Food…Farms… & Chefs

Food Farms and Chefs: Interviews With Tayler Hopkins, Jessica & Justin Minchak, Ermelin “Armen” Saqe Download

00:51 Download April 25th
It’s our pleasure to convey our love of food, so this week’s Food Farms and Chefs is showing off the Japanese delicacies from Kura Sushi, a breakfast & lunch-only foodie favorite, Two Birds Cafe, and European-based touches of Jessica’s Cafe.
We began our show with the booming restaurant chain, Kura Sushi with their Philadelphia store’s Manager, Taylor Hopkins. Hopkins joined Kura Sushi when she wanted to transition from Sushi Chef to FOH (Front Of House) responsibilities, and found her perfect opportunity when Kura Sushi opened in Philadelphia’s University City. The fast-paced environment was a challenge at first, but Hopkins soon learned the pace and moved up in her position there. But we’re here for the love of food, so we further discussed how this energetic environment, coupled with tech-forward ordering systems, offers its rotating conveyor of plated sushi favorites right to your table! And there’s even a sweet reward when you dine-in: For every 15 plates, you receive a reward (like stickers, a lanyard, etc.).
We next spoke with owners Jessica and Justin Minchak, whose love of cooking led them to meet and eventually open Two Birds Cafe. Although Jessica’s love for learning began in Anthropology and Writing, she was drawn to the art of cooking. Which is how they met–inside the kitchen while working for a local restaurant. Jessica’s desire to continue learning drove her to attend the Academy of Culinary Arts, which is also where Justin graduated from, and the pair later opened Two Birds Cafe in West Chester, PA. Now, they have a strong focus of creating foods they love with locally-sourced ingredients, creating meals that are deliciously comforting to eat!
Jessica’s Cafe also offers comforting foods to eat, lending itself to authentic European cuisines. Ermelin “Armen” Saqe, who was born in Albania, emigrated to the US with his family. After many years, and numerous visits with his grandmother, he learned the arduous (yet loving) task of creating everything they consumed from scratch. This process instilled the importance of using fresh, quality ingredients in every dish that he creates. Although he uses as many locally-sourced ingredients as he can, some items (like 00 flour and San Marzano Tomatoes from Italy) need to be imported to obtain the highest quality products for his guests to enjoy. Don’t believe our word for it, check it out for yourselves–and while you’re at it, be sure to check out his reviews on Yelp; Jessica’s Cafe ranked in 2023’s Top 100 Restaurants!

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