As a corporate chef for Blodgett, Joe Arvin is always on the go, administering cooking classes, hosting food trend seminars and contributing to menu and recipe development. In 2012 Chef Joe used his “Mad Love Cooking” skills to become a popular member of the Season 14 cast of the CBS reality show Big Brother. Chef Joe recently took time out from his busy schedule to sit down for a quick Q & A about his two favorite subjects…food and cooking!
Middleby: What inspires your cooking?
Chef Joe Arvin: I love the freedom to just let it all hang out! My mom is a great cook and she stills inspires me to this day. I never enter a kitchen without the thought: “Time to make Momma proud!”
M: How did Big Brother help your career?
CJA: Working on the show with CBS was a complete joyride. What most people do not know is that Big Brother has an average viewing audience of about six million and is shown in 23 countries. I had no idea just how well known I would become. Career-wise it opens doors when you’re known. You instantly have a voice and can use that voice for great things.
M: Why do you describe your style in the kitchen as ‘Mad Love Cooking’?
CJA: I have tons of passion! I absolutely love what I do, I tell everyone I meet and I’m loud about it. So loud that someone once said ‘is he mad or does he just love cooking that much?’ I say it’s just Mad Love Cooking! You could not pay me a penny and I would still be sharing my love for food with everyone I meet.
M: Why do you like Blodgett equipment?
CJA: Blodgett is a household name where I come from. The name is known for its sheer strength and dependability. We called ours the “Beast” in our first catering kitchen…I’m sure it was second hand and was well over 30 years old. Nowadays I love the new technology with the combi ovens. It allows you to cook everything BETTER, and I mean everything.
M: If you had to pick just one, what’s your favorite Blodgett oven and why?
CJA: They have an oven called the Hydrovection and man it’s awesome! Cooking with moist heat! BAM! It looks like my old Beast with a new modern touch controller.
M: What is hydrovection and when would you use it?
CJA: It lies perfectly in between a full-blown combi and a convection oven. I love to braise meats in it (because) it helps to retain its moisture and gives you better yields coming out of the oven. I will not be steaming root vegetables all day but it certainly can handle all moist heat applications. It is Perfect for school systems who dry-fry and re-therm the meals.
M: Why should chefs use Blodgett?
CJA: Chefs love to be known for being the star of the show! Why not have a star like Blodgett that you rely on to make darn sure you look good every time?
M: Growing up did you have a mentor in the kitchen or someone you looked up to?
CJA: For me it has always been my mom. It’s not every day you get to meet an angel! I knew for sure if I could have my heart like hers show on a plate, I would be forever good!
M: First restaurant job?
CJA: We had a small French place in Kentucky called Laffite’s. I was head dishwasher and oyster shucker! You try shucking 500 oysters a day! You have to earn your stripes in this business.
M: Favorite Food?
CJA: Jumbo lump Maryland blue crab with drawn clarified butter. I had never been outside of Kentucky when I decided to attend culinary school in Baltimore, Maryland! At age 18, my first bite was true love!