Moms, Chefs & Barbecue? It must be May!

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Hello Everyone.

Alberini and Canzonetta

Welcome to May! Looks like the weather has finally broken and we’re enjoying some great spring temperatures that makes us want to get out and barbecue! We have a great Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips for you in this installment to get all you outdoor cooks in the mood for some grilling just in time for memorial Day with The Difference Between Barbecue and Grilling!  In our Chef’s Spotlight this week we have a tag team with Michael Alberini & Chef Mark Canzonetta of Michael Alberini’s Restaurant and Wine Shop. This week’s recipe is a great barbecue recipe from Chef Canzonetta and we are introducing Chef Tom Anderson, who will be joining the Costco/Ergo Road Show.

Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips: The Difference Between Grilling and Barbecue

This is a question that is asked by many, but not widely known or understood. A lot of the confusion lies in the fact that people often use a grill for grilling and barbecue. Where a smoker is concerned, barbecue is the correct definition.



Grilling is a high heat cooking method. Food is cooked directly over coals (either wood or charcoal briquets) and cooking time is usually a matter of minutes. Grilling temperatures are usually in excess of 500 degrees Fahrenheit and food is cooked close to the heat source. The high heat chars the surface of the food, seals in the juices and creates a smoky caramelized crust. Grilling is the oldest, most widespread and most forgiving method of cooking. Rich and poor alike practice it on six continents in restaurants, street stalls, and backyards.


pigroast2-041307 (1)Barbecuing, by contrast, lies at the opposite end of the spectrum from grilling. It is a long, slow, indirect, low-heat method that uses smoldering logs or charcoal and wood chunks to smoke-cook the food. Barbecue temperatures are usually between 200 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit. This low heat generates smoke, and this smoke gives barbecue its characteristic flavor. The heat source often completely separate from the cooking chamber, which contains the actual food. This method of cooking is ideally suited to large pieces of meat such as whole pigs. It is also perfect for cuts with lots of tough connective tissue, such as brisket or spareribs.

smoker-woodMore recently a hybrid method of cooking, Indirect Grilling, has become very popular. This method bridges the gap between barbecue and grilling. As with barbecuing, food is not cooked directly over coals. But the actual cooking takes place in the same chamber as the heat source, and temperatures usually range between 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Wood chips or chunks are often placed on the heat source to generate smoke for flavor. Indirect grilling effectively transforms your barbecue grill into and outdoor oven, which is perfect for cooking larger cuts of meat such as prime rib and turkey. We have used this method myself and it consist of lighting (in the case of gas grills) one side of the grill for the heat source and the placement of the meat on the unlit side of the cooking surface. Indirect grilling gives you the best of both worlds, grilling and barbecuing. The charcoal flavor from grilling and the tenderness and smoky flavor from barbecue. Whereas the flavor of true barbecue is hard to beat, the trade-off is that it takes a lot longer than grilling or indirect grilling.

Chef’s Spotlight 

This  week’s Chef Spotlight is about two lifelong friends who are also culinary partners,  Michael Alberini & Chef Mark Canzonetta.

936183_648019891879660_2057270614_nMichael Alberini

Growing up in Youngstown, Ohio, Michael Alberini remembers visiting his Uncle Richard Alberini’s restaurant in Niles, which operated for 56 years. To Michael, Alberini’s was “an oasis,” providing him with an education as he worked beside the chefs of one of the landmark restaurants of ‘The Strip.’

