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Decadent Paleo Chocolate Frosted Mini Chocolate Cakes

choc cupcakes

Whether you’re a seasoned Paleo pro, or a recent New Year’s Resolution means you’re just dipping your toes into the healthy waters, swapping traditional dessert ingredients may be somewhat daunting. After all, can you imagine baking without dairy, butter, and wheat flour? We sure can! Below, we take all of the guess work out of creating a decadent chocolate treat, and show you how to bake your way to Paleo bliss with our double chocolate mini cakes.

Recipe Yields: 24 Cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients
  • 3 cups , sifted
  • 1 cup , sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 4 organic pastured-chicken eggs (or egg substitute)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted down
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 miniature unsweetened chocolate chips
Frosting Ingredients
  • 9 oz dark unsweetened chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Baking The Cakes
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F, and lightly spray cupcake tins with coconut spray. If preferred, you can line cupcake tins with liners, but these mini cakes look a lot fancier on their own!
  2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (almond flour, baking soda and powder, sea salt, coconut sugar, cocoa powder). Whisk under well combined.
  3. In a mixer bowl with paddle attachment, cream all wet ingredients together on medium speed (non-dairy milk, eggs, vanilla, melted coconut oil, and applesauce). Pause to scrape down bowl, and continue to mix until all ingredients have been incorporated.
  4. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then mix on low speed (to avoid dry ingredients flying out of bowl), and switch to medium speed after most of the dry ingredient additions have been absorbed. After 1 minute, pause to scrape bowl, add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients, and repeat the process until all dry ingredients have been incorporated.
  5. Fill each cupcake reservoir roughly 75% full to accommodate for rising.  Tip: Choose the utensil that works best for you. Some people prefer to utilize an ice cream scoop, piping bag, or small ladle.
  6. Bake off cakes for roughly 15-20 minutes, rotating after about 10 minutes. Tip: As all ovens vary, and have hot spots, be sure to check on the progress of your cakes.  A wooden stick inserted into cakes should come off relatively clean, and you shouldn’t experience excessive jiggling.

liquid chocolate in a pan

Making The Frosting
  1. Pour water about 1/3 of the depth of a medium sized pot, and bring to a low boil. Place a heat safe bowl of a slightly larger size atop the pot to create a double boiler, and add chocolate chips, almond butter, and coconut oil. Melt these ingredients, stirring along the way to marry all ingredients. When chocolate has melted, take off of the pot, adding vanilla and sea salt, and mixing until smooth. Tip: If you’d like to keep it simple, you may microwave these ingredients in a microwave safe bowl for roughly 1-2 minutes, stopping to stir to avoid burning the chocolate.
  2. Refrigerate to cool. For fluffy consistency, place in a mixing bowl, and cream with paddle attachment for 1 to 2 minutes on medium speed. Continue to refrigerate until ready to use.
  1. For the effect pictured above, place an open star tip (Wilton #1M) into a pastry bag, and cut opening at tip. Using a spatula, add frosting to piping bag about 75% full. Tip: Twist top of bag, or tie off with rubber band to avoid spillage if you are somewhat unfamiliar with utilizing a piping bag.
  2. Starting at the center of each cake, pipe with a steady hand from the center, circling the perimeter of the cake in a clockwise motion, and finishing off at the edge of your first perimeter frosted, releasing pressure from the bag, and guiding tip away from cake.
  3. If you’d prefer a more homemade look, you may simply spread frosting with a small spatula, in a circular fashion.

Though these delicious mini cakes will disappear instantly, you may store them (sealed and airtight) in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or frozen. Now that you’ve learned the basics of Paleo desserts, you can indulge in guilt-free decadence without compromising your dietary goals! Cheers!

Some great Paleo recipe books include:

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Eating Fat, Fighting Alzheimer’s

Avocado Toast

From Dr. David Perlmutter’s blog (fat is good for your brain actually)

Perlmutter Blog post

Today, in honor of Brain Awareness Month, I went to the Alzheimer’s Association’s web site to explore their “10 Way to Love Your Brain”, which include:\"http:\/\/\/wiki\/Exchangeable_image_file_format\" Fuel up right. Eat a healthy and balanced diet that is lower in fat and higher in vegetables and fruit to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Really?  From what I’ve learned, we need more fat in the diet to protect the brain against dementia, not carbs at the expense of healthy fats. It even looks like the Mayo Clinic, publishing in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, totally agrees.

