Tag: Food

Masterchef Kitchen
Entertainment

5 minutes with Jonathan Scinto – Celebrity Chef

chef jonathan scinto

Chef Jonathan Scinto is a celebrity chef who owns a successful private parties and events business. He’s famous for being a hit on the FOX TV show MasterChef 6 and has since appeared on the live version of the TV Show “IronChef Showdown” and represented New York at the World Food Championships.

After being in charge of catered events for A-list celebs for post-production house Post Perfect, a successful several years working in Manhattan, and even opening his own 40 seat Café in Bayshore, Chef Jonathan went on to become a culinary household name.

1. You’ve been on MasterChef Season 6, Food Network “Chopped” and the live version of the TV Show “IronChef Showdown”: Autumn Bounty Battle for NYCFF 10th Anniversary (to name a few!). Do you find the cameras have changed your approach/style of cooking at all?

My approach for cooking hasn’t changed for the camera, but how I’m plating is a factor
because of the time limits, you can’t get as intricate as you would like, remember its TV so not everything you see is accurate, the magic of editing plays a huge factor.

2. You have a range of utility and cutting boards coming out. How did this come about?

I’m an Ambassador for several national brands like Certified Hereford Beef, Happy Chef Uniforms, Bedlam Vodka, Gubba Rum, Mie Radici and Toma Artisanal Bloody Mary Mix to name a few. It was just a natural thing that feel in place because of me reaching out to NOLA Cutting Boards and telling them about the World Food Championships, so you can 100% say that the WFC opened up a ton of doors for sponsors and partnerships.

3.You’ll be competing in the World Food Championships this year, what will you be doing to prepare for the competition?

This is my 3rd year in a row competing for the WFC. The 2 previous years I competed in the Seafood Category and Chef Category, finishing in 19th and 13th in the World. This year I will be in toughest category Steak, with an expected 100 competitors in the category with only 10 competitors moving on.

jonathan scinto beef

There’s several months of R&D, searching and sourcing for the right products, executing the dishes and finally working on the plating and setup of the dish. Plus making sure we have the right plates to fit on the tray.  I definitely have an upper hand with my ingredients this year, as I will be using Certified Hereford Beef and some really awesome secret ingredients. Also my 12 yr. old daughter Jules will be my Sous Chef this year. 

4.You are the owner of Chef Jonathan’s Private Parties and Events, what do you bring to your client’s events that nobody else does better?  

I never compare to other Caterers or Chefs, there’s so much talent in the culinary industry. I do believe I bring an element of ‘Cheftainment’ and interactivity to all my events. All of my dinner events are custom made menus to the client’s palate and I only use the freshest herbs and ingredients for the client. They get a first-hand look at the product being used right in front of them, so it’s not just eating it’s a culinary experience. 

Chef Jonathan's parties

5. Are there any ingredients that you use a lot that would surprise people?

I don’t think it would be a surprise as far as ingredients, but I do like using a lot of fresh herbs, elephant garlic and soy sauce.  I’m super loyal to specific products and I only use these brands for all of my demos, events and private parties: Big Sur Salts (Infused Salts), Mie Radici Real Sicilian EVOO, Gotham Steel Cookware, Blue Collar Blades (Custom Knives) and Certified Hereford Beef.

And just for fun…

6. What’s your favourite food memory?

When I was a toddler I used to watch Julia Child and Emeril Lagasse instead of Sesame Street on PBS and would copy them in my parents Co-op in Queens, in the kitchen throwing stuff in the blender, scrambling eggs on the floor and practicing my knife techniques on their vinyl chairs.

masterchef jonathan scitno

7. When was the last time you were scared or nervous in thekitchen?

Honestly, I’ve never been either of the 2, it’s just a natural feeling and my happy place. I find peace being able to create and serve my culinary interpretations to my clients.

8. What stories from your life will you tell your children about?

I’ve told my 3 girls ages 12, 5, and 4 many stories already of how being a kid in the 80’s living in Queens is so different to the kids today with all this technology around them. Plus I threw in some of my craziness as a young adult, whilst leaving out some details …lol

9. If you could have dinner with one celebrity, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Emeril Lagasse is a no brainer for me, it’s his passion about food and life that gets me excited. He is definitely someone I’ve looked up to as a person, not just a Chef.

10. What childish thing do you still enjoy?

I love to watch Disney movies and cartoons. I’m definitely a goof ball with my kids and a big kid at heart.  

You can find out more about Chef Jonathan’s Parties and Events here.

