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Melanger

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  1. Does anyone know where I might be able to buy Landjaeger sausages in Las Vegas? I have gone to all of the usual suspects, Valley Cheese & Wine, Village Meat, the meat shop over on Valley View, all to no avail. I just have a hankering!
  2. Not sure, really. I am just guessing. But I after seeing the conservatory at Bellagio, I would think they must have some sort of operation there to grow stuff. ← Bellagio has a huge horticulture department with a greenhouse in the back that dwarfs the conservatory. I don't think that they do any direct propegation but rather utilize the space as a nursery so that they can raise the plants in a controlled environment so that they can ensure that they are blooming at the right time, are the right size, etc. so everything is perfect when they go into the conservatory. Cut flowers are all purchased. Water use was mentioned in a post just before this one. For 2002 (the latest numbers I have) the Southern Nevada Water District estimates that in the Las Vegas Valley 65% of water use is residential (of which 58% is for landscape), 13% commercial, 7% hotel, 5% golf course, 5% public facilities, 4% irrigation, 1% industrial. So far as the hotels growing things for consumption it is a nice idea in terms of PR, think pic's of happy chefs out snipping herbs for service, that would be priceless! However, its just not going to happen. I really hate to be the one who keeps saying this but the wages and bennies alone make the cost unfeasible. Think about what the average farm worker makes vs. what your average hotel worker makes. Furthermore, I don't think that there would be any ROI on a project like that because produce costs are so competitive and these hotels can really hold vendors to the flame on price and the vendors will jump through hoops backwards on one leg in order to keep the business. I really hope that the "local" movement takes hold a bit more with the chefs in Las Vegas. I think that the ball is starting to roll on this, lets hope it doesn't gather any moss, although that's hard with 5% humidity!
  3. There actually is a producing orchard run by the University of Nevada in North Vegas run by a great guy named Bob Morris. It is primarily for research, therefore not open to the public, staffed mostly by volunteers from the Master Gardener program. I worked up there last summer and quite a few restaurants in Las Vegas were purchasing the variety of products that are grown up there. In fact the first Slow Food dinner that was out here featured quite a few Nevada products (beef, green almonds, peaches, etc.) Being both a chef and a master gardener it was a really dreamy, albeit surreal, experience to work up there. Off the top of my head the orchard produces several varieties of peaches, apricots, plums, pluots, grapes, apples, figs, pomegranates, almonds, table grapes, wine grapes, melons, onions, asparagus, blackberries, tomatoes, garlic and of course nopal cactus. I know that a few restaurants, both local and in some of the resorts, even Whole Foods on W. Charleston, were getting product from the orchard last year. Things can indeed grow in the desert, it just takes a different toolbox, a lot of patience, and a bit more trial and error than the average garden for things to thrive.
  4. Thanks for your report. I'd love to hear about the menus/dishes you had at each restaurant. Were the dining rooms at Alex and Le Cirque reasonably full of diners? Certainly the economy is hurting all the restaurants in Las Vegas and the rumors over the demise of Bar Charlie and Restaurant Charlie have been circulating for some time. But one element of the high-end Las Vegas restaurant trade that aids in their survival during these tough economic times is the hotel money that backs them up. Many of these places are "lost-leaders" that don't generate enough revenue on their own to stay open-even in good times. Yet part of the "mirage" if you will, of a hotel like The Palazzo is to have a restaurant row of expensive, stylish, restaurants like Restaurant Charlie and Bar Charlie. And yes, even with only two customers, and sagging revenues from gaming, some executives will tell you that it still makes sense for the Palazzo "brand" to keep supporting these restaurants. ← I beg to differ somewhat on the "loss leader" philosophy. The only outlet in casino/hotels that tends to be a loss leader is the buffet although in local properties this outlet is squeezed for all it is worth and is expected to be profitable, hence the less expensive items filling the bulk of the spots with the occasional "high value" protein taking a starring role. Trust me, I've gotten dizzy on numerous occasions staring at P&L's detailing every financial activity that takes place in the restaurants that I've worked at in Las Vegas, loss is not acceptable. It might be interesting to note that the Venetian does not have a buffet. It seems that loss (although many argue that it is a driver for foot traffic) in any form is something that the ownership is not interested in. Additionally, the restaurants at the Venetian/Palazzo from what I understand are not owned by the property, they are leased by the individual outlets. In most other properties on the strip the restaurants are owned by the hotel but management fees are paid monthly to their respective motherships usually on a base plus percentage of sales method. True, having gaming and room revenue helps to pay the electric bill (unless activity base accounting is implemented - but honestly damn near everything is going to cost you one way or another in these places) but between property wide allocations, union bennies and an assorted menagerie of other charges F&B outlets aren't really seeing much if any "float" from the gaming floor. While I am sure that there are isolated examples of allowing an outlet to continue even when the numbers don't add up that would be a very, very rare exception indeed. Vive le profit!
  5. Melanger

