If the Bronx wasn’t popping enough, New York City’s own Chef. Christopher Montgomery, a South Bronx native now residing in Los Angeles, CA is changing the game when it comes to the kitchen. Specializing in French, American, Gourmet Southern and Modern cuisine with an urban twist, Chef. Chris delivers a unique and personal experience for diverse palettes. He later began consulting as a private chef, creating another opportunity to carve a niche for himself.
Chef. Christopher Montgomery is living out his successes in his latest venture as a personal chef for private and industry clients. Chef. Chris was featured in the Stylist Suite, a Vogue Italia editorial where celebrity stylist Germaine Hill (Sytist for the Late and Great Prince, Keenan Ivory Wayans, and Wanda Sykes among others) was a guest.
He was head chef at Black Bottom Southern Café, new spot where celebrities of all kinds patronized, including Raphael Saadiq, Niecy Nash, Richard Roundtree, Chandra Wilson, Jesse Williams, Dawn Lewis, Jackee Harry, Nipsie Hustle, Martin Lawrence, Flex Alexander, Kenny Latimore, among others. He was even requested to specially prepare both on and off menu items for Denzel and Pauletta Washington and Lenny Kravitz on various occasions.
We caught up with the Boogie Down bred chef in L.A. where he is currently consulting as a personal chef while creating opportunities to aid in opening his own restaurant. He told us a little about those secret family recipes, how it is working around celebrities and how to live on french toast for the rest of our lives.
Parlé Mag: It seems as if cooking was “in your blood” so to speak. Your father was the main cook in your family, and he began teaching you at a young age. Are there any tips that he gave you that you could share with us? And how really secret are those secret family recipes?
Chef. Christopher Montgomery: The first tip that stayed with me was, make it fresh! Almost everything that I remember him making was from scratch, especially sauces. To this day, you will not find me making things from a jar, can or bottle. I tend to make all of my food, especially sauces from scratch by default. I believe he instilled that in me. The recipes themselves aren’t the secret, the tips and techniques are. I would share a tip or two on some things, but I can’t let everyone know my hand. (Laughs)
Parlé Mag: You’ve done both formal and informal education when it comes to the culinary arts. Where do you feel taught you the most about cooking?
Chef. Christopher Montgomery: Well, I would say at school is where I learned the fundamentals behind cooking, the cause and effect of cooking using various techniques and the result of the techniques is when I confidently felt I knew how to cook and confirmed I was a chef. My pops made beurre blancs (butter sauces made with wine reduction) Roux (flour and fat cooked together) and Slurries (equal parts flour and water made for stews), but we didn’t know what they were actually called. It wasn’t until I went to school that I understood what they were, what they were called, the various uses and different flavors to build with these sauce bases. School put everything I knew and learned into perspective and added more. Once I completed to school, I was ready for the restaurant world because I had versatility and more of an understanding of what I was doing… on purpose.
Parlé Mag: In what type of setting do you prefer to learn when it comes to food?
Chef. Christopher Montgomery: I prefer cooking at home listening to music. This is where I am most comfy and take the most risks in creativity. Also when the restaurant is closed. I can really focus on a dish or ingredient and develop it to its full potential without the interruption of staff, guests, etc. I can go all in and create.
Parlé Mag: Cooking for celebrities seems like it would be nerve-racking. I mean, I would jump off a bridge if Beyoncé ever frowned at a dish I made, however, you seem to have navigated being a personal chef for the famous with ease. Do you ever get nervous when presenting a dish?
Chef. Christopher Montgomery: Every single time I cook, no matter who it is, I am a nervous wreck until they actually put the fork or spoon to their mouths. That is with every single dish or item I prepare. I’ve learned that everyone is a Beyoncé, or superstar, VIP when sitting at a table eating my food. I treat everyone the same from the janitor to the Beyoncé’s, the Jay-Z’s, the Denzel’s. Everyone is VIP at my table. But if Barack Obama sits at my table, he may get a little extra…(laughs). I would have to say, I enjoyed meeting Raphael Saadiq the most. He was so down to earth and encouraged me with kind words. He would frequent the restaurant I helped open up in North Hollywood when I was there. Denzel was also a frequent customer.
Parlé Mag: Who would you absolutely LOVE to cook for?
Chef. Christopher Montgomery: I would have loved to cook for my Pops at this point in my career, the person who inspired me. Since he is no longer with us, I would love to cook for my childhood crush, Nia Long. If you can make that happen, that would be great!
Parlé Mag: Who has more swag, Brooklyn or Bronx (and do not front)?
Chef. Christopher Montgomery: I’m from the Bronx, I shouldn’t have to say anymore,
Parlé Mag: Fruits vs. Vegetables? What team are you?
Chef. Christopher Montgomery: I would love to say veggies, but I’d be lying. Fruits!
Parlé Mag: Everyone seems to be getting ready for the holidays and with that, comes the creation of classic holiday meals. Is there one dish that you absolutely must make when it comes to the holidays?
Chef. Christopher Montgomery: The Angry Lobster dish is what my family always requests. I do also enjoy frying a turkey.
Parlé Mag: If there was one meal you had to eat forever, because of whatever reason, what would it be? And how do we make it?
Chef. Christopher Montgomery: French toast is my favorite.
~I start ice cream, a little milk to loosen it up a bit, I add cinnamon, nutmeg, eggs, fresh orange juice and orange peel, vanilla beans, Grand Marnier, triple sec mixed well and let sit.
~Toast cinnamon raisin bread before coating with the mixture.
~Put in a buttered pan and toast until golden brown. Serve with fresh fruit powdered sugar or a seasonal fruit compote.
What is so fun about this recipe is the ice cream flavor has no boundaries. It’s usually ice cream I’ve been snacking on all week.
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