Accomplished Ft. Lauderdale Chef Opens Kitchen Offering Quick, Healthy Meal Options

Sidewalk Chef Kitchen

 

Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. – Sidewalk Chef Kitchen, developed by Ft. Lauderdale’s own 5-star Executive Chef Shashank Agtey, invites locals and members of the press to enter its doors on Monday, Oct. 16, for its grand opening. The kitchen is located just west of Powerline Road between McNab Road and Cypress Creek Road and offers quick, health-conscious meal options to its customers.

Sidewalk Chef Kitchen aims to promote mindful eating habits and help its customers, even when they are pressed for time, achieve over-all healthy lifestyles. The kitchen’s “Healthy Express” dine-in menu provides patrons with fresh, wholesome meals prepared in just a few minutes. For those planning meals ahead of time, the kitchen’s refrigerator section offers a vast selection of pre-packaged, perfectly portioned 500-calorie “Prepared Meals To-Go” – for under $10 – that can easily be heated and served for lunch or dinner.

After decades working as an executive chef in Ft. Lauderdale’s finest restaurants including Café September and the Riverside Hotel, Chef Agtey (known as the Sidewalk Chef) honed in on his passion for clean eating and opened his own kitchen.

“When there are not enough hours in the day, planning healthy meals can be challenging. I’m happy to provide locals with healthy, delicious and affordable meals that fit into their fast-paced schedules,” said Agtey.

Sidewalk Chef Kitchen uses only all-natural, hormone and antibiotic-free protein, wild-caught seafood and organic, locally grown (when possible) vegetables to prepare its dishes. Both its pre-packaged meals and dine-in menu options can be delivered to customers through Postmates or GrubHub.

In addition, the kitchen offers lunch and dinner catering options for corporate and private events as well as in-house cooking seminars aimed at teaching average home cooks how to prepare easy, healthy, 5-star meals they can be proud to serve to friends and family.

Sidewalk Chef Kitchen is located at 6500 NW 12th Ave. #101 in Ft. Lauderdale and operates Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, please visit its Facebook page or www.sidewalkchef.com.

###

About Chef Shashank Agtey, the Sidewalk Chef

Indian-born Shashank Agtey began his culinary career as a dishwasher at the famous Club 41 in Miami (known today as The Forge) before landing a job as a sous chef at the Omni Hotel in Miami. He then went on to be the executive chef at Café September in Ft. Lauderdale for 12 years. Since then, he has held the role of executive chef at numerous establishments throughout South Florida including the Riverside Hotel, Pa DeGennaro’s and Hilcrest Golf and Country Club, to name a few. At the age of 34, he had the distinct honor of being selected to cook for President Bush Senior and President Clinton.

An avid runner, Chef Agtey participates in half marathons all over South Florida, “Tough Mudder” obstacle courses and “Spartan” races around the country. He recently developed his own line of all-natural energy bars (Hop Step Jump Energy Bars) and has instructed cooking classes at the Miami Culinary Institute. His current focus is providing affordable, healthy, tasty meals for locals at the Sidewalk Chef Kitchen.

Gourmet Date Night Dinner for Two

IMG_4040   20150205_175837

I am thrilled to say my first teaching experience in Tallahassee last weekend was a success! My “Love at First Bite” cooking class, demo and dinner at Browns Kitchen Center sold out so quickly that I was asked to do it again the next night! I had the honor of teaching two different fun and engaged classes how to prepare a 5-star meal just in time for Valentine’s Day, and it was an incredible experience. I am humbled to be able to share my passion and show everyday people that they, too, can create healthy, budget-friendly, gourmet meals right at home.

I want to express my thanks to those who came out to my cooking class on Thursday and Friday night. I was delighted to see so many new, excited faces, answer your questions and share some of my kitchen tricks. Whether you attended or wish you had been able to, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow so I am sharing my special date night recipes right here for you to enjoy!

I am looking forward to returning to Tallahassee to teach more specialty classes at Browns Kitchen very soon. Until then, follow the easy recipes below and subscribe to my mailing list to receive delicious recipes straight to your inbox, and you’ll be cooking like a pro in no time!

Mustard-Rubbed Rack of Lamb with Black-Cherry Walnut Kirschwasser Sauce

20150205_185348

Ingredients:
8 bone rack of lamb
1 tbsp. of coarse ground mustard
½ c. of panko breadcrumbs
1 can of black cherries in a light sauce
1 tbsp. of whole butter
1 oz. of Kirschwasser black cherry liqueur
1 handful of toasted walnuts
Rock salt and black pepper to taste

Lamb:
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle salt and pepper onto raw lamb. Pan sear or grill the lamb for 3 minutes on each side. Place lamb in a baking dish and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and rub mustard all over meat. Put back in the over for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and encrust meat with panko breadcrumbs. Place back in the oven for 1 more minute. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Reserve the juices at the bottom of the baking dish to use in the accompanying Black Cherry-Walnut Kirschwasser Sauce.

