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Meet Joey: Delivery/Prep Chef Extraordinaire

8 Apr

When Joey walked into the kitchen his first night to work as a delivery man, we thought we had a problem. See, my nickname is Jo and so was his… which would have probably pushed our chaotic culinary scrambling over the edge into extreme confusion and eventual meltdown. However, in his easy-going manner that we have learned to expect day-in and day-out, the newest Kitchen member accepted the alternative nickname Joey and it has stuck ever since.

That is, of course, when Nate and Jordan haven’t decided to call him one of the dozen other endearing names they have come up with over the course of many long nights working until all the dishes are clean and the floors scrubbed. Some of them include (but are not limited to): Joey Puddings, Josiah, Biker Joey, Joseph A. Bank (how ironic), and many more.

Joey started out delivering for us, and loved the Kitchen feel (or was crazy enough) to come on full time as Prep Chef before service begins, delivery man while service is going on, and assistant cleaner to all but Nate, who doesn’t clean much anyways. Asked what he likes to do outside of the kitchen, Joey answers simply that he “loves to make things – anything.” This ranges from the mouth-watering fudgy brownies that he brought in one night for us to try (and which have subsequently become a staple dessert on our menu) to wood projects.

Whether for his constant smile and charm, or the fun he brings to the kitchen be it through some random fifties jazz music or stories about his dreams of traveling cross country on his bike, Joey is an invaluable addition to our team. Despite his odd taste in food – he wanted Jordan to make him spaghetti with tomato sauce and chunks of cheddar cheese last night – we are all very happy to have him aboard. Plus, what would we do with the old mac and cheese if he weren’t there to finish it off each night?

Joey in his element, biscuit and utensils in hand.

 

Oh what a night!

23 Mar

“Hi, this is Joanna from Kitchen at Penn. We are just calling to confirm your order – it is the same one that we received and filled two hours ago… Chicken Pot Pie, no mushrooms. Did you receive your first order already?”

“Oh yeah, I got the first one. I just liked it so much I wanted another meal.”

Music to our ears. Having been through the first month of service, where some technical problems combined with lack of expertise in the kitchen (I myself am guilty as charged) has led to several mishaps filling orders that don’t exist, doubling orders accidentally, etc. etc., realizing a double order was not a mistake but rather a deliberate compliment to our cuisine was a welcome event.

So, we prepped two more of our little handheld Chicken Pot Pies, baked them to perfection, and added a side of roasted Sweet Potato Wedges (instead of the Garlic Mashed that were part of the first order.) I can’t tell you what a sense of pride it gave me to seal the bag with a Kitchen sticker and send out a second meal to the same person in the same night, just because the food was so good he couldn’t get enough.

In other news, that same Tuesday broke a record for us with the highest number of orders we have ever received. It can partially be attributed to Nate and Dan’s efforts earlier in the day, where they passed out samples of our Banana Bread Pudding on Locust Walk, as well as menus which included info about our new days and specials. But, it was also the fact that the food was on spot, delivered on time, with delicious results.

Tonight we are trying a few new things – a Salmon with oil, lemon and herbs as well as Eggplant Parmesan (a specialty of Nate’s). If you happen to find yourself in Philly, give either of them a try. But if, as we predict, our readers are mostly (well, entirely) our families – then just drool from where you are and promise to order the next time you are visiting us!

Bringing Kitchen Home

9 Mar

Traveling home on the long two-leg train ride for my 10 day spring break, I let myself breathe an ever-so-slight sigh of relief that I would have a rejuvenating respite from the first few hectic weeks of working in the Kitchen. This idea was short-lived, however, when my dad picked me up from the train station, and we drove directly to Trader Joe’s where he had left my mom and little sister to pick up goodies for the upcoming week. After learning so much from Jordan, how could I not pick up the ingredients to make some of my favorite Kitchen at Penn dishes for my family? So of course I naturally gravitated towards the semolina flour, the green beans and chicken, and obviously butter, that would allow me to re-create some of my newfound home in Philadelphia for my parents and little sister.

