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Mikeb19

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Everything posted by Mikeb19

  1. I generally dress all my wounds pretty well, plus don't scar easily, so I have few scars (despite working in professional kitchens). My two notable scars are both oven burns the exact same shape as the one in the original post - one on my right arm a little lower, and one on my right hand, top side, next to my two last knuckles (kinda stylish actually - stands out pretty well). My knives are sharp as razors so I don't have any scars from cuts... The palms/fingers of my hands are very calloused so they're almost bulletproof - yesterday I torched my finger (direct flame at close range from a blowtorch), today barely a mark.
  2. Not sure who the current chef is. I did hear a few months ago however that Giuseppe was indeed leaving Il Sogno. Not sure where he's at these days...
  3. Not Robuchon's recipe, but one method I've used to great success (at home and at work). Use starchy potatoes (don't peel them), boil in salted water until they are half done, then throw into the oven on a bed of salt to finish the cooking process (this dries them out). Scoop out the insides, pass through a tamis or a ricer. To finish them, warm up the potatoes in a pan with some milk or cream, and then add cold, cubed butter (quite a bit). Season, and serve. Best potato purée I've ever had.
  4. I've seen plenty of snotty servers at places where they are working for their tips as well. 'Bribing' the serving staff (ie. incentive of good tips) does not guarantee good service. I think having the serving staff on salary will do alot more to raise the level of service. It encourages teamwork, whereas paying servers only in tips encourages competition and rivalry. The 'snotty' service you've seen in France is probably due more to the fact that they're French and you're American, not their system of paying servers. The biggest complaints I hear coming from servers is the lack of a regular paycheck, and we all know what cooks complain about (personally, I find it completely rediculous that you can work as a cook at the top level, working 60 hours a week and make only half as much as the server who's serving your food working 5 hours a night...).
  5. Maybe kids are avoiding culinary school because of the truth about the industry - it is rough, the hours are very long, the pay is very low, and it's definitely not a place for the faint of heart... It is not a glamourous industry - to succeed you need to care about the food you're serving, and know why you're serving it - to please and nourish your guests. Not to mention the fact that culinary school still doesn't provide a complete culinary education - the graduates I've worked with have all left much to be desired... Hiring a culinary school grad does not guarantee anything. I never went to culinary school, yet I've trained many grads, and I know my own education (earned on the job) easily stacks up to theirs. As for chefs like Gordon Ramsay being a deterrent? If he does deter anyone, they probably don't belong in the industry anyway.
  6. In that article it says: "Urena, Psaltis and Barber do all of the preliminary prepping or "breaking down" of the vegetables, fish and meats." I work in a very small fine dining restaurant (50 seats max), and it's quite common for the chef/sous-chefs to be doing this kind of work. None of the article "describes Doug's role in the kitchen as less than that of a sous chef". Maybe in a hotel a sous-chef wouldn't do this kind of labour, but in a 50 seater the chef and sous-chefs definitely would.
  7. I totally agree with Gordon Ramsay (in fact, I've been saying this for awhile). I'm 20 years old. I'm no doubt one of the younger on this board. I do not know a SINGLE woman my age (or within 5 years) who can cook a simple meal from scratch. Most can't even prepare Kraft dinner without some sort of catastrophe. I've never dated a woman who could cook, nor have any of my friends. I do however know quite a few men my age who can cook (mostly due to spending time in the food industry during teenage years). I will not say anything like women aren't capable of cooking (since my grandma was an amazing cook, my mom pretty decent), but this generation of women CANNOT COOK. I would love to date a girl who could prepare an edible meal from scratch, but it seems I'm out of luck. BTW, if anyone wants to knock my own cooking skills, I have been working in high end cuisine for a while (and not as a commis either). Alot of 'foodies' seem to like to dismiss Gordon Ramsay because of his style (he says things the way he sees them, doesn't try to be nice to avoid wrecking fragile egos), but his credentials, restaurants speak for themselves. BTW, if anyone thinks GR is mean, try working with high caliber french or italian chefs...
