Chef Features

The Chef Feature Section: Interviews and more.

  • Chef Interview | Luca Della Casa | Silo & Nosh

    Italians have long been known for their passionate enthusiasm on life, culture, family and food, and Torino-born Chef, Luca Della Casa, is no exception. The Italian Chef has become a much talked about fixture on the San Antonio dining circuit thanks to his impressive work as Executive Chef at Silo Elevated Cuisine and Nosh in addition to being a contestant on the much talked about Food Network Star.

    Chef Luca Della Casa Chef Luca Della Casa

    The Mission Team loves going to Silo and to Nosh, where crispy fried oysters abound and fresh, homemade tagliatelle hangs in the kitchen, awaiting its sauce du jour. And clearly, others do too. Della Casa has a humble, happy, hard-working spirit that is contagious for diners coming to both of his restaurants. Since his early days in Italy learning from the best (his grandmother Nonna) to his time working across Europe at different establishments, Della Casa has appreciated the joy that comes from bringing people together around a table. And luckily for us, Chef Luca has turned that joy into a career that everyone can taste and enjoy.

    The Mission Team recently chatted with the popular Chef to pick his brain about his inspiration, favorite kitchen supplies, words of wisdom and more. Read the Interview here & enjoy!


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    MissionRS: You're from Torino, Italy which we're sure is bursting left and right with culinary inspiration. Tell us a little bit about your Italian heritage and how the "homestyle" cooking influences your vision and work. 

    Chef LDC: I was born in a family that loved to cook and entertain. My best food memories were in my grandma Nonna's kitchen, which is my culinary inspiration.


    MissionRS: When did you know that you wanted to make cooking a career? 

    Chef LDC: After working my way up the ranks in the kitchens of Italy and Spain, I knew that cooking was my passion because I love food and making people happy.

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    MissionRS: 
    What is one of your favorite pieces of kitchen equipment/supplies?

    Chef LDC: I love the cast iron pans from Mission because they get really hot and give an amazing sear.


    MissionRS: You know what it takes to work your way up in the industry. Tell us a little bit about your past and any advice you may have for aspiring young chefs.

    Chef LDC: I have worked my way up from dishwasher to Executive Chef. My advice is as follows:
    1. Be ready to work hard. 2. Be humble; and 3. Always taste your food. 


     MissionRS: What are some of your favorite and most treasured food memories?

    Chef LDC: My favorite food memory is always having Sunday dinner at my Grandma Nonna's house and eating gnocchi with rabbit sauce.


     MissionRS: Name a handful  of tastemakers/chefs/foodies who inspire you today. 

     Chef LDC: I am inspired by Chefs like Bruce Auden, Johnny Hernandez, Mark Bliss, Jason Dady, Gabriel Ibarra, Steven McHugh, Tim Rattray, and Stefan Bowers who work hard to put San Antonio on the culinary map.


    MissionRS: San Antonio is really picking up as a coveted culinary destination. What other cities do you look to for serious eats?

    Chef LDC: My wife and I love New York, Chicago and Seattle. We are planning to visit Portland next.

    BATE_2_s4x3.jpg.rend.snigalleryslide Judges of Food Network Star

    MissionRS: For a first timer to Silo and Nosh what would your ideal dinner/wine pairings be?

    Chef LDC: 
    For Silo: Start with the Signature Chicken Fried Oysters and a glass of Sancerre; Oak Grilled Lamb and Palmaz Cabernet, and a Coconut Pie with Tokai.

    For Nosh: Truffle Parmesan French Fries; Shrimp and Tomato Salad with a glass of Prosecco. Buon Appetito!


    MissionRS: Your homemade tagliatelle is one of our favorite things ever. (Listen up readers- it's a must order at Nosh!) What is the trick to making really good, light pasta? Any other tricks in the kitchen you'd mind sharing?

    Chef LDC: The trick to good homemade pasta is to use a high quality "OO" Flour. Follow me on the Food Network Star to learn some of my other culinary tricks.


    MissionRS: Finally, where do you see the industry headed? Anything on your radar for the next year?

    Chef LDC: I believe San Antonio is becoming a culinary destination and it's also a wonderful place to live. As for the future, I want to take my wife on a vacation.


