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Posts posted by kpzachary

  1. Ken Oringer has been putting out cutting edge food for a long time now. If there was ever a real "foodie" restaurant in Boston it is Clio. You can also go next door to Uni for great sushi.

    There are other restaurants as well like, Salts or Craigie Street Bistrot in Cambridge if you're near Harvard.

    There is also great pizza in Boston. Santarpio's is in the East End, and Pizzaria Regina is in the North End.

    Via Matta is a very good contemporary Italian restaurant from Michael Schlow in the Back Bay.

    I don't know what your schedule is, but I hope it includes Fenway Park, and if it does you have to have a Fenway Frank.

  2. I think that every FNG gets their hand held for a while in most kitchens. I also think that your performance will gain you the amount of respect that you deserve. It will probably always take longer for you to get that respect than you think it should, because you are a woman. Don't get me wrong, I have great respect for women and especially one that can throw down in the kitchen. The majority of the guys who do this, do it, and don't realize it. It probably is not intentional. If you are patient I am sure it will pass, and if it doesn't, it needs to be addressed.

    I think the best way to bring up the issue is over a round of drinks after a shift. "Seriously guys, what's with the f*#cking hand holding?" This will force them to face the issue or at least realize that there is one.

  3. The question "WHY?", or "WHY NOT?", is how things are improved and evolved. That being said, everything has its limit. Asking so many questions to the point of becoming annoying or asking questions at the wrong time can get you in trouble with certain chefs. When things are slow in the kitchen, this is the time to pick the brains of your coworkers. As for myself, I love when my cooks ask why things are the way they are. If I don't know the answer I will not stop looking for it until I find it. This is a way that I continue to improve and evolve as a chef.

    Another thing to remember is, the answers to your questions are in front of your face. You obviously have internet access. Every culinary question can be answered right here. With a little extra effort you can gain a wealth of knowledge. I prefer to learn things by doing my own research. I feel that by putting the extra effort into it makes it more likley that I will remember it and it feels good to accomplish things on your own.

    Finally, when it is busy, and your kitchen is in the shit, "Yes Chef!" is always the right answer, no matter who you work with.

  4. First get a job in the industry while you are in high school. I can't tell you how many kids were in my class at culinary school that had no idea what they were getting into. Most of them had courses that were suppose to prepare them durng their high school years, but they had no real experience, and soon a lot of them failed or just gave up. I suggest working in the best restaurant in your area that will hire you doing what ever they will hire you to do. Work hard and quiet and don't forget to watch the chefs and try to learn as much as you can.

    When you are finished with high school, if you still want to be in the industry, you should go to culinary school. The food industry has become very competitive and you pretty much need a degree to get a well paying job these days. Culinary school will give you the foundation that you need to be successful in this fast paced, ever evolving industry.

    That being said, there are many very good schools out there. It is important to remember a few things when choosing which school. One is the financial responsibility. I hope that it is not an issue for you, but for a lot of people fresh out of culinary school there is a big shock coming to them. They realize that they are tens of thousands of dollars in debt and are making a shit salary. I was lucky to not have this problem, but I have worked with a lot of chefs who have refinanced their student loans two or three times, and are expecting to be paying those loans of until they are sixty. One way to avoid this is to apply for as many scholarships as possible. It is time consuming and dissapointing when you get rejected, but trust me it can really pay off.

    Another thing is that no matter what school you choose, "you get out of it what you put into it". You can choose to ,just get by or you can take the ball and run. When you are in school ask questions, and study hard. You might think that what they are teaching you is not that important, but it is all important. And ten years down the line when you are interviewing for the Exec. Chef job of your dreams they won't give a damn which school you went to, as long as you went and finished.

    Finally I truly believe it is most important what you do the five years after school. When there is a opportunity to do an externship in Europe, fight for that chance. If you look at the most successful chefs in the country, they all have worked in Europe at some point. Next, work with the best, to become the best. When you are young is the best time to suffer the abuse and long hours that a Five Star, Five Diamond, Three Star restaurant demands. Lastly, teach yourself. Read eveything food related and never lose site of your goals.

