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Everything posted by Timh

  1. I left way before Katrina, but hope to open a New Orleans/south Louisiana pub in the near future. I've leved and cooked in NO and Houma and think I have a good grasp of the food and the culture. My time in Houma was by far the most enjoyable and rewarding, I still return twice a year to eat, drink, fish, and eat, and sweat.
  2. At my cult restaurant in New Orleans, we had as regulars; Clarence "gatemouth" Brown(Blues player), Michelle Shocked, Larry Hagman, the ZZ Top guitarists, Lenny Kravitz. I've also cooked for Paul Bocuse while a sous, and while apprenticing in Paris back in early nineties, Robuchon came in for lunch one day.
  3. ...... gastronomically challenged area. Well I'm into my 8th month in a South Shore(Ma) town, pounding the stove in a small Italian enoteca/trattoria. While I wouldn't describe our food as 'fine dining" by any means, we attempt a higher level of cooking than what is practiced here. We make everything in house, breads, pastas, pastries, icecreams and sorbets. We butcher, and prep all food from its raw and natural state. No big deal, common in most quality restaurants, or so I thought. I now realize that the apparent lack of any sort of talented, or even capable, pool of cooks is due to the fct that the area has never had a culture of technical cooking kitchens. what is available are Brazillians(few are legal), and kids with serious baggage, or just cooks who strive for mediocrity. I am lucky in that I attracted a couple of people who "get" what I'm trying to do, but trying to fill out the kitchen has been an act of futility. What makes it more frustrating is that there a culinary schools in the area(vo-techs, etc.) What are they teaching these kids? Where are they going? My guess is that the kids take the class as a filler and the ciriculum has become soft as a result. With the busy season comming up, I'm not optimistic that anyone with any skill is gonna walk thru my door, but I also will not compomise the food either. Anyone else in the same boat?
  4. What happened to Aubergine? I was Gene's second sous chef, stayed for2+ yrs, worked with Jean Cristophe when he first came for a visit. That was an amazing experience. I also worked at cheese phillip, was underwhelmed, as well as at Rajis, what a charade that was.
  5. In a perfect world the seasoning of the food begins in the initial preparation stages, in the stocks, the blanching of the vegetables, the doughs, the cooking of the pastas, etc.... But many cooks and chefs slack in the vigilence of tasting EVERYTHING in the process. At the final stage of plate preparation, final seasoning is no more than an adjustment to the product. This same thought extends to the sweet side too. Though never has a guest asked for more suger for their dessert, or sent one back because its too sweet, i've had desserts that were either not sweet (or whatever the flavor) enough, or were too sweet.
  6. I have my two little girls, for the one day I don't work, and I usually go by the restaurant to place orders or something. I would like to get back into my yoga practice, have a date, go out to eat, even just sit on my ass, drink lots of beer, and do nothing, but its not an option for me.
  7. I understand that John Fleer, the chef, is leaving. A huge hit for the operation as he was the soul of the food.
  8. I'm a huge fan of the Butcher Shop also, a place I always recommend to anyone asking "where to eat". the concept is right on.
  9. The immaturity shown by most of the contestants , both professionally and personally, invalidates the whole premise of the show. Why not just tape the Bocuse D'or and have the hot Rushdie arm candy narrate?
  10. Realize that externships are viewed differently from the employee/employer perspective. as the extern you are cheap, hopefully reliable , temporary help, nothing more. as the extern you want/need the experience and have a designated bailout at said time. After you comes another, then another...... sad but realistic picture. Pic a few places you want to work at, send letters, and see who bites. fter you enter the work force for real, your externship probably wont really matter .
  11. johnnyd, called the contact you gaveme, no fresh shrimp at all, suggested I find shrimpers from Gloucester. I guess they are just not set up for restaurant availability.
  12. Timh