    Make sure to swing by Nosh and Silo- Alamo Heights in San Antonio next time you're in the area. To follow Luca through social media and on his quest through the Food Network Star, use the following links:

     
     
    Hashtags and @Mentions:
    #FoodNetworkStar #StarSalvation #TeamLuca @FoodNetwork @FoodNetworkFans


    And last but not least, we'd like to say a big thank you to Chef Luca and to his wife, Marcella for being a part of our Mission Chef Series!

    *All pictures courtesy of Food Network*

  • Chef Interview | Mark Bliss | Bliss, San Antonio

    2 Chef Mark Bliss in action, courtesy of Southern Living.

    If you haven't already heard, it's about time to add San Antonio to your list of dining destinations, and pronto. With the plethora of restaurants in our fair city, there is no shortage of great places to eat, so let your culinary compass be your guide. But guide you as it may, we are taking it upon ourselves to introduce you to some of the highlights. Enter: our new series of Chef Interviews. 

    Over the coming months, we will be sharing some of the chefs and tastemakers that are doing exciting, innovative things in the restaurant industry and we hope you will read along. Do crispy fried gulf oysters with candied bacon, buttermilk chive biscuits and brown butter hollandaise sound appealing to you? How about seared sea scallops with pepperjack-white cheddar grits, sauteed spinach, avocado mousse and cilantro lime jalapeno beurre blanc? Hungry? We thought so.

    Behind these delightful, blissfully concocted dishes is Mark Bliss, a San Antonio Chef who oozes culinary talent in relaxed and refreshing ways at his eponymous restaurant, Bliss. Though he's originally from Northern California, Chef Bliss started his culinary career following his move to Texas in the early eighties, working in a handful of hotel and restaurant kitchens before opening Silo in San Antonio, a restaurant which has received tremendous national and regional acclaim over the years. Following a brief sabbatical, Chef Bliss opened his new restaurant concept, Bliss, in the bustling Southtown neighborhood of San Antonio.

    The restaurant location was decided on after Mark and his wife/business partner Lisa found a hopeful home in a decrepit yet charming filling station from the early nineteen hundreds. After a good deal of renovation, the building's original exposed brick was complemented by contemporary steel panels, beautiful landscaping, and large glass windows and sky lights to bring natural light into the space. The building, with its relaxed yet refined ambiance and contemporary spin is much like the chef who conducts business within. They are a perfect match and as a result, a dinner here is a harmonious melody of things: it's unpretentious yet service-driven, relaxed yet elegant, comfortable yet subtly swanky, and most of all, the food is bliss.

    Keep reading to learn more about Chef Mark Bliss:

    1 A sampling of sights at Bliss: the contemporary exterior, a peek inside the kitchen's Chef's Table (available by reservation), the Chef's famous oyster sliders, and the restaurant's covetable back patio.

    MissionRS: How long have you been in the industry and when was it that you first realized you wanted to be a chef? Was it a gradual revelation or an early conviction?

    Chef Mark Bliss: I have been in the business since I was 16 years old, I started as a sandwich prep at TOGO's in Northern California. I started becoming serious about it in 1983. I worked at a small trattoria in north San Antonio for a year then went to work at the Hilton Palacio del Rio in 1984. I worked with 4 different chefs while at the Hilton. The Hilton experience really lit a fire under me professionally. I left the Hilton in 1986 to work at The Fairmount Hotel. 


    MissionRS: Was there one key person (or group of people) who you credit for teaching you the ropes?

    Chef Mark Bliss: The first sous chefs I worked with at the Hilton, George Keeney & Louis Spost, were both extremely talented ambitious chefs who had just graduated from the CIA in Hyde Park NY. They taught me a lot about production, sauce making. They are both well respected Chefs to this day. Luckily for me they saw I had the passion for the job and put me on an intensive in house training program. Bruce Auden, the godfather of New American Cuisine in San Antonio became a huge mentor during my tenure at The Fairmount Hotel. Bruce eventually hired me as chef de cuisine at Biga in 1991.


    MissionRS: For the newcomers to Bliss, what would be your ideal "first timer" food & wine pairing?

    Chef Mark Bliss: Chicken fried oyster sliders & Contaldi Castaldi sparkling rose

    3 {LEFT} The main interior dining room of Bliss with the filling station's original brick walls. {RIGHT} The restaurant's red Berkel slicer makes plate after plate of paper thin charcuterie.

    MissionRS: Name a handful of tastemakers/ chefs/ foodies who're inspiring you today.