It was during these years that Michael defined his knowledge of fine dining and developed his palette for the marriage of food to Old and New World wines. At 15 years old, he started working at Alberini’s prepping food, washing dishes and bussing tables, and continued to work there through high school. He developed a passion for food and got an in-depth education on wine from his uncle, who was a pioneer in introducing West Coast wines to Ohio. It was common to see winemakers from California, like Earnest and Julio Gallo and Jack Cakebread among others, having dinner with Richard Alberini and talking about wine. “I got to sit and listen to these people talk about wine and learn about wine, and even at that young age I got to taste these wines,” he says. “That’s where I developed a great affinity for wine, and that transitioned into being a wine educator myself.” After high school, Michael attended The Ohio State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in business and communications, then returned to his uncle’s restaurant as a cook and floor manager. Watching his uncle welcome everyone into his restaurant as if it were his home was Michael’s moment of clarity. In October 2009, he opened Michael Alberini’s Restaurant and Wine Shop to set a new standard for upper scale casual dining and cuisine in Youngstown. “I grew up around a table engaging great conversation with family,” he says. “So, I’m trying to bring dinner table discussion amongst family and friends with good food and good wine.”

Mark CanzonettiExecutive Chef Mark Canzonetta

Chef Mark Canzonetta credits his passion for food and wine with being raised by an Old World family…and with being stuck inside on a rainy day when he was 11 years old. While watching television, he turned to The French Chef with Julia Child. He was determined to make the lively chef’s recipe of the day, bombe au chocolat, and wrote down Child’s recipe and methodology.“I sent my mom to the grocery store for the ingredients, and we had a very rudimentary version of Julia’s chocolate bombe cake for dessert that night,” he recalls. “From that day forward, my mom said I never let her in the kitchen again.”

Canzonetta entered the restaurant business working for friends who owned local eateries and was encouraged to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. In 1988, he graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Institute and one year later, opened Pesto’s Café in Warren, Ohio. He continued to define his culinary repertoire, incorporating what he learned into the restaurant’s menu, as well as techniques he picked up while traveling to the southwest United States, Italy, Spain, Mexico and the Caribbean. For several years, he worked as culinary director for Gia Russa Foods in Boardman, Ohio. While there, he helped to open The Culinary Arts Center, where he had the honor of designing foods for such celebrity chefs as Mario Batali, Guy Fieri and the Gia Russa brand itself. He continues to consult for some of these national culinary icons regularly, and has done more than 150 cooking demonstrations over the last three years. Canzonetta had been close friends with Michael Alberini for 25 years before joining him at Michael Alberini’s Restaurant and Wine Shop. As Executive Chef, he creates dishes inspired by global influences and local ingredients with a finesse that reflects the many culinary disciplines he’s developed over the years.

steaksgrillinRecipe Courtesy of chef Mark Canzonetta

All Purpose Meat Rub for  BBQ

 2 C Paprika

2/3 C smoked Paprika

2/3 C Ground Cumin

2/3 C granulated onion

2/3 C granulated garlic

2/3 T white pepper

1/4 C ground black pepper

2/3 T cayenne pepper

1/2 C dry mustard

1/3 t ground sage

1 – 1/3 c sugar

1/4 C celery salt

1/2 c salt

Combine all together well and store NGO a plastic air free container

 Kansas City BBQ Ribs

 3 ea. St. Louis Racks of Ribs ( 2.25 lbs ea. trimmed and silver skin off bak of ribs removed )

2 C of Rib Rub

1 – 12 oz beer

1 C water

2 C BBQ Sauce ( Guy Fieri Kansas City )


Take ribs allow to come to room temperature.Rub the ribs generously with the Rib Rub. Place the ribs on a roasted wire rack inside a 6 inch deep full hotel pan.  Pour the beer into the bottom alone with the water. Wrap the top of the hotel pan 2X with plastic wrap, then with heavy foil, roast in a preheated 325 oven on low fan for 1 hour and 45 minutes. 

Remove the pan from the oven and immediately remove the foil and plastic, allow the ribs to cool down. Place ribs in your smoker with some cherry wood , smoke for 2 hours at 200 F , basting every 1/2 with BBQ sauce. Remove ribs, check to see if they still have a little tug or pull, you don’t want these call off the bone. Take ribs and place on your charcoal grill just to give a little char crust and serve at your leisure 

The Costco/Ergo Road Show

We are proud to announce a new Ergo Chef Sales consultant to you all. Don’t worry, Chef Randy will still be visiting your local Costco’s, but we have added to the Costco Road Show, Chef Tom Anderson. Tom will be covering the Northeast and you can find his first appearance info below. come out and see our Chefs Randy and Tom and try out the best knives on the market. 

