Posts Tagged ‘Chef Feature’

#BetterBurgerProject: Meet Chef Rob Ray

Chef Rob Ray, Belly Acres

 

1. Tell us a little about yourself and why you love to cook!
Chef Rob Ray, Madison, MS, 27 years old. Food brings people together. Coming from my southern family food connected us in a way…it created memories of cooking together and sitting down at every meal made us closer. Cooking is an art…if all ways loved art…food is my medium.

2. Why are you participating in the Better Burger Project?
Why not? It’s a great idea. Belly Acres is about healthier options and when we heard about this we jumped on board!


3. Tell us about your burger! What makes it “better”?

100% grass-fed all natural beef, blended with mushrooms, all local produce, local all natural bun, made from scratch aioli… Can’t beat that!

Belly Acres Better Burger

4. Why do you love to cook with mushrooms?
If you don’t love mushrooms….you wouldn’t understand 🙂


5. What’s your favorite burger condiment?

Belly Acres sauce of course!!


6. What sides would you recommend serving with your burger?

Local veggies on the grill!


7. How did you get started in the restaurant/culinary industry?

I really needed a job in high school so I went and applied for a kitchen spot in a new upscale fine dining restaurant if you will. I got the job (I think it was because my crappy high school resume informed that I was on the drum line) the hiring manager seem to only talk about that. So, after starting and knowing nothing about restaurant kitchens, I worked hard and gained trust with kitchen workers and the chefs. I fell in love with this opportunity for hands on learning and ran with it!


8. What’s your favorite type of mushroom?

Classic Button Mushroom…steak house style!

#BetterBurgerProject: Meet Chef Jonathan Sanning

Chef Jonathan Sanning of Smithtown Seafood is known for his love of cooking that is not confined to the workings of the kitchen. He embraces the concept of local food, like mushrooms, for the large local population.

Chef Jonathan Sanning, Smithtown Seafood

  1. Tell us a little about yourself and why you love to cook!

I am 31 and father to a wonderful 5-year-old, Evelyn. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English as well as a culinary associate’s degree. I’ve lived in Lexington for 13 years. Before that I moved a lot: Missouri, Western Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky, and Oregon, back to Eastern Kentucky and finally to Central Kentucky. My love for cooking stems from spending time with my grandparents. A healthy love for eating helps foster a love for cooking, too. Watching my grandparents turn basic ingredients into my favorite things to eat was like magic to me. Even after they let me help, I was still amazed by the outcome. Cooking is always fascinating.

  1. Why are you participating in the Better Burger Project?

I’m participating in the BBP because I saw it as a challenge. When I first read about the project, honestly I thought, “Why the hell would I mix mushrooms into my burger when I can just add them on top?” But after understanding the health and environmental benefits, I became interested in seeing if I could make myself into a believer as far as the actual burger. I was shocked after the first bite. The flavor was beyond my expectations.

  1. Tell us about your burger! What makes it “better”?

My Better Burger is the Beef Well-ington Burger. It is a 75/25 mix of local sourced beef and roasted mushroom duxelles and served on a croissant with coffee-stout demi-glace, crumbled Kenny’s Barren County Bleu Cheese, crispy buttermilk onions, roast garlic aioli and FoodChain mustard microgreens.

One thing that makes our burger better is that the beef is locally sourced. With the blend of rich, smoky coffee stout demi, roasted mushrooms, the beef, additional mushroom notes and tang from the cheese, and the clean spice of the micro mustard greens, the umami of this burger is unbelievable.

  1. Why do you love to cook with mushrooms?

I love cooking mushrooms because of their versatility.

  1. Do you have a favorite summer memory with burgers?

I’m not going to lie. My favorite summer burger memory is driving from Kentucky to Missouri and hitting every Steak ‘n Shake. Classic double with lettuce, mayo, mustard and pickle, onion rings and chocolate shake.

  1. What’s your favorite burger condiment?

My favorite burger condiment would have to be mayo or aioli. The creamy tang goes so well with any seared or grilled protein.

  1. Do you have any tips and tricks to grilling?

The best tip or trick for grilling is to make sure your grill is clean and smoking hot before anything goes on. That is how you set yourself up for success.

  1. What sides would you recommend serving with your burger?

Sides for the Well-ington Burger: On the menu, the burger comes with our classic hand-cut fries, but anything from roasted veggies to a marinated tomato and cucumber salad would be a delicious accompaniment.

  1. Tell us a bit about your new restaurant and cooking style.

Smithtown is connected to the West Sixth Brewing Co. taproom. Behind our prep room door is FoodChain, a non-profit aquaponics farm that grows our lettuces, microgreens, shoots and tilapia. Besides the tilapia, we serve sustainable Gulf and Atlantic wild caught, fresh never frozen seafood. Serving such great fish would be a difficult feat except for our fishmonger in Deltona, Fla. Kelly Probst is great to work with and his business is dedicated to sustainability as well.

