The month of May is a great time for reflecting on the people that matter for most: moms and mentors. We asked Le Bon Garcon’s Chef Justin Chao to share with us the lessons he learned in and around the kitchen from his mom. Here are his top six.
1. EAT YOUR VEGGIES- We always had a balanced meal with meat, veggies and a starch. I never wanted to eat my vegetables because I thought that they tasted funny. I'm glad my mom forced me to eat veggies because now I love them.
2. NO ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS - Nothing substitutes for the real thing. Use only the best ingredients. Use fresh ingredients and make it from scratch.
3. REAL BUTTER IS BETTER - When I was little, my pediatrician told my mom to give me a stick of butter a week. Needless to say, I was a chubby kid. But I did learn that a little bit of oil or butter does a lot to bring out the flavor in food.
4. MAKE FRIENDS WITH FOODIES -As a Chinese family growing up in the Ventura County suburbs, my mom had to be resourceful in order to find cuts of meat or ingredients needed to make special Chinese dishes. Every time my mom bought meat, she would go to the neighborhood butcher. After a while, the butcher got to know her and would get special cuts of meat--like pork spare ribs or ox tails--for her.
5. MEAL TIME = SOCIAL TIME – One of my fondest childhood memories was talking to my mom while she cooked. I looked forward to meal prep time as the time of day when we could catch up on what happened. At dinner time, we would all be seated at the dinner table. There was no TV allowed. Some of my best memories were around that table, I think that is why I ended up becoming a chef.
6. TURN UP THE HEAT - My mom was expert at searing meat and vegetables. She made sure to get the pan nice and hot before starting to cook so she could sear the surface of what she was cooking. Then she would add whatever vegetable or liquid to deglaze the pan. She probably learned this technique from her mom. I remember learning this deglazing technique in cooking school. I thought that it was amazing when I started cooking school that she just did these things instinctually.
ALSO THIS MONTH: A nostalgic flavor of the month with a “little twist” for busy and deserving moms - "Butterscotch Buzz" made with brown sugar and butter melted with Jack Daniels whiskey and Myers rum.!
And look for photo contest announcement with a moms and mentors themes.
DATES TO REMEMBER
Teacher’s Appreciation Week May 4th – 8th
Mother’s Day – Sunday May 10th
HAPPY MOTHER DAY, MOM.