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  • Chef Interview | Jesse Perez | Arcade Midtown Kitchen

    Tucked into the bustling Pearl Brewery in San Antonio is a place called Arcade Midtown Kitchen where "Food Fortune Awaits." The aesthetics of the place are as satisfying outside as they are inside, and best yet, the food (and drinks) don't disappoint. The man behind it is Jesse Perez, a local chef who has earned his stripes working in his native San Antonio in addition to both the East and West coasts, and also in Mexico. The fusion of those culinary styles, flavors and traditions come together to make "something old, something mood, something borrowed and damn good food." Somewhere between the crispy chili and lime calamari to the soft lobster taco with sweet potato and the delectable brussel sprouts, we became caught in a paradise of flavors and relaxed fare. Wash down your meal with one of Arcade's signature craft cocktails and make sure to stop by the bathroom for a fortune telling visit to Zoltar. Without further ado, check out our latest Chef Interview with Jesse Perez from Arcade Midtown Kitchen.
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    MRS: When did you first realize you wanted to be a professional chef?
    CHEF JP: I grew up being comfortable in the kitchen. At home my grandmother and my mother did all the cooking. The kitchen was where all the action was and so was the food. It wasn’t until my first cooking job while at the University of Michigan that I realized that the kitchen wasn’t scary to me and felt right at home.

    MRS: Did cooking play a large role in your upbringing and childhood? If so, how did it shape you?
    CHEF JP: All the meals growing up where made at home. Something was always cooking at home, breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Whether it was my grandmother or mother or my father. Going out to eat was a very rare occasion. It was always about the home cooked meal. Nothing better than that.

    MRS: What is your earliest and/or most treasured food memory?
    CHEF JP: I believe the most treasured memories that I have with food are the monthly barbecue cook-outs that my Dad and my uncle would have as fundraisers for birthdays or for friends/family in need. All the family would get together and pitch in their ‘best of’ for the offering. It was truly inspiring.

    MRS: What advice do you have for aspiring chefs, students and hopeful restaurateurs?
    CHEF JP: My advice is to be a student of the craft. Earn your stripes and battle scars by staging at a few restaurants and search for chefs and kitchens that will hone your skills. Then make the decision if this is truly a career path you want to pursue, or realize that you just like to cook. A real restaurant is not what you see on TV.

    MRS: Your career path has taken you from coast to coast. What did you like most and notice most about east/west styles?
    CHEF JP: Working as an Executive Chef in Atlanta was an amazing experience. The southern approach to food was a great lesson for me. Serious but simple was the approach and making great food was the only way to make a mark on the table. In Los Angeles and Long Beach, it was a little slower pace but also serious about sustainability and great products. The farmers markets are like no other and the customer was careful about the origin of their experience.

    MRS: We know that Latin flavors influence your cooking approach and have made their way onto the “Americana” menu at Arcade. Can you tell us a little bit about what that means? Also, what was the biggest take-away from your time in cooking school in Oaxaca?
    CHEF JP: Oaxaca is a very special place. Susana Trilling and her ‘Season’s of my Heart’ cooking school is like no other around. You are taken to this oasis of culture and flavor that can only inspire to immerse yourself into the tradition and passion for true interior Mexican cuisine. Throughout my career, I have taken those techniques and traditions and implemented those flavors on dishes. Taking the traditional methods with a modern twist is what makes ‘Americana’ a thing for us here at Arcade. It’s a fun thing to do.

    MRS: After all this travel, you’ve settled back down into your hometown of San Antonio. What is it about the Alamo city that draws you back?
    CHEF JP: First and foremost is that my family is here in SA. Secondly, it was always a goal of mine whether in this field or another to come back and give back to the community that gave me so much. I was brought up with a ‘scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ mentality. I’ve enjoyed paying it forward.

    MRS: Where do you see the San Antonio food scene heading and how do you think it stands out in relation to Austin, Corpus, Dallas and Houston?
    CHEF JP: This is the most exciting time for SA. Never has the dining and beverage scene been so aggressive and innovative. National publications are constantly on the prowl for what SA is doing. That says a lot about where we are and where we are going.

    MRS: What are some of your most prized tools in the back of the house? Any Mission Restaurant Supply favorites?
    CHEF JP: Strainers. Vita Prep. Food Processor. Blue Tape. Black Sharpie.

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    MRS: You’ve landed in a honey hole with your location at the Pearl Brewery, an area you’ve cleverly dubbed “Midtown.” What is the Midtown vibe in your own words and how does that fit the Arcade vision?
    CHEF JP: Location wise it made sense to me to coin Arcade, as a Midtown Kitchen. Midtown in ATL was a hot and urban spot where things were constantly moving forward. I have and continue to see that with SA and Pearl. With the ‘Kitchen’ it was perfect for the approachability on what diners are looking for right now.

