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Posts posted by dragonflychef

  1. I havent posted in quite some time. I am a professional chef and wanted to share a few thoughts.

    Whether you wanted to or not, this exchange and subsequent posting(s) have altered your relationship with the restaurant forever. If you value those relationships as much as you state on your blog, why not wait and give the management time to resolve the issues. It seems this has brought several new readers to your blog. I hope that wasnt the intention.

    I can tell you as someone who has paid their mortgage with what is left in the till at the end of the month, that blogs and reviews are seriuos , professional and casual. You, whether you want to or not, are affecting peoples lives and livelihood. I know the argument of your money being valuable as well. But you have stirred anti sentiment with a very non professional review that may eclipse your 600 euro mark by 10s of thousands.

    The review itself is very condescending from my professional opinion. I believe we have all become way too cavalier with our words.

    If you really want to help the next restaurant that underdelivers, that has potential to, write or email them directly instead of posting on the blog. I can tell you that honest feedback is always listened to.

    The fact that Eater picked this story up and is blasting it on email alert is saddening. In a profession that is supposed to be about pleasure and happiness, this whole mess reeks of miscommunication and self importance. I hope eater doesnt publish your names in their next email blast.

  2. And people who read it are supposed to know that how?

    They're not. It's like a legal disclaimer, which they have to put if they ever take any portion of it for any house-related thing. It's also an accounting thing, as it affects how the restaurant pays tax.

    In governing bodies eyes, service charges can be divided as an establishment sees fit, for example a portion going to the cooks or BOH staff, tips - gratuities , can only be divided among people who are in contact with the guest, so no cooks or BOH staff , this is why the use of the words service charge is so important, at Per Se for example the service charge included in dinner prices goes to pay the total labor bill, but if you leave an extra tip/gratuity, it can only be divided buy the FOH staff

  3. I agree with U.E.

    And I would take four orders of Koo's Spoonfuls of Happiness over a full tasting (with wine) over the Ritz any day of the week...

    Carolyn has some great suggestions , I would add Silks under new chef Orlando Pagan for a more elaborate dinner and Shalimar for pakisatni, and the Korean BBQ on Geary I have always had great meals. Have a great visit

  4. Robyn it seems like you really like Farm to Table , that being the case I would make a stop at Telepan, pristine ingredients , allowed to speak for themselves. And much better food than Blue Hill in my opinion

    Sneakeater - From what you say - it would be interesting. When you deal with a place like Bacchanalia - well it is southern cooking - like I do at home. Except with a lot more competence and much better ingredients. Hard to get anything - including veggies - that isn't cooked up with at least a little fat back or ham hocks or the like. IOW - it's far from bland. OTOH - I eat at all too many restaurants which commit the crime of oversalting (I like all kinds of herbs and spices and flavorings in food - but if all I can taste is salt - yuck IMO).

    If the service is pleasant - that is a big plus. At least I know if I don't care for the food - I will have been treated nicely. In fact - I sometimes think my impressions of food at a restaurant are very much colored by the service. Really good service can improve an otherwise lackluster meal - and bad service can ruin a great one. Robyn

  5. Me : Foie, Beef shank, and Lentil mini terrine slice at Daniel, ( to date only bite I have never shared with her , accident of course)

    Hilarious, that definitely make me want to try it.

    What's the truffle pizza? Never heard of it, was it just on the menu?

    Kind of a signature item from JR small round of pasrty, about 2-3 inches, sliced black truffles overlapped in cocentric circle on top, baked and seasoned with sea salt , simple but dependent on perfect technique and product

  6. I dont think my wife and I can narrow it done to a dish

    so we have a bite and a composed plate

    Her: Belon on half shell with Oscetra at Lespinasse as an amuse

    Me : Foie, Beef shank, and Lentil mini terrine slice at Daniel, ( to date only bite I have never shared with her , accident of course)

    Her : The Truffe Pizza at Robuchon

    Me: Risotto of Farro, with Oxtail jus and gold leaf at Robuchon

  7. Agree with Sneakeater...not the meal of a lifetime; more like the meal of the week, or the month, depending how many 0's to the left of the decimal mark in one's bank account.  Their bread and butter, no pun intended, consists of the folks from the UES who eat their regularly.  Last time I was there, they commented that they have a lot of regulars from the UES, who they must continue to please.