    Good Luck!

  5. My father serves a spinach salad at his restaurant that is delicious but the non-educated cooks (for lack of a more dimeaning name) have a hard time mixing the dressing.  Every time any of us order it we get just oil, is there an emusifier that would help fix this or does he just need smarter cooks.


  6. The pink salt that you should use is the Insta Cure #2. This is what TK ment by pink salt. It is quite commonly used in torchon as well as other forms of charcuterie. The nitrates help keep the desired pink hue as well as acting as a light preservative.

  7. "Among the dishes destined to make world debuts on Delmonico's tables were lobster Newberg, a dish of Caribbean origin cooked tableside with rum, cream, and cayenne in a chafing dish; Baked Alaska, to mark the snow lathered outpost's reclassification as an official U.S. territory; a cut of boneless rib eye proprietarily designated "Delmonico steak"; mellow potatoes Delmonico, layered in a gratin with cream, cheese, and scraped nutmeg; chicken à la king; eggs Benedict; and, reputedly, the first ground beef patty borne to table as a sandwich, possibly fingering the Delmonicos as the parental burger kings."

    *Taken from the July 2007 issue of Food Arts written by Michael Batterberry on the restoration of the Hotel Fauchère in Milford, Pennsylvania. Its founder was Louis Fauchère, a former Chef at the Delmonico.

    Just as a side note, I don't care if most of the world considers the Hamburger(i perfer them with cheese) junk food, or doesn't consider it a real contribution to cuisine. They sure do eat a lot of them over here in Europe. A let me tell you, they sure know how to f*#k them up!

  8. you forgot potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries, salmon, chocolate, avocados, beans, squashes, quinoa/amaranth, and a whole lotta other stuff.

    Thinking about it, many dishes that we consider thoroughly European in nature, are in fact impossible to produce without the use of New World derived plants.  Its a shame that the US food culture is rife with mono-culture, mass production, and GMO, when we should be able to grow all the heirloom breeds of  this produce.

    Some dishes:

    fry bread



    Most of the things you mentioned come from Latin America, not the US, which I believe is still the "land of opportunity". Or is it?

  9. Homaru Cantu (of Moto restaurant in Chicago) posts on egullet every so often (under the user name electrolux, I believe) and he has posted about this very issue somewhere on here. Because of the tech stuff he does his staff has to sign confidentiality agreements, and he also doesn't allow stagiere anymore. But it's somewhere on egullet - if I were more computer-savvy (and less lazy on my day off!) I could probably find it.

    Inventolux. :biggrin: Thanks. Found his posts about that under the Interlude topic. Interesting reading in that topic.

    When I worked for a restaurant in Mass, which was part of a group of about 5 hotels, I had to sign a contract. It basically stated that I understood the job title, description, wage and time period(it was a seasonal gig). I also had to sign a paper that stated I had read and understood the employee handbook that listed all the company rules and regulations. It was not a legal binding contract that kept either party from teminating the agreed conditions or changing them. It was basically to inform the employee of their rights as well as the employer's rights.

    Were you unionized? I wonder if there's a difference between unionized and non-unionized restaurants in regards to contracts. When I was searching, it seemed unionized shops were more likely to have contracts.

    I am in Germany now and everyone has a contract here. It is much more for the employees benefit than for the company's. It is binding and it makes it very hard for a company to fire an employee. Most contracts are for 12 to 18 months. Although, for say an apprentice, there are shorter contracts and rarley, like in my case there are contracs which have an unlimitted time period. I can quit any time, I just have to give a three weeks notice, which was stated in my contract. The company must work on a "three strikes and your out" system before letting someone go, unless it is something like a theft in which case the law gets involved.

