The Shelf Life of Food

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Pros and Cons of Joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)


If you visit your local farmer’s market, you’ve probably seen many farmers offering what is known as a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture. A CSA is a program offered by a grower or producer in which you pay a fee for a share of the crop. You then get weekly deliveries of whatever is produced by that farm. It’s a great way to get local, seasonal produce, sometimes even delivered to your door.

These programs are becoming more and more popular with people looking to change the way they eat, and they have many benefits, but they aren’t for everyone. For more information on what a CSA can do for you, read the following pros and cons.

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10 Tips on Becoming a Vegetarian (Or Just Eat Less Meat)


There are many reasons to eat less meat these days, and vegetarians aren’t nearly as uncommon as they were decades ago. Whether you want to dabble in a meatless lifestyle for health reasons, religious reasons, or want to get more involved in animal rights, it’s easier than ever to eat a meat free diet.

With that being said, every meat eater has favorites and giving them up can seem impossible. While most people probably know at least one vegetarian, most people still eat meat in some form, which can make it discouraging the first time you walk into a restaurant and find that you have only one option on the menu. Before you give up meat entirely, read this list of tips to help you do it right so that you can get the benefits you care about.

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Chef Works will be at the Northwest Foodservice Show (NWFS) in Seattle this coming weekend, April 13-14. Come find us at booth # 949. You’ll be able to preview our newest range within The Urban Collection. A street inspired range that include denim aprons, denim shirts, and not so common fabrics and fixtures that make for a perfectly unique uniform option. Our core business though is being the best industry supplier of the good ol’ basics because our brand is built to last. Everything from white chef coats to black chef pants; Chef Works can provide you with practically any uniform solution you have in mind.

Looking forward to seeing you there!


Chef Works


The Northwest Foodservice Show is coming to Seattle’s Washington State Convention Center on April 13-14. This can’t miss food and beverage extravaganza is produced by the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association and the Washington Restaurant Association. Heartland Payment Systems is this year’s presenting sponsor.

Competition is fierce these days, whether you are operating a restaurant, supplying goods and services, or battling for customers’ time. Any edge that a business venture gets can mean the difference between success and failure. Even expos like the Northwest Foodservice Show need to deliver exceptional value to generate interest and fill convention center halls.

“Our mantra has been really to try to engage the audience,” said Orran Greiner, Northwest Foodservice Show manager. “When they come to the show, they bring back a tangible item that they can use. We just want to make it so that everyone can come, have a good experience, learn, and start something tomorrow that can benefit their bottom line.”

Oftentimes the road to success is just about being in the right place at the right time. There is no better place to be for anyone in the restaurant industry than the Northwest Foodservice Show.

“We really promote the show as an opportunity to network with your peers, find some key products that make your establishment better, more successful,” points out Greiner. “It’s food, products, and services, all-encompassing.”

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10 Healthy Snacks That Will Satisfy Your Craving For Something Crispy and Crunchy

10 Healthy Snacks-Crispy Chickpeas

Potato chips, pretzels, and other salty snacks are unhealthy, and they can even get boring after awhile. Whether you’re trying to substitute healthier options in your diet, or looking to cut them out completely, there are plenty of easy to prepare snacks that will satisfy your need for something crunchy or crispy. Try these as an accompaniment to a sandwich or just as a late night snack. You’ll be surprised as your craving for junk food slowly goes away!

1. Crispy Chickpeas

Chickpeas are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, so they are filling and nutritious. Even if you don’t think you like beans, try these crunchy roasted chickpeas; you might be surprised!

To make them, drain and rinse a can of chickpeas. Dry them thoroughly with paper towels, removing as many of the skins as you can. Toss them with a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of your favorite seasoning (curry powder, Italian seasoning, or a combination of garlic and onion powder work well.) Lay them on a sheet pan and bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes until chickpeas are dried and crisp. Store them in an airtight container (if you have any left, that is!)

2. Kale Chips

Greens are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. With antioxidants, fiber, and plenty of nutrients, you can’t eat too many, but they can get boring after awhile. Making kale chips as an alternative to bagged potato chips is one solution to healthy snacking and getting more nutrients.

