Why Chef Mario Rocks

By Holly Hopkins

Holly has been with us since 2016 and has seen Chef Mario's through some big changes in her short time here! You can find Holly spending time in the kitchen baking up a storm as our on-staff Pastry Chef or making deliveries so she can have face-time with our clients or ringing up cafe clients or at her desk working on menus, correspondence, inquiries, and all the other details that go into making a business run smoothly.

March 18, 2019

So, I know, everyone says they are the best, I totally get it! And, while I may be a bit biased, I just have to say that we here at Chef Mario’s Inc. are the best! But, wait, before you hit the back button or just close out of this window, let me fill you in on a few reasons WHY we are awesome and take some time to explain some of the things that make us special so you will believe me when I say that we rock!

1. We are a Chef Owned and Chef-Driven operation. That means our owner is our Chef and he doesn’t just sit behind a computer while a bunch of employees throw things together in the kitchen. Chef actually works WITH our staff in the kitchen every day! He has his brain on the menu and his hands on the food we cook and sell here in our kitchen. He is inspired every day to create the tastiest, freshest food for our clients from our Cafe guests, to our Catering and Personal Chef clients. Chef knows a thing or two about food as he has been cooking and creating dishes – basically doing what he loves, for over 25 years. We don’t buy recipes from any franchise; we don’t use pre-made foods to heat up and sell to you; we don’t rely on bags of frozen ‘what-ever’ to be part of our dishes. We cook from scratch every day! Chef has been know to say “I just can’t do a bad job.” And, he proves that with every single dish that comes out of our kitchen.

2. We employ a ‘One Ingredient Approach’ to our cooking. This means we cook from scratch every day. We crack our eggs fresh for your breakfasts. We grate our own Cheddar to avoid the anti-coagulants found in most pre-shredded cheeses. We wash, trim, and prep all of our fruit and vegetables by hand to avoid the preservatives found in many pre-cut options offered by suppliers. We buy fresh proteins that aren’t pumped full of preservatives or sodium solutions. Nope, none of that! We avoid pre-made frozen dishes; boxed and powdered mixes; and canned and jarred marinades and sauces. We even make our own sweets and pastries from scratch every week. In sum, we load your dishes with ingredients that you would actually recognize and know how to pronounce. We would never open a bag of ‘chicken tenders’ and dump them into a fryer (P.S. We don’t even have a fryer) to serve with some Instant Rice and frozen, bagged broccoli, with bottled Ranch Dressing for dipping. This type of cooking isn’t cheap, fast, or easy! It takes time, attention, and effort! All of this makes our food taste better and our clients can definitely feel better knowing what is in their food, really!

3. We actually specialize in Catering. I know these days you can get “catering” from almost any restaurant, fast food establishment, and even grocery stores; but what you get from us sets us above and beyond all of those other options. Why order in the same stuff you can get if you go to their establishment; delivered and just plopped down on your table or front desk; prepared in huge bulk with little acknowledgment to your personal event in mind? With our Catering Options, we bring the food to you, set it up to look appealing, and be sure you have everything you need for YOUR group. With our menu, you have so many choices and variety that we highly doubt you would get bored. Plus, there is no other way to get our delicious food. Also, we chatted about above, we make everything from scratch! We have clients that we have been cooking for for years! Yeah – it’s that good!

4. We work hard to develop a relationship with our clients. I, or my assistant, are on the other end of that e-mail or phone call when you reach out with your catering order or questions. You don’t just click a few buttons, fill in your credit card number, and hope for the best. We will get to know each other and you will trust that we have your best interests at heart and want to make you shine in your role. We have several clients who call and just say ‘send me lunch’, trusting us to get them what they need and will love. And, they are always happy with the final setup and options that we selected for them. That is when I know we have done our job well! The compliments you get from your attendees is of utmost importance. When you are a star, we are successful.

5. Our food looks as good as it tastes! It is always a huge compliment to us when clients look at the buffet we have set up and say “it looks so nice I don’t want to dig into it”. But, wait for it…you will love how it tastes just as much as you enjoyed looking at it. We love to hear the ooo’s and ahhhh’s when we are done with our set-up. We treat every event as a special occasion. Just because your group

6. Fresh. Yup, it is as simple as that. Chef personally shops for the vast majority of our ingredients. He can pick out exactly what he wants, read ingredient labels, see the quality of the produce, examine the cuts of meat, watch for quality of everything. We don’t use lunch meat here – nope! When you order a sandwich in the Cafe or a Box Lunch or Bistro Platter for Catering, we give you real Steak, Hand-sliced Ham, or Roasted and sliced chicken breast – no pressed lunch meat comes out of our kitchen! We don’t buy IQF Chicken Breasts that typically contain a sodium solution; instead, Chef buys fresh chicken breasts and trims them to be sure we have the best cuts we can get. We use whole, fresh vegetables – we don’t get the pre-cut, pre-diced, pre-shredded stuff from a produce company. We make all of our own Salad Dressings fresh, from scratch: no packets of Buttermilk Ranch Powder, or Balsamic Seasoning here, no way! We bake all of our own breakfast breads, sweets, and cookies here too (you should see how much we spend on Butter…!) Everything. Every day. Every recipe. Of course, there are a few things we leave to the experts: soy sauce, mustard, vinegar, hot sauce, maynaise (although we do whip up a good aioli when we need a Paleo creamy dressing), regular Ketchup (but our Paleo ketchup is scratch-made), and our breads (we use locally sourced bread from Neomonde and proof and bake our own Kaisers and dinner rolls for Caterings). Overall, we are pretty proud of our work on being as Fresh as possible. Yes, it takes more time and effort, but the flavor and pride is totally worth it.

7. Chef puts his heart on a plate every day. Really. He cares about how everything looks and tastes every day. It doesn’t matter if it is the eight millionth time he has made it, he wants it to look the best it can be. He knows you eat with your eyes before your taste buds. He cares about both! Chef wants your lunch/dinner/snack/sandwich/soup, etc. from us to be one you remember fondly and look forward to having again!

So, there, that pretty much sums it up! Thanks for sticking with me and indulging me in a little self-promotion to describe why we are so great. I have been in the food business for a long time and I came into this job knowing that this gig was going to be fun, challenging, exciting, and full of new adventures at the same time. And, now I have a new website to boot! Most of all, I knew I would be proud to sell our food and our services to anybody and everybody because of the quality and beauty of the food and because I have a Chef who truly cares about each and every customer each and every day! We can’t wait to cook for you!

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