Oliver Royale

HANDSOME BAR... SEASONAL MENU

A social neighborhood restaurant serving a chef driven menu and a full bar.

Spring has Sprung, and so has Oliver Royale's New Spring Menu!

Oh boy, do we have a jam-packed blog for you today!

The release of our Spring menu is all the rage right now. Between our Lobster Ravioli, fresh new cocktails, and new butchery program, we are eager for you to try our new dishes this Spring.

Before we talk about our Spring Menu, though, we want to give you a sneak peak of one our famous bar creations. Our bartender, Colin, dug up one of his favorite go-to cocktail creations this month called ‘Reminiscent.’ It’s easy to make, and you will surely impress your friends with this fresh and tasty drink.

A Fresh New Cocktail Recipe: Reminiscent

Ingredients for Reminiscent:

  • 1oz Bacardi Superior
  • .75oz Lime
  • .75oz Aperol
  • .75oz Lillet Rouge
  • .25 oz Simple Syrup

 

Add all the ingredients to shaker tin. Fill the tin with ice and shake the tin vigorously until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a lime spiral and sprite cocktail with rose liqueur. There you have it – a refreshing Spring cocktail perfect for the new season!

 

New Spring Menu!

Spring has sprung and we are going full speed ahead! The thought process behind our new menu revamp is, as always, seasonal, thoughtful, creative and exciting. Our Spring menu is just that – and more! We have some impressive dishes that transition seamlessly from the kitchen to the bar, all featuring local food, such as the pea tendrils from Ridgetop Farms and our farm eggs from Circle V Farms. Our focus was to take things up a notch and challenge the Knoxville food scene, like adding foie gras to the menu, morel mushrooms, fiddlehead ferns, nettles and venison.

Our new creations are amazing, folks! We created a stuffed pasta with our lobster ravioli and increased our butchery program like duck duo and bone-in ribeye. The Spring menu comes with a new array of plates added to our repertoire as well as a menu redesign campaign in the near future (hint hint!).

All in all, we are going to keep doing what we enjoy most: striving to be progressive, creative and continuing to learn and grow. We know you will love our new dishes and cannot wait to hear which ones are your favorites!

Join us for an exclusive wine dinner with Klinker Brick Winery (KBW) and Winemaker Farrah Felten-Jolley on Wednesday, May 17th. You don’t want to miss this event featuring a thoughtfully prepared menu and the best wines from KBW! Click here to reserve your spot today!

Wine Dinner with Klinker Brick Winery & Winemaker Farrah Felten-Jolley

We're excited to announce our very first wine dinner at Oliver Royale with Klinker Brick Winery and Winemaker Farrah Felten-Jolley as she shares their most prized wines. It is sure to be an amazing night of food and wine pairings, as well as great friends old and new. The evening will consist of a passed greeting libation and small bites upon arrival, followed by a five course dinner thoughtfully prepared for you by our Executive Chef Jonathan Gatlin and his team.

Tickets are $95 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Total pricing of $120 in purchase price include event dinner, wine pairings, dessert, take home gift, tax and gratuity. We hope you can join us for this truly special event! Click here to reserve your spot today!

Got beef? Sharing our Braised Beef Short Ribs with Tasty Sides!

Hello Friends! You are in for a treat today. We’ve been thinking of a special recipe that would highlight a traditional comfort food but with a nod to cultural influences. We do that best here at Oliver Royale and are proud to present you a full meal recipe that includes not only the entrée, but also easy and tasty side dishes used as garnishes and toppers! It sounds like a mouthful but trust us, our Braised Beef Short Ribs with Congee, Shiitake Mushrooms and Crispy Kale Chips recipe is a meal packed with protein, Asian zest, and super foods. We recommend bringing a book and a glass of wine as you wait for the short ribs to cook as it takes between 4-5 hours to achieve ultimate braised perfection.  It’s totally worth the wait since braising the beef allows it to become mouth-wateringly tender. Yum!

We compliment the beef with some tasty sides. The congees’ grainy and silky texture allows the shiitake mushrooms to be the star of the dish and gives the plate an overall savory flavor. Garnish your plate with dashes of crispy kale and your friends and family will always want you to cook!

braisedbeefribsrecipe

 

Ingredients for braised short ribs:

  • 2 pieces, approximately 4 lbs., boneless short rib meat
  • 3 large carrots
  • 2 large white onions
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch celery
  • ½ cup miso paste
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. sambal chili paste
  • 1 ginger root
  • 2 qts water
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • For the short ribs:  

Season short ribs with oil, salt, pepper and roast them on a sheet tray preferably elevated on a wire rack at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until they are seared and have a crust.

