While visiting family in Michigan this year, I noticed a post from Chef Ryan Lopez. His food looked incredible! Discovering that he was a Michigander as well, I had to find out more about his career. His versatility shines from his private chef business, teaching cooking classes, and sharing his gifts with the community. He sets a fine example for all to follow. His star will continue to rise, and future culinarians will be inspired by his story and unique recipes. Visit his website http://www.chefrl.com
How did your passion for cooking start and who were your inspirations?
I started cooking around 14 years of age. Trying different recipes or just your basic cooking like eggs or baking with my mom. I really started to know that food was something special when I got my ﬁrst job as a busboy, also known as a tabletop technician at a golf club. There I observed food prepared by real chefs. After that job I knew I wanted to be a chef so I took myself into School craft college in Livonia, Mi and told them I wanted to be a chef!
What tips do you have for cooking creatively, and key ingredients you like for the most ﬂavor.
My tip for cooking creatively would be don’t be afraid to try new things If it happens to mess up it isn’t the end of the world. Trace your steps and ﬁnd out where things went wrong and don’t add that or don’t cook that so long/little. Get in the kitchen and give it a go you’ll do just ﬁne! I love using a combination of salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne in almost any recipe. It’s a balance mix and adds great ﬂavor. Also trying to use fresh herbs can really help elevate your dish.
Breakfast is a great time to use a whisk! What are your traditions for a special breakfast and/or breakfast for dinner?!
I love making breakfast fun with either rolling my pancakes into a breakfast taco or using cereal to coat my French toast . Breakfast time is special, from eggs, fruit, potatoes or different breads. Next time you cook breakfast have a little fun and try something you have never whipped up before.
Chef Ryan Lopez grew up in Michigan, where he learned at an early age that quality food was an essential ingredient to good living. He went to Culinary school at school craft college in Livonia Michigan. He trained under some of the best chefs in the country. After a 2 year culinary program he then set off working for some of the top restaurants in Michigan. He learned the passion for food and the quality for each dish at a high level. It wasn’t until 2 years after school he sought out to do what he has always wanted to, which is begin his private chef career. In 2011 he moved to Oklahoma to work for NBA star Kevin Durant. Chef Ryan has work for a number of charities in Oklahoma including March of dimes, Oklahoma regional food bank and YSOC. He has always believed in preparing fresh, nutritious meals to assist his clients in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Sally and Lisa Ekus, partners in The Lisa Ekus Group,
“whisking their culinary clients to success!”
Like an orchestra conductor with a baton, Lisa Ekus, Founder of the Lisa Ekus Group, LLC and her daughter Sally Ekus, Manager and Literary Agent unifies the culinary expert’s “orchestra”, sets the presentation “tempo” and shapes the “sound” of their message. This requires a large whisk as their “baton” to keep things cooking! It has been a pleasure to host many of their cookbooks authors on Cookin’ with Carol. I have also learned several tips on presenting successful cooking classes and writing book proposals from Lisa’s seminars at IACP conventions. I highly recommend their media training to anyone interested in improving their skills. With her dedication, professionalism and passion, Lisa has made a profound contribution to the culinary world. This inspiration continues in her kitchen with her family. This treasured recipe below is from Diane Cohen (Lisa’s mother, and Sally’s grandmother). As to the future of Lisa’s business, I know it is in good hands with her daughter Sally. A fine example of “Passing the Whisk!” www.LisaEkus.com http://www.facebook.com/TheLisaEkusGroup http://twitter.com/lisaekus
What traditions do you have for holiday meals?
Both my daughters always join me now in cooking the holiday meal. One’s specialty is savory dishes and the other loves to make pies. We laugh, talk, play sous chef with each other and create new delicious memories at every holiday.
What do you like to cook on a rainy day?
A big pot of either turkey chili or split pea soup. Anything that is hearty, slow simmering and comforting. I love slow braised foods.
How many whisks do you have, and what do you like to cook with them?
I have dozens of whisks, of every size and shape. The largest is the one in the picture. The smallest measures a mere 6 inches. I also have a special flat dough whisk, balloon whisks—both fat and narrow, and while most are metal, a few are fun colors. We use them for every dish that needs a whisk—from eggs to sauces and everything in between.
Diane Cohen’s Famous Family Salad Dressing
(Diane is Lisa’s mother and Sally’s grandmother)
Makes 2-4 servings
2-4 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ cup Seasoned rice vinegar (Make sure you get seasoned as this is key. Our family favorite brand is Marukan)
½ cup canola oil
¼ tsp dried mustard
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Add all ingredients to a glass jar and whisk vigorously. Feel free to shake with lid on tight right before you use. Best drizzled on salads, grilled veggies, meats, or as dipping sauce for steamed artichokes.
Photo by Kurt Ritchie
My friend Cindy Teczar is the one who started my whisk collection. I recall her saying “You need to collect something, I think whisks would be perfect, so here are some to get you started!”. Cindy was one of my first cooking class students along with her friend Linda Baughman. She is multi-talented and has an appreciation for art. Both Cindy & Linda have assisted me on my cooking show and various events. Going to featured exhibits at art museums with Cindy and Linda is so much fun. It definitely gives me the inspiration and drive to create and leave a lasting impression. I can’t even begin to tell you how much they have enriched my life! For many years, I have wanted to write about my whisk collection, but wasn’t quite sure what direction it would take. Starting this whisk movement is a big step for me. As hoped, it has already made an impact.