Read more about his journey with the World Food Championships, and follow him on Twitter: ChefJonathanS

Looking for more tv and film entertainment interviews? Check out our interview with Director of Photography David Procter.

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Brenda Anderson - Tasting Scotland
Travel & Tourism

5 minutes with Brenda Anderson – Founder of Tasting Scotland

Brenda Anderson - Tasting Scotland

Brenda Anderson – Founder of Tasting Scotland

Brenda Anderson launched Tasting Scotland in 2012 with the aim of providing a wide range of luxury culinary tours and tasting events to showcase the world class food that Scotland has to offer. Extremely passionate about food and drink, Brenda is also one of only two UK based Ambassadors for the World Food Travel Association.

1. Can you tell us a bit about your background and what inspired you to start Tasting Scotland?

I have always been a total foodie. Not being able to sew shattered my dream to be a Home Economics teacher. Instead I studied Catering and Hospitality at Aberdeen College. As fate would have it, just over ten years later I returned to the same college and began a teaching career that spanned almost twenty years.

In between studying and making it into teaching, I spent 7 years at the beautiful 5 star Gleneagles Hotel, with a year off in the middle living and working on the Gold Coast in a restaurant within the Marriott Surfers Paradise Resort in Australia.

Tasting Scotland was conceived on a walking food tour in New York in 2004, but it wasn’t born until August 2012 when I left my role as Head of Food Studies at the City of Glasgow College. In between times numerous gastro based holidays throughout the world and feedback from tourists that they were only experiencing ‘bland international cuisine’ when coming to Scotland watered the Tasting Scotland seed and kicked me into action!

Tasting Scotland

Tasting Event at The Corinthian, Glasgow

2. What has been the highlight of developing Tasting Scotland so far?

Seeing people smile. From artisan food producers to whisky distillers, from craft beer brewers to chefs there is nothing more pleasing that being the conduit between them and our food and drink loving clients. As they tell their stories and let people taste their products there’s a definite magic in the air. There’s fun, there’s laughter, their authenticity and there it is…..Scotland on a plate or in a glass. It’s infectious, and I love it. I love doing my bit for the country too. I want Scotland to be THE next big food travel destination.

Tasting Scotland

Tasting Event at The Corinthian, Glasgow

3. How many different tours do you offer?

There are about 10 on paper and about 150 in my head! The vast majority of what I do is bespoke and fully customised.

4. Do you have a favourite tour?

I’m an Aberdonian living in Glasgow having worked in Perthshire (and Skye for a short spell) and spend most of my life departing Edinburgh on my tours, so I am pretty happy being anywhere in the country – providing there’s great food and drink! My soft spot is up the west coast and any tour that links in seafood. I thank my lucky stars that I have Scotland’s beautiful scenery as the view from my office.

5. Can you tell us about the World Food Travel Association and what it means for your business?

For the past 3 years I have been the WFTA Ambassador for Scotland. The association is based in Portland, Oregan and is the world’s leading authority on food and tourism. There is much to be done to help put Scotland firmly on the map for the sheer quality of its food. Scotland Food and Drink are doing a brilliant job and VisitScotland have helped in particular by having had two separate ‘Year of Food and Drink’ focus theme years. My own aim is to help promote Scotland as a world class food and drink destination and to promote the many and varied services of the WFTA.

And just for fun…

6. Tell us something about your favourite holiday destination?

Italy. They love food and what it stands for.

7. What is your all time favourite food?

I love smoked food; meat, poultry, seafood, fish and the list goes on. I love a day in the garden with my home food smokers Freddie (an old filing cabinet), Woody (an old wooden cupboard), Tennesse (a proper professional smoker), and Brinky (a Brinkmann Water Smoker).

8. What is the nicest compliment you have ever received?

Smile less. (Usually by professional photographers!).

9. Can you tell us something that might surprise us?

I am going to write a book called ‘Go Stack Cans’. Everyone who knows me well, knows how much I absolutely detest poor, surly or rude service when in restaurants or from anyone who is dealing with the public. It’s not to be derogatory to those who work in food stores and literally do stack shelves, but to highlight the unnecessary damage such people do to the industries who work hard every single day to promote, showcase and serve Scotland (and that’s not even mentioning the damage to the visitors). At least cans don’t have feelings. Don’t want to smile and be nice? Do something else. Rant over!

10. What is your favourite quote?

‘Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right’.
By Henry Ford

Tasting ScotlandFor details on Brenda’s tours please visit her website www.tastingscotland.com
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