Chef Spotlight on Lynne Tolentino

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It’s quite amazing how things change and evolve. When I was younger, I remember everyone cooking all around me. I can still smell the aromas coming from the kitchen. It’s intriguing what smells and sounds stick with you. The loud voices that accompanied the loud banging of the kitchen pots and pans, while some family members were so quiet in the kitchen – both produced my childhood taste-buds, and I thank them. They were the faces that represented what Filipino meals looked like to me. However, there were absolutely no professional Chefs on TV or in magazines, that represented my heritage and culture. But it’s incredible. Now, 2018, our world is saturated with talent from all countries and from all walks of life. You hear stories all the time of those who quit their corporate office jobs to pursue their dreams.

I think one of the best things that has come out of this evolution and this internet-age is social media.  Through social media, there are no limits on who you can meet. The variety of meals and how meals are prepped are endless. We have a bigger platform where we can use voices and share our dreams. You can meet people who share your culture or maybe come across individuals that represent a culture you don’t know anything about. But I think chasing dreams and making them happen is a universal and unbiased part of living. Creating the life you want truly corresponds to taping into your passion and that state of mind that can sometimes be uncomfortable. And I think taking those leaps of faith can bring fear and doubt; I have so much respect for people that design their life – the way they say, and the way they want. It’s brave. It’s authentic. It demonstrates the fact that we were all created differently and the people around us, our peers, the individuals young and old could possibly be inspired by those same people who are their own leaders – and music makers.

I found Lynne Tolentino through another friend who happens to be a part of a largely successful podcast called TigerBelly via Youtube streams, so thank you Gilbert. Lynne’s feed on Instagram instantly caught my attention. Getting to know her has been is pretty amazing, our mini interview has made me proud to know that we share ancestors from the same country, The Philippines. Please read further and get to know one of the top Chefs in California. Lynne, it was a pleasure and I can’t wait to collaborate even further and I’ll see you in Cali girl!

What type of Chef are you?
I was trained Classic French Fine Dining. But now I cook Filipino French Fusion.

When did you find this passion?
I always had the passion to cook since I was 8 years old. As I got older I went to medical school and became a Nurse. As I worked as a nurse I was incredibly unhappy and bored. I made the decision to quit and put myself through culinary school and work my way up the ranks within the kitchens I worked in.

Does it run in your family?
Absolutely, Both of my Parents cooked my entire childhood and as well as both grandparents on each side. Our main conversations I remembered as a child were always revolving around food.
What is your nationality? And what does your culture and heritage mean to you?

I am Filipino, African American, & Italian. My culture and heritage are the most important to me. Growing up, food was for us to survive. My father had a garden where we were taught how to plant and harvest. We were always taught to respect and be thankful to have food in our home, as for some families they didn’t have any. My culture and Heritage have me humbled to cook with respect and love.

What do you enjoy most about creating and cooking?

What I enjoy the most about creating and cooking are putting ideas together. And that anxious feeling to see if what we were brainstorming comes out to what we were expecting. And if it was a fail, then thats more exciting because we learned something new and now trying to figure out what we can do to make it better. I really enjoy learning everyday. Keeps me on my toes and keeps me from being stagnant. I was taught early in my career that learning something new everyday is the most important.

What challenges did you face to get to where you are now?

The biggest challenge I have right now is running the entire restaurant on my own. We don’t have a General Manager at our restaurant because we are  a pop-up so I would have to be the Chef & GM. I have a great team for FOH and BOH. We all work great together and make sure that our communication is solid.

Are there favourite dishes you love to prepare? 
It totally depends what season it is,  but right now my favorite dishes I like to prepare are Soups and Desserts. Recently added our Arroz Caldo (Filipino Rice Porridge) to our menu and our guests love it. It’s really comforting and simple. It has great flavors of rice, onions, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce. We garnish the dish with Seared pork cheeks, Circulated Egg, Quail Eggs, chicharron, and calamansi. I love putting together dessert dishes because its one of the things I feel that I need to work on because I am not a pastry chef. I like to take filipino desserts and incorporate it into something completely different but still have the authentic filipino flavors.
How have you evolved as a person?
I definitely evolved as a person. Being in this industry opened my eyes to hospitality and seasonality. Food makes the world go round, without it we will not survive. I trained under great chefs who were great leaders and I learned a lot from them all. I went from Nursing to the restaurant industry. Two totally different fields but both have one main focus, Customer Service & Hospitality. Having experiences from both fields definitely evolved me to be more Strong, Patient, Humble, respectful, and always hungry to learn.
What advice would you give a young girl or boy who has similar dreams?
My advice to the youngsters: This is a very hard field. Be ready to work many many hours and be underpaid. Its a field of passion, drive, and devotion. Anyone can have passion but without having the drive and devotion, you’ll feel stuck. Things you see on TV are not exactly how it is in the kitchen. Be ready to Sweat, Bleed, and Cry. All of this, will make you a stronger person inside out. Always be hungry to learn. Always be a team player. A chef will ALWAYS BE A COOK, Chefs are nothing without their cooks on their team. Many chefs would say “One Team, One Dream” its absolutely true. The kitchen will be your life and your family. If one fails we all fail. If one succeed, we all succeed.
You can find Lynne Tolentino and her original creations here:
Instagram:  @lynneTolentino
Papilles Bistro
6221 Franklin Ave.
Los Angeles, California
90028
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Green Bean Parm Casserole Recipe up!

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Are you counting down? The holidays are fast approaching! I will be posting new recipes; you can find them on the RECIPE tab! These quick solutions can mean a whole lot of difference between camping out in the kitchen or having true quality time with loved ones! Hope you enjoy them while spreading love and cheer with your family & friends!