  8. Honestly, it is NO ONES business why a cook leaves a restaurant (except him and the chef/owner). I've worked in very high end restaurants, and quit jobs many culinary grads can only wish they've worked... Sometimes not everything is as it seems. Often there is a huge price to be paid for cooking the best food (lack of sleep, stress, the pay sucks, very long hours, etc...) Sometimes you also need change just for the sake of change. Many cooks have artistic personalities, get bored very quickly, and cannot cook the same food for months on end (no matter how good it is). And finally, many cooks are crazy. There is no explanation for things they do.
  9. I've got a serrated Victorinox (Forschner) knife with the fibrox handle. Best bread knife I've used, the price is a bonus. IMO Victorinox/Forschner is the best bang for the buck (for all kitchen knives).
  10. As a cook with a fair amount of fine dining experience, I'll weigh in my opinion. Most fine dining cooks/chefs are not motivated by profit (it's seen more as a necessary evil). The hours are long, the stress levels high, and the resulting pay is not enough to work in this profession unless you love the art. I don't speak for all cooks, but when a diner requests a surprise tasting menu, we take care of them... Always the best ingredients (certainly not leftovers - staff meal if we need to get rid of it) and attention to detail, and very often we would do items that don't appear on any menus. As a cook I'm always pleased to make a 'menu surprise' - it's a nice break from the regular routine. I'm sure there are a few con artist chefs out there (I worked for one for a week), but most of us care deeply about our profession and the diners we cook for.
  11. I've used sous-vide cooking plenty of times in several different restaurants. IMO it's nothing too special. We still used traditional cooking techniques for 95% of our menu items. The real advantages are the convenience of storing and portioning food in vacuum-packed plastic bags. All our meat, sauces, and just about anything to be frozen were put into vacuum bags. (convenient, and adds to shelf life) Heating up leftovers for staff meal is alot easier too - just toss the bag into the steam table during lunch service, eat when you dismantle the steam table. As for sous-vide cooked food being more moist, I don't necessarily think so. When you cook in a water bath it is alot tougher to overcook something, so in that sense the food can be alot more moist. (but when you take the food out of the bag the liquid spills out, and the meat itself isn't much moister than a conventionally cooked piece) But no more so than a perfectly roasted item. For marinating the advantages are that you can use very little marinade and get complete coverage of the item, and marinate/store the item at the same time. The absorption due to 'atmospheric pressure' doesn't seem to be much different, but we'd still sous-vide marinate everything just because of the convenience. As for sous-vide cooking being a 'revolution', I don't think so. A sous-vide machine is definitely a must-have in a professional kitchen, but COOKING sous-vide has limited uses and isn't as revolutionary or tasty as the hype would dictate. I'll take a fire-roasted filet of beef cooked perfectly over one cooked in a water bath anyday of the week...
  12. I once overcooked 80 dollars worth (1 whole lobe) of duck fois gras when I had just started cooking at a fine dining restaurant. I made up for it though by making the next batch of fois gras torchons perfectly. Since then I havent made any major kitchen mistakes, not even as much as a dropped pan.
  13. I watched HK for the first time a couple nights ago, I thought it was pretty entertaining. I thought Gordon Ramsay was a little soft though, from the hype I expected more out of him. I've personally worked for a French chef who yelled at and insulted cooks alot more than Ramsay does on his show...
  14. Mikeb19

    Roasting

    At the resto when roasting items such as whole potatoes, eggplants, whole birds/roasts, etc..., we either use a rack, roast on a bed of salt, or on a bed of mirepoix...
