Podcast Four is up and ready to go... Topics include poor service, VIPs, emotions in the kitchen, We also interviewed (more chatted with then interview) Robert Farmer, a local produce purveyor, about the local farming scene here in San Diego and the water shortage...
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
So, you've made the decision to hire someone. Whether you hired them based on an excellent resume, a favor for a friend, or a brand new person with no work experience there will be some training involved. Now, hopefully you've done a thorough job of interviewing this person and have an idea of what you can expect of them. If their resume says line cook, or sous chef it would be reasonable to expect that the only training you have to give them is how thing operate at this restaurant, it is reasonable to expect that they have knife skills, know how to work any part of the line with some level of confidence. However, if the resume is blank, you have your work cut out for you. You have to train yourself to be patient and understand that the kitchen common sense we all operate with is not common to the fng, so explain everything in great detail, and slowly. Tell the new guy what you expect of them, and most importantly make sure they know to have a thick skin. It's not personal its business, kitchen life is face paced, hectic, has a beautiful, stressful rhythm about it, insults fly left and right and if you take them all personally, don't learn from your mistakes or the mistakes of others you will never make it. So be patient, give the new guy tasks and time frames, give him feedback and direction. Because, lets be honest the new guy is going to get sent on wild goose chases for the entertainment of us old time kitchen folk... finding the bucket of steam... asking everyone where the salmon stretcher is, getting sent back with the question of "left handed or right handed" and "how soon do they need it?"... and so on and so on. I'm not saying not to give the fng shit for being new... i'm saying make sure that when you are doing actual training that there are boundaries, expectations and a specified outcome.... the rest of the time is fair game!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Well the podcast is finished and ready to publish... unfortunately I am having major problem with the site and unable to publish it at this time. I have a trouble call (e-mail) in and hopefully I will be able to publish it sometime tomorrow... The picture has nothing to do with the podcast or any thing in particular... I just happen to like it. It is one that Rupert took at work...
Monday, March 16, 2009
Whatever field you are in; art, science, media, legal, real estate...; you need to figure out what your personal goals are and how you are going to achieve them. I don't mean a detailed, step by step plan of how you are going to achieve your goals (although that couldn't hurt i suppose) but rather a personal philosophy or set of standards. Figure out where you currently stand in your career, what things you would do different now if given the chance? (and why), what areas need improving? (knife skills?, people skills?,....) how do you want to be viewed by your colleagues, customers, yourself? where are you willing to compromise? Are you willing to compromise (your standards)?... Write out a personal mission statement, list your goals, standards, beliefs as they pertain to your profession.... be aware that you are constantly changing, receiving new information and leave room to change and grow, but develop a strong sense of the professional you.
During these tough economic times we must be careful how we spend our money and tough choices must be made. I know that here lately I (my wife and I) think twice about going out to eat, as I am sure most everyone does. But when the the decision has been made where do you go... Local chef/owner place or a big ole' chain? Well the choice for me and EASY... the local chef/owner place. I almost never go to a chain restaurant, never have and definitely not now. Why? Well I want to spend my money where I know the people. There are only a few places that I go when I go out and I know the owners/chefs and most of their staff. I know how they operate and their food philosophy and want to support what are trying to do. And the food is ALWAYS better.
If I am going to spend money I want to know that is going to be spent on something truly great. I mean isn't that what its all about... the food and then how you are treated while there. I know for me it is. Chains just cannot compare. Don't get me wrong there are a few (very few) chains that do some of the things right. But why take a chance? Go to where you know you will have a good experience and the food will be amazing. After all money does not grow on trees and if you are going to spend it, spend it wisely.
So get out there and do your research and get to know the owners and the chef's of the local places and spend your money where you will feel good about it and not regret the decision afterwards.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Barding: tying fat over meats or poultry to protect and moisten during roasting.
Typically this technique is used on lean meats/poultry that have tendencies to dry out during the cooking process (and bacon is not the only option), however it is a great technique to use on pretty much any cut... or for that matter product... last night I took my mothers meatloaf recipe and made it completely un-kosher (sorry mom, but bacon makes it better!)... the result, a super-moist, smokey slice of heaven!
