31 Jul

Meet the Chefs

Each and every day our culinary team takes pride in every dish they prepare for our clients. The three individuals who keep our kitchen running efficiently are Chef Nardo, Chef Sam, and Chef Eric. Each of them spend hours among hours comprising recipes, managing staff, preparing and cooking ingredients for events, and most of all keep things running smoothly in our Kahn’s Catering kitchen. We took some time to interview each of them and here are their answers to cooking questions, culinary advice, and just fun get-to-know-our-team questions.

Let’s meet the Chefs!

kahns-catering-employee-chef-1Executive Chef, Nardo

Why did you want to become a chef?

Culinary school was a quick school program that was fairly inexpensive. I started my career with a degree under 2 years out of high school.  I had family members that were in the culinary field, so I knew what I was walking into, and that made it an easier decision to make.

What is it like to manage a professional kitchen?

You have to interact with each employee showing everyone the respect he or she deserves. At the same time showing them you know what you are doing and can lead the kitchen. If you are burning things or messing up recipes your employees are bound to question your level of expertise and potentially not follow your direction. Showing each of them respect while keeping a sense of authority and displine is crucial for a kitchen environment. At any time something may go wrong, and you have to be quick on your feet to guide your employees to a safe solution.

Along with interacting with employees and kitchen staff I must also meet with outside vendors who supply our kitchen with the necessary goods we need to keep things cooking. Making sure I communicate with the Catering Sales Managers is important too. Sometimes they will need recipes or need to know what items have certain ingredients for allergy sensitivities. It’s also my job to make sure that at the end of the day our clients are happy with our food, and that means working and interacting with the sales managers as well.

 What are your top 5 must-haves for the kitchen?

Sharp Knife, Butter, Salt, Griddle, Fish

Executive Chef, Samkahns-catering-employee-chef-2

What is a typical day for you?

Preparation for daily events begins early and ends late.  Most of my daily routine consists of organizing all of the final details and last minute touches.  There are so many little details that go into making one salad, from the house made dressing to the crunchy garnishes that go on the top.  All menu items are created using well-thought-out ideas and ingredients.

What is one of your favorite Kahn’s Catering recipes?

Red Wine Braised Beef short ribs.  There are so many different dishes that can be prepared from this one item ingredient.  Pot roast, tacos, wontons and beef stroganoff just to name a few.

What is the difference between restaurant-style cooking and catering?

Restaurant style cooking allows for a lot of last minute preparations to complete the dish as it is finished before the customer enjoys it.  Catering has to be plated and ready to serve when the time comes, so that means if it is a party for 10 or a party for 1000, those meals have to be ready for service when the time comes.

Why did you want to become a chef?

Working with food has always been a passion of mine.  After high school it just kind of happened.  I heard this commercial on the radio for a month straight about a culinary school that was near where I grew up in Florida.  I looked into it and decided to enroll and haven’t looked back since.

kahns-catering-employees-chef-3Executive Sous Chef, Eric

How do you create recipes for a catering kitchen?

You’ll always pull ideas, flavors, textures and ingredients from your experience. You’ll use elements and tastes from things you’ve tried and compile them into something new; while at the same time always thinking about what is going to appeal to our clients.

Once you have thought through the recipe and wrote it down, cook it. Just because it’s on paper doesn’t mean it is going to work or even taste great.

If you’ve tried it and it tastes great, the next question is will it work for catering? Catering is a whole different style of cooking than at home or in a restaurant, while recipes can be tweaked in a hurry at a restaurant or made for your twelve grand-kids, we have to think whether or not the recipe can be successfully made for 200. Can it be cooked in different venues or places? Sometimes we are cooking at someone’s home, our own Kahn’s Catering kitchen, or our venue partner’s kitchens.
At the end of the day, recipe building doesn’t always work for catering. However, the key to success is using previous experience that has worked and compiling it into future recipes with new flavors, textures, and colors that all look great and taste amazing.

What style of cooking or trend is most popular right now?

Farm fresh is what people are looking for now. Fresh ingredients served paired with local wines, beers or sodas. Striking plates in manageable portions as not to waste food. People are also looking for new tastes. The internet has brought our world a little closer and flavors from all over the world are more readily accessible today. Finding inspiration globally but cooking locally.



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