It all started a few years ago for Brandon Bonfiglio. He was living with 3 other guys in a small apartment and their pantry was like the food section at the 99 cent store which included Ramen noodles, ketchup, hot dogs and Easy Mac.
Sick of eating the same meal over and over again and the excess Easy Mac and Ramen weight he had put on, he soon realized that not only was it easy to cook a decent meal, it was healthier and wouldn’t break his pockets.
Brandon started experimenting with his bro-mates and the next thing you know, he had a pretty solid arsenal of recipes, techniques and real-world experience that would help him create The Bachelor Chefs or, as he like to call it, his social service for the betterment and education of the human race… or something. Dudes (and Dudettes) of America – prepare to feast!
What sets you apart from other culinary professionals?
Here’s the deal. This isn’t new. This isn’t rocket science. Everyone wants fast, healthy meals that are easy to cook and take no time at all. What I do that is different is, well, I’m a dude. A bachelor through and through. I don’t have a fancy kitchen, I’m never going to use parsley in a recipe, and I have a set of pots and pans from the clearance rack at Marshall’s.
The recipes I make are made by and for the non-cook: the guy (or girl) with 5 things in her fridge, 10 minutes to spare and no first-hand knowledge of “how to mince” . That being said – this demographic isn’t stupid! All the time, I see publications treating these people like neanderthals. “A + canned B = Meal”. Come on, quit insulting us. It’s time that we had someone show us HOW instead of pretending like we haven’t even discovered fire yet. We HAVE discovered fire, right?
Please explain your area(s) of expertise in the kitchen? How did you develop this passion?
I can break this down into 3 groups: simple recipes, easy cleanup, and health. Being an un(officially)-trained cook, I have always hated trying to make my way through a 1-page long recipe that has no paragraph breaks, no structure, and too many SAT vocab words for me to keep count of. It takes me 30 seconds just to find out where I left off!
I try to keep my recipes simple, easy to read, and well photographed – so that anyone can compare their work to mine and make sure they’re on the right track. Next, I always cook with the mindset of “how can I make this with less”. I try to compact things so that I only get a few kitchen items dirty. You spend less time cleaning and more time eating. Cleanup is the WORST!
Lastly, I picture The Bachelor Chefs as being a vitamin wrapped in a treat. It’s like when you give a dog a pill, you wrap it in something delicious so they never even know that they took it. Same goes for my meals. I always opt for the healthier method of cooking and the recipes never suffer. Dudes, you’re welcome.
If you had to compare yourself to a dish, with both ingredients and presentation considered, what dish would you be? Why?
Easy. A hamburger. Simple and familiar at the basic level yet able to suit any occasion – from backyard BBQ’s to gourmet kitchens, it always makes sense. Endlessly augmented with millions of combinations of toppings, meats/tofu, preparations, and sides, the hamburger can fit ANYONE’S palate and is always a welcome sight. That’s what I’d be. An American staple.
With the holidays approaching, what is your favorite “traditional” dish? How would you add your touch to make it unique so that it represents your style?
Stuffing! There are so many different ways to make it, but if it were up to me – I’d make it inside of the turkey (yeah, yeah, I know you have to be careful with that), then, after it was done, I’d make sure to add some turkey pieces to it. The meatier the better, right? Plus – theres no easier cleanup than cooking it IN something EDIBLE! Win, win!
What is your advice to males who stay clear of the kitchen to get them comfortable with the proper handling of pots and pans?
My biggest advice to all my dudes is DON’T BE AFRAID TO SCREW UP! I’ve messed up recipes a MILLION times and 90% of the time, it’s still edible. Plus, we all live 5 minutes from a fast food chain – nobody is going to starve. I think the biggest part of guys not cooking is the journey into the unknown. Fact is – cooking can be pretty damn easy – especially when someone puts it into terms that you’d understand. Start simple, gain confidence, work your way up to tougher recipes. Rome wasn’t chopped in a day, dudes.
Where do you see yourself and business in the next five years? How do you plan to attain that goal?
Ideally, within the next 5 years, this company will be responsible for a book, a show, merchandising sold nation-wide, and a whole lot of happier, healthier people out there. As for me, I’ll be free to concentrate on the creative and constantly be pumping out new ideas for future projects. My method is simple – word of mouth and persistence. With a good enough idea and the right decisions, anything is possible. Even cooking.
To get a few Man Made Dude Food recipes, click here