If you’ve recently watched our new demonstration videos or visited us at a trade show, you’re likely familiar with Chef Joe Arvin. Chef Arvin joined the Antunes team as corporate executive chef in March 2018 and has been bringing his culinary expertise, operational insights and big personality to work ever since. To help you get to know Chef Arvin a little better, here are seven pieces of trivia about the man behind the chef’s coat.
1. He Owes His Career Path to His Mother
Arvin started cooking at age 12. His mother was a caterer, and he grew up helping her cater the horse sales in Lexington, KY, each year. But, what really made him fall in love with cooking was watching her cook at holiday gatherings. He knew he wanted to be a part of making people happy with food, just like his mother did.
2. His Small Hometown Gave Him a Head Start on Global Cuisine
Arvin grew up in a small town in Kentucky that was home to a Christian college, and consequently, was full of missionaries. The missionaries came from different countries, giving him a diverse group of friends that each introduced him to his or her family’s cuisine. This exposure benefitted him, as any restaurant he visited or international trend he followed was already familiar to him. Now, this knowledge allows him to be a better consultant, expanding his mind to meet the needs of any customer.
3. He Has “Madlove” for Cooking and Sticks to His Roots
Chef Arvin describes his style as a little bit of “everything goes,” but over the years, he’s become known for “madlove” cooking. People have commented that he has so much passion for food that they didn’t know if he was mad or just showing love — leading to his friends calling him “madlove.” It’s even the vanity license plate on his car!
When it comes to his approach to cooking, Arvin grew up with “homestyle cast-iron skillet cooking,” and he never really goes away from that; it just comes alongside other types of cuisine. Mediterranean and Italian are his current favorites, and he finds ways to infuse old country recipes and the use of high heat into that style of cooking.
4. The Corporate Chef Role is a Culmination of All of His Experience
From attending culinary school to traveling around Europe for externships, Chef Arvin has been able to combine his love of culinary innovation, food and culture into his true love. As he advanced in his career, he moved away from 12-hour shifts as an executive chef into a corporate chef role — which offers a better way of life but also leverages a different set of skills.
In this role, he works with engineers and designers, using his vast kitchen knowledge to help inform product development. “Should it be right-handed or left-handed? Where should the door be located? What type of power does it need?” These questions can be answered using his insights on what it will be like for a chef to use the equipment in a commercial kitchen.
5. The Customer is the Ultimate Focus of His Work
Chef Arvin works with the Antunes sales team on projects that will benefit their customers. He serves as a consultant trying to help the end user of the equipment be more efficient and effective — whether it’s reducing cook times or water/energy consumption, developing recipes with unique flavor profiles, or analyzing yield costs and making recommendations to improve it.
Another part of his job is traveling the world on behalf of Antunes, looking at kitchen designs and serving as the face of the company at events. He comments that through these efforts, he contributes to the company’s goal of exceeding expectations and creating lifelong customer relationships.
6. He’s Looking Across the Ocean and to the Ground for the Next Culinary Trends
Chef Arvin feels that the growth of Spanish and Mexican cuisine in America is going to slow pace, and that we’ll see trends around Arabic and Middle Eastern cuisines start moving to the forefront. Antunes is looking at developing equipment to meet these future needs so that their customers can create those menus. According to Chef Arvin, if you wait until it’s a trend, you’re behind.
Plant-based food is other trend that continues to develop and change. Chef Arvin sees some of the products that are just now coming out, like plant-based burgers that “bleed”, being adopted on a larger scale at QSR restaurants. He thinks it will get to the point that an 80/20 beef burger could be tasted alongside a plant-based burger, and the consumer would find them identical.
7. He Takes Being a Spokesperson Seriously
Having appeared on TV shows — including The Taste, Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen and Big Brother as the resident chef in the house — Chef Arvin understands the publicity and celebrity that can come with being a chef. He wants to use his skills and camera-ready persona to promote Antunes and holds this role in high regards. See Chef Arvin in action with this video highlighting the Antunes Flatbread Toaster.