    Chef Mark Bliss: I recently returned from Spain and had numerous fantastic experiences in Barcelona & Donostia-San Sebastian. The food scene in Spain is world class. Pakta restaurant in Barcelona was enlightening and delicious as we navigated through 34 tiny bites or courses. Albert Adria from El Bulli & Tickets is a partner with Japanese chef Kyoko Ii & Peruvian chef Jorge Munoz. Pakta is basically a Japanese, Spanish, Peruvian fusion restaurant. The food they are creating is light, healthy & delicious. Here in the states there are numerous great young chef's really getting into the whole farm to table concept. Jared Wentworth at Longman & Eagle in Chicago has really gotten my attention, his food is brilliant. 


    MissionRS: In the back of the house, what's your most cherished kitchen tool?

    Chef Mark Bliss: My chef's knife.


     MissionRS: You're nicely nestled into the heart of Southtown San Antonio. Tell us a little bit about why you enjoy this part of town and how it is incorporated into your vision and the dining experience at Bliss.

    Chef Mark Bliss: Southtown is a wonderfully diverse food & arts community. Some of the most innovative food in SA is located here. I wanted to do a concept that was comfortable, not pretentious, fun & relaxed with a professional staff & service. I am very blessed to have one of the best staffs in the business. I also have a fantastic partner in my wife Lisa who is responsible for all financial aspects of the business. We have a beautiful space, great landlords...It's a very, very positive environment.


     MissionRS: With all the innovative cooking techniques on the market today have you experimented with any that are now mainstays in your kitchen or that you're anxious to try? 

     Chef Mark Bliss: Sous Vide is definitely on my radar.


    MissionRS: For you, what are the secrets or fundamental staples to running a successful restaurant business?

    Chef Mark Bliss: Being a fair & honest employer/restaurateur. Not being afraid to make daily changes or try new dishes on a whim. Basically keeping myself & my staff enthused so we do not get stale or dated.

    4 Picture courtesy of eater.com

    MissionRS: What is the most memorable meal you've had?

    Chef Mark Bliss: Recently at Patka in Barcelona & in 1993 at Bouley in NYC.


    MissionRS: Where do you see the food industry heading and what do you see for the future of Bliss?

    Chef Mark Bliss: Hopefully, the public will continue to embrace small independent restaurants. I see Bliss continuing to get better and evolve with the times. And perhaps the occasional Brunch.


    MissionRS: Do you have any tips for aspiring chefs and restaurateurs?

    Chef Mark Bliss: Never stop learning, don't be too greedy. Always feed the dishwashers first and foremost as they are truly the heart & soul of a great restaurant. If you want to get a point across, do so respectfully, your staff will truly pay attention.


     Bliss is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday and you can make a reservation by calling them at 210.225.2547. Bliss is also directly across the street from our showroom, which is open to the public at 1126 S. St. Marys Street San Antonio, Texas 78210. Come by and see us! Thank you to Chef Bliss and to Lisa Bliss for helping us kick off this new series!

  • Restaurant Spotlight: NOSH, San Antonio, Texas

    If you're a dining enthusiast and you live in the San Antonio/Central Texas region, chances are you've been to (or heard of) Silo Elevated Cuisine, the fabulous and highly praised restaurant with locations in both the Alamo Heights area and off of 1604. It's modern approach to fine dining brings together the perfect combination of sophistication and eclecticism in an elegant yet relaxed environment that everyone can enjoy. It is literally elevated dining at its best.

     

    But the newest addition to the Silo family comes with Nosh, a small sister restaurant tucked just onto the front of the Alamo Heights Silo location that delivers an experience uniquely its own. The restaurant beckons diners for its small, cozy, neighborhood charm that satisfies without feeling pretentious. Think: An ice- cold beer with a perfect steak tartare and truffle fries or a hot, thin crust pizza washed down with a glass of wine. The relaxed decor adds to the restaurants charm with a small but well-stocked bar welcoming patrons as they enter and a large chalkboard wall featuring the impressive beer selection available to you. The dining style is best summed up by the restaurant's mantra, "Small Plates. Big Taste" with the menu featuring  smaller dishes meant for sharing so that diners can "nosh" while getting a nice sampling of food. Nosh is excited to have just brought on one of San Antonio's finest chefs, "Lucca della Casa" who brings with him experience from Il Sogno in the Pearl Brewery and beyond. After dining at Nosh just this week, we can see the change he's bringing to the table, and it is both sweet, savory and not to be missed:

     

    Stop by Nosh for a great, relaxed dining experience that won't disappoint! 

