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Everything posted by Qwerty

  1. I honestly am all about hospitality and will usually go out of my way to accommodate allergies and special requests, but there has to be a line. I would honestly tell that person to not come. It's not even about making a menu and cooking for her without those ingredients, I just wouldn't be able to guarantee no cross-contamination from all those items. If shes truly allergic to all that I feel sorry for her but I wouldn't want the liability. Good luck!
  2. As a low paid line cook/chef, I can tell you that 300 dollars is a lot of money. I have no doubt that the book will be amazing, indeed, I've been following it with interest since you first started talking about it, but $300? I would love to own a copy of the el Bulli and Big Fat Duck cookbooks, but I don't for the single reason of the price. Honestly that sounds really high. I'm not implying that you haven't "earned" the right to sell it at that price, but you won't be targeting a lot of cooks and chefs with that price point. I think that you should consider selling the volumes seperately or something so I can at least get the chapters on sous vide.
  3. Qwerty


    Benriner is what I've/we've always used in all the professional kitchens I've worked inm and the most likely to find in any high end kitchen. Wouldn't recommend anything else. Just tell your son (with ANY mandoline) to be real careful and use the guard. Cuts on the mandoline are nasty. Really, really nasty.
  4. I went to NECI in Mont. and hope to move back to VT someday. I'm in NH now so not too far away! Burlington, and VT in general, does have a great up and coming food scene, and a lot of the local farmers and producers are top notch.
  5. Qwerty

    Confit myth

    Back in the day confitting wasn't really done for flavor it was a way to store meat for long term. You can "pot" a meat and leave it in the jar for essentially monthsm especially to get through the winter. This ripening process in a true confit is what gives it a flavor boost as well. Nowadays we do it mostly cause it tastes good but back before refrigeration it was a godsend to many people.
  6. Been having trouble making a passionfruit creme brulee turn out. I will say that I am not a pastry chef or anything but I do occasional dessert work and have never had trouble with creme brulees not setting up before. I feel that I am a pretty accomplished cook/chef and am getting frustruated with this thing. Here is my recipe... 1 qt heavy cream 1 qt whole milk 12 oz sugar 14 Egg yolks 2 whole eggs 1/2 vanilla bean 1 cup passionfruit puree (concentrated "Perfect Puree" brand) So, this is a double recipe of a recipe I used to do a test batch...the test batch was the same recipe cut in half (obviously) with the exception that I didn't use whole eggs, just 8 egg yolks. I followed standard custard procedure...scalding, temering, baking covered in a water bath, etc. I added the puree after the custard was tempered. The test batch did not turn out. The flavor was great but the custard was fully cooked but not set, even when cooled completely. So I thought maybe I should use a whole egg or two to help stabalize and set up the custard. So made another batch using the above recipe. Cooked off a couple as a tester...still did not work. So, I thought maybe my ration of eggs/cream was off (which I think it is) so I added 7 more yolks and 1 more whole egg to the remaining batch, and cooked off a few more. They still did not work. The custard is just barely not set but I surely don't need more than 24 eggs do I? Does the passionfruit puree add something to the equation that I am not accounting for? Too much acid interferes with protein coagulation? Something? I'm getting pretty frustruated with this whole thing and am hoping someone has some ideas. Thanks in advance for the help. ~Qwerty
  7. its also known as Butterfisb and does indeed carry some GI distress. At any place we've ever served it we've tried to limit it to less than four ounces a portion to help limit this effect. If you don't eat too much of it it shouldn't be that bad. Its unfortunate that the fish is delicious and makes you want to eat a lot of it.
  8. Qwerty

