All posts by Jessie Voigts

i8tonite: Chef’s Questionnaire with World Chocolate Judge and Four Seasons Guangzhou Pastry Chef, Audrey Yee

This is a guest post from Dr. Jessie Voigts, creator of

Four Seasons GuangzhouAudrey Yee was inspired to join the culinary profession by seeing her parents cook and helping them at their restaurant – the Mandarin, the first Chinese restaurant in Milwaukee. Now a Four Seasons Pastry Chef in China, she originally wanted the savory kitchen – but fate had other plans. Her first job was in a small restaurant in Philadelphia, where the owner suggested pastry first – because all chefs should know pastry! The culinary world is a better place for it.

She graduated from Cordon Bleu in London, and has worked at FourAudrey Yee Seasons Philadelphia, Four Seasons Santa Barbara, Four Seasons San Francisco, Four Seasons Singapore, and now Four Seasons Guangzhou.

This fall, she was a judge for the World Chocolate Masters, held in Paris. Follow her on instagram to see more of her spectacular desserts:  Audrey Yee on Instagram.

Chefs Questionnaire

How long have you been cooking?  Eighteen years.

@audreyyee • Instagram photos and videos - Google Chrome 1132015 71539 PMWhat is your favorite food to cook?  Apple pie.

What do you always have in your fridge at home? Lemons, yogurt, eggs, salad, tofu, apples, and fruit.

What do you cook at home? Eggs, cereal.

What marked characteristic do you love in a customer? The look on their faces when they are eating their desserts.

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a customer? Rude, condescending, and impatient.

Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or Pyrex? Rubbermaid.

Beer, wine, or cocktail? Gin and tonic. @audreyyee • Instagram photos and videos - Google Chrome 1132015 71410 PM

Your favorite cookbook author?  The Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg and Grand Livre de Cuisine Dessert and Pastries by Alain Ducasse.

Your favorite kitchen tool? Spatula and piping tips.

Your favorite ingredient? Apples and vanilla.

Your least favorite ingredient? Durian. (Editor’s note: A very strong smelling fruit found in Asia. For people who love food, it’s a must to try.)

@audreyyee • Instagram photos and videos - Google Chrome 1132015 71702 PMLeast favorite thing to do in a kitchen? Cutting onions.

Favorite types of cuisine to cook? American.

Beef, chicken, pork or tofu? Chicken and tofu.

Favorite vegetable? Broccoli and salad.

Chef you most admire? Eddie Hales, my first pastry Chef.

Food you like the most to eat? All kinds of Chinese food, yogurt, salads, fruit, and French fries.

Food you dislike the most? Kohlrabi.

How many tattoos? And if so, how many are of food? No tattoos.

Recipe: How to Make Blueberry Muffinsblueberry muffins

  • 180 gr of butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 180 gr warm milk
  • 490 gr flour
  • 10 gr baking powder
  • 5 gr salt
  • 300 gr blueberries


  • 50 gr brown sugar
  • 50 gr. Butter
  • 50gr. Flour
  • Combine butter and sugar
  • Then add flour

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs slowly until incorporated. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients. Mix warm milk in slowly. Fold in blueberries, by hand. Pre heat oven to 180c/360f. Scoop or prepare muffins into 12 molds. Top with crumble topping. Bake 20 minutes or when a toothpick comes out clean with no crumbly residue.

The End. Go Eat.




i8tonite: The Guild House’s Sous Chef Patrick Hofer, Columbus, Ohio and Sous Vide Venison

This is a guest post from Dr. Jessie Voigts of

Table Setting. The Guild House. Photo by Jessie Voigts

Columbus, Ohio is a surprisingly happening culinary town. While there are plenty of hot dog joints and student hangouts around The Ohio State University, Columbus is home to a NHL team, a burgeoning art scene, and several Fortune 500 companies. It’s no surprise that there are many fine dining options, my favorite of which is The Guild House. Located next to Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph, The Guild House is a farm to table restaurant that is part of the Cameron Mitchell restaurant group.

The Guild House bar. Photo by Jessie Voigts

Located in the artsy Short North district, The Guild House is an upscale-casual restaurant that is beautifully decorated in cream leather, wood, and plenty of glass and mirrors. The food, creative American cuisine, is locally sourced when possible, and features seasonal ingredients.