    Nosh is located at 1133 Austin Highway San Antonio, Texas 78209
    Hours of Operation: Tuesday - Saturday 11AM to 11PM

  • An Interview with Jeret Peña

    We had the pleasure of recently sitting down with The Esquire's  cocktail guru, Jeret Peña, to talk about bartending, ingredients, The Esquire, and his exciting rise to success. Going into the Esquire Tavern is a bit like traveling back in time. The "longest wood bar in Texas" (over 100 feet long!) and "the oldest bar on the San Antonio Riverwalk" runs almost the entire length of the building and is filled with thirsty patrons who sit opposite wood cubbies filled with spirits, glimmering glassware, and mirrored panels. The Esquire was first opened in 1933 to celebrate the end of prohibition, and it has been serving up swanky cocktails and good eats for many years since. If you're not sitting at the bar, customers can duck into back to back, dark wooden booths that line the side of the restaurant, in a smaller, back dining area, or on a patio that leads right down to the river. The environment is, in a word, comfortable.

    Upon walking in, the tavern-ambiance is undeniable; antlers hang stoically on the wall and the dim lighting lures customers in for a comforting meal and a warming drink. Despite all the decor though, there's no denying that the main focus of the Esquire is the bar. Enter: Jeret Peña- the tavern keeper, the head bartender, the revered mixologist who is garnering rave reviews left and right. From a Rising Star Award to his recent James Beard nomination, we were delighted to sit down with Jeret and take a look back on his rise to stardom.

    Peña got his start at the Valencia Hotel in a Banquet Event setting, dabbling for the first time in the bartending scene. He later moved on to the Watermark, and while there, was asked by the General Manger to host a tequila seminar for the San Antonio Current. It was then that he had to learn as much as he possibly could about the spirit, calling it "So complex, sophisticated and beautiful." Peña then went on to be the Ambassador for Partida Tequila for 2 years, and it was there that the door to mixology was opened. What happened next was the defining moment- a stint at Anvil, a respected bar in Houston, would change the course of Peña's career. Like many of us, finding a mentor you can really learn from and look up to can have a huge impact on your direction. Peña met his mentor, Bobby Heugel, one of the owners of Anvil, and the rest is history. Recalling his time with Bobby at Anvil, he said, "I saw a craft I knew nothing about- the fluid movement, the alchemy- it was mesmerizing."  Since this turning point, Jeret has proved himself to be one of the leaders in the field. His innovative thinking and ability to push the envelope and explore new territory has brought about some well-deserved accolades as of late. StarChefs.com, a magazine for culinary insiders, recently honored "the best of the best" from the Austin and San Antonio dining scenes. A total of 19 awards were given out, with Peña taking home the Mixologist Honor.When receiving the "Rising Star" Accolade in a crowd of 400 people in Austin, Peña recalled thinking "I have momentum. It was wild-I felt honored to be on stage with so many amazing chefs." After sharing the news to his family and friends, he admitted that the James Beard Award was next up on the list. Little did he know, just a few weeks later, that he would be getting a nomination from the coveted organization's Bar and Cocktail Program. Clearly, it's a huge honor, and Jeret smiled as he said, "It's a little creepy."

     

    We asked Jeret to share with us (and you!) a cocktail recipe, a cocktail that embodied his heart and soul, his career, and ultimately, his flavor. The result was the Mas Chingoni, a self-proclaimed "Jeret Peña Cocktail. The Cocktalians Cocktail." Derived from the negroni, a classic cocktail featuring equal parts gin, campari, and sweet vermouth with a lemon peel, the Mas Chingoni hosts one of Peña's favorite ingredients, Mezcal (a big, bold, smokey, medicinal ingredient). The drink is what Pena describes as "a very bold, strong, and powerful cocktail. It has so much complexity so it's not for everybody." His "love affair with Mezcal" - and with his trade- is clearly a passionate one, and it shines through in every aspect.   Mas Chingoni 3/4 oz anejo tequila 3/4 oz aperol 3/4 oz carpano antica 1/4 oz mezcal serve on a large format ice with a grapefruit peel If you're planning on visiting downtown San Antonio, make sure to swing by The Esquire for lunch, dinner, or a late night beverage! Congratulations to Jeret for his continued success and thank you again for allowing us to visit! Check out the whole Cocktail Menu from the Esquire Tavern right here! Visit the Esquire at 155 East Commerce Street San Antonio, Texas 78205 Image Credits
  • Chefs Under Fire 2011

     

    All of us at Mission Restaurant Supply are gearing up for the long-awaited, 3rd annual Chefs Under Fire competition! Hosted by the Keeper Collection LLC, this unique competition brings together enormous culinary talent,  with celebrity chefs and plenty of fire to heat things up in the kitchen.