  15. My only complaint is that when I come home from the restaurant after a late shift, Rachel Ray's show is still on. The people who enjoy her show aren't going to be awake at these hours, and I would prefer watching some of the other shows late at night (the ones more suited to those who work in the industry but are always on at the wrong times). Anyhow, Rachel Ray's show is good for what it is. 30 minute meals is a good concept, there are plenty of people who don't have the time to be cooking elaborate meals. I don't normally watch this show (I don't watch much TV in general), but I have in the past and to me it's rather boring, but I can appreciate the info and can see how it is a popular show among the masses. I do think eGullet has plenty of food 'snobs'. There is alot of good info here, but also alot of elitist attitude despite most people here being amateurs (although there are some professionals who come here). And finally, using some pre-made ingredients is not a crime. I mean, professionals use wine, butter, chocolate, etc... in our cuisine, yet we do not make these ingredients ourselves. As long as the ingredients are of good quality (and on RR's show it seems to be the case), I say go for it.
  16. Guess I'll just have to stick to watching old ICJ reruns... This is getting rediculous.
  17. I disagree with this. A home cook with enough money can source the same ingredients as any top restaurant. Most home cooks don't have restaurant caliber gear at home, but a cuisinart can do whatever a pro-line food processor does, it just can't, and doesn't have to, do it 18 hours a day 7 days a week non-stop. Home cooks can get the same knives used in restaurants, and can learn the same techniques. The same pots and pans are readily availible, I'd wager that many wealthier home chefs use pans quite a bit nicer than what you'd find in your average restaurant kitchen. In fact, the only thing that restaurant kitchens have that home kitchens rarely do is ultra-high BTU cooktops, broilers, and ovens, and even some home kitchens have those. Of course the speed of the cooking in much different, in a restaurant the chef has to whip out the courses in minutes compared to the hours it can take the home cook, but that isn't to say a home cook couldn't or shouldn't do it if they have the desire. ← You forgot a couple things that a professional kitchen has that a home kitchen doesn't - an entire brigade of trained cooks working 16 hours a day 6 or 7 days a week (many restos are closed on sunday), and access to the finest ingredients. What you find in gourmet markets and farmers markets doesn't compare to what we're getting - Prime Beef, fresh, naturally raised pork and lamb directly from the farm where it's raised, fish that may have been caught hours ago (worst case, caught a day or two ago), etc... Not to mention the finest organic vegetables strait from the farm, lettuce picked the day we get it, wild foraged mushrooms, fresh truffles from France and Italy I seriously doubt it's even possible for any home cook to source half these ingredients.
  18. I know that when I'm at home I can cook better than many chefs. And when I'm at work I can cook food ten times as good. In the restaurant you simply have so many more tools and ingredients at your disposal. I might be able to produce an appy or main course at home that compares to a top restaurant (after several hours of labour), but theres no way I could do a 10 course tasting at home that compares to what we do in the resto. Cooking at home cannot be compared to cooking in a restaurant.
  19. I was quite disappointed with the Cat Cora / Alex Lee battle. Cat Cora's dishes were creative - too creative. Seemed poorly planned and executed. Creativity doesn't count unless you can actually make it work... Alex Lee on the other hand, had very good technique, made very good looking dishes. Some of the complaints by tasters were rediculous - doesn't taste like potato? I wasn't there, but as a fellow professional and onlooker it appeared as though Lee showcased the potatoes pretty well. The result was obviously a fix... Lee won on taste AND presentation, but Cora won on creativity... Creativity in cooking means making something unusual THAT WORKS. If it doesn't work and taste good then theres no point, and IMO is not creative.
  20. I thought Anita Lo won fairly. Her dishes looked alot better, mushrooms were featured more than Batali's dishes. Complaining about the lack of BTU is a fair criticism - ICA should know that people are going to do Chinese cooking, and should outfit the kitchen accordingly.
  21. Like: Bourdain (cooks tour is great) Original Iron Chefs Ducasse Keller Robuchon Gordon Ramsey and most any other real Chef with talent Dislike: Jamie Oliver Rachel Ray Bobby Flay Mario Batali Emeril most other TV Chefs...
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