    Gellan

    It is for sale here: http://www.tienda.com/food/products/te-06....CFRNOagodSwcKXg
  6. How would you do it? Process it in a food processor, then stuff into the PJ container and freeze? ← I am currently without Paco but yes, I think that the food processor/Paco combi method would work really well. I also think that using whole nuts (or even better, granulated peanuts - way cheaper and they would pack together better in the canister) would yield a slightly more textured version. The only thing that I would be concerned with insofar as the Paco goes is that it tends to make things with singular flavor profiles taste slightly burnt or toasty. I think it is because of the massive friction. Compare a vanilla ice cream in a Paco and a vanilla ice cream spun in a normal machine - you'll see what I mean. That being said, the toastiness might not be a bad thing with the peanut-y goodness. You could probably do the granulated peanuts, some salt and some cream in the Paco tin and make a killer fresh peanut parfait. But I digress... If I can track down a loaner Paco I'll do the side by side. Fun fun fun!!!
  7. Has anyone tried using a Paco Jet?
  8. Melanger

    Michel Richard Souffle

    You could probably spray some parchment with Vegelene or something like that, dust it with superfine sugar and roll it into a tube that would sit in a stainless steel ring for the base. Make the meringue using swiss method but with less sugar and the addition of Eisan or the like. Pipe it into the bottom of the tube and bake it. You should have fewer problems unmolding it because there is no intersection between dish and product. I'd think that you would be able to pull the whole tube out of the ring and unwrap it. At this point I'd be more nervous about servers making rash movements with the plate and toppling it over than having it deflate. As long as you warm the whites, use an egg white stabilizer and build your foam slowly souffles are actually pretty stable. I've seen them sit for at least 10 minutes without deflating using this method. In fact we used to bake off extra souffles at the end of the night, pull the tops off them and eat them like a muffin top with a slathering of vanilla bean ice cream, no collpasing involved, just tasty goodness.
  9. Melanger

    Michel Richard Souffle

    Sounds like you need a souffle pump... Seriously then: We used to make all of our souffles before service and they kept just fine. Just use a powdered egg white (Eisan is the best) mixed with equal parts powdered sugar. Blend a little of the whites into the powder mixture and mix until smooth. Add this mix back into the lot of the whites and put it on the mixer on 2. Keep going until it gets to really soft peaks and start adding in the granualted sugar. Whip on 2 until a good meduim peak forms. By the way, you get maximum stability and maximum volume by gently whipping things (the cell walls on the air bubbles are stronger) on 2 than beating the crap out of them on 3. Anyway, its been a long time but I think that we did something like 750g. of whites and 50g. each of the sugar and Eisan. I don't have the recipe handy but that should get you off to a good start, you're going to have to play with it. Also, when you are buttering and sugaring your ramekins be sure to go back around and make one final sweep of the brush so the marks go directly from the bottom to the lip of the dish, we really found the this helps with the rise. As mentioned above, wipe the lip of the dish off with pointer finer and thumb and then fill with the mix in a piping bag with a big gaping hole cut in it, at least and inch so you don't squish the air out of the mix as you are piping it. Pipe cleanly, don't get any on the edges and leave a slight hump in the middle of it. No paper, no string, no nothin'. We would make them up at 4pm-ish, put them in the fridge and when service started we would pull a few out to start warming to room temp. they were fired in a 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. The finished souffles were at least 6+ inches for sure, they don't collapse right away either, so there is time for the runners to pick it up with out the usual panicky hub-bub associated with souffles. Hope this helps!
  10. Melanger

