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  1. Amazing hour of television, probably a new high-water mark for the cooking genre. All the plates looked sick, as did the production. Nice focus on the food. Obviously (to me) if you spend more money per ep, you can get these results consistently.
  2. I don't throw large pieces of apple in the vitaprep because it just sits there on top of the blade and then u gotta push at it forever. I mean if u r peeling them anyhow and need the seeds out, is there a significantly faster way than slicing them? Was she like brunoise'n them to perfection or just chopping? I dont remember...
  3. GS 74th is weird. The szechuan classics are well prepared (on 4/5 of my visits) and everything else is seriously terrible. They have some kind of frying deficiency I've never seen in any chinese restaurant, where their batter is thin and slides off of everything (on 5/5 of my visits). Do not dine in, the FOH is unbelievably green.
  4. I don't know how most people's recipe testing goes, but I have tons more failures then success, and I've had WAY worse ideas than a cheese snake. The one thing that struck me as odd was the reaction of changing tracks entirely every time something didn't work, instead of adjusting, re-testing, etc. I'm sure it was a result of production or editing constraints/incompetence though. The suggestion that he doesn't understand food science or how to cook is ludicrous. He's a young guy finding his way, but his resume is a record of hard time and opportunities earned. Also, the more complicated and sensitive your approach to cooking is, the less likely it is you are going to have good results out of a TV kitchen. I can't begin to explain how un-functional TV kitchens are... Anyway I way prefer the feel of this show than Future Foods, which just seemed silly (the show, not the cooks). I don't think that catering is a proper medium for experimental cooking AT ALL and if anything hamstrings this show it will be bad planning on part of production, not Marcel's level of cooking. Seems like they could have set him up to succeed better, but I guess its another stressing show as supposed to a cooking show (cooking impossible). Good luck to him and I hope he comes out ahead.
  5. Putting ANYTHING hot in the freezer is retarded, period. The point of freezing cakes (as supposed to refrigerating) is that there is little to no moisture transfer to affect the texture of the cake. Of course when you put something hot in the freezer, even a walk-in, it raises the temperature dramatically, and encourages massive moisture transfer through steam, condensation and frosting. Its an indefensible practice, you should probably find a better bakery to work in where you aren't more concerned about the product quality than the chef.
  6. Cooks who are compelled to push their own limits need to be precise for the purposes of recipe testing. New ideas require testing and testing requires precision. Imprecise cooking only works when you are cooking by wrote. There is absolutely no other distinction between "culinary" and "pastry"; if you are changing food for the purposes of better eating, you are COOKING. To put it in familiar context: Grant Achatz is indeed a pastry chef if any such distinction exists.
  7. Gari UWS is basically the menu from Gary UES 10 years ago, executed with way less care. Also, its incredulously expensive for how un-special it is. I guess decor and service-wise it might be the most impressive in the neighborhood, but the food is average. Matsu on Columbus and 83rd is the best hole-in-the-wall sushi joint on the UWS. Very reasonable prices (even for a hole-in-the-wall), neatly assembled sushi and properly seasoned rice at the appropriate temperature. Definitely not a foodie experience, but solid and satisfying on every visit. It is my go-to. Another option is Momoya, which is chain-y but good. Some serviceable Nobu-stolen dishes on the menu as well, so I guess it is kind of trendy. Its between Matsu and Gari price-wise, with a modern, clean atmosphere. Everywhere else on the UWS that I've tried is either completely inedible or insanely expensive.
  8. There's really no way to describe how good Angelo's palate is. Flavors like JGV's through a loudspeaker; totally unique and memorable. Can't blame any of his competitors (or fans) for hoping he falls ill.
  9. Painful read. Just lazy, amateurish writing. No mention of a pastry chef? This is a serious restaurant, I assume they have a pastry program. Literally not even one dessert for the "recommended dishes"; I don't think I've ever seen that. Anyways, there must be a few restauranteurs on the brink of opening their upscale Italian mega-eatery, shitting their pants tonight. The Italian bubble bursts like all other bubbles, who would have predicted?
  10. Don't puree it will turn foggy pepto-bismal color. Pulse it in robotcoupe at let it sit in a china cap or cheesecloth like tomato water. Because it has no solids just juice its going to have weak texture even with a good sorbet syrup. I would thicken a portion of it with pectin NH then combine with the juice and your sorbet syrup and season.
  11. I like uni ice cream a lot. Did a really traditional chocolate fondant with that and a white chocolate ponzu sauce. Always looking for alternative fats to use, since I have a bad dairy allergy myself. I'll usually take something neutral with body, like rice milk and emulsify in the alternative fat (bacon, foie, uni, whatever) to have a liquid substitution w the exact same fat %. Presence of solids in the milk protein is harder to understand and replicate but I don't think many people would detect anything texturally "off". Dehydrated coconut milk is helpful in adjusting these alt fat recipes too.
