Orange Chicken by Chef Josemaria Bennett, H&S Chef Of The Month
H&S Chef Of The Month
Interview With H&S Magazine
Who Is Josemaria Bennett?
I was born in the 90s. I always wanted to cook from a young age, I’ve been a chef for a decade now, and I’m still hungry to learn more.
Type Of Cuisine?
I like to dabble with different cuisines. But if I had to choose, it would be Indian cuisine because it always uses fresh ingredients. It also involves making dishes from scratch, leaving less space for the use of preservatives and artificial ingredients.
What Inspired You To Become A Chef?
Well, my mum used to be a private chef and I used to tag along with her to the kitchen, and I was her little helper that’s when I realized what I wanted to do, to see how people enjoyed what she made.
What Is The Biggest Challenge You Have Faced In The Culinary Industry?
I would say recently the COVID-19 pandemic affected the industry and many chefs lost their jobs and some had to start their own thing, myself included 😊 which is really hard.
What’s Your Biggest Achievement In The Culinary Industry?
My biggest achievement was when I got to host a cooking show on EBRU TV for five years. I had the freedom of creating my own dishes and also just enjoying the whole experience. It also gave me time to start my own in-home private chef company called rocketmeals.
When It comes To Cooking, What Is More Important To You, The Technique, The Ingredients Or The Creativity?
I would say all, you must try and acquire them to be a better chef, I am still learning new things every day, that’s why I love what I do.
Recipe Of The Week: Orange Chicken Served With Nutty Rice
• Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
• ¼ cup soy sauce (60g)
• 2 tbsp orange juice
• ¼ cup cornstarch (30g)
• 2 tbsp oil
• ¾ cup orange juice (180 ml)
• 1 tbsp soy sauce
• 1 tbsp Hoisin sauce
• 1 tbsp rice vinegar
• 2 tbsp brown sugar
• 1 tbsp cornstarch
The Nutty Sauce
• 2 cups of cooked rice
• 1 tbsp butter
• 2 tbsp light soy sauce
• Cashew nuts (any will do)
Preparation: The Orange Chicken; Chicken, Marinade & Sauce
Slice chicken breast into cubes. In a bowl, combine marinade ingredients, then add chicken to the marinade and stir to coat & let it marinate for at least 1 hour. In a pan, heat oil on medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade with a slotted spoon, and cook all sides until golden brown, for about 5 minutes. Next add in the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil, mixing continuously, until mixture thickens, for about 5 minutes.
Preparation: The Nutty Rice
In a frying pan add the butter once it melts, add the rice. Incorporate the rice with the butter then add the soy sauce, then the nuts and cilantro.
Dressing The Plate
In a plate, place the nutty rice & orange chicken as you desire & serve hot!