Culinary skills come later in his life
By KRISS NELSON
PATON – Although Brad Robey admits he enjoyed spending time in the kitchen while growing up with his mother and grandmother, becoming a professional chef was something he never considered.
It was several events that led to his eventual career choice as a chef, but definitely a profession he said he is proud to be a part of and takes seriously.
Robey worked in the utility business for 15 years when he became a single father to his children and wanted to learn how to cook for them. He attended Le Cordon Bleu, a culinary arts school in Paris, France.
“I attended for a year,” Robey said. “I didn’t go for a degree because I didn’t need to, I wasn’t going to need it.”
Coming out and being able to cook for his family was a huge plus. But having that experience also helped him eventually provide for his family as well.
“I began working at the Giggling Goat, in Boone, as a dishwasher and for about a year and half I did that and some prep work until the chef at the time left,” he said.
It was then Jason Rogers, who was managing the restaurant, gave Robey the opportunity to begin cooking.
“He is my mentor,” said Robey. “He taught me it’s about the passion for cooking and he could see that in me and I eventually was given the chef position.”
“I never looked back and now, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
Today, Robey has ventured off to go out on his own with several plans in mind, including working on a food truck he hopes to have up and running by next spring.
He has a lot of ideas of foods he will feature in the food truck, and as of right now, wants it to be something unique, yet something locals will enjoy.
He plans to be a service to farmers as well as attending farmers markets and other events.
Robey is also available for catering all sizes of events, including weddings and reunions as well as smaller private events, providing a meal for holidays and also offering “private chef” services.
Those services, Robey said, include preparing pre-made meals for those people that are on-the-go and don’t necessarily have the time to cook for their family.
He is also available for cooking classes.
Robey said he learned much at culinary school and during the several years he has been a professional chef.
“I have learned that anything I cook starts with a good base, such as chicken, beef or fish stock,” he said.
Robey also said it is best to not to try to over-heat dishes.
“Cook on low and slow,” he said. “We get impatient and want to get it done, but doing things nice and slow, especially with sauces, gives the opportunity to release and blend those spices and ingredients.”
Robey added that he has learned, when it comes to cooking any kind of pasta, there is no need to cook it more than 11 minutes.
“It will be perfect al dente every time,” he said.
Most of all, when it comes to cooking, Robey said to enjoy it.
“Enjoy it, take the time and plan your meals out,” he said. “Also, have fun and get the kids involved.”
Black knight house dressing
3 pints mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups French dressing
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3-4 cloves garlic
Mix together and serve.
6 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 pound melted butter
12 cups whole milk
4 cups raisins
5 packages of hoagie buns, diced.
Whisk all together. This pudding needs be placed and cooked in a pan that is at least 4 1/2 inches thick.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes then cover for 20 minutes until done.
Bread pudding sauce
3 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
6 pinches cinnamon
12 tablespoons melted butter
7 1/2 cups whole milk
3 pinches Kosher salt
1/3 cup vanilla extract
Mix together and heat sauce and pour over pudding after it is cooked.
1 pound thick cut bacon
2 extra-large sweet onions; quartered and thickly sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup brewed coffee
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Cut the bacon into half inch slices and add to a large frying pan.
Don’t worry if the bacon pieces stick together, they will come apart as they cook.
Cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently until the bacon is cooked, but still quite chewy.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pan and set aside. Pour out all but one tablespoon of the bacon drippings and reserve for another use.
Add the onions to the pan and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes then reduce the heat to low. Add sugar and stir.
Continue to cook until the onions have caramelized (approximately 20 minutes).
Add the coffee, 1/2 cup of water and the reserved bacon and increase heat to medium.
Continue to cook, stirring about every five-minutes, until the onions are thick and jam-like (approximately 30 minutes).
Remove from heat and stir through the balsamic. Taste for seasoning and salt if necessary.
Use immediately or refrigerate for up to a week. Bring back to room temperature before serving.
There will be little spots of white fat when you take it out of the fridge, but as the jam comes to room temperature, these will disappear.
2 cups dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
2 ribs celery
1 lobster, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
12 medium-size shrimp, in shell
24 mussels, well-scrubbed
12 sea scallops
4 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 cup fresh spinach, well rinsed and chopped
1/2 cup grated carrot
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Combine the white wine, bay leaf, onion, garlic and celery in a large stock pot over medium heat. Boil.
Add the lobster, cover the pot and steam for 10 minutes.
Remove the lobster, set aside and cool.
Add the shrimp to the boiling broth cover the pot and steam for five minutes.
Remove the shrimps with tongs, set aside and cool.
Add the mussels, cover the pot and steam until they open-about five minutes.
Remove the mussels with the tongs, extract the meat and discard the shells.
Add two cups of water to the liquid in the pot, bring to a boil and add the scallops. Cover the pot and steam for three minutes.
Remove the scallops with the tongs.
Extract the lobster meat, reserving the shells. Peel and devein the shrimps, reserving the shells.
Chop the meat into bite-size pieces, cover and set aside.
Return the lobster and shrimp shells to the broth and add two more cups of water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes.
Strain the broth and return it to the pot. Discard shells.
Bring the broth to a simmer over low heat. Add the cream, milk and herbs and simmer until mixture thickens slightly, about five minutes.
Add the seafood and simmer for two minutes.
Stir in the spinach and carrots and simmer another two minutes to just wilt the spinach.
Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
(Note: Plan ahead because it takes days to properly marinate.
Makes 8 servings.
4 pounds boneless beef rump, sirloin tip, or round bone chuck
1 1/2 cups vinegar
1 cup Coca Cola
3/4 cup water
3 onions, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
10 whole black peppers
10 whole cloves
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons oil or shortening
Two to four days before serving, wipe meat with damp cloth, and then place it in a large plastic bag.
In a bowl, thoroughly combine remaining ingredients, except oil and pour over meat.
Fasten bag tightly and lay flat in a 13-by-9-inch pan. Refrigerate, turning bag each day. (If you like a sour sauerbraten, let meat marinate four days.)
When ready to cook, remove meat (saving marinade) and dry well.
Rub surface lightly with flour.
Heat oil or shortening in Dutch oven and slowly brown meat well on all sides.
Add one cup of the marinade liquid plus some of the vegetables and bay leaves.-Farm News photos by
Cover tightly and simmer on surface heat or in a 350-degree oven for three to four hours until meat is fork tender.
If needed, add more marinade during cooking to keep at least 1/2 inch liquid in the Dutch oven.
Remove meat and keep warm until ready to slice. Strain drippings into a large measuring cup; add several ice cubes; let stand a few minutes for fat to separate. Remove fat, and then make gravy.
3 cups drippings plus strained marinade
5 tablespoons flour
5 tablespoons ginger snap crumbs
Combine above ingredients in Dutch oven; stir and cook about five minutes over medium heat until gravy is thickened.
Taste for seasonings.
Makes three cups gravy.
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