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Everything posted by Irishgirl

  1. Kerry, you should check out this interview with Christie: http://www.cbc.ca/2017/saskatoon-food-scene-christie-peters-1.4350496
  2. So Christie and Kyle style! (Her hubby Kyle worked for me too, at Feenie's.) Christie has a blog called Crust in the Kitchen. (She garnered the nickname Crusty in one of her kitchen jobs.) I've been keeping tabs on them since they moved to the 'Toon by reading about them on the blog and on FB. She is very intermittent with it, as she is so busy with the three businesses. (I think they also have a vintage clothing store called "Goldie's General.") Back before I met Christie, she fashion modelled for a number of years. She still has the body for it and posts photos of her wearing some of the items that they sell in the store. Seriously, the woman is an all rounder. She sees something that she wants to do, and she just does it. She grew up in Saskatoon, and always loved the local flora and fauna. She has taken appreciating it and being environmentally responsible to a level that most people wouldn't even consider. I am so proud of her (and Kyle) for following their dreams and taking charge of their lives. They did it so quickly. I think it was 6 years after she walked into my kitchen that they opened the Hollows. Hella inspiring!
  3. Perspective is everything! I suppose for her, she was nervous to begin with. She was expecting to find Rob Feenie back there, and then found me running my line. (She literally walked in from the dining room and started talking to me in the middle of a busy lunch or brunch!) I didn't have time to grill her for long, because I was busy. But I have been told (even in high school) that I am extremely intimidating. (I don't think I am, and I don't intend to be, but that is what people think when they find a strong woman!) She might have remembered the talk we had after she showed up for her stage. I literally didn't know what I could get her to do, as I didn't know what she was capable of. So I asked her a pile of questions and then showed her how to do things exactly the way that I wanted them done, and she ran with it from there.
  4. Christie walked into my kitchen at Feenie's one day and asked if she could work for me. It was the middle of service and I was taken by surprise. I asked her a few simple questions about her experience (basically none) and told her to come in for a stage. I said if I still liked her after 4 days, I would hire her. She always was fearless and ambitious. And she always had the right attitude. I love that she has been so successful without compromising her values. And yes, I did hire her. (Obviously)
  5. And yes, we got rather out of hand here in Western Canada (read Vancouver). We all got to know each other so well that there were several inside jokes going around.
  6. In actuality I don't have a restaurant. I used to be a chef at several different restaurants, but now I am teaching culinary, baking, pastry, chocolate, bread and sugarwork. I even recently took a course through Ecole Chocolat, (as faculty development) which I understand that you have been affiliated with.
  7. @nwyles owned the Hamilton Street Grill in Yaletown until last July or August. He sold it after a good run of 20 years. And no, Ling didn't work there. Last I heard, she had moved to Seattle.
  8. Ayden is worth going to. The chef knows his stuff. You may also want to look into Primal Pasta and The Hollows. Both are owned by a former employee of mine, and she (and her husband) are great at what they do. http://thehollows.ca/ http://primalpasta.ca/ Tell us what you find!
  9. What a great, simple exercise -- which any cook could do at home whenever he or she makes any given item. In addition to wine, salt, pepper lemon, you could have cayenne, sugar, vinegar, a few drops of olive oil... the list is practically endless. Janet has some similar experiments in her terrific eGCI course on taste, and David Thompson introduces the concept of balance in his seminal Thai Food with a step-by-step layering experiment. ← Agreed. The list could be endless. For my purposes, I was using it as a lesson in making sure that the cook understood proper seasoning and how proper seasoning affects the taste of wine and food. If the food is not seasoned properly, the wine tastes terrible! But it is also an exercise in balance and understanding that balance. So you could take it into further realms and go into hot, sour, salty and sweet, but using different chilies or spices, different souring agents, and different salty and sweet components. The point is to document and discuss the results. Another thing that comes to mind is a section in Ruth Reichl's book, Garlic and Sapphires. She tells a story about having a date with a stranger who very obviously considers himself a connoisseur. He tells her about a wine filing system that he has from memory in which he relates the flavours of each wine to certain images and scenes in his head. He describes them to her, and she pictures them too. It is an interesting trick, and may help with articulating the various subtleties that Chris is thinking about.