Peel carrots, remove onion skin and remove leafy ends of celery. Chop the carrots, onions, celery and ginger, place them along with the garlic in a Dutch oven or baking pan. Combine miso, soy sauce, chili paste, and water and pour mixture over vegetables. Place short ribs on top and wrap tightly with plastic first then aluminum foil. Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 4.5 to 5 hours. Remove from oven and refrigerate until cool throughout. Once cooled remove the meat from the pan and carefully cut your service portions. Strain the liquid and reserve for service.

 

Ingredients for the congee:

  • 2 cups medium grain sushi rice
  • 6 cups light stock such as chicken or vegetable
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup hoisin
  • 2 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp. sweet mirin
  • 2 tbsp. sambal chili paste
  • 2 tbsp. sorghum

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pot and simmer for approximately 1 hour stirring very frequently to avoid sticking add liquid as necessary to achieve a porridge or wet polenta-like consistency.

 

For the shiitake mushrooms:

  • 1 lb. shiitake mushrooms
  • Oil, salt and pepper

Remove the stems from the mushrooms, carefully toss them in a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper then lay them caps up on a sheet tray preferably lined with a wire rack. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes or until slightly dehydrated.

 

For the crispy kale chips:

  • 1 bunch or about 5 leaves of curly kale

To make the chips, remove the leaves from any stems and simply heat a pot of oil or home fryer to 300 degrees and fry the leaves until the bubbles from internal moisture dissipate. It should take about 5 minutes and one should be mindful of splatter. Also, it is best to start out with one leaf at a time to avoid any aggressive boiling.

 

Serve!!

To serve, first place short rib portions and enough liquid to cover the bottom ¼ inch of the meat in a pan and place in the oven at 350 degrees. Place some of the mushrooms on a separate pan or oven plate and place them in the oven as well. Heat the congee in a sauce pan. Once everything has come to temperature simply plate congee in a bowl, place a short rib portion on top of congee, place mushrooms atop the short rib and around, spoon a little bit of the liquid on top of the mushrooms and place a few crispy kale chips as a final topper and garnish.

Oh la la le macaron!

French macarons will never quite go out of style. From its shiny and chewy outer shell to its ganache or buttercream filling, they are the perfect dessert for any occasion.

Originally, the macaron did not come with a filling! The French devised the sandwich twist based on a simple Italian almond cookie. Regardless of its origin, the beauty of the macaron is in its flexibility in colors and various fillings. In one bite, these cute confections will give you a taste of European culture and a most satisfied palette. While there are limitless recipes and versions of the macaron, here at Oliver Royale we bring you our most trusted macaron recipe that will be sure to impress your guests at one of the many holiday get togethers in these coming weeks! 

Macaron Bar

Oliver Royale Basic Macaron Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 250 grams of Almond Flour 
  • 250 grams of Powdered Sugar
  • 300 grams of Egg Whites
  • 600 grams of Granulated Sugar
  • Buttercream for filling (you choose!)

Directions: 

  1. Using the stand mixer, whip egg whites on medium speed to soft peaks. Slowly pour granulated sugar until stiff peaks form. Set the meringue aside. 
  2. Meanwhile, stir together almond flour and powdered sugar until it is well combined. 
  3. Place 1/3 of the meringue in the almond flour mixture. Mix until well combined, and there are no dry clumps.
  4. Fold in the remaining 2/3 of the meringue until well combined. 
  5. Place batter in a pastry bag fitted with a coupler. Pipe a half dollar shape onto a parchment lined sheet pan. 
  6. Bake at 325 degrees for 13 minutes. 
  7. Let cool, remove from pan and sandwich with the desired buttercream.

* Color variation – to color the macarons, place 4 drops of food coloring in the almond mixture before Step 3. 

* To make red velvet macarons, add 25 grams of cocoa powder to the almond flour and powdered sugar in Step 2. Add 8 drops of quality red food coloring when adding the first 1/3 of meringue to the almond mixture. 

* To make chocolate macarons, increase the egg whites to 350 grams and add 60 grams of cocoa powder to Step 2. 

Thanksgiving at Oliver Royale!