Researchers reported the results of a study in which they explored the role of diet, as it relates to dementia risk. They followed a group of over 2,000 elderly individuals for close to 4 years and carefully monitored their dietary intake of protein, fat and carbohydrate. The subjects also underwent mental evaluations every 15 months to determine if they were developing any issues related to dementia.

The results of the study were impressive by any measure. The risk of dementia in those at the higher end of the scale, in terms of carbohydrate consumption, increased by close to 90%! Those whose calories came more from fat were found to have a reduced risk of developing dementia by around 44%.

In the discussion section of the report the authors call attention to other studies that relate these dietary parameters to brain health and function. They summarize research describing how reducing carbohydrate consumption is associated with reduced risk of mental decline. In addition, they point out results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey revealing that a diet with a high percentage of fat is associated with better processing speed, learning and memory while lower processing speed was associated with a diet that favored higher carbohydrate foods. This information is important because beyond looking at risk for developing dementia, it relates diet to moment-to-moment brain function.

I’m hoping that the Alzheimer’s Association will quit it with this unfounded castigation of dietary fat. A diet that favors carbs and restricts fat increases inflammation, the cornerstone mechanism of Alzheimer’s disease, and this is, quite literally, like adding fuel to the fire.

Dr. Perlmutter’s famous ground breaking book, , is a must tool to own. And his is fantastic too.

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Mexicali Breakfast Bowl with Cilantro Cauliflower ‘Grits’

Dr. Joseph Mercola has been passionate in his quest for health for over 50 years. Traditionally and meticulously studied to become a doctor. He came to a realization that the established teachings of modern medicine focused more on prescribing the symptoms than finding a cure-especially the role nutrition plays in preventative maintenance. Dr. Mercola struggled, like many health-seekers, during the late 60’s into the 80’s with poorly devised theories on nutritional wellness or ‘diet fads’. We take a look inside Dr. Mercola’s book to learn more about his revolution and findings…

“Sadly, like most health enthusiasts during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, I fell in line with the low-fat, high-carb diet that has been popularized by mass media for decades. This type of diet is the polar opposite of what I now understand as necessary to prevent chronic disease, manage cancer, and optimize health.”

Thus, MMT was developed…Mitochondrial Metabolic Therapy. We all remember from grade school science class-the mitochondria is the power house of the cell-converting food into energy. Dr. Mercola believes that a poor diet damages the mitochondria and leaves us susceptible to disease, obesity and illness.

This new take on a healthy nutritious lifestyle encourages the adoption of good fats and protein while reducing dairy, refined sugars and grains. Embracing good wholesome foods will ultimately reboot our metabolism for all around better health.

Below is a good starter recipe for those seeking a change in their nutritional well-being and a good launch into the MMT. This is a perfect make ahead recipe while meal prepping that can be easily reheated for a quick grab and go breakfast. 

Mexicali Breakfast Bowl with Cilantro Cauliflower Grits

(Inspired by Dr. Mercola and some of his recipes)

serves 4 (makes 4 bowls)


For the Cauliflower Grits

1 head organic cauliflower, quartered with stem and leaves removed

2 tablespoons ghee or grass-fed butter

1/2 cup organic (GF) vegetable broth

1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Cilantro Vinaigrette

1/2 cup fresh organic cilantro

1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder

1 poblano pepper, stem and seeds removed

2 organic roma tomatoes, quartered

1/2 small organic red onion, peeled and diced

2 organic red radishes, thinly sliced

2 cups organic baby arugula

8 ounces smoked salmon or gravlax

1 avocado, peeled and quartered

4 organic, pasture-raised chicken eggs, poached or fried

lime wedges for garnish

Method of Preparation:

For the Cauliflower Grits

Gently simmer cauliflower, ghee, broth and salt for 8-10 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.

