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The Cynical Chef

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  1. Not exactly a consultant yet. Amy & I closed 33 in early October after suffering through the worst 5 months I have ever seen in the restaurant business, and I have been cooking for 25 years. We knew back in December of 2007 that 2008 would be off but no one predicted that the bottom would drop out. Our sales in the spring and summer were off 40% or more. Unfortunately when the economy went south the first ones hurt are those of us in the luxury business. The folks with restaurants in the mid range did not get hurt as bad as us with the high dollar price tag (and the funky locations!) No restaurant is safe in this environment so support your local guys!!! As of now I am the chef at a retirement community and very happy to be there, good pay, great benefits and good hours. Writing a book about running the restaurant, sort of a Marley & Me with the love interest being a small restaurant and not a dog...not that the dog was a love interest...the love interest was Jennifer Anniston, right...or was it the dog? God Bless Country Ham & Grits!!! If you want an experience similar to 33 Liberty try Stella Bistro in Simpsonville, SC.
  2. Nope... However I should point out that Richard is a honest to goodness consultant as well as experienced Chef. His style of food is not something that you just decide to try one day. Plenty of specialized equipment and techniques to learn. ed.
  3. And that's what I found impressive about Richard Blais, he was very cool & confident. I promise that during these cooking segments that there may be a dozen people running around manning lights, cameras, mikes and such and there's at least one or two folks hollering "get a close up on Andrew! He's losing his cool!" and all of that can be incredibly intimadating. Heck Andrew even forgot how to make mayo! Richard, though...he is very comfortable with the whole thing and he is of course supremely talented. If my food had to be judged by Colicchio and the silky, sultry, stunning Padma....who knows what I would forgot how to make. I would probably burn my grits Bravo Richard Blais!
  4. AND THE NOMINEES ARE: The nominations for the 2008 James Beard Foundation awards are out and Atlanta’s nominees are: THE DINING ROOM at the Ritz Carlton Buckhead for Outstanding Restaurant of the Year;THE CHOCOLATE BAR’s Aaron Russell for Pastry Chef of the Year; Anne Quatrano (BACCHANALIA) for Outstanding Chef of the Year; Arnaud Berthelier (DINING ROOM), Linton Hopkins (RESTAURANT EUGENE), and Hector Santiago (PURA VIDA) for Best Chef Southeast; and Bob Amick (Concentrics Restaurants) for Restaurateur of the Year. Congratulations and good luck to all of you. Some goofball from Greenville SC is on that list as well! What is this world coming to?
  5. Yeah Baby! I am gonna get my fill of ramps this year. Will hit the Asheville Farmers Market in about 3 weeks and load up. Pickled, sauteed, tempura fried.....
  6. Just hit me with a dead cat! Loved the story and coud almost smell the Porterhouse on the grill.....
  7. I hope that E Gullet gives you a fat retirement bonus and a gold Rolex...you deserve it! Now you can take that trip to Greenville..........
  8. You misunderstood. I wasn't talking about the recipe, I was talking about telling you all of the dishes from the movie. ← Got ya!
  9. Well, it isn't quite that simple BUT if you want Jason's take on the ratatouille, it is located HERE (hint: it isn't exactly as you've made it before) ← Not to brag but...yeah, it looks fairly easy Thanks for the menu FG. Dinner is on the 15th of November if you're in town...
  10. So I want to host a movie night (the DVD is out on November 2nd) at the restaurant and of course the movie will be "Ratatouille". We will cook the food of the movie and present it buffet style, however the problem is that I have not seen this movie and further more none of you guys have actually mentioned just what this rat cooks...so help me out here without fussing at me for not seeing this flick. And I know he cooks ratatouille so that's a no-brainer. So how about it...
  11. In order to sell wine at Total a wine producer must provide a "winery direct" label that only Total Wines can sell. So basically those "winery direct" labels are the second labels of all of those familiar wineries on the shelf at Total. None of those "winery direct" wineries actually exist. Sorry if I burst anyone's bubble....
  12. Just back from our 8 day sojourn to Rockland Maine and points beyond. Our first evening we dined in Portland at Vignola and had a delicious meal and fine service then drove off to Rockland and lobster roll heaven. The first day we took the ferry to Vinalhaven for some quarry swimming, bike riding and lobster rolls at the Harbor Gawker. The roll was lovely, the lobster meat was tossed in a touch of mayo, lemon juice, salt & paprika and served on a butter toasted top loading bun. This was the best roll we would have all week. The following days we had rolls at Miller's, (was that in Thomaston or south Thomaston?) the Dip Net (Port Clyde), Waterman's (Waterman's Beach) and the Brass Compass in Rockland. All of these places had really good rolls with Waterman's probably my least favorite. The loster was really fresh and finished with a bit of butter and salt but it was served on a hamburger bun that was toasted on the outside without butter! The pies (blueberry and coconut) at Waterman's were heavenly though and were the highlight of the trip. Miller's was good but their pies suffered terribly from way too much corn starch in the strawberry and peanut butter. The lobster rolls were served on a top loading dog bun that was toasted and buttered and the lobster was tossed with a touch of butter and lemon but I believe there was some Old Bay in the cooking water. The Dip Net was the low point...chowder and lobster stock were fortified with packaged soup base or stocks and the lobster bisque was devoid of lobster meat. The calamari were good but hardly local, the fries were soggy but the steamed lobster was tender and fresh. The Brass Compass was probably the most circumspect of places we dined but I was hungry and the kids were off playing pin the tail on the Puffin so I walked in and got a roll to go. If they had used a bit less mayo it would have been perfect but it sure was good. We also ate plenty of steamed lobster at our place and had 2 enjoyable meals at Cafe Miranda and an amazing meal at Primo. Our last night in Portland we dined at Fore Street and it was as good as Primo, not as formal, perhaps more enjoyable since we had the kids. We returned to Greenville on Monday afternoon and a high temperature of 95 degrees. Our kids, tired from the long flight, both agreed they want to go back to Maine next summer.