Thanksgiving is such a special holiday for us at Oliver Royale! It’s a deeply rooted American tradition we hold near and dear to our hearts that reminds us to give thanks and express our gratitude towards one another. We love the organic connection between Thanksgiving and food: home-cooked casseroles, passed-down recipes and the hustle and bustle in the kitchen! If you are looking for a place to relax from the holiday kitchen stress look no further than Thanksgiving at Oliver Royale! With the celebration of our first-year anniversary as well - We have so much to be thankful for this year!

We will serve a three-course, prix fixe menu for $49 a person, available from 12p - 7p on Thanksgiving Day. We took our time to create a Thanksgiving meal with Knoxville influences, like our Beet Salad, Butternut Bisque, and Pork Tenderloin served with Sweet Potato ‘Casserole.’ Your tastebuds will not be disappointed! 

Knoxville is home to us, and we are so grateful for being a part of an amazing city! We’d love to see you at our family table at the Oliver Royale! Reservations are now open.

** Don’t forget to stop by on 11/9/16 for $5 champagne and $1 draft Yeehaw beer in celebration of our 1-year anniversary! We can’t wait to see you there!

 

Easy Fall Salad!

As the summer weather phases out and fall weather begins to make subtle (and very much welcomed!) appearances, our minds race with the culinary possibilities that await! Delicious and offbeat root vegetables grace dishes as well as fresh local fall fruits. Our fall menu debuted on September 20th and here are just a few of the items showcased from our local vendors:

  • Plums + Grapes (Mountain Meadows)

  • Beets + Autumn Squash (A Place of the Heart Farm)

  • Chanterelle Mushrooms (Mossy Creek Mushrooms)

  • Kale and Swiss Chard (Ridgetop Hydroponic Farms)

  • Okra (Zavel Family Farm)

Last month our monthly newsletter gave a sneak peek into the dishes in the works for the fall menu. This month, we decided to bring an Oliver Royale original fall salad recipe to the blog! It’s hard to pick a favorite ingredient on this list - but if we had to pick, beets are the ingredient we’re spotlighting. High in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium and manganese - this vegetable is essential for healthy nerve and muscle function as well as your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Another fun fact about beets is that it contains the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth for expecting mamas!

So pack up the family and hit your local farmers market! This not so fancy and easy fall salad recipe will be on repeat all of fall.  

Oliver Royale Easy Fall Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium red beet

  • 1 head radicchio lettuce

  • 4 oz blue cheese

  • 1 cup of your favorite candied nut

  • ¼ cup of your favorite balsamic or honey vinaigrette

  • 2 oz raisins

  • 2 tablespoon whole grain mustard

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Cut both ends off of the beet and wrap it in aluminum foil, making  sure to cover it completely. Bake the wrapped beet in the oven at 325 degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until soft to touch when squeezed. Once it feels soft to the touch, unwrap and gently rub the skin off with a towel (be careful, it can get messy). Once peeled, chop the beet up into ½ inch to 1 inch sized pieces with a knife and reserve for later.

Cut the radicchio in half and remove the center. Chop the the outer leaves and reserve.

In a bowl, toss the radicchio, beets, blue cheese, nuts, raisins, whole grain mustard  and enough vinaigrette to coat everything well. Plate up in a serving bowl and enjoy!

 

Gearing up for Fall!

With Fall just around the corner, things at Oliver Royale are gearing up for deeper, richer, and bolder flavors. Ingredients such as dried fruits, root vegetables, and citrus fruits will all be making an appearance on the menu with some unexpected additions.

As summer comes to a close, Exec Chef Jon Gatlin begins experimenting with new Fall flavors. 

As summer comes to a close, Exec Chef Jon Gatlin begins experimenting with new Fall flavors. 

The passionate foodies in us can’t help but go into WHY we love this season so much. For starters, cooler weather gets us excited about long-term cooking techniques such as braises and confits. A classic braise, cooked at a very low simmer, produces the most tender meat you can imagine. So tender that it can be "cut" with the gentlest pressure from a fork (YUM! Are you drooling yet?), while confit cooking, which has been around way before it became a fine dining staple, is great for meats and vegetables alike.  Then we have citrus fruits which many think is a summer crop. In actuality, citrus fruits such as limes, lemons, blood oranges, and clementine’s all flourish in fall.