Carefully pour mixture into a food processor and blend until smooth.

Keep cauliflower puree warm until ready to serve.

For the Vinaigrette:

Place cilantro, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, cumin and chili powder in a blender.

Blend until smooth.

For the Roasted Vegetables:

Toss poblano peppers and tomato quarters with half of the vinaigrette.

Preheat the broiler function on your oven.

Broil for 5-8 minutes or until vegetables are slightly charred.

For each bowl:

Fold 1/2 cup of cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette to season.

Top cauliflower grits with a 1/4 of the roasted tomatoes, peppers, arugula, radishes, salmon and avocado.

Top with egg and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of cilantro vinaigrette.

Garnish with lime wedge.

*Sub in any of your favorite goodies…sugar free bacon for instance would be delicious!

All recipes

Please visit Dr. Mercola’s website

A really great doctor is David Perlmutter, M.D., please visit his site to really learn about your health.






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Daniel Boulud to be inducted in MenuMasters Hall of Fame

Photo by Helge Kirchberger Photography

Legendary chef to be fêted at awards celebration in May

From Nation’s Restaurant News, Jan 16, 2018 on Chef 

source link Daniel Boulud, who has long been a champion of fine dining in America, has been named to the MenuMasters Hall of Fame. He will be honored at this year’s Nation’s Restaurant News MenuMasters gala, sponsored by Ventura Foods.

Inductees into the hall of fame have spent their careers promoting culinary excellence in American food service. Past winners have included Jacques Pépin, Wolfgang Puck, Paul Prudhomme, Tom Colicchio and José Andrés.

“I’m so glad to be inducting Daniel Boulud into the MenuMasters Hall of Fame. He has not only developed and run great restaurants in his own right, but has fostered the development of other chefs as well. He is also working to nurture a new generation of chefs through his support of Bocuse d’Or USA,” Nation’s Restaurant News senior food beverage editor Bret Thorn said.

Born near the culinary mecca of Lyon, France, Boulud trained under the great chefs of that city before he moved to the United States. He has lived in New York City since 1982, first gaining acclaim as executive chef of Le Cirque before opening his own flagship, restaurant Daniel, in 1993. That restaurant was inducted into the Nation’s Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame in 1998 and he was named NRN’s Fine Dining Legend in 2012.

Che Boulud, photo by Helge Kirchberger Photography
Photo by Helge Kirchberger Photography

He also has won multiple James Beard Foundation awards, including Outstanding Chef, Outstanding Restaurateur and, in 2011, Chef of the Year.

He was named a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by the French government in 2006.

Boulud is currently the chef and owner of 14 restaurants around the world — ranging from Michelin-starred fine-dining restaurants to, to elegant taverns to sausage-and-burger eateries — and is the author of

He is chairman of the Ment’or BKB Foundation, which recruits and trains competitors for Team USA in the biennial Bocuse d’Or culinary competition.


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A Winter’s Stew


This Rainbow Chard and stew is a delicious stew for the cold weather. Fairly easy to prepare, but the specific ingredients are a must to make it right! It takes a little love and timing, but it is worth it in the end. So get ready to impress your company with a soup to warm their hearts.

Serves 8-10, cooking time 1 hour

Colorful produce

chopped produce


  • 1/4 cup
  • 2 medium red onions, coarsely chopped
  • 5 medium multi-colored carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • and freshly grounded black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 can (14 to 15 ounces) whole plum tomatoes, crushed in a bowl
  • 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 cans/bags soaked (15 ounces each) white Cannellini (or Great Northern) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 bunches (about 2 pounds total) Rainbow chard, stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 4 cups
  • 1-1/4 cup grated Parmesan (leave some for sprinkling)
  • Extra olive oil (for sprinkling)

parsley and garlic

chopped parsley and garlic

Plum tomatoes

washed Rainbow chard

chopped Rainbow chard


washed and rinsed Cannellini beans

Cannellini beans


Grated Parmesan


  1. In a large flameproof casserole over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the red onions, carrots, celery, salt, and black pepper. Stir occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and all but 3 tablespoons of the parsley. Continue stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
  2. Add the plum tomatoes, Chile flakes, and dried oregano. Turn the heat down to low and cook for 15 minutes more.
  3. Add 2 cans of beans, the Rainbow chard, and veg stock. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, for 20 minutes.
  4. In a food processor, puree the remaining can/bag of beans. Stir the puree into the stew and simmer 10 minutes more. Combine most of the Parmesan. Add more salt and pepper to taste. If the stew seems too thick, stir some extra stock or oil into the pan.
  5. Sprinkle with Parmesan, olive oil, and garnish with remaining parsley.