Sauce:
Strain the can of cherries and preserve the juice. In a mixing bowl, add the cherry juice, butter, kirschwasser cherry liqueur and reserved juices from the lamb. Mix all together before adding whole cherries and chopped toasted walnuts.

Macadamia-Crusted Mahi-Mahi with Lemon-Butter Meuniere

20150205_175735

Ingredients:
8 oz. of mahi-mahi
1 oz. of lemon juice
1 c. of white wine
1 tsp. of Worchester sauce
2 tbsp. of whole butter
1/4 c. of panko breadcrumbs
1/4 c. of macadamias
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Pan sear or grill the mahi-mahi for 1 minute on each side. Place the mahi-mahi in a baking dish and add mixture of lemon juice, white wine, butter, Worchester sauce, salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes. While fish is baking, mix chopped macadamias with panko breadcrumbs. Remove the fish and encrust with the mixture. Place mahi-mahi back in the over and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove and reserve the juices in the pan to serve with the fish.

Hearts of Palm Salad with Watercress Honey Vinaigrette

IMG_4027

Ingredients:
3 bunches of watercress
1 clove of garlic
1 clove of shallot
2 oz. of white vinegar
3 oz. of olive oil
1 oz. of honey
1 dash of Worchester sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Hearts of palm (3 per salad)

Dressing:
Cut off the ends off the watercress and wash carefully. In a blender, combine watercress, garlic, shallot, vinegar, olive oil, honey, Worchester sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth.

Salad:
Cut the hearts of palm in half lengthwise and dress with vinaigrette.

Sign up to become a Sidewalker!

By adding your email address to Sidewalk Chef’s subscription list, you will get delicious recipes delivered right to your inbox!

Become a Sidewalker!
Keep in touch to hear about Sidewalk Chef's latest news and events.
* = required field

powered by MailChimp!

Love at First Bite: Attend my Gourmet Cooking Class!

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and if you’re like me, you’re dreading the restaurant scene. Even with a reservation the wait can be extremely long and the crowded environment turns an intimate dinner for two into a loud, uncomfortable experience. Instead of wasting your money on overpriced meals for an impersonal experience, why not stay at home for a more romantic, home-cooked meal? If you want to learn how to cook a 5-star meal for your significant other or even just your family and friends, then sign up to take a gourmet cooking class  and demonstration with me on Thursday, Feb. 5,  from 6-8 p.m. at Browns Kitchen Center in Tallahassee.

I have more than 30 years of culinary experience cooking for the wealthy and famous as the executive chef at numerous high-end restaurants and venues in South Florida. I’ve even had the honor of cooking for President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton. Despite my achievements, I’m most passionate about teaching average home cooks how to create easy yet elegant meals they will be proud to serve. This passion has turned into a focus of mine, as I am currently a culinary professor at the Lincoln Culinary Institute and the Miami Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach and Miami. It brings me great joy to teach some new faces in Tallahassee how to turn an average Valentine’s Day into one filled with delectable dishes that will delight the palate and certainly impress your loved ones.

The 5-star menu for the evening is as follows:

  • Baked macadamia-crusted mahi-mahi with a lemon butter meuniere
  • Roasted rack of lamb prepared with a raw mustard rub and topped with panko bread crumbs – served with a black cherry walnut kirschwasser sauce
  • Roasted asparagus and potato planks
  • Hearts of palm salad in a watercress honey vinaigrette
  • Fresh baked bread
  • Special homemade dessert

Forget dinner and a movie and take date night to the next level by attending my cooking class and demonstration in two weeks! Limited seats are available at $65 per person and include a full meal with wine. Those interested in signing up can do so by contacting Brown’s Kitchen Center directly at (850) 385-5665 or visiting the store, located at 2551 Capital Circle NE.

Hope to see you there!

Browns Kitchen Flyer

Join Me at JA World Uncorked: a Lavish Affair for a Worthy Cause

As an active participant in my community, I believe in the importance of giving back. That’s why I’ll be one of the many culinary partners at this year’s JA World Uncorked event.