Our local farmers continue to be our trusted advisors for this next seasons crops and offerings. Some of these local farmers include Ridge Top Gardens, Hydroponic Farms, Mountain Meadows, Lacewig Farms, Zavel Family Farm, Circle V Farms, Unique Bread Bakery, and Mossy Creek Mushrooms and we’re adding more farmers with each passing month.

You’ve gotten this far in the post so let’s get down to the juicy insider details! Calling all Lobster lovers – a new Mediterranean pasta dish will be making an appearance on the menu, and you guessed it – there will be lobster in it! Also, boneless short ribs are back! This big bold dish that is loved by all is returning a bit early to the fall menu – though we don’t think anyone will be upset about that! These fall menu changes will be mirrored on our lunch and brunch menu’s and rumor has it, a full baking and pastry program is on the horizon for Oliver Royale.

Shh, insider secret!

Is it fall yet? We can’t wait to reveal the next seasons creations. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the day-to-day fun! 

Phoning Home!

We started off this adventure with our feet on the ground, running towards a goal of presenting the people of Knoxville with a restaurant they could be proud of. Details such as the atmosphere, décor, staff, location, and most importantly – food & drinks – were such an integral part of the experience we wanted for our customers, that amongst all of the fun, we forgot to take a moment to “phone” our family and friends.  

We’ve come to call Market Square home which has left little time for dull moments and as if the vibrant scene weren’t already enough, we’re jazzed to see the growth spurt of sorts happening in the dining scene around town. Being one of the new guys on the block has given us margin for continuous learning and improvement. From Patio conundrums, (thanks for your support!) to a lunch and brunch menu that has evolved to something special, we’re grateful to be a part of it all. Our goal is to provide top quality, fresh, and exciting dishes while also contributing to the local economy. We love being a part of this city and we want to help it flourish.

Executive Chef Jon Gatlin and Sous Chef Jared Martin hard at work creating the new fall menu!

Executive Chef Jon Gatlin and Sous Chef Jared Martin hard at work creating the new fall menu!

We work with a number of local farmers who have been wonderful and receptive to our chef driven concept. Executive Chef Jon Gatlin hand-picks fresh meats and delicious produce and masterfully creates menus based off of what is available for the season. We’re inspired by the ways our vendors are willing to discuss, collaborate, and plan seasonal goods with us so that we can create menus that revolve around seasonality and regional influences. With the fall menu right around the corner – we’re ready and looking forward to seeing big, bold, and rich flavors returning to the menu.

Come on by and try us out! If you feel like we are something to write home about, do it! No, really! Attached to every bill is an Oliver Royale postcard that we mail to anyone in the United States!

Love notes from our guests after a wonderful night out!

Love notes from our guests after a wonderful night out!

So, on that note, we are the Oliver Royale! Can’t wait to have you over for a meal!

 

 

Fresh Seafood

I would like to discuss fresh seafood for just a moment and throw out a couple of pointers. 

First, when considering purchasing seafood, buy fresh over frozen on any day of the week that ends in a Y :)

Second, when choosing fresh seafood, do so in an educated manner.  The cooler months of the year are best for bivalves such as mussels and clams; and round fish such as salmon and sea bass.  During the warmer months, purchase Flat fish such as halibut and flounder. 

Lastly, when cooking fish choose to keep the skin on. Pat the skin dry, salt it and place the fish skin side down in the oil until it reaches a very light smoke point. Then reduce the heat a little and unstick the skin from pan. You want to cook the fish primarily on the skin side because it acts as a barrier, protecting the flesh. After 3-5 minutes, flip the fish to the flesh side and continue until the sides of the filet, when pressed on, feel like the muscle on your hand at the base of your thumb when you touch the tip of your thumb to ring finger. Remove the filet and keep the filet skin side up so that it doesn’t steam from carry over heat.

-Jon

Executive Chef

Oliver Royale, Knoxville

Crock pot poached eggs

I have spoken on the "sous vide" technique before, but I would like to take a minute to talk about another application to low and slow "crock pot cookery". I assume everyone is familiar with the ye ole’ cooking device the crock pot. What I would like to do is to get you to think outside the box and view it as more of a liquid oven not a pot of water. Hopefully this little easy technique for cooking eggs will get those gears turnin’.