    Outlook for schooling grim

    I wouldn't let the opinion of one, possibly dissatisfied, individual devalue my entire educational experience. Cooking school is sort of like an outline for the first chapter of a novel that you alone have to write the entire body of. Some outlines are more developed or more informed than others, but it is ultimately up to you to fill in the gaps and expand the concept, working, reading, eating and thinking along the way so that your version of the novel is the version that satisfies you the most. If the chef-instructors aren't adding up to your expectations, have fun with it, learn more and challenge the hell out of them. You'll probably get more out of trying to be a smart aleck with these guys than abosrbing and regurgitating what a seemingly more qualified instructor might gently spoon into your mouth, agape with awe, no questions asked on your part. Keep the faith!
  11. Melanger

    Painting Cake with Silver Dust

    Hi, have you asked the couple about the alcohol? I am a Mormon, and it wouldn't be a problem with anyone I know. Unless they are really out there, it shouldn't be a problem. Heaven forbid, I actually cook with wine It isn't like sneaking in pork at a Jewish wedding. ← Well, my bad. I didn't specifically ask this particular client but I know from other parties that we have done for Mormon functions that the BEO would specifically state no alcohol - I assumed, you know what they say about that. I'll talk to her and find out the deal-i-o. I had another brainstorm though, perhaps mixing the powder with clear piping gel and then thinning out that mixture with water might work, at least it would have more body. I'm interested in trying out the the oil rubbed technique, it might be a good look to file away for future use. I've used the gold and silver sprays before but mostly on top of a chocolate shiny glaze and only occasionally on fondant just to give a cake a finishing "sheen" Thanks for all of the good ideas - I'll let you know what I figure out.
  12. Hi Everyone - I have a question about painting fondant or piping with Silver dust. I normally use Vodka or Everclear so the liquid part evaporates quickly and doesn't make the color run but I am making a wedding cake for a Mormon couple at the end of this year and I can't use any liquor. I am thinking of using distilled water as a medium for the silver dusts but before I go and build a test cake (need to see how it holds up under refrigeration, etc.) I wondered if any one has any alternate ideas about some non-liquor mediums that might work. Thanks!
  13. Here is a little bit from an online job posting that I found really amusing: "Ideal candidate(s) must have a passionate desire to run his or her own kitchen and a culinary degree from CIA—culinary degrees from other institutions might be considered depending on level of experience and other factors—candidates without a culinary degree however will not be considered."
  14. Melanger

    Keeping Your Jacket Clean

    If you're not concerned with having your jackets forever wash them in the machine with tri sodium phosphate (the stuff that you use to degrease your driveway before tarring it) and then again with bleach and laundry soap. Just make sure to complete the first wash (tri sodium) before starting the bleach cycle. Combining the two can result in some dangerous fumes. The best answer is professional washing but whatever industrial grade soap they use generally limits the lifespan of a jacket to a year to 18 months. Happy washing!!
  15. Melanger

    black ceilings in bakery

    You might want to check with your local health and fire department. There are generally regulations regarding what type of paint or ceiling tiles for that matter, can be use in food production facilities. What is on the ceiling can theoretically get into the food so in Las Vegas for instance, there are regulations specifying what type of tiles you can use in a suspended ceiling. We can use the hard, dense plastic coated cement board tiles, but we cannot use the more porous looking office ceiling type tiles. The cement based ones are fire rated (not sure for how many hours) for a longer amount of time wheras the more porous ones have a lower rating. This can really be a serious concern. We just had one of the larger commercial bakeries in town burn down last summer because the fire got up into the ceiling above the sprinklers and couldn't be put out in time to save the building. Looks are great but safety is better!
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