Chef’s Table is an occasional series highlighting the talented chefs from The Bristal Assisted Living communities. Today we are featuring Vincenzo DeGuglielmi, Director of Food Service for The Bristal Assisted Living at East Northport.
Vincenzo’s journey to becoming a chef started at a very young age, with his mother putting him to work in her kitchen. One of his earliest memories is learning how to handle pie dough. He laughs, “My mom said it was a great babysitting tool – and it gave me a solid foundation.”
He landed his first “real” job in tenth grade at a local bakery, where he made cakes, pies and pastries for the Long Island Marriott. While attending college, he completed an externship in London for a semester, giving him valuable kitchen management experience. After he returned, he served as the pastry chef for several notable restaurants on Long Island, including Prime, Four and Crescent Beach Club. He further shared his passion and talent by teaching culinary arts at the Star Career Academy.
Vincenzo came to The Bristal Assisted Living after connecting with a fellow teacher who also served as the Regional Director of Food Service for The Bristal. He joined The Bristal at East Northport as their Director of Food Service four years ago. When asked what he loves about working at The Bristal, Vincenzo said, “I love that I am still able to teach and be creative – especially with the menus.” He continues with a chuckle, “The residents really enjoy the desserts too.”
The following recipe is a favorite of Vincenzo’s, and one his mother made for their annual holiday cookie swap.
Chef Vincenzo's Cream Cheese Crescent Cookies
1 8oz package of cream cheese (softened)
2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
2 cups flour
Mix these ingredients together until they are incorporated. Then form 14 equal sized balls and chill for 1hr.
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup of finely chopped walnuts
7-9 dates finely chopped
Combine all ingredients for the filling in a mixing bowl and mix well. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees for conventional, 325 degrees for convection.
- Remove one ball and roll out to 1/8 inch thickness and then cut into 4 equal quarters.
- Place small amount of filling on the larger end of the dough (the outside arc of the circle) and roll it up towards the smaller point at the center.
- Slightly turn the ends in to form the crescent shape.
- Place on an ungreased baking pan, or one lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 15 to 20 mins or until the bottom of the cookie is slightly brown.
- Dust with powder sugar and enjoy or put in an air-tight container and save them for later.
- When done mixing the ingredients for the dough, roll the mixture into a cylinder to chill. This takes a bit longer to chill, but makes it easier to roll into a circle later.
- When rolling out the dough, best to do it when it’s cold and the area is lightly dusted with flour.
- Let the cookies completely cool before you dust them with the powder sugar.
The following recipe is a lighter version of Vincenzo’s favorite holiday breakfast to share with family. Perfect to start the new year with – enjoy!
Enzo’s Famous French Toast
One loaf of multigrain bread of choice
3 whole eggs
2 cups of almond milk, or whatever milk is preferred
1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon of cinnamon
1 bag of granola of choice (break up into smaller pieces)
1 pt of strawberries (cut up)
- Spread peanut butter between two pieces of bread.
- Heat your pan or skillet to a med-low heat and allow to get hot.
- Mix together the eggs, milk, vanilla extract and cinnamon until combined.
- Put some of the granola on a plate.
- Dunk the sandwich in the egg mixture and then press both sides of the sandwich in the granola.
- Spray the pan with cooking spray, then place the sandwich in the skillet. Cook both sides on low heat to ensure the eggs are cooked.
- You can add any filling you want – be creative if you dare.
- Preheat your pan in advance if you don’t want to wait too long for the best breakfast ever!
Chef 's Notes
Five questions. Hundreds of different answers based on our chef’s awesome personalities. Enjoy!
Q. Ingredient you must have?
A. Coffee beans. I drink two carafes a day. :-O
Q. Favorite recipe?
A. A pasta recipe that I have been working on for several years. Super easy, takes well to a variety of ingredients, and can make different pastas (ravioli, lasagna, etc.)
Q. Favorite tool?
Q. Favorite cuisine?
A. Asian fusion – Thai, Polynesian. Lighter, fresher and spicier. Also, more challenging to create than Italian food.
Q. Favorite meal?
A. Breakfast – I could eat breakfast at every meal.