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Everything posted by Qwerty

  1. Anyone here have any experience with developing HAACP plans? Is it something that can be done by the chefs and implemented on site, or is it something that has to be pre-approved by the board of health? I'm asking because, at my new job, we have a chamber vacuum sealer that they don't use at all because they were told that they would need a HAACP plan (for botulism, mainly) and they were apparently unwilling to develop one. I told my bosses I would do it/look into it. I'm not even talking about cooking sous vide or anything (at least not yet ) but I think a chamber sealer is valuable for things like storage, compression, marinating, etc. It just kills me that they have one (barely used) going to waste. I'm reaching out to you guys because you all may have been in this position before and would know where to start. Is it just something we/I make, post so everyone can see it, and then when the inspector comes and asks questions we can show it to him or her? Or is it more complicated than that? Thanks for the help.
  2. Any of you ever done these before, mystery basket/blind ingredients style? What were they like. I'm talking about at the chef/sous-chef level in a fine dining place. What did you make? What was the thought process when you saw your ingredients? Was the tryout a disaster? Was it great? What did you cook? If you are a chef/owner, what do you look for from potential chefs from these tryouts? What works well, what doesn't? Any horror stories?
  3. It can't be that hard. Surely you make a large batch and reheat in bathes in a bain or 3rd pan of soup, right? You could figure out how much cheese goes into a 3rd pan (or whatever you store it with) and melt the cheese when it comes to temp. Just have the cheese already measured and portioned for when you need to reheat.
  4. That being said (about being quiet), don't be afraid to ask questions. Just pick your moments. Obviously, if someone is busy or its during service, etc, don't be asking tons of rapid fire questions. If you are peeling asparagus next to someone who is doing something similar, questions are appropriate. Just use your head. Work as quickly as you can without compromising quality. No doubt, they would rather you take a little more time and get it right than have to do it over. Show that you care about quality and respect the food. The speed will happen later, and if they know you are new to kitchens, they will forgive your sluggishness (to a point). Never do nothing. If you have finished your task(s) and no one is available to give you something to do, don't just stand there. Grab a broom, do some dishes, etc. The less work they have to do the more time they will have to show you stuff. I would also take a uniform with me just in case they don't have one for you. Or at least call and ask.
  5. I don't see any grammatical errors in your examples, other than a missing hyphen after doughs. I'll admit that the sentences may be just a touch awkward, but I think that the structure actually works well and I've seen much worse. Maybe he just needs a better editor, no? I'd love to see how you would re-write that sentence to make it better.
  6. Would you elaborate on that? I find his writing to be great and, while not a writer or editor myself, I'm not ignorant of the subject and I found your statement surprising.
  7. Dies it depend on the type of establishment at all? A place like Chili's or Applebees is a lot different than a fine dining restaurant.
  8. It would be helpful if you told us a bit more about the recipe. Starch will help. Cream would help stabilize. Not heating it up so hot might help Heating it up to order or in smaller batches As mentioned earlier, acids help as well...the beer might not be acidic enough for the effect
  9. anything on bread or wrapped in a tortilla.
  10. Keller's new(ish) book Under Pressure has a recipe for a corned beef tongue that I've been itching to try. I've been wanting to make my own corned beef for a while and think that a tongue would be delicious. Plus, nobody else in my family would go near it so I'd get to eat it all.
  11. Qwerty

    Prosciutto Shank

    You could cut it into smaller chunks and make a broth with it. Brown the meat lightly in a saucepan, deglaze with a bit of white wine and then add chicken stock. Add a bit of mirepoix, maybe some thyme, and simmer for about 30 minutes. Strain, season, etc. You can use this broth to poach artichokes or white asparagus--or whatever else you might think would be good.
  12. Craft is great, even for lunch, though I haven't had the food in a while. Nonna is great for Italian. A good burger spot is Twisted Root. There is a place in Oak Cliff called Bolsa which is fairly new and getting a lot of positive reviews, though I personally haven't eaten there yet. One of my favs is a place called Maguire's Regional Cuisine in North Dallas. Think upscale comfort food with good service, wine, etc. They have always been consistent and they are reasonably priced as well. The owner also has a place called Rise No. 1 which is a souffle bar. It's pretty cool, though a little bit too "ladies who lunch" for me to frequent. It's good food though and a cool little place/concept. Another place that often gets overlooked is a place called The Mercury Grill. According to the latest review, it's a little inconsistent, but I've always found it to be excellent (though, to be fair, I haven't been in a while). For some reason this place flies under the radar in Dallas though it is really great. The chef was like a finalist to be the white house chef back in 2005. He also is one of the few (if not the only) places in Dallas to employ sous vide cooking. Have fun, I miss Dallas a lot
  13. I think a quick/hot cooking method is the way to go. Also make sure you slice it against the grain as Chris said. Otherwise it will be tasty but pretty damn chewy. I like it with a simply chimichuri style sauce. Just pick some cilantro and parsley, oregano if you want, a clove or two of garlic, and pulse it in a food pro until coarsely chopped. Add some nice olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and even some chili flakes if you want. Let sit for about an hour (or more) before serving. Spoon some of this sauce over the steak right before serving. Really good and simple.
  14. Can't say I'm surprised. Like I said up-thread, the premise is sound and the chef is great, but something in the way the show was edited/produced, whatever, really wasn't good. It's a shame too cause it had a lot of potential and I would love for MPW to find a US audience. He has some great insights and I love hearing/watching him talk about food. The makers of the show really dropped the ball though. It's weird, but I can't put my finger on exactly what was wrong with it--but like I said, has to do with the way the show is put together.
  15. Qwerty

