To kick off the New Year, I wanted to interview a young chef. I wanted the world to applaud young talent breaking molds and setting trends.
Instead, I looked further, and found someone who’s been in the coking world for over 50 years, and blazed the trail for chefs to follow.
Chef Joe Randall.
If you want to hear some wisdom, he had decades of it. Dozens of radio, TV, newspaper and magazine articles have been written about him.
Randall is part of a display in the National Smithsonian Institute. His quotes about entrepreneurship, creativity, perseverance and commitment can serve as an inspiration to chefs young and old.
“Culinary is about you doing something with your hands to please other people”
It’s all about the customer
When you cook for yourself, you prepare the meal according to your taste buds. But when cook for others, it’s all about how to please the customer, not to mention how to stay in line with today’s dietary guidelines.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services provides dietary guidelines for Americans. The guidelines are released every five years. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that a healthy pattern should limit saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars and sodium, and increase the variety of whole fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Several restaurants use the Dietary Guidelines as a way to expand their menu range.
“If you hang around long enough somebody will say something nice about you”
Be Sincere About What You Do
If you’re a chef, one of the best ways to get noticed is to make your presence known on social media. Many chefs expand their audience by teaching cooking classes or by publishing books. But the best kind of respect is when others notice that you’re sincere about what you do, and when you make an effort to help someone else in the profession.
Randall started cooking while he was in the Air Force. He worked under two award-winning chefs in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Randall worked in Sacramento, California, then Buffalo, New York, and at the Fishmarket in Baltimore. In the late 1990s, Randall was offered a job as director of food service at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Randall’s career spans over 50 years, and yes, he has a cookbook,“A Taste of Heritage: The New African American Cuisine.” He’s also helping to honor and preserve African American culinary heritage and inspire the next generation and serves as the president of the Edna Lewis Foundation.
“Food does not have to be complicated. Keep it simple. Make it taste good”
Start with Basic Ingredients
Randall recipes are influenced by Lowcountry cuisine. Lowcountry cuisine is a medley of international influences such as African, French, English, and Caribbean loaded by influences of seafood: Crabs, shrimp, fish, and oysters. When slaves came to the U.S., they also bought their culture of plants from West Africa and a knowledge of marsh cultivation of rice. From his Savannah Crabcakes to his Ordinary Scallops, Randall recipes are about using basic ingredients. If you’re trying to make a scrumptious meal, but you’re on a tight budget, use what you have, and plan for luxury later.
The recipe for his Ordinary Scallops may be view here: