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  1. kevin

    Le Select Bistro

    My money is on JKWB, I have eatem at both, and worked at one of them, and I have got to go with JK. ^
  2. I understand. The place certainly aspires but I think many people familiar with the restaurant would say that it certainly lost some cred when Chef Clarmo (spelling?) left to be more of a corporate chef for the group. But I think it is accurate to say that the restaurant itself still presents itself to be a fine dining establishment and certainly the surroundings give it that sort of feel. I enjoy the fact that the group identified the poor reception of mis"Steakfrites" in the public and opted to reposition the restaurant. A good example of why they are the premier restaurant group in the GTO regardless of the faults with the corporate culture of the company.
  3. Vox I want your supplier because my stuff is not working correctly! How do you figure that Auberge du Pommier does not/is not/tries not to be fine dining because if that pretentious place (maybe it is only the staff and there alumni that think it is ) is not fine dining then I might as well retire with the knowledge that I know nothing about food and the dining experience. Sorry for my curtness.
  4. It would seem to me that he is doing it for probably two reasons. One is that the kitchen needs a little work, the place is almost 10 years old. It would be a cooks best anniversary gift. His investors have got to be happy. Contrary to most restaurant investors and non-cook owners the equipment does not last forever, it does not always function as it should and like a car, continual repair costs do add up. The second is that if he is an investor, then he can determine that the investment is necessary. Maybe this is a sign that he is putting show business aside for now, or he has learned to balance his dual identity (Chef / TV GUY) and is ready to take a more active role in the operation. What can the other investors say when the track record is this good. What is this not a good investment. I dont' know, I am probably wrong but it seems plausible.
  5. You can find Szechuan peppercorns anywhere in Chinatown. There are none of the same restrictions on importing them like in the States that currently exists. I can't remember the reason behind this but I remember reading about it on this site and reading about it in one of the SF newspapers.
  6. I would definitely suggest Nickolau for just about any small items. They will special order items if you know what it is that you want and they also have connections to have these small items custom amde, this is obviosly at a premium because you are paying for the initial design and machining but if you have the money they are pretty good at delivering what you need. They know what is in those stacks of catalogues on their shelves so if it already exists they will know. I am not sure whether their level of service is different for civilians, but I do know that they have always been fair, honest and extremely knowledgeable in helping me even when I was a snot-nosed apprentice who knew nothing and walked in there all wide eyed and stupid.
  7. kevin

    The Keg

    Thanks for the input. I am not even sure what Australian food is in many ways. I have researched it, but am wondering, what would constitute an Aussie menu. This is for a media event and VIP cocktail party. Are Macadamain nuts, lamb & sweet potato cornbread, rabbit terrine with water biscuits, and Crayfish (I can't get yabbies in time) Consomme salad rolls seem Australian. I don't know and I am running out of time. HELP, anyone.
  8. kevin

    Canadian Prime

    Strangely enough it is my understanding that the majority of Canadian prime is bought up by the large "steak" houses frequented by our Southern neighbours. As a result of a week dollar, they are better able to pre-purchase lots of cattle ensuring a steady supply, but in terms of not only the consumer but as well the Canadian restaurant operator we are unable to compete. Think as well, Copper River Salmon, once the Japanese discovered it they increased the price beyond what our domestic market couls support. That is certainly what is so special about Canadian Prime being available to the consumer market. There really is very little left for us CDN's, let alone the consumer public. Supply of exceptional beef is difficult enough, I have a hard enough time keeping a supply of dry-aged AAA organic beef in my kitchen, let alone one that has been dry aged for 6 to 8 weeks . I pretty much by all of this cut (as is ther tenderloin, and rib-eye purchased exclusively by restaurants. I also buy the off cuts, shank and heart of beef and the occassional pork belly, pig's head, ears, snouts and whatever innards they are legally allowed to sell me, to be honest I rarely get to sell the really cool stuff heads, kidneys, sweetbreads, testicles and brains. Those of you interested, I will forgo the culinary limitations of the restaurant I operate, of course I can do it in the restaurants ethnicity if requested, the only problem is sourcing the goodies, please request! (PLEASE START NEW THREAD, I WOULD BUT DO NOt KNOW HOW) The real problem is that as long as the likes of Car(K)gILL, "CON"agra and the other corporate food manufacturers are involved in food production to fuel industrial needs, and fast food is an industry then their influence will be felt. Econimies of scale is the name and the consumer is unimportant. (Strangely enough my beef supplier holds out product to sell to freezer customers, can you believe that, they screw me to take care of their loyal long-term customers, what principles how can you not respect it. These corporations have had their influence trickle down to the fine dining world, high turnover, forced employment, restaurant econo-geek [not eco] who knows more about numbers than the spiritual and communal pleasure of food and the personal enrichment and reward of achieving this target. These are the people that seem to prosper, yet there are to many examples of skille BY GOD< WHAT A RANT< EGULLET READERS< I AM SORRY< Too drunk too prood read, too proud to erase (For ill or will) "When the going get weird the weird turn pro" "Why be a fly on the wall, when you can be a fly in the ointment"
  9. kevin