Start by tearing a bunch of kale into bite sized pieces. Toss with a teaspoon or two of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes, until crisp. Allow to cool completely before serving.

3. Roasted Nuts

Nuts are crunchy, filling, and satisfying, and they make an easy delicious snack. Instead of munching on them raw, try roasting them with your favorite seasonings to make a delicious snack that will tide you over until your next meal. Use any variety of nuts you like, just make sure they are all about the same size to avoid burning (don’t use sliced almonds with whole pecans, for example.)

Take 1 cup of raw, unsalted nuts of your choice and toss them with a teaspoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of whatever seasoning you like. Chili powder, curry powder, or Italian seasoning works well. Add a pinch of salt, and lay them on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes until fragrant and toasted. Allow to cool before serving. Want something sweet and crunchy? Try using coconut oil instead of olive and seasoning with cinnamon, ginger, or nutmeg. Experiment with different nut/oil/seasoning combinations until you find your favorite.

4. Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet potatoes are super nutritious and make an excellent chip to replace greasy bagged potato chips. You can flavor them however you’d like, and then store them in an airtight container for a few days. The key to getting the crispest chip is to slice them as thin as possible. A mandolin is a helpful tool to have for this; it ensures even, thin slices that produce excellent chips.

Peel a sweet potato and slice it as thinly as possible. Toss the slices with a teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. You can add seasoning if you’d like (cinnamon, curry powder, or chili powder are some particularly good options.) Lay them on a sheet pan and bake for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees, until crisp. Allow to cool completely.

5. Olive Oil and Herb Popcorn

Skip traditional microwave popcorn, which is loaded with chemicals, preservatives, and harmful additives. Movie popcorn is even worse! Popcorn is actually a low calorie, high fiber, nutritious snack, but you have to prepare it right.

You can make your own by putting about 1/4 cup popcorn kernels in a brown paper lunch bag. Fold the bag closed and put it in the microwave. Set your microwave for 3 minutes and pop until the popping slows to every 3-4 seconds. Remove from the microwave and add a teaspoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of Italian seasoning to the bag. Shake and transfer to a bowl.

6. Easy Homemade Trail Mix

Trail mix can be a healthy snack, but it can also be high in sugar, fat and calories. It’s great on the go because it lasts a long time and if made with the right ingredients provides a healthy source of energy and nutrients.

Make your own by combining nuts and dried fruit with something sweet. Load up on raw nuts like walnuts and almonds, then add seeds like sunflower or pumpkin. Dried fruit like cranberries or raisins go well, and follow up with some dark chocolate chips instead of sugar coated candies for a healthy, crunchy snack you can count on.

7. Avocado Fries

Avocados are a super food when it comes to health and nutrition, and you’ve probably eaten them on sandwiches or made into guacamole. Loaded with heart healthy fats, they are an easy choice, but you may not know you can bake up into something crispy and delicious.

Take 1 or 2 ripe avocados, pit and slice them into wedges. Season with salt and pepper and dredge them in flour, then dip them in a beaten egg. Coat with panko or homemade breadcrumbs and lay them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 425 degrees for

8. Baked Tortilla Chips

Bagged chips are fried in unhealthy fats, and can even have added ingredients you don’t want to eat. You can easily make your own with store-bought tortillas and a little bit of oil.

Simply brush corn or flour tortillas with oil on both sides and cut into wedges. Lay them on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until crisp. They’ll crisp up nicely when they are cooled. Serve with your favorite salsa or hummus for a delicious, satisfying snack that is also nutritious.

9. Radish Chips

Radishes are good for you, but it can get boring eating them on salads again and again. Next time you have an abundance of these spicy roots, try baking them into chips. They’re spicy flavor means they don’t need anything more than a little oil and salt to make a nice, crunchy snack that goes perfect with a sandwich.

Slice a bunch of radishes as thinly as you can (a mandolin is key for this.) Toss the slices with a teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. You can add seasoning if you’d like, but try them plain first to see what you think would go with their peppery bite. Lay them on a sheet pan and bake for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees, until crisp. Allow to cool completely.

