chef Matt DeGrandis founded his catering company on the concept of
fast, healthful meals. DeGrandis gives tips on how to re-create his
low-fat flavors at home.
By Carrie Bizga
Use as little fat as possible when sautéing. Start
with a small amount of oil heated quickly over a high flame. Then add
water, stock or wine and cover the pan. The liquid will make up for
flavor lost to the decrease in fat.
Grill, then roast. DeGrandis marinates
lean meat such as poultry, fish, pork or choice cuts of beef, then
sears it on the grill, cooking it for one to two minutes before
roasting in an oven at 350 degrees. "I find finishing items on the
grill dries it out, while an oven keeps it moist without any serious
charring loaded with carcinogens,” he says, adding, "Let the meat rest
to retain its juices.”
Use lean cuts of beef. Flank steak or a
true London broil are great examples. Get the best flavor by letting
the meat marinate for a few hours or overnight. Then grill it for two
minutes on each side, roast to an internal temperature of about 130
degrees and let it rest. When ready to serve, slice the flank thin
against the grain, DeGrandis says. Use the meat in fajitas or serve
flank steak alone with a homemade, low-cal horseradish sauce.See Quick
Take a classic recipe and alter the components. Replace fatty ingredients with heartier ones. "I
takecoq au vin [chicken braised in wine], a classic French dish
normally using a broken-down chicken, and substituted boneless,
skinless chicken breasts and thighs,” he explains. In his recipe, red
wine is a main ingredient that will reduce and concentrate its acidity
and sweetness, adding great flavor. For DeGrandis’ low-fatcoq au vin
recipe, visit westshoremag.com.
Grill your vegetables. A great way to
add serious flavor to vegetables without using butter or salt is to
grill them and then hit them with a balsamic glaze. You can use almost
any vegetable that is in season. See Quick Recipe 2.
Quick Recipe 1: Low-Cal Horseradish Sauce
Combine the following ingredients: 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise; 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream;
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard; 2 green
onions, finely chopped; and 3 teaspoons prepared horseradish (may
substitute wasabi paste). A strong flavor from the horseradish and
mustard will make up for any loss of fat.
Quick Recipe 2: Grilled Vegetables with a Balsamic Glaze
For the veggies, combine and grill: 1 yellow
squash, cut in half lengthwise; 1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise; 1
eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch thick circles; 1 red onion, sliced in
1/2-inch thick circles; 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut in
half lengthwise; 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut in half
lengthwise; 2 Portobello mushroom caps.
For the balsamic glaze: Boil 2 cups balsamic
vinegar in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring it to a boil and
reduce until thick and syrupy. Prepare the vegetables, then toss with 2
tablespoons of olive oil, teaspoon of salt, pinch of pepper (most of
the oil and salt will end up in the grill). Grill vegetables for a
couple minutes on each side. Remove from grill and give them a rough
chop. Then drizzle the balsamic glaze over top.
In the Kitchen
Matt DeGrandis doesn’t have a worry in the world. Or at least that’s what he’ll make you think.
a shrug of his shoulders, the overly relaxed chef and owner of catering
company Feed Me! LLC casually discusses his tribulations in the
kitchen. Such as the time he arrived at work the day before a catering
event to find his refrigerator broken and all the food ruined.
was a crazy day,” he recalls, "but I had to get the job done.” He made
a quick call to his insurance company, and a new shipment of food was
on its way. He carried off the event without a hitch, and then was on
to the next project.
Since starting the Lakewood-based catering
company in 2005, DeGrandis has learned his job is all about adapting to
the elements. Fresh out of the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of
Chicago, the Westlake native moved back to Cleveland to start his
company, and founded it on the concept of take-and-bake, healthful
"I knew I had to open on the West Side in order to
utilize my family, friends and contacts to allow the business to spread
by word of mouth,” he says. With a location in mind, next came his
hook. With the overwhelming popularity of the Atkins and South Beach
diets at the time, DeGrandis wanted to throw his own health trend into
the mix. His concept was an online delivery service that would bring
chef-prepared meals to customers’ doorsteps. He offered two options,
savory or healthy, labeled with nutrition information, expiration dates
and heating instructions.
"The concept of portion control was
really the selling point,” he says. "That, and we did all the leg work.
All the customer had to do was order.”
But the notion never
took off. "People told me it was a great idea,” DeGrandis recalls. "But
the problem was I wasn’t getting enough orders.”
friend, a local pharmaceutical sales rep, asked him to cater a lunch
for a group of doctors, DeGrandis knew it was time to adapt once again
and change his focus. "After that first sale, I knew that I needed to
revamp my business model. I already had a kitchen, another chef and
delivery drivers,” he says. Within two days he had overhauled the
company concept from business-to-consumer to business-to-business
Since then he says Feed Me! has grown six-fold.
DeGrandis and former Chicago classmate Larry Chiccola have also
developed a similar concept for the East Side of town, Chagrin Valley
Cuisine, which offers personal and corporate catering.
the kitchen, DeGrandis confesses his life is pretty average. He spends
most of his time with his wife, Sarah, and their sons, 1-year-old
Connor and 3-month-old Jake. And like any other foodie, he’s obsessed
with the Food Network — an addiction he credits with inspiring him to
go to culinary school after college.
Feed Me! Sub Shop Will Make You Famous!
Me!, a catering company since 2006 announces the introduction of its
newest venture Feed Me! Subs!, located in Lakewood at 13611 Detroit
Ave. The locally owned and operated Sub Shop pays homage to our beloved
city. Their signature subs are named after Cleveland celebrities. You
can order gourmet with a Drew Carey-Grilled Chicken, Provolone, Lettuce, Carmelized Onions, Roasted Red Peppers and Pesto Mayo. -Sliced Ham, Swiss Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato and Mustard Sauce. All Subs are offered on a Sub Roll, Ciabatta Sub or Wrap.
are also given the opportunity to create their own sub and name it, or
as Feed Me! calls it, "Be The Sub”. Create your own sub and name it.
Feed Me! will save your customized named sub in the their computer for
your future orders. Be sure to add hand-cut fries with your order and
don't forget the fry sauce.
"I am very excited about the addition of the Sub Shop to Feed Me!” says owner Matt DeGrandis. "For four years we have
been mostly corporate and pharmaceutical rep caterers delivering
throughout greater Cleveland. We now have a chance to connect with our