Chef Randy

May 8th-11th 2014
Costco Special Event – In Store
Nanuet, NY

Chef Tom

May 8th-11th 2014
Costco Special Event – In Store
Avon, MA

Lastly we want to wish all you Moms out there a very Happy Mothers Day!

Till next time.

Ergo Chef

Mike StaibMoms, Chefs & Barbecue? It must be May!
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Spring Mix: Steak, Chef Jason Roberts & No Kid Hungry…

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Hi everyone,

photo-6Welcome to Chop Talk. First things first, we would like to congratulate the men and women’s UCONN championship wins…wow! Well done Huskies! In this month’s installment we have a great line up. In Food Tricks and Kitchen Tips, we are covering how to grill the perfect steak. In this edition of Chef’s Spotlight we are featuring Chef Jason Roberts, a good friend of Ergo, and his upcoming ride from NYC to Washington, DC to raise funds and awareness for No Kid Hungry. Jason has also provided us with a great steak recipe for you to try out your new grilling skills with. We can’t forget the ongoing adventures of Chef Randy and the Costco Road Show. Lastly, we want to wish all those celebrating Easter and Passover our very best.

Without further ado, let’s jump right in…

Food Tricks and Kitchen Tips

79752uk7unsh4ufAs we stated in our last post, spring has indeed sprung and grilling season is just around the corner, so we thought we’d get your juices flowing by covering grilling basics, specifically as it pertains to steaks.

It all starts with good product, so be sure to purchase the best quality meat available. Know your source, and check packing and “use by” dates. Your local butcher and even Costco carry premium meats to use at home. If you have a friend in the food service industry, find out if they’d like to attend your next BBQ or maybe let you buy
some steaks from the restaurant!

grillingsteaks3So now you have your meat, let’s turn to the grill. Turn the grill on with the lid closed for about 20 minutes before using. It is extremely important that the grill is very hot, and also clean. Use a wire brush to clean off the grates before using. For extra smoke flavor, try buying some mesquite or hickory wood chips to burn over the coals or gas flame. Be sure to soak the chips in water for about an hour; this will help them smoke and smolder, rather than just flare up and burn away. Smoking Wood Varieties you might consider are Alder , Apple, Bourbon, Cherry, Grape, Hickory, Mesquite, Wine, Oak, Peach, Pecan, Persimmon, Sassafras.

grillingsteaks2There is a school of thought from some chefs who like to bring the meat up to room temperature for 20 minutes or so. It helps cook more evenly, especially when cooking further than a medium rare temperature. We at Ergo always suggest that steaks be grilled to a medium rare, so we leave it in the fridge until we’re ready to throw it on the grill. Oil your meat before grilling! You can use vegetable oil or even soybean oil, something that’s fairly neutral in flavor and also won’t burn too fast on the grill. Extra Virgin Olive Oils should NOT be used to coat the steak for grilling, but you may drizzle some over the steak or incorporate it in a sauce if you wish.

grillingsteaks1Seasonings are a personal choice and can vary from simple salt and pepper, to a five peppercorn blend and crushed sea salt, to a variety of steak salts, seasonings and rubs. Depending on how adventurous your palate is, the options can be endless, though be sparing as if a steak is properly cooked, the natural sugars caramelize and form a crust which yields an amazing flavor.