A childhood spent cooking and baking with his grandmother led The Guild House Sous Chef Patrick Hofer to a life in the kitchen. He had originally planned on attending business school after high school, but having always enjoyed food and cooking, his dad suggested culinary school. Research on the best school possible led to Hofer’s attending the Culinary Institute of America. After graduating from the CIA, he opened Red Oak Pub in Newark, Ohio as a kitchen manager. Other positions included line cook and supervisor at The Pearl, and sous chef at Molly Woo’s, before Hofer transferred to the Guild House as a sous chef.

Courtesy of Patrick Hofer.

Chef’s Questionnaire:
How long have you been cooking? I have been cooking since I was 15, so approximately 10 years.

What is your favorite food to cook? I really enjoy anything – I can’t say that I have one favorite

What do you always have in your fridge at home? Butter, Eggs, Bacon, Milk (I am a breakfast food kind of guy)

What do you cook at home? Mostly Breakfast, due to the hours of a restaurant. I really don’t cook much at home.

What marked characteristic do you love in a customer? Someone 20150928_185344that is willing to try anything and is trusting that we will take great care of them.

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a customer? Someone that is unadventurous.


Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or Pyrex? Rubbermaid.

Beer, wine, or cocktail?  Beer.

Your favorite cookbook author? I wouldn’t say I have a favorite author, but the book that is most helpful is The Flavor Bible.

Your favorite kitchen tool? Robot Coupe.

Your favorite ingredient? Mushrooms

Your least favorite ingredient?  I would probably have to say beets

Least favorite thing to do in a kitchen? Inventory.

Chef you most admire? Paul Bocuse for everything that he has done for the culinary world.

Favorite types of cuisine to cook? All of them! Some I have never done, but they are all great and fun to learn.

Beef, chicken, pork or tofu? Beef.

Favorite vegetable? Mushrooms.

Food you like the most to eat? Anything sweet

Food you dislike the most? Beets.

How many tattoos? And if so, how many are of food? I have one right now, and it has nothing to do with food.
Recipe of Sous Vide venison Leg Filet with Garlic Poached Lobster Mushrooms, Quick Sautéed Greens, Mushroom Reduction, Wild Mountain Blue Berries, and Carrot Bark. (Special Tool: Clearly, a sous vide.  Gift-giving season is upon us.) 

venison patrick hofer guild house

VENISON: Portioned to 6oz and sous vide at 50.2c for 2 hours with garlic, thyme, and butter.

LOBSTER MUSHROOMS: Clean all of the dirt off them and cut them to bite size pieces, keeping the shape of the mushroom intact. Sous vide these at 82c for one hour with a compound oil.

Compound oil: 1cup blended oil, 2 smashed garlic cloves, 2 sprigs of thyme, 2 sprigs of rosemary. Heat this and let the herbs steep into the oil for 30 minutes.

Sauteed Greens: Combine Kale, Swiss Chard, Spinach, and leeks into a quick sautee with oil and salt.

Mushroom Reduction: Make a very nice mushroom stock and reduce it down to a thick syrup (takes a lot of stock to achieve this), then emulsify butter into the reduction until smooth and creamy.

The End. Go Eat.

Photos: Venison, Patrick courtesy Guild House. All other photos courtesy Jessie Voigts


i8tonite in New Brunswick, Canada: Executive Chef Jesse MacDonald, 1809

This is a guest post from Dr. Jessie Voigts of

20150814_092224Tucked away on the mighty Miramichi River in Miramichi, New Brunswick is a long, yellow hotel with a big heart. The Rodd Miramichi River Hotel shows, like all Rodd hotels, the essence of friendliness and luxury. And the restaurant, 1809, at Rodd Miramichi is exquisite. We dined there this summer, at first on the riverside deck and then inside by the fireplace, as mosquitoes chased us in after dark.

Of course, the menu featured plenty of fish, including freshly caught Atlantic salmon (which New Brunswick, one of Canada’s Maritime Provinces, is known for) prepared 5 ways. There’s also lobster, classically prepared chicken, fresh pastas, and sandwiches and burgers. The seafood chowder was the best I’ve ever had – even with daily seafood chowder eating in Ireland – and my stuffed haddock filet was divine.