    Where you work now, is it possible to work without a contract? For example, let's say you have a 12-month contract which is expiring at the end of July, and both you and your employees know you're planning to leave the area, but not until September. Will they let you work off-contract for those last 2 months, or would you have to sign a full contract and then give notice 3 weeks before you want to leave?

    I was not and never have been in a union. So, I can't help you with these issues. Although I am sure that any union member must sign a contract of some sort.

    As I mentioned before everyone in Germany has a contract. When I say everyone I mean everyone from the Dishwashers to the Executive Chef, from the Valet to the Servers. At the end of a contract the employee is reviewed and can sign another contract if the company offers it. There are certain cases where a company will offer a short term contract, like in the situation you described. It is just that the enitial contract is in most cases, with the exception of say an apprentice, no shorter than 12 months.

    As for myself I cannot leagaly work without a contract because I need a contract in order to get and keep my residence/work visa. Luckly I have an unlimited contract, but I must reapply for the work visa every 12 months. But that is a whole other, more complicated topic.

  10. When I worked for a restaurant in Mass, which was part of a group of about 5 hotels, I had to sign a contract. It basically stated that I understood the job title, description, wage and time period(it was a seasonal gig). I also had to sign a paper that stated I had read and understood the employee handbook that listed all the company rules and regulations. It was not a legal binding contract that kept either party from teminating the agreed conditions or changing them. It was basically to inform the employee of their rights as well as the employer's rights.

    I am in Germany now and everyone has a contract here. It is much more for the employees benefit than for the company's. It is binding and it makes it very hard for a company to fire an employee. Most contracts are for 12 to 18 months. Although, for say an apprentice, there are shorter contracts and rarley, like in my case there are contracs which have an unlimitted time period. I can quit any time, I just have to give a three weeks notice, which was stated in my contract. The company must work on a "three strikes and your out" system before letting someone go, unless it is something like a theft in which case the law gets involved.

  11. I have to say it all depends on the ice cream itself.

    With soft-serve or frozen custard, which is my favorite coming from west central Indiana, you have to go with the cake cone.

    For traditional hard ice cream or not so traditional hard ice cream like that from Cold Stone Creamery or Ben & Jerry's, my vote is for the waffle cone. I particularly like it when the waffle has been half dipped in chocolate.

    Here in Germany, where the ice cream is somewhere in between hard and soft serve, I unfortunatly, usually go without, because they almost always only offer sugar cones which I can't stand.

  12. I grew up in Indiana where we would always get our meats from a large supermarket in a shrink wrapped package or from the butcher case where they would pull the meat out of cryovac and put it into the case.

    I new there were real Butchers out there but I didn't know where. Until, that is, I moved to Philadelphia. My first day in Philly I decided to put aside the unpacking and went directly to the Italian Market on 9th st. South Philly. This is were I found my first true Butcher. Walking along the street, past the fruit and vegetable stands, past DiBruno Brother's, I came to a most unusual site. Well, it was very unusual to me, coming from small town Indiana. There was three baby lamb hanging in the window of a shop. To a kid who just entered culinary school this was the coolest thing in the world. When I entered the shop I entered a whole new world. There were four older guys behind the counter handing over cuts of meat that I didn't even recognize. There were roasts that were so perfectly tied they looked like a machine did it, and the guys were actually cutting the meat! The store was Espositos.

    I then moved to the Berkshires and later the Islands in Mass. and again i was stuck buying my meat from a supermarket, again in cryovaced containers. I really missed the quality that I could so easily finid in Philly.

    About six months ago, I moved to Germany. Now, I don't want to down play what Espositos means to me. It was the Butcher Shop that opened my eyes to the world of Butchery. That being said, there are Butchers here in Berlin that work on a completley different level.

