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Mas (La Grillade) Closing to Make Way for New Restaurant

Mas (La Grillade) Closing to Make Way for New Restaurant

Galen Zamarra’s West Village space will host a new restaurant this fall

Mas (la grillade) is closing to make way for a new concept that will not include the wood-fired grills that bothered so many neighbors.

Mas (la grillade), chef Galen Zamarra’s second West Village restaurant, will close its doors after the dinner service on August 16, and is expected to reopen sometime this fall as a completely different restaurant.

Zamarra’s first West Village outpost, Mas (farmhouse), is still open and set to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year. Mas (la grillade) opened in 2011 with a grill-focused menu that focused on wood-fired cooking. But while the wood-burning grills produced some very flavorful food, they also produced smoke that bothered some of the restaurant’s neighbors.

“At Mas (la grillade), Chef Zamarra’s menu featured simple and flavorful wood-fired cooking, served a la carte,” the restaurant said in a statement. “While positive reviews poured in, the wood-fire aspect of the restaurant’s operations created challenges with neighbors, and thus will no longer be in the new restaurant.”

According to DNAinfo, Zamarra spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to control the smoke smell, but finally decided the wood-fired grill concept just could not work in the space.

"We've done various things over the year to try to control [the smell], make it more suitable for the neighborhood, to make people more happy with it," Zamarra told DNAinfo. "We just felt that we weren't able to keep the identity and the vision we originally had, so it was time for a change."

Mas (la grillade) is set to serve its last wood-fired dinner August 16. Zamarra expects to reopen the space in October with a completely new concept.

"I'm not ready to talk about what that is, but we have a really fun idea,” Zamarra said. “I'm really excited about it."


Review: At Mas’, Jonathan Gold finds hearty, spicy food just like your Chinese Islamic mother used to make

Cold spicy beef tendon at Mas’ Chinese Islamic Restaurant in Anaheim.

(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Salt and pepper shrimp at Mas’ Chinese Islamic Restaurant.

(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Lamb stew warm pot, as served at Mas’ Chinese Islamic Restaurant.

(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Thin sesame bread with green onion, left, and sesame bread with green onion.

(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Sesame bread with green onions.

(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Janet Sanchez savors her meal, which includes sizzling black pepper beef, at Mas’ Chinese Islamic Restaurant in Anaheim.

(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Shrimp with pea-pod leaves and sesame bread with green onions.

(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

The short ribs, as served at Mas’ Chinese Islamic Restaurant in Anaheim.

(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

A gathering ‘round the table for lunch at Mas’ Chinese Islamic Restaurant.

(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

The sign says it all in Anaheim.

(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Have you stopped by Mas’ Chinese Islamic Restaurant? Because it’s kind of wild on a Sunday afternoon, a world of head scarves and bright dresses, skinny suits and skullcaps, and children dumbstruck at the massive piles of sizzling black-pepper beef. The green-onion flatbreads — every table has one! — are as big as birthday cakes, and when you pick up a wedge you can see dozens of strata. Crisp shards of beef short ribs, cut laterally and thin in what Korean restaurants call “L.A. style,” are stacked six inches high.

The air is heady with garlic and cumin, burnt chiles and charred meat. The tables are set with forks — you have to ask for chopsticks. Jamillah Mas’ cooking is hearty and full flavored, spicy except when it isn’t, and unafraid of excess.

There was a time in the not-so-distant past when Islamic Chinese cooking looked like the future a future awash in sesame sauce and mutton-organ warm pots. When the big Chinese food mall San Gabriel Square was young, the most popular restaurant was probably Tung Lai Shun, inspired by a famous Islamic restaurant in Beijing and serving a style of food we had never seen here before. I used to take visiting cookbook writers to Tung Lai Shun — I was convinced that Richard Olney would find hints of Provence in the plush braised lamb and that Fannie Farmer auteur Marion Cunningham might find inspiration in the flatbreads. (They didn’t, but it in no way diminished my admiration.)

I rejoiced in the sharp flavors of the Xinxiang-style mutton skewers at Feng Mao and the short-lived 818 and of the delicious Uyghur cooking at Omar’s in San Gabriel. For a while, the halal-restaurant database at zabihah.com seemed as good a place as any to seek out interesting new restaurants, especially given its contributors’ emphasis on hospitality and respect, even in the humblest dining rooms.

Mas’ Islamic may not be what you would consider a service-oriented restaurant — food can take a long time to get to the table — but it is a cheerful one, perhaps catering more to the needs of large families than to scattered parties of two or three, who can be overwhelmed by the lengthy menu and the sheer quantity of food. It is possible to order things like orange chicken, delivery-style fried shrimp and cream cheese won tons, although I wouldn’t recommend it.

You should note that the parking lot includes a lot of bus-size spaces. This is not going to be a 15-minute meal.

What are you going to be eating, then? There is that sesame bread stuffed with green onions, either the giant one or a thinner, somewhat crispier and tastier version that comes out in about a third of the time. (Think of it as thick- versus thin-crust pizza.) You can stuff bits of “Mongolian” beef into the bread, or lamb stir-fried with cumin, dry-fried string beans with chile, or lamb with green onions. If there are a lot of you, you might consider the crunchy bread stuffed with red bean paste too. It isn’t a bad dessert.

Most of the cold dishes are lovely — spicy cold beef, cold tripe with chile — especially slices of gently spiced beef tendon pressed into a translucent sort of terrine, and maybe the delicate, slippery mung-bean sheets slicked with garlicky sesame paste.

If Anaheim ever had a cold winter night, the warm pot — a mammoth tureen filled with broth, lamb, cellophane noodles and pickled cabbage — would probably be just the thing. I am fond of what the menu calls “home-style croutons in lamb stew,” which resembles the Xi’an dish of braised lamb and dense, torn bread that you may have tasted at one of the Shaanxi-style places in the San Gabriel Valley. The thick, hand-sliced noodles stir-fried with vegetables, lamb and egg, have a nice bite, although they may be heartier than they are refined.

The last time I was in, I asked a manager to recommend a dish that his mother might like. He brought out a loose, steaming tofu omelet in brown sauce, an omelet so heroic in stature that the leftovers filled two quart-size containers. I’m not sure the tofu omelet was my favorite dish at Mas’, but I appreciated the gesture. Mom didn’t want anyone to go away hungry.


Mas (La Grillade) Closing to Make Way for New Restaurant - Recipes

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Mas (La Grillade) Closing to Make Way for New Restaurant - Recipes

I&rsquom writing this nearly 15 months after we closed our dining room, and I&rsquom so excited to share that we will be reopening Eleven Madison Park on June 10th.

The pandemic brought our industry to its knees. With our closure, we laid off most of our team, and truly didn&rsquot know if there was going to be an Eleven Madison Park.

We kept a small team employed, and with their remarkable effort, in collaboration with the nonprofit Rethink Food, we prepared close to a million meals for New Yorkers experiencing food insecurity. Through this work, I experienced the magic of food in a whole new way, and I also saw a different side of our city &ndash and today I love New York more than ever.

