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Everything posted by kitchpig

  1. For chocolate cakes & especially flourless chocolate cakes, we use a coat of spray release & sugar instead of flour. Also the temp is important, not to cool, and not to hot. Practice, practice, practice......
  2. True, I'd rather avoid a bad meal, but it happens. All in all though, some of my best ideas have come from some pretty bad meals. Guess I'm just making lemonade.
  3. Being a cook, I really don't like to work so hard when I go out. I don't want to 'suck' the best out of the chef, I'm willing to be surprised and actually enjoy turning myself over to the kitchen. I know that they will try harder. Maybe it will be a hit, and maybe a miss, but I learn something from every meal I eat, good or bad.
  4. I don't care about the Bennens. They can do what they want. A business is not a child, it's a business, a thing - they die all the time. Bigger picture being shown all of us now it that there is 2 Americas. It has been obvious to me in every kitchen I have worked in for the last 30 years. The issue is food. Not restaurants, and fond memories of past meals. There will be time for all that later. Donate some time & money & energy. Our whole business depends on food & people eating, and now is the time to get back to the core & not the bottom line.
  5. regarding down time - as I said above, my night people rock. As time allows they make bases for ice creams & sorbets, cookie doughs, and chocolate dip baby bananas. Our full time plater, when time allows, actually cuts prime rib and bakes the lobster pot pies for the main line.
  6. just a note of clarification - that's 75 - 125 desserts a night, and about 50 or so for lunch. The restaurant serves about 400 - 600 meals a day. That's a lot of sugar.
  7. Three months into opening my sixth restaurant, I think I am finally getting a notion on staffing needs and who has the right sensibilities and energy to benifit the whole operation, of course I have been wrong before and just might be fooling myself this time around. I actually have several platers. One who plates five nights a week and several helpers who rotate out of the pantry to help durring crunch times. I also have a woman who makes popovers from 4 - 9, who also helps with plating. My assistant (a woman who is an absolute dream, a muse, and a friend), and I stagger our shifts so that one of us is in the kitchen when the evening crew arrives to go over the endless details of what has changed, where everything is, what is low, what is new, number of resos for the night, and just to touch base and get a sense of how things are working for them. We have designed most of the elements of our desserts so that the platers job is simplified for speed and ease. This is one of the reasons we constantly talk with our platers to find out how we can do things to make their jobs easier. We have two restaurants in one building. One is a more casual lounge & outdoor dinning with fairly straight forword desserts. Plating time for these is about one to two minutes. The other is upscale steak & seafood, and the desserts are all trios, so take about four to six minutes. The trios have a lot of elements, but they are all pre-made, so it is simply a job of placement. Luckily, our platers are all logical and organized control freaks, which is really helpful in pastry work. Also, we all follow the tao of KISS (keep it simply silly). Covers range from 75 - 125 a night. The crunch is from 8:00 - 9:30, when we get hit from both sides fairly relentlessly. My assistant and I work with the platers or solo plating several times a month. We enjoy the rush and it also keeps our heads open to what is the simplest way to get plates out fast and still looking cool. Plus we keep an ongoing relationship with our night people. I hope this is a little helpful. We have been very blessed to have developed a great crew that really enjoys supporting each other. One way we try to find this is we interview at least 3 times, and by at least 2 different people, then work closely with new hires. We show new hires exactly how we plate, how we set our mise, all our little secrets, then we listen to them. A new view is always enlightening. Of course, sometimes its maddening for a couple of control freaks. No yelling ever!
  8. Sorry, my bad. It is J B Prince, not JP (basket ball player eh?). It is a bit pricey if you in the far north (it's a bit pricey down here in the southwest too, but so precise). Wendy's advice has the goods. You most likely do have all the goods to keep you going for quite a while, it just takes some 'newthink'. Pretend like you are cooking for a slightly large doll, or just think small, but in a expansive way.