    Right down the street from my apartment there is a Butcher called, Fleischerei Gottschlich, were they make everything themselves. Everything! Not only do they bring in whole sides of beef, whole lamb, whole pigs, whole hind quarters of veal, and butcher them on site(and they can tell you where the animals come from), they make everything else on site as well. Everything from curing and cooking their own hams(with exception of the parma and black forest, which come from parma and the black forest), to making their own salamis(like 10 diferent kinds), to making their own sausage(around 12 types), to a great Lyonerwurst (like bologna only 100 times better). The list goes on and on. The front of the store is spotless, and about the size of my living room. There are four women behind the counter who always have a smile on their faces, like they really enjoy their jobs. The only down side is that there is always a crowd. I also see this as a positive because this assures that the product is always going to be fresh. Another thing is there is one of these shops in everyone's neighborhood. They are even in the small towns. My girlfriend comes from a small town with about 15,000 people and they have a Butcher like this.

    Why don't they exist in America? If you know of a great neighborhood Butcher shop in your area let us know about it.

    • Thanks 1
  13. Kpzachary..............Did you say "trash bags full of Morels?" OMG!!!! They would have had to bury me in a very large piano box the next day!

    I wish i could post the photos but they are from the early 80's and i don't have them digitalized. The sad part was that we had to actually get rid of a lot of them. We filled our freezer and gave as much as we could to or family and friends. Then, my dad put a sign out in the yard "Free Morels!" Can you imagine doing this today? Today you could sell them for 9 dollars a pound or more. Back then they just weren't as popular. We gave them away! How sad! :sad:

  14. When I grew up in Indiana every spring we would find yellow morels, which we called "pecker head" morels. My fondest memory of my dad was him coming back from a trip to Minnesota with the back of a pick up truck full of trash bags stuffed with morels. We would dust them with flour and fry them in butter and sprinkle them with salt. My mom couldn't cook them fast enough.

    When I moved to the Berkshires in western Mass. I worked at Wheatleigh and we would find hude cepes on the grounds of the hotel. We also had a dream patch of ramps. I like both just simpley grilled with a steak or a peice of fish.

    I have since moved to Germany, and unfortunatly, here in Berlin, there are not to many wilds growing. Although, I was lucky enough to go to the Black Forest a couple of weeks ago and we were picking wild strawberries around Hinterzarten. We just ate them natural.

    When I stumbled appon that bunch of ramps my heart was pounding with excitment. Not that finding mushrooms isn't great. It's just that I grew up with them, the ramps were a new find for me. That was probably my favorite day foraging.

  15. I wish you the best of luck. For an American Chef, assuming you are American, finding lawful paying employment in all European countries can be very complicated and frustrating. It can be so complicated that I don't know where to start.

    First, I suggest going to the countries you are interested in to experience some of the food and culture. Since you are going to Spain, try to find time to go to the UK when you are there. There are a lot of low cost carriers flying between the UK and Spain. When you are in the countries try to go to the restaurants you are interested in. I went to Germany on a vacation and I knew right away that I wanted come back to live here. I saved a lot of money and came here to Berlin six months ago with the goal of staying here for a long time.

    When you decide where you want to go, go to that country's American embassy website. It will have information on how to apply for a visa. Here in Germany, Americans can stay without a visa for three months. When I got here I applied for a tourist visa extention. This gave me six months total to find a job.

    I sarted applying to all the top restaurants in Berlin. (tip: convert your resume into a European style CV in the country's native language.) It was very hard and frustrating searching for a job here. I have a lot of experience, some of it managment, from four and five star restaurants. I was willing to take a step back to a Chef de partie or Demi Chef de partie because my German was by no means perfect. This was a problem. Chefs did not want to hire me for a Chef de partie position because I had too much experience. I would be moving a lot faster than the younger more inexperienced cooks and this would bring imbalance to the line. I understood this but it was so frustrating. Mostly because Chefs didn't want to hire me for a Sous Chef position because I didn't speak enough German. I was between a rock and a hard place. Unstead of giving up, which was not an option, I started taking a German language coarse and and doing stages at all the best restaurants here in Berlin. I learned a lot but I was running out of time and money.