My cooking style is eclectic. I don’t hold myself to one style or cuisine. As I said, I love to eat so experimenting has become part of my style.

  1. How did you get started in the restaurant/culinary industry?

I started catering to the second and third shifts at an automotive plant during my senior year of high school. I’d go to school all day, then drive to this house in the hills of Morehead, Ky., where someone I knew had converted his garage into a commercial kitchen. We would load up chafers and food, go to the plant, serve out, load up, and head back to the garage, cook, and load, repeat. I’d get home at 3 a.m. and loved every minute of it.

  1. What’s your favorite type of mushroom?

Morels would have to be my favorite mushroom. I’ve gone foraging for them a couple times and discovered an unforgettable joy in the successful pursuit of nature, even with fishing or hunting. I love the taste and texture of a good beefy morel.

 

#BetterBurgerProject: Meet Chef Michael Kornick

Chef Michael Kornick, founder and owner of mk the restaurant and co-owner of DMK Restaurants, is a nationally recognized leader in the culinary arts. Kornick works with the freshest seasonal ingredients and stays true to classical cooking techniques. It is his belief that the freshest ingredients are best cooked simply – like mushrooms!

DMK BURGER BAR Better Burger Project

  1. Tell us a little about yourself and why you love to cook!

I am a Chicago native who grew up cooking with my mother and grandmother, proclaiming “I wanted to be a Chef!” by the time I was 11 or 12. I have been cooking professionally for 37 years in restaurants and currently love it just as much today as ever. I have four grown children in College and reside in the city with my wife and business partner Lisa. Cooking for me stimulates my creativity and allows me to use all my senses. Being a Chef lets me work with passionate people, enjoy the camaraderie of the kitchen and dining room team, visit with our guests, converse and teach my craft.

  1. Why are you participating in the Better Burger Project?

I love the Beard House, I love our burgers and getting burgers healthier is a good thing.

  1. Tell us about your burger! What makes it “better”?

Grass Fed Bison, the healthiest red meat period, Everything else on this burger is fine in moderation and the bok choy, mushrooms and cabbage are all great.

  1. Why do you love to cook with mushrooms?

The earthy flavors and meaty textures along with the great uniqueness of each varietal, fossil like morels, golden chanterelles, clusters of tree oyster and hen of the woods and the sheer beauty of porcinis and cepes give mushrooms an overwhelming versatility for any Chef.

  1. Do you have a favorite summer memory with burgers?

Outdoor cookouts at camp along Catfish Lake

  1. What’s your favorite burger condiment?

Charred red onions soaked in Balsamic vinegar

  1. Do you have any tips and tricks to grilling?

Too many to list, first and foremost don’t work the meat too much, second high heat works best for patties made no thicker than an inch and everything should be seasoned.

  1. What sides would you recommend serving with your burger?

if not hand cut fries cooked in beef fat, then, thick cut wedges of potato blanched and finished on the grill, basting with garlic, seas salt, pepper and rosemary scented virgin olive oil and then served with grated locatelli pecorino romano

  1. Tell us a bit about your new restaurant and cooking style.

My newest restaurant centers around great bar food, lots of sliders from fried oysters and Kentucky hot browns to lots of burgers. We also serve nachos, tacos, tamales and green chile. We have created shaken & stirred, frozen, house bottled (force carbonated) and bubbled cocktails as well as a great beer list

  1.   How did you get started in the restaurant/culinary industry?

I was lucky enough to be given an opportunity when I was fifteen to work at a family friend’s restaurant.

  1.   What’s your favorite type of mushroom?

Porcini and white truffle.

#BetterBurgerProject: Meet Chef Kristopher Serviss

Born and raised in Northeast Philadelphia, Kris is longtime friends with his co- owner, Joe, and both attended Father Judge High School together. Kris started cooking at the age of 13 and hasn’t stopped since, including attending The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill. Kris is also a proud father and self­-proclaimed social butterfly.

Kristpher Serviss, Blue Duck Philly

  1. Tell us a little about yourself and why you love to cook!

Well, yesterday I stepped on the scale and I weighed the most I’ve ever weighed in my entire life. I love to work. Any spare moment outside of the kitchen, I like to spend with my son. We have fun in the kitchen together. I’m a sports fanatic. I love a good beer or a nice glass of wine. And cigarillos. I’m really just a normal guy who’s very, very passionate about food. Day by day, week by week, I learn a new ingredient or technique, so my job is always new and fresh. I love exploring new things in the kitchen.

  1. Why are you participating in the Better Burger Project?

Because awareness of healthy eating is important in this day and age when our country faces such an obesity problem. Also, introducing ways mushrooms can be used as protein substitutes is important to me.

  1. Tell us about your burger! What makes it “better”?

Our “Blue Forager” is a blend of blue foot mushrooms with a red onion and ramp jam, Humboldt fog cheese and sautéed shiitakes on brioche. The cutting of beef with the Blue Foot mushroom, the unique texture, the earthiness, the robust flavor that still remains using almost a third of mushroom in the burger blend.

