You’re Cooking Pasta Wrong: Instructions you Need to Ignore

Pasta is one of the most versatile and beloved dishes a private or personal chef can make. It is also possibly one of the most misunderstood. Too often, conventional training results in bland and forgettable pasta.

For chefs looking to serve restaurant quality meals at home, there are commonly practiced pasta preparation methods that need to be ignored Continue reading “You’re Cooking Pasta Wrong: Instructions you Need to Ignore”

Fires in the Kitchen: Saving Lives through Preparation


Anthony Bourdain calls it ‘management by fire’: his kitchens are run with extreme precision, teamwork, and strict standards.

Yet his kitchen are anything but orderly, at times described as “on the brink of chaos” and running on an “adrenaline-soaked culture”.

The famous chef, according to an interview published in Harvard Business Review, “uses an antiquated command-and-control management style with a rigid hierarchy and an inviolable code of conduct. The counterintuitive result…a tribal culture that demands—and nurtures—mutual respect, hard work, superior performance, and absolute loyalty.”

In part, Bourdain’s success, with his command and control structure, the need for respect, performance, and loyalty is also an acknowledgement of the need for teamwork and precision.

Continue reading “Fires in the Kitchen: Saving Lives through Preparation”

Vanilla Bean, Paste, and Extract: Sorting it Out (Extract Exact Part II)

For Lydia Walshin, writer for The Perfect Pantry, chocolate and vanilla flavoring are the “Romeo and Juliet” of the culinary world.

The pairing, she explains, is a storied one, steeped in both culture and history:

“All the great chocolate desserts — ice cream, brownies, cakes and cookies — depend on vanilla to enhance the chocolate flavor. The Aztecs may have discovered this synergy, but the first people to spread the word were Spanish conquistadors, who got hooked on a chocolate drink flavored with vanilla at the court of Moctezuma, and sent vanilla pods back to Spain.”

And while her account is arguably simplified, her point is clear: without vanilla, the culinary world would be a lot less flavorful and rich. Vanilla, in its many forms, enhances and accents natural flavors, as discussed on yesterday’s blog.

Continue reading “Vanilla Bean, Paste, and Extract: Sorting it Out (Extract Exact Part II)”

Extract Exact: Picking the Perfect Flavorings (Part One)

They’re called flavorists: chemists who create flavors for a living. It’s a bizarre job but one in great demand.  And it isn’t all fun and games: the typical flavorist has around seven years of training, plus examinations, under their belt before beginning their career.

Despite the difference in their working environments from chefs–often factories or laboratories, as opposed to industrial or private kitchens–these two careers one thing in common:

A passion for developing flavor to make food more palatable and innovative. Michelle Hagen, a flavorist who is located in Cincinnati, has fond memories of aromas shaping her childhood, from birthday cakes to chicken noodle soup.

And though she does develop flavors for things such as bubble gum, in what the New York Times called a “Willy Wonka Fashion” , it essentially her ability to imitate the real that makes her successful in her work.

Continue reading “Extract Exact: Picking the Perfect Flavorings (Part One)”

CookScanner Leads the Way with Personal Attention (Bonus: Summer Contest)

UPDATE -21-July -2017

The winners of the contest are:

Blog contest: Karina – @missfoodieny

Facebook contest: Sara DiPasquale

Instagram contest:  @khrystlerea & @evaramiop

Thank you everyone for participating, we’ll host another contest soon.

Stay tuned!

Summer Specials

If you are a New York based foodie and want to try a fabulous personal chef experience, write a comment on this post and we’ll send you a $100 coupon (limited offer – please contact us to see availability)

CookScanner is also running a free contest via its Facebook page. Participation is simple, and everyone has a chance to win a $100 coupon towards booking a chef. The winner will be selected in two weeks (July 21st) so don’t miss out!

