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The Role of Executive chef at Gourmet


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11 replies to this topic

#1 FoodMan

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 11:39 AM

Let me tell you something you probably didn't realize. I have nothing to do with editorial. I have been part of the advertising team since 1987.


Hello Sara-
Thanks for joining us in this discussion!

Your comments above are certainly new to me. Would you elaborate a little bit about your role? Can you describe a day of work for you at Gourmet?

E. Nassar
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contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com


#2 Sara Moulton

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 04:40 PM

Every day at Gourmet is different for me which is why I love the job so much. I started the job as the chef of the executive dining room which meant that 3 or 4 times a week I cooked a meal out of the pages of the magazine for clients, aka advertisers. I would, "make the magazine come alive" I would make 2 hor d'oeuvres, a first course, a main course with sides and a dessert. We would serve beautiful wines (= ply the poor unsuspecting clients with alcohol, not really) and then hit them up for the big advertising dollars.
If my job was still just that I probably would have moved on. Now I develop and test recipes for clients, teach cooking classes, consult, do cooking demos and much more. Sometimes I get to travel and stay in very deluxe places. Now I have a sous chef who is fabulous and does most of the prep and work in the kitchen. Cooking lunch is still a highlight. We are forced to make new recipes every day because we have to represent the current issue. It keeps me out of the culinary doldrums. The really good news is that because there is no food cost and no surprises (every meal is planned way ahead), I am making the best food of my career.
Sara Moulton

#3 MarketStEl

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 09:02 AM

Could you comment on this recipe that was posted on Epicurious.com from a 2001 issue of Gourmet?

Would you have any suggestions to improve this dish?
Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia
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#4 Sara Moulton

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 01:45 PM

Could you comment on this recipe that was posted on Epicurious.com from a 2001 issue of Gourmet?

Would you have any suggestions to improve this dish?

View Post



Did you attach a recipe? I didn't see it (of course I am sort of slow at all this internet stuff...)
Sara Moulton

#5 Megan Blocker

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 01:52 PM

Could you comment on this recipe that was posted on Epicurious.com from a 2001 issue of Gourmet?

Would you have any suggestions to improve this dish?

View Post



Did you attach a recipe? I didn't see it (of course I am sort of slow at all this internet stuff...)

View Post

Sara, let me first say - thanks for joining us!

To find the recipe Sandy refers to, just click on the words "this recipe that was posted on Epicurious.com." He's made them into a link to the recipe... :smile:
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#6 Sara Moulton

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 06:37 PM

Could you comment on this recipe that was posted on Epicurious.com from a 2001 issue of Gourmet?

Would you have any suggestions to improve this dish?

View Post



Wow, I am sort of speechless. I am not saying we don't all need to know these kind to things but is this a recipe? I have never seen anything like this on Epicurious before and believe me I go there all the time..
Sara Moulton

#7 Susan in FL

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 06:50 PM

That post has been going for years. It amazes me that they have kept it going for so long... and people keep posting joking comments! I have traced it back to 2001, and there continue to be current posts! It may go back earlier than that. I guess it's infamous. I've been taking a look at it every now and then for a couple of years. What a hoot.
Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

#8 Jmahl

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 06:54 PM

Sara:

Is there any thought to start to use weights when publishing recipes at Gourmet?

OH, and what do they mean by "salting."

Love your show.

Jmahl

Edited by Jmahl, 24 January 2006 - 06:57 PM.

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#9 S_tran

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 07:07 PM

That has been going for years!  It amazes me that they have kept it going for so long... and people keep posting joking comments!  I have traced it back to 2001, and there continue to be current posts!  It may go back earlier than that.  I guess it's infamous.  I've been taking a look at it every now and then for a couple of years.  What a hoot.

View Post


Hi Sara i was wondering, this may not directly be about your job at gourmet, but as a culinary student just starting out, one who has the passion, the drive and the skill what kind of advice would you give to me in search for a job. I am competent in my abilities but it is hard to find someone who will gove you the opportunity. i'm doing the stages and doing the grunt work but what sets one person apart from another besides experience? I've worked in a few frestaurants but it's time for me to step into restaurants that challenge, inspire and excite me. Your advice is greatly appreciated

#10 MarketStEl

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 09:35 PM

That post has been going for years.  It amazes me that they have kept it going for so long... and people keep posting joking comments!  I have traced it back to 2001, and there continue to be current posts!  It may go back earlier than that.  I guess it's infamous.  I've been taking a look at it every now and then for a couple of years.  What a hoot.

View Post


The running comments are sort of a touchstone for satire of whatever sort of chi-chi "foodie" trend may be sweeping the country as well as variants on a more sarcastic or tongue-in-cheek form of Sara's own response.

Take the latest one, posted on January 18:

can I reuse the salt if I tie it up in a cheesecloth bag, or will it eventually wear out?


Of course, Gourmet having gotten more serious about good food for its own sake rather than as status symbol over the past decade or so, this "recipe" and running commentary are less of a swipe at the magazine from which it was lifted than it might have once been. (My guess is that the "recipe" is probably a sentence isolated from a longer article of basic cooking tips.)
Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia
"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen
My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

#11 snowangel

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 10:28 PM

Sara, back to your role as Executive Chef. When you do a lunch or a demo, have you personally tasted these dishes first? How do you compose the menu? Who does the planning? Who procures the ingredients? Do you have themes to the menus?
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#12 Sara Moulton

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 07:46 AM

Sara, back to your role as Executive Chef.  When you do a  lunch or a demo, have you personally tasted these dishes first?  How do you compose the menu?  Who does the planning?  Who procures the ingredients?  Do you have themes to the menus?

View Post



My sous chef, Jenn Webb does most of the hard work. She plans the menus based on recipes from Gourmet (occasionally we step out and do one of my recipes or some other outside chef's) and then she and Ewa Kryspin, our prep cook and dish washer do most of the prep. We order the groceries from many sources - a local boutique grocery store (where James Beard use to buy his meat) and fish store almost every day, but sometimes we work with Chef's Garden in Ohio which grows the most extraordinary designer vegetables and also with Brown Trading Fish company out of Maine. We also try to visit the farmer's market in Union Square whenever we can. And occasionally we go down to Chinatown or to stores in Little India on Lexington Avenue in the 20's.
We taste everything, over and over. There is no point spending all that time working on something if you forget to add salt and pepper (or whatever else it needs like an acid pick me up such as lemon juice)
The meals are tailored to the client. We find out what their dietary restrictions are and also what their level of sophistication is. We wouldn't want to serve skate wings to young media planners or a plain old steak to a foodie client.
Sara Moulton