    Cooking sweetbreads

    I got into a discussion with my exec. a few weeks ago about sweetbreads. After an overnight soak, my understanding was that a light poach in a court bouillon was in order...but not to cook the SB through...like leave them MR. He told me to poach them all the way, then press overnight. I understand my place is to do what he asks, so I did, but just for my own knowledge the "correct" technique is NOT to cook them all the way through on the poach, chill the meat in the liquid (without overcooking), then (if one chooses) pressing and doing a secondary cook. While I understand that there is no 100% right or wrong way, I need some vindication that my technique is the superior one...am I right?
  9. We are at a loss for protein options. We live on the East coast, so a lot of seafood options are limited (sad to say, but I think the Atlantic been completely decimated) and we keep rotating the same few proteins time and time again. Here is a list of things we've done in the last several months: Sweetbreads Veal Chop Beef Filet Lamb Racks Pork Belly Duck Breast Cod Tuna Lobster Scallops Monkfish Salmon Quail Halibut Oysters Probably a couple I am fogetting. The exec. has roundly rejected these items (though I have made my case) Octopus Squab Bison Foie Gras Tongue We plan on getting venison as soon as the farm starts butchering, so did I miss anything? I would love to do brains but I think those are illegal or at least not able to be purchased...what types of things are you guys doing protein wise? I look at that list and think that it is a lot, but I can't help but think that there must be some interesting stuff we are forgetting. Any ideas/thoughts? Please keep in mind that things like braises (short ribs, shanks) we will probably do as the weather turns cold.
  10. Qwerty

    Ethereal Sauces

    I'm trying to get away from a discussion about fundamentals. I feel like I've got the fundamentals down...so lets get past the "make a great veal stock" discussion and move on. Lets just assume that, all things being equal, we'll be starting with a great veal stock and good ingredients like wine, etc. I want to know how they would make sauces at, say, a Michelin 2 or 3 star. I've been trained in several high standard, high end kitchens, so I have a good understanding of some things, but I would love some tips/tricks on what might make a sauce, as they say, "sing." BTW, I might feel better if the only real difference in how I do it vs. how "they" do it is that they are using a $50 bottle of wine vs. my $10 bottle, though I suspect that isn't the only factor Keep the replies coming everybody thanks.
  11. Qwerty

    Ethereal Sauces

    I'm curious to know tips and tricks from other chef's on how to make out of this world sauces. I think my sauces are good and sometimes great, but I can't help but think that they could be better. I'm specifically talking about things like stock (veal) based sauces and reductions. Aside from the fundamentals things like having good stock (both chicken and veal) and using good ingredients like good wine, etc, what are some key things to making really ethereal sauces? Any cool trade secrets anyone would be willing to share? Secret ingredients? I know there are probably discussions on sauce making throughout egullet, but I really wanted to discuss it chef-to-chef and on a professional level. Thanks.
  12. Well, the size of the kitchen shouldn't matter the lingo should be the same. It's not a huge deal, but it's a pet peeve of mine when people get mad at me for not moving out of their way when all they said was behind. LOL, I also do the "heard" thing. Sometimes I catch myself saying "oui" to people. Most of the time I'm hanging out with other restaurant people, so it doesn't matter.
  13. Huge pet peeve of mine that happens all the time. Why would you expect people to move if you shout behind? I'm not even talking about laymen I'm talking about when you are at work. Saying behind means "don't move because I'm behind you" not "move out of my way." When I say behind it's specifically meant for someone to know I am behind them and not to move cause they will run into me. It really irks me to no end when people say behind who want me to move. I would much prefer "reaching" "coming down" "excuse me" etc. I've had co-worker who do that all the time, even to the point that they say "behind" when they are in front of me to get me to move. I like the idea for a post though. I've caught myself doing all sorts of stuff. Cooking thanksgiving dinner (or many other meals) with my family and saying things like "fire the mashed potatoes" or "pop the dressing." I've even set up a "station" at home before...bain marie with spoons, damp wiping towel, etc. Got some weird looks but by god, I need my spoons.
  14. I think that a lot of people could discern a difference. I think Joyce Goldstein hit it on the head when she said that not all mama cooks are women but all show off cooks are men. While I disagree with the term "Show off cook," I think she means that women (even professional) almost invariably (I say almost because there is an exception to every rule, though I can't think of one off the top of my head) are the rustic-homey-elevated comfort food-style of cooking. I mean, are there any female chefs who lead/chef restaurants of similar style as, say, The French Laundry or Alinea, or Charlie Trotters, or Jean Jorge, etc...? I can't think of any. I want to be clear that I am in no way stating that women CAN'T cook that style of food, I'm just saying that it seems that women who run restaurants/kitchens don't cook that way. I think I could tell a difference if I was presented a dish from Alinea vs. a dish from, say, Chez Panisse. But if it were something like two braised rabbit papardelle, one cooked by a man and one by a woman, I don't know if I could tell a difference.
  15. Qwerty

