As you may remember, Monogram partnered with Dwell earlier this year on the Monogram Modern Home – a custom, 825 square foot home which showcased the craftsmanship and innovative features of Monogram’s newest and most popular high-end appliances. Over the course of six months, the Monogram Modern Home traveled to Portland, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Austin, Dallas and Boston. In each location Chef Hayley Christopher prepared delicious treats and appetizers for guests using the Monogram kitchen appliances. We interviewed Chef Hayley to learn a little more about her and her experience on the Monogram Modern tour.
SRFD: What did you learn participating in the tour?
Chef Hayley: The Monogram Modern Home tour (MMHT) was such a fabulous experience and unique opportunity for me as a chef. I have worked in catering for six years now and television for four, in both of those environments you learn to adapt quickly and “figure it out or make it work.” Since the tour was centered around an actual home traveling across the country, we had times where the house hit traffic, couldn’t get in the city, or had mechanical issues. I really had to put those adaptability skills to the test. Each city was different and awesome in it’s own way, but no two were the same so the approach couldn’t be either. The old adage proved true, you never stop learning or adapting. I think I really tapped in to my “go with the flow” mentality and just had fun enjoying the ride of the MMHT. It always worked out and blossomed into a great tour stop, creating valuable connections with the community.
SRFD: Any Advantium tips you’d like to share?
Chef Hayley: The Advantium is hands down my favorite piece of equipment in the Monogram Modern Home. The versatility of it allows you to multi-task in the kitchen and get back to the real reason people cook, allowing you to enjoy time with family and friends. No gimmicks, this oven can microwave popcorn, reheat a casserole, speed-cook a whole chicken, and perfectly cook a moist piece of fish with crispy skin. The guess-work is taken out of cooking so you don’t have to be a chef to operate it. Play with it is what I’d say, step back and let it cook for you, I’m sure you’ll love it just as much as I do!
SRFD: What’s your background and how did you come to participate in the tour?
Chef Hayley: I am a chef by trade and have been working the hospitality industry for over ten years. A natural transition in Los Angeles was to television where I work as a chef, food and prop stylist, providing picture-perfect dishes for shows and cookbooks. Through catering, I cooked many events for Dwell Media and was delighted when they asked me to hop on board with this project. I am currently self-employed, owning and operating Haystack Kitchen LLC, which specializes in private chef services and food/prop styling.
SRFD: Favorite experience during the tour?
Chef Hayley: I had the privilege of working with many farm to table chefs over my career who taught me the importance and benefits of cooking seasonally. When I was asked to do this tour, I was elated about the idea of cooking seasonally in each city and drawing from local, native cooking styles. I’d seek out those local ingredients, some of which were indigenous to their location, draw from local influences and put my own California twist on it. Creating these menus was so much fun and I really got to geek out with it, researching and cultivating truly unique menus for each stop. The specialty cocktail in Dallas, for instance, used not only seasonal produce but also liquor from a local distillery to really make it personal. You just don’t get that experience cooking in one place all the time, I absolutely loved that challenge!
SRFD: Most frequently asked question?
Chef Hayley: It’s a tie between, “do you cook at home?” and “what’s your favorite thing to cook?” Oh man, everyone always wants to know that and it drives chefs crazy. I love to cook, but I also love to experience other people’s cooking styles by eating out. I am so fortunate that as a chef my “research” is both consumable and sociable, so needless to say I definitely try and take advantage of that.
SRFD: Any cities you would recommend the tour should visit?
Chef Hayley: If I’m selfishly planting a seed for some fabulous locations that I can play with pristine ingredients, I’d say Colorado for sure. The South, I love the south and try to get down to see my Godmother in Mississippi yearly, the culture, food and people are just so vibrant down there … Perhaps, Tennessee, Georgia, the Carolinas, heck, New Orleans. Honestly, anywhere would be fun…that’s the beauty of the States, so diverse, I’m just happy to be a traveling chef for a bit and get out of my comfort zone.