    After about 10 meals at Per Se, I burned out and that was that.  I just lost interest.  I could eat at Daniel regularly but a bit boringly.

    A restaurant of the caliber, reputation, and price of Daniel should make all its patrons feel special not only the regular customers. I also think that fact that Daniel is willing to admit a need and desire to treat UES regulars differently from first timers is terrible. I am fortunate that I am regular customer at the other NYTimes four star restaurants and perhaps get treated better than first time guests. But, I expect that first time guests at Jean George or Le Bernardin get treated superbly. I was a first time guest there once and decided to return often not only because of superb food, but because I was treated so well by the staff at my initial visits.

    I have had just the opposite reception at Lebernardin and Per Se/French Laundry.

    I watched as other tables got extra courses , extended menus, wine pairings ( a french laundry incident), all of those things my wife and I asked for at reservation time and were willing to pay the appropriate cost, but were denied . At Daniel I was a nobody didnt ask for anything, and Daniel himself took time at 12 at night to show us the kitchen and BOH operation and treat us like his best customers. Why? Cause I think daniel understands the difference in service and hospitality. He made us feel like he wanted us there . that is special. Daniel is 4 star restaurant in my book because of the package ,even with the inconsistencies.

  8. Hi I didn't know exactly where to put this.

    I'm moving to the Oakland area in a few days.  Is there another source besides craigslist (a website, newspaper, ect.) where quality restaurants post their job openings?

    In Boston, in addition to craigslist, there's a site called Bostonchefs.com, which has a job board that many good restaurants use.  I was wondering if there is an equivalent in the San Francisco/Oakland area.


    What kind of a position are you looking for? I am hiring right now. PM me if you want to talk


  9. From OpenTable's page on the restaurant -

    The General's Daughter is currently closed and will be reopening mid-Sept under new ownership as ESTATE. More information coming soon.

    I'm in tears. I really am. This was my husband's and my favorite place in Sonoma.

    We are getting closer to a deal hopefully we will have some news soon,

    thanks to all of you for the support


  10. Yup. He is on his way out. Not sure if he's gone yet or when.

    By his choice or the owner's? And gone to where?

    It is our decision to go , we are helping interview our replacements, so we will probably be on board thru july, as far as whats next we are focusing on entrusting or successors with everything they need , then we will see what is next

  11. as a restaurant owner in california , the reason for the service charge is simple ,

    in this state the word gratuity refers to any person responsible directly for the serving and clearing of food, so in that instance the restaurant cannot touch the tips to distribute them to the staff, that is law, and several cases form precedent, of restaurants forcing waitstaff to tip out kitchen , it has been determined to be illegal and millions have had to be repayed, but as for a service charge that can be distributed by management anyway they see fit. it is an interesting concept and if the motivation is pure then it helps to bridge the disparity of pay gap in the industry, a more interesting example is at coi , where a service charge is sharde by the entire staff , ala europe and the laundry

    Last week, my wife and I spent four rather glorious days in San Francisco, one of the great restaurant cities, if not in the world, at least in this country.

    In another topic about tipping, service charges are discussed.  But, what we found in a number of restaurants was quite intriguing, to wit:

    At Water Bar, a new restaurant on the Embarcadero by famed San Francisco restaurateur Pat Kuleto, there was a little line at the bottom of the menu which read:

    In order to provide the best health care for all of our employees, a 4% health care initiative surcharge will be added to all food & beverage purchases.

    At Incanto Restaurant, Chris Cosentino's wonderful Italian in Noe Valley, there was a little line at the bottom of the menu which read, and I'm paraphrasing this one:

    A 5% service charge will be added to your bill for our cooks & dishwashers. Looking further, on the Incanto website here, it is noted that:

    Incanto is one of a small number of U.S. restaurants that includes a partial service charge (5% of the total bill) on each diner's check because we are concerned about the widening wage inequities that exist between tipped employees and non-tipped employees in San Francisco's restaurants...We use the funds from this service charge to offer comprehensive medical benefits to all our full-time employees and to share part of the rewards from each night's work with non-tipped kitchen employees.

    Now, this came as a bit of a surprise to us, as we had not seen this practice before. I'm wondering, is it better just to raise prices 5%, and not tell the dining public about it? Is it written this way for tax purposes? Does it bother anyone? Is it the beginning of a new trend? Should we be outraged?

    What do you all think?

  12. True. Execution is the most important thing.

    I have worked with hundreds of culinary students from all over the country, all skill levels. They have NO IDEA what they are putting on the plate, they just do what they are told.

    The execution is not in question here.

    The rules and structure for student ACF sanctioned competitions is a JOKE. Any accolades they get should go straight to the instructors. You have instructors competing vs. students. LOL. Every other team in this state(I know this as fact) writes', plans, and executes their own menu. period. The fact that they are passing off that crap as being their own work is the SHAM.

    Microgreens? Are you kiddding me? WTF does a 19 yr old pot-smoking hippie student living in Asheville know about a microgreen and a Trotter-esque microportion? Nothing.

    They execute very beautiful tasty dishes to a "T". Ones' they do not even understand.

    The proof is in the pudding pal. All of their knife work looks like it was done by a Robot Coupe.


    I am done crying now

    well calling all the kids there pot smoking hippies with no sense of haute cuisine, doesnt seem hardly fair and seems abit judgemental, perhaps you are affiliated with another team, perhaps you should be more involved with your team , rather than bash someone else, as to your statement that the food is tasty , well that is definitely the proof in the pudding, as far as working with students all over the country , my experience with any student has been, that some individuals have great attitudes and some dont , the ones that do , seem to perform better no matter what school they are from, it seems a little unfair to try to take credit from these kids, when by your own ommission the food is executed and tasty

  13. thats a pretty nasty allegation, any real facts to back that up, or just speculation?

    first hand account is that enough evidence?

    no not really are you saying that the students enrolled in AB TECH didnt execute the dishes and had help, or simply you believe that the involvement of the staff was too much , in the end all food comes down to execution, michel bras has some very famous dishes when executed by lesser technicians are simply less than they should be, also i am familiar with the area in asheville and much of the students there are working jobs to pay bills and going to school, this first hand knowledge , were you involved with another team , are you crying foul over rules violations or are simply crying

  14. I think it should also be stated that AB Tech is a sham. Every other team writes and implements their own menus, that means they are student designed/driven. There the instructors do all of the work for them(planning/organization), thats the only reason they have ever won anything, PERIOD.

    There are a good number of really hardworking culinary students in this state who deserve more. Putting a team together on top of a full load and a job?? They are more committed than student athletes.

    thats a pretty nasty allegation, any real facts to back that up, or just speculation?

  15. There's no question that a restaurant should take the cost of doing business into consideration when considering the community they open in.

    A lot of factors, including wages, make doing business in a city like San Francisco or New York difficult.

    I just don't quite understand the point of the article.

    Is it that cooks should be paid fair wages in accordance with the cost of living in the community they live and work in?

    Doesn't seem like it.

    That waiters should be paid less than the minimum wage, because of the amounts of tips they make?

    The median wage for waiters is really $30 an hour!?

    Brian Clevenger, 22, came from Seattle to work at Delfina, a highly regarded chef-owned restaurant in the Mission District, because he heard it was a good place to build his skills. Because he and his girlfriend couldn't afford rent in the parts of the city where they wanted to live, they moved into a studio apartment in South San Francisco that cost $1,300 a month.

    To trot out my old saw: I worked as a line cook in Berkeley when we first moved to San Francisco. I had a more than 45 minute commute both ways on public transportation. Our rent was $1200 a month and I was making far less than $10-15 an hour currently paid most line cooks. My wife wasn't making much more. We figured it out because we wanted to live and work in California.

