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eGullet Society staff emeritus
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About gfron1

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    St. Louis, MO

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  1. A little late, but I don't want to assume that you know "the obvious," so how bout some professional kitchen basics: 1. Wear non-slip close toed shoes. 2. Wear long pants (or mimic whatever you know the chef to wear) 3. Wash your hands always, often, forever and well 4. Don't touch the chef's knives unless they offer them to you 5. Be aware of your surroundings so you don't bump into something and ruin other projects the chef may have going on 6. Be honest about your knowledge. If they chef says, 'dice a mirepoix' and you don't know what dice or mirepoix is, just ask...most chefs love to teach.
  2. One event at a time please....but I had mentioned to Kerry before that as I continue to get established in St. Louis I would love to suggest it as a site for a future event. Today I toured Bissinger's Chocolates with the head chocolatier who was extremely generous with his knowledge, and I was surprised at the level of hand crafting that was still going on. On a side note, Rick Jordan is ceasing operation and maybe leaving the field. Sad since I think he's one of the top in the nation...plus side I'm checking out his used equipment [please let's not sidetrack the intent of this thread with comments. I just wanted it stated so we can talk about it in Niagara.]
  3. While we wait for the building to come to fruition... I'll be opening a new daytime café
  4. Moon Cakes

    I'm so proud of myself I actually planned ahead this year. I have both duck and quail eggs brined so I can have the salted yolks and I have all of the ingredients! Hopefully the recipe I'm using will work better than others in the past.
  5. @cdh & @liuzhou Thanks. cdh, We have a number of Asian markets and the ones that I go to most have no staff that speak English, and many of the products don't have English except for the nutrition label. Naturally they have some, but enough that I've been befuddled for a while. liuzhou's comment about red tea would explain a lot. I'll use those characters next time I shop and see what I find. Thanks again!
  6. We drink a variation of British black tea for breakfast every day. More often than not we end up with a black tea from the Middle Eastern market (nothing fancy, something like Al wazah). I know that black teas are more oxidized than oolong, and we don't want the perfume of jasmine. But, I tend to be Asian groceries far more than any other kind and so I'm always trying to find black tea there. My latest attempt (realizing that most packages don't have English translations on them) was to buy "Vietnamese black tea," which seems far more green than black. I haven't taken the next step of google translating labels...yet. To make sure I'm clear - regular Asian grocery selections, not fancy tea room selections; every day black teas; bulk value teas. So please help me figure out what I obviously can't figure out on my own. What should I look for?
  7. I suggest we refocus this whole thing. You had legit questions. And, there are people willing to walk you through them. See if you can't get us some hard numbers to help us in our recommendations.
  8. Buying Japanese Knives Online

    And so then let me give you my experience as a knife addict. As many here know I went on a binge after getting my JBF nom. I had done ungodly hours for so long with no treats for myself, and so I decided to buy a "nice" knife as a reward. That nice knife led to over a dozen knives. All belong in that Italian performance sports car showroom. And while each gets time on the cutting board, as has been said a thousand times in this and other forums, I really only need a great gyuto, a pairing or wa-petty and maybe a solid meat chopper. 90% of my usage goes to my Carter gyuto, my Fuji wa-petty and Kato Nikiri. In the meantime, I have to secure, transport and maintain my whole set, and keep a detailed inventory for insurance purposes. I don't regret it, but that money and mental energy could have gone somewhere else. I actually much prefer helping friends find new knives for their sets as an outlet for my energies nowadays.
  9. Yes, the latter. In my first years I was a hyper-bean counter and ultimately relaxed enough to find the balance. What I would like to add is why are you having these concerns? Tell us what you actual food costs are and your average margin across the menu. Its one thing to say your costs are too high but if you come back to us at 20% then I'm going to say you're low. So we need some figures. I'm also sitting here wondering if you're a 20 person brigade or a 3 person operation. And, is it only food costs that make you have concerns about inventory disappearing. Are you that worried about theft, and if so why? If theft is your issue I would wonder who your staff is (professionals or guys who wander in off the street), and how much you're paying them, and how good and what style is the supervision (micro-manage, no supervision, pedantic, etc?)
  10. Very good chance that I'll be able to attend this one.
  11. Buying Japanese Knives Online

    @btbyrd just a couple of thoughts. First, I absolutely adore my Fujiwara wa-petty from Bernal Cutlery. I know you already have one so I'm just sharing this for the good of the cause, but this guy is the lambourghini of small knives in my kit. Every time I let someone hold it they literally gasp at the balance on it. This, btw, was the knife that a cook grabbed to pry open a coconut at one of my events and had the tip in the coconut before I screamed across the kitchen for her to stop. No damage was done except my life shortened by a few years. The other thing I wanted to share was about sayas. Read up on the difference between a regular saya and a compression fit. Compression fits are made tight enough that the knife won't slide out of the saya on its own. My first compression fit was done by a young artisan who didn't get it quite right...how do I know?...because it broke the tip off of my gyuto. I generally have paid $10-25 for regular and $35-50 for compressions (depending on the wood). I think its worth it for a compression but only if you know the maker is experienced.
  12. This is what I hunted in New Mexico. Really vicious animals but also blind as can be.
  13. The next morning I headed into town (Ste Gen) for the Farmers Market. I try to hit those up anywhere I go whether I need anything or not. This was a small one - four booths under a pavillion at the VFW or Odd Fellows or something like that. What I know of the area I expected goat cheese, corn and jam. Well, they had jam at least I bought a few dozen eggs because they pricey ones were $1.65 a dz. In St Louis the going rate is $6/dz - highway robbery! I also got a loaf of zucchini bread (hoping to find pawpaw bread), a bag of some sort of pea like a black eyed pea but it wasn't, and some heirloom tomatoes. Everything was so cheap. I felt bad not paying more...but I got over it. Heading out of town I stopped at a family tradition - Oberle Meats. Oberle has been doing their thing since 1870 - that's a long friggin time. The proudly advertise 6 generations of the Oberle family have made sausage. For us, every trip to the cabin we would stock up wtih Oberle dog (think pork summer sausage), Oberle cheese (think velveta with garlic powder), and smoked pork loin (don't think, just eat). After getting out of the creek but before dinner we would slice up the Oberle dog and have it with cheese and crackers. Great snack for a family of growing boys (all we had were boys with all of the cousins) on a hot day. As we've all matured we've come to appreciate the loin even more. For Tyler and I it became breakfast with the heirloom tomatoes and fresh eggs and zucchini bread. One other site of interest is the Old Brick. From their site: Our family knows it because Grandma Irma (remember her?) worked their in her retirement as the hostess. She wore gold head to toe every night sitting by the door greeting guests and chatting up the latest small town gossip. She did that for around 20 years and was an institution. We didn't eat there on this visit - everything is fried so not really our thing. The one food origin related to the Old Brick is my family's infamous grey spaetzle. Pork liver, flour, salt; pressed through a colander into boiling water; served with brown gravy. Mmm...that's the good stuff (joking). Made at every family gathering. Never eaten. The original inspiration came from the Old Brick. That pretty much wraps up the vacation. The next morning I had a Missouri Mycological Society foray at Charleville Winery which was a bust because its been so hot and dry, and then back home to civilization!
  14. No feral pigs this far north yet, but armadillos are here so the pigs will make it soon enough.
  15. Here's what my family said about our specific plates (with my notes for context):