The Uncorked Experience is like no other and will excite the senses with mouth-watering bites, like my jumbo scallop ceviche, luxury wines & spirits, an array of craft beers and delicious desserts from South Florida’s best culinary establishments.

JA World Uncorked was created in 2009 by the Circle of Wise Women in an attempt to raise $100,000 for Junior Achievement of South Florida, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preparing and inspiring K-12 students to succeed in a global economy by focusing on entrepreneurship, financial literacy and workplace readiness. The Circle of Wise Women combined their commitment to education with JA World’s Huizenga Center to create this lavish “Fork & Cork” affair.

JA World (image source)

Beginning with a handsome donation from Circle member Lorraine Thomas, JA World Uncorked has become a key fundraising event for Junior Achievement of South Florida. Over two million dollars has been raised for JA’s education programs and summer camp since the Circle’s first initiatives five years ago. With your support, the Wise Women can continue to positively impact the children of JA.

I invite you to join me and Bar Stache 1920’s Drinking Den the evening of Saturday, January 24, 2015 at the Broward College Huizenga Center to take part in JA World Uncorked! Come mingle and dance with friends, sip on intriguing drinks sponsored by Premier Beverage, indulge in a “Dessert Bash” and culinary creations from top chefs, and bid on auction and raffle prizes – all while raising money for a worthy cause!

For more information, including a full list of sponsors, drink selections and culinary stations, click here. To purchase tickets, click here.

I hope to see you there!

Easy New Year’s Eve Appetizers

When I think about what makes a really great New Year’s Eve party, I immediately recognize the importance of being with the most-loved people in your life to ring in the new year — to celebrate your successes and relish in the memories of the past year while toasting to an even better year ahead. But what else makes a New Year’s Eve celebration really great? Well, that’s got to be the food.

The key to hosting a successful and enjoyable New Year’s Eve party is to create a menu of simple yet glamorous food. This is no time to be hidden away from guests preparing meals and clearing dishes in the kitchen. To avoid this, I recommend offering appetizer-like treats throughout the night. Finger foods are hassle-free and require very little clean-up, which means more time to mingle with your loved ones. Here are some of my favorite, easy hors d’oeuvres perfect for any New Year’s Eve celebration (and that I plan on creating myself tomorrow evening):

Smoked Salmon Crostini – Crostinis are an easy and versatile snack to create. To make these really special, set the base of your crostini with homemade dill-flavored cream cheese. Then start stacking with a small scoop of diced hard-boiled egg whites, a slice of smoked salmon and top with capers.

Mini Crab Cakes with Tandoori Aioli  I use tandoori spices a lot in my cooking. Mix them with some yogurt for a simple and delicious dipping sauce to compliment the crowd-favorite crab cake.

Jalapeño Bacon-Wrapped Smoked Scallops – Yeah, you read that right. Sizzle your bacon with some jalapeños and your scallops will gain a nice, crunchy kick.

Chimichurri Flank Steak Bites – Marinate your flank steak in a chimichurri sauce (I like to use parsley, onion, garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper) and throw on the grill or pan fry. Then just chop the meat into bite-size pieces.

And, of course, don’t forget the champagne!

I hope that no matter where you are or what you’re cooking, you have a wonderful celebration. Happy New Year from the Sidewalk Chef!

Happy New Year 2015

Savory Holiday Meal Inspiration

Like a birthday or anniversary, the holiday season is a special time of year when you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging in sweet treats and decadent meals. After all, it’s a time to enjoy yourself with the people and things you love most. (And can serve as an opportunity to reward yourself for the good eating habits you’ve been keeping all year long!)

When it comes to creating the perfect holiday meal, there are certain ingredients that you can use in your cooking to really give your dishes that holiday sparkle. In case you are still deciding on a Christmas dinner menu, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite, rich and delicious dish ideas perfect for the holidays!

The first dish that comes to mind is whole roasted mallard duck – what a treat! Prepare this with dark Swiss cherry kirschwasser (a fruit brandy also known as kirsch) and crushed walnuts and you’ll never look back. The sweet liquor and roasted walnuts really add a holiday feel to this meal.

Christmas Duck On Holiday Table
Cherry BrandyWalnuts On Wood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some side dish recommendations to compliment the duck include:

Fiddlehead ferns – This unique vegetable is sure to intrigue your guests. Fiddleheads are traditionally served in New England and Canada and can be steamed or boiled.

fiddlehead ferns (source)

Potato gnocchi – This rich Italian classic is warm and comforting. Try cooking the gnocchi in your extra duck stock to really make it stand out.

Gnocci

Dark German bread (with butter pecan spread) – I love the taste of dense, grainy German bread. Crush up some pecans to add to your butter for a special crunch.