First, get out the crock pot, fill it full of water and plug it in. Turn the dial to a little past the half way mark. If it maxes out at 10 then 6 should suffice. Wait for approximately 20 to 30 minutes or until you are indicated that the water has come up to its desired temp based on the setting chosen. With a digital thermometer check the water temperature, it should be around 155 degrees. If it is too hot add a little ice and nudge the temperature dial down a little, if too cold then nudge the dial up a little. Next place some eggs in the water being careful to place them on the bottom -do not drop them. They should form a single layer on the bottom, which is best for temperature maintenance. Leave them set for approximately 1 hour.

Remove one and gently crack it onto a plate to make sure the egg white is opaque and not clear and the yolk is soft poached. If you did it right, place the remaining eggs in ice water to stop the cooking or use them immediately for things such as a grilled frisee salad topper, eggs Benedict, carbonara pasta topping, poached eggs and toast, ramen bowl topper or any other application in which a soft boiled egg would be preferable. I hope this has peaked your curiosity and your experimentation juices are flowing. Now go play with your food! 

 

-Jon

Executive Chef

Oliver Royale, Knoxville

Happy New Year

So we are a few months into the opening of the restaurant and I must say, it has been a very interesting experience having seen the good, the bad and the ugly. From praise and accolades to the uh-oh! The positive and the negative are both useful and informative.

Our job as hospitality and service industry professionals are facilitators to attempt to make a meal experience as delightful and seamless as possible. Sometimes the reservation system goes down; sometimes guests stay at their tables well into the next group’s reservation; and sometimes the chardonnay shipment goes on backorder (though you might think that we’re guzzling it down afterhours). Stuff happens that you can never predict. Every day is a challenge and you have to be prepared for things to not always go your way.  People make all the difference.

I’m amazed at our staff.  They work late into the night, followed by early mornings, holidays, and when their pets are sick! Yet, every day they show up with a smile on their face to make their tables guest’s night or day memorable. We get the occasional table that is demanding, but many others who just get that a lot of hard work and planning goes into the orchestration of a dining experience.  So treat your staff with respect and kindness – it will pay off in more ways than you think!

Here’s to an open-minded 2016 everyone.  Let’s make this a great year!

-Jon

Executive Chef

Oliver Royale, Knoxville

Sous Vide: From Crock Pot to Haute Pot

It’s possible that you’ve never heard the French term “sous vide” before, but if you’ve ever enjoyed a delicious meal of French or other continental cuisine in a high-end restaurant, it’s likely that you’ve enjoyed the results of the sous vide method of cooking even if you didn’t know what it’s called.

In French, sous vide (pronounced “sue-veed”)  translates to “under vacuum,” and it’s a unique yet world-renowned style of preparing food in which steak, chicken, pork or vegetables are placed into an airtight, vacuum-sealed plastic bags which are then immersed in a warm, covered bath of water and left there for as long as 96 or more hours. With the sous vide method of food prep, the temperature of the water in which the sealed bag stays during this super-long cooking time is far lower than the temp one would use with a more conventional cooking method. In sous vide preparation, the water is usually maintained at around 130-to 140 degrees fahrenheit. When removed from its days-long bath in carefully temperature controlled water, sous vide-prepared meats and vegetables are at the absolute peak of taste perfection, with all their juicy goodness retained and a tenderness that can’t be beat. That’s why sous vide-prepared meals are so popular (and expensive!) in some of the most famous restaurants in the world.

As a chef, I like to experiment, and with some of my kitchen colleagues over the years, I’ve played with some of the edgier molecular trends, modifying ingredients using manipulators and stabilizers, foams and froths. I’ve smoked this and that, tried my hand at charcuterie, and have experiemented with myriad other methods and techniques in order to take my skills to the next level. But until fairly recently, sous vide remained on my wishlist of techniques that I’d yet to try.

I’d seen special sous vide ovens available for sale, but at hundreds of dollars, that seemed more than a little spendy for something that, the more I thought about it, really shouldn’t be that difficult to replicate with items that I already had available. A few years ago, I was working in one of the more progressive and creative of our local restaurants - one with a staff as eager to try new things as I am. One of the things we wanted to try was a “sous vide hack.” In other words, we wanted to figure out how to prepare food using this highly desired method without springing for a “real” - and really costly - sous vide oven.

