We were lucky enough to sit down for a few minutes with Perch’s Executive Chef, Mike Ledesma in hopes of learning some top secret tricks of the trade! Chef Ledesma is not only an accomplished chef at award-winning Perch and co-owner of InstaBowl, but he is also a former financial advisor. Mike’s creativity, seemingly endless energy, and business savviness have all contributed to his continued success. When he is willing to dish out some tips… we are all ears!!
Q: What common mistakes do you see amateur cooks (like myself) often repeat?
CHEF LEDESMA: The heat in the pan is very important for cooking. Make sure it is between 280- 330 degrees to create a browning of proteins. A maillard reaction must take place. Also, make sure proteins are room temperature and dried off before placing them in the pan. The starting point will dictate the quality of the finished product!
Q: What dish do you think people are intimidated to make, that in reality, is quite easy?
CHEF LEDESMA: Gnocchi from scratch. It is basically a fancy southern dumpling.
Q: Any cool new kitchen gadgets you have used recently that you love or would recommend?
CHEF LEDESMA: A high-end gadget I would recommend is the Wolf Steamer. It is the best tool in the kitchen. The Wolf Steamer is easy to use, you can sous vide, steam grits, steam seafood, and steam veggies! For everyday gadgets: I buy all my cooks a microplane zester. A little lemon or orange zest adds flavor to any dish!
Q: Any other kitchen hacks you are willing to share?
CHEF LEDESMA: Soy sauce, garlic, and butter make a great sauce on the fly for sautéed veggies.
Special thanks to Chef Mike Ledesma for sharing his expertise! We encourage everyone to check out Perch (located 2918 West Broad Street) for a dinner date Tuesday through Saturday night and for a more casual fare, pickup/request delivery from Instabowl (located 2601 W Cary St).
Vice President, Perkinson Homes