What began as an effort to keep our team employed while feeding people in need has become some of the most fulfilling work of my career. It is a chapter in my life that&rsquos been deeply moving, and for which I am very grateful.

It was clear to me that this work must become a cornerstone of our restaurant.

Therefore, we&rsquove evolved our business model. When we reopen Eleven Madison Park on June 10th, every dinner you purchase will allow us to provide five meals to food-insecure New Yorkers. This food is being delivered by Eleven Madison Truck, which is operated by our staff in partnership with Rethink Food. We&rsquove created a circular ecosystem where our guests, our team, and our suppliers all participate.

In the midst of last year, when we began to imagine what EMP would be like after the pandemic &ndash when we started to think about food in creative ways again &ndash we realized that not only has the world changed, but that we have changed as well. We have always operated with sensitivity to the impact we have on our surroundings, but it was becoming ever clearer that the current food system is simply not sustainable, in so many ways.

We use food to express ourselves as richly and authentically as our craft allows &ndash and our creativity has always been tied to a specific moment in time. In this way, the restaurant is a personal expression in dialogue with our guests.

It was clear that after everything we all experienced this past year, we couldn&rsquot open the same restaurant.

With that in mind, I&rsquom excited to share that we&rsquove made the decision to serve a plant-based menu in which we do not use any animal products &mdash every dish is made from vegetables, both from the earth and the sea, as well as fruits, legumes, fungi, grains, and so much more.

We&rsquove been working tirelessly to immerse ourselves in this cuisine. It&rsquos been an incredible journey, a time of so much learning. We are continuing to work with local farms that we have deep connections to, and with ingredients known to us, but we have found new ways to prepare them and to bring them to life.

I find myself most moved and inspired by dishes that center impeccably-prepared vegetables, and have naturally gravitated towards a more plant-based diet. This decision was inspired by the challenge to get to know our ingredients more deeply, and to push ourselves creatively. It wasn&rsquot clear from the onset where we would end up. We promised ourselves that we would only change direction if the experience would be as memorable as before.

We asked ourselves: What are the most delicious aspects of our dishes, and how could we achieve the same level of flavor and texture without meat?

It&rsquos crucial to us that no matter the ingredients, the dish must live up to some of my favorites of the past. It&rsquos a tremendous challenge to create something as satisfying as the lavender honey glazed duck, or the butter poached lobster, recipes that we perfected.

I&rsquom not going to lie, at times I&rsquom up in the middle of the night, thinking about the risk we&rsquore taking abandoning dishes that once defined us.

But then I return to the kitchen and see what we&rsquove created. We are obsessed with making the most flavorful vegetable broths and stocks. Our days are consumed by developing fully plant-based milks, butters and creams. We are exploring fermentation, and understand that time is one of the most precious ingredients. What at first felt limiting began to feel freeing, and we are only scratching the surface.

All this has given us the confidence to reinvent what fine dining can be. It makes us believe that this is a risk worth taking.

It is time to redefine luxury as an experience that serves a higher purpose and maintains a genuine connection to the community. A restaurant experience is about more than what&rsquos on the plate. We are thrilled to share the incredible possibilities of plant-based cuisine while deepening our connection to our homes: both our city and our planet.

I believe that the most exciting time in restaurants is to come. The essence of EMP is stronger than it ever has been. We can&rsquot wait to have you come and experience this new chapter of the restaurant. We look forward to sharing this journey with you.


Go Fish! Easy Recipes to Make at Home

by Jill Waldbieser, AARP, March 19, 2021 | Comments: 0

Lauri Patterson/Getty Images

En español | With less in-person dining during the pandemic, fish consumption has taken a dive. That's because more than two-thirds of the seafood we eat has traditionally been purchased at restaurants — whether it's as fish and chips at your neighborhood pub or lobster at your special-occasion go-to.

Preparing seafood ourselves, says Wayne Samiere, CEO and founder of the Honolulu Fish Company, intimidates lots of home cooks: “If you give the average person a few pounds of raw beef or chicken, they'll have some idea of what to do with it. But give them raw fish, and they won't know if it's cod, flounder or tuna.” This phenomenon, he notes, goes back to that fact that American culture has its roots in farming, a 400-year-old practice here. Large-scale commercial fishing in the country, on the other hand, is only around 60 years old.

Our fish fears are completely unfounded, however. Fish is one of the easiest proteins to prepare in general, the less you do to a fillet, the better. It defrosts and cooks quickly for a last-minute meal, goes well with lots of different flavors and stands up to a variety of cooking techniques. Plus, it's one of the leanest proteins you can eat, and one of the only sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to heart and brain health, among other benefits.

Memorial Day Sale

Despite all this, a Food Marketing Institute survey found that only slightly more than half of Americans eat seafood — including things like canned tuna — twice a month. And when we do eat it, we tend to stick to the standbys: Shrimp, salmon and tuna have topped the list of most popular seafood for years.

It's time for a sea change. If you want to ease your way into something new, try any mild, white-fleshed fish: Tilapia, cod, flounder, halibut, barramundi and mahi-mahi are all good choices, and sustainable, too, says Casey Corn, FultonFishMarket.com's culinary ambassador. Fillets will also cook faster than steaks or a whole fish.

Then, follow two simple rules. Rule number one: Get the freshest and highest-quality seafood you can buy. Fresh, high-quality fish should smell of the ocean, with moist flesh. It should never smell bad ("fishy") or look dull. If you're buying whole fish, the eyes should be clear and shiny, not dull or sunken. A reputable fishmonger will be able to guide you if you're not sure. Otherwise, don't overlook the frozen food section it's common practice for fishing boats to flash-freeze their catch when they're still at sea, so it still tastes great and you can find bargains. Rule number two: Don't overcook it.

Need more guidance? Here are three entry-level fish recipes to get you going.

Fish in Parchment

Cooking fish in parchment gently steams the contents and is a foolproof way to make sure the protein is moist and not overcooked. Plus, cleanup could not be easier. You can add vegetables — thinly sliced squash or zucchini, carrots or green beans — to the packet and have a full meal in 15 minutes.

  • Suggested fillets: tilapia, barramundi, flounder, salmon
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese
  • 4 4-ounce fish fillets
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Parsley to garnish (optional)

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Fish Tacos

Who doesn't love tacos? Fish makes them healthier by cutting the fat, and it goes great with fresh flavors like lime and cilantro. These make a great family-friendly meal, but you can also prepare the fish the same way and use it in a salad or wrap.

  • Suggested fillets: mahi-mahi, tuna steak, snapper, halibut, cod
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound skinless fish fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces

To serve: corn tortillas, fresh cilantro, sliced red cabbage, avocado, lime wedges

    Combine the spices and coat the fish pieces in the seasoning.

Slow-Roasted Mediterranean Fish

Hot and fast cooking methods run the risk of overcooking fish, the one thing sure to ruin it. Instead, opt for low, slow heat to retain moisture. This works equally well for fillets or, if you get a little more daring, a whole fish.


