Q and A

Who or what inspired you to become a chef?
Many different people , both known and unknown, inspired me to become a chef. Jamie Oliver is my inspiration, but also my adopted mother

Where did you learn your craft?
I actually went to Culinary School, specifically Le Cordon Bleu

Did you cook growing up?
Yes. My biological mother made sure I at least knew how to cook for myself.

When did you realize you wanted to be a chef?
I wanted to be a chef a few years before I went to Culinary School, while I was serving in the military.

What was your first restaurant job?

Do food trends affect your cooking style?
The only food trend that affects my cooking style is Sustainability.

What is your secret ingredient? Why?
Not sure I have a secret ingredient right now. I do love playing around with herbs and spices. I recently found garlic chives and am looking forward to using them in my dishes once they grow.

Do you have a favorite kitchen gadget?
I have two, pastry brushes and squirt bottles

What annoys you most in the kitchen?

What do you enjoy most about your profession?
Food 🙂

Is there a food you can’t bring yourself to like?
Only the foods that I have found that I am allergic to.

What are some of your favorite restaurants?
My favorite restaurant is Osaka, a Japanese Steak House that my aunt and uncle would take me to in Kansas City while I was at School

What is one great cooking tip you can share with home cooks and foodies?
Taste Everything. Grub wisely and eat fresh. It tastes better.

When you’re not in the kitchen what are you doing?
Reading, studying, and learning more about my craft

Last meal on Earth would be??
A true English breakfast

What recipe will you share?
Rosemary Garlic Rubbed Steak
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 beef bullion cube
1/8 tsp black pepper (more if you like heat)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Garlic clove, chopped
1 Steak


National School Lunch Program 2014

According to the “Final Rule Nutrition Standards in the NSLP and SBP,” the daily requirement for a complete, grades 9-12 school lunch “meal” consists of one fifth of the following:
 Fruits – 5 cups/week of whole recognizable fresh, canned, or dried whole or cut fruit pieces of which half may be in the form of 100% juice
 Vegetables – 5 cups/week of dark green, red, orange, or starchy vegetables, or legumes
 Grains – 10 to 12 oz. equivalent of which at least half must be whole grain as of 01JUL12
 Meat/Meat Alternatives – 10 to 12 oz. equivalent
 Fluid Milk – 5 cups per week

Evidence at a Glance
A 2 oz. serving of roasted chicken, plus an 8 oz. carton of low-fat milk, provide 22 grams of protein for an active 17 year old male, or more than 40 percent of recommended daily protein intake.
A school lunch provides as many as 850 calories – sufficient to meet the recommended daily energy intake at lunch for most high
school students.

Schools across the country have already been successfully implementing the new standards within current resources. Many schools have been making healthy changes to their menus in recent years, and providing a healthy, good tasting meal.

The HHFKA sets common-sense business standards that complement the Federal resources included in the Act in order to ensure that enough revenue is being brought in to cover the cost of producing healthy school meals. When taken together, these additional resources will, on average, provide enough revenue for schools to meet the new meal requirements.Why isn’t every school meeting the new standards today?

Schools are in a transition year. Naturally, some places are adjusting to the new standards more easily than others, but it can be done.   In fact, thousands of schools are already at or near the new standards.   As mentioned in a previous blog, I would recommend eating at your child’s school.


Restaurant Consulting

Most restaurant consultants are not like Gordon Ramsey, by far. After all, a consultant’s job is not to increase a TV show’s ratings by creating drama. Instead, a restaurant professional consultant’s main role is to guide and assist owners in their business.

Most restaurant consultants tend to specialize in different disciplines while some groups offer a broader “full scope” type of service. Restaurant consultants can work with you on anything from startup, critical planning,  turnaround, expansion, project management, financial services, design, decor, demographics, branding, kitchen layout, menus, food and beverage recipes and training to help you get your restaurant on track.

The restaurant business is one of the toughest businesses out there and it’s no secret that most new restaurants close in their first year. If you’re considering opening a restaurant, this is all the more reason to hire a professional to help eliminate the costly learning curve that tends to capsize most startups.

According to SmartPulse, a weekly reader poll that tracks feedback from restaurant owners and managers about current trends and issues. 39% of restaurants have used a consultant in the past and 7% are actively seeking a consultant.

Their recent poll question was: Do you seek advice from a restaurant consultant?

38.89% – My restaurant has sought advice from a consultant in the past.

