year – they are all in those!

We thank Phil for sharing a little about his life and love of food with our readers. For those who would love to learn some of Phil’s recipes, you can follow him on Twitter at @philiphoward8, and buy his books:

Many thanks Phil and we look forward to hearing more about your achievements in the near future!

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Eat My Words – Tom Kerridge

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

In this week’s edition of Eat My Words we have the lovely Tom Kerridge. Tom is Chef and owner of The Hand and Flowers situated in the beautiful town of Marlow, the first Pub to ever achieve Two Michelin stars. We’ve just seen him in BBC’s Food, here’s what he has to share. You can go and enjoy Toms cooking at The Hand and Flowers and follow Tom on Twitter @ChefTomKerridge

You’re known for being a dedicated Chef and an all round nice guy. Do you feel like your cooking has changed since you received your second Michelin star? What do you consider your biggest achievement in your cooking career?

If anything our cooking has become simpler and is very product focused and letting the ingredients and simplicity speak for itself. The biggest achievement is, without a shadow of a doubt, is achieving the first 2 Michelin stars for a pub in the world.

You’ve worked with some high profile chefs – who gave you the best tip and what was it? Who did you enjoy working with the most?

The best tip I received from any chef was when I first started cooking was from a college teacher, who said respect the ingredients, and the ingredients will respect you back. I massively enjoyed my time working for Stephen Bull under head chef Jon Bentham in the centre of London, just off Leicester Square, in a basement kitchen for 3 years. Play hard, work hard, and didn’t see day light for the winter months.

We just saw you on BBC Food, what was your time like behind the scenes? What did you enjoy the most? Any juicy goss?

Behind the scenes was a very family based atmosphere with lots of people who had worked together before. Working with Michel Roux Jnr was a massive honour, as he is a hugely respected and massively influential chef on the British food scene. No juicy gossip I’m afraid, everyone was highly professional and very friendly.

After your tv debut at an early age – would you consider having your own cooking show?

Would love to do more TV, the parallels between tv and catering are really similar. Long hours, low pay but full of highly passionate and motivated people.

Where was the last place you ate out and what did you have?

Claude Bosi’s new pub, the Malthouse tavern in Fulham. There was a big table of us and we ate the whole menu, particular favourite was bavette based in hay. Michelin star in the making!

What is your favourite Local Restaurant?

Sunday lunch, the Royal Oak in Paley Street. Best Sunday lunch around. Or mid-week, the Hind’s Head in Bray for a brilliant steak.

Which dish to you have most fun making?

I love cooking absolutely anything to do with meat. Thoroughly enjoyed my time as a sauce chef over the years, its the most exciting, dramatic, hardcore section in a kitchen.

Which dish do you enjoy as long as someone else prepares? Who would you want to cook for you?

Really love a Sunday lunch with all the trimmings. A food hero of mine, who unfortunately is long gone, is the great French gastronom Fernand Point

Which chefs do you most admire and who would you like to work with in the future?

There are a huge amount of chefs that are cooking today that really are world class, Sat Bains, Claude Bosi, Simon Rogan, Daniel Clifford, Nathan Outlaw to name a few. I have done some work with Sat and Claude and to be honest, working with those guys is always a great laugh and great food.

Thanks Tom!
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