Having just launched the new FreshDirect Sandwich Shop, Chef Tina Bourbeau chats with us about eating her way through Philadelphia’s legendary sandwich shops, developing the FreshDirect line and what it takes to go from a good sandwich to a great sandwich….
Here at the FreshDirect headquarters, we’re lucky to work with many interesting people who share our passion for food.
One great example is Chef Tina Bourbeau, Executive Chef/Senior Director of Research and Development here at FreshDirect.
I sat down with Tina to find out why she went into the food business in the first place.
FD: What was the inspiration to make food your business?
TB: Cooking is the only profession I’ve ever had, and I am grateful that I get paid to do what I love and am deeply passionate about — anything else seems like torture.
FD: What was the road that led you to FreshDirect?
TB: After studying at Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School (now I.C.E.), I started cooking my way through various NYC kitchens. My first job was at Oceana – while still in school. This was when anything less than a 6-day work-week wasn’t even a consideration. I was the first woman to work in that kitchen (boy, times have changed!)….
I love to make fish soups and like with most things I cook, I try to let the ingredients dictate what I will be cooking. Recently, our fish department had some gorgeous red snapper so I went for it. I decided to combine my love for spice and Lebanese and Arabic cuisine to make up a fish soup.
Though this cuisine usually uses yogurt, I decide to use crème fraiche since yogurt is tricky and can easily curdle. Crème fraiche provides the tang and acid of the yogurt, with none of the complexity of dealing with the delicate cooking.
The beautiful thing about soup in general is that it is all about love- truly you can judge a good cook by their ability to make a soup (and a salad but that’s a different post!). Take the same care with soup as you would with anything you are cooking (ingredients, seasoning, doneness, viscosity, depth, etc.). Soups are generally NOT a quick thing to cook (be suspicious of soup recipes that equate quick with good), but the payout is generous, and usually worth at least two meals, depending on how many people you are feeding.
This recipe should feed about 6-8….
FreshDirect is getting ready for HouseParty! While thousands of people are still signing up (you can too – click here) to be selected to host a gourmet meal at home with friends (on us!), we’re busy in the kitchen, whipping up recipes and testing each one to make sure they’re easy to make and taste absolutely delicious.
Chef Tina Bourbeau is going above and beyond, stretching tastebuds and playing with ingredients, while keeping fun party themes in mind. There’s been some trial and error as we measured a teaspoon of this and a cup of that but practice makes perfect and we’re clocking a lot of hours into making sure your get-together will be top notch.
Some of you may kind of know Tina already. She makes your 4-Minute Meals and other fresh foods and you’ve probably seen her photo on our FreshDirect packaging. She’s a culinary powerhouse, fully loaded with information. Some colleagues and I recently jotted down notes frantically, as Tina created recipes from scratch and shared some really useful tips:…
Leftovers are a conundrum for me. I’m not a fan, but I hate to waste food. If there were ever an opportunity to enjoy leftovers though, Thanksgiving is it. It’s a great opportunity to double-utilize some really beautiful food.
Haricots verts work beautifully with a fresh dose of olive oil and lemon juice to top up a frisee salad. Take the chill off the beans, re-season them to taste, then dress some frisee with more of that olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
If you really want a treat, dice and render some of that leftover bacon and cook up a few sunny-side-up farm-fresh eggs in the bacon fat. Toss your dressed frisee with shaved Parmesan, green beans and bacon. Add the eggs on the top and voila-la! You have a lovely brunch on-hand. (Croutons optional)….
Thanksgiving Dinner can take so much time to prepare. As a chef, I end up experimenting a lot: adding on, doing more, trying X to get it just right.
Luckily, I’ve already cooked Thanksgiving dinner here at FreshDirect. I created our Thanksgiving offerings around a few different ideals: tradition (different for everyone, yes, but there are definite common threads), desire (what do I crave with my bird) and overall mass appeal (you’d be surprised by how many people love Brussels sprouts). I know I will never be able to please everybody. (But I try my best!)
It made sense for me to offer two stuffings: one vegetarian, one not. Our vegetable offering runs the gambit from lightly steamed to covered in yum: maple, butter AND marshmallow. The potato offerings are pretty straightforward. I’ve learned not to mess with the mash. And then there are the wild cards like peas with pesto butter and baked macaroni with gruyere cheese. My instincts wouldn’t naturally lead me to the latter two when I think of turkey or Thanksgiving, but both are delicious and we sell zillions so we must be doing something right.
I have three requirements when I make dinner for myself at the end of a busy day (already spent in the kitchen!). 1) Preparations must be fast 2) It should be pretty healthy 3) Ingredients must be great.
It’s the last requirement which really allows me to keep things simple. If you have great ingredients, less is more. And I don’t like leftovers but also hate wasting food, so rarely do I over-produce, which allows me to keep portions manageable.
Normally I’ll make a salad or some mixed grain and greens and then top up with a cooked protein – which I cook à la minute. So where most of the components are a quick mix, a chop or a stir, the only real cooking is a simple hunk of protein. From my recently launched line of vegetarian meals, I frequently use their components within them in broader and newly combined ways, particularly the grains. Let me explain….
Back to school means back to snacking… Hungry kids home from school tend to head straight to the refrigerator. Preempting their eating habits with a few fun and delicious snacks is an easy way to get them on the path to healthy eating this calendar year. But when stomach growls drown out patience, you’ll have to have key ingredients front-and-center.
Below are some foods that require next-to-no waiting, no real cooking, and usually no convincing. Find out your child’s food preference then make it easy to snack-and-go….
Ever run out of ideas on what to make for dinner? Late summer is the best time of year for light and delicious seasonal treats.
“There are more choices right now than during any other season,” says FreshDirect Chef Tina Bourbeau. Below are some easy ideas to get you going in the right direction. Rule of thumb: “It’s hard to go wrong with your favorite cheese and your favorite stone fruit,” she says.
Ask 7 different food fanatics what the best way to make a burger is… and you might come up with 14 different answers. At least that’s what happened to us!
In honor of Burger Week at the FreshDirect blog, we asked some of our on-site experts to tell us: “How do you top your burger?”
Read on for their tantalizing ideas. Then tell us about YOUR ideal burger at the FreshDirect Facebook Wall….