  13. While I would never question the reporting skills of the esteemable chef from Greenville, S.C., I would point out this section from the KCBS rules, as posted on the society web site: "Sbowmanship and cooking are separate entities and will be judged as such. Specific information will be provided by a contest organizer if there is to be a showmanship award." In other words, there can be a showmanship category at a KCBS sanctioned event, but it is separate from the KCBS judging, which is meat-only. I believe that Tryon has included such awards in the past; I know it has included dressed-pig entries. (And yes, dressed pig is exactly what it sounds like. Pigs. Dressed up.) ← I stand partially corrected K. A "best booth" award is separate from the BBQ competition award in a KCBS event but the booth's appearance is part of the overall score at a Memphis in May sanctioned event. My friend C W Fretwell, the BS Pitmeister has won a Grand Champion award at Tryon 3 times yet he is as bare bones as you can get. The Parrotheads have a great looking set up but.... If you're there we must get together over tea.
  14. I have gone to Tryon 4 years in a row....just to sample though, not as a competitor. I will end up writing about the festival for 33's website. Tryon gets an average of 80 competition teams and I have found that most are very happy to chat, share BBQ, a chair or even a cold beer. If you see me there, just don't slow me down with idle chatter...there's too much great Q to sample With all due respect to the lovely and talented Kathleen Purvis, booth presentation is not part of the final judging criteria in a KCBS event (Tryon is a KCBS event), only in a Memphis in May sanctioned event. Still though a lot of the teams do put on quite a show in regards to their booths. If you are going to stay up all night in a dusty horse field keeping your cooker in the 200 degree range, you best be comfy. And here's a tip for sampling. Don't walk up to a team and blurt out "HEY CAN I GIT SOMADISH?" Introduce yourself, comment on their team wagon, ask how many competitions they have been to, how did they think up their ridiculous name and then politely ask for a taste. I have seen many folks walk up with an empty plate and their fingers poised only to be told that "we're not giving out any samples". Pork to the People!
  15. Shaun Doty serves Sunday Brunch at Shaun's Social Club! I'm headed there....
  16. I could use a Sunday late breakfast, early lunch recommendation for Atlanta. Maybe Table 1280 but how is the food since Shaun has moved on?
  17. As of last Friday the South Carolina Peach Council estimates crop losses of 90 to 95 percent. I cannot stand the thought of having to wait another 14 months before I can savor a South Carolina Peach. The scary part is the possiblity of several peach farmers throwing up their hands and selling their orchards over to a developer. My 2 favorite apple orchards in western North Carolina are finished off as well. The only good news seems to be from the blueberry guys and the strawberry fields. We may have 25% of the estimated blueberry crop which is better than nothing and strawberries are rebounding quickly. I sure hope that the peach & apple guys have proper insurance to get through this year. The Blueberry & balckberry guys typically have small patches of land but in order to farm tree fruit you really need a bunch of land which means greater exposure to financial stress. I think this may be worse than California's spring of 2006 because the peach orchards are small, family owned operations whereas CA has lots of corporate money involved in farming. Just my opinion though. I cannot imagine what I would do if tomorrow I had absolutely no product to sell to my customers and I had to wait a full year until that product was coming back.
  18. The Easter freeze has killed off practically all of South Carolina's peaches and other tree fruit. And Georgia's, Tennessee's, N Carolina's, Alabama's and Virginia's fruit too. I am sooo depressed. The highlight of my culinary year is the arrival of peach season. The peaches are followed by plums, nectarines, apples, figs and apricots but we will be lucky to see 10 to 20 % of the typical harvest. I can't believe this. It may be June of 2008 before there is enough peaches to go around. I need to go and smoke some pork ribs to console myself.....
  19. So George Clooney is in town making a movie and he has eaten everywhere but the best restaurant in town, 33 Liberty. So I have made a short web movie to document my struggle. Click on my link and watch my quest to find George Clooney. http://www.33liberty.com/
  20. Many blessings to you Brooks and I look forward to ding with you one day. Ding? Did I say Ding? You see, what I meant to say was dining...dining as in having a leisurely dinner with friends...around a dining room table...such as one would find in a restaurant or a dining room in someone's home. Madness, pure unadulterated madness.
  21. I was lucky enough to get a guest chef gig at Blackberry about 7 or 8 years ago and it was absolutely first class. John Fleer is a very good man and a great chef and I wish him all the best!
  22. Jakea, ACF certification will only help if you want to work for another ACF Chef. Period! It will not mean doodly to the general public and certainly does not mean you know how to make diners happy. The ACF competitions are very different from the other comps you have done, very technically oriented (is each slice exactly the same size, are the brunoise exactly the same size, etc). If you want to cook at a country club or big hotel then get certified because most of those guys are ACF types. Cheers
  23. Had a very nice meal at Panini's last week. Very good but casual pizza & pasta cafe. For something a little upscale there is Saltus Grill or the dining room at the Beaufort Inn, that 's a little more formal. Beaufort is a great town.
  24. When the place slows down in mid January we can get quickly bored. Here's the outcome of one such slow Wednesday. My cooking wine is Peter Vella (probably a Gallo product) and that's him hoisting a glass of California Burgundy while Bobby and Rachel hold down the North and South hands of time. Surely someone else has an exampe of kitchen clock creativity....
  25. Have you had tacos at the Red Drum in Mt Pleasant?
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