  10. Developing your palate can be very hard. But there are things that can help. I think that first and foremost, a person needs to concentrate on one thing at a time. It is a process. So rather than concentrating on flavours in dishes per se, you should be taking individual products of various varieties and set up tastings. I think that one becomes more aware of the subtleties when you can directly compare the differences. So you could do this with cheese. A nice variety of cheeses without condiments can be compared with regards to texture, firmness, flavour, and milk origin. Make sure to close your eyes and remove all other distractions when tasting. You could take this further and compare only one kind cheese. For instance, you could try different types of parmesan. Domestic, Reggiano, Padano, and Bella Lodi. There are differences, and I think that in order to define those differences, you need a direct comparison. You can do this with wine as well, chocolate, proteins, fruit, vegetables.....the options are limitless. But it obviously will take time. If you have someone or two people with you to discuss the differences, it makes things even more interesting. Have a weekly tasting night. In 52 weeks you will have covered 52 items. It could be that your sense of smell may need developing as well. Smell is 70% of your taste, and that alone could affect your perception of things. Practice smelling things before you taste them. Do it with your eyes closed! Try to identify the smells first. Think about something that you can relate that smell to. Another exercise I do with my apprentices is a seasoning exercise. You cook four pieces of chicken per person (or any other meat or fish, but it has to be four pieces of the same thing) without any seasoning. Then you put the four pieces in a line on a plate. You have a glass of wine ready and available. You also have salt, pepper, and a wedge of lemon available for every person. The first piece of protein is consumed plain. I ask them to think about the flavour of that first piece and then to take a drink of the wine. I get them to write down the flavours or sensations that they encounter. For the second piece of protein, I get them to season it very lightly with salt and pepper before tasting it. And again, they taste the wine. Write down observations. For the third piece of protein, I ask them to season it with salt and pepper and add a couple drops of lemon juice. Taste. Think. Drink Wine. Write Observations. For the final piece, they are asked to eat it plain again. Think. Drink Wine. Write Observations. The differences are very pronounced. People always look at me with wonder when I get them to do it. It teaches a lot about balance in dishes. Once you understand that balance, it is easier to critique a dish as a whole. As for vocabulary......I think that that will come with time.....but I don't think that a great vocabulary of descriptors necessarily denotes an educated palate. Have fun with it. I don't think that it should be a tedious process. What's tedious about tasting many different things?
  11. Total disrespect for house equipment! Or any equipment.
  12. fmed, visit Ah-Beetz. The crust is worth it alone. The toppings do need improvement, but Terry (the owner) is working on it. Slowly but surely. We had to wait a bit before we could get our pizza there. My husband hates waiting for food, but when he had this pizza, he said that it was worth the wait. Normally it doesn't take long for their pizzas, but they had sold out everything the night before, and didn't open on time the day that we went. (He had to restock everything.) The other problem with Vancouver and good pizza, is I believe that city council or the health inspectors or the fire chief (one of them...I don't know which) doesn't allow any new wood-fire ovens in Vancouver. So we are stuck with deck ovens and Doyons. The few that are left that exist are held to ridiculous regulations for safety. Tried making pizza on my grill the other day with Terry's dough recipe. The dough turned out perfect (but could have used another day's worth of cold fermentation) but the grill sucked as a cooking medium (I put my stone on it). I need to build a brick oven somewhere. I bet I would have a hard time getting a permit.
  13. I really miss Bangkok and Chiang Mai. I would say that I like Chiang Mai better. We found much better food there, and the cultural feel there was far more apparent. I found some fabulous art at the night market both times that we were in Chiang Mai. And not your regular garish painted knockoff crap. So much to be seen at that nightmarket! That said, the food courts of Bangkok are amazing. Siam Paragon is vast! I had some of my best food in Bangkok there. I wish our food courts had food like that! I also find that the food in the beachy resort areas to be not so nice. We were in Phuket, and the food sucked. It could have been just the beach that we were at, but all of the restaurants were catering to the European palate. So there was an Italian place, and a German place and a French place and it just went on and on like that. And none of the food was anywhere near good quality, but I guess it was supposed to provide something familiar for the tourists. Very little Thai food, and what there was, was not great. However, we did make it to a Muslim fishing village, and the food there was tremendous! I guess you have to seek out the good stuff. We had a better time on Koh Chang. Would love to compare photos sometime.
  14. I know that this is a bit untoward, but I have heard that if you get your husband to deposit some of his urine around the property, that the 'coons will not bother you. I have been contemplating this procedure myself, as we have regular visitors at night and they are digging up my beds.