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Martin Berasategui

Martín Berasategui (Donostia-San Sebastián, 1960) is one of the standard-bearers of Spanish avant-garde cuisine and, hardly surprisingly, the one and only chef in Spain who owns two restaurants in Spain with three Michelin stars, one in the Basque Country and the other one in Barcelona.

As a child, Berasategui learnt cooking from his mother Gabriela and his aunt María in their traditional Basque restaurant, Bodegón Alejandro in the old center of Donostia-San Sebastián. At fifteen, he enjoyed helping prepare popular dishes such as meatballs, marmitako (tuna stew) and squid in its own ink. He was one of four children but the only one interested in taking up a career as a cook and, at 20, after the death of his father, he took charge of the restaurant. On his few days off and during the holidays, he studied - pastrymaking, charcuterie and ice cream – in France, mostly in the region of Les Landes. Then back home, he gradually introduced changes and new techniques, eventually receiving his first Michelin star at Bodegón Alejandro.

He continued to develop his own personal style and was eventually able to open his own restaurant in 1993. Located in Lasarte-Oria, very close to the city of Donostia-San Sebastián, the Martín Berasategui restaurant, launched a review of traditional Basque cuisine and showed that signature cuisine is possible in small and large establishments alike. In 2001, his was the fourth Spanish restaurant to receive a third Michelin star, after Arzak. El Racó de Can Fabes and elBulli.

When he felt the need to show that he could do more than cook, he created the Berasategui group. It manages not only the Lasarte-Orio restaurant (three stars) but also advisory services for other restaurants in Spain. The Group’s other business lines include publishing and an advisory department for the food and hospitality sector which has collaborated, amongst others, in the design of china for the Porcelanas Bidasoa company under the Vajilla Quatrum brand, and the launch of the spuMb line of disposable catering equipment.

Top priority, the products

There are three specific features in Berasategui’s professional approach which he has been defending for the last three decades – excellent food products, skilled techniques and, above all, hard work. These factors together with a clear influence from Basque cuisine result in cooking that is sincere, reveals character and achieves harmony between the products and the cooking styles used. Berasategui openly acknowledges that he likes cooking to be straightforward, with a minimum of distractions. It is flavor that should stand out, and that flavor should be as natural as possible.

He prefers local ingredients, especially if they can be grown close at hand, reaching him with all their properties almost intact, and playing a full role in the creative process. He often focuses on Spanish products: olive oil, wine, garlic. This is his personal way of remembering his childhood, when he used to accompany his mother or his aunt to the Bretxa Market in San Sebastián to buy fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, all at peak freshness. And mention must be made of the careful service at the restaurant tables under the supervision of his wife, Oneka Aguirre.

But cooking for Berasategui does not end in the restaurant. He says that he alone is allowed to cook at home because, if he cooks for his customers, obviously he also has to cook for family and friends. His favorite dishes include, for the home scene, potato omelet with salt cod or hake cheeks, At home, he still uses an old, energy-saving, coal-fired range, standing next to a simple, modern cooker.

His zeal for professional perfection and discipline has not kept him from developing a key aspect of gastronomy today, teamwork. Training has been provided in his kitchens for some of the great young chefs who are planning to keep the flag flying for Spanish gastronomy, guaranteeing a future that is more than promising. By way of footnote, mention should be made of a sign affixed at the entrance to his restaurant, announcing in the Basque language to visitors and those working for Berasategui, "Those who work shall eat".

Changes and new projects

At the end of 2008, the Berasategui Group underwent a thorough transformation. Andoni Luis Aduriz and Bixente Arrieta severed their ties with Martín Berasategui and took over total responsibility for Mugaritz, El Bodegón de Alejandro and the Guggenheim restaurant. Martín Berasategui focused on his restaurant in Lasarte and his gastronomic advisory services. A few months after this news, Aduriz and Arrieta announced that as from 1 January 2010 they would also be taking charge of the restaurant at the Kursaal, the Auditorium and Congress Centre in Donostia-San Sebastián, formerly in the hands of Berasategui.

The remodeling of the Berasategui Group gave Martín Berasategui the opportunity to devise new projects. In mid-2009, he announced that he was to open the Martín Shanghai restaurant in Shanghai in China. This represents his first international venture and was opened officially in September 2009 in a particularly attractive venue, a French-style mansion dating from 1921, close to the well-known Xujiahui park. With three floors and an outdoor terrace, the restaurant seats about 150.

Two menus are on offer -one hot, one cold- and the dishes result from the combination of signature creations at the Berasategui restaurant in Lasarte (Basque Country) and the local Chinese ingredients.

Passion by Martín Berasategui

Sol Meliá announced in December 2011 an alliance with Spanish Chef Martín Berasategui to launch a brand-wide partnership through Passion by Martín Berasategui, a new restaurant concept that will transform the hotel chain’s Paradisus brand into the only all-inclusive hotels in the Americas to boast cuisine by a Michelin-starred chef.

The first Passion by Martín Berasategui debuts at Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla, one of the two newest Mexican properties Sol Meliá has launched in the prestigious Caribbean enclave of Riviera Maya. As part of the agreement, the hotel chain will be able to train and develop its kitchen and service staff at Lasarte, under the direct supervision of Berasategui, something which has already happened for the launching of this first hotel restaurant.

Berasategui’s inspiration was to incorporate Caribbean flavors into his cuisine. Local seafood will have a starring role in the menu of Passion by Martin Berasategui, where special wine pairings have been developed from three separate wine lists created exclusively for the restaurant. Passion by Martin Berasategui will be an adults-only gastronomic experience, serving dinner nightly and featuring indoor and outdoor seating. The restaurant will also be accessible to local residents and visitors.

Paradisus Resorts, the all-inclusive luxury brand of Spanish hotel chain Sol Meliá, has expanded its collaboration with Spanish Chef Martín Berasategui with the opening in April 2012 of Fuego Gastro Bar at the Paradisus Punta Cana and Passion by Martín Berasategui at the Paradisus Palma Real, both in the Dominican Republic.

In 2017, Basque chef Martín Berasategui became the Spanish chef that has received the most stars in the history of the Spanish edition of the Michelin Guide. The granting of the third star to his Lasarte restaurant, which is under the leadership of executive chef Paolo Casagrande, is the confirmation of an ongoing love affair between the Michelin Guide, this Basque chef, and his training and business model, which is based on creating a reserve of great chefs capable of spreading the Berastaegui style of haute cuisine around the world.
 


Native Foods X Support + Feed

Native Foods is working with Support + Feed, a non-profit charitable organization and brainchild of Maggie Baird (mother of pop stars Billie Eilish and Finneas), to help feed people in need this summer.

Support + Feed provides nourishing, plant-based meals for children and families, seniors, homeless and domestic abuse shelters, food banks, and LGBTQ+ centers in marginalized communities.

For more information, click here or visit supportandfeed.com .

Do you want to help us feed those in need? Wonderful! Simply select a donation amount from the "Support + Feed" category when placing your online order, or let a team member in-store know that you would like to donate.


