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  1. I was lucky enough to assist Chef Glacier for a class he taught while I was interning. I got a great deal out of the class even though I was not an actual participant, and found the Chef was terrific about answering my questions, and those of the students in the class. This particular class was on sugar work, but he went into discussions on other aspects of pastry work - confectionary, entremets, etc - and I found his suggestions useful enough that I bought one of his books. My question for you is this - if the five day classes are like they were when I went to the forum, they will take up much of your time there. Are there many other demos during the forum that you would like to see? Or are you willing to mostly focus on the class? Because if you are, I would say go for it - I can say Chef Glacier is great - but if you want to get a little more of everything at the forum, you may want to research a bit more before putting your money down.
  2. FG, I love the tips and have seen many of them work for friends who aren't foodies and have asked me for advice, thinking I know something because I'm in "the biz". However, one question stumped me, and so now I'll turn to you for your advice. All of your suggestions assume one thing - that restaurant and diner are fluent in the same language. How would you modify your tips to include that Vietnamese place downtown you're curious about, or traveling to places where you aren't fluent in the language?
  3. While there have been no y'alls yet from this Yankee, I did find myself making Moon Pies from scratch last week, so who knows what the future holds. I went back through this thread and had to laugh at places I thought I had "found" but had been recommended all along. I did manage to get to RiceSticks before it closed, and the folks at Rasa Sayang learned my address pretty quickly. We hit Swallow at the Hollow for my birthday, and a foie gras terrine from Joel Antunes showed up at dinner at a friend's house. Bobby G's is a satisfying Chicago fix even if I prefer to call a combo a combo rather than giving it a street name, heh. Yes, we've found gyros - as well as fabulous Mexican food, Korean food, pho, burgers, pizza, sushi, etc etc etc... All and all I think the biggest surprise is the depth of available cuisine, even out here in the burbs. Note to visitors: there's some good food in Hotlanta, and more than just barbecue! But I haven't figured out who has the best fried chicken yet. Have to keep checking.
  4. I transported a croquenbouche , sugar roses, pastillage and all, for my dad's wedding last year, so you definitely have my empathies. We went by train and hauled everything with us, rather than ship, but I think the "don't unpack the box" version of shipping is the best idea if you do ship. A few more points to add to some of the good advice already stated: 1. Bring some treat for the chef/staff there who are responsible for taking care of things when you aren't there. I loaded myself down with chocolate candies and passed them out liberally, which made the kitchen staff much more welcoming when I needed to use a microwave while they had four weddings to prep for. 2. Confirm when you will be able to get into the kitchen for your assembly, how long you'll be able to be there, and if there is an alternate location you can work if something goes awry. After all the arrangements had been made, one wedding decided to go a few hours overtime, and I ended up with just an hour to work before the ceremony, and that was in one of the conference rooms. I had arrived two days before the wedding. Talk to the kitchen if you can. 3. You probably have this covered, but I'll say it anyway. Bring extra of everything you can. When it's all said and done, it feels pretty good- even if the bride and groom have no idea how much work it really is - so good luck, and enjoy the reception!
  5. Saddest part of all of this to me is that the first time I tried Foie Gras was at Charlie Trotter's. If McDonald's can get sued for making people fat, can I sue Trotter's for making me like foie?
