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Chef Mike Hoffman

 

Chef at The Chopping Block since: 2019

Favorite class to teach: Tiki Time

Training/education: Bachelors Degree in Baking & Pastry Arts from Johnson & Wales University 

Cooking since: 2008

Favorite childhood food experience: Baking Christmas cookies with my mom

What made you want to become a chef? I don’t think there was one thing that made me want to become a chef. It was always something I had deep down.

What is your signature dish? Chocolates shaped like oysters with a strawberry basil ganache filling

What are the 5 ingredients you can't live without? Chocolate, sugar, salt, cream, eggs

What do you love about cooking? I love that it is both a science and an art at the same time. 

When you're creating a new recipe, what influences and inspires you? Nature, whatever is in season has a big influence and nature itself inspires me.

What advice would you give a new cook? NEVER stop learning. Even when you think you have mastered a skill or a dish, it can always be better.

What are you doing when you're not cooking? You can find me on stage performing stand up.

Describe your perfect evening. My perfect evening would be grabbing some good food then going to see some live jazz with a nice bottle of wine, and maybe shooting some pool afterwards.

If you had friends in from out of town, where would you take them to eat? Colda Di Volpa 

Where are you from? I’m from Oakville, Connecticut.

What was your favorite vacation? Going to Cape Cod as a kid to visit my grandparents. I would go clamming with my grandfather.

What are your hobbies? Stand-up comedy, working out and learning about wine

What is your favorite band? Lake Street Dive

What is your favorite sports team? The New York Mets

If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be? Executive Chef of Blue Hill at Stone Barns Dan Barber

What are your guilty pleasures? Cape Cod Potato chips and Helleva Good Dip Horseradish 

Who is your favorite celebrity chef? Marco Pierre White

What 5 tools should every new cook have in the kitchen? Chef knife, paring knife, bread knife, cast iron pan and a bench scraper

What resources would you suggest for Chopping Block clients? YouTube - it’s a great place to find videos on the basics.

List three of your favorite tips or techniques you use in the kitchen. 

  • The way you tell pate a choux is done is by running your finger through the choux paste and watch how it comes back together.

  • Showing people the difference between under salted food and properly salted food and how much brighter the flavors get.

  • Showing people how to make garlic paste using salt and a chef knife.

Mike's Favorite Tool

MahoganyBenchScraperI love the bench or dough scraper. It is one of the most universal tools in a kitchen and it’s also great for clean up.