I like to get a gluten-free baguette at the market called (Rosemary) in the frozen section.

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Calling All Chefs to Blog


Greetings Chefs

Welcome to our blog page about world-renowned Executive chefs. This is where we’ll be sharing their stories and insights—giving you an insider look at the trends, issues, breaking news and events affecting the culinary world today. We’ll be featuring local New England based chefs and a few heavy hitters from around the US.

Chef Matt Morello
Chef Matt Morello, creative entrepreneur extraordinaire

Oyster Bar

Executive Chef Berdahn of Yella Grille

Adam Ross, a top pastry chef in New England
Adam Ross, a top pastry chef in New England
Anthony Bordain
Anthony Bordain, world renown chef, traveler, TV personality

Our first stop on our chef tour is with local chefs Mathew Morello and Carlo Berdahn. These two have been revolutionizing the food scene in Andover, MA- Chef Carlo with innovative Lebanese (Yella Grille) and Mediterranean cuisine and chef Matthew for bringing upscale modern dining experiences to the suburbs. We also check in on Anthony Bourdain and dig into a recipe from his newest project

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Anthony Bourdain- chef, author, TV personality…family man


Anthony Bourdain born in New York City, raised somewhere between New Jersey and France. Chef, author and TV personality. A person who has forever changed our worldview.

From a chain-smoking drug & alcohol loving exposer to the reality that is The Industry to…  family man.

In truth, we’ve been watching Anthony Bourdain grow up, even though he’s now in his 60’s. It’s been almost 20 years since the release of Kitchen Confidential, the book that changed the way many of us looked at the life behind the line. Followed up with over a dozen other works; cookbooks, kitchen stories, travel stories and even manga style comic books. We’ve watched him travel the globe through popular shows “Cook’s Tour”, “No Reservations”, “The Layover” and the latest CNN series “Parts Unknown”. These series touched on humanities common thread, food, delivered with a healthy dose of sarcasm, wit and untouchable intellectual prose.

Bourdain is an industry activist, challenging everything from workers rights to food waste. He has become a voice of the chefs, by the chefs and for the chefs…and we love him all the more for it.

Anthony credits his father for his passion for travel and food. The man who showed him the “pleasures of sukiyaki and dirty water hot dogs”. “He taught me early that the value of a dish is the pleasure it brings you; where you are sitting when you eat it- – and who you are eating it with – – all really matter”. Anthony’s new cookbook captures this sentiment.

we see a softer side of Anthony, one of a family man (and he’ll be the first to say… “whatever that means”) one that speaks of the love he has for his father and the loving father he is for his daughter. But be warned…this is no mushy hearts and flowers cookbook, he’s still Anthony Bourdain!

Appetites, A Cookbook

This book ties all areas of Bourdain’s sense of family together-his immediate family; daughter, friends and the neighborhood kid to his family abroad, found through his adventures. Appetites is a fun look at Anthony at home-through smoky grease covered glasses and wanderlust…perfectly, Anthony.

We’ll be pulling one of Anthony’s favorite recipes from Appetites and recreating it in our home. A dish that truly defines his Jersey roots with being a man of the world and a man of the home…


Yield: Serves 4 to 6 people


• 2½ pounds oxtail, cut into pieces

• Salt and pepper to taste

• 2 tablespoons olive oil

• 2 to 3 pounds pork neck bones

• 2 pounds sweet or hot pork sausage links

• 1 large or 2 medium white or yellow onions, peeled and finely chopped

• 5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

• 3 tablespoons tomato paste

• 1 teaspoon dried oregano

• 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste

• 2 cups dry red wine

• 2 cups dark universal stock

• 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

• 2 bay leaves

• 2 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary

• 1 sprig fresh basil

• 1 pound dry rigatoni

• 4 to 6 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for grating

• Cheesecloth

• Butcher’s twine


• Preheat the oven to 300˚F. Season the oxtail with salt and pepper. In a or large heavy-bottom ovenproof pot with lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the neck bones and oxtail, working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan, and brown on all sides in the oil. Using tongs, remove the browned pieces and set them aside on a sheet pan or platter, which will collect their juices while the remaining pieces cook. Brown the sausages and set aside.