    "Chain" Food

    Convenences like those fries,(which are good, we used them at Brasserie Jo in Chicago) as well as premade fresh pastas, frozen "fresh" bread dough, etc are quite common especially in areas where the labor pool is unskilled. I must say that in my kitchen, we make everything, the breads, pastas, desserts, eventually the mozz, because its what we are about. Its alot more work, and constantly training new cooks while maintaining a high level of consistency is tough.
  13. hey johnnyd, wish I had a moment to get away and buy the shrimp myself, but I'm buried here at the resaurant, Enoteca Di Vino, in Plymouth Centre. We've been open for 2+ weeks now(dinner). Any gulleteers come by, please say hello. My seafood purveyor, out of Bourne, Ma seems to be haviong either a hard time getting the shrimp, or is just lazy. We are a demanding house, I only use local fish, dayboat if available, acheiving almost complete organic/natural in our menu. Want to do my part in promoting the good stuff around here, just need to connect with those that will help me do it.
  14. It was common to make extra strength blue gelatine and pump it in the cooks tool box, creating a large gelatine mold of their tools, or just wrapping the box with a whole roll of plastic wrap. i parked the a------ chefs suv out on the golf course one late nightafter he pissed me off. Then there was the "laddle love" attacks during the rush"weeds, shits," or whatever your want to call it. Walking behind and goosing with a laddle, no one was immune. the dumbest,but funniest was when a cook dropped a container of raz puree and knowing the chef was going to freak, laid down in it, acting like he busted his head open. the chef saw this and his reaction,a combo of shock, awe and horror was just the funniest thing I ever witnessed. That was the hardest night to get thru, we were both giggling the whole night, as well as dealing with a burned chef.
  15. William & Co. right now. I am looking into direct dealing with some farmers that I've dealt with in the past. Jim Jamison produces great lamb in PA, but also theres great stuff out of Oz and NZ.
  16. Ok, so I'm having a problem getting whole (head on) fresh maine shrimp, I can get all the frozen tail i want, which I do , but the fresh stuff seems rather elusive at this time. I'm running a risotto with the shrimp, parmesean, fresh lemon juice, and arugula pistou(no nuts or cheese). Shrimp Bisque- Shrimp heads and body shells mirepoix of carrots, celery, onions and garlic tomato paste cognac heavy cream bay leaf, either thyme or tarragon, but not both, black peppercorns and chili flakes Saute the heads and shells with the veg(about a .25 weight to the shrimp), when the veg is soft, add the paste, then the booze. Cover with waterand simmer for 1 hour. add cream and aromatics and simmer for 30 min, then strain. reduce by no more than 1/2 according to taste. Before serving, whisk in butter to slay the folks. Bask in your own glory.
  17. So the owner of my restaurant has given me the dictate to go natural and organic. My proteins are already all natural, even the veal(which is produced here in New England, and upstate NY) The produce I'm assuming will be a easier road to travel, but verifying the provenance of the meats is my biggest concern. I have no illusion that purveyors will label whatever to make the sell, especially since we are a small boutique restaurant. Anyone else with experience in this ? all input greatly appreciated, as well as a good meal if you stop in.
  18. Wow, I've got so many, from the drug addled to the manic deppressive, and then my own stories about my head chef catastrohies early in my career. The classic being a psychotic sous who made lethal marajuanna brownies(thc infused oil)unbeknownest to me, of which I ate 3-4. At the rush, I was literally out of my mind, laying on the floor, alternating between throwing up and laying half inside the refrigerator to try to bring myself back. There are others.......
  19. Hey Andrew, as you've stated, everyone has to wear a hat, and you are looking for any angle not to waer one, so its more of a ego power play than anything else. just wear one and act like it was your idea.
  20. Timh


    I'm surprised that no one is able to think out of the box on this. If one can't hack it as a a career cook, but wants to stay in the "industry", there are tons of other possibilities. Private domestic positions, teachingat a local votech, etc. There are possibilities to create your own niche if its the right area. I've worked with professional prep cooks who could've led any kitch, but instead chose to cruise in well paid prep positions, fixed scheduals, at quality restaurants. Then there's there's the prepared food kitchens of ,say, Whole Foods. Do you ever see any stress on their faces? They are in a state of constant karmic bliss, and the employee discount doesn't suck.
  21. For saute, I use a 75% canola, 25% evoo mix. EVOO only for dressings, and finishing of plates, as well as marinades and baking.
  22. I would love to hire a culinary school grad, but everyone of them that has walked in the door for a job seems to believe they deserve to start at the top, as if school equals experience and talent. I agree with earlier comments on the value of traditional apprenticeships to learn the craft. Living and working in a culture of food(France, Italy, etc)is an intangible that just doesn't exist here. After school(Johnson & Wales,SC) I apprenticed for two years in Japan and then another two years in Paris. Even after that, when I returned to the states, I still stepped back in at mid to high level line position and subsequent pay.
  23. I find that the freezing "tenderizes" the vegetables somewhat, so I would only saute them in butter once thawed. Or simply simmer them in a little , or alot, of stock.
  24. Really, I can honestly say that my meal at Olive Garden was the worst Italian Meal I have ever had.. Although growing up in New York and Jersey and mainly eating at friends houses and local restaurants, I have not had too many bad Italian meals.. NY and Jersey, the hub of Ital-American cuisine. Really though, the sanctimonious bashing of chains as a dining decision while cavalierly upholding the standards of a group that extolls guilty pleasures and favorite convenience foods for fun is hypocritical . For most people(who don't live in NY and Jersey,) a place like Olive Garden may be the only option for going out, and maybe thats all its about, just getting out. Sometimes, one might find themselves in a heavy life moment, and needing respite just going anywhere, and being served , is a comfort.
  25. I lived on Kyushu oknimiyaki, during my time there. It had tako(octopus) in it, but at my request without the mayo.
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