10. Cauliflower Tots

Want your kids to eat more veggies? Try these cauliflower tots. Crispy, low carb, and made with wholesome cauliflower, your kids will never know these are actually good for them. They’re also a great alternative to starchy tater tots, and because they’re baked instead of fried, they are much lower in fat and calories.

To make them, chop and steam a head of cauliflower until tender. Mash until it has a rice like texture. Allow to cool and stir in 1/4 cup flour and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and stir in 2 egg whites. Form the mixture into tater tot sized pieces and coat with panko breadcrumbs. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-45 minutes, until browned and crispy.


The next time you’re looking for something crispy and satisfying, but don’t want to go overboard on fat and calories, try one of these easy snacks. They’re healthy and nutritious, but will satisfy your taste buds. You can even experiment and use these same techniques for different vegetables. Carrots can be made into chips just as easily as sweet potatoes, and you can add whatever flavorings you like to popcorn. Experiment, and eventually you’ll find your favorites. Once you do, you’ll never go back to unhealthy junk food again!

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Chef Works Sponsors Breakfast with the Stars Celebrity Showcase in Temecula to Help Raise Funds for Reality Rally


Chef Works is a proud sponsor of the upcoming event called Reality Rally. It’s a local event to Chef Works as it takes please in Temecula, CA a short 30 miles north of our corporate offices in Poway. The Celebrity Showcase Breakfast with the Stars features reality stars from Hell’s Kitchen, Cut Throat Kitchen, Chopped, Cupcake Wars and more! Breakfast with the Stars is one of the many events put on by Reality Rally creator Gillian Gabon. This event is going to be on Sunday, April 13 from 9 am to 12 pm. Reality Rally proceeds go towards Michelle’s Place which is a breast cancer resource center who’s vision is to be a constant resource to those who have breast cancer concerns no matter what or how it affects someone life.

To learn more about Reality Rally and the why behind it read below and visit

About Reality Rally and Gillian Gabon

In order to fully appreciate the amazing event Reality Rally has become, you must know the story. How did an event of this magnitude spring from the depth of disappointment? Why do over 100 Reality Stars from over 30 TV shows flock to Temecula every April. What draws over 600 volunteers to participate and make it what it is. Why do our amazing Sponsors help provide almost everything we eat, read, listen to, play and enjoy at prime venues throughout the town of Temecula California? What encourages the Temecula organizations to be the Challenge Checkpoints in the Amazing Race type game?

I applied for Survivor for 8 years, was ready and prepared to play for 39 days and love every minute of it but played for only 6 days. Little did I know as my Survivor flame was snuffed out the flame of Reality Rally was being ignited.  Saddened and disappointed I read a secreted message in my luxury item book from my daughter which read ” This is not over, something much greater is ahead of you.” Sequestered in the jungle of Gabon it struck a chord. What did it all mean, perhaps the root of the passion to get on and the reason for being booted so soon was in my hands and  Reality Rally started forming. Celebrities, Charity, City of Temecula became my “Fun for Funds” idea. I had read Michelle Watson’s story,, and knew that this was the cause I  would support with the same passion I had for Survivor. I just knew Reality Stars would like to have an opportunity to out their “fame” to good use.  I just knew Temecula would embrace an event that would bring in money and exposure from all over the world due to the Reality Star following. I formed my event tag line “Nobody makes a greater mistake, than he who did nothing because he could only do a little ” Edmund Burke.  This was the seed I knew would germinate and grow as Reality Rally.  I just knew that many would want to do  their “little”  and just need that vehicle to do it.

That seed planted in my heart, started with an idea, a budget of zero and no funding and due to a Production Team of 48, over 600 people, hundreds of Reality Stars and my supportive family,  we all make it happen. Reality Rally has become a premier Reality Star event, it is one of Temecula’s most attended events bringing in money from over 16 countries and every one of the 50 States. It attracts people who want to do “a little” from all 50 States and approximately 512 cities around the world to play, party, sponsor, donate and  volunteer. Hundreds of Reality Stars coming from over 30 shows have raised funds and attended without compensation and not to forget our famous Canine Stars, the So Cal Surf Dogs. is watched in over 96 countries and talked about in 46 languages.  How does one explain the involvement and excitement……all involved know it is “passion, belief and an honest interest in others”.  I devote endless hours a week to this passion, I do not draw a salary and am in awe at how it all comes together.

