Award-Winning Vegetarian Chili Without a Recipe

Vegetarian ChiliLast year, on a whim, I entered a vegetarian chili cook-off at my alma mater. It was a festive evening, a great learning experience with my chili won a prize!  However, I can’t share the recipe with you, because I didn’t use one. But, read on and check out the guidelines I always use and customize each time -as you should as well.
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Vegan Chili Cook-Off at Natural Gourmet Institute

Evezich NGI ChiliMy First Vegan Chili Cook-Off. Here’s What I Learned.

On a whim, I recently entered the vegan chili cook-off at the Natural Gourmet Institute. Never having entered a cooking contest before, I had a ‘nothing to lose’ mindset. Besides, Chef Barb was running the gig. So, even if I didn’t have an award-winning chili, the event was bound to have decent entertainment value.

Did I Use a Tried and True Chili Recipe?

Not exactly. While many people have a favorite chili recipe, I’ve always used the (clean out the fridge and) kitchen sink approach. But, I always start with the same foundation, then adapt with what I have on hand. Continue reading

Chef Training Program: The Last Supper, Sicilian-Style

NGI CTP #255 Last Supper

Put a fork in us. We’re done!

Last weekend our group, Natural Gourmet Institute’s 255th Chef Training Program class graduated. It was bittersweet. We expected the program to transform us as cooks. But I think we were all surprised by the harmonic group dynamic which developed. Like a variety of spices, we started as 16 cooks with nearly no common thread other than our passion for health and cooking. But, very early into our year in the kitchen, we melded into a masala — a harmonic team, as much family as classmates. As such, the numbers 2-5-5 will forever be dear to our hearts.  Continue reading

Culinary School: Month 1

NGI Month #1

One month down, quite a few to go -which is a good thing! Aside from the necessity of a day job, there are several advantages to going to culinary school part-time rather than full-time. The most obvious advantage is having time between classes to practice knife skills and cooking techniques. But, I think the advantage we appreciate most is the opportunity to learn and cook through all four seasons.

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Me in My Birthday Suit

This is a PG-rated post. I swear.

This month, I started waking up at 7AM every Saturday. I need to allow an hour to get to the Flatiron area of Manhattan, normally a 30 minutes trip. But, Saturdays and the MTA subway don’t always play nice together. Nine hours later I return home, tired and often sweaty. But, even on a recent Saturday, my birthday, I had no complaints. In fact, I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m fulfilling a dream, one dormant for decades. I’ve started culinary school.

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