• Once the sausages and bones have all been browned and removed from the Dutch oven, add the onion and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often and scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon so that the onion picks up the browned bits. Salt the onions a bit to release their juices as they cook.

• Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute, then add the tomato paste, oregano, and pepper flakes and cook for a few minutes, until the tomato paste is dark reddish brown and has begun to stick to the pan. Deglaze the Dutch oven with the wine and let reduce by half.

• Add the stock, tomatoes, and bay leaves. Wrap the herb sprigs in the cheesecloth and secure the bundle tightly with the twine to make a bouquet garni. Return the oxtail and bones to the Dutch oven. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover the Dutch oven and transfer to the oven to cook for about 2½ hours. Remove the Dutch oven from the oven, add the browned sausages, and return to the oven to cook for another 30 minutes. The ragout should be thick but still juicy.

• Remove and discard the bouquet garni and keep the gravy and sausages warm. In a large heavy-bottom pot, bring salted water to a boil. Cook the rigatoni according to the package instructions until just al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander and return it to the hot, empty pot. Toss the rigatoni gently over medium heat for about 30 seconds to dry it completely, using tongs if necessary to keep it from sticking to the sides of the pot. Ladle in as much of the warm sauce as necessary to coat but not drown the pasta. Serve the pasta and sausages together, with the extra sauce and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano alongside

This recipe is excerpted from Anthony Bourdain’s






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Chef Matthew Morello

Chef Matt Morello

Chef Morello has dedicated the past 30+ years of his life to the culinary world and hospitality industry.  He has had amazing opportunities to train under some of the finest chefs in the country in world renowned restaurants and hotels, being fortunate to be on many of the opening teams. For the last 13+ years, as Morello Hospitality Group, he has built and sold successful award winning restaurants and operated a management consulting company that has developed and rebranded many different concepts.

Morello Hospitality Group was established in 2004, as a chef inspired vision of bring standards of finer dining restaurants and gracious hospitality of boutique hotels to casual trendy food concepts in affluent suburban communities. Over the past 13+ years, MHG has developed complete restaurant concepts, designed projects, created products brands, managed hotel properties, built management teams & organization of properties, established our restaurants as award winning and as destination dining North  and sold restaurants for a profit.

Work Experience

Morello Hospitality Group LLC, Andover, MA.
2004 – 2018

The following are restaurants that were designed, developed, operated and managed by MHG since 2004.

Compliment Hot Sauce for Bivalves – concept/ development/ manufacturing/ marketing

“Compliment” product line was developed with the idea of creating culinary inspired sauces and condiments to compliment the unique flavor profiles of bouquet oyster, shellfish and raw fish. 6 different sauces were created, bottled and sold at ESOC and on different websites.  MHG created custom wooden display caddies and custom hard-stock paper 6-packs for retail.

Oyster Bar

Elm Square Oyster Co. Andover, MA. /  an award receiving Oyster Bar + Eatery
2015 – 2017

A true 5 year flip, MHG created, designed and rebranded a restaurant in 7 days.  ESOC quickly became a boutique Oyster Raw Bar destination North of Boston offering a modern New England menu and house made hot sauce.  The restaurant and concept sold in August 2017 for 42% of 2016 gross sales.

