Something's sizzling in chef Joe Arvin's kitchen.
Arvin, of Schererville, known for his appearance on the 14th season of "Big Brother,"the popular CBS reality show, is cooking up a new culinary concept as part of his MadLove Cooking philosophy.
He recently unveiled new menu items, which will be part of the concept, during a special tasting in November at Nana Clare's Kitchen in Valparaiso. Nana Clare's is a commercial style kitchen with all necessary appliances and cookware, which can be rented by professional and non-professional chefs. The business is owned by Northwest Indiana residents Gina Zieniewicz, her sisters and a cousin.
While Arvin presented a preview of his menu at Nana Clare's, he said he's also using the kitchen for tapings of his online MadLove Cooking show, filmed every two weeks.
The chef said he looks forward to developing more items for his menu and expanding the culinary concept.
"With this preview, I just wanted to give a taste of what the menu will be like," he said. MadLove Cooking will be a restaurant concept with a menu and philosophy created by Arvin. The restaurant, he said, will offer franchise opportunities and feature decor and an interior by Anchor House of Design.
"I'm also developing some ideas for a show with a New York production company called Loud TV," Arvin said. That show, which has a premise and title that's still under wraps, is scheduled to debut sometime next year along with Arvin's cooking franchise.
On the menu for Arvin's special tasting last month were items such as Guacamole Deviled Eggs with Smoked Paprika, Hot Pan Sizzled Gorgonzola Croutons with Baby Bibb Lettuce and Cilantro Cream Dressing, Sticky Thai Peanut Soy Gulf Shrimp, Grass Fed Skirt Steak Pounded Thin with Espresso and Cumin on Wasabi Cream Toast Points, Vanilla Bean Cream Brulee with Belgium Chocolate Ganache and other recipes.
The chef said working in a kitchen such as Nana Clare's offers a lot of freedom.
"You don't have to worry about anything. It's not like a kitchen you own but one you rent by the hour," Arvin said, adding he was able to concentrate on the food. "It allows you to be a creative thinker."
Arvin's philosophy on MadLove Cooking revolves greatly around passion for the culinary art.
His passion for everything culinary, he said, can be "perceived as mad but it's really love," indicating he's dedicated to delivering the best quality ingredients in extremely creative ways.
"People can look at it and say 'He really cares about it.' It starts with food and ends with family," he said, about the MadLove concept.
Explaining the food that's part of the concept, Arvin said "At its heart is comfort food that's been brought into the 21st century." He uses a great deal of herbs, spices and diverse ingredients to create the cuisine. "I'm also taking classic French cuisine and American comfort food and adding a Southern edge to it."
The chef, who grew up in Lexington, Ky., attended culinary school at Baltimore International Culinary College. Through Arvin's years of being a chef, he said his culinary mission always revolved around the idea to "Inspire...Dream...Cook."
Arvin said his "Big Brother" experience was a positive one.
"Immediately after getting off "Big Brother," I learned I was exposed to millions of people. And it's mass exposure," he said, adding you can't really pay for that immense exposure.
Arvin said he's still part of the "Big Brother" family and often makes appearances with other cast members for various charities.
"We do a charity a month and it's a chance to give back," he said. A Toys for Tots event in New Hampshire is on the calendar for this month.
In addition to his "Big Brother" appearances and his MadLove Cooking venture, Arvin is also the corporate chef and brand ambassador for Blodgett, an oven manufacturer.
"We have an 18-wheel truck with a picture of my face on it," he said, laughing.
To learn more about chef Arvin's MadLove Cooking concept, get recipes and check his appearance schedule, visit MadLoveCooking.tv.