CHEF Q & A: Susan Ytterberg, Golden Plum

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Chef Susan Ytterberg of Golden Plum Personal Chef Services prepares hundreds of new recipes every year, all customized to her client’s preferences.  She was formally trained at Le Cordon Bleu and has experience cooking a large variety of cuisines, from from all-American comfort food to Asian and European cuisines and diets such as vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free, keto and more.

What’s your favorite local restaurant other than your own? I love LUMA on Park. Since moving to Orlando from San Francisco a few years ago, it’s been my favorite so far.  The wine list is also excellent and offers some good California wines I know from Sonoma and Napa.

What’s your go-to meal at home? I like things that are easy, flavorful, nutritious and sometimes a little naughty. Some of my favorites include chicken empanada pie, shrimp chimichurri or just a simple frittata with asparagus and Gruyere.

Where do you shop locally for interesting ingredients? This list is long! Lake Meadows Naturals has a great selection of meat, poultry, honey, even Amish butter, which is fantastic. I go to East End Market for artisanal food products, and to Petty’s Meat Market and Lombardis Seafood. Dong A Market is my favorite for Asian food ingredients, and the major super markets really have excellent selections of organic, gluten-free and even artisanal food choices these days.

Which kitchen gadget could you not live without? I love my immersion blender.  I use it daily when I am working with clients.  It has multiple attachments, so in a pinch I can convert it from a blender to mini-food processor or whisk.

What was your favorite bagged lunch as a kid? My mom is an excellent home cook, so we focused more on our fabulous dinners.

What’s your most guilty junk-food pleasure? I love ice cream; I really, really do.  Cheese and crackers are high on the list, too.  Notice the theme: dairy, fat, yumminess.

What 3 things are in your fridge at all times? Half-and-half is a must-have for my coffee. Sweet chile sauce is an amazing ingredient, and great when I make mini chicken satay with peanut dipping sauce. And of course, butter–I’m a classically trained French Chef!  Plus, butter can be used for baking, cooking, toast and of course, popcorn. (See above re: dairy, fat, yumminess.)

Is there anything else you’d like to share? I believe that cooking excellent food can be creative, fun, nutritious and even healing.  Working professionally as a chef allows me to learn new things every week, and I love that.

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