Photo credit: Corinne Taylor

10 Tips for Grocery Shopping

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A trip to the local store or fresh market sounds easy enough, right? Well, it is however there are little tricks you can do to save money, be a little more pantry-organized and good to your body.

  1. Lists, lists, lists! Whether it’s a memory thing or an organizational thing or even an OCD thing, a good old fashion list can make or break your budget. Instead of going through the same aisles 3-4 times or buying things that you really really don’t need, a list can save you from all that trouble. I don’t miss those guessing-game visits only to find I bought the same thing twice two weeks ago. Preparation is also a grand tool.
  2. Cupboard/Fridge walk-through: Have you ever stared at certain product on a store shelf, asking yourself if you’re out of something or if you have it in stock – looking at the label like it’s gonna jump out and tell you? Doing a quick run-through of what you have, need and don’t have can be a time-saver. It only takes a few minutes before you leave the house.
  3. Big box, little box: If you’re making a run to the market and head for the carts, you might start filling that big empty space with items you probably don’t need. Sticking to the list can be a challenge for some already; so grabbing a smaller size basket instead, will steer your way through the store with a clearer mind.
  4. Purchase in bulk: Thank you Costco! Is there anything that needs to be said for buying in bulk? Whether you are buying a large amount of quinoa or extra large jugs of olive oil, you’re always going to save on time and money. Thinking ahead, preparing yourself and your home are always feel-good plans.
  5. Scheduling: Often times it seems like common sense to complete all errands on the weekends. Is it a fun idea when everyone in your town thinks so too? Shopping during less-traffic hours of operation can help you achieve a smoother trip. When there is more space to concentrate and less bustle, you’ll most likely make better decisions. Making a visit Monday – Wednesday after work will cut down on distractions.
  6. Nutritional Facts is a fact: It’s almost produce-law that the more hands that touch your food, the more unhealthy it is for you. And chances are, the items found without a label are smarter choices. Have you ever seen someone check the nutritional facts as they grab a handful of green beans? That never happens! Good choices lead to good habits.
  7. Full belly shopping syndrome: It’s an old theory that you should never go grocery shopping with an empty stomach. You probably hear it a lot, and that’s because it’s very true. Arriving at a place that has access to your favorite foods and sometimes sample tables can really alter your purpose. You’ll end up purchasing items you probably don’t need, which stems to a bigger issues: wasting time, wasting food and wasting money.
  8. What’s in a label? I never believed in torture or depriving yourself of something. Moderation is definitely key. However, when you are shopping with a plan with your consumption on the horizon, checking ingredient lists can be a good thing. If you start paying attention to what you are buying from the middle section of the store, you might find ingredients that you either can’t pronounce or have no idea what they are. And that should pose for some concern if not a huge red flag, what are these chemicals that you are feeding your family? And is it worth looking into replacements?
  9. Lessons in Exploration Your attitude with about your food intake and reasons for breathing can impact so many areas in your life. There’s tons of good, nutritious foods out there that are calling your name. Be adventurous and brave when it comes to stepping out of your comfort zone. Try healthier options. Even something as simple as picking up a different colour pear or an odd looking vegetable can enhance the course of your intentions. Maybe cooking a whole meal without any packaged/manufactured food could be a good start for you. Small changes can truly truly create better long term health.
  10. Conscious Purpose! The point of replenishing your home is to replenish you and your families well-being. Creating an understanding of the importance of fresh food and less-manufactured items will really help you and your family get ahead. And get healthy! Being conscious of the consequences with junk food and what it really does can affect your mood, what you need to accomplish, it affects your lifestyle and future. Happy shopping and have fun!

 

Shortcuts & Holidays

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It took many frozen and burnt turkeys to get to a place of kitchen-calm. I’ve learned a long time ago that my dishes had to be created with strategy. I promised myself that it was time to enjoy family and share meals that didn’t take very long to put together. And with time, short-cuts evolved, ingredient replacements evolved and the biggest one of all, I found myself with new confidence pertaining to cooking, planning and living. On my site, I share it all and I am willing to learn how to improve. Hope you enjoy! And if you ever decide to create my recipes, make them your own and then let me know how it goes!! Check Recipe tab for new recipes weekly! Leigh xx

 

Photo credit: Corinne Taylor

Intro: Stumbling & Winging it

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This is usually where I introduce myself and write two truths and a lie, right? Well, to defeat all blog-traditions and cloud rules, I’ll make it simple and completely brief. That photo of me right above this blurb, well, sums it all up. All I want to do is laugh… and ok, eat. I love empowering my kids and my family.  I love helping people. And thanks to my parents, I’ve embraced the fact that I bring a certain weirdness and authenticity to this world. (Thank you Phil & Thess.)

@SeedsOfThree is my Instagram handle and it was created to document the new foods my family and I were trying, loving and disliking. I came up with the name one fall afternoon and saved it without a second thought. Slowly, and like the snowball effect (winter… bleh) I was getting questions. A few people from across the globe, probably using free-cafe wifi,  DM’d me, asking questions like ‘how do I get my kid to eat anything green?‘ or “what is a homemade dish I can make when I meet my boyfriends parents for the first time?” The list of questions went on and on, and to be honest, it floored me. It continues to floor me. You know, I truly think that you never ever get to learn EVERYTHING. I literally wake up, smile and give the day my best. And sometimes it works out and I’m that crazy women in High Park doing uncoordinated jumping jacks in celebration. And other days, it’s a progress. The bigger picture is that I remind myself, all of these collection of days are ALL OK. There is no rule book on how to feed your kids. There’s not a decibel level on how loud you can laugh. And there isn’t another version of you that can do it better than YOU.

I welcome you to my little humble space here and thank you for visiting. My little wins, shared love or strange experiences will most likely be captured here on a weekly basis. I thank you again!

With love,
Leigh xx

Photo credit: Corinne Taylor