‘There were too many people to separate everyone’

Dov Charney, the owner of LA Apparel, is a controversial figure who was fired from American Apparel in 2014 amid sexual harassment allegations. Since then he has turned LA Apparel into a well-known brand that sells basics such as T-shirts, sweatshirts and bodysuits directly to consumers.

In mid-March the company began revving up mask production for government agencies as well as regular customers, using Instagram to promote images of models wearing the masks, as well as the workers who make them. The company’s offer of $14.25 an hour, with the possibility of extra pay if workers produced more, made Tzul excited to take the job.

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Tzul says the company took temperatures and gave out hand sanitizer on the factory floor. Maribel Maldonado, another garment worker who tested positive for Covid-19 while working at an LA Apparel factory, says workers wore masks. But both Maldonado and Tzul say there was no consistent enforcement by management for any of these measures, and that the biggest risk was a lack of social distancing.

Maldonado, 50 and originally from Mexico, had been laid off from her job cleaning hotel rooms due to the pandemic when she heard LA Apparel was hiring mask-makers. She began working there in April, trimming the loose threads off cloth masks, and was diagnosed with Covid-19 in May. She says she got the illness at the factory, and that she was healthy until she started working there.

Maldonado says work stations were not set up the required 6ft apart, social distancing was impossible, and enforcement was lax. “There were too many people to separate everyone,” she told the Guardian in Spanish. “We didn’t fit.”

Maldonado believes there were too many willing to work and that made it easy for managers to ignore concerns, since someone was always ready to take their place. She says street vendors would make their way on to the factory floor to sell snacks Tzul also describes workers crowding around the microwaves during lunch breaks.

She began displaying symptoms of Covid-19 on the factory floor, including diarrhea, nausea, cold sweats and chills. She says the managers at LA Apparel did not pay much attention to her symptoms, and it was only with the help of GWC that she was able to get tested and discover she had the virus.

In June, county health officials began investigating LA Apparel and found that the company was violating mandatory public health infection control orders, including social distancing requirements. At the time, the company reported 151 confirmed cases of Covid-19.

On 27 June, the department of public health (DPH) ordered LA Apparel to shut down its operations until it could implement the proper safety and infection protocols. The order was still in effect when, 10 days later, the company reopened its manufacturing plant. DPH issued another directive ordering LA Apparel to cease operations, and on 10 July DPH confirmed that there are more than 300 cases of Covid among LA Apparel workers, and four have died.

“The death of four dedicated garment workers is heartbreaking and tragic,” said Dr Barbara Ferrer, the director of DPH, in a statement. “Business owners and operators have a corporate, moral and social responsibility to their employees and their families to provide a safe work environment that adheres to all of the health officer directives – this responsibility is important, now more than ever, as we continue to fight this deadly virus.”

Ferrer said her department would continue to monitor LA Apparel and other manufacturing sites to make sure they were safe working environments for employees.

In response to the county’s claims that LA Apparel had flouted health orders, Charney told the Guardian his company has been “totally cooperative” with county health officials, despite receiving conflicting directives. He said that LA Apparel was “doing everything we can to take care of our people. We love our employees, they’re our partners, and we’re working to build an environment of safety and prosperity.”

In response to workers’ claims, Charney says the company has taken precautions to keep people safe and insists that social distancing between work stations has been enforced, but he acknowledges that enforcing distancing during breaks is challenging.

“We are working very hard. We reorganized our factory many times,” Charney says. He is skeptical that people caught the virus at work and attributes the recent outbreak to a countywide spike in Covid-19 cases, saying workers could have been exposed during lunches or after work hours. “We can’t control social distancing: what people do at home, or when they go out and eat,” Charney says. “To even imply that it’s because we’re not doing our duty is laughable.”

He says the company now plans to test all of its workers every week.


I'm Todd Wilbur, Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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In 1991 Kentucky Fried Chicken bigwigs decided to improve the image of America's third-largest fast-food chain. As a more health-conscious society began to affect sales of fried chicken, the company changed its name to KFC and introduced a lighter fare of skinless chicken.

In the last forty years KFC has experienced extraordinary growth. Five years after first franchising the business, Colonel Harland Sanders had 400 outlets in the United States and Canada. Four years later there were more than 600 franchises, including one in England, the first overseas outlet. In 1964 John Y. Brown, Jr., a young Louisville lawyer, and Jack Massey, a Nashville financier, bought the Colonel's business for $2 million. Only seven years later, in 1971 Heublein, Inc., bought the KFC Corporation for $275 million. Then in 1986, for a whopping $840 million, PepsiCo added KFC to its conglomerate, which now includes Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. That means PepsiCo owns more fast food outlets than any other company including McDonald's.

At each KFC restaurant, workers blend real buttermilk with a dry blend to create the well-known KFC buttermilk biscuits recipe that have made a popular menu item since their introduction in 1982. Pair these buttermilk biscuits with KFC's mac and cheese recipe and the famous KFC Original Recipe Chicken, and skip the drive-thru tonight!

Jerrico, Inc., the parent company for Long John Silver's Seafood Shoppes, got its start in 1929 as a six-stool hamburger stand called the White Tavern Shoppe. Jerrico was started by a man named Jerome Lederer, who watched Long John Silver's thirteen units dwindle in the shadow of World War II to just three units. Then, with determination, he began rebuilding. In 1946 Jerome launched a new restaurant called Jerry's and it was a booming success, with growth across the country. Then he took a chance on what would be his most successful venture in 1969, with the opening of the first Long John Silver's Fish 'n' Chips. The name was inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. In 1991 there were 1,450 Long John Silver Seafood Shoppes in thirty-seven states, Canada, and Singapore, with annual sales of more than $781 million. That means the company holds about 65 percent of the $1.2 billion quick-service seafood business.

Anyone who loves Olive Garden is probably also a big fan of the bottomless basket of warm, garlicky breadsticks served before each meal at the huge Italian casual chain. My guess is that the breadsticks are proofed, and then sent to each restaurant where they are baked until golden brown, brushed with butter and sprinkled with garlic salt. Getting the bread just right for a good Olive Garden breadstick recipe was tricky—I tried several different amounts of yeast in all-purpose flour, but then settled on bread flour to give these breadsticks the same chewy bite as the originals. The two-stage rising process is also a crucial step in this much requested homemade Olive Garden breadstick recipe. Also check out our Olive Garden Italian salad dressing recipe.

Menu Description: "Here they are in all their lip-smacking, award-winning glory: Buffalo, New York-style chicken wings spun in your favorite signature sauce."