This is a truly a weekend of “Fun for Funds”, we all have the “Fun” and Michele’s Place clients receive the “Funds”. I bow to all who have made my “jungle vision” such an awesome reality and my amazing husband and family who support me all the way.

Yours Truly, Gillian Survivor Gabon




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Chef Works Teams Up with Coastal Luxury Management for the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival for the 4th Year in a Row

Pebble Beach Food and Wine

Pebble Beach Food & Wine Announces Lineup of Chefs, Winemakers, and Hospitality Luminaries

For The Seventh Annual Event, Taking Place April 10-13, 2014 at Pebble Beach Resorts

Event Line-Up and Tickets Now Available

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What to Do With Leftover Bread

Leftover Bread

Everyone loves bread, but if you don’t eat it fast enough, it can get stale or grow mold. If you live alone or just don’t want to eat a whole loaf of bread quickly, you are almost guaranteed to throw some away…or are you?

With a little bit of planning, you can use up that leftover bread in ways you may have never thought possible. By following most of these tips, you can decrease your chances of throwing that loaf away.

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10 Ways to Make Lunches Less of a Hassle


If you go by the standard rules of eating, you eat three meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast is usually easy since you’re home in the morning, and dinner is something most people plan at least a little bit, but lunch can be a hassle. It’s the middle of the day, you’re likely out and about, and sometimes stopping to eat lunch can put a halt to the day’s productivity. Many people eat out everyday, even though this knowingly takes a toll on both health and finances.

It doesn’t have to be difficult, however, and in fact, with the right attitude, and a little bit of planning, you can enjoy your lunch everyday instead of dreading it.

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Contestants Step Up to the Plate in Third Episode of Chicago Restaurant Pastry Competition: Season 3 Emmy-award-winning competition releases new episode online

Vert Desserts - web

CHICAGO (March 18, 2014) – The third episode of Season Three of the Emmy-award winning Chicago Restaurant Pastry Competition (CRPC) is now available. Episode Three went live on Monday, March 17, 2014 at midnight CST and can be viewed at

The episode, titled “Signature Plated Desserts,” follows the four pastry chef contestants, selected from among the world’s top pastry chefs, as they compete in a Plated Desserts challenge. Chefs were given approximately five hours to prepare eight portions of their creative, original plated dessert.

Upping the ante in this episode, chefs were required to use the colorful Craft textured plates and were not told of the plate’s shape or color in advance. Four plate styles were available, and once selected, no other chef contestant could choose that plate.

For this challenge, ingredient and appliance requirements included utilizing PreGel gelato ingredients, Wholesome Sweeteners organic sugars and honey, Belgian chocolate from deZaan Gourmet, and appliances from Waring Commercial. The Craft plates were provided by Steelite International.

“Because this is the last challenge in the competition, we wanted to change it up and give the contestants something that would really make them step up to the plate. We increased the difficulty of the challenge with the colorful plates in different shapes, which surprised them. A plate is a chef’s canvas, particularly for pastry chefs and affects the flow of items on the plate. They had to quickly think on their feet and adapt for the challenge,” said event organizer and  Dessert Professional Top Ten Pastry Chef Jimmy MacMillan.

“Total curveball,” said chef finalist Meg Galus. “I had no idea that there was going to be color on the plates. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that we might have colored plates. I was thinking about all types of little, wacky shapes, and little divvies−all sorts of crazy stuff, but never ever considered color.”

Chef finalists created four unique signature plated desserts, including:

Meg Galus of NoMi Restaurant at Park Hyatt Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Late Summer Plums

“I wanted to create something with plums. I feel like plums sort of get a bad rap. People either throw them into pies, or opt for peaches, and I really love plums. So I wanted to do a dessert that really gave the plum something to be the focus of and have lots of little bursts of flavors that really surround the plum. I made a fromage blanc mousse with hibiscus poached plums, St. Germaine plum sorbet, and a tonka bean cake.”