After giving the matter some thought, I realized that the trusty, ever-reliable crock pot that we already had in our kitchen might be hacked into a sous vide oven with a minimal effort. I got the crock pot out and filled it with water, turning it on “high.” When I checked the water’s temperature about an hour later, I found that it was at 200, just below water’s boiling point of 212 degrees. Clearly, the crock pot couldn’t be used on “high” to create a traditional, days-long sous vide environment; the water was just too warm. I believed I could overcome this temperature issue if I could just figure out how to vacuum seal and submergethe food into what I hoped would become our new DIY sous vide oven. I needed to find a type of plastic bag that would seal properly, and would also sink in the water so that the items inside of it would cook evenly in their “bath.”  What I found through trial and error was that the small, home-use sized bag sealers were too small while the large vacuum sealers were, well, too large. Additionally, I couldn’t get any of the bags I tried to stay submerged in the water without using some type of utensil to weigh them down.

I finally had my “aha moment” during, of all places, a deep sea fishing trip. I was hanging out with the captain, enjoying a beverage while he cut up some of the day’s catch. I observed the way that he placed some of the fish filets he was slicing up into large Ziploc bags before putting them inside a five gallon bucket of water. He allowed the pressure of the water in the bucket to slowly push all the air out of the Ziploc bags, then zipped them up, creating a vaccum seal. After each plastic bag full of fresh fish was sealed up in this airtight way, he placed them in coolers for storage.

Watching how this experienced fisherman easily created air-tight bags for his catch, I realized that I’d just discovered the missing piece to my homemade sous vide attempts. As soon as I returned home from my trip and got back to the kitchen, I gave the fisherman’s method a try with a modified sous vide preparation process. I placed a pork tenderloin in a Ziploc bag with some fresh thyme, roasted garlic, rosemary, olive oil, salt, pepper, raisins and dried cherries. I vaccuum sealed the bag in some water using the fisherman’s method, and then submerged the sealed plastic bag in and submerged it in the crock pot, which I left at the hottest setting. Instead of leaving the tenderloin in the crock pot for several days, I removed the plastic bag containing the meat and seasonings after just under two hours, as recommended in the sous vide Bible, Under Pressure, by Thomas Keller. I was thrilled to find that both the meat and the other ingredients were cooked to absolute peak perfection.

Since that time, I find myself using this modified sous vide method both when I’m at home and also in the restaurant’s kitchen. I’ve tried it with various meats and different vegetables and seasonings and I get the same spectacular results every time. Who needs a pricey sous vide oven when we have a few Ziploc bags and our crock poton our kitchen shelves? That’s what I’ve discovered anyway. I hope you will give this method a try yourself and come back to tell me how your own sous vide hack turned out. 

-Jon

Kitchen Calming 101: A Professional Chef’s Secrets

It’s all too easy to allow yourself to become overwhelmed in your own kitchen. When you’re in the middle of preparing a meal, it can seem like there are pots and pans and ingredients and knives and rolls of paper towels and about a million other things filling up every open area, no matter how much counter space you have. And as most of us who have ever found ourselves in this situation know, a chaotic cooking environment like this is not only stressful and no fun, but is also less likely to result in the tasty, well put-together meal you intended to create when you got started.

This is why you will never find a well run kitchen in any restaurant operating in this sort of disarray. Instead, we professional chefs know the value of culinary mise en place: a place for everything and everything in its place. Through a few relatively simple rules for kitchen management during meal prep, you, too can begin actually enjoying the time you spend in the kitchen, just like we chefs do.

Here are a few of my top tips for keeping things running smoothly when you’re preparing a meal, or even when you’re preparing to prepare a meal:

      Tool time: make sure that your kitchen is equipped with the tools you need for the jobs at hand: a selection of knives (that you keep sharpened), mixing bowls and spoons, one or two cutting boards, at least one of each size pot and pan… and the list goes on. Properly equipping a home kitchen can be expensive, which is why for most people, it takes years before they have all the extras they really want and need, like a KitchenAid mixer or an electric wok, for example. But even before you are able to add these sorts ofbigger “bonus items” to your kitchen’s inventory, make sure you’re not trying to prepare your meals without having the true must-have items on hand.

      Take Inventory: Before you begin preparing any meal, make certain that you actually have all the ingredients available. All too often, chaotic cooking situations arise when the home cook reaches into the pantry for a certain type of spice she just knows that she needs, only to discover that while the spice in question is nowhere to be found, she does have five full bottles of unopened extra virgin olive oil. Planning for meal prep is just as important as the actual preparation of the meal, so make your list, check it twice, and be sure you take it to the grocery store with you before you set foot in the kitchen to begin preparing a specific meal.