  1. Why do you love to cook with mushrooms?

The variety, the different flavors and getting back to nature.

  1. Do you have a favorite summer memory with burgers?

I guess competing in the Philadelphia Burger Brawl [in 2014], cooking 600 burgers in two hours. While it was hot and excruciating, the look of the diners made it all worthwhile. It did. Also, cookouts with my grandfather, who up until my 20s was my greatest culinary influence.

  1. What’s your favorite burger condiment?

Oh wow, that’s a tough one because I don’t like mustard or ketchup. If I must use a condiment, I have to say mayonnaise or possibly a flavored aioli. Something that compliments a specific burger patty. Hash tag eat.

  1. Do you have any tips and tricks to grilling?

Seasoning is key. And once you get the burger on, don’t mess with it. Let it cook on each side.

  1. What sides would you recommend serving with your burger?

A good pickled vegetable. Something with a nice acid punch. Or a nice vinegary potato salad made by a local deli.

  1. Tell us a bit about your new restaurant and cooking style.

I guess, I don’t know man, it’s just an approachable, new American, grandmom’s kitchen-type concept. That’s what it is. We like introducing new flavors to people in a familiar way.  I like to think outside the box while utilizing classic techniques. A bit rustic with a modernized feel.

  1. How did you get started in the restaurant/culinary industry?

I started as a busboy at a job I was given by my mother to keep me out of trouble. I began to love food from there.

  1. What’s your favorite type of mushroom?

Chanterelles.

 

 

#BetterBurgerProject: Meet Chef Brooke Williamson

Brooke Williamson Better Burger Project

Brooke Williamson of The Tripel in Playa Del Rey, CA give us a peak at her Better Burger and even tells us her favorite kind of mushrooms! To learn more about the chefs participating in your area, click here.

  1. Tell us a little about yourself and why you love to cook!

I’ve always known I wanted to be a chef. I grew up watching Julia Child and would plant myself in front of the TV learning everything I could from her. There are even Julia Child quotes written on the walls in our new culinary retail boutique, Tripli-Kit.

  1. Why are you participating in the Better Burger Project?

We have burgers on the menu at each of our restaurants, and I love the idea of adding mushrooms to the blend to provide our guests a more nutrient rich, healthier option.

  1. Tell us about your burger! What makes it “better”?

The Tripel’s Aged Beef n’ Ground Shroom Burger is made with Taleggio cheese sandwiched between two 4oz shroom-burger patties, bread and butter pickles, sweet pickled Shimeji mushrooms, red jalapeño, fried egg, shredded lettuce and avocado mayo all on an onion brioche. Perfect balance of richness and tangy pickle… I have yet to meet an unhappy carnivorous customer.

Better Burger by Chef Brooke

  1. Why do you love to cook with mushrooms?

Mushrooms retain a lot of flavor and their texture makes for a perfect blended burger patty! They also add an umami that fits the occasion perfectly.

  1. Do you have a favorite summer memory with burgers?

Who doesn’t really?! Burgers are the perfect American nostalgic grill food. My dad used to add blue cheese crumbles to the mix… I think that was my first appreciation for stinky cheese as a kid.

  1. What’s your favorite burger condiment?

Habanero hot sauce! We bottle and sell our own at Playa Provisions. I love it on everything, including burgers.

  1. Do you have any tips and tricks to grilling?

Don’t smush your patty. Be patient and let the meat keep the juice that it deserves…

  1. What sides would you recommend serving with your burger?

I like to balance a good rich burger with a side of something refreshing to cleanse the palette. I often find that a simple dill pickle does the trick.

  1. Tell us a bit about your new restaurant and cooking style.

Our newest restaurant is Playa Provisions, which opened last summer. It’s a 4-in-1 concept which includes an ice cream shop called Small Batch; a market counter serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, King Beach; a back-room whiskey bar called Grain; and a more high end dining space dedicated to seafood called Dockside. The restaurant reflects our love for both fresh seafood and dishes that are both comforting and nostalgic.

  1. How did you get started in the restaurant/culinary industry?

I began working as a teacher’s assistant at the Epicurean Institute of Los Angeles, then as a pastry assistant at Fenix at the Argyle Hotel under Ken Frank at the age of 19. Soon after, I started at Michael McCarty’s Michael’s in Santa Monica as a hot apps cook and moved my way into a sous chef position. Then I was appointed executive chef at the Los Angeles Boxer. After that, I worked with my husband Nick at Zax before opening our first restaurant Amuse Café, and then later Beechwood in Venice. Now, Nick and I own and operate Hudson House in Redondo Beach and The Tripel, Tripli-Kit Playa Provisions, all in Playa del Rey.

  1. What’s your favorite type of mushroom?

I love porcini and shiitake mushrooms – they’re so versatile, and have a great umami quality. I also love pickled mushrooms and find that shimeji mushrooms work as a perfect pickling mushroom like in our Better Burger Project burger.