6.94% – My restaurant currently is seeking the help of a consultant.

5.56% – My restaurant plans to seek a consultant.

5.56% – My restaurant uses consultants, but I don’t work directly with them.

Using restaurant consultants or restaurant consulting firms in your business planning is a way of getting restaurant experts to help you solve problems. Many restaurants fail due to poor location selection, demographics, undercapitalization, poor service/food or irrelevant concept for the area. Whether you want to sell burgers, open a franchise or a trendy restaurant and bar, there’s a restaurant business consultant expert out there for you.

Organic Herb Garden

It’s official… I started my herb garden. Its rather small at the moment, with only two herbs, chives and thyme.  Eventually,  I will be adding a few more herbs to the garden (Oregano, Basil, Mint, Rosemary, Parsley, Dill and if possible Garlic).  I use the term garden lightly; at the moment its just a window sill flower pot.

I have no idea if I have a “green thumb.”  I know some herbs are like weeds, so those should be easy to grow.   If anyone has any suggestions, I would appreciate the help.  My thought behind such a garden, is hopefully it will be more economical.   I’ve priced a few herbs from various places and companies, and long term will be more economical to grow my own.  It is currently costing about $15 every two weeks, to maintain an adequate supply of most of the herbs.  I wont be using any pesticides/chemicals, so by definition it will be Organic. So far,  I spent approximately $10 towards the herb garden.

Hopefully the luck of the Irish will rub off.

Grub Wisely



Organics 2 you

I recently found a co-op like organic distributor, organicstoyou. The company was brought to my attention by one of my roommates. I have been impressed with them from the word go. Their customer service and quality of produce rival that of local supermarkets. Anytime I had a question regarding my purchase, they responded within 24 hrs. I still have produce that hasnt gone bad almost 10 days after purchase. I ordered the small bin for $33, which includes 12-14 different fruits and veggies. All the fruits and veg taste different. For example, the grapefruit doesnt need added sugar to taste sweet. The only issue that I have is that I dont eat all the veg, so I have switched to their fruit only bin for $27.

Grub wisely 😀

The Dessert Menu

featuring traditional desserts from Europe with a fresh twist.

Italy – Zabaglione $8
Zabaglione is an Italian custard, served in layers with poached peaches and crushed amaretti biscuits. Delizioso!

England – Cheeky Chocolate Cheesecake $11.50
The guys at Sorted gave me this wonderful idea for a plated cheesecake. Its Pukka.  A graham cracker crust, packed full of chocolaty delight.  (Must be 21 yrs old to consume)

Russia – Sirniki $9

Mini-cakes with a pleasantly buttery-soft inside and rustically crunchy on the outside. A Ukrainian classic, “sirniki” means made of cheese


Vienna – Sachertorte $9
The mother of all chocolate cakes. Its made with the traditional apricot filling.20140324-180109.jpg

Germany – Struedel $ 9.50

A German tradition of sliced apples & raisins soaked in rum & schnapps, brushed with butter in a crispy phyllo crust.  Served with sauce an glace and freshly whipped crème


I apologize for not having pictures of all my desserts available.   The guy I use for food photography was down sick with the flu.







I have to ask, why isn’t the food fresh?

You may have heard that the nutrition standards for school meals were recently updated. But what does that mean for your child?

The National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs provide meals to millions of children each day, providing a big portion of many students’ daily calories. Ensuring that school meals are nutritious is important for kids’ health, as well as for academics; healthy kids learn better. Healthy eating also helps prevent diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and obesity.

Schools have been working hard over the past year to implement updated nutrition standards for school lunches. And it’s paying off. More than half of schools across the country are already meeting healthy school lunch standards.

As your kids head back to school, take a minute to find out if your school is among the many schools meeting strong nutrition standards for school lunch. If it is, be sure to congratulate your school’s food service staff and administration. If your school isn’t meeting the standards, find out what the barriers are, and help connect your school with resources and technical assistance that can help them get there.

Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act

Updated in 2013, as required by the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act, new federal regulations come in to effect nationwide during the 2014/15 school year. These are the first national updates in 30 years and will require that snacks are reasonable, child-sized protions, fewer than 200 calories and low in fat, sodium and sugar. The minimum standard also requires that these foods fit into one of the five following catergories: fruit, vegetables, protein, dairy, wholegrain.