    Then, one day my luck got a little better. I was hired for a Chef de partie position in a five star American owned hotel with a stared restaurant. I was so relieved. (They gave me an unlimited contract. Everyone has a contract in Europe, usually for 12 to 18 months. An unlimited contract is very unusual. This is one thing you must think about. You wrote that you are thinking about six months to a year. Six month paid contracts usually do not exist.)

    Then, things got real complicated. It is next to impossible for an American Chef to get a full EU work visa. You must apply through the country in which you work. In Germany you apply through the state. I am in Berlin and it is itself a state. If I applied in Munich I could work in all of Bavaria. If I want to move to another city, I have to apply for another visa. First, I went to an office with all the appropriate applications, photos, proof of employment, my passport, and proof that I don't have a crimainal record in my home state or here in Germany. Then this office sends these items to another office. They decide if I can be granted a residence visa. With this residence visa I get a work visa which I have to reapply for every 12 months.

    I waited for about a month before I got a reply letter in the mail. This was not good! They wrote me saying that since the unemployment level is so high in the state of Berlin, and there are so many cooks without jobs in the state of Berlin, I have to leave the country by the end of July, for at least three months. If I don't leave, they will "make" me, and I can never return to any EU country. Very nice! It turns out that if I would have applied in any other state in Germany, like Bavaria, or North Rhine Westfalia, I would have been granted my visa.

    Thankfully, the hotel has a contact within the office which provides the work permts. They are now suppose to go to the office that supplies the residence visas and convence them that I am the only one who can match the job requirements.

    I hope that you can learn from my experience. It has been very hard but I have always believed that things worth doing are things worth fighting for. Although it has been a struggle I have really enjoyed everyday here.

  16. There are many ways to go about this. First I have a couple of questons before I give a full reply.

    Are you out of school yet?

    Do you speak any foreign languages?

    Have you ever visited Europe as a tourist?

  17. I grew up in Indiana where I would eat Mike Sells chips. Then, I moved to live with the Massholes and Cape Cod Firecracker BBQ was my fav. Now that I am in Germany the chip selectin is quite a bit smaller, but they do sell Kettle Cooked brand Sweet Asian Chili chips which are by far my favorite, today.

  18. How can one go to Belgium and not eat Mussles and Frites? De Visscherie (visscherie.be) is the best place in Bruges for seafood. Right across from the old fish market.

    And then there is the beer. I can't remember the name of the bar but there is one there just off the center plaza with 500+ Belgium beers. I am sure if you ask at any restaurant they can tell you the name.

    There is also a store a couple of shops down that sells about the same number of beers (not all Belgium, but there were a lot) so you can take some home. They also give you a coupon for a free beer at the bar, so start there.

  19. Radeberger started popping up here in NYC in the past year or so.  Another German pilsner I've just had here very recently was Mahrs Brau, which was nice, but not as crisp and balanced as I prefer -- a bit flabby and nondescript.  Of course, it may well have been the fault of the bar, which has a few too many draught lines (a whopping 66) to be sure they're all clean and fresh...

    But Berliner Kindl Weiss (yes, it's also available here if you look hard enough) is hardly a pilsner.


    Berliner Kindl has been making a pils here for 100 years. They started with weizen but moved on to other styles. They even make a Radler with their pils. It is half beer half lemonade. I can't stand it but it is very popular here in Germany. All of the large brewers make a version of this.

  20. I use the typwriter method. As far as what I eat it with may is a bit different. I like mine Mexican street food style. Seasoned with salt, cayanne pepper, lime juice and a beautiful smear of mayo. MMMMMM! I saw this in Oaxaca, where people were walking down the street with mayo all over their faces. It was comical at the time, but now I understand it.

    A while back, I saw an old Iron Chef episode where corn was the ingredient. During the intro they explained that in Japan they turn the cob vertical, like it grows on the stalk, and eat it tip to tip. They believe this is the best way to get to the tip of the kernels which is where all the flavor is., I tried it, but went back to my typwriter style.

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