Since Buffalo, New York was too far away, Jim Disbrow and Scott Lowery satisfied their overwhelming craving in 1981 by opening a spicy chicken wing restaurant close to home in Kent, Ohio. With signature sauces and a festive atmosphere, the chain has now evolved from a college campus sports bar with wings to a family restaurant with over 300 units. While frying chicken wings is no real secret—simply drop them in hot shortening for about 10 minutes—the delicious spicy sauces make the wings special. There are 12 varieties of sauce available to coat your crispy chicken parts at the chain, and I'm presenting clones for the more traditional flavors. These sauces are very thick, almost like dressing or dip, so we'll use an emulsifying technique that will ensure a creamy final product where the oil won't separate from the other ingredients. Here is the chicken wing cooking and coating technique, followed by clones for the most popular sauces: Spicy Garlic, Medium and Hot. The sauce recipes might look the same at first, but each has slight variations make your sauce hotter or milder by adjusting the level of cayenne pepper. You can find Frank's pepper sauce by the other hot sauces in your market. If you can't find that brand, you can also use Crystal Louisiana hot sauce.

In early 1985, restaurateur Rich Komen felt there was a specialty niche in convenience-food service just waiting to be filled. His idea was to create an efficient outlet that could serve freshly made cinnamon rolls in shopping malls throughout the country. It took nine months for Komen and his staff to develop a cinnamon roll recipe he knew customers would consider the "freshest, gooiest, and most mouthwatering cinnamon roll ever tasted." The concept was tested for the first time in Seattle's Sea-Tac mall later that year, with workers mixing, proofing, rolling, and baking the rolls in full view of customers. Now, more than 626 outlets later, Cinnabon has become the fastest-growing cinnamon roll bakery in the world.

Menu Description: "Made from scratch in our kitchens using fresh Grade A Fancy Russet potatoes, fresh chopped onion, natural Colby cheese and spices. Baked fresh all day long."

In the late sixties Dan Evins was a Shell Oil "jobber" looking for a new way to market gasoline. He wanted to create a special place that would arouse curiosity, and would pull travelers off the highways. In 1969 he opened the first Cracker Barrel just off Interstate 40 in Lebanon, Tennessee, offering gas, country-style food, and a selection of antiques for sale. Today there are over 529 stores in 41 states, with each restaurant still designed as a country rest stop and gift store. In fact, those stores which carry an average of 4,500 different items apiece have made Cracker Barrel the largest retailer of American-made finished crafts in the United States.

Those who know Cracker Barrel love the restaurant for its delicious home-style breakfasts. This casserole, made with hash brown-sliced potatoes, Colby cheese, milk, beef broth, and spices is served with many of the classic breakfast dishes at the restaurant. The recipe here is designed for a skillet that is also safe to put in the oven (so no plastic handles). If you don't have one of those, you can easily transfer the casserole to a baking dish after it is done cooking on the stove.

Love Cracker Barrel? Check out my other clone recipes here.

They're the world's most famous French fries, responsible for one-third of all U.S. French fry sales, and many say they're the best. These fried spud strips are so popular that Burger King even changed its own recipe to better compete with the secret formula from Mickey D's. One-quarter of all meals served today in American restaurants come with fries a fact that thrills restaurateurs since fries are the most profitable menu item in the food industry. Proper preparation steps were developed by McDonald's to minimize in-store preparation time, while producing a fry that is soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. This clone requires a two-step frying process to replicate the same qualities: the fries are par-fried, frozen, then fried once more to crispy just before serving. Be sure to use a slicer to cut the fries for a consistent thickness (1/4-inch is perfect) and for a cooking result that will make them just like the real thing. As for the rumor that you must soak the fries in sugar water to help them turn golden brown, I also found that not to be necessary. If the potatoes have properly developed they contain enough sugar on their own to make a good clone with great color.

Now, how about a Big Mac or Quarter Pounder to go with those fries? Click here for a list of all my McDonald's copycat recipes.

Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken and Biscuits has become the third-largest quick-service chicken chain in the world in the twenty-two years since its first store opened in New Orleans in 1972. (KFC has the number-one slot, followed by Church's Chicken). Since then, the chain has grown to 813 units, with many of them overseas in Germany, Japan, Jamaica, Honduras, Guam, and Korea.

Cayenne pepper and white pepper bring the heat to this crispy fried chicken hack.

Did you like this recipe? Get your hands on my secret recipe for Popeyes Chicken Sandwich and other Popeyes dishes here.

This soup happens to be one of Chili's most raved-about items, and the subject of many a recipe search here on the site. Part of the secret in crafting your clone is the addition of masa harina—a corn flour that you'll find in your supermarket near the other flours, or where all the Mexican foodstuffs are stocked.

In the early 90's Boston Chicken was rockin' it. The home meal replacement chain's stock was soaring and the lines were filled with hungry customers waiting to sink their teeth into a serving of the chain's delicious rotisserie chicken. So successful was the chain with chicken, that the company quickly decided it was time to introduce other entree selections, the first of which was a delicious barbecue sauce-covered ground sirloin meatloaf. But offering the other entrees presented the company with a dilemma: what to do about the name. The bigwigs decided it was time to change the name to Boston Market, to reflect a wider menu. That meant replacing signs on hundreds of units and retooling the marketing campaigns. That name change, plus rapid expansion of the chain and growth of other similar home-style meal concepts sent the company into a tailspin. By 1988, Boston Market's goose was cooked, and the company filed for bankruptcy. Soon McDonald's stepped in to purchase the company, with the idea of closing many of the stores for good, and slapping Golden Arches on the rest. But that plan was scrapped when, after selling many of the under-performing Boston Markets, the chain began to fly once again. Within a year of the acquisition Boston Market was profitable, and those meals with the home-cooked taste are still being served at over 700 Boston Market restaurants across the country.

How about some of those famous Boston Market side-dishes to go with your copycat meatloaf recipe? I've cloned all the best ones here.

To copy Taco Bell's most famous burrito at home you first must assemble the meaty foundation of many of the chain's top-selling products: the spiced ground beef. Toss it and seven other tasty ingredients into a large flour tortilla and fold using the same technique as taught to new recruits to the chain. Add your favorite hot sauce for a bit of heat, or clone a Taco Bell hot sauce, such as the Taco Bell Fire Border Sauce with the clone recipe here.

One of the most protected, discussed, and sought-after secret recipes in the food world is KFC's Original Recipe Fried Chicken. Long ago I published my first hack of the famous formula, but the recipe, which was based on research from "Big Secrets" author William Poundstone, includes only salt, pepper, MSG, and flour in the breading, and not the blend of eleven herbs and spices we have all heard about. The fried chicken made with my first recipe is good in a pinch, but it really needs several more ingredients to be a true clone. That is why, over twenty years later, I was happy to get another crack at the secret when we shot the pilot episode for my CMT TV series Top Secret Recipe. In the show, I visited KFC headquarters, talked to friends of Harlan Sanders who had seen the actual recipe, and even checked out the Corbin, Kentucky, kitchen where Harland Sanders first developed his chicken recipe. During that four-day shoot I was able to gather enough clues about the secret eleven herbs and spices to craft this new recipe—one that I believe is the closest match to the Colonel's secret fried chicken that anyone has ever revealed.

The easy-melting, individually-wrapped Kraft Cheddar Singles are a perfect secret ingredient for this Panera Bread broccoli cheddar soup recipe that's served at this top soup stop. In this clone, fresh broccoli is first steamed, then diced into little bits before you combine it with chicken broth, half-and-half, shredded carrot, and onion. Now you're just 30 minutes away from soup spoon go-time.