Know your Grill

grillingsteaks5Start Grilling!! Every grill has its hot spots, so practice makes perfect. Find an area on the grill that gives off a pretty even and constant heat. Place the steak carefully on the grill and LEAVE IT ALONE for about 1 ½ – 2 minutes. This is where most people make their first mistake. They try to move or flip the steak too early and it sticks to the grill. It takes a few minutes for the steak to release from the grill as the heat penetrates through the meat. You may close the lid or leave it open at this point, it’s up to you. Grill Trick: To make those perfect, diamond grill marks that you see on TV,  take your 15 inch Duo Tongs and rotate the meat about 45 degrees for diamonds and 90 degrees for squares. Then flip it over and repeat on the other side.

grillingsteaks6This is the hardest part for an at home chef. How to check if it’s done! Because each grill’s fire is different and cooking time depends on the size and shape of the steaks, it’s difficult to give exact times. But there are four basic ways to determine doneness. The first two of these methods are best for novice cooks, while the last two can be learned through experience:

A. Cut into the steak in an unobtrusive place, and examine the interior to check the doneness.

B. Slide an instant-read thermometer through the side of the steak into the center to check the temperature.
Keep in mind that the temperature of meat will increase 5 to 10 degrees after resting.

C. Use the touch test. A rare steak will feel fleshy, like an un-flexed muscle; a rare to medium-rare steak will just begin to bounce back to the touch; a medium-rare to medium steak will feel firmer still. I tend to use the hand test: Make a loose fist and press the part of your hand between the index finger and thumb. When using a relaxed fist; this will indicate rare. Slightly tighten fist and repeat touch; this indicates medium. Tightly close fist and repeat touch; this is well done.

D. Look for juices on the steak’s surface. A rare steak doesn’t release any juices. As the steak approaches medium rare, you’ll begin to see red juices forming on the surface (you might also hear them sizzle as they drip over the coals). As the steak approaches medium, it releases more juices. As it approaches medium well and well, the juices will turn brown.

***Note: Remember, you can always put a steak back on the grill if it’s too rare, but you can’t un-cook a well-done steak.

This is where the home griller usually fails. LET YOUR MEAT REST! This is the most important step when trying to achieve a flavorful and more importantly, MOIST steak. Cook the meat to about a half a temperature lower than my desired temperature (for example if I desire a steak cooked medium, I would bring it to a medium rare and then let it rest). All the flavorful juices that 43289ny5runtsv9have been stressed out by the heat, need to relax and distribute themselves throughout the meat again. Steaks should rest for about 5 minutes before being reheated and served. If you serve the steak right away, those tasty juices will spill out all over the plate after you cut into the steak. To kick your steak up to the next level and what some restaurants do to, is brush the steak with some whole melted butter before it goes on the plate. The butter really adds great flavor to that crust and helps soften up the outside of the meat. The only thing left to do is enjoy your steak, Bon Appetit!


Chef’s Spotlight

JasagamarvelChef Jason Roberts A native of New Zealand, Roberts is best known for his charismatic smile and fun personality. Having grown up in a family of food professionals, he discovered a passion for food at a young age. Turning it into a career, he spent seven years as an Executive Chef of the restaurant Bistro Moncur in Sydney, where he was immersed in the traditions and techniques of French Cuisine in by his mentor, Damien Pignolet. His accolades caught the attention of Australia’s Channel 9, where he became the host of Fresh, a cooking program which aired five days a week in Australia and New Zealand.

In January 2003, Roberts was introduced to the US on ABC’s Good Morning America. He has also appeared The Wayne Brady Show, The Sharon Osbourne Show, E!, The Style Network’s You’re Invited, New York City’s morning show Ali & Jack, and Talk Soap with Lisa Rinna. In 2005, Roberts hosted the award winning food talk show, Jason Roberts’ Taste on the PAX Television Network which earned him two American Accolade Awards for Best Host and Best Health & Lifestyle program. Roberts is the author of two cookbooks, Elements and Graze: Lots of Little Meals Fast. Jason Roberts is an internationally known chef and former cast member of the hit daytime talk show The Chew on ABC. Roberts brought his unique flair and cooking style to the show for in studio segments and traveled the country in search of unique and interesting food. He is currently working on a new cookbook, scheduled for release in late 2014,. For more information about Jason, visit his website, .

