Findlay Chefs In The Kitchen

. November 1, 2019.
Geoffrey Wedwaldt Executive Chef Findlay Country Club

Renz Salanga

Owner/Executive Chef at Stix Restaurant

Renz Salanga Owner/Executive Chef Stix Restaurant

Renz originally hails from Angeles City, Philippines, but has called Findlay home since he was 14 years old. His love of cooking led him to open Stix Restaurant in 2014 in downtown Findlay, specializing in “modern American/Asian fusion” and featuring dishes inspired by cultures from around the world.

How long have you been cooking? For as long as I can remember, but professionally since 2008.

What is your favorite dish to make at home and why? Nilagang Baka, a beef stew with potatoes, cabbage, carrots, corn, celery and onions. It’s my favorite Filipino dish.

What is your best advice for home cooks? Don’t rush the recipe. Time = flavor!

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Fried turkey and garlic mashed potatoes.

Chef Renz’s Recipe

Napa Cabbage Kimchi (property of Stix Restaurant LLP)

Ingredients:

  • 60# Nappa (cut in 1 inch squares)
  • 6 Qt Green Onions (cut 1 inch long, green and white part)
  • 6 Qt Asian Chives (cut 1 inch long, trim edges)
  • 6 Qt Carrots mandolin med cut

Puree:

  • 3 Qt Kochucharu (dry red pepper flakes)
  • 6 # Onions
  • 1 1/2 Qt Water
  • 3 # Garlic
  • 24 oz Ginger
  • 1 1/2 C Salt
  • 1 1/2 C Sugar
  • 1 Qt plus 1/2 C Fish Sauce
  • 1 1/2 C Oyster Sauce
  • 1 1/2 C Rice Vin
  • 3/4 C Soy Sauce

Directions:

  1. Soak 60# of nappa in water with 3 Qt of salt for 2 hours.
  2. Puree all ingredients
  3. Strain nappa after 2 hours. Make sure all water is out.
  4. Split the puree mixture evenly and mix!
  5. Cover kimchi and let rest for 2 days!

Geoffrey Wedwaldt

Executive Chef at Findlay Country Club

Geoffrey Wedwaldt Executive Chef Findlay Country Club

Geoff developed a passion for cooking when he worked as a busboy at Junior’s Restaurant in West Palm Beach, Florida — a Jewish-style restaurant/deli. He became fascinated with how different ingredients reacted with each other, the chemistry and mechanics of cooking. He entered an apprentice program and worked his way through the ranks, with chef positions at various restaurants in South Carolina and Florida. He held several positions in Toledo before coming to the Findlay Country Club where he just celebrated his 31st year of employment.

How long have you been cooking? 47 years.

What is your favorite dish to make at home for your family and why? A simple, good quality steak on the grill with a Caesar salad. I like to keep it simple at home.

What advice do you have for home cooks? Leave it alone. Don’t open the spice rack and say “hum, what can I put on the food?” Food should taste like what it is. If it’s chicken, the first thing you should taste is chicken, and not spice. A little goes a long way.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Dressing with a little gravy on it. Although at the Club, I cook 30 turkeys on Thanksgiving morning with all the trimmings, so by the time I’m done, none of it sounds appealing to me!

Chef Wedwaldt’s Recipe

Belgian Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces bittersweet Belgian chocolate (chopped)
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 eggs (separated)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Procedure:

  1. In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, melt the chocolate and butter over low heat. Stir occasionally until smooth.
  2. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and whisk in the egg yolks until blended. Immediately pour the mixture into a large bowl (the melted chocolate and butter will be hot enough to poach the egg yolks, which will thicken the mixture slightly).
    In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.
  3. With a whisk, fold one third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Using a rubber spatula, fold the remaining egg whites into the chocolate mixture until smooth.
  4. Pour the mousse into wine glasses and refrigerate until set, 2 hours or longer.
  5. Top with whipped cream, fresh berries, shaved chocolate and serve.