Click here for more of my copycat Panera Bread recipes.

Here's a clone for another of KFC's famous side dishes. We'll use easy-to-melt Velveeta, with its very smooth texture, as the main ingredient for the cheese sauce. Then a bit of Cheddar cheese is added to give the sauce a perfect Cheddary sharpness like the original. This KFC mac and cheese recipe is an easy one that will take you only around 15 minutes to prepare.

Order an entree from America's largest seafood restaurant chain and you'll get a basket of some of the planet's tastiest garlic-cheese biscuits served up on the side. For many years this recipe has been the most-searched-for clone recipe on the Internet, according to Red Lobster. As a result, several versions are floating around, including one that was at one time printed right on the box of Bisquick baking mix.

The problem with making biscuits using Bisquick is that if you follow the directions from the box you don't end up with a very fluffy or flakey finished product, since most of the fat in the recipe comes from the shortening that's included in the mix. On its own, room temperature shortening does a poor job creating the light, airy texture you want from good biscuits, and it contributes little in the way of flavor. So, we'll invite some cold butter along on the trip -- with grated Cheddar cheese and a little garlic powder. Now you'll be well on your way to delicious Cheddar Bay. Wherever that is.

Menu Description: "Our appetizing cheese dip with seasoned beef. Served with warm tostada chips."

Take your chips for a dip in this top-secret Chili's skillet queso copycat recipe that comes to your table in a small cast iron skillet along with a big bowl of tortilla chips. A popular recipe that's been circulating calls for combining Velveeta with Hormel no-bean chili. Sure, it's a good start, but there's more to Chili's spicy cheese dip than that. Toss a few other ingredients into the saucepan and after about 20 minutes you'll have a great dip for picnic, party, or game time.

Now, what's for dinner? Check out my other Chili's copycat recipes here.

What is it about Stouffer's Macaroni & Cheese that makes it the number one choice for true mac & cheese maniacs? It's probably the simple recipe that includes wholesome ingredients like skim milk and real Cheddar cheese, without any preservatives or unpronounceable chemicals. The basic Stouffer's Mac and Cheese ingredients are great for kitchen cloners who want an easy fix that doesn't require much shopping. I found the recipe to work best as an exact duplicate of the actual product: a frozen dish that you heat up later in the oven. This way you'll get slightly browned macaroni & cheese that looks like it posed for the nicely lit photo on the Stouffer's box. Since you'll only need about 3/4 cup of uncooked elbow macaroni for each recipe, you can make several 4-person servings with just one 16-ounce box of macaroni, and then keep them all in the freezer until the days when your troops have their mac & cheese attacks. Be sure to use freshly shredded Cheddar cheese here, since it melts much better than pre-shredded cheese (and it's cheaper). Use a whisk to stir the sauce often as it thickens, so that you get a smooth—not lumpy or grainy—finished product.

If you're still hungry, check out my copycat recipes for famous entrées here.

Menu Description: "Nearly world-famous. Often imitated, hardly ever duplicated."

"Hooters is to chicken wings what McDonald's is to hamburgers," claims promotional material from the company. True, the six fun-loving Midwestern businessmen who started Hooters in Clearwater, Florida, on April Fool's Day in 1983 chose a classic recipe for chicken wings as their signature item. But while some might say it's the buffalo wings that are their favorite feature of the restaurant, others say it's the restaurant chain's trademark Hooters girls—waitresses casually attired in bright orange short-shorts and skin tight T-shirts.

Today there are over 375 Hooters across the United States serving more than 200 tons of chicken wings every week. The original dish can be ordered in 10-, 20-, or 50-piece servings or if you want to splurge, there's the "Gourmet Chicken Wing Dinner" featuring 20 wings and a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne, for only $125. To further enhance the Hooters experience when you serve these messy wings, throw a whole roll of paper towels on the table, rather than napkins, as they do in the restaurants.

Menu Description: "Parmesan, Romano and mozzarella cheese, clams and herb breadcrumbs baked in mushroom caps."

Breadcrumbs, clams and three types of cheese are baked into white mushroom caps in this clone of a top pick from Olive Garden's appetizer menu. Mix all the stuffing ingredients together in a bowl, fill the mushroom caps, sprinkle on some minced red bell pepper, cover the mushrooms with a blanket of mozzarella cheese slices, and bake. After 15 minutes you'll have a great appetizer or hors d'oeuvre for 4 to 6 people—that's twice the serving size of the dish from the restaurant.

Did you love this copycat Olive Garden stuffed mushrooms recipe? Check out more of my clone recipes here.

This super simple Chili's salsa recipe can be made in a pinch with a can of diced tomatoes, some canned jalapeños, fresh lime juice, onion, spices, and a food processor or blender. Plus you can easily double the recipe by sending in a larger 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, and simply doubling up on all the other ingredients. Use this versatile salsa as a dip for tortilla chips or plop it down onto any dish that needs flavor assistance—from eggs to taco salads to wraps to fish. You can adjust the Chili's salsa recipe heat level to suit your taste by tweaking the amount of canned jalapeños in the mix.

Now, what's for dinner? Check out some copycat entrees from your favorite restaurants here.

I never thought dinner rolls were something I could get excited about until I got my hand into the breadbasket at Texas Roadhouse. The rolls are fresh out of the oven and they hit the table when you do, so there’s no waiting to tear into a magnificently gooey sweet roll topped with soft cinnamon butter. The first bite you take will make you think of a fresh cinnamon roll, and then you can’t stop eating it. And when the first roll’s gone, you are powerless to resist grabbing for just one more. But it’s never just one more. It’s two or three more, plus a few extra to take home for tomorrow.

Discovering the secret to making rolls at home that taste as good as the real ones involved making numerous batches of dough, each one sweeter than the last (sweetened with sugar, not honey—I checked), until a very sticky batch, proofed for 2 hours, produced exactly what I was looking for. You can make the dough with a stand mixer or a handheld one, the only difference being that you must knead the dough by hand without a stand mixer. When working with the dough add a little bit of flour at a time to keep it from sticking, and just know that the dough will be less sticky and more workable after the first rise.

Roll the dough out and measure it as specified here, and after a final proofing and a quick bake—plus a generous brushing of butter on the tops—you will produce dinner rolls that look and taste just like the best rolls I’ve had at any famous American dinner chain.

The first Auntie Anne's pretzel store opened in 1988 in the heart of pretzel country—a Pennsylvanian Amish farmers' market. Over 500 stores later, Auntie Anne's is one of the most requested secret clone recipes around, especially on the internet. Many of the copycat Auntie Anne's soft pretzel recipes passed around the Web require bread flour, and some use honey as a sweetener. But by studying the Auntie Anne's home pretzel-making kit in the secret underground laboratory, I've discovered a better solution for re-creating the delicious mall treats than any clone recipe out there. For the best quality dough, you just need all-purpose flour. And powdered sugar works great to perfectly sweeten the dough. Now you just have to decide if you want to make the more traditional salted pretzels, or the sweet cinnamon sugar-coated kind. Decisions, decisions.