    Eric, the stuff you are refering to is "choo chee / choo chii / chu chii" curry. The spelling is optional as long as the phonetics are accurate.
  10. kevin

    Trends out of TO

    Hurray, once again we are ten to twenty years behind major dining cities. Some places are still trying to get over the Cal-Ital hangover of the 80's. Congradulations you learned your craft at that time, and you made some money owning a place at this time, but by God, evolve or die. It is true in any industry and probably more so in the foodservice industry. If TO could find an iventive chef that could keep his costs in line then maybe a owner will allow Toronto to develop a trend of its own, or get on the band wagon of an emerging trend before it is ten years old and no longer appropriate. As an aside, do you think "molecular gastronomy" would fly in Toronto. It would obviously be prohibitively expensive, but if it were possible do you think TO could deal with / support this trend that has already emerged but is nowhere to be found here in TO, foams and such gimmicks no longer count because like stacked food too many TO chefs/owners/customers did not really understand it beyond its aesthetic appeal. Does TO have the financial support to be involved in these movements to such an extent where we may actually be able to have some one being a part of / innovator to this movement. Is there any one in TO with the vision, backing and culinary skill to make it happen, can the egulleters nominate the person to carry the mantra and lead the way. Without the cook there is no food.
  11. kevin

    Trends out of TO

    The multi-million dollar black hole is not really a trend in dining, except to say that these venues produce food. Can you really call a bad investment a trend. Sounds like a trend that only Toronto could embrace wholeheartedly. That is our next great food service trend that we want to be known for, to expand and multiply like a bad infection, the multi-million dollar over designed, the food is an after thought, the dining experience is an after thought, but isn't that a lovely over-designed over leveraged, can't possibly work sort of investment. Toronto the land of bad investment opportunities because we are chasing some obscure perceived trend that is thought to be the demon seed of the next great culinary Godzilla to rampage through the industry crushing all in its path. Just like are former mayor, spend all your time promoting yourself to be something in appaearnace only and completely lacking in depth and substance. Toronto likes design more so than actual food, Montreal and Vancouver have a food culture and Toronto has a design and "trend" culture that is built on these concepts with non of the foundation to create such a structure. There are exceptions of course, McEwan would never forget about the dining experience in designing something and OB works hard to achieve this ideal, but it is funny how TO has so many "Restraunteurs" that fail to try and create there empires built on the fundamentals that have made these local and many other restaurant groups so successful. Trends are created by people that are aware of the substance of what they have to offer and after researching the feasibility of the offering implement it and stay true to the nature of it. JK with the small plate offerings is the emerging trend. How long before the ownership of Toronto restaurants realize that it is the substance and not the design that spells out the opportunity for success. The design complements and makes possible the direction but it is not the product that is for sale. TO will come around to this in another few years after the rest of the world has embraced it whole- heartedly. Until then we can flog a dead horse like poutine (Brad Long had it on 360's menu 8 years ago, isn't that special) and tell ourselves how cutting edge we are and be impressed with it. (Editor's Note: I am not bitter, but simply bored. Create quality dining experiences and from that we may be able to see trends emerge, but as long as you chase trends the fickle tastes of the public will constantly shift and as usual we will be left behind.)
  12. kevin

