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Everything posted by bandregg

  1. Tray service is a great way to break a lot of stuff and lose a lot of food all at once.
  2. Bistro Sauce just down the road in Shelburne, Kitchen Table Bistro in Richmond, Sonoma Station in Richmond. All are really good, farm to table bistro fare. Sauce has the most innovative wine list, Kitchen Table is the nicest, Sonoma has a great vibe.
  3. I was an engineer for twelve years, and at the age of 32 quit to attend culinary school. This was a major change for my wife and I involving drastic shifts in where we lived, friendships, income, and family life. I'm getting ready for my last year at school and I'm still not sure that I want a restaurant job. BUT, I'm absolutely sure that I made the right decision. I didn't want to sit in a dark room staring at a computer screen anymore and now I'm surrounded by life (interesting life) but life all the same. Do what you love and you'll find a way to experience the rest of life.
  4. I would expect that black, leather, slip-resistant shoes and either black or herringbone chef pants would be suggested, if not required. Does the workshop information not give any detail? You could also try calling whomever you booked the reservation with. And, not to get into another long drawn out "this is the kind of shoe I wear" conversation... Spend the money on a good pair of shoes: Dansko, Birkenstock London's, Sanita, Chefwear, whoever fits you well and feels good, and spend the money for at least one pair of black chef pants. You'll be surprised at how long both last, how versatile they both are, and how comfortable you are.
  5. "Hot and wet," or "Hot behind" get the same message across along with a little chuckle and the obvious retorts.
  6. First, for large cuts of meat a thermometer is the best way to go. They only cost about five dollars and they'll let you hit the perfect temp every time. Now, here's how I cook a roast: Preheat the oven to 500'F. Lightly coat the roast in cooking oil and season it well. When the oven is at temp put the roast in for fifteen to twenty minutes. This will develop a really great and tasty crust on the outside. Once that time has passed turn the oven temp down to 350'F or even lower if you have the time and let it go until it's 120'F in the center. This will carry over to medium-rare once you pull it from the oven. Take it longer if your family wants it more done.
  7. I am not a touchy person. However since starting to work in the industry as a cook I find myself touching people all of the time. It's a habit borne out of cramped quarters and the need to inform people of where I am in relation to them. A lot of times yelling "behind you" isn't nearly as functional as a lightly placed hand on the back when passing by. So, this creeps into my non-professional life in a variety of ways: walking through crowds in a store (again, cramped space and not wanting to be backed into or bumped by someone who doesn't know I'm there), taking the dog for a walk and passing someone on the sidewalk (though that is more of a "behind you" moment), and most amusing to my wife, saying "open oven" at home when it's just the two of us and she's nowhere near it. I think we become inured to this behavior within ourselves and don't even realize that we're doing it. It does surprise a lot of strangers though!
  8. I suspect the answer lies in Maggie's question about raising lamb; lamb graze. Maybe, unlike cattle, lamb aren't able to transition to a grain based diet and that would mean that they need space and lots of it. That makes it expensive. We just had a salesman come and give a talk at school (NECI) which outside of it's sales-like-sleaziness told me a lot about the American lamb community. It's small, it costs a lot, and it's targeted at a very premium market: restaurant and grocery. New Zealand has more lamb than people (watch the movie Black Sheep, it's a riot) and so their cost is low. We have more people than lamb.
  9. Fold your side towels neatly into squares that are useful for grabbing hot items or wiping small spills or detritus. Store them in a shallow 6-pan either on your station or under it depending on preference and local health code. It doesn't take long for the muscle and memory to know where to reach for them.
  10. To me, pate a choux and potato is pomme dauphine, not a gnocchi.
  11. I wouldn't consider changing my life to go work for a company which didn't have the resources to pay a listing fee.
  12. When I was looking for internships for this summer I specifically asked to do unpaid stages at restaurants I was interested in. The way I look at it, it's like making a documentary film. No-one is themselves for the first hour or two that the new guy is around. Then slowly, as they get more comfortable, they revert to being themselves. And that's who you're going to have to work with.
  13. bandregg