Nicknamed "Sliders" and "Gut Bombers," these famous tiny burgers were one of the earliest fast-food creations. It all started in 1921 when E.W. Ingram borrowed $700 to open a hamburger stand in Wichita, Kansas. Ingram chose the name White Castle because "white" signified purity and cleanliness, while "castle" represented strength. permanence, and stability. White Castle lived up to its name, maintaining that permanence and stability by growing steadily over the years to a total of 380 restaurants.

Ingram's inspiration was the development of steam-grilling, a unique process that helped the burgers retain moisture. The secret is grilling the meat over a small pile of onions that give off steam as they cook. Five holes in each mini-burger help to ensure that the meat is completely cooked without having to flip the patties. Today customers can buy these burgers "by the sack" at the outlets, or pick them up in the freezer section of most grocery stores, but hey, making them at home is fun!

Now, how about some fries and a milkshake to complete the meal.

Menu Description: "Quickly-cooked steak with scallions and garlic."

Beef lovers go crazy over this one at the restaurant. Flank steak is cut into bite-sized chunks against the grain, then it's lightly dusted with potato starch (in our case we'll use cornstarch), flash-fried in oil, and doused with an amazing sweet soy garlic sauce. The beef comes out tender as can be, and the simple sauce sings to your taste buds. I designed this recipe to use a wok, but if you don't have one a saute pan will suffice (you may need to add more oil to the pan to cover the beef in the flash-frying step). P. F. Chang's secret sauce is what makes this dish so good, and it's versatile. If you don't dig beef, you can substitute with chicken. Or you can brush it on grilled salmon.

I've cloned a lot of the best dishes from P.F. Chang's. Click here to see if I coped your favorite.

Once a regular menu item, these sweet, saucy wings are now added to the KFC menu on a "limited-time-only" basis in many markets. So how are we to get that sticky sauce all over our faces and hands during those many months when we are cruelly denied our Honey BBQ Wings? Now it's as easy as whipping up this KFC honey BBQ wings recipe that re-creates the crispy breading on the chicken wings, and the sweet-and-smoky honey BBQ sauce. "Limited-time-only" signs—we laugh at you.

How about some famous coleslaw or wedge potatoes? Check out my collection of KFC clone recipes here.

Older than both McDonald's and Burger King, Jack-in-the Box is the world's fifth-largest hamburger chain, with 1,089 outlets by the end of 1991 in thirteen states throughout the West and Southwest. The restaurant, headquartered in San Diego, boasts one of the largest menus in the fast food world.

Now taste for yourself the homemade version of Jack's most popular item. The Jack-in-the Box Taco has been served since the inception of the chain, with very few changes over the years. If you're a fan of the Jumbo Jack or any of Jack's Shakes click here for my clone recipes.

I first created the clone for this Cajun-style recipe back in 1994 for the second TSR book, More Top Secret Recipes, but I've never been overjoyed with the results. After convincing a Popeyes manager to show me the ingredients written on the box of red bean mixture, I determined the only way to accurately clone this one is to include an important ingredient omitted from the first version: pork fat. Emeril Lagasse—a Cajun food master—says, "pork fat rules," and it does. We could get the delicious smoky fat from rendering smoked ham hocks, but that takes too long. The easiest way is to cook 4 or 5 pieces of bacon, save the cooked bacon for another recipe (or eat it!), then use 1/4 cup of the fat for this hack. As for the beans, find red beans (they're smaller than kidney beans) in two 15-ounce cans. If you're having trouble tracking down red beans, red kidney beans will be a fine substitute.

Can't get enough Popeyes? Find all of my recipes here.

A good chicken pot pie has perfectly flakey crust and the right ratio of light and dark meat chicken and vegetables swimming in a deliciously creamy white sauce. KFC serves up a pie that totally fits the bill, and now I'm going to show you how to make the same thing at home from scratch. You'll want to start this recipe a couple hours before you plan to bake the pies, since the dough for the crust should chill awhile and the chicken needs to soak in the brine. When it comes time for baking, use small pie tins, ramekins, or Pyrex baking dishes (custard dishes) that hold 1 1/2 cups. The recipe will then yield exactly 4 pot pies. If your baking dishes are smaller, there should still be enough dough here to make crust for up to 6 pot pies. And don't forget to brush egg whites over the top of the pies before you pop them into the oven to get the same shiny crust as the original.

This is a simple recipe to clone the contents of the seasoning packet that bears the Taco Bell logo found in most grocery stores these days. You probably expect the seasoning mix to make meat that tastes exactly like the stuff you get at the big chain. Well, not exactly. It's more like the popular Lawry's taco seasoning mix, which still makes good spiced ground meat, and works great for a tasty bunch of tacos.

The talented chefs at Benihana cook food on hibachi grills with flair and charisma, treating the preparation like a tiny stage show. They juggle salt and pepper shakers, trim food with lightning speed, and flip the shrimp and mushrooms perfectly onto serving plates or into their tall chef's hat.

One of the side dishes that everyone seems to love is the fried rice. At Benihana this dish is prepared by chefs with precooked rice on open hibachi grills, and is ordered a la cart to complement any Benihana entree, including Hibachi Steak and Chicken. I like when the rice is thrown onto the hot hibachi grill and seems to come alive as it sizzles and dances around like a bunch of little jumping beans. Okay, so I'm easily amused.

This Benihana Japanese fried rice recipe will go well with just about any Japanese entree and can be partially prepared ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until the rest of the meal is close to done.

You've got a hankerin' for pancakes or biscuits, but the recipe calls for Bisquick, and you're plum out. Not to worry. Now you can make a clone of the popular baking mix at home with just four simple ingredients. Store-bought Bisquick includes shortening, salt, flour, and leavening, so that's exactly what we need to duplicate it perfectly at home. This recipe makes about 6 cups of the stuff, which, just like the real thing, you can keep sealed up in a container in your pantry until it's flapjack time. When that time comes, just add milk and eggs for pancakes or waffles, or only milk if it's biscuits you want. You'll find all those recipes below in the "Tidbits."

This delicious crispy chicken in a citrusy sweet-and-sour chicken is the most popular dish at the huge Chinese take-out chain. Panda Express cooks all of its food in woks. If you don't have one of those, you can use a heavy skillet or a large saute pan.

Menu Description: "This succulent 10 oz. steak is jazzed up with Cajun spices and served with sauteed onions, mushrooms, garlic mashed potatoes and garlic toast."

This Cajun-style dish is named after the famous street in the French Quarter in New Orleans, so you won't need any booze for this recipe unless it's for you to drink while you're making it. Plan to make this dish 12 to 24 hours in advance, so the steaks have time to soak up the goodness. This marinating time will also give the meat tenderizer a chance to do its thing, but don't go longer than 24 hours or the protein fibers may become so tender that they turn mushy. I used McCormick brand tenderizer, which uses bromelian, a pineapple extract, to tenderize the meat. Lawry's (Adolph's) meat tenderizer, uses papain from papayas, to tenderize the proteins, but this brand also brings other spices into the mix and will alter the flavor of your finished product. Both of these tenderizers contain a lot of salt so we won't need to include salt in the marinade formula.