Brasserie 28  Andover, MA. /  an award receiving French Bistro + Wine Bar
2010 – 2015

Brasserie 28, is an 80+ seat progressive French bistro and wine bar.  The restaurant was a complete “change of use” build-out from a historical building in downtown Andover.  Brasserie 28 has become one of the top restaurants north of Boston and has shown impressive growth in the first two years of operation by creating exciting season menus using the highest quality of product and providing professional service in a beautiful plush setting.  Brasserie 28 offers a true “farm to table” dining experience by using the freshest product from some of the top coop farms, cheese makers and fish companies in the country. We have the first Napa Wine Station in Massachusetts behind our bar that allows brasserie 28 to pour the some of the best wines available by the glass to our customers.

Town Market  Andover, MA / concept/ development/ design/ management training/ branding
2008 – 2017

As a consultant on the Town Market project MHG was involved in overall concept, design, equipment, décor, planning and organization of this $4M build over an extended period.  MHG was lastly contracted in early 2017 to evaluate, reorganize, train and assist in hiring new management and employees.

The Andover Inn on the Campus of Phillips Academy Andover, MA
2008 – 2010

As Chef/ owner, MHG is a hospitality management company that specializes in restaurant and hotel consulting and operations.  Managing The Andover Inn on the campus of Phillips Academy, MHG was the only management company to prove financial profitability of the business to Phillips Academy.  The Andover Inn is under a renovation project until 2012.

Gracious Host Catering Co.  Andover, MA.
2004 – 2007

A private events catering company offering full service off premise catering, cooking classes and catering large events from 10 to 1000 quests.

Savour Kitchen  Andover, MA.
2004- 2007

A café in downtown.  MHG bought an existing bakery, renovated the space into a gourmet café and sold the concept for a profit in 2007 the 35% of the yearly sales revenue.  MHG was the first to bring a chef operated concept of this caliber to Andover area at that time that focused on take- home finer dining, upscale bakery and catering.

Awards contributed to;

-Best of Boston 2005, Boston Magazine / Best of Andover, North Shore Magazine 2005

-“Where to Eat” Top 5 North of Boston, Boston Magazine 2006 

Other Restaurant History

Radius Restaurants Boston, MA
July 03- Dec 04

One of the top twenty five restaurants in the country at that time.

As a sous chef to Chef Michael Schlow, I assisted in the day to day operations of the restaurant, menu development, cooking classes and future projects with the company.

Spire Restaurant / Nine Zero Hotel Boston, MA
Mar. 02- July 03

A progressive French fine dining restaurant in the luxury boutique Nine Zero hotel.

As Chef de cuisine of Spire restaurant, I was involved in pre-opening development of all menus, systems, equipment purchasing, kitchen design, hiring & training of restaurant staff and current day to day culinary & management operations.

The Federalist  Boston, MA
Dec. 00- Feb 02

A sophisticated dining experience. As co-executive chef the Federalist and XV Beacon hotel. Responsibilities include 70 seat fine dining French cuisine serving all meal periods, 35 seat wine cellar catering to Boston’s elite wine enthusiast and a full service to hotel guest staying in the luxurious suites.

TRU  Chicago, IL
April 99- Dec. 00

One of the top restaurants in the world. As a senior sous-chef to James Beard chefs Rick Tramonto & Gale Gand, I had the opportunity to be part of the original opening team. Responsibilities included- kitchen development, multi-course degestation and prefix creations, food cost, labor relations and all buying for the restaurants.

Hyatt Lodge Oakbrook, IL
Feb. 98- April 99

302 West Geneva, IL
Oct .96- Feb. 98

Biba Boston, MA
Sept. 95- Oct. 96

Pignoli  Boston, MA
Sept. 95- Oct. 96








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Chef Carlo Berdahn


Original article about Chef Berdahn on Yella Grille website


Carlo Berdahn was born and raised in North Lebanon. From the time he was a child, he was destined to become a chef. His early culinary exposure was from his mother and the many feasts she would prepare for their large family. In this war torn country as everyone would come together, loving, laughing, and enjoying each other, Carlo realized the immense power that food had to bring people together. This inspired him to receive his degree in Hotel Management from the Lebanese University Al-Ab-Nader and to become a chef at the country’s most prestigious hotel, The Intercontinental Beirut. At the Intercontinental, Carlo was classically trained in seven different cooking styles, including French, Italian, Middle Eastern and Thai.