German Dark Wheat Bread over white in restaurant or kitchen.

So, what will you be cooking this holiday season?

Savory Caponata Recipe by The Sidewalk Chef

As the holiday season begins and commitments start to pile up, a simple and healthy meal at home might be just what Sidewalkers need to take a break from the madness!

Caponata is a cooked vegetable medley that originated in Sicily. Traditionally it is made with eggplant, capers and other vegetables and sauces but there are countless variations. This versatile topping can be used on virtually anything such as fish, veal or steak. It is fresh, light and requires almost no prep time.

Below you will find recipes for my version of caponata paired with veal chop and swordfish. Enjoy!

Savory Caponata

Caponata on the cooktop.

To create this easy caponata topping, you will need a dash of lemon juice, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 cup of white wine, salt and pepper to taste and veggies: I recommend black or green olives, cherry or regular tomatoes, capers and onion. You can also add some garlic if you’d like.

1. Dice olives, tomato and onion equally.
2. In a hot pan, combine white wine, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper and let simmer.
3. Add all the vegetables to the pan and cook for about a minute.
4. Pour caponata on top of a protein of your choice and serve.

Swordfish, the “Steak of Fish”

A well-balanced meal! Basmati rice, green beans almondine and swordfish caponata.

To prep this simple and delicious dish, you will need about six ounces of swordfish fillet cut ¼ inch thick, salt and pepper to taste and a small amount of olive oil. If swordfish is unavailable or you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, you can use any fish such as cod, mahi or grouper! This recipe can be cooked on the stove or right on the grill.

1. On a plate, sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the fish.
2. Drizzle olive oil on both sides of the fish so that it doesn’t stick to the pan or grill.
3. Make sure your stove or grill is very hot and a little smoky. Grill fish for two minutes on each side.
4. Remove fish from heat. Pour caponata on top of the fish and serve.

Lean Veal Chop

This veal chop caponata uses green and black olives, red tomato and garlic.

For this, you will need 12-14 ounces of veal cut ¼ inch thick, a small amount of olive oil, some flour of your choice, 1 egg, Panko breadcrumbs, salt and pepper to taste, ½ cup of white wine and ¼ teaspoon of butter.

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Lightly dust both sides of veal with any kind of flour.
3. Beat an egg in a bowl. Wash both sides of veal in egg.
4. Dip both sides of veal in breadcrumbs.
5. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
6. In a pan on high heat, add a small amount of olive oil and sear the veal for one minute on each side.
7. In the same pan, add white wine and butter.
8. For medium-rare meat, place the pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. The juices of the meat combined with the wine and butter create a wonderful flavor. If you like your veal more well-done, cook for a few minutes longer.
9. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes. Add caponata on top and serve.

Both of these healthy dishes are great when paired with my homemade mashed potatoes or seared spinach! Recipe details can be found in my cookbook here.

Feeding the Hungry This Thanksgiving

When we think of the Thanksgiving holiday, we picture turkeys, full bellies and joyous gatherings with family and friends. As we reflect upon the past year, I hope everyone is able to remember what is important: family, friends, health and happiness. Thanksgiving is a great time to acknowledge our blessings and to show thanks by giving back.

One way I am giving back this year is by donating my time at the Feed the Hungry charity event taking place in Boca Raton, Fla. This community initiative is a partnership between Congregation B’nai Israel’s Kantor Family Center for Justice and Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church and provides a full Thanksgiving meal to those in need.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the annual event. By collaborating with nonprofits in the area including the Moran Boys and Girls Club, Boca Helping Hands, One Love-One Community in Delray, The Arc of Palm Beach County, Palm Beach County Office of Community Revitalization and more, Feed the Hungry is expected to feed between 4,000 and 5,000 people!

Thanks to the helping hands of over 300 volunteers and neighborhood sponsors, Feed the Hungry will take place Tuesday, Nov. 25th from 3:00–7:00 p.m. at the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, 200 Ruby St., Boca Raton, Fla. 33432. I will personally be there, helping to carve 80-90 turkeys that will be served. Charity is one of the core values of the Sidewalk Chef brand, and my personal life, as I believe it is important to give back to your community whenever you can!

If you are fortunate enough to be celebrating a traditional Thanksgiving around the table with your loved ones this year, I’d like to offer you “Family Thanksgiving Anytime” recipes straight from my cookbook! Check it out below and let me know what you will be making this holiday.