I am thrilled to share this video clip by Kurt Ritchie with you. My friend Cindy Teczar is the one who started my whisk collection. I recall her saying “You need to collect something, I think whisks would be perfect, so here are some to get you started!”. Cindy was one of my first cooking class students along with her friend Linda Baughman. She is multi-talented and has an appreciation for art. Both Cindy & Linda have assisted me on my cooking show and various events. Going to featured exhibits at art museums with Cindy and Linda is so much fun. It definitely gives me the inspiration and drive to create and leave a lasting impression. I can’t even begin to tell you how much they have enriched my life! For many years, I have wanted to write about my whisk collection, but wasn’t quite sure what direction it would take. Starting this whisk movement is a big step for me. As hoped, it has already made an impact.
Rose Levy Beranbaum has whisked up success with her award-winning cookbooks and culinary career. It was an honor to host her as a guest on Cookin’ with Carol. We made and stretched strudel dough together, a moment I will always treasure. I couldn’t wait to see which whisks she would share in her photo. I was also hoping she would pose in front of her iconic racks that hold her equipment. My wish came true and more! She shared a fantastic recipe for Cornstarch Stabilized Whipped Cream and heart warming answers to my questions below. Visit her website today, and I know you will be inspired to whisk up an amazing recipe right away! Her books are the perfect keepsake for yourself and for giving as gifts.
photo credit: Woody Wolston
Julia Child and the writings of MFK Fisher were my early inspirations.
51 years ago, when I first was married, a dear friend of the family gave me a whisk. I had never seen one before and I hardly knew what to do with it so I stored it in the garage until a visiting friend walked off with it thinking I didn’t want it. I watched that whisk disappear from my life and knew that I would always regret it.
I now have over 30 whisks of different sizes and shapes but the three I use the most often are the ones pictured. The smallest one I use the most often. I got it in Tokyo. The middle one is the next most often used and the huge one is the one I use to fold mixtures together without deflating them.
I use whisks to stir, to fold, and to aerate. I even have a copper one that I thought would stabilize egg whites without cream of tartar but it didn’t really work. I also have a little gold one I used to wear around my neck which got me through many a customs official, distracting them from the probably forbidden ingredient I was bringing into the country.
The whisk is the symbol of cooking but even more so of baking.
Cornstarch Stabilized Whipped Cream
Recipe Courtesy of Rose Levy Beranbaum posted with permission
Cornstarch is a terrific stabilizer for whipped cream. It will not hold up well at room temperature but it will keep for 2 days refrigerated. Refrigerate the mixing bowl or mixer bowl and the mixer’s beaters along with the cream. (If you are whipping 1-1/2 cups/355 ml or less of cream, a hand held mixer works better than a stand mixer.)
Makes: 2 cups
heavy cream 232 grams [1 cup (8 liquid ounces/237 ml), divided]
pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon (2.5 ml)
powdered sugar 14 grams (2 tablespoons)
cornstarch 1 teaspoon
Make the Whipped Cream
1) Into a small bowl pour 174 grams/3/4 cup/177 ml of the cream and the vanilla and refrigerate it covered, for at least 15 minutes.
2) In a small saucepan, place the powdered sugar and cornstarch. Gradually whisk in the remaining cream.
3) Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly with the whisk just until thickened.
4) Immediately scrape the mixture into a small bowl and allow it to cool just to room temperature. Stir in the vanilla and cover until ready to whip the cream.
5) Whip the refrigerated cream just until traces of the beater marks begin to appear.
6) Continuing by hand with a whisk, add the cooled cream mixture in 4 or 5 additions, whisking lightly after each one. Whip just until stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted.
When it comes to creativity, celebrating family and friends, and sharing their secrets of enjoying life to the fullest, I can count on my dear friends Kelly & Stan Girnas! They really have a zest for living and whisking up fun. Kelly was a guest on Cookin’ with Carol, and we have kept in touch throughout the years. She also enjoys photography, and created some whisk art included in this post. “One is a Whisk Selfie – lol – that’s a term you don’t hear everyday” says Kelly.
Kelly & Stan Girnas
Passion for cooking?
Stan’s passion for cooking began when he was a young Bachelor living in Pennsylvania, and he started watching the Galloping Gourmet on TV. He tried a few of the recipes, and found that he really enjoyed cooking.
Back in his “Swinging Single” crazy 1970’s time, he would host dinner parties at his home, and he recreated a Galloping Gourmet dessert of ice cream and waffles. He also admits that his cooking skills made him popular with the ladies 🙂
My passion began the first time I made my own grilled cheese and tomato soup at 9 years old. It was a simple meal and still my favorite comfort food, yet I felt so accomplished, and really enjoyed the act of preparing everything.
Traditions for holiday meals?
Growing up as a kid in NJ,my parents would wake my sister and I up at midnight on Christmas Eve to open presents. As very young children, we were told that Santa came to our house first, which always made us feel special.
It was such a magical time, and to this day, Christmas Eve is still my favorite! It would usually be snowing, and there would be Christmas carols on the stereo, and the tree twinkling with lights. Always laid out on the coffee table, there was always a delicious spread of cheese/crackers, cookies, candy and nuts. But my very favorite were the deviled eggs! My mom makes THE BEST deviled eggs, and they are so simple, with a light paprika dusting. I make them throughout the year, but to me, it would not be Christmas Eve without deviled eggs.
Passing on the traditions of the Whisk?
Both Stan and I would like to pass the whisk movement on to the younger generation in our family by inspiring a love for cooking and entertaining. Our good friend Nigel, has a daughter named Jamie that we are very close with. She is now 24, with a home of her own, and she has tremendous passion and talent for cooking and creating delicious meals. She will come over to our home, and we will cook together, and share recipes, and it has been really fun to see how much she truly enjoys the art of cooking! She hosted her very first Thanksgiving this year, and it was fantastic! Her turkey was one of the best I have ever tasted!