George has had a love of all things culinary from a very young age, and throughout his career, has worked with renowned chefs and food technologists. He discovered his passion for cooking at the age of five after spending time in his grandmother's restaurant. From then on, under his mother's guidance (who is a talented cook of her own accord) George recalls cooking anything his mother would let him, starting out with scrambled eggs and hamburgers and quickly moving on to fine Italian and French dishes.
After many years of honing and perfecting his culinary craft, George still enjoys what he humbly considers: "complimenting my family culinary experience," by taking courses in regional cuisines pertaining to the vegetable ingredient products his family specializes in, namely: Asian, French, Mediterranean, Mexican and Tex Mex.
Because of George's extensive knowledge and passion for food, he is a great resource to customers in helping them find the right ingredients for their recipe needs. "I need to understand what's happening in the kitchen," he explained. "If my client has an unfavorable flavor note, I need to be able to assess the situation to understand why." That extra level of service and care undoubtedly stems from his love of food and his work alike, which fortunately for George, go hand and hand.
1-pound eggplant, sliced
4 ounces whole green lentils
2-½ cups vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
GC Farms’ extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
8 ounces portabella mushrooms, chopped
14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
14-ounces GC Farms’ roasted & diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 teaspoons dried herbs de Provence
1-¼ cups plain yogurt
½ cups grated aged cheddar cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
1 – Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt and place in a colander. Cover and place a weight on top. Let sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the bitter juices to be extracted.
2 – Meanwhile, place the lentils, stock, and bay leaf in a saucepan, cover, bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are just tender but not mushy. Drain thoroughly and keep warm.
3 – Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for an additional 1-minute. Stir in lentils, mushrooms, chickpeas, tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs de Provence and 3 tablespoons water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4 – Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse the eggplant slices, drain and pat dry. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and cook the slices in batches for 3-4 minutes, turning once so both sides are browned.
5 – Season the lentil mixture with salt and pepper. Arrange a layer of eggplant slices in the bottom of a large, shallow, ovenproof dish or roasting pan, then spoon a layer of the lentil mixture on top. Continue the layers until all the eggplant slices and lentil mixture are used up.
6 – Beat the yogurt, eggs, and salt and pepper together and pour the mixture over the vegetables. Sprinkle generously with the grated Cheddar cheese and bake for about 45 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and bubbling. Serve immediately, garnished with the flat-leaf parsley.