Guest Bite: Butternut Squash Soup from Parke5


Today’s delicious recipe comes from Chef Ryan Parkes of Parke5 Personal Chef Services.  Parkes grew up in a small town called Wanaque in Northern New Jersey.  He graduated from the French Culinary Institute in New York City and has had a fascinating career working with some of the best chefs in our area.  He now resides in Bergen County and all the services that he provides whether it be  personal dinner packages, dinner parties or cooking lessons,  is prepared and served in the client’s kitchen. For more on Chef Parkes check out his bio below.


3 Butternut Squash 1 inch cubes

4 shallots minced

4 cloves of garlic minced

2 celery chopped

1 carrot chopped

48 oz chicken broth, homemade would be ideal

pinch of cayenne

1 sprig of thyme

2 bay leaf

salt and pepper

1/2 cup of heavy cream is optional


Sweat onions and garlic in vegetable oil over medium heat in soup pot. Add squash, celery and carrots. Cook for about five minutes then add the broth, cayenne, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a gentle simmer and cover. Cook until butternut squash is fork tender. Ladle small batches to a blender and puree. Be careful when blending hot soup. Add salt and pepper to taste.

RyanChef Ryan Parkes:

Growing up, we were fortunate enough to sit down every night to a home-cooked meal which my mother prepared with love for the five{5} of us!  Every night, during the week, it was an unspoken tradition to sit down at the table,  enjoy the company of family, the food my mother had just cooked and share conversation.

While I was attending college, working toward my business degree, I remember receiving a phone call from my brother, saying the two of us should open a restaurant one day as we both shared a love of cooking.  To say the least, I never finished that semester of school and enrolled at the French Culinary Institute in New York City.

While waiting for school to start, I took my first restaurant position as a line cook under the guidance of Chef Annie O’Hare at the Lenox Room in New York City.  That was my first glimpse behind the scenes of a restaurant kitchen.

Upon graduation, I went to Martha’s Vineyard for the summer and worked at the island’s favorite Homeport Seafood Restaurant.  After returning to the mainland that fall, I joined the opening team at Copeland, a fine dining American cuisine restaurant in Morristown, NJ.  Chef Thomas Ciszak and Chef Holger Strutt were my mentors, teaching me the art of cooking and the skills needed to do so.  I worked the raw bar, garde manger, fish and meat stations learning every aspect of each from my mentors.  After a much grateful stay at Copeland, I longed to work in New York City again and found a job working with “Iron Chef” Morimoto at his Japanese sushi restaurant in Chelsea Market.  There I picked up Japanese flavors and techniques along with the simplicity of cooking fresh food.  The next stop for me was Gramercy Tavern in New York, the “Most Popular Restaurant” in the city, according to Zagat.  The menu was driven from farm raised cattle and produce and showed me  the importance freshness.  All the ingredients came from the Union Square Market and local farmers.

These experiences taught me something I could never learn in a book and fuel my passion of cooking.  I am very fortunate to have found my passion and I love what I do.

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