    MRS: Which tastemakers, mixologists & foodservice professionals inspire you?
    CHEF JP: Chef Mark Miller will always been a true inspiration to me. Every Chef has a Chef. He’s my Chef. Others that inspire me with their drive and passion, would be Jason Dady, Alice Waters, Nancy Silverton, David Chang, Pano Karatassos, and Dr. Richard Becker. To name a few.

    MRS: Can you share with us your favorite culinary destinations and name some specific memorable meals/libations you’ve had at each of them?
    CHEF JP: Chicago is my favorite R&D spot. I’ve had some of my best meals there. Not necessarily only at the finest dining spots. They really take food seriously and I love traveling up there for inspiration. And their cocktails are top notch!

    MRS: What places are you’re dying to go to still? Any particular dining destinations on your list?
    CHEF JP: Barcelona is on my bucket list. And I would love to add Bangkok, Hong Kong, and South Korea on that list.

    The bar seating at Arcade Midtown Kitchen The bar seating at Arcade Midtown Kitchen

    MRS: The bar program at Arcade is one of the most unique and stimulating facets of your restaurant. What inspired you to incorporate this feature and tell us a little bit about Christopher Ware?
    CHEF JP: The bar program was designed to be a sexy amenity to Arcade. It was built small but it was meant to run big. Implementing an aggressive approach of ‘vintage’ and ‘modern’ cocktails with fine product was the goal. Taking the steps to implement a barrel aged program and hand crafted cocktails to the table diners was still a new thing when we first opened. It’s been exciting to see the growth with our restaurants following the same approach. Everyone wins.

    MRS: Do you have a personal creed or ethos that you live by?
    CHEF JP: (1.) Cooking is the easy part (2.) Adapt or die

    MRS: What was the most difficult part about starting your own restaurant business? What surprised you?
    CHEF JP: Constantly second guessing yourself and wondering if it all will work like you envisioned in your head. You are constantly at the mercy of time tables and product availability. There truly are not enough hours in the day for it and you are never truly ready for it. Buckle up and take the ride.

    MRS: What inspired you to name your first restaurant Arcade Midtown Kitchen?
    CHEF JP: The architecture of the façade of the restaurant was a standout fixture to me. Also the covered dining with rounded brick columns the restaurant houses. In my research, Arcade would constantly come up for ‘columns’ and I immediately was attracted to that name. The name Arcade also stood true for a place where people gather to meet and have a good time. Back in the boardwalk days (aka Boardwalk Empire), Arcades were places to wine and dine with your friends and family. We ran with it and took the more vintage and ‘tongue and cheek’ approach as opposed to the playful ‘video’ game approach.

    MRS: Lay out a perfect meal and wine/cocktail pairing for a first timer to Arcade.
    CHEF JP: Order an Arcade and barrel aged cocktail to share. Calamari and Lobster taco for the table to taste. Any red wine from our wine list that are carefully selected to pair with our cuisine, to enjoy with the Salmon ‘on the rocks’ and ‘Arcade Chile Rubbed Hand Cut Ribeye’ steak with Red Chile Potatoes. A side of Brussel Sprouts. Finishing with Chocolate Pudding Cake and Roasted Banana Stack with Salted Caramel.

    MRS: We recently read that you earned the Introduction Certificate of Sommeliers from the Guild of Master Sommeliers. What an honor. Tell us a little bit about that experience.
    CHEF JP:  I took that test back in 2000, as a hot apps cook when I worked at the former Westin La Cantera Resort. It was an honor to study under Master Sommelier Virginia Phillip. It really sparked my confidence to pair wine with food, especially with Southwestern and Americana flavors. I still have aspirations to take the advanced test in the future.

    MRS: Lastly, what’s up next for Chef Jesse?
    CHEF JP: Great question. Right now, just put my head down and continue to make Arcade a consistently great place for people to enjoy. Then, perhaps a spot or two.


    Thank you Jesse for the great interview! Learn more about Arcade here.

  • 3 Things You May Not Have Known About The Chafing Dish

    When you think of long banquet tables with delicious foods on display or catered parties at your home, what is the one kitchen tool that comes to mind? If your answer was Chafing Dishes, you guessed right.

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    With all the wonderful technology that's infiltrated the world of cooking today, there is still a certain level of appreciation for the unchanging, original design of products that are classic in their nature. Chafing Dishes are one such item and it is their solid simplicity and usefulness that has made it a mainstay in kitchens of all times, shapes and sizes. Interestingly, chafers have a history spanning way, way back. Here are 3 things you may not have known about these kitchen staples.


    1. "Chafer" or "Chafing Dish" comes from the French word "Chauffer" which means "to heat." This soft heat coming from the bottom through a double lining (via the water pan and the food pan) is what makes the chafing dish so desirable for a wide range of foods and delicacies. It lightly cooks, heats and holds food at a heated temperature for a long period of time. Now who wouldn't love that?