  12. NP. You can inhibit the brittle quality of agar gels by the inclusion of sorbitol or locust bean. That brittleness is really a result of syneresis, not gelling properties. Its the same reason agar gels ten to sweat like a mofo; they are basically a broken emulsion. That's actually a desirable texture for some products, like the classic red bean yokan. Red beans are naturally grainy, so the brittleness of the yokan actually enhances the nature red bean. Same applies to other naturally grainy things, like pear or semolina. If you want to 86 the brittleness altogether, try reducing the % of agar in your gel and subbing some LBG. Also sorbitol at 5% or so seems to inhibit the sweating really well. I would encourage anyone comfortable with fluid gels to think outside the box. Besides turning liquid into puree, what else is traditionally difficult to achieve in pastry, due to low viscosity bases? Think about the convoluted way we go about pate a bomb. Like raspberry puree is too thin, so we have to make a bomb paste to thicken it just so we can fold in whipped cream without making a runny mess. Imagine just making a fluid gel out of your base and then folding it directly into the cream? Toss in the fact that you can thicken warm bases as desired and the possibilities start to really unfold.
  13. You can make really excellent warm ganache w agar agar. It will even hold its shape up to 180f. Used to do a chocolate "tart" that was just agar ganache on sable and we nuked it to order. Think it was agar at like 3%. There's a bunch of different ways to get a hot mousse. I actually think agar is the best for that too. Like a hot chocolate fluid gel, add yolks directly to the blender and let it "whip" as it shears. Obviously not as airy as a real egg foam mousse but pretty airy for something thats served hot.
  14. "Cook the best food" was a snarky answer for me to give, sorry about that. My wheelhouse is modern and eclectic technique, I guess. All things being equal, I should have the knowledge to do almost everything faster than everyone else. Like with a microwave, a gastrovac and LN I can have cake, sauce and ice cream in 12 minutes. I mean I time tested myself on every technique, and I honestly believe that the only thing slowing me down (in some challenges in particular) was constant equipment failure/disappearance and ingredient withholding (without warning). Obviously, its still possible I would have found something else to bemoan or still might have gone home early, but in several specific cases I was directly hobbled by the producers mid-cooking time. You think its coincidence that on one challenge the first three to shop were the top three, and the last three to shop were the bottom three? The show had major problems, the challenges were mostly broken by their own rules and standards, and I truly believe it was not a fair competition. I couldn't have cooked any better under the circumstances, but of course I could have behaved like a sane adult and not soured the soup. It was a mess all around. Obviously I have some personal problems but cooking ability isn't one of them. I believe I have a superior ability to adapt to unexpected challenges and the necessary knowledge of food science to make almost anything work. I believe if it were a fair competition I would have cruised through in the top three in every challenge right up until the first wedding cake or showpiece elimination, at which time I'd have probably go home. Which would have been fine with me. Its the fact that the challenges that should have been the easiest and most fun for me ended up disastrous for reasons outside my control that is so frustrating. I feel like I was robbed of the chance to put up amazing food on national tv, and that was the ultimate heartbreak. If a million people watched this show and saw me cook like that, then I'll now have to cook for a million and one more before I can exhale. My hope is that as many of the people who HATE who I was and how I cooked on the show, come out to see me in person. I think they would be surprised by how happy I look in the kitchen, and how that joy is visible in my cooking. My cooking is intended to be a celebration of nature and humanity, I really mean that. Just thinking about what it means to me makes heart pump harder. I won't insult anyone with false humility, because I don't regret being myself, warts and all. I just wish you could all understand how badly I want to cook for you. Cooking for people is my drug of choice, especially people like you guys who care enough about food to think about it and talk about it and keep it dear to you. Its why I went on the show, and its why the failure was so crushing. Anyways, I'll be starting a cooking blog soon with tons of pics, in-depth recipes and maybe even technique vids. I hope you guys will check it out and maybe start to see me in a different light. Also I may have a few guest-chef dates popping up in a city near you in the future, and I'd love to see many eGulleters in the house. Of course it matters to me how I am perceived, and I plan on winning you all back with cooking (and love). Don't forget that this is the same guy who convinced Management at not one but TWO restaurants I worked at that eGulleters would receive a 10% discount on the entire check, just for being awesome. I've done personalized tasting menus for eGulleters by request, and enjoyed it immensely. I care deeply about the people who support my cooking, and I believe eGullet still has potential to improve the cooking community and bring cooks and eaters together. Thank you so much to those giving me the benefit of the doubt, kindness and support. To those with valid criticisms, I hear you loud and clear, and I won't stop trying to achieve my potential, not only as a cook but as a chef. To those with blind rage towards me, I feel sad for us both. Being hated is draining, but hating drains you entirely. Anyways, that was tv and now comes reality. Now its time to cook.
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