  6. Hello Sweetside! I'm going to add in a few more cents here, precisely because I am new at this, too. I did school, did a six month internship, and then started my first job six months ago - number two of two people in a high quality, European style bakery with light lunches done by one other employee, who is also our dishwasher - total number in the shop is five, including the owner. Two people is possible. I do work 40 hours, sometimes less sometimes more, but mostly stick to 40 because the owner isn't big on paying overtime . However, more often than not the hours are stretched over seven days rather than five. My Chef works significantly more than 40 hours, but we do some wholesale work, which ensures that we can afford to do the little special things we love to do in the shop, but also adds to our workload considerably. The thing that surprised me the most, coming in to this, was how much time the details take. I do all the scaling for both of us, all the glazing of viennoiserie, decorate cakes, stock the shop, and this can take up more than half of my day sometimes. I can scale quickly, and never thought about the time it took until I started really seeing this kind of production. If you decide to go for it, I would suggest you absolutely figure out how many items, of what kind you will be making. That will determine a lot of your workload right off the bat. If you are making breads, and danish, and cookies, and cakes, you better start planning how many varieties, and looking at where you can overlap to save yourself time. Start small, as small as you can, and build from there. Make sure you and the owner are absolutely in agreement as to what your expectations are for the shop - if you need to get 200 petit fours done for an order, the owner needs to know that you won't be able to drop everything and make more cookies for the store. How comfortable are you with suppliers? Adjusting your food costs? Do you have good contacts with other chefs in the area? Is your family comfortable with you working strange, irregular hours? More than anything else, how flexible can you be? No matter how many questions and situations we can come up with, there are hundreds more we can't because they will be unique to your situation. Do you feel you have the resources to come up with the solutions? Do fill us in on what you decide, if for no other reason than I'd love to hear if there's going to be a good bakery around Hartford, and good luck no matter what you decide to do!
  7. So glad I left Chicago before this - and I ate there before I left.
  8. And said comparison will be happening in Atlanta, right?
  9. That's interesting - back when I went in 2003 for my birthday (which is in September) they also had a heirloom tomato feature menu. I wonder if it's a yearly event? Sorry, though, I didn't have it....
  10. johnnyd, been looking forward to this blog since I did mine well over a year ago... as a transplanted New Englander, this one has been worth the wait, but damn I miss those beach plums. Keep it coming, and distract me from Katrina. (:
  11. If there was ever going to be a Zabar's Atlanta, I would totally camp out in Jedi robes in front of the doors until they opened for business. I think in this day and age, when people are looking to open new locations of a food-related chain, the best thing a city can offer is a market that likes branded goods (even it is the store's brand, thinking of TJ's), likes shopping in stores, and of course, has money to spend that isn't being divided with too much competition. That having been said, I wonder if outside perception is that people in Atlanta want to shop at "markets" rather than "stores". Every place I have been recommended since moving here (bless you all!) has been decidedly local. The only exception to that is Harry's/Whole Foods - and notice that they didn't outright change the name to Whole Foods. As someone who just arrived, my general impression of Atlanta's views of its own grocery choices could be summed up with, "The chains suck - go drive around Buford Highway for a while." :) I'm not sure that bodes well for any corproate planners, but then again, I think I like it. Therese's suggestion about Alpharetta may be on target - they certainly like their brand names here and there doesn't seem to be a cash flow issue. That may be the key to getting some of those places into any city - look to the suburbs, Corporate Planners, the suburbs will save you.
  12. Holy Cow Do NOT tell folks in the Heartland forum that the Super H Mart totally out-Mitsawas Mitsawa. They will heartbroken. King Dumplings rule.
  13. Yes, the pickles at Chik-Fil-A are absolutely required. I managed to find the Harry's, woo-hoo! I know where Alpharetta Highway is! And my local friend has promised us a trip to Varsity - he just needs to eat nothing but twigs and berries for a bit to prep for it. :)
  14. Well, despite our housing falling through five days before the movers arrived, my sweetie's back tire shredding on the highway 45 miles away from our apartment, and three days in a car with two cats, I have arrived! Our first official meal: Chik-Fil-A. I lucked out with a commute of less than two miles from our place in Alpharetta, but I made the mistake of doing my first grocery run to Kroger. Which leads to a simple inquiry: Why does a grocery store in Georgia only carry peaches from California? Although down a car and very susceptible to getting lost (no hills in northern Illinois) I'd love to know where I can get some proper groceries close by, if anyone has any suggestions. Not that I can do much with it - furniture hasn't arrived yet and I have two pots, one pan, and no bowls. :) Hooray for moving! :)
  15. Some winners, quickly: Winner of Chocolate Showpiece competition: Vincent Pilon Winner of the Pastry Daredevils: Stephane Treand Winner of the NPTC: Team Lhuillier - Laurent Lhuillier, Jim Mullaney, David Ramirez Pastry Chef of the Year: Donald Wressel
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