    Mission will be sponsoring Chefs Under Fire again this year, and we will be present first at the SA/Austin Regional Event, which takes place on Sunday September 11th. 

    Regional events will also be taking place in the greater Houston area and Dallas/Fort Worth. On October 16th, the winners from each regional will come together in Austin for the final event and cook off. Finalists will be asked to prepare a unique dish which will be judged by Celebrity Chefs Kent Rathbum, Tyson Cole, and David Bull. Depending on who shows the most skill, innovation, and overall excellence with their dish, the 3 gentlemen will award two contestants as winners of Chefs Under Fire :: The Winner overall and the Fan Favorite. Mission will be supplying the 2 stock pot trophies with engraved gold plaques stating their newly earned title.

    2010

     To learn more or buy tickets to attend one of the Chefs Under Fire events, click here. 

    Stay tuned!

  • NOVEMBER 2010 Chef Feature

    Mike Luna isn't your typical sushi chef. He didn't grow up eating it or making it, nor did he expect for it to become his passion in life. His original inspiration came from an old girlfriend and her incredible family that was willing to teach him all they knew. He spent a few years working in the kitchen at their restaurant before he ever got to make sushi. "Once I learned what it was all about, I realized how creative you could be with food. I ended up working there for twenty years before moving over to Goro's," he told us. Inspiring others to make delicious sushi is now what he finds most important about his job. He is constantly training his staff and making sure that they understand that ingredients, knowledge, and dedication are key at his venue. Goro's is best known for its high quality menu options, creative take on old ideas, and the ever famous Whatever Roll. "Guests can come into our venue and tell us to make 'whatever'. It gives the guest the opportunity to tell us what kind of ingredients they like and it allows our chefs to be innovative," said Luna. "We have several guests that come in several times a week and consistently order the same custom roll. Those dedicated guests have earned their own spot on the menu." What does that mean? You guessed it - order the same thing enough times at Goro's and your roll could be featured on the menu. The very first custom roll to make it to print was the Bobby Roll, soon followed by the Stephanie Roll. "Our menu is constantly evolving and we make sure that the items we're selling match the consumer's tastes. If something doesn't do well, then we get rid of it." It's easy to see that Goro's Sushi is a one-of-a-kind venue. Luna and crew are a hardworking bunch that have created a laidback atmosphere with amazing food. "I have taught my staff that you have to give the customer what they want. You have to listen to them, you have to give input, and you have to guide them," he said. Mike has had enough guests ask about the art of making sushi that he even has a class in the works. He wants to educate his customers and show them how much love he has put into his job. "I believe in sharing your secrets with your customers," he said, "It doesn't make any sense to have a 'secret recipe' and to believe that others will put you out of business. Dedicated customers that trust the chef always return." If you would like to visit Goro's Sushi or learn more about the venue, please contact them at: 210-349-8117 Thank you to Mike Luna and his team for their time and efforts. If you know of a chef that you would like to see featured, please contact us at: laurenb@missionrs.com (210) 354-0690 ext. 234
  • OCTOBER 2010 Chef Feature

