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  1. I do use isomalt primarily for sugar-free. There are some candies I am experimenting with using xylitol, but that is for a specific type of candy and not for the general product line. But the use of isomalt makes me worry about the higher temperatures as well. I don't want my reds to turn brown or purples into grey (both problems I have had with gel colors - ChefMaster, etc.). Right now my need to find an acceptable high-temp coloring exceeds my need for purely sugar-free. Edit: to answer your question of gummies.... sugar type really doesn't matter IME unless you are talking pectin-based stuff. The gelatin is gonna do it's thing so trust in that. For gummies, the only thing I concern myself with is sweetness levels.
  2. Hi everyone! I've been making gummies, candies, lollipops and the like for a few years now and have always used your everyday food colors and some gels. Easy peasy. I've now been asked to work on creating sugar-free/no gluten/vegan/trendy supplement hard candies. Got that covered, but I have never used plant-based "natural" food colorings. My biggest concern is how do they handle the high heats? Could someone help point me in the right direction on this? Use powders? There are a lot of options these days and I'm trying to minimize how many "test batches" and unnecessary costs I have to run through in finding something that works. I'm usually making 4 or 5L of solution at a time. Any help, info or places I can read up on things would be greatly appreciated. I saw a few posts about the Chef Rubber colors. They don't have info on what the ingredients actually are and that's something I need. Thanks in advance! Devin
  3. I'm trying to tweak a gummy candy formula to meet the flavor expectations of management (aka "The Money"). I wanted to use sodium lactate as a possible solution instead of, or in combo with, adding tartaric or citric acids to achieve our flavor - think watermelon or pineapple with a bit of a sour edge to it. I think we're adding too much acid at this point and it is affecting how the product is setting. I was hoping someone might have some experience in using this as an additive in candies and could give me a rough idea of where to start as far as a ratio or percentage? I've looked around and so far have found soap making information or some seriously heavy food chemistry articles. And as an extension of that any resources or books that would help educate me on creating formulas? I can make the candies, but I'm getting thrown into the deep end trying to duplicate someone else's product. I'm replacing the original chef of this company who bailed with all the formulas and I'm scrambling to get everything back on track (a whole different conversation there! ). Many thanks for any info! Devin
  4. I've always used whatever our dishwashing/cleaning supply guy drops off. Ecolab products, never had to go and actually try and source the stuff, but if simple green/bleach works for you and is cost effective then go for it!
  5. I work in a bay area restaurant where one of our new desserts uses a specific type of leavening - "lievito pane degli angeli" - essentially vanilla infused baking powder/soda. Fortunately, the chef had some at home but we are running out and trying to source it. Our supplier, Ital Foods, does not carry it and the only source I can find (google) is amazon or capri flavors. Does anyone know of a supplier/wholesaler that carries this stuff? Thanks in advance! Devin
  6. Be ready to wait. A friend of mine from school just recently scored the primo gig in Spain. The job was the easy part. It took him nearly two years to line up all the visa/work permit crap. Blanket the world with your resume and introduction letters. Check places that have established stage/intern programs. Hustle, hustle, hustle yourself. Go to conferences and conventions to meet and greet, shake a lot of hands, collect business cards and follow up. Then deal with the paperwork and since you'll have plenty of time - buy the language tapes. Devin
  7. I agree with Begpie. Having had to make manymany souffles during service, easiest way to do it is have your base made (pastry or choux) - and it can usually hold for a day or two - then fold in whites to order. Even with the whites incorporated you could hold it for 30-45 minutes and still get a good looking souffle. Any longer and you'd get more of a mushroom effect rather than straight sides/top.
  8. I'll agree with the Redd comments. Great food, but never the dining room, always the bar or patio. The foie dishes and the hamachi are must haves, the rest... just try it out. For Yountville don't miss Bistro Jeanty for classic French or Ad Hoc - particularly on fried chicken night! And never forget Pancha's - the last dive/industry bar in the valley - remember it's cash only - and if you want gossip, show up after 11PM and listen to the cooks blow off steam and talk some serious sh*t about your favorite/most popular restaurant. Zuzu in Napa is great for tapas and sangria. Lunch at the Oxbow Market is fabulous - wine, cheese and charcuterie. I am still of the opinion that Cyrus is overpriced - I'll eat there again when someone else pays for it - same with French Laundry. Ubuntu in Napa is "the" spot to go and number one on my "to eat" list. If you want real food.... La Playita in Napa or La Luna in Rutherford has the best Mexican in the valley. Buster's BBQ in Calistoga is some serious grub. It's a big food valley and Sonoma isn't that far away so there are A LOT of options. Have fun. Drink wine and eat good food!
  9. I'll second the Farmhouse Inn... and for Healdsburg if you want something a bit more casual (and cheaper) than Cyrus, Ravenous and Zin are good spots as are quite a few other restaurants around the square.
  10. Yup. He is on his way out. Not sure if he's gone yet or when.
  11. That site does look cool, I'll have to spend some time on it! At most we do one or two of these a day. It could be for an overnighter or someone there for a week of conferences. Lately it seems we get a lot of "internal" VIPs - management from other properties on a free ride, etc. I agree with the idea of take-away stuff. A box of treats to make the memory of the stay last, that kind of thing. We do send some folks off with a small loaf of quickbread - but that's rare. Our latest turndown was a sugar pineapple as a centerpiece and mignardise (truffle, marshmallow, nougat, etc.)placed around the base. We'll also do a "small plate" kind of dessert i.e. Chinese spoons filled with various flavors of Dessert Type X and appropriate garnish. It seems the flair of the presentation/garnish is more important that the actual item/s. We do some corporate logo work with chocolate and airbrush, but that's usually as a part of a plated dessert for lunch/dinner. At our weekly meeting today the chef actually mentioned getting into silkscreening and even offered to pay for a class - so taking some turndown/presentation specific classes (Ewald Notter maybe?) are not out of the question either in the search for bigger and better treats for the guests. I really would like to see our team start making some next level stuff. I'm really in the 'brainstorm' mode and am looking for as much material I can find while the energy (and latest paycheck) is still with me. Sure, it's for our guests but more importantly for some personal satisfaction in pulling off something that just looks hot, ya? Devin
  12. We've been doing more VIP turndowns and specialty stuff at work lately. We've got a few solid items, but they get repetitive. I'm looking for research/resource material for new stuff. Any books or places I should check for that sort of thing? Like the way you scan through cookbooks for pictures and random ideas - I'd love to find something like that. Ideas? Devin
  13. devinf

    Dinner! 2008

    Forgot to take a picture.... I made a garlicky cilantro almond pesto and marinated whole trout in it, then pan fried them with a light dusting of flour/cornmeal. Served over a bed of brown rice that was cooked with minced shallots and bell peppers. And a few spears of steamed asparagus. A delicious dinner and I'm not much of a fish eater, but am trying to be. I'll remember to take pictures next time. Scallops are up next! Devin
  14. Convection fans are the best, when you can turn the fan off. If you're getting a convection that's great but some baking just needs to be done slowly and without a fan.
  15. I'll back up the red velvet with a super gooey cream cheese frosting. Or, maybe a super-rich chocolate cake with chocolate ganache or frosting/buttercream.
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