In 2001 Carlo brought his culinary skills to the United States. He opened The Phonecia Cafe in Orleans, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. Combining his classic training and his own family traditions, Carlo created Mediterranean dishes that quickly caught the attention of the community and media alike.


After the sale of his restaurant in 2006 Carlo became a Chef for renowned catering company, The Catered Affair. During his time at The Catered Affair he executed culinary events for many notables including First Lady Laura Bush, Red Sox Owner John Henry and Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry.


A Unique Concept

But his passion for running his own restaurant never waned.  After meeting his wife Danielle at The Catered Affair,  Carlo was determined to combine their skills and create a unique and exciting new concept.  Carlo is now enjoying using his passion and world class cooking experience to craft Yella.

Thanks to Yella Grille, please visit their site and go to their restaurant for incredible food. Yella website

If you are a chef or want to write about a chef, please contact us.









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Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes

Let’s face it, Nutella makes the world a better place. With distinctive Hazelnut flavoring, creamy texture, and subtly sweet notes, it is the perfect companion to decadent, rich chocolate. While there are endless flavor combinations that utilize chocolate and Nutella in different variations, combining them together creates a silky smooth, decidedly decadent dessert. With Valentine’s Day looming around the corner, these simple-yet-amazing cupcakes are perfect for sharing with friends, co-workers, loved ones, and even just for treating yourself. They sure beat a stale box of Conversation Hearts! Below, we show you how to create these, and be the perfect Valentine!

Recipe Yields: 24 Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcake Base

  • 6 oz
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • TT (to taste) salt
  • 18 oz all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 18 oz dark brown sugar
  • 8 oz butter, softened, cubed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 12 oz sour cream
  • 12 oz hot water (does not need to be boiled/boiling)

1. Preheat your oven to 350F for standard ovens, and 325F for convection ovens. Line standard sized cupcake tins with liners, and spray around edges.

2. Sift cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in one bowl, and flour in another bowl.

3. In mixing bowl with paddle attachment, cream sugar and butter on medium until light and very fluffy.

4. Slowly incorporate eggs and vanilla, pausing to scrape bowl as needed.

5. Add cocoa powder, mixing on medium speed until incorporated.

6. Add 1/3 of your flour to the bowl, mixing on medium speed until incorporated, then add 1/3 of your sour cream, mixing on medium speed until incorporated. Pause to scrape bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Repeat this process until all of your flour and sour cream have been incorporated.

7. Slowly add all of the hot water, and mix for 30 seconds.

8. Fill your cupcake containers about 3/4 of the way to the top, and bake off until done. Tip: If you jiggle the pan, cupcakes should no longer jiggle in the middle. You may insert a stick in the middle, and if it comes back clean, your cupcakes have finished baking.

9. Once completed, place cupcakes on wire drying rack to cool completely.


Nutella American Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 lb (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cubed
  • TT (to taste) salt
  • 1 Tbsp
  • 2 lbs (32 oz) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 4 Tbsp milk
  • 8 oz

1. In a bowl with paddle attachment, cream butter and salt until light and very fluffy. Cream for 3 minutes on medium speed, pause to scrape bowl, and cream on high speed for 1 minute.

2. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar to bowl, mix until incorporated, and pause to scrape bowl, ensuring that you have scraped any dry sugar from edges and bottom of bowl. Repeat process until all of the confectioners’ sugar has been added.

3. Add vanilla extract, and milk to your mixture, and beat until incorporated.

4. Finally, incorporate Nutella into the buttercream, and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes to incorporate. As all palettes are subjective to taste, you may add additional Nutella to alter taste. Your end result should be creamy, dense frosting that sticks to your spatula. If frosting is too loose, you may add additional confectioners’ sugar, and mix until incorporated.


After your cupcakes have cooled completely, place them on a sheet tray, or plate.

2. Use a plastic spatula to spread buttercream on top of cupcakes, or to guide into piping bag affixed with your tip of choice (pictured: frosted Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes utilizing “rose” tip” ).

3. Using steady pressure, pipe around cupcake, create a rosette shape, or utilize your favorite technique.

4. Garnish as desired!

5. Enjoy!

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