- July 28, 2021
July is National Culinary Arts Month and we’re celebrating by learning more about Executive Chef Rasheed and Associate Executive Chef Trevor! If you’ve ever spent time in the Food & Friends kitchen, you’ve undoubtedly interacted with both chefs and their renowned cooking. But, we wanted to dig a little deeper to find out what inspires these chefs, where their interest in the culinary arts began, and perhaps most importantly, their favorite ingredients (one might surprise you!). Please enjoy our special interview with Chef Trevor (“T”) and Chef Rasheed (“R”) below:
T: I don’t have a specific person to thank or give credit. I am grateful to all who let me observe [and] most importantly taste the art they created.
R: One of my earliest memories was being in the kitchen with my Grandmother trimming green beans, shucking corn and mixing cake batter. Everything was made from scratch and made with love.
T: Food has always been a part of my life. I tried other professions, but they all seemed to lead me to food.
R: Culinary Arts was a second career for me. I previously worked in sales for ten years and wanted to try something different, something more creative. I always love to cook so my wife suggested that I go to culinary school.
T: I cook from memories like the stew I had in Jamaica on one of my returned visits. This stew is my inspiration. I have been trying to taste and relive the feelings felt during that meal around my aunt’s dinner table.
R: My mother was a talented and creative cook, and I have always loved to eat. By being exposed to great food early in life, cooking came naturally to me.
T: I followed my intuition and started catering without any training in 2001. Just like my journey to becoming a chef: intuition. I wasn’t sure, but willing to take the journey. I’m an intuitive chef, seeing the art in culinary arts. I use food as my medium.
R: I attended The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in 1992 and studied culinary arts. CIA has an extensive culinary program that exposes students to all aspects of professional cooking.
T: Intuitive, adventurous and playful.
R: Fresh, with big bold flavors.
T: I didn’t know much about Food & Friends. I was introduced to Food & Friends by a former colleague. She felt that it would be a good fit because of my love for people and food. She was right. At Food & Friends we send love in every meal. It makes me happy to play a part in the giving.
R: Food & Friends has a great mission. To me there is nothing better than being of service to others in need. I am always in awe of the many volunteers who give selflessly of their time and resources to help others in our community.
T: My favorite dish to cook at the moment is jerk shrimp and cheese grits. It changes every time, but what remains is the marriage of my two cultures. You will always taste Jamaica in my food.
R: I love Thai food, especially Pad Thai. It is the perfect combo of flavors. The complex flavors come together to create something great.
T: I like gadgets, but a good knife can do wonders.
R: I love using my Kitchen Aid mixer. It has many attachments for different tasks.
T: I have a reverence to ginger and garlic. A complex marriage of spice and spicy. Ginger root is the foundation of most of my food. Sometimes I’m the only one who knows that it’s in the dish. Ginger root is all of my ancestors offering their cultures love. Garlic on its own or accompanying a spice or aromatic is profound. It starts and finishes a taste. Even when it’s subtle, it’s pronounced. I love what garlic does.
R: Ketchup. You’d be surprised how versatile a condiment it is. I am convinced somewhere in the world there is Ketchup ice cream.
T: I don’t follow any specific chef. I’m indebted to so many cookbook authors. I don’t know most of their names, but I’ve read their work like novels. I haven’t cooked most of their creations, but what I’ve done is study how they combine different ingredients. I imagine how that combination tastes and then create it. I’m an intuitive chef – delivering love one meal at a time.
R: I appreciate and celebrate all chefs who go into this field. It is not an easy path, but it can be personally satisfying. One chef who stands out is Chef Jose Andres, who not only is a great cook, but he uses his culinary talent to make positive changes throughout the world.