This week’s Chef in the Spotlight is Francy Deskin, Chef de Cuisine at The Office in Delray Beach. Francy is a woman after my own heart, her answers to her last meal on earth and guilty pleasure foods synched that. Francy is a proud Mom, talented culinarian and a well balanced professional in a very demanding position. Read on for more spotlight insight into one “The Avenue’s” all around gifted Chefs, Francy Deskin
South Florida Food and Wine: Where do you get your culinary inspiration?
Francy Deskin: I get my culinary inspiration from the seasons. Being in Florida, sometimes this is a challenge as we only experience two of the seasons: hot and hotter. But still, I think I identify with nature’s cycles, and when the vegetables and fruit quality and abundance increase, it only makes sense to oblige and showcase that particular piece.
South Florida Food and Wine: When did you realize that cooking was your passion?
Francy Deskin: Probably when I was four years old preparing French toast! I was in the middle of the kitchen floor cracking eggs and milk into a mixing bowl to make breakfast for my visiting aunt. It was such a fond memory for her that she embroidered me a wall hanging depicting the scene!
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your favorite item on your menu?
Francy Deskin: The menu at The Office is “Sofie’s Choice” for me. To pick a favorite would be to betray another.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your favorite dish to make at home?
Francy Deskin: “Saucy Chicken” There is no recipe for it, but it usually cleans out the fridge of all vegetables and half empty wine bottles. When I make it at home, I am reminded of my mother making one of her most beloved meals, wherein she shakes meat and flour in a bag, and does not shake too much of the flour off “because it’s good for the gravy.” AND my daughter loves it, which makes it a pleasure to cook.
South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your last day on earth, what would your final meal be?
Francy Deskin: Perfectly cooked risotto with morel mushrooms and Parmigiana Reggiano.
South Florida Food and Wine: Who is the one person you would love to cook with and why?
Francy Deskin: I would love to cook with Alice Waters. She is a wonderful inspiration to me for her dedication to fresh, organic, farm-to-table food cooked simply. Our supper would of course begin with a trip to the farmer’s market!
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your one guilty pleasure food?
Francy Deskin: I don’t feel guilty about food, especially if it brings me pleasure. I just don’t eat too much of it. If I were to eat too much of it, then I would get a belly ache and lose that pleasurable feeling, and then I’ve stopped respecting the food the food that brought me so much pleasure to begin with.
South Florida Food and Wine: What was the last restaurant you ate at?
Francy Deskin: Pho 78. It’s a simple Vietnamese restaurant tucked away in a plaza that gave us a nice, authentic experience. We tried their house specialty, which was a pho with several cuts of beef. My daughter is still learning the art of chopsticks, and she actually picked up a bean sprout while here! And she giggled when I told her it was okay slurp her broth and noodles. A restaurant I am looking forward to going to next month is The Lazy Goat in South Carolina. I’ve heard they dabble in house-made charcuterie.
South Florida Food and Wine: Who would you most like to cook for? And why?
Francy Deskin: I would love to cook for Julia Child because she loved to eat, and had such an appreciation for food and wine. It would give me a chance to thank her for her tireless efforts.
South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your day off, what do you do for fun?
Francy Deskin: My daughter gets first dibs on my days off. If she is preoccupied, I love going to yoga or on a power walk in my neighborhood. I also love quilting. My day off goes by much faster than my days at work!
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The Office 201 E Atlantic Avenue Delray Beach, 33444 (561) 276-3600