Sean Pera of The Umstead Hotel & Spa in Cary, North Carolina

Farm Field

“The idea behind the dessert is looking beyond what you would expect to find at a farm, and really digging into the earth, to the terroir. There’s an edible kaolin chip, an edible egg shell, and the pot de crème base is toasted hay. There’s a crumble of salted sunflower seed, a golden beet cake, sweetened goat cheese sorbet, vinegar meringue, poached saffron pears, and the little baby carrots are glazed petite yellow carrot tips.”

Jim Hutchison of Winvian Relais & Chateaux in Morris, Connecticut

Vanilla Miso Bavaroise

“The main component is a Miso Vanilla Bavaroise, accompanied by hot carrot cremeux. There’s a citrus anise curd, a sake gelee coin, some buckwheat cake, and more flavors of anise on the plate. I’ve smoked some pecans and made a smoked pecan praline paste and made smoked pecan praline ice cream. There are also some candied pecans on there as well.”

Michaela Hapak of Splendido Restaurant in Toronto, Ontario

The Nutty North

“Here we have the Nutty North. The bottom layer is a hazelnut financier with a hazelnut panna cotta with a verjus and himrod grape jelly on top. The himrod grapes are from British Columbia so I’ve included them on top as well. They’re fresh and slightly roasted. There’s also a hazelnut caraway streusel, rehydrated vanilla sultanas, toasted hazelnuts, and shaved nuts, and you have a spruce ice cream”.

This year’s celebrity judges are superlative Pastry Chef Antonio Bachour from St. Regis Bal Harbour in Miami, Curtis Duffy from acclaimed restaurant Grace in Chicago, and avant garde globe-trotter Will Goldfarb representing Ku De Ta in Bali.

Signature Plated Desserts are scored based on taste, use of ingredients, dessert concept, originality, presentation, cleanliness, and composition (plating). The judges are looking for fresh, exciting and stimulating dessert ideas and concepts.

The competition is a weekend long event featuring three pastry challenges that was filmed live in September 2013 at The Chicago School of Mold Making’s creative center in Oak Park, Ill. Dubbed CRPC3 “International,” this season is the first year the competition was open to chefs from around the world.

The CRPC Season Three includes four episodes. A new episode will be released each month on, and the winner of the competition will be announced in April 2014.  Episode release dates are: January 20, February 17, March 17 and April 21.

Season Three of the CRPC is made possible with the support of more than 10 sponsors including: Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, a manufacturer of the finest vanilla products and flavor extracts; Waring Commercial, a manufacturer of professional-quality appliances for the home, foodservice and laboratory industries; Steelite International, a manufacturer and supplier of tabletop ranges for the international hospitality industry; Wholesome Sweeteners, a leading provider of sustainable, environmentally and ethically responsible, great tasting sweeteners; PreGel AMERICA, a specialty dessert ingredients company;  Midwest Foods, a specialty produce food distribution company;  Will Powder, a producer of technical food ingredients;  Frigomat, a company that manufactures ice cream machines; deZaan Gourmet, a producer of premium chocolate, cocoa powders, cocoa butter, chocolate batons, pralines; and CliftonLarsenAllen, a professional services and accountancy firm; and more.


About The Chicago Restaurant Pastry Competition
The Chicago Restaurant Pastry Competition (CRPC) is a two-time Emmy award-winning pastry competition that is aired in a series of online videos. The competition asks four chef finalists to make an original, unique, plated dessert and compete in two mystery challenges. All episodes of the Chicago Restaurant Pastry Competition are filmed at The Chicago School of Mold Making’s creative center in Oak Park, Ill.

The Chicago Restaurant Pastry Competition has received a number of accolades for its content and film style, including two Chicago Midwest Emmy Awards, a Telly Award, two Communicator Awards and two Hermes Awards. The videos were nominated for a 2013 James Beard Media Award. The video series has received over 50,000 views worldwide.

JMPurePastry, the Executive Producers of the series, is a Chicago-based pastry solutions group specializing in high quality, well-designed media products for the restaurant, baking and hospitality industry.

For more information:

For interviews with Jimmy MacMillan, competitors, or for more information and updates on the Chicago Restaurant Pastry Competition, visit or contact Kathryn Kjarsgaard at or 708/434-5006.                                          

Photo Credit: Anthony Tahlier Photography

Additional photos available upon request.

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