First came my personal favorite: chicken pot pie. Baked as usual with the pie crust bottom and biscuit topping, the simmered chicken and vegetables coated in béchamel nestled beautifully (and de-virginized) my new green pie dish. The reception was positive all around, confirmed in the following days by my mom (the queen of leftovers) eating both remaining pieces for two consecutive lunches. The extra biscuit dough, in true Kitchen style, was made into tiny biscuits shaped like stars instead of hearts, and devoured by my sister as dessert… they are just that delicious.

The next day I made Turkey Burgers, on english muffins, with Jordan’s toppings minus the avocado. Having forgotten to check with Jordan about what goes into the lemon-dijon sauce, I just had to eyeball it. But, the sauce did get an approving comment from my dad who hates turkey burgers, so that says something. The other thing that I took away from Kitchen was making the entire burger ensemble so thick that it took significant effort and forethought to actually manage to fit a bite in your mouth. Excellent.

Tonight I made ravioli, which isn’t exactly on our menu, but making fresh pasta is a skill that I have picked up at Kitchen. It was a simple cheese filling, and the pasta (rolled out very thin – I know Jordan, if you have to ask if it is thin enough, it isn’t!) still managed to taste delicious. Only issue was I undercooked the pasta, worrying that the thinner parts would burst and let the cheese seep out. Despite this, my family still downed more than their fair share, and I think we might have a new Kitchen special in the making…

Not to worry, I have experimented in my “off” time with other recipes too – a caesar swordfish that makes my mouth water just thinking about it, a rectangular pizza with tuscan sauce, tomatoes, mozzarella and shredded basil, and last but not least creamed corn made with reserves from the summer harvest at our cousin’s farm. Maybe some of these will make it onto the specials section, and my kitchen at home will continue the exchange with Kitchen at Penn.

Penn Current Interview

23 Feb

Check out Penn Current’s (the University’s faculty and staff newspaper) interview with Nate about how he got the idea to begin Kitchen at Penn here. While you are at it, appreciate Nate’s facial expression in the featured photo, inserted below. The smug smile, half raised eyebrow – oozing confidence as he rolls ground turkey. What a baller.

Photo Credit: Mark Stehle

Thrillist Coverage

12 Feb

Ch-ch-check it out: http://www.thrillist.com/node/205318#axzz1Dmk9PE7r

Front Page of the DP!

12 Feb

Our phones and e-mails were blowing up after front page coverage in Penn’s student newspaper, with friends from across campus commenting on this great article written by Hayley Brooks, who ventured out to Kitchen with a DP videographer to capture the essence of what we do.

Click on this Kitchen Interview by The Daily Pennsylvanian to check out their video about what goes on in our kitchen. Included are shots of shirts screen-printed by Joanna and the lovely Caroline Acheatal. The tag on the hat (not the hat itself) was made by them as well.

Photo Credit: Alexandra Fleischman

OPENING TONIGHT

9 Feb

The (little) big day is finally here : our (soft) OPENING. Last weekend was just a trial run in comparison to what will happen tonight… the phone line will be open, the ordering platform up, and lots of food prepped and ready for tasty final touches to be sent on its way. Finally, our delectable Chicken Pot Pie, tender Seared Tuna, savory Vegan Bastilla, not to mention a whole array of other dishes will be available for your ordering pleasure.

To make the day even better, The Daily Pennsylvanian wrote a great article about us which can be found here for your reading pleasure. This is a photo from their shoot. Photo Credit: Alexandra Fleischman

Hope you are as excited as we are for the scrumptious chaos to follow!

SuperBowl = Wings

7 Feb

Certain days just scream for special foods (be you a foodie or not) and Sunday was one of those. Besides extravagant commercials and a predictably disappointing half-time show, oh wait and a pretty important football game, the SuperBowl demands a plethora of mouth-watering, finger-licking, can’t-stop-eating chicken wings.

And man, did we provide. Despite being a last minute special, Chef Jordan and Nate were able to pull together 400 scrumptious wings for the Beta boys to enjoy while they chowed down and watched the big game. Nate even got there in time to enjoy some of the action himself. All we can say is THANK YOU to days that demand deliciousness.

Extra! Extra! Read All About Us!

3 Feb

A few prestigious publications have written a bit about us (well, we like to think they are prestigious.) Check out all the press we have been getting, and our Press Release – announcing our arrival to the Philly Foodie Scene.

And last but not least, our PRESS RELEASE. Will update with more blurbs/articles/what-have-you once they are written!