    2. Chafing Dishes have been around for a long, long time. How long you ask? Before microwave ovens were in the picture, chafing dishes were used by American colonists in the 1700s. Before that the Europeans used them plentifully, spanning back to the Middle Ages, and before that the inhabitants of ancient Greece and Rome used them on the tables for their lavish feasts and banquets. (Research has shown the remnants of bronze chafing dishes surface in the ruins of Pompei!) From then to now, chafers have had a pretty steady presence, fading out only to come back in. For example, after the Depression and through World War Two, chafing dishes weren't used as widely. However, after the war, chafing dishes had a resurgence as home entertainers began using them more to add something special, slightly more elegant and purposeful to their tables. Today, of course, the chafing dish is a widespread solution to all kinds of commercial and residential needs.

    3. Back in ancient times, chafing dishes were said to be a symbol of the entertainer's prestige and wealth. Different chafers would have different metals, from copper to brass, and delicacies were cooked on display for all the party to see. To this day, you will find chafing dishes of all different styles and materials so that you can find a flattering look for your unique needs and venue.

  • New York New York

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    Since the roaring twenties and the days of Prohibition, the famed 21 Club in New York City has been the dining and imbibing destination of choice for countless movie stars, political figures, business tycoons, and industry leaders. Today it is more than just a restaurant, it is an institution. And though the building is home to many private dining rooms and special nooks and crannies, it is the charismatic Bar Room that has had people talking since the very beginning. Red leather booths snake around a room that features a giant wooden bar (complete with the original hidden chute used to quickly trash liquor bottles during the days of Prohibition). A bartender dressed in a dapper white coat and black bow tie makes the most delicious, ice cold martini we've ever tasted amidst a wall of gleaming spirits and stemware. Scattered around are tables draped in classic red and white checked cloths where countless celebrities have dined before. If you aren't sold already, it takes simply one look skyward to further understand the room's special charm and history. Dangling from every square inch of ceiling space is a blanket of toys and model trucks, airplanes, hard hats, telephones, records, tractors and other industry paraphenalia donated to the club by presidents, business executives and industry tycoons.

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    And this is where we get really excited. As of January 2013, we have had the honor of having our very own Mission Restaurant Supply truck hanging from the 21 Club ceiling over Table #14 in the legendary Bar Room. The room itself is a legacy to businesses around the world that have contributed positively to their markets, and an evening at 21 can be easily spent merely goggling at the amassed assortment of mementos from people's professional success stories. We are very honored to have our little truck here in such a special place and amidst such revered company to represent our Mission culture, and most importantly, to represent our family of employees who make Mission Restaurant Supply what it is. If you're ever in New York City, pop into the 21 Club for a cocktail or a quick lunch in the Bar Room and maze through the signed NFL helmets, sports jerseys, jets, picture frames, cars and more, and eventually you will find our truck over Table #14 (Frank Sinatra's table of choice!)

    So many notable figures have dined in 21's hallowed walls that their website boasts an interactive map where you can find out which tables "belong" to which famous figures. Check it out here.
  • The Dynamic DynaCube

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    When it comes to foodservice equipment and supplies, the more your investment can save you time and money, the better. And that's exactly why Dynamic USA has been in the industry since 1964.

    At MissionRS.com you will find the "DynaCube" a professional manual food cutter that is designed to dice up your fruits, vegetables and certain meats in no time. Below are a few graphics to show you the ins and outs plus an informative video so you can watch it in action.


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    What are the Advantages?
    1. The DynaCube will chop up soft, delicate vegetables like tomatoes, onions and peppers with ease in addition to some cooked meats and fruits. It's efficient, rapid, and cuts cleanly to yield the best results in the least amount of time. It can even julienne your vegetables for you!

    2. This product is made of a high quality, durable polycarbonate plastic and is outfitted with a patented grid system made up of two surgical stainless steel blades that are designed to do all the work. There's one grid set available in different sizes that's located within the DynaCube plus one cutter blade mounted externally beneath it. The two blades move in opposite directions and don't ever need to be sharpened.  Simply crank the handle and let the DynaCube's revered, easy blade/grid system do the work for you.

    3. The DynaCube is designed to mount safely and securely to your stainless steel countertops thanks to handy suction cups on the feet of the product. There are also mounts for wood.

    4.Though the DynaCube should not be put in the dishwasher, all parts and pieces can be washed, rinsed, and sanitized in the sink simply.



    The Ins and Outs:
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    DynaCube Anatomy:

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    As you can see, this affordable, manual food cutter is designed to bring efficiency and simplicity to your foodservice business. It's known for its ability to handle those soft fruits and vegetables that often have trouble being cut into fine dices. With the DynaCube those problems are solved. Should you have more questions on the DynaCube or want to learn more about it, please feel free to call one of our customer service agents agents for more information! We're available to visit with you Monday through Friday 8 AM to 6 PM CST.

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