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No one claims working in a kitchen is easy. Banana bread best recipe Those who do it, and excel at it, are typically driven by a passion for food and creativity. Banana bread recipe 2 bananas That may be especially true for these chefs, whose duties require them to juggle multiple cooking responsibilities, all for the pleasure of local eaters.


After more than a decade as a chef, Chris McCauley says he has refined his culinary philosophy. How to make banana bread moist Like many in the business, he got an early start by working in restaurants before it was technically legal for him to do so. Best banana nut bread He moved on to fine-dining restaurants and had a chance to work with accomplished restaurateurs and influential regional chefs.

“I was able to have a lot of really great experiences at a young age,” he says. Classic banana bread recipe And as he’s matured, his new focus is uncomplicated fare. Healthy banana nut bread “Right now, I just want to make good, clean, simple, honest food.”

It’s probably one of the reasons he’s been a good fit at Wilmington’s Pine Valley Market, the local multipurpose eatery now celebrating 20 years in business. Yummy banana bread recipe Christi Ferretti and Kathy Webb-Ferretti have owned it for 15 years.

“They, and I, have really high standards,” McCauley praises. Simple banana nut bread Plus, they have a desire to fulfill many local foodie needs.

McCauley started working at PVM about two years ago, as a cochef with Smoky Masters. Oatmeal banana bread McCauley took over the executive chef position a year ago.

“I come into work, and it’s about figuring out where we are,” he says. Bread banana “We might have two catering jobs and four of the five divisions of the market need something.”

In addition to providing corporate and private catering for events, from weddings to dinner parties, the market has several ways to feed those who are hungry for good food. Banana bread recipe simple On one recent visit, the freezer-meal section had 18 varieties of casseroles and dishes for stocking at home.

There’s also the full-service meat counter and a grab-and-go section for quicker meals, which is usually supplied with dishes like homemade meatballs, twice-baked potatoes and prepared salads.

The market serves lunch and breakfast with a menu that changes three or four times a year. Banana bread moist recipe “We like to always re-evaluate and make things more seasonal,” McCauley tells. Simply recipes banana bread “And I think right now, breakfast is our best-kept secret.”

Specials include dishes like real corned-beef hash, eggs Benedict and oatmeal pancakes. Banana bread best “I would say 99 percent of all of these things are made in-house,” he says. Blueberry banana bread McCauley and the staff at PVM carefully prepare each tiny tomato pie for catering events or every individual pan of peach cobbler to sell in the store.

Over the years, the menu at Pine Valley Market has grown from an amalgamation of influences. Easy recipe banana bread It includes items of popularity from their beginnings—like the beloved chicken and rice—and those that reflect Ferretti’s Italian heritage. Best easy banana bread recipe McCauley says he’s added more Southern and regional fare since joining the crew.

“I would also say I like to do dishes with Asian influences,” he explains, a result of his previous experiences, which last included working with Peabody Award winner Vivian Howard (known for her show “A Chef’s Life” on PBS, featuring the inner workings of her Kinston, NC, restaurants Chef and the Farmer and The Boiler Room).

As well McCauley has engaged his competitive streak in local cooking competitions. Quick easy banana bread He was the youngest chef to win at the Beaufort Wine & Food festival. Chocolate chip banana bread recipe Just last year, he and his team placed second in the local Fire on the Dock competition.

“I have to wear multiple hats,” McCauley continues. Banana bread healthy “Working at the market has helped my ability to multitask and see the bigger picture.” Although the different aspects of the business ebb and flow during the year—freezer meals and soup are big during the winter months, for example, and the meat counter is a summer staple for local grillers—they do sometimes converge. Sugarless banana bread During the holidays, everything is busy. Banana bread simple “What I’ve learned is you have to be organized,” McCauley states.

That happens to be a skill he’s seen from Ferretti first hand, who is a natural at logistics and who wants her staff to be a tight-knit family. Super moist banana bread McCauley, meanwhile, has added enthusiasm, professionalism and creativity to the mix, according to Ferretti. Recipe of banana bread He gets to add his own vision to the already adored tried-and-true dishes the market serves. I need a recipe for banana bread He loves writing menus and devising imaginative items for clients.

“At first, I could tell maybe they were a little hesitant,” he notes. 3 banana bread recipe Regular clients have learned they can count on McCauley to add interest to their even—like with an appetizer wrapped in a cilantro cotton candy. Low fat banana bread recipe “And one of the great things about this is it’s always something different,” he promises. Banana bread loaf recipe One week he might be concocting a tasting menu for 15 people and the next, planning an intimate dinner for four.