    Sous Vide Braises

    I think that collagen starts breaking down at a much lower temp than 140...I want to say like 120-125, but my McGee book is in storage. In fact, if it didn't break down until 140 then there would be no such think as a medium rare short rib sous vide.
  16. Qwerty

    Open Table

    In my experience, some (if not all) restaurants only open a certain number of slots for open table. So, just because open table says there are no tables it might not be true...you should call or go in person to double check.
  17. I've found vegetables to be great sous vide. I've done carrots, cippolini onions, potatoes, and a few others all with fantastic results. They had a really nice texture, not really al dente but not crunchy either...I don't really know a good word for it but they were soft enough to be nicely cooked but not mushy or falling apart. I also thought the flavor was more intense than a par-boiled or steamed veg. Something about the vac. seal keeping in volatile compounds that might otherwise be lost to the cooking medium, I think. I also applied secondary cooking methods to the veg...like I finished the carrots in butter, thyme and a but of honey (IIRC) and carmelized the onions once they were out of the bag.
  18. This is actually not really a new phenom. A lot of Michelin starred chefs in France/Europe open Bistro's once the starred place is established, in an effort to cash in on their name in a place they don't "have" to be in the kitchen in on a daily basis. Thomas Keller has Bouchon and Ad Hoc, Bolud has Cafe Bolud, DB Bistro, etc. The list goes on. It's an effective way to expand the brand without doing another 3 star place that costs millions to start up, years to pay off, and requires ungodly hours. If you think a lot of those nouvelle french guys, like Bocuse, Loiseu, Savoy, etc all have bistro style places.
  19. Interesting. In the bolognese recipe, the mixture sounds like what I would call a soffrito, and is indeed a great way to make a flavor base for all kinds of things...it's what I use to make tomato sauce as well. Also goes great as part of the mince for meatballs. Larger amounts of water mean more extraction of flavor since the food is cooking longer due to more volume. The chilled salmon fillet is new to me...we always try temper our fish before cooking. I suppose it would be because a chilled fish takes longer to cook, therefore spends more time on the skin side getting crispy. I'm glad that there is a show like this on FN--the only things I ever watch on that network now are ICA and Good Eats.
  20. Qwerty

    HACCP Plans

    come on, someone must have some advice.....
  21. I'm curious, what type of "secrets" is she revealing? I've never seen the show, though I'm familiar with her from ICA.
  22. Qwerty

    Fresh Pork jowl/cheek

    Well, they are a very tough cut that need a lot of cooking, so slow and low is your best bet. A braise or a stew, or a slow roast. I'm not sure if guanciale (sp?) is cheek. I mean, I know it is "jowl" but I don't know if jowl and cheek are the same or not. But guanciale is fantastic.
  23. Wow, I thought veg. done sous vide were great. I've done baby beets, carrots, onions (white pearl), asparagus, baby turnips and artichokes. They were all fantastic. I thought the sous vide method allowed for great texture--they weren't overcooked nor were they mushy. I thought that the flavor was also enhanced, like the beets tasted cleaner and more beet like.
  24. Qwerty

    HACCP Plans

    Thats a great start, thank you. My other question is--do we have to inform the local regulatory body of the HAACP plan, or is it enough to have it in place so that it will meet the satisfaction of the health inspector when he or she asks? Is a HAACP plan an official document that must meet federal/state/local regulations, or is it up to the individual food establishment to come up with it, so long as it satisfies the concerns of the local guys?
  25. I've had great luck with Bostonchefs.com. That and craigslist are really the best sites to use, especially in the Boston area. She could always show it to the restaurant in person to inquire. Sometimes a face to face meeting is harder to dismiss than an e-mail.
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