Jason bear mountainJason believes that meal time fosters deeper connections between family and friends and his motto is “A family that cooks together, stays together.” As a long time supporter of OPAL, an initiative founded in Australia that teaches families in under-served areas how to cook healthy foods, Roberts’ advocacy for healthy living continues to make a difference. He is also a partner with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign as a spokesman and advocate to end childhood hunger.

More than 16 million kids in America struggle with hunger and with his “PUT YOUR $$$$$ WHERE MY PEDAL IS campaign, Jason is raising vital funds and awareness through the 1st Annual Chefs on Bikes ride, May 30-June 1, to make sure kids have access to food where they live, learn and play. Jason plans to ride from New York City to Washington, DC, and is asking you for pledges of $1 for every mile he ride – nearly 300 miles! Every $1 you donate can help connect a child with up to 10 meals. Help Jason make No Kid Hungry a reality. You can also support Jason by Donating here.

Ergo Chef supports Jason on this campaign for No Kid Hungry and will donate 30% of all sales when you include code: NoKidHungry when purchasing from


1527033_10152164995904160_4636589275961394348_nGrilled Sirloin Steak with Herb Crust~courtesy of Jason Roberts

This crust works well with beef or fish. Once made, it will keep perfectly well in the freezer for up to 2 months. It always looks impressive when served; in fact I would be surprised if you don’t get the occasional ‘wow’ when served over your favourite piece of fish or meat.

Serves 2


For the Herb Crust

3 1/2 butter

3 1/2 oz fresh breadcrumbs (brioche crumbs if you can get them)

3 1/2 oz Gruyere cheese

1 3/4 oz basil, chopped

1 1/3 oz curley parsley, chopped

1 tbls Worcestershire sauce

Cracked black pepper

For the Steak

2 – 7 3/4 oz sirloin steaks

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tbs olive oil


For the crust

Herb CrustPlace all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and homogenous. Remove from the processor and place on a sheet of greaseproof silicone paper. Cover with a second sheet of paper. Roll flat to about an 1/8th of an inch thick. Chill for 10 minutes before cutting to the desired size, obviously the size of whatever you are serving it on.

For the steak

Season the steak with salt and pepper. Cook for 4 to six minutes each side or, until your desired liking. Remove steaks and let rest for 3 to 4 minutes.

Pre heat a broiler. Top each steak with a piece of the herb crust, cut to the size of the steak. Place under the broiler until crust has lightly browned. Remove from grill and serve immediately alongside a helping of grilled mushrooms or your favorite side dish.

Where’s Randy? 


And last up, but certainly not least, are the ongoing adventures of Chef Randy, who will be appearing with the Ergo/Costco Road Show these next two weeks at the following locations, so mark your calendar and come out and say hello…you never know, you may even see your picture here in one of our next installments!

• April 10th-13th 2014
Costco Special Event – In Store
Staten Island, NY

• April 17th-20th 2014
Costco Special Event – In Store
Bridgewater, NJ

Till next time,

Ergo Chef

Mike StaibSpring Mix: Steak, Chef Jason Roberts & No Kid Hungry…
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March Madness at Ergo Chef!

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Hello All.,

Yes March Madness indeed! We have so much going on we just can’t wait to share it with you, so without further, delay let’s get right to it.

First up, we want to call attention to a great cause and fundraiser that we will be involve with out in Chicago.




Register Here

Sunday, March 16th, 5:30 – 7:00pm
You are cordially invited to join us at the Culinary Futures Chicago Cocktail Hour and Silent Auction to support C-CAP, as we aim to raise money to help change young people’s lives!

Learn more about Culinary Futures Chicago

If you would like to support Culinary Futures but are unable to attend the event, please send your donation to: C-CAP PO Box 60885 Chicago, IL 60660 All proceeds from this event will benefit C-CAP. Careers Through Culinary Arts Program is a national non-profit organization that works with public schools to prepare at-risk students for college and careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Next up this month, you can reach out and get hands on with Scott, Mike and Randy well, er, not them..the knives, as they will be demonstrating Ergo Knives and Accessories at The International Home & Housewares Show March 15th -18th in Chicago.

