Unsung cooks in area restaurant kitchens ensure a high quality dining experience

A Special Advertising Feature of the Alexandria Times

Alexandria is home to a few chefs that have achieved dining fame, but this city also has many cooks serving delicious fare day in and day out without name recognition. Seven days a week, diners enjoy the fare offered at places like Extra Perks Coffee Shop and Cafe on North Fairfax Street and at Yves Bistro off Eisenhower Avenue in the Hoffman Town Center.

The Extra Perks Coffee Shop and Cafe’s cuisine has been gratifying customers since it opened in 2000. It is little wonder the place has rave reviews because the food is excellent. The cooks at Extra Perks are personally trained by the restaurant’s owners, Kem and Phil McCombie. Head cook Abel L. Jiquan has been with Extra Perks since 2009.

The McCombies’ menu has a substantial British influence thanks to Phil, who hails from Britain. McCombie’s mother trained Kem and Phil to prepare such popular favorites as the beef casserole with stout, fish and chips, bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, beef hash, a variety of flavorful quiches and more.

Together the McCombies have a multitude of years in the restaurant business, and some of their knowledge was achieved by hard work behind the scenes tweaking recipes, cooking, serving and based on customer feedback.

The proof of their successful cooking ventures and training can be found in the delicious food. Customers rave about the pancakes and the French toast. With French toast, Extra Perks manages to make the bread crispy on the outside and soft but not gooey inside — a tough challenge. The cook’s favorite creation to make and eat is the steak, cheese and grilled portobello mushroom sandwich on ciabatta bread. One bite and diners will know why the cooks are proud of this menu item as well as why this is a “must try” sandwich at Extra Perks.

Visit Extra Perks Coffee Shop and Cafe to discover why locals love this cozy, inviting spot where the food that comes from the welltrained cooks in the Extra Perks’ kitchen is delectable, attractively presented and anything but humble.

Across Old Town is the much loved Yves Bistro, in the Hoffman Town Center off Eisenhower Avenue. The late Yves Courbois’ passion was for offering delicious French bistro fare at good prices. For decades he oversaw every aspect of Au Pied Du Cochon in Georgetown — from the menu creation to the food preparation and service — and then founded Yves Bistro.

At his Alexandria eatery, Courbois helped develop and perfect each menu item and the special offerings. He and his manager, Oyuna Badan, focus on giving patrons a quality experience.

Courbois, and Badan hired and worked with the cooks to ensure terrific execution of any item on the menu. She continues to serve in that role. As such, the particular chefs or cook is not the focus, but rather Badan’s oversight and desire to strive for perfection.

At Yves Bistro, the regulars and staff alike were greatly saddened by Yves’ passing, but his spirit and recipes live on in the menu and French experience at Yves Bistro. His favorite menu items were cioppino, which is fish stew, and curry lamb stew and the Yves Bistro customers love these dishes as well. Go experience Yves Bistro and enjoy a taste of France.

For moreFor more information, visit www.yvesbistronova.com or www.extraperkscoffeeshopandcafe.com.

A Special Advertising Feature of the Alexandria Times