    It's very rare that you find a team of culinarians that work together to uphold the original integrity of a foodservice venue. Dining at a restaurant that is still run by the same manager or chef for nearly twenty years is virtually unheard of. That's why we chose to do this month's Chef Feature at the Guenther House in the first place. Donna Vaughn and crew are dedicated to preserving all of the original aspects of the restaurant and the mill. "They are very focused on consistency and it really pays off," commented one restaurant guest. It's obvious that each individual takes great pride in what they do at the Guenther House and that's why we wanted to recognize all of them this month. The Guenther House restaurant has been open for more than 90 years and still features dishes that are based on the original mill. Pioneer products are still used in all of the buttery biscuits, delicious pastries, and to-die-for waffles. "Just give me the waffles!" exclaimed one guest. They obviously still cause a lot of excitement to this day. Donna even informed us that our sales guys don't ever leave their venue without having the waffles. "They insist on them," she said, "They don't even take a breath while eating them. I always have to remind them to breathe." What's even more amazing about the venue is the fact that all of the employees remember their guests by name, know where they want to sit, and have drinks ready instantly. There are tons of regulars at the Guenther House, which has helped to keep it busy even during tough economic times. The second that one of their regular guests walks in the door Donna is there to greet them with a hug and a smile. She really has a lot of love for the guests, the venue, and the food. She is a brilliant lady and is spilling over with energy despite the million different tasks she has to attend to. "I've been here a really long time," she told us, "but I love this place. There is so much history here." She couldn't be more right. The Guenther House has been in the same family from the beginning, has used the same quality ingredients for decades, and continues to sell their Pioneer products to dozens of companies and the public.
    If you would like to visit the Guenther House or learn more about the venue, please visit their site at: http://www.guentherhouse.com/ or call 210.227.1061 ...and yes, you can buy their famous waffle mix by the bag. Thank you to Donna Vaughn and her team for their time and efforts. If you know of a chef that you would like to see featured, please contact us at: laurenb@missionrs.com (210) 354-0690 ext. 234
  • SEPTEMBER 2010 Chef Feature

    At Mission Restaurant Supply we have a lot of love for our customers. Every individual in our company is dedicated to our community and to each other. That's why we decided that we wanted to feature chefs around the country that we have had the honor of getting to know on a personal level and that we believe have truly influenced the foodservice industry in a very positive way. These individuals are pioneers in the kitchen and beyond. They are not only determined to deliver an incredible experience, but also dedicated to the well being of their guests and staff. IMG_0169smallIt's no newsflash that cupcake fever has swept the nation. Bakeries that specialize in the art of the cupcakes are popping up all over the country and reality TV shows are even highlighting the growing business. One cupcake business in particular has really captivated us because of their saweet concept. Saweet Cupcakes in San Antonio, Texas is the first and only mobile cupcake business that is delivering delicious treats to businesses and individuals all over the city. Sister-in-laws Kehmay and Tien started the business earlier this year and they knew instantly that a bakery just wasn't going to cut it. "We had mentioned to our family members that we wanted to start a [mobile] cupcake business and right away my mom just told us to 'go for it'. She told us that if it was something we really wanted that we should just do it," Kehmay told us, "We knew that we didn't want an actual bakery because they are full-time, non-stop work. We just wanted to get our feet wet." The sister-in-laws originally started out scoping out locations and moving from spot to spot to find hungry customers. Once they found steady business in a few select locations they made a schedule of their stops for customers to check out. Although their schedule is now IMG_0163smallpretty much set, the ladies call it a day once they sell out of cupcakes. And lately, that happens at an extremely rapid pace. "The thing I like best about being on the road is meeting all of the people. Everyone gets so excited about cupcakes," said Kehmay. Getting excited about Saweet Cupcakes isn't hard though -- they're amazing! The girls insist on using high quality ingredients and they don't cut corners. "I really like our sprinkles because they aren't just sugar. The chocolate sprinkles are real dark chocolate and white chocolate. There are no secret ingredients - only quality ingredients." After dominating the cupcake world in San Antonio, the girls have plans to expand. Although a store front may not be the right move for the ladies of Saweet Cupcakes there are other ideas in the works. For now they sell their delicious goodies from the now famous pink cupcake truck and also at SoGo Market Café in Stone Oak. As Kehmay told us, "I love cupcakes. The possibilities are endless." IMG_0174smallIf you would like to visit the Saweet Cupcakes truck or learn more about the venue, please visit their site at: http://www.saweetcupcakes.com/ or call 210.215.0121 Thank you to Kehmay and Tien for their time and efforts. If you know of a chef that you would like to see featured, please contact us at: laurenb@missionrs.com (210) 354-0690 ext. 234
  • AUGUST 2010 Chef Feature

