Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tony Minutelli and Chefs Center of California

When I learned that my friend Tony Minutelli was baking at Chefs Center of California I began to salivate--not only for the treats he makes, but for an opportunity to find out more about Chefs Center from an insider.

Tony bakes gluten-free pastries for Lisa & Mo, Inc., a small company that sells in some high-end spots. I can tell you from personal experience that these pastries are not at all what the uninitiated might expect upon hearing the phrase, "gluten-free." In the picture, Tony displays freshly-baked avocado cupcakes topped with nuts and chocolate chips while I try to take pictures without swooning over the aroma. Tony says Lisa & Mo is all gluten-free and mostly organic, "where it counts."

Chefs Center of California is a program of the Episcopal Housing Alliance and Economic Development. Around here, if you want to make food to sell you have to make it in a Health & Safety-Approved kitchen. Such a facility isn't always affordable for the up-and-coming entrepreneur. Chefs Center makes their shiny, clean, industrial kitchen available at a reasonable price. It looks like there's room in there for eight or ten entrepreneurs to be happily making treats for me at the same time. They make treats for you, too, and you can pick yours up at the Friday Food Fair and Artisanal Market Fridays from 6-9 pm, through August.

Left to right, top to bottom: beet chocolate (oh yes we had that first and yummmm), banana (I didn't expect it to be special but it was!), "just carrot," Tony said, but it was better than "just," and last, bottom right, the aromatic avocado muffin Tony was baking when I visited Chefs Center. Oh, my. I will not say "to die for" because why would you want that? Then you wouldn't be around to eat more of them. And I most definitely want to eat more of them.

21 comments:

dive said...

Oh, my!
First up: that is a fantastic portrait, Petrea.
Second up: beet chocolate? Of all the inspirational temptations you have strewn in our path to persuade us to visit Pasadena that has to be way up in the top three. My tastebuds just exploded at the very thought. Ditto for the avocado, nuts and choc-chip. I have all of those ingredients in my house and I have a feeling I'm going to weigh a whole lot more by this time tomorrow.
Yum!

Steffe said...

He would fit in perfectly at my favorite cafe! Nice write-up and presentation of the pastries.

Anonymous said...

For the longest time we have wondered what the Chefs Center was all about. That building went through so many different "lives", so many restaurants and other enterprises. It was either in flux or lying fallow.

This sounds terrific. There was a time when I contemplated a solo baking business but could not comply with the regulations regarding the kitchen. I have since gotten over that urge, but am happy to know that others have a place to go with theirs.

You really do keep us informed, Petrea. Thanks,

Betsy

Valladolid Daily Photo said...

Those cookies look delicious!

Anthony Minutelli said...

Thank you, Petrea for the great article and the great photos!!!

BaysideLife said...

My mouth is watering.

BaysideLife said...

I love the idea that there is a place for these talented entrepreneurs to do what they do best.

altadenahiker said...

Beautiful!

Petrea Burchard said...

Ooh, you're welcome, Tony, and thank you everyone else for visiting. Dive, I think you might just be able to figure out these recipes if anyone can. Who'dathunk beet chocolate? But what a perfect sweetener the beet is. And I can't recommend that avocado muffin quite highly enough. Wow.

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing chocolate cake recipes in the past that called for pureed beets (baby food). Sounds as though this might be the same principle.

My last post failed to show - in spam? I did the word verification OK. ???

Betsy

Bellis said...

Yummy yummy. You could make a living as a food writer/photographer. I always wondered what that Chef's Center was all about, thanks for the insight. And I'll be at the Friday Market at 6 pm, as I've just got to try one of those muffins.

Petrea Burchard said...

Betsy, I sometimes don't see your comments until I check my email, then there they are. So I go find them and they're in the spam box. Blogger's spam filter is a bit zealous (which I don't mind), and because you post "anonymously" sometimes it weeds you out. As for pureed beets, I've never liked the idea but now I'm tempted.

Bellis, I can't guarantee Tony and Lisa & Mo will be there. But I can guarantee other innovative chefs and lots of fun.

TheChieftess said...

The Chef's Center is a really interesting concept! What an excellent way for a new entrepreneur like Tony to get started...thanks for sharing this Petrea!!!

Petrea Burchard said...

I love the concept, too, Chieftess. Chefs Center is making a lot of things possible.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

What Chieftess said. Plus who knew how much could be gleaned from the common beet? That really is an amazing and under appreciated vegetable.

LONDONLULU said...

Excuse me while I wipe drool from my computer screen! It was a mistake, a happy one, clicking over here after a long workday of hurried blah meals.

Ms M said...

The Chefs Center sounds like an excellent idea. Programs like THAT are what I call providing economic stimulus!
I've never had cupcakes with flavor combinations like those; it'd be fun to do a taste test.

Katie said...

What a delicious post! Great photos and fun links to more sweet treats (I especially want to try Lisa & Mo's Molten Chocolate Espresso cookies). Good luck to Tony and everyone taking advantage of Chefs Center. Such a cool idea!

Petrea Burchard said...

Oh Katie, thank you very much, I didn't see the molten chocolate espresso cookies (or maybe I did, I was looking at pictures more than copy).

We tried to make our four muffins last four days. Ha! No such luck.

Shell Sherree said...

With a smile like that, his baking has to be good! So did they last four hours? Or four minutes...

Petrea Burchard said...

Somewhere in between, Shell. I don't think I should be specific.