Chef Jesse MacDonald, 1809 Restaurant. Photo by Jessie Voight
Chef Jesse MacDonald, 1809 Restaurant. Courtesy by Jesse MacDonald

Executive Chef Jesse MacDonald hails from nearby Prince Edward Island, a 4th generation fishing family that led to him captaining a lobster boat. Jesse is young for an executive chef – he graduated from The Culinary Institute of Canada in 2010 – and it shows in his rapport with the staff and the delicious output of the high-volume kitchen. Known as the youngest Executive Chef in New Brunswick, his vision for sharing and eating locally sourced seafood and other fine ingredients sets him apart from the crowd. I had a chance to talk with him and share his vision (Watch an interview with Chef Jesse MacDonald) , which made me all the more impressed.

20150813_210707How long have you been cooking? 10 years.

What is your favorite food to cook? Anything seafood.

What do you always have in your fridge at home? Not much sometimes– life of a chef, water/Gatorade/milk.

What do you cook at home? Depends on the day.

20150813_215613What marked characteristic do you love in a customer? Willingness to experiment.

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a customer? Preconceived opinions.

Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or Pyrex? Pyrex.

Beer, wine, or cocktail? Beer to drink, wine to cook.

Your favorite cookbook author? Tough one, I love to read, I’ve been enjoying a lot of Michael Ruhlman’s books lately, currently in the middle of “Salumi“. I intend to read “Ratio: The Simple Codes behind the Craft of everyday Cooking” by the same author once I am finished. Michel Bras and Anthony Bourdain are toward the top of my list as well.

New Brunswick, Canada. Courtesy of Tourism New Brunswick

Your favorite kitchen tool? 10 ” Shun Classic Chefs Knife. I have a set of Richmond Plating Spoons my Grandmother got me for Christmas a few year back I am quite partial to.

Your favorite ingredient? Anything pork.

Your least favorite ingredient? Kale.

Least favorite thing to do in a kitchen? I started out in the dish-pit (washing dishes), so I really believe no job is too big or too small for anyone in a kitchen.

Favorite types of cuisine to cook? Italian or French.

Beef, chicken, pork or tofu? Hard to beat a good steak but, pork, not even a question.

Favorite vegetable? Cucumber.

Chef you most admire? Chef Dave Mottershall of Loka in Toronto, Ontario & Chef Warren Barr of Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, British Columbia. I had the privilege to work for both of these Chefs in the past and they had a huge influence on me in my young career. Both of them have the desire and passion to allow you to see food differently. It was a huge eye opening experience for me. If you don’t know who these two are yet, give it time, you will.

Food you like the most to eat? That’s too tough. Although, I’ll always be satisfied with some fresh bread, cured meat, and something  “pickley“.

Food you dislike the most? Lobster.

How many tattoos?  Two. None of food yet, but there will be in the future.

Blackened Atlantic Salmon with Mango Pineapple Chutney

Blackened Salmon with Mango Pineapple Chutney. Photo by Jessie Voight
Blackened Salmon with Mango Pineapple Chutney. Courtesy of Chef Jesse MacDonald.

 Blackening Spice:

  • 4 Tbsp Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp White Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Seasoning Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Dry Thyme

1) Mix all above ingredients well, set aside in bowl.

2) Roll filets of Salmon in Blackening Spice Mixture. Ensure to get all sides/edges of the fish. Discard remaining spice.

3) Once salmon is seasoned, sear in a  pan with olive oil on medium-high heat. Your fish is ready to place in the pan once the oil is almost smoking.

4) Sear the salmon show side down. (The show side is the top piece of the fillet, the bottom piece of the filet will be a slightly different colour pink as that’s where the skin was present at one time). Once a nice caramelization has formed, flip it and sear the bottom for about 2 minutes.

Miramachi River. New Brunswick. Courtesy of Tourism New Brunswick

5) Finish in oven for 4-9 minutes depending on the thickness of your salmon filet, or until the fish just begins to flake.

6) Remove from oven and let rest for 1 minute. Top salmon with a hearty tablespoon of Pineapple-Mango Chutney.

7) Serve with choice of Starch and your favourite mix of Local New Brunswick Vegetables!

Pineapple-Mango Chutney:

  • Mango, fresh     10 oz
  • Pineapple, fresh   1 whole
  • Curry Powder    1.5 oz
  • White Wine Vinegar       4 oz
  • Red Pepper, diced           8 oz
  • Red Onion, brunoise      3 oz

1) Combine all ingredients.

2) Simmer on medium-low heat for 35-60 minutes. Stirring well every 2-5 minutes.

3) There should be no residual moisture when the chutney is completed, it should be “au sec” a French cooking term which means “almost dry.” 

The End. Go Eat.