176 Royal Palm Drive, Marco
Restaurant: The Chef’s Express
176 Royal Palm Drive, the Shops of Old Marco. Phone: 393-2433
Who or what inspired you to become a chef/cook?
The enjoyment I felt doing it (cooking) at home for my family and my friends.
What was your first restaurant job?
The Marco Beach Hotel in 1975 before the Marriott took it over — I waited tables there.
How long have you been cooking professionally?
About six years, actually when we opened Chef’s Express.
How would you describe your cooking style?
Homestyle — what our mom’s cooked for us.
What is your most popular dish?
At breakfast, it’s my Crunchy Delight — I like to say it’s my wholesome version of French toast made with multi-grain bread — with strawberries and bananas for vitamin content.
Where do you like to eat out on the island?
The Old Marco Pub or DaVinci’s for pizza.
What is your favorite snack?
Crackers and cheese. I love good crackers and I love good cheese: the combination goes beautifully with a glass of good wine.
Do you cook at home?
If so, what would we always find in your freezer? Probably one-inch thick, bone-in pork chops and shrimp.
What is your specialty? Why?
My lasagna at home, because it’s unique. I make it with scampi, white clam sauce and linguini. At the restaurant, the five or six varieties of soup I make daily. I only make a gallon or two of each and that allows me to make fresh ones every day — I’m already sold out of French onion today.
What annoys you most in the kitchen?
Un-organization! Not being prepped — not having enough sliced strawberries or bananas in the morning when you walk in the door — that’s the worst. It makes me cuckoo for coco pops!
What do you enjoy most about your profession?
It makes me happy to see the smiles and hear the compliments I receive when people tell me they enjoyed the food — and I really love what I do because I can work together with my family.
Island Summer Salad
The Chef’s Express recent daily special — Island Summer Salad — includes a mound of crisp romaine lettuce topped with fresh, crisp apple slices, fresh Florida strawberries (in season), blue cheese crumbles and chicken salad garnished with red onion and walnuts with a side of sweet ‘n’ sour dressing.
Chef Annie Feinman’s creative Spinach Salad includes a mound of fresh baby spinach leaves layered with strawberries, sliced mushrooms and red onion, garnished with sliced egg, bacon bits and brown sugar- glazed pecans, topped with grilled chicken breast and a side of sweet ‘n sour dressing.
The Chef’s Express’ popular Lunch Special — soup du jour and half deli sandwich. One combination is a classic grilled Reuben on freshly baked rye, Thousand Island sauce on the side, served with lobster bisque.
Griddle Works’ Crunchy Delight
Chef Annie Feinman’s Griddle Works’ Crunchy Delight includes multi-grain bread dipped in butter nut and cinnamon flavored egg batter and coated in crunchy corn flakes and almonds, then grilled to perfection and topped with fresh strawberries and banana slices with a touch of powdered sugar.