Foods sold outside of the school lunch environment are often calorie dense, low nutrition items such as sugar-sweetened beverages, chips and other snacks.

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) feeds nearly 32 million children each day with meals supplied through the school cafeteria. Additionally, 11.7 million children take part in the School Breakfast Program (SBP). Schools provide a key place to help develop healthy eating habits. Schools are at the heart of children’s health and a national focal point for obesity, yet in many states and districts this opportunity is missed. School aged children’s diets fall short of nutritional recommendations.

In oder to help support these changes and ensure your school is meeting the new standards, three questions need to be asked:

1. What are children eating at school every day?
2. Who makes the decisions about food in the school and/or district?
3. What changes can be made?

Remember to love your lunch ladies. Visit them and thank them for the great job they do (yes “mom” this is for you). They are important, and take care of our children and I want to help make their job easier.

Grub wisely.

Sources: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch

The Naked Chef

My philosophy to food and healthy eating has always been about enjoying everything in a balanced, sane manner. “Food is one of life’s greatest joys,” writes Jamie, “yet we have reached this really sad point where we are turning food into the enemy, something to fear. I believe when you use good ingredients to make pasta dishes, salads, stews, burgers, grilled vegetables, fruit salads, and even outrageous cakes, they all have a place in our diets. We just need to rediscover our common sense; if you want to curl up and eat macaroni and cheese every once in a while – that’s alright! Just have a sensible portion next to a fresh salad, and do not eat a big old helping of chocolate cake afterwards.” (Oliver, 2011)

Jamie Oliver is often associated with the title of his early work, “The Naked Chef” (Oliver, 2000).   His minimalistic, clean, rustic attention to garden-fresh, organic food provides the underlying philosophy for his successful career. Oliver has carved out his own distinct place in the culinary world, with an infectious accent, unpretentious lifestyle and a clear commitment to showcasing good food for all people.
Like many of his celebrity chef peers, Oliver responded to his early popularity with a spate of television programs including: The Naked Chef and Jamie’s Kitchen.

Jamie’s style of cooking is using simple, unprocessed, fresh from the garden gastronomy, where flash follows sustenance. Jamie’s introduction to the culinary industry was as organic as his cooking philosophy. His parents operated a pub and eatery near his home in Essex, England. Jamie spent his childhood years stumbling around the kitchen of The Cricketers, getting his hands into basic food prep. He was ahead of years in culinary prowess, mastering basic apprentice chef skills by the time he was a teen.
He knew early on that cooking was his calling, so enrolled in the culinary program at Westminster Catering College, now Westminster-Kingsway College, which accepts students into its career courses from the age of 16. Jamie enrolled at that age, and studied the school’s well-respected Hospitality and Catering programs.

Oliver followed up his London cooking education with the well-shared path of many professional chefs, a stint in France. Working his way through the famous French culinary world and learning classical methods of French cookery. After returning to London he went to work as pastry chef and baker for Chef/Proprietor Antonio Carluccio, of Neal Street Restaurant fame, who now operates Carluccio’s Caffes.
For three and a half years, Oliver worked at the well-received River Café, which brought him early media attention. A documentary about the restaurant featured on camera appearances eventually led his first regular TV presence, on the Naked Chef.

Haunted Pizza

I can officially check off one of the things on my to do list while in Portland. I visited Old Town Pizza which has a resident ghost, Nina. As the legend goes, one of the young “working women” was Nina, sold into that life by a thriving white slavery market. In an effort to clean up the neighborhood, traveling missionaries convinced Nina to share information in exchange for freeing her from a fate she did not choose. Nina cooperated but soon after was found dead in the hotel, now Old Town Pizza. Thrown down the elevator shaft in the 1880s, Nina is reported to have never left the building.

Old Town Pizza is located in the “Old Town” section of downtown Portland. It sits in the lobby of what was once the “Old Merchant Hotel” and is decorated in the cast iron and post and beam style with stained glass windows and original plank stairs.

The pizza prices are affordable , a small pizza is large enough to feed two people whereas the large will easily feed four. More than two dozen toppings are available, as well as an assortment of other things. I would recommend getting the garlic knots as an appetizer. All the ingredients were fresh, and the customer service was outstanding.

We unfortunately did not receive a visit from Nina this time around.

On average it cost our group of four $7.50 per person, for a large pizza and an appetizer of garlic knots and a tip. This was one of the best pizza joints we have visited while living in Portland.