Above: Amanda Corbett is the pastry chef for the Circa Restaurant Group, which oversees five local restaurants. Low calorie banana bread recipe Photo by Lindsey A. Banana blueberry bread Miller Photography

Desserts weren’t necessarily Amanda Corbett’s passion when she attended the culinary program at Cape Fear Community College. Yummy banana bread It started to change after a pastry class and when she started making wedding cakes for friends. Simple banana nut bread recipe “It was something I just loved to do,” Corbett notes. Small banana bread recipe “I love the decorating process.”

After graduation, she worked at a handful of jobs before she became a chef and pizza maker at Osteria Cicchetti for owner Ash Aziz. Easy recipe for banana nut bread That was nine years ago. Banana nut bread easy recipe It’s now been several months since she’s taken on a new role of pastry chef for all of the eateries in Aziz’s Circa Restaurant Group.

In a typical day, Corbett will finish making gelatos and sorbets—including a special flavor of the day, like raspberry and cream—all while setting out trays of mango and orange pate de fruit, a French-gelled candy, served on cheese plates at some of the five different restaurants. How to make banana bread recipe Doing the little extra bit takes planning and preparation on her part—especially when engaging in the three-day process for one of the most popular desserts, Coconut Sushi. Banana bread simply recipes Her workspace is lined with bins of chocolates and sugars, and containers filled with hot-fudge and caramel sauces, which she makes in large batches. Bake banana bread In listening to the description of her work, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed on her behalf. Easy banana bread recipes moist “It’s not that big a deal,” she says. Extra moist banana bread But her notebook of recipes and components tells a different story.

For Corbett Tuesdays and Thursdays are usually her prep days. Healthy banana nut bread recipe She makes stock, figures out the basics, and preps foundation ingredients on which her desserts are built. Easy banana bread recipe 2 bananas One of her busiest days is Wednesday. Tasty banana bread recipe At the end of each shift at the restaurants, chefs and managers will e-mail her with their order lists. Baking banana bread Many come in late on Tuesdays, so she spends most of Wednesday making them. Easy way to make banana bread One recent Wednesday, she had 18 desserts on her list, including a seven-layer Colossal Chocolate Cake, profiteroles, Black and White Cake, bread puddings, and mini desserts.

“I would say most of them have four or five parts,” she tells. The best banana nut bread The Bananas Foster at Boca Bay, for example, includes a dark rum sauce, banana bread made with bruleed bananas, candied walnuts, and banana ice cream. 5 banana bread recipe Corbett makes each piece so chefs at the restaurants can assemble them on site.

In addition to the dessert orders, she might make batches of mousse, several ice cream flavors, truffles, and tiny cookies and other garnishes. Traditional banana bread recipe On Saturdays she and the assistant pastry chef focus on brunch, by making croissants, cinnamon rolls, and a variety of other breads and pastries.

“We usually always have a special, too,” she explains. Light banana bread recipe Maybe a spinach-and-cheese roll, for example, or glazed lemon-star Danish.

The three mixers at her kitchen usually run at once. Super easy banana bread And the cooling racks and ovens at her home base at Osteria Cicchetti on Military Cutoff see heavy use. All recipes banana bread Corbett likes to cook and bake at home, too. How to make banana bread easy “But it is so much easier here” she claims.

Even with a schedule full of making some of the area’s favorite sweet treats, Corbett still has time to experiment. Best banana bread ever recipe She already has a new favorite for the year: a S’mores Cake she made for a New Year’s Eve menu. Two banana bread recipe The dish was inspired by a candy Aziz brought to Corbett with the request to build a dessert around it. Amazing banana bread She’s also added at least one gluten-free dessert at each location, including the Peanut Butter Cake, with layers of peanut butter mousse, chocolate ganache, roasted peanuts, and caramel sauce. Banana bread recipe from scratch She tries to balance the dessert offerings at each place, making sure a diversity of flavors and textures are represented.

“Ash is really great about letting me try my crazy ideas,” she praises.

If they work, they usually stick around for a while. Banana bread recipe 4 bananas She often visits the other restaurants on a regular basis to review what was most popular each season.

Corbett’s schedule means she hasn’t been baking as many wedding cakes (although she’ll be making her own later this year), but desserts have become her life.

“I love playing around with recipes,” she says, “thinking about why they work or don’t work. Banana bread recipe easy moist I love troubleshooting problems.”

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