  9. 30% sugar is my rule of thumb for non-anglaise (no eggs) ice cream. And as Andy Roony (sp?) told Martha -'if it's got eggs in it, it's not ice cream, it's frozen custard'. In my restaurant we use a lot of molds for ice cream (we like odd shapes) and simple pour the base in molds & freeze. The chocolate comes out just like a fudgesicle! We also do our sorbets as popsicles, so we are mostly ice cream machine free (we use an Italian freezer for our bulk ice cream & fillings for ice cream sandwiches) ((25 - 30% sugar for sorbets, 25% for popsicles)).
  10. Friend & fellow student of Susanna Trilling here also. In Oaxaca, It's cow stomach, but also the milk is raw, extremely fresh (that day), and cooked over open fire and takes on some smoke.
  11. stainless steel! stainless steel! stainless steel! (always flat bottom and always from China)
  12. At a restaurant I used to co-own in southern Utah, we had about a half acre we used for a garden for the kitchen. One morning we were gathering vegies for fresh gazpacho to be served that evening. While gathering we knoshed on the okra which had just started coming on and was only about a inch long. It was so tender & crisp we decided it would be great in the soup. We finished the soup and put it in the walk-in to chill for several hours before service. When the first order came in, of course they wanted our pride & joy - the ultimate fresh soup from our garden. The ladle went in, and as it came up I gasped. Long strings of of snotty looking tomato puree with bits of vegies hung down from all around the ladle. We tried to break up the congealed mess with a whisk, but it just made it worse. It tasted great, but looked like a bowl of bloody nose. Lesson learned - after that all okra was always pickled, fried, or boiled.
  13. I've been making minis for dessert trios at the restaurant I work for. Any dessert can be a mini, all you need is the right tools and a little imagination. Our sorbet trio is 2 oz popsicles (made with plastic soap molds), a 4 oz root beer float ( 1/2 oz scoop ((J P Prince)) for the vanilla sorbet, and a 3 oz 50/50 bar (made in a 3 oz stainless steel ring mold). I also make panna cottas in unusual shapes using again, soap molds (available at craft sites on the internet). Unusual amuse dishes also make great molds. J.P. Prince carries a large selection of small silicone molds which are great for baking mimi cakes, also candy molds, baba molds, and all the tiny tools that make minis much easier. I am in love with my 1/2 oz scoop, especially for mini ice cream cones and the cutest cookies in the world (which you can decorate with teeny tiny pastry tips) Obviously, I really, really like mini desserts. Over the years I just got tired of always going for high drama with pastry, and as I got older my sense of humor grew. Now I think that dessert should make you smile, if not outright laugh.
  14. Whenever I fly down to Oaxaca, I leave and return via the Tijuanna airport. This way I rarely have my luggage inspected and also save about $200 on my airline ticket.
  15. I need help. Have been trying several tuile recipes for desserts at a restaurant which is directly on the water here in San Diego. I'm storing them airtight, but when doing a large amount of platings, most lose their turgidity. Anyone have a bullet proof recipe or just some hints on what I can do?
  16. crickets roasted with garlic, lime, and chiles, agave worms prepared the same way, and goat's head soup....all in Oaxaca
  17. If it is the fine & delicate comals of Oaxaca your looking for, I have never found them along the border. I brought a small (13") comal back from Oaxaca last year wrapped in clothes in my suitcase and it made it. The larger comals (20 - 30") are a different story. I suggest that you contact Susanna Trilling (seasonsofmyheart.com). She has a cooking school in Oaxaca and knows potters who make some of the finest comals around. You might even get her to ship them for you. Regardless, she is a wealth of information and a really great person. Good Luck!
  18. Your cake sounds like the wedding cake Martha Stewert did in Julia Child's book 'Baking with Julia'. It's an illustrated step by step with many helpful hints, including sharp corners. It might be on Martha's web site also. Good luck!
  19. If you grow passion fruit, trim it early to encourage branching. I have 3 vines on my back fence and it's like a 50 yard hedge. Occasional triming keeps them from running wild and seems to produce more fruit. Good luck!
  20. Hell's bells for Hell's Kitchen - still it has to be better than fox's 'Kitchen Confidential' coming this fall. A situation comedy (?) with nothing in common with the book except the title. Tony must be fuming, and hopefully sueing.
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