    Trends out of TO

    Toronto is a terrible place to see trends evolving because we tend to be somewhat behind the times. "Poutine" trend, sure it is new to Toronto, but as long as Montreal/Quebec are a part of Canada then poutine is a heritage component of Canadiana foodstuffs. Sure the folks in Toronto are clamouring up to try these newly re-found classics but my God if poutine is the best trend this city can wraps its forks around then we really are a geriatric, culinary wasteland that fails to live up to the undeserved moniker of "World-class city" Like the city itself, food and living wise, yes we tend to be neat, orderly and a fairly well kept city but this does not make for world class status. How can we be emerging any trends that haven't been flogged like the proverbial meat eater at the annual PETA BBq, if our ownership tend towards the safe tried and true formulas. "I know what the people want and it is anyone of these formulaic restaurants, the trendoids will love it, the critics will gush and if the people don't flock I will eat that 80's Cal-Ital, 90's Bad fusion you just created to accomodate the flocking masses that cannot wait to come up to the trough and suckle at the teet of unoriginal, been there eaten that slock that the cities owners seem to want. You want to see trends in this city then tell the owners to take the shackles off, can we see a trend created by an unknown. Probably not, the owner would be unwilling to take a risk with an unproven chef, like there hasn't been enough 60% guys with lots of press, that supposedly create the next big thing. Trends that city needs are probably quite simple but not immediately recognizable, more growers like Barretta Farms (Organic Meats) and David Cohlmeyer, fish deliveries more than once a week (I know there are the odd exceptions) and then the guest that can appreciate these excellent ingredients simply prepared to illustrate their true character and nuance. As long as owners look to the short term, feeding those fickle, trendy, "what's the name of your designer, are those real" kind of people, sure they are great for the initial rush and to make our "senior" food writers feel rather self-conscious, but where is the substance. "Sell the steak not the sizzle", important words but ones that are rarely used in the design of a successful restaurant. Toronto goes for trends, that is unquestioned but we rarely follow the trends when they are current. A recent article seemed rather disparaging in its regard for the new tapas style dining. Unfortunately, and to demonstrate the short-sightedness, this is probably the single largest shift in the food service industry, forget the Atkins crap (and all those other diets, we are in the enjoyment business, create food for people to be transported by and enjoy), simply because people at first do not understand it , in the article they talked about a tasting menu that was "tapas-style" saying the small portions are a misunderstood demonstration of this style of dining. I can't remember the individual doughnuts name but I believe he/she was referring to Claudio's tasting menu at Senses and besides the Spanish by way of Latin-American roots by way of parental circumstance more than national identity, his tasting menu's are truly that, tasting menu's that are meant to be small to demonstrate his vision of cuisine. Tapas should be more like those Bin restaurants out in Vancouver, how can we even comprehend a good trend in this city when we can't even differentiate styles of dining that have been in vogue in truly worl-class cities for decades. (Sorry for my Bill Hick's meets a drunk angry Julia Child tirade, it felt really good. I could go on about how the shift towards Japanese style dining helped vreate the foundation for this shift in dining culture in North America, but I need to mix another drink and the maid has gone to bed. Before I sleep I will pray that we also adopt the siesta along with the Tapas)
  13. kevin

    via allegro

    Via Allegro gets its outstanding media presence (from Chatto) because they suck up to him every time he is in. It is definitely not based on the food, with possibly the exception of the steaks which are Sterling beef. But even so, quality meats can be found in many restaurants in the GTA that also possess more well rounded menu with consistency across the board. Just goes to show you that its not the substance of a restaurant that matters only the right friends.
  14. I think Thai food at this point in the publics mind (perception) Thai food is where Chinese was long ago, in Toronto, that would be 30 years, when yes most of the food was dumbed down to accomodate the Western taste. Certainly, gapi and nam pla raa are a little strong for many peoples taste, they can be toned down and add the requsite depth to the dish without being a predominant flavour. Strangely, it is all the coconut that many Thai people I speak with are "tired" of, that and the extreme spiciness. But the food can still feature these flavours in a sliding scale to accomodate the pallette of timid Westerners. To me the difficulty in trying to get the public to look beyond coconut, peanuts, phad thai and fresh spring rolls, for that matter any spring roll, is the single greatest problem confronting Thai food. There is not enough awareness of the regional differences of Thai cuisine, the variation of tastes and techniques employed throughout the country or the skill and complexity of the palace cooking. When phad thai, or any noodle dish for that matter, is not served during formal dinner hours and not every sauce employed is coconut based and the menus reflect that of a fine dining restaurant not some 100 item "Wok-jockey" place. In terms of locating herbs, in Toronto I can get most anything, I can't seem to be able to get sweet mountain coriander (Sorry, I can't find the Thai name) but as far as the most used of Thai herbs, they should be readily available in NYC.
  15. It is probably popular because too many people have no idea what good, or authentic Thai food is supposed to taste like. The more I learn about Thai cuisine the more aware I am of how low the bar is for this food. The publics perception of what Thai food is contributes to this problem as well. In Toronto, we have around 120 Thai restaurants and out of that thewre are maybe 5 good restaurants and only one of these is even close to being a truly "fine" dining experience.
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