There's a chef in the house

2012-11-28T00:00:00Z 2013-12-03T10:41:07Z There's a chef in the houseEloise Marie Valadez, (219) 933-3365

Joe Arvin fed the latest cast of CBS' "Big Brother" well.

Arvin, of Schererville, was one of the house guests on "Big Brother," a reality game show, which recently ended its 14th season. Contestants vied for $500,000 while doing tasks, playing games and trying to kick one another out of the house to remain the last one standing. Arvin was voted out of the house in October while 21-year-old Ian Terry was ultimately voted the winner of the series.

While competing for the winning prize of $500,000, Arvin shared his "MadLove" cooking style and recipes with fellow housemates.

Now, Arvin's first cookbook, filled with dishes from not only the "Big Brother" house but some of his all-time favorites, is being released today. The chef said he's excited to share his passion for cooking in the new book.

'MadLove Cooking with Chef Joe Arvin" features chapters titled Joe's House Recipes; Slop? Mmm Mm Good!; House Guest Recipes; and Joe's All-Time Top 5.

'I knew I was going to do a cookbook," Arvin said. "Obviously because of 'Big Brother' this book is everything that I made in the house."

Arvin was previously the chef/co-owner of Smashmouth in Schererville. Due to a "falling out" with his partner on the project, he's no longer associated with the eatery and they've both decided to move on, he said.

Prior to entering "Big Brother" territory, Arvin also started a "Mad Love Cooking" Internet show where he demonstrated a variety of his own recipes and showcased his passionate and driven style with food.

Arvin's cookbook, featuring photography by his wife Sarah, was designed by Anchor House of Design, a local company of graphic artists.

Through Arvin's years of being a chef, he said his culinary mission always revolved around the idea to "Inspire...Dream...Cook."

When Arvin signed on to be on "Big Brother," he said he was deliberately picked to be the cook.

"There were people from all walks of life in the house. They wanted me to be the house chef," he said. adding he's sure he raised the bar when it came to the food being served on the show.

"I made every meal in that house and they liked my food," he said. Arvin cooked in just a normal kitchen and had no fancy equipment.

"It wasn't state-of-the-art," he said.

Arvin said he made sure his fellow house guests ate like kings, even when they were ordered to eat the official "slop" given to punish guests who were deemed the Have Nots . The chef said though the ingredients making up slop are a secret, he explained it's a type of oats mix. In Arvin's book, he shares a whole chapter on his renditions of slop.

The way Arvin dressed up the slop, using only approved condiments, house guests didn't really have such a disdain for it.

Among slop recipes in the book are Slop Hamburgers, Slop Meatballs, Slop Banana Nut Bread and more.

Cooking in the house, he said, definitely stretched his creativity.

"It challenged my mind," he said.

Arvin's wife Sarah said Joe's at his best when he must get creative.

"You can give him anything and he can make something great," she said.

Other recipes starring in "MadLove Cooking" are The Almighty Turkey Burger, which he called a house guest favorite;  Southern Sweet Tea Fried Chicken; Joe's Smashed Potatoes; MadLove 1-Step Salsa; The Mist Oatmeal Cookies; Snickers Cookies; Kentucky Sweet Tea; Dead-on-the-Money Cheese Biscuits and more.

Arvin said he's gotten so much joy from the art of cooking throughout his life and he's dedicated to trying to instill that passion in others.

"I'm versed in teaching and I want to always give back because of what I learned,"he said.

The chef, who grew up in Lexington, Ky., attended culinary school at Baltimore International Culinary College. His cooking style revolves around blending Southern, Italian and Mediterranean flavors.

"Cooking invigorates me," Arvin said. "It's just a way of life for me and it's always come natural. It's something that I love." For more information on the book or to order it, visit

The following is a recipe from the book.

The Almighty Turkey Burger

20 ounces ground turkey, 97 percent fat-free

1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 egg

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

2 dashed hot sauce

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon mustard

DIRECTIONS: Mix with hands until all ingredients are combined well. Bake in oven for 14 minutes at 450 degrees. Then pan fry patties with 1 tablespoon of butter for about 5 minutes on each side. Garnish and serve on a soft white bun. Optional toppings include tomato, applewood bacon, avocado and turkey bacon.

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