Chef Ivan Flowers has been an important member of TheCelebrityCafe.com family since 2014, and this week he is releasing his 60th cooking lesson to us. His lessons are easy to follow and offer practical solutions to many kitchen challenges. His diverse selection of recipe offerings and suggestions on a variety of dishes. Who else would have thought of 40 uses for watermelon?
Distinguished Chef Flowers brought 25 years of fine cuisine experience to Top of The Market, San Diego, CA. He had been Executive chef in Fournos, in Sedona, Arizona, which is one of the top 25 restaurants in Arizona. We are thrilled that he has chosen to impart his wisdom to us and our readers.
His cooking columns are fun to read and are never condescending. Something he does that is unique is that he always ties his previous columns into his newest ones so there is always a good sense of continuity. He always leaves room for the at-home cook to make changes to suite their individual tastes.
In his lessons 14 and 15, he offers 15-minute meal tips that are great to do when you don’t have much time, but are still craving something delicious. Chef Flowers has taught us how to elevate common dishes like fried chicken, chicken wings, tuna casserole, hot dogs, meatloaf and burgers. And boy, does he know his way around meat.
Not only does he tell us what each cut is, but also how best to prepare it to bring out the best flavor. Sometimes he will assist in giving tips to prepare holiday meals, but it is his explanations for using simple ingredients like eggs and butter are so helpful. With almost every dish he offers up a sauce recipe that truly takes these meals to the next level. It is no wonder why his compound butter column was so popular!
In thanks for his years of great cooking columns and us looking forward to his next 60+ lessons, we have compiled the top 10 cooking classes by Chef Ivan Flowers.
Fresh ham tips
Almost every chef or home cook has their own spin on how to make a Thanksgiving feast, but finding someone who can take the fear out of preparing a holiday ham is a rare thing. Chef Flowers tells us not only how to make this crowd-pleasing delight, but also how to tailor it to your own taste buds. He takes the fear out of making this dish from scratch, and the results just sound so yummy.
Much like his sandwich lessons, which truly teach home cooks how to properly construct a culinary delight that brings out the best of the ingredients and does not cause a soggy mess, his bruschetta lesson gives an offering of toppings that delight many palates. Whether you prefer a simple garlic oil with tomatoes, or wish for something a little heartier, Chef Flowers shows his readers the way to turn toasted/grilled bread into something special.
What would a chef or home cook be without the proper equipment? The problem is that many people just don’t know what are the right tools for each task? What kind of knives do I really need and what is the proper way to store them? What about pans? Do I really need ten different kinds of pots and pans? What about a blender? He guides you through the tools everyone needs and wants to have an easier time in the kitchen.
Many of Chef Flowers’ tips have a seasonal feel to them. While his holiday fare always comes at the right moment, he also displayed the same practical know-how when it comes to lighter food, that maybe wanted because it is hot outside, or because bathing suit season is upon us. His ceviche class is structured a bit different than most of the others as it provides a list of what is needed, and then he goes through the steps to make this delicious cool dish by way of Peru.
Do you know when do you braise, roast or grill a piece of meat? Well, making a brisket is best when it is cooked low and slow. Chef Flower’s recipe sounds delicious on its own, but the horseradish cream sauce makes this even better.
The test of a good cook is how well they prepare eggs. This thought can be so off-putting to some home cooks, that they may be inclined to stay away from omelets or poached eggs because it seems too easy to make a mistake and ruin a dish. His tip for using club soda in omelets does make for lighter, fluffier eggs. In this column, we are taught not to fear, and how to make a variety of egg applications without breaking out into a cold sweat.
So you don’t know a filet from a strip? You are in luck, because in Chef Flowers’ 50th column, he guides us through what steak is best for application and how to cook it properly.
One of the best summer treats is fresh corn. While good boiled or grilled, Chef Flowers’ take is a way to enjoy this favorite food in a different way.
Chicken Parmesan Sandwich
Chef Flowers is a master of the sandwich. Whether it is a grilled croque monsieur or a special BLT, he teaches us how to make these bites shine. However, it is his chicken Parmesan sandwich that really makes a mouth water.
OK, butter sometimes has a bad reputation, but there is no substitute for flavor. And each kind of butter, be it clarified, sweet or salted has a different use. He also explains the importance of proportion as not to overpower a dish by using too many strong flavors. In his most popular lesson, he teaches how to combine both savory and sweet ingredients. These can be used to make most dishes better, without putting extra stress on the home cook.