 The International Home & Housewares Show


 The International Home + Housewares Show offers you the opportunity to see first-hand consumer lifestyle and product trends for all areas of the home, both inside and out, under one roof at McCormick Place, Chicago, IL. Come out and see Mike, Scott & Chef Randy as they demonstrate the best knives on the market. South Building, Booth #S1460

Chop Talk Chef’s Spotlight


RuminerJeffStretchIn this edition of Chef’s spotlight we are highlighting a very unique chef with a very unique name, ‘Stretch.’ @STRETCHartist To say that Stretch is eclectic is an understatement.

STRETCH believes there is a common thread between art, food and music, they cross all cultural boundaries. This vision is why he opened Grinders, Grinders West and CrossroadsKC at Grinders music venue in the Heart of the Crossroads Arts District of Kansas City, Missouri.  Grinders has been an accumulation of STRETCH’s travels and life experiences — a food-art-music-fusion inspired by places like punk club CBGBs, Maxs Kansas City, night clubs, and classic dive joints with quality food and a fun atmosphere and was highlighted on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive In’s & Dives.  A great experience at a great price whether you’re an artist, government official, lawyer, a musician, or a clown.

Some of Stretch’s Sculptures

11_Johnson memorialshapeimage_3

You can see more of Stretch’s sculptures on his website:

On Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

Creating the menu for Grinders was an obvious choice for STRETCH.  He didn’t want to starve and missed his East-Coast roots filled with Philly cheese-steaks and NY-style pizza, the idea of Grinders was born. Infusing the menu with his artistic flair, specialties like the Death Wings, the Chili Bomb Pie and Grinders Signature Hot Sauces were created as well as featured on the FOOD Network.

This weeks recipe is a video recipe (we love when that happens) from Stretch with Guy on Guy’s Big Bite, making what’s called the Le Hog Pizza, one of Stretch’s masterpieces from Grinders.

Stretch and Guy are using the Ergo Pro Series 7” Santoku knife here. <~Click for more information.

Where’s Randy?

Randy ErgoAnd last up, but certainly not least, are the ongoing adventures of Chef Randy, who will be appearing with the Ergo/Costco Road Show this month at the following locations, so mark your calendar and come out and say hello…you never know, you may even see your picture here in one of our next installments!

March 27th-30th 2014
Costco Special Event – In Store
Milford, CT

April 3rd-6th 2014
Costco Special Event – In Store
Norwalk, CT

 Till next time,

Ergo Chef

Mike StaibMarch Madness at Ergo Chef!
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37th Annual UNLVino Wine Festival

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Ergo Chef will be donating a Signed Guy Fieri Knuckle Sandwich ® Series 13pc. Battle Station Block & knife set for the silent auction at this event to help raise scholarship funds. Attendees will also receive a special 10% discount coupon for purchases from Ergo Chef cutlery and 15% of all purchases will go back to the UNLV Scholarship Fund. So don’t miss out on this opportunity to get a great knife or set & support UNLV which is Guy Fieri’s Alma Mater!

Las Vegas Celebrates the 37th Annual UNLVino Wine Festival March 31–April 2 to Raise Scholarship Funds.

Three nights of extraordinary champagnes, sake, world-class wines, award winning cocktails and craft beer honoring celebrity chef Todd English will raise funds for UNLV hospitality student scholarship. Southern Wine and Spirits proudly presents Nevada’s largest and oldest Wine Festival—the 37th Annual UNLVino®. Three of the hottest venues in Las Vegas will host three nights of education, fundraising and friendship from March 31–April 2, 2011. Felix Rappaport, President and COO of The Mirage and former Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous host Robin Leach will be honored with the Dom Pérignon Award of Excellence.

Find out more & Buy Tickets now at:

Mike Staib37th Annual UNLVino Wine Festival
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