    To me, the elephants loitering in the room of this article, are the Latino workers who form the bulk of the workforce and often work 2 or three jobs to make ends meet. Do restaurants even pay them minimum wage?

    well some of our waitstaff make more than me in gratuities alone, plus the minimum wage on top, the hourly rate is somewhere 25- 45 dollars, plus minimum wage, and as far as paying mexican workers, even if a worker is illegal you must pay and compensate them like every other worker, further more if you dont you face action from the state for discrimination, i would love to go to straight service charge and distribute equally, but no waitstaff wants to share the wealth, and with profitability margins so low in restaurants already , the increases make it more difficult to dole out raises to kitchen including myself

  16. the language may be abit strong but the problem is real, and a huge consideration when choosing a place of business

    Chefs' high hopes, low pay leave S.F. restaurants starved for help, Tara Duggan

    Across the country, restaurant owners complain of staffing shortages. Many partly blame the newly glamorous role of chefs in the media, which has created a legion of chef-wannabes. But San Francisco's high cost of living, minimum wage laws and new sick leave and health insurance mandates mean that restaurants are being hit harder here than in other cities...a restaurant in San Francisco would pay $285,696 for a dining room staff of 12, while a New York restaurant would only pay $128,064.

    Tone here a bit strident. "S.F.'s future as a great restaurant town is imperiled as kitchen workers don't make enough money to live in the Bay Area." Is this really accurate?

  17. I'm a big fan of the food at Incanto, Perbacco is also reasonably good but I only really eat there for lunch since it's a convenient place to have a work lunch.  I haven't been to Ducca yet, but they use great ingredients so they've got a leg up on a number of restaurants at that price point around the city.  Yamo is the place to go for Burmese food, Larkin Express Deli is also good.  I'm not a Burma Superstar fan.

    disclaimer i am acquainted with the sous chef, I believe ducca is putting out some fantastic food and some good value, considering the ingredient sources and portion sizes, i havent been to rose pistola but ducca is great

  18. I'm seriously considering getting a chamber vacuum sealer as the cost of the bags vs the ones for my foodsaver would offset the cost of the sealer in just over 10 months. (I do a lot of vacuum sealing) It would have the additional benefit  of not drawing the liquid out of wet product.

    Anyone have any brand recommendations or other thoughts?

    depends on budget a little, vacmaster svp 10 good not too costly

    koch top of line a little more expensive

  19. Thanks everyone!

    For the "fancy" Thursday dinner, we are now choosing between Fifth Floor, Fleur De Lys, or La Folie. I'm leaning towards La Folie because it we would prefer want something less stuffy and formal.

    As for Napa and Sonoma, we were planning to take the Bay bridge to get to Napa and check out one or two wineries there, I considered driving the Napa first because I'm kinda wanted to hit the Napa Outlet in the morning.. :hmmm: However we need to be in Sonoma by 1:30pm because we may be meeting someone for lunch so I think we will head straight to Sonoma and just check out the local scene there.

    As for dimsum, we are from Vancouver and I think we have some of the best Chinese restaurants (and dimsum) in North America so we will probably skip the dimsum in San Francisco.

    Thanks for the Mexican restaurant suggestions. We love Mexican food but have no good Mex restaurants in Vancouver so I'm hoping to have at least one good meal in San Fran. I might get my fill at the Ferry Market...

    Anyways, appreciate all the comments and feedback..keep them coming

    well i hope you will pop your head in the kitchen to see me , and please introduce yourselves to my wife who works the door and floor, , if there is anything we can help with food or wine related please ask , and we will do our best, looking forward to meeting you

    preston and nichole dishman

  20. "Would it be a two star in Paris?"

    Maybe.  But there would appear to be worse French three stars than FL (and better).

    In NY, the clearly overrated three star was LB...JG was also a subject of debate but I think it's a lot easier to make the case for JG deserving three than for LB.

    here here, simply too easy to get stars in the US

  21. comment on Danko above:

    "Neither of these factors have any impact on my experience. I have always received amazing food, service and ambiance in a ultra-luxurious yet casual, relaxed and not-stuffy environment. I think that it is this balance that local diners have come to love while it is this balance that is not fully understood by the folks at Michelin."

    It sounds like they understood it perfectly.  You've just described the prototypical one-star Michelin restaurant.

    Most of the comments on this thread are much ado about nothing because most of them display a complete ignorance as to what the Michelin stars mean.

    I'm not familiar with the bay area dining scene so I can't speak as to the accuracy of the ratings other than to say that it sounds like it is full of marvelous one-star Michelin restaurants.

    I can speak to NY and I'll say that except for a couple outliers it is generally agreed that Michelin did an excellent job in NY...probably the biggest complaint being that it probably bestowed three stars on one or two too many restaurants.

    i agree with you completely , it is simply too easy to achieve a star in the US

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