  15. The schedule from Granville Island Ferries is here. You can also get the pricing. I think it is $4 to go to Yaletown. It should not be a trip of more than 10 minutes, tops. Bluewater Cafe website. Map to Bluewater. Basically you would walk up Davie St from the ferry terminal and then turn right on Hamilton. It is on the next block. Another 10 minute walk, tops. But I would check to see how late the ferries run. Reservations recommended.
  16. I have heard that Octopus Garden is supposedly decent.
  17. Irishgirl


    I HATE one page resumés! People use it as an excuse to put "references available upon request".....which drives me batty. Those resumés get tossed in the bin the minute that I see those words. Supply references. Check spelling and grammar. Provide details about your job in each establishment. Concise is good, but so brief as to give no info, is deadly. Don't put jobs that have no bearing on the job that you are applying for. For instance, if you are applying to be a cook, don't put down all of those years that you were cutting hair. Provide current contact info! Good luck!
  18. Just putting it out there...... ........has anyone seen any Kaffir Lime Trees for sale? I have looked in numerous places, but am stumped. TIA.
  19. Irishgirl

    Banana Blossom

    If you are going to candy them, I would blanch the pieces first, as they can be quite bitter. The other thing is that once peeled or cut, the blossoms oxidize and go brown quite quickly. You don't want to use the outer purplish coloured petals, (they are very tough) you want to use the inner more white/yellowish petals. These are very traditional in either a braised dish or in Thai style-salads. Usually they are blanched first for the salad, and then quickly cooked with the salad ingredients. The salads are generally chili based or coconut milk based. I am sure that there are some Filipino applications as well, but am less familiar with those.
  20. This is good advice. The thing is, that although you feel that things should be left as is, there are things for the chef to consider when a pastry menu is created. The chef will have the last word. Most pastry chefs don't get the level of autonomy that they would like until they build a level of trust and respect with the exec. If you are disagreeing over ego issues, then that won't happen. The point is that you should be working with the chef and making suggestions and submitting samples of desserts before they get put on the menu. It is great that you are passionate about your work, but getting upset over the wording of your dessert is a waste of time and energy. The chef may understand what his clients want more than you, or may understand marketing better. But working with that person and communicating about things rather than letting yourself get upset about this will be far better for you in the long run. I had a great pastry chef who was really gung ho about trying new things and making herself stretch, but she didn't understand certain things about balance with regards to her work. She liked making sugar bombs. She submitted lots of desserts to me, but none would be on the menu until she learned that the feedback that I was giving her was for her own development. She learned that we could work together, and her work became far better. Her desserts had far more depth. BTW, although I haven't been to pastry school, I do understand pastry very well. I can run a pastry station if need be. Thinking that the two departments should be completely separate is the wrong approach. In order for the diner to get the best experience, the departments need to work together.
  21. Last November a friend and I went out for a rather expensive dinner that was extremely disappointing, but at the end, just before we were given the bill, we were served a fresh batch of ethereal-smelling vanilla cotton candy. I have never liked cotton candy, but was tempted to taste this confection just because of the smell. It was fantastic. It led me to thinking about other flavours of cotton candy that would be just as enticing. Now I know that the people who made this probably just stuck some vanilla beans in the sugar for a week or so before they make the candy, but if I were wanting to make another flavour, a more complex flavour, what would I use to flavour the candy? From what I gather, the candy is made from straight sugar. If it can't be an infused syrup, then would you use an oil based flavouring, or an alcohol based flavouring......or ? My concern is that I wouldn't want to damage the machine that I would be working with. From what I understand, anything water-based is a no-no. Suggestions?
  22. Chicharrons with spicy vinegar are traditional in places like the Philippines.
  23. oh boy. TOTALLY AGREE. his attitude is disturbing, not the fact that he doesn't love food the way you do. ← Agreed as well. I would also venture to add that the attitude is very immature. That in itself sets off warning bells. My husband was not an adventurous eater when we first met, but he has come along nicely once he realized that food could be more than fuel. He is a picky eater, but even that has relaxed a lot in the last two years or so. (We have been together for 20.) He supported my decision to go to cooking school, and has purchased many toys for me to play with so that he could benefit from the spoils. (Think industrial ice cream machine, knives, pasta machine, sausage stuffer.....etc.) He doesn't like cooking at all. But even tonight, I negotiated to have him peel the veg for dinner. Maturity and support from your partner is huge.
  24. I think I saw them at Gourmet Warehouse..maybe call first. 604-253-3022 ← Ming Wo has them, Home Outfitters, and I have also seen them at the Cookshop in City Square.
  25. I think that that meal was on a Tuesday? ETA: After doing research.....nope, Monday.
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