Let me just say that having a garden is a butt load of work. It truly makes you appreciate what Farmers and most notably Organic Farmers do. First there is getting the soil and plot ready and then there is the planting and starting of plants. All very labor intensive work. You have to water it everyday and do weed abatement by hand (no chemicals allowed). It is truly back breaking work I tell you and keep this in mind my little garden is only 10'x12'. I cannot even begin to comprehend the work that goes into a organic farm that produces enough stuff to sell to a) a farmer's market b) restaurants or both. There is a shit ton of planning and organization involved I am sure. Hell my little garden spot took about a week of planning and figuring out what to grow and when to plant. And then there is trying to figure out which are good bugs and bad bugs and what bugs eat what bugs... man-o-man. Maybe it is just easier for me to go to the farmer market and get what I want but then who said that life is suppose to be easy..
I like working in my garden (it is somewhat therapeutic) and got super excited when my Mesclun (gourmet green mixture) started poking through the soil. (soil is what you pant and grow stuff in, dirt is what gets under your finger nails) It fills you with a sense of accomplishment . I can only guess as to how I will feel when I start picking the produce and actually eating what I have grown.
So to all you farmers out there I raise a toast to you and all that you do... remember without farmers there would not be any food.
So get out there and plant a garden so you can eat fresh local produce and if you can't do that then support your local farmers and Farmer's Market.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
i found this article today regarding the production of foie gras in america.
it provides a great deal of insight into what many activists (read: maniacal terrorists) claim to be extremely inhumane.
more on this from me, later...
Youve seen it all over the news, read about it in the paper, the internet, heard about it on radio talk shows: foie gras = cruelty. Ducks/geese are held in industrial cages, not free to roam and are plagued by disease, wallowing in their own filth. The force-feeding, or gavage (a process wherein a large tube is shoved down the ducks throat and a small amount or corn/grain based feed is milled through), causes the animals great discomfort and tears their esophagus. It causes immense stress on the beaks causing them to break, the ducks and geese become so engorged that they can no longer stand or walk, vomiting all over themselves. Their diseased bodies give out on them and they die.
Yes, that does sound cruel. And hell, if it happened on every foie farm I might join the fight as well. The fact of the matter is, there are plenty of farms that do not practice their husbandry this way. There have even been veterinarians who have visited Hudson Valley and Sonoma Farms (one of which even wrote a letter to the CA senate regarding the ban on foie gras and her visit to Sonoma) and have found nothing inhumane about them. The owners of the farms even welcome chefs and reporters to come and take pictures UNANNOUNCED!!! If there was something to hide, I think that they would be the biggest fools of all to be opening themselves up like that.
Don’t mince my words, now, as there are plenty of farms that are treating their animals extremely cruelly: These are the farms that need to be dealt with. There should be a radical adjustment to the way that these farms do business. This is where people should be protesting and government stepping in, not ruining it for those who are doing it right.
Animal rights extremists terrorizing restaurants and their patrons, chefs and their families (forcing some of them to go into hiding because of threats that have been made on their lives). I think that these people are the people who should be fought against. These are the people against whom war needs to be waged. Its funny to me the stereotypes of the two classes: the weak, pallid vegetarians and the strong, burly carnivores. Funny because those that some perceive to be almost immobile due to malnutrition are the ones who are out fighting and creating chaos for those who are doing nothing more than providing a service for people to enjoy something delicious.
I have never once heard of a meat-eater video taping people in their homes and threatening their families, or throwing buckets of rotten vegetation through the windows of raw bars or vegetarian friendly restaurants. So why is the opposite true? I saw another post on the site of the SF based restaurant Incanto, where they were recently told that they had to take the foie gras off of their menu. The response is half plea, and half come-and-get-us. A very well-informed letter that, at once, takes a calm, eloquent, and fired-up approach to those out there who would rather make people suffer for something that they think is right.
As for me, until I hear word of Goventator Swarzenweizenheimer lifting the upcoming ban, I am going to be buying the shit out of that stuff...
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
This is who we are:
a group of chefs with ideas and ruminations on food and all things related.
This is what we do:
get together at least once a week to discuss various projects that we are each working on in our respective kitchens/ideas about food in general, musings on current food trends, and un-ironically embrace the celebration of PBR Tuesdays (if we have to explain, you wouldn't understand!).
This is why we do:
we used to work together, but no longer do. in an effort to keep in touch with one another and to facilitate a more intellectual forum apart from our kitchens (because lets face it–dick jokes are good, but you can't survive on dick alone...) we decided that we would start this up so we can share with each other more than once a week and hopefully add some insight for anybody else who is interested in this profession.