By cooking with Green Chef, you are inviting us into your kitchens. So we wanted to invite you into our kitchen and get to know more about the people behind the scenes of Team Green Chef. As the maestro of our culinary team, Executive Chef Dana shares about her upbringing, being a working mom, and how Green Chef makes it easy to learn how to cook.
What was it like eating at home growing up?
My mom’s from the South and her mother did all the cooking and never really taught her how to cook. So when it was my mom’s turn to cook for a family, she had the basics down, but she was still very nervous about cooking. So growing up for me, Monday night was hamburger night. Tuesday night was ravioli night. It was the same thing every night and every week. I always wanted to cook dinner myself. That’s why it’s so close to my heart to try and not repeat the same thing at Green Chef.
Tell us about the type of food you are passionate about.
Because I’m a working mom, I like simple foods. It’s about pairing great seasonal ingredients in a unique way. When I get home from work, I want to cook something easy but delicious. I bring that same philosophy to my recipes at Green Chef. It could be just chicken and vegetables, but we’ll do them with a sauce in a way that you’ve never had before. But at its core, it’s just chicken and vegetables—something that is familiar and comforting. For example, on our Memorial Day menu, we have a burger and coleslaw dish. But what makes it Green Chef is that it has bacon in the coleslaw and tomato jam to pair with the burger instead of ketchup. Simple, but good.
What do you want people to feel when they’re cooking Green Chef at home?
I want people to feel victorious. Cooking is a skill I take for granted sometimes. As a trained chef, I can open up my fridge, take some leftovers, and make a complete meal. That’s not something everyone can do easily. I think people tend to waste a lot of food and new foods can be intimidating, so people don’t try it.
People who even know how to cook, you just get into a rut. I find this even in my own personal life. You’re not going to go out and buy all these ingredients to make this Indian curry when you’re not sure how it’s going to turn out. You search for a recipe online and there’s so many different variations and you just don’t know which one is delicious. We make it easy to take a risk by sending everything to you. I tried making pad thai once for my husband and it needed fish sauce. You have to buy a whole bottle of fish sauce. And it’s not an ingredient I use often so it just sat in my cupboard for years and I wasted most of the bottle.
At Green Chef, we walk you through the process, we provide you with just what you need, and help you through with visuals and text on our recipe cards. We simplify some of the more complicated cooking processes. And at the end, you’ll have made a dinner that you’re proud of and will have learned something about cooking. Take poaching eggs as an example. Once you’ve done it successfully, you’re going to be excited that you just poached an egg. You’re not going to be scared to try it again because of Green Chef.
On being a mom and the importance of learning how to cook.
As parents, if we don’t learn how to cook, our kids won’t learn how to cook. I try to get Taya into the kitchen so it’s a bonding experience. She’s a teenager now and all she knows how to do is make a hot dog. She still doesn’t know the basic skills to feed herself. It’s about knowing how to cook pasta properly or whether a chicken is cooked through and safe to eat. Eventually when she graduates, she needs to know how to feed herself. And people don’t know how to do that anymore.
I was a good line cook in the past, but I’m a great home cook. As a mom that can’t work nights, Green Chef has provided me a great opportunity to share my passion for food. I know what makes sense for the home cook. When they get home, I know they don’t want to spend 1.5 hrs to make a dish. I’ve got picky kids at home. I even need Green Chef!
Leave us with 3 words about your culinary outlook.
Teach. Delicious. Comforting.
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