A Family Thanksgiving Anytime
Turkey Breast, Stuffing and Homemade Cranberry Sauce 

(Serves Eight)

TURKEY

1–1 & ½ cups Olive Oil
6–8 cloves Garlic smashed
¼ cup Poultry Seasoning
½–1 cup Chicken Stock
4 lb. Turkey Breast
Pre-heat oven to 350˚

Take the first four ingredients and mix them all together in a mixing bowl. Slather the turkey breast with the mixture until it is completely covered. Put the turkey in the oven. Place about 1/4 inch of chicken stock in the bottom of the pan so the breast does not dry out. Start cooking the turkey breast-side down. Cook uncovered one hour to one hour and ten minutes, turning every fifteen minutes. Use a meat thermometer to check doneness. Turkey is done at 180˚.

STUFFING

1 stick Butter
1 Onion diced
1 cup Celery chopped
4 cloves Garlic smashed
2–3 tbsp Poultry Seasoning
2 Potatoes diced
1 to 1 1/2 cup Chicken Broth
1 bag Breadcrumbs
Pre-heat oven to 350˚

Melt the butter in a large sauté pan, add diced onion and celery and then add seasoning and diced potatoes. Sauté the potatoes until nicely flavored. In a large mixing bowl, pour chicken broth and water slowly over the breadcrumbs. Pour slowly while mixing. When the stuffing feels a little bit more moist than sticky and there is some sponge-like texture to the stuffing, put it in a baking pan. Bake uncovered for thirty minutes, you will know when it is done by pushing down on the stuffing in the center. If the stuffing rises around your finger just slightly, it is done.

CRANBERRY SAUCE

1 cup Water
1 cup chopped Walnuts – optional
½–1 cup Sugar
16 oz fresh Cranberries
½ tbsp Orange Zest
1 tsp Orange Juice

In a small saucepan, combine water, optional walnuts, sugar and cranberries. Bring to a boil. Add orange zest and orange juice. Simmer for ten minutes. Cranberries will gel upon standing. Serve hot or cold with Sidewalk Chef’s Decadent Mashed Potatoes.

Healthy Eating Starts at an Early Age

As a parent, I believe it is vital to educate children on the importance of healthy eating so that they can make smart decisions on their own one day. But in a culture where life revolves around quick fixes and getting the most “bang for your buck,” health-conscious habits aren’t always our first priority.

I have set out to prove that it is possible to create delicious and nutritious meals that are quick and easy to prepare as well as budget-friendly. Currently, I am focusing my efforts on creating a kid-friendly and adult-approved cookbook. These recipes will be designed specifically for bringing kids into the kitchen and getting them involved in the process of planning and preparing meals.

It is important to remember that forming healthy habits in children is a parent’s responsibility. It is never too early (nor too late) to get started! Here are some tips for parents on encouraging and maintaining these habits in your children:

  • Start by being their best role model. Parental influence impacts a child’s choices more than any other force. If you don’t practice what you teach them, children will not be inclined to make healthy choices on their own.
  • Get them involved. Bring them food shopping and have them assist you in the kitchen as a “sous chef” while preparing meals. If possible, visit a local farm so they can see where their fresh food comes from. If they are included and excited about the process, they are more likely to want to eat healthy.
  • Give them options. When making a grocery list, guide them through choosing healthy foods. The same goes for meal planning. It is important that they know there are a variety of healthy meal choices available. Set up a salad bar with various toppings on the kitchen table.
  • Keep healthy snacks on hand. Resist the urge to buy processed junk food and be mindful of ingredients in packaged goods. Opt for fruits and vegetables and prepare on-the-go snacks so that you are not tempted to settle for something unhealthy. Check out this blog post for healthy, portable snack ideas.
  • Moderation is key. If children are accustomed to select foods, even if they are not the healthiest, they should not be banned from them entirely. Instead, teach your kids that unhealthy foods should only be eaten occasionally while healthy options are good to eat all of the time.
  • Don’t give up! According to a study done by the National Institute of Health, children need multiple exposures to novel foods before they will try them. Encourage a taste test at the beginning of meals so that they experience it when they’re most hungry, rather than at the end when they are full.

If you are in the South Florida area, come out and support Sidewalk Chef at the Flavors of North Miami festival. This family-friendly event will take place Sunday, Nov. 9th, from 4-8 p.m. There will be a special “Kid’s Zone,” where children can prepare a healthy, budget-friendly dish with me and my assistants. For more information, view the event website here: http://www.flavorsofnorthmiami.com/.

Kids_Activities

 

Stay tuned to this blog to learn what’s coming “Off the Pan” with Sidewalk Chef!