Jordan Arnold

Executive Chef at The Bistro on Main

Jordan Arnold Executive Chef The Bistro on Main

Watching Julia Child on PBS as a child sparked Jordan’s interest in cooking. She would watch cooking shows all morning, run a pretend restaurant during the afternoon, and cook dinner for her family at night. A self-taught cook, she learned at the “school of hard knocks.” She also worked in her family’s deli (The Daily Grind) and coffee shop (The George House). At age 14, she got a job at the Bistro and worked her way up from bar back to dishwasher to Executive Chef and General Manager. She enjoys tapping into her creative side to concoct new recipes.

How long have you been cooking? 17 years professionally but I spent many years cooking as a child before that.

What is your favorite dish to make at home and why? It’s a tie between spaghetti and tacos. They are both a favorite because they are fast, delicious and have so many variations.

What is your best advice for home cooks? Keep fresh herbs and lemons on hand at all times. They are quick, simple additions that can freshen and elevate a simple weekday meal, or even a semi-homemade meal.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Stuffing.

Chef Jordan’s Recipe

Sausage, Croissant and Dried Cranberry Stuffing

8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cubed bread
  • 6 cubed or torn croissants
  • 1 pound sage breakfast sausage
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup butter

Procedure:

Combine cubed bread and croissants on a sheet tray and toast in the oven until crispy and toasted. In a large skillet brown the sausage. When sausage is cooked add in all herbs, the celery and onion. Sauté until the vegetables have softened. Add the butter, chicken stock and bring to a simmer. In a large bowl, mix the toasted bread and croissants with the sausage and stock mixture. If the stuffing mixture seems dry you can add a bit more stock. Transfer the stuffing to a baking dish and bake covered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove the cover and continue to bake just until crispy and golden on the top.

Kelly Wolfe

Owner/Executive Chef at Little Red Bakery, Gilboa

Kelly Wolfe Owner/Executive Chef Little Red Bakery, Gilboa

Kelly’s earliest memories are of learning how to bake alongside her “grammy.” A graduate of Pandora High School, she attended culinary school in Pittsburgh and then trained to be a pastry chef at Le Cordon Bleu in London. She launched her baking business from home in Gilboa before opening a storefront in 2018. She bakes pies and fry pies using recipes passed down from her Swiss Mennonite relatives. She also uses her own delicious recipes for doughnuts, scones, cookies and other treats.

How long have you been baking? 19 years.

What is your favorite dish to make at home for your family and why? Usually anything savory because I make sweet all day.

What advice would you give home cooks? Don’t be afraid to screw up, sometimes that’s when the best things happen.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish? My mom’s pumpkin torte.

Chef Kelly’s Top Tip

“With the holidays around the corner, everyone will be making pies and cookies. The best advice I have is to keep everything cold. While rolling out, if the dough gets too warm, just put it back in the fridge for a bit. Everything will go much easier if the ingredients are cold.”

Lisa Allen

Owner/Operator at The Baker’s Cafe

Lisa Allen Owner/Operator The Baker’s Cafe

Lisa started cooking at a young age and is a self-taught cake baker and decorator. She worked in food service as a teenager, and then at The Courier before taking a leap of faith in 2014 and purchasing The Baker’s Cafe. Since she took ownership, The Baker’s Cafe has developed a devoted following. Lisa not only oversees all aspects of operations, she bakes all the desserts, including custom cakes.

How long have you been cooking/baking? Since I was old enough to hold a wooden spoon, probably around age 8 or 9, helping my great aunt bake cookies.

What is your favorite dish to make at home and why? Lasagna because it’s my husband’s favorite pasta dish and holds sentimental meaning for him.

What is your best advice for home cooks? Experiment! You learn so much through trial and error. Often times, recipes become yours as you find ways to improve them and make them unique to you.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish? My grandma’s stuffing!

Chef Lisa’s Recipe

Grandma’s Crockpot Stuffing

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 12 cups dry bread cubes (use a mixture of bread types for best results. I like wheat, rye, and sourdough)
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 1/2 cups chicken broth, or as needed
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Directions:

  1. Sautee onions, celery and parsley in butter until onions are translucent.
  2. Put bread cubes and seasonings into a very large bowl. Add cooked vegetables. Pour in chicken broth until the bread is moistened. Add in eggs.
  3. Spray a large slow cooker with cooking spray. Add dressing mixture and cover. Cook on HIGH for 45-50 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook for 6 to 8 hours.