    At Mission Restaurant Supply we have a lot of love for our customers. Every individual in our company is dedicated to our community and to each other. That's why we decided that we wanted to feature chefs around the country that we have had the honor of getting to know on a personal level and that we believe have truly influenced the foodservice industry in a very positive way. These individuals are pioneers in the kitchen and beyond. They are not only determined to deliver an incredible experience, but also dedicated to the well being of their guests and staff. AUGUST 2010 Chef Feature Chef Patricia Wenckus Auden's Kitchen Auden's Kitchen Patricia WenckusAt first glance, Auden's Kitchen doesn't seem like the kind of restaurant that would be known for its fried chicken and home-style cooking. Although the original intention was for it to be the "neighborhood restaurant", the décor and atmosphere hardly compare to the neighborhood spots that we're most accustomed to. But what an upgrade to home-style cooking! For a very reasonable price you can enjoy delicious food that is paired with one of their many specialty beers or incredible wines. "Guests are often surprised at how affordable our menu is. The prices are super competitive," stated Wenckus. Bruce Auden, also owner of the well-known Biga on the Banks in downtown San Antonio, wanted to open a more affordable venue that was also family frienAuden's Kitchendly to the Stone Oak area. He brought in Patricia Wenckus, who once had a lead role at Biga, to run the restaurant and write up the menu for Auden's Kitchen. Although Wenckus has more than 10 years of restaurant experience and has worked in fine dining venues across the country, she feels at home at Auden's Kitchen. She told us, "I like to make food that reminds me of home. I've looked back at a lot of my mom's recipes and just changed them around a little bit." Chef Wenckus continues to modify her recipes for Auden's Kitchen to fit customers' requests. "The most important part of my job is making sure that the food is good and that both the clientele and staff are happy," stated Wenckus, "Everything else will fall into place." She also mentioned that the best piece of advice she ever received was simply to 'make it happen'. Wenckus let us know that you just have to focus on the end goal and that excuses don't fly. There is always some way to make do and to make things work out for the best. "Always speak up, give ideas, and make sure that everyone's input counts. There really has to be creativity and input throughout the entire staff." If you would like to visit Auden's Kitchen or learn more about the venue, please visit their site at: ittybitty3http://www.audenskitchen.com/ or call 210.494.0070 Thank you to Chef Wenckus and her amazing team for their time and efforts. If you know of a chef that you would like to see featured, please contact us at: laurenb@missionrs.com (210) 354-0690 ext. 243
  • JULY 2010 Chef Feature

    At Mission Restaurant Supply we have a lot of love for our customers. Every individual in our company is dedicated to our community and to each other. That's why we decided that we wanted to feature chefs around the country that we have had the honor of getting to know on a personal level and that we believe have truly influenced the foodservice industry in a very positive way. These individuals are pioneers in the kitchen and beyond. They are not only determined to deliver an incredible experience, but also dedicated to the well being of their guests and staff.
    San Antonio is known as the capital of Mexican food. Finding someone who makes authentic Mexican food however, is a little bit more difficult because restaurant chefs tend to modify their food for more American tastes. Chef Blanca Aldaco refuses to risk losing the original flavors of Mexico in her food by adding ingredients that aren't authentic. "I've always said that my food is more Mex than Tex. I make my food fresh and with true Mexican flair. There are no substitutes and you can be rest assured that my food will amaze your taste buds," said Blanca. She has been creating delicious Mexican cuisine in San Antonio for more than twenty years now and is most well-known for introducing the famous tres leches cake and the avocado martini to South Texas.

    Chef Aldaco is dedicated to perfecting every aspect of her successful venue, from front-of-house operations to back-of-house, to making unique food and specialty drinks from scratch, and to making sure that each guest leaves more satisfied than the last time. "The key is organization and attention to detail. So many restaurants lack these two key traits and that's why they fail. We never miss a detail and our guests don't leave upset," she said, also stating that, "Our chefs and event planners always have a plan and timeline. We want to be accountable for everything that happens in this restaurant." Make just one visit to Aldaco's and you'll see exactly what she means. The service, food, drinks, entertainment, and views from the hill top or the train station mold together seamlessly and make for one incredible experience. Blanca has a number of guests that are dedicated to her and to her business, which has a lot to do with her generosity towards the community. She has head started several charities and hosted events in honor of complete strangers. One project that she began was the "Perfect Stranger" charity event, which raised money for a man that had been diagnosed with cancer but couldn't afford the escalating hospital costs. In just a few short weeks, she and the local community raised more than $30,000 for the man's family. Blanca Aldaco also recognized the need for more chairs at sporting events at her daughter's high school. With the help of other parents, $6,000 was raised to purchase new chairs with the high school's name on them. "I want to do anything that I can to help, even if I don't know who it is I'm helping." image002
    If you would like to visit Aldaco's or learn more about the venue, please visit their site at: http://www.aldacos.net/ or call 210.222.0561 Thank you to Chef Aldaco and her amazing team for their time and efforts. If you know of a chef that you would like to see featured, please contact us at: laurenb@missionrs.com (210) 354-0690 ext. 234

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