Here’s how to participate:

  1. “Like” CookScanner’s Facebook Page
  2. Comment on the contest post what recipes you would like see prepared for you
  3. Optional: If you’d like a second chance to win, follow CookScanner on Instagram: @cookscannernyc

Continue reading “CookScanner Leads the Way with Personal Attention (Bonus: Summer Contest)”

Sugar High: Making Desserts Healthier and More Sophisticated

CVS is trying to make a name for itself as the healthiest drugstore in the United States.

If the title seems dubious, the approach may be even more open to speculation. Instead of focusing on providing quality supplies, the chain has turned its attention to hiding some of its offerings.

The Wall Street Journal reported CVS is trying to bury its candy offerings further in the store, in hopes that less customers will take the time to look for it, and possibly to partially discourage so called impulse buys in the checkout line.

Continue reading “Sugar High: Making Desserts Healthier and More Sophisticated”

Ice Cream Social: Why Personal & Private Chefs should Consider Homemade


Black Tapp and its affiliate restaurants speckle New York City. The five locations appear to emulate a modernized take on the traditional diner, serving handcrafted burgers and french fries, with plenty of sodas and spirits to accompany.

But what sets these places apart may not even be their burgers, but the fifteen dollar shakes- and the man behind them.

Chef Joe Isodori, a self-described third generation New Yorker, was also a previous private chef to Donald J Trump, the current president of the United States. And while his current position may be slightly less in the spotlight, his specialty shakes certainly aren’t.

Last year, Black Tap announced plans to continue its expansion, and its made good on its promise. The reason behind this expansion? Trailing lines of sometimes one hundred people: nearly two hours for a chance to try handcrafted fare.

Continue reading “Ice Cream Social: Why Personal & Private Chefs should Consider Homemade”

Recall Nation: How Personal and Private Chefs can be Proactive

Last January, one of the most popular fast-casual chains in America fell almost fifteen percent in a single financial quarter. Even now, a year and a half later, sales are still lagging and recovering at slow rates at Chipotle, despite efforts to address safety concerns.

There were fifty-five reported illnesses E. Coli outbreaks at Chipotle restaurants across eleven states, though it seems the damage to the company’s image amplified those cases. And of course this was not the only chain that had health and safety concerns in the past year:

For personal and private chefs, it may be reassuring that each chef arguably has more oversight concerning the ordering and preparation of food. And while these chefs still do need to be concerned about proper food handling and similar procedures, there are a number of things beyond their control that could potentially leave clients at risk for food poisoning or food-borne illnesses. And it has nothing to do with how well these chefs follow safety guidelines. Continue reading “Recall Nation: How Personal and Private Chefs can be Proactive”

Herbs, Spices and More: Beyond Salt and Pepper

Floyd Cardoz’s road to celebrity is a storied one. He began his career by completing culinary school in Bombay and served as an apprentice at the Taj Mahal Intercontinental Hotel. While attending a second program, this time for Hotel Culinary Management, in Switzerland, he spent the precious little spare time studying up on French, Italian, and Indian cuisines.

After moving to New York in 1988 and working under Chef Gray Kunz of Lespinasse, it took Chef Cardoz a mere five years to rise as an Executive Sous Chef, and another six years before he opened his own restaurant. In 2011 he gained celebrity after winning Season Three of Bravo’s Top Master Chef and opened a new restaurant last year. Continue reading “Herbs, Spices and More: Beyond Salt and Pepper”

Salt and the Science of Seasoning: An Introduction

Airplane food has a reputation for being, at best, bland, and, at worst, downright terrible. Are consumers simply picky, the food simply lower quality, or is a matter of perception?

As it turns out, it might be something else entirely: flying so far above ground has an actual effect on our senses and taste buds are the first and most aptly affected. Russ Brown, the Director of Dining for American Airlines, explained the strange phenomenon to BBC:

“Flavour is a combination of both, and our perception of saltiness and sweetness drop when inside a pressurised cabin.” Continue reading “Salt and the Science of Seasoning: An Introduction”