Soul Society 101: What is you favorite dish to cook? Why?
Monique: I'm a savory chef, but surprisingly I've grown a love for breads & pastries. Reminds me of classic French cafes.
Soul Society 101: What does "Cook Pray Love" mean to you?
Monique: Cook Pray Love means a lot to me because it came at a time when I was going through putting myself through culinary school, while working full-time along with dealing with other obstacles of life. All I had was prayer and love for what I was passionate about, which is cooking. It was my way of channeling energy both positive and frustrating, but more importantly sharing my journey with others.
Soul Society 101: What advice would you for people who are beginner cooks?
Monique: Not to give up! It's definitely not an easy path, but if it's your passion to keep at it. Don't be distracted by what others are doing or the money you're making or will make. Focus on your craft. Don't think you know it all. Lastly, to learn as much as you can from as many people as you can and have fun with it!
Soul Society 101: Where do you see your career in 5 years?
Monique: In 5 years prayerfully and by the grace of God, I'll have a successful cafe in the city that everyone loves! It'll be the next DC staple that you'll never want to leave. My non-profit will continue to support the communities and I'll travel the world.
Soul Society: Has living in the Washington D.C. area had any influence on your cooking style?
Monique: Hmm I'm influenced by everything, so not really. I have a great appreciation for Mediterranean cuisines and plan to travel to Italy soon.
List of ingredients:
Shrimp, peeled and deveined.
Onions, small diced
Heat pan w/olive oil. Season shrimp w/salt & pepper and sear. Cool 80% of the way & remove from heat. Sweat onions (light sauté) in previously used pan; add peppercorns, thyme, whole butter and stir. Add shrimp, toss sauce and add cognac (1oz) and cook. Adjust seasonings, add parsley, and combine. Serve with sautéed tomatoes.
French Style Crab Cake
List of ingredients:
Celery, small diced
Shallots, small diced
Red Pepper, Small diced
Scallops, (add to food processor, add cream and pulse until smooth. run through tami, season w/salt & tobasco)
Sauté celery & shallots in whole butter, once 75% cooked add red pepper and season with salt. Clean crabmeat (remove shells), combine small amount of scallops to crab and fold together. Grease mold rings, mold crab cakes and heat pan with clarified butter. Sear crab cakes on both sides and base with whole butter. Continue cooking in the oven at 350 for 2-3 minutes.