      Practice makes perfect: Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t chop vegetables or filet a fish with the same minimalist and graceful movements that you see a professional chef use in undertaking the same tasks. Remember that these are activities that those of us who cook for a living do every day, usually many times a day. And so, just as with any other life activity, we get better and better at something the more we practice, just like you will get better the more vegetables you actually chop.

      Keep it orderly: Non-professional cooks are often amazed at how tidy restaurant kitchens look even at the end of a long night of preparing hundreds of meals. This is because professional cooks know the value of working in a specific order. The best first step is to organize your ingredients into a single area of your kitchen.  Place your needed pots, pans and utensils in another specific area. Next comes any marinating and fabricating of proteins, which should then be refrigerated. Fabrication should be followed by chopping of vegetables and long term starches like potatoes. Consolidate each of these ingredients individually. Last, prepare any sauces that might be going with the meal.

      Clean as you work: During all of these orderly preparation activities, you should be making regular trips to the sink to wash and dry items as you use them, and then putting them away. That’s right, clean the kitchen while you’re cooking! It may seem like a radical concept but it really is the way we professional cooks run our own kitchens.

      Save the best for last: The last steps of preparing a meal are the best ones: the actual cooking. Now that you have all your tools and ingredients ready to go, and your kitchen is relatively tidy, you can begin cooking your meats and vegetables, timing things so that you will be able to plate the different items on that night’s menu at pretty much the same time, allowing you to serve it to your hungry eaters at the same time.

These are the basics of an orderly meal preparation process, whether that’s in a restaurant kitchen or your own. But I’ll bet you have some of your own tips and tricks for keeping the kitchen under control and things moving smoothly when you’re cooking, and I’d love to hear what they are. Share your own “kitchen calming” techniques in the comments below. 

-Jon

Allow Me To Introduce Myself: Executive Chef Jon Gatlin

Please allow me to introduce myself; I’m Jon Gatlin, Executive Chef at the Oliver Royale, our brand new restaurant on Market Square in beautiful and vibrant downtown Knoxville, Tennessee. As a chef, a foodie and a Knoxvillian, this is truly the role I’ve dreamed of all of my life, and I am thrilled to get the chance to introduce myself and our restaurant to you through this, our new blog, as well as over on our new Facebook page.

For many people who work in the restaurant industry, their work is” just a job. However, I can honestly tell you that for me, food and its artful preparation is my life, love and passion. The culinary arts are my calling, and I hope that my commitment to truly special dining experiences shows itself with every plate that leaves my kitchen for your table in the Oliver Royale dining room. 

Why did I start a blog when I’m also pretty darn busy launching a new restaurant? Well, I want to have a relationship with our customers, and I decided that through social media, including this blog, I can connect with many of you in ways that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. Additionally, I’ve had and continue to have so many beautiful and amazing experiences through my work on a daily basis that I want to share with you. I love meeting and getting to know the people who will enjoy the meals that come out of my kitchen each night, and I hope that through our blog and Facebook page, you will enjoy getting to know more about where your food is coming from and who is preparing it. I also plan to use the blog to share some of the true stories of life in a busy restaurant kitchen because honestly, things can get pretty hectic in here sometimes, and by “hectic” I mean “really amusing.” I’ll be sharing some of these funny moments as well.

Just as a great restaurant represents a relationship between the chef and his customers, my hope for this blog, as well as for our Facebook page is thattogether, we can engage in a two way and ongoing conversation. When you have a great meal here, I want to hear about it, or better yet, I’d love to see a photo of you enjoying it. We will also be posting “behind the scenes” photos from our kitchen, profiles and pix of our restaurant staff, and even photography from outside the restaurant - taking you on virtual “field trips” to some of the fresh, fantastic and local sources of the food that will become someone’s delicious dinner.

Thank you so much for visiting our new blog and Facebook page. I look forward to getting to know as many of our customers as possible, andto having an ongoing conversation with many of you about my work as Executive Chef at the Oliver Royale.

Talk to you soon!

-Jon

5 MARKET SQUARE KNOXVILLE, TN 37902

865-622-6434 | royale@theoliverhotel.com

 

HOURS  

MON - THUR: 11AM - 10PM

FRIDAY: 11AM - 12AM 

SATURDAY: 10AM - 12AM

SUNDAY: 10AM - 10PM

WEEKEND BRUNCH MENU: SATURDAY & SUNDAY: 10AM - 4PM

*The bar stays open later nightly (but really, we'll stay open as late as you need us to...).