    Sysco Food

    Here in VT we use two companies for the majority of our product buying. Burlington Food Service, which is now owned by Rheinhart (sp?) is who we buy most of our dry goods from. Their drivers are annoying to say the least and pushy about accepting product to say the best. For raw ingredients we use Black River Produce and sometimes Sid Weiner (sp?) who provide better service, lower minimums, and a generally better product. They also work with the local purveyors to provide in-season foods direct from farms.
  14. Here in Vermont there are a number of high schools which offer vocational or tech-prep courses as part of the last year and these students complete a certificate program at the New England Culinary Institute as part of that. It's one way to experience culinary school without commiting to it completely. As far as education versus life experience you'll really have to decide what you want to down the road. Do you want to eventually manage people, do you want to be more than a line cook at some place like the Ritz, do you want to become an educator yourself? All of these require some amount of post secondary education be it liberal arts college or culinary school.
  15. A sauce should be unnecessary and also imperative. A well seasoned, well cooked steak should need no sauce, but top it with a shallot-mushroom-cream-sherry sauce and it becomes divine. Sauces need balance of flavor to pair with their objective, that is the sauce by itself might be too sweet, too acidic, or commonly to dusky (think demi glace) but with its fish or fowl is just right. Sauces need to have balance of mouth feel as well, smooth, not watery, not gluey. Yesterday at brunch we ran a special of butter poached scallops on top of a sauce that was a shrimp veloute (shrimp stock, blond roux) with lobster tomally and roe. Delicious.
  16. Two thoughts from me, First, At twenty one and having worked at these great places, plus the unmentioned places that helped get you here, it seems that you may be moving around a lot. That doesn't necessarily inspire confidence in those who think they know best how to live your life. As an aside, it doesn't inspire confidence in me as a possible employer, but it doesn't seem to have slowed you down in getting positions in prime restaurants. Second, to paraphase George Burns, "Do what you love even if it means you'll be poor." I worked for a long time in the computer field and was very good at it, but I didn't love it. So now, I work as a cook and I'm much happier. If your family can't understand that then you need to ask them if they love what they do. Intellectuals working at the university level never make the same money as their colleagues working in industry. Every makes sacrafices.
  17. I don't even know where to begin. These are all searchable in the database. Fine Dining (white table cloth): Magnolia Grill, Nana's, Four Square Popular Price (bistro): Piedmont, Rue Clair, Pop's Pub Food (and good too): Federal Ethnic: Any of the mexican tiendas and taquerias on Roxboro Rd. near Club Blvd. I really miss the dining the Durham.
  18. I've never really given a lot of thought to wine by the glass service, but I really like the idea of presenting the wine in the bottle and then pouring the glass. This requires some level of training and trust by the bartender or whoever is ultimately responsible for the inventory, but it sounds worth it to me.
  19. I'm surprised that no-one has mentioned the wonderful and obvious night time snack (sparrowgrass was the closest) of cold ceral ON ice cream. Growing up my father would regularly have Grape Nuts or Honey Almond Delight or the like over a bowl of vanilla ice cream. It's not that different from a bowl of cereal and milk after all.
  20. I prefer the flats, but then I don't use them for buffalo wings. I use a method I learned in school this year where you force the two bones apart and pull out the smaller bone. This allows you to "wrap" the meat around the end of the larger bone and make lollipopos out of them. "The Perfectoinist" refers to Bernard Loiseau doing the same and it's where I first heard about it. I save them in the freezer until I have enough and then use them as hors d'oeuvres.
  21. We don't rinse protein where I am. Properly cooking it to the safe temperature destroys harmful bacteria. Additionally, washing it may increase the chances of cross contamination if you aren't careful, and from a cooking perspective the additional liquid will delay browning and encourage steaming. Unless you have space to store the protein and allow it to dry some, a rare commodity in the restaurant world.
  22. I'm happy to hear that Ashley is going to focus on the bistro side of Vin. Let me interrupt myself and say that I've always been very happy with everything about Vin. Except the price. When I first started hearing about Vin a few years ago everything I heard was, "It's wonderful. You can get really great wine by the glass and even half glass and do a real tasting. Ashley is an amazing chef, the food is so good and so reasonably priced." All true. Even the part about being reasonably priced given what she is serving up. But, it's too expensive to make it the regular choice that I agree it should be, and I can't help but feel that people espousing that opinion are doing so remembering when the average appetizer choice was less that 12$ and the average entree choice was less that 20$.
  23. Durham has an amazing food scene. I think I have Varmint correct in saying that it has the best collection of neighborhood restaurants in the area. I agree with that and think that a lot of the reasons for it are the things that make Durham seem like the stepchild of the triangle for other reasons. Lower rents, decentralized shopping and pedestrian areas, and stronger neighborhood loyalties than city loyalties. Having moved to Burlington, VT where there are a lot of great restaurants we're missing a lot of what we took for granted. And with Rue Cler and Piedmont openning Durham just get's better.
  24. This is off-topic, but follows up Varmint's thought about really tasting the meat and pulling it straight off the shoulder. I've recently taken to treating well raised pork shoulders and shoulder roasts as simply as possible. Rub the outside liberally with salt and roast it in the oven at 225 for "as long as it takes," turning every hour and a half. A good piece of pork, like the whey fed from Chapel Hill Cremery, or some that I've been lucky enough to buy up here in the North, comes out delicious. The outside fat crisps wonderfully and the meat it just amazingly succulent with only the flavor of pork and salt. Greetings from Vermont.
  25. Is it really 50'C? That's only 122'F if I'm doing my maths right. That means a couple of things to me. First, it's being cooked to a temperature right in the danger zone for breeding harmful bacteria. Second, it isn't being cooked hot enough, now matter how long, for the intramuscular fat and collagen to melt into the meat. So, I'm not really sure what the point would be. I've definitely cooked beef ribs slowly, to an internal temperature of 195'F or 90'C (which of course means that the oven has to be at least that hot) which makes them meltingly tender and then seared them up for a nice crunchy outside. Delicious.
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