Try my copycat recipe for Applebee's almond rice pilaf as great side-dish.

Ah, chicken gizzard. It took me more than eighteen years to find a recipe that requires chicken gizzard -- not that I was looking for one. But I've seen the ingredients list on the box that comes from the supplier for the Cajun gravy from Popeyes, and if we're gonna do this one right I think there's got to be some gizzard in there. The gizzard is a small organ found in the lower stomach of a chicken, and your butcher should be able to get one for you. After you saute and chop the gizzard, it is simmered with the other ingredients until you have a thick, authentic Southern gravy that goes great over the Popeyes Buttermilk Biscuits clone, or onto whatever begs to be swimming in pure flavor. Get ready for some of the best gravy that's ever come off your stovetop.

Complete your meal with my recipe for Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken.

Menu Description: "Tender, crispy wild gulf shrimp tossed in a creamy, spicy sauce."

Bonefish Grill proudly refers to this appetizer as the "house specialty." And why not, it's an attractive dish with bang-up flavor, especially if you like your food on the spicy side. The heat in this Bang Bang Shrimp recipe comes from the secret sauce blend that's flavored with chili garlic sauce, also known as sambal. You can find this bright red sauce where the Asian foods in your market—and while you're there, pick up some rice vinegar. Once the sauce is made, you coat the shrimp in a simple seasoned breading, fry them to a nice golden brown, toss them gently in the sauce, and then serve them up on a bed of mixed greens to hungry folks who, hopefully, have a cool drink nearby to mellow the sting.

You might also like my recipes for Bonefish Grill's Saucy Shrimp and Citrus Herb Vinaigrette.

The real version of this chili sauce comes to each Wienerschnitzel unit as concentrated brown goo in big 6-pound, 12-ounce cans. After adding 64 ounces of water and 15 chopped hamburger patties the stuff is transformed into the familiar thick and spicy chili sauce dolloped over hot dogs and French fries at America's largest hot dog chain. The proper proportion of spices, tomato paste, and meat is crucial but the real challenge in hacking this recipe is finding a common grocery store equivalent for modified food starch that's used in the real chili sauce as a thickener. After a couple days in the underground lab with Starbucks lattes on intravenous drip, I came out, squinting at the bright sunshine, with a solution to the chili conundrum. This secret combination of cornstarch and Wondra flour and plenty of salt and chili powder makes a chili sauce that says nothing but "Wienerschnitzel" all over it.

Since Panera Bread makes all its ingredients known, it's not hard to find out that there’s no chicken broth in the original recipe, yet every copycat recipe I located online calls for chicken broth, as well as other ingredients clearly not found in Panera's version. Unlike those other recipes, this hack uses the same or similar ingredients to those listed on the company’s website.

One of the ingredients in the soup, according to the posted list, is yeast extract. This tasty ingredient adds an MSG-like savoriness to Panera’s soup, and we can duplicate it by using nutritional yeast—often called "nooch"—now found in many stores, including Whole Foods. A little bit of nooch will provide the umami deliciousness that replaces chicken broth or bouillon.

Panera keeps its soup gluten-free by thickening it with a combination of rice flour and cornstarch, rather than wheat flour. I’ve included those ingredients as well so that your clone is similarly gluten-free. Use the steps below and in about an hour you’ll have 8 servings of a soup that is a culinary doppelganger to Panera Bread's all-time favorite soup, and at a mere fraction of the cost.

El Pollo Loco, or "The Crazy Chicken," has been growing like mad since it crossed over the border into the United States from Mexico. Francisco Ochoa unknowingly started a food phenomenon internacional in 1975 when he took a family recipe for chicken marinade and opened a small roadside restaurante in Gusave, Mexico. He soon had 90 stores in 20 cities throughout Mexico. The first El Pollo Loco in the United States opened in Los Angeles in December 1980 and was an immediate success. It was only three years later that Ochoa got the attention of bigwigs at Dennys, Inc., who offered him $11.3 million for his U.S. operations. Ochoa took the deal, and El Pollo Loco grew from 17 to more than 200 outlets over the following decade.

Re-create the whole El Pollo Loco experience at home with my copycat recipes for avocado salsa, pinto beans, Spanish rice, and bbq black beans.

The automated process for creating Krispy Kreme doughnuts, developed in the 1950's, took the company many years to perfect. When you drive by your local Krispy Kreme store between 5:00 and 11:00 each day (both a.m. and p.m.) and see the "Hot Doughnuts Now" sign lit up, inside the store custom-made stainless steel machines are rolling. Doughnut batter is extruded into little doughnut shapes that ride up and down through a temperature and humidity controlled booth to activate the yeast. This creates the perfect amount of air in the dough that will yield a tender and fluffy finished product. When the doughnuts are perfectly puffed up, they're gently dumped into a moat of hot vegetable shortening where they float on one side until golden brown, and then the machine flips them over to cook the other side. When the doughnuts finish frying, they ride up a mesh conveyor belt and through a ribbon of white sugar glaze. If you're lucky enough to taste one of these doughnuts just as it comes around the corner from the glazing, you're in for a real treat—the warm circle of sweet doughy goodness practically melts in your mouth. It's this secret process that helped Krispy Kreme become the fastest-growing doughnut chain in the country.

As you can guess, the main ingredient in a Krispy Kreme doughnut is wheat flour, but there is also some added gluten, soy flour, malted barley flour, and modified food starch plus egg yolk, non-fat milk, flavoring, and yeast. I suspect a low-gluten flour, like cake flour, is probably used in the original mix to make the doughnuts tender, and then the manufacturer adds the additional gluten to give the doughnuts the perfect framework for rising. I tested many combinations of cake flour and wheat gluten, but found that the best texture resulted from cake flour combined with all-purpose flour. I also tried adding a little soy flour to the mix, but the soy gave the dough a strange taste and it didn't benefit the texture of the dough in any way. I excluded the malted barley flour and modified food starch from the Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut recipe since these are difficult ingredients to find. These exclusions didn't seem to matter because the real secret in making these doughnuts look and taste like the original lies primarily in careful handling of the dough.

The Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut recipe dough will be very sticky when first mixed together, and you should be careful not to over mix it or you will build up some tough gluten strands, and that will result in chewy doughnuts. You don't even need to touch the dough until it is finished with the first rising stage. After the dough rises for 30 to 45 minutes it will become easier to handle, but you will still need to flour your hands. Also, be sure to generously flour the surface you are working on when you gently roll out the dough for cutting. When each doughnut shape is cut from the dough, place it onto a small square of wax paper that has been lightly dusted with flour. Using wax paper will allow you to easily transport the doughnuts (after they rise) from the baking sheet to the hot shortening without deflating the dough. As long as you don't fry them too long—1 minute per side should be enough—you will have tender homemade doughnuts that will satisfy even the biggest Krispy Kreme fanatics.