    Working hours

    There is such a range of hours that it's hard to even come up with an average. It varies a lot from place to place. I would say if you are working at or less than 60 hours a week you are beating the average. But thats just my best guess.
  16. Qwerty

    Sous Vide Braises

    I think if you wan't "fall of the bone" tender you have to do a traditional braise. The point of doing sous vide braises is to break down the connective tissue to make the product tender (but not falling apart) and still maintain doneness to a rare-medium state. I mean, short ribs done sous vide don't fall of the bone. But they are still very tender. Something like a shank might also need more than 24 hours at that temp however...that may improve things.
  17. I think the premise is sound and the chef is great, but somehow the execution was lacking. I don't know what exactly to call it...but it was like the editing or something. The show just didn't "flow" well enough for me. Here's hoping they do a better job down the line.
  18. Qwerty

    Boiling Butter

    If you boil the butter in the milk it will almost certainly break. The best bet would be to heat up the milk seperately and add it to the taters, then fold in cold cubed butter do the desired amount. This, in essence, emulsifies the butter into the potatoes. It's the best way.
  19. I agree we need more info. Is it stuff like salads, sandwiches, soups, burgers, fried calamari, etc, or is it "fine dining?" 3 months to educate yourself? A cook for less than a year? Working for a friend? Doesn't sound like a recipe for success, but remember that people have done it before. More information would help.
  20. Qwerty


    I think the argument would be that the same delicacy that calls for use of a palate knife or spoons should be applied to all things cooking, not just things that "require" it. It's part of finesse cooking...tongs are just inelegant. I don't think that anyone is suggesting that a roasting pan full of veal knuckles should be removed with a palate knife...but I have to tell you that the kitchens I've worked in that forbid tongs also don't roast bones for veal stock.
  21. Qwerty

    Sauce Raifort

    Well, I've never made this type of sauce before. But I wouldn't cook the horseradish...when it is time I would just grate it in. Or, do it like you did but grate some fresh horseradish in there at the end. The more you cook it the less pungent it is going to be...most common preps. that have horseradish in it have uncooked horseradish (think cocktail sauce, etc). Also, to be honest, I can't imagine that Per Se did a "classic" sauce like you did. The idea of per se using a bechemel sauce for anything is laughable. More than likely they did one of their re-inventions of it, and made a different style horseradish sauce for the mackerel. Good Luck.
  22. Qwerty


    In my experience you have more control with a flat and they aren't as flimsy offset spatula's. They are also sometimes refer as a palate knife and I agree with Chef Johnny they are an invaluable cooking tool.
  23. Recipes are all well and good, but they are no substitute for tasting and adjusting. A recipe can call for 1/3 c. fresh lemon juice, but different lemons have different levels of acidity. Different times of year affect it too. So maybe in the summer the recipe needs a tablespoon or two more of LJ to balance it correctly. I think having common methods and training the palate is probably more effective than standardized recipes, at least from a taste standpoint. You can give 6 different cooks the same recipe, and very likely all six will make something different (at least a little). So, while measurement is effective for costing and portion control, it must be tempered with adjustment, IMO.
  24. Well, if they are just boiled and sliced around the beef, does it really matter if they are omitted? Doesn't sound like they are integral to the dish. I know that a lot of different kinds of nuts go with brussels sprouts. Pecans are great IMO.
  25. Maybe keep the peas from splattering inside the dutch oven, burning, and making the soup bitter?
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