And Now A Culinary Journey With Chef Dennis
And we thought only gals have the “gift of gab”. 8) Not only does Chef Dennis take you on a taste-trip via his blog, A Culinary Journey With Chef Dennis, his responses to my questions take us steps further towards understanding what he is all about…and why, what he does, is fabulous. Chef Dennis is driven…focused on success. Read on…each one of us should take heed to what he talks about here.
What makes Chef Dennis tick?
I guess if there is anyone thing that keeps me going, it’s being successful. With me there is never a time when I do something half way, I’m very competitive, mostly with myself and find that’s what drives me. Becoming successful is almost like a drug to me, and the more I do the more I want to do. Blogging and keeping my girls in awe of my cooking abilities are my current obsessions.
If a personal friend came to you about starting their own blog, what are a few steps to success you would share with them?
First I would ask them what they wanted to do with it, is it a hobby, or do they want to make it into something more. I would then advise them as to which way to go, what format to use, and how to get started. I would have them sign up for foodbuzz right away, I know it’s got its negative aspects and not everyone loves it, but I have met some of the best people on the face of the earth thru foodbuzz, the community is incredible!
I would tell them to learn to use their camera, no matter if it was a point and shoot or a DSLR, images are more important than anyone realizes.
But most importantly I would tell them to write from the heart, and to do what they love, and to be consistent with their posting, whether it was once a week or three times a week.
With food blogging I would also advise not to do more than 3 posts a week, I truly believe you have to give your readers time to digest what you wrote, and firmly believe its quality not quantity.
As the head chef at Mount Saint Joseph Academy, what is a typical menu, include some of the feedback that you get about your meals?
This is my first and only school that I have ever worked at, I had no idea what to feed the students when I got there, but I knew what I could cook and I knew what adults liked and decided to feed them as if I was in Business dining.
A typical lunch includes a choice of:
- 4-6 sandwiches and panini’s
- Chicken tenders (some kids would not eat if they weren’t available)
- Pasta with two sauces, 2 types of pizza, Stromboli’s or calzones
- Full salad bar with roasted veggies, roasted chicken breast, fresh cut fruit, tofu, hummus, a whole grain salad, cheese, eggs, fresh vegetables, and homemade dressings, croutons or melba. (Only 2-3 items are ever canned, like beets, olives, and chick peas.)
- Homemade soup (vegetarian soup when entrée is meat)
3-4 times a week we run a specialty bar, ie. Pasta bar, sundae bar, taco bar, baked potato bar, build your own sandwich bar, soup and sandwich bar, Asian bar, southwestern bar, and a variety of other specialties.
We have a homemade dessert daily, homemade puddings and mousse, (sugar free and regular,) Jello, yogurt parfaits, low fat yogurt, and other items .
We serve low fat milks, soy milk, fruit and vegetable juices, 100% fruit smoothies, and we are a private school and they want fountain soda’s available for lunch.
We also have the famous Mount cookie and 3 or 4 other varieties, as well as hand fruit, and ice cream (low fat when available)
You never know what I’m in the mood to make, we have even had California rolls. My girls live for food, they absolutely love me and I love them!
What do you find most challenging about food blogging? Why?
I think the biggest challenge to me has been food photography and styling. I was a professional photographer in the days of film, doing fashion , landscapes and portraits, and I have to say people were much easier to shoot! I also was the master of the dark room, shooting mostly in black and white, while I do love digital, I find photoshop and my digital camera very challenging.
Talk to us about two or three places you would like to visit purely for the culinary experience.
Oh that’s easy, anywhere in Italy, I absolutely love Italy, and of course Paris. Paris will always be my favorite city in the world. The one place I have never been, that I would love to eat my way through is Spain.
I recently rebranded my blog, it was difficult decision to make, but as much as I do love the Mount I won’t be there forever, and when I started blogging I had no idea it would progress to this level. I thought it was better now to rebrand then to wait. My old name More Than A Mount Full- A Culinary Journey served me well, but I do love my new home at A Culinary Journey with Chef Dennis. I hope you all will stop by and see me there!
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