gfron1

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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About gfron1

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    http://bulrushstl.com

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    St. Louis, MO

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  1. Last night I held another popup. This one was for the filming of Feast TV - a regional food show. My sous and I are getting better at each meal, and it was fun telling my story for the cameras. Show will air in June.
  2. This year is going to be all general scouting as I learn new spots and the new seasons. What I'm most interested in right now is what lands are safe to harvest from in terms of pollution, and part of that is reading the history of a space to see what has happened previously on the land. For example, I found a nice park that apparently was a superfund cleanup site in the 80s and 90s. That's obviously a no go. So that's my first priority. Second, is learning the new plants. The one above is a good example. There was sufficient amounts of it that I could consider harvesting but I had never seen it. I took a picture and got it identified - this one was easy because it's all over the Missouri Native Plant Society facebook page right now - and will now go back tomorrow to harvest. In the meantime I've consulted my books including my book on Native American medicinal plants which might give me warning signs. This was not listed so I feel safe moving forward. But to your question, New Mexico was not known for morels. I found them once in the nine years i foraged, and those were burn morels in early June. My knowledge from foraging in Minnesota is to look for dead oaks as a starting point. Here in Missouri I've heard a lot about southside slopes. If you're interested in learning more, find your local mycological society facebook page and watch what people are posting. They won't say where they got them but you'll learn seasonality and get help with identification.
  3. Morels are literally days away from my in St Louis...They've crept up to lower-mid Missouri over the weekend. So i went scouting this morning and found the motherlode of Virigina Bluebells (ertensia virginica). Edible and some say they have a slight oyster flavor.
  4. Honey comb versus honey

    I was going where Jim went with canneles. First, no I wouldn't do it if flavor is what you're going for. But, it did make me wonder about a baked donut where the mold is brushed in wax ala cannele. That could be interesting.
  5. The Bread Topic (2016-)

    I made some rugbrød last week and had leftover rye starter and a bunch of soaked grains and seeds. I forgot about them and left them out and they all started sprouting and then fermented. I gave them a quick grind and threw them into my whole wheat formula using the rye starter and ended up with a really tasty, chewy loaf that I've been enjoying for my toast.
  6. One of the opportunities that has presented itself is that some of the sites we are looking at have large numbers of residents attached to the building (condos, lofts, etc). With a couple of these buildings I have made an offer to either provide me with affordable housing or cut my commercial rate. This is what I've offered: 1. Priority reservation access to the restaurant. Upon review of our business prospectus you’ll find that we have high confidence that we will be sold out for months in advance similar to other high profile restaurants in town (Olive & Oak, Vicia) based on the past nine years of business in our remote location of New Mexico. We can set up an access code in our system that will give higher priority to the residents when making reservations. 2. Quarterly cooking classes. We can offer free weekend cooking classes for residents either in the restaurant space or in the common area on the top floor. I have many years of teaching popular, dynamic classes that are either hands-on or demonstration. 3. Quarterly cocktail parties. My mixologist has gained a national reputation for his creative cocktails. He can offer parties in the restaurant that are exclusive for residents and their guests. 4. Quarterly wine classes. My mixologist also offers wine seminars which will be scheduled for the residents. 5. Roof garden. We will set up and maintain a flower box rooftop garden for use by the residents. The garden will be organically grown and maintain an eye on a clean, classy style that fits the loft design. Residents will be encouraged to use the garden for their personal consumption, while the restaurant will use some of the herbs. 6. Private parties. We will offer our space for private parties at a nominal fee – low enough that it is clearly a perk for being a resident. The space could be used for birthday parties, family events or even work-related seminar space.
  7. This should come as no surprise - OCD...but just at the beginning. I can tell you that I don't re-cost yearly. I know how much my cream costs and even as it fluctuates throughout the year the fluctuation in my final product is pennies so my markup can absorb that. I do not worry about OCD number crunching after I've done it the first time. I just think it's good to force yourself to think through the whole process so you don't ignore things like your time and utilities, which are harder to calculate than chocolate and cream.
  8. I would also encourage anyone thinking about such things as pricing to do some of the things we've already mentioned, but then approach it from a different angle. Ask yourself - how much money do you want to make from chocolates this year? Maybe too big of a question...so, how much this month? This week? Today? One of those time spans will resonate and have meaning for you. So let's say this is an on-the-side gig, not a full living wage. And let's say you hope to make an additional $1,000 per month on chocolates. Is that gross or net? Let's assume gross. If you think the market will bear $2 per piece, and your food costs support that (which they should) then that is 500 pcs per month. That's roughly 17 pcs per day. That's a couple of boxes. But you won't really sell every day I'm guessing so in my mind I then say 500 pcs per month x 12 months = 6,000 per year....divide that by 52 weeks for easier math = 115 per week. Can you sell 10 boxes of 10 plus a few singles each week? Don't forget the paydays of Christmas, Valentines, Easter, Mother's Day...and if you talk to the right folks, wedding season, corporate gifts, B&B amenities.... Alos, dig deep into your true food costs (electric, saran wrap, time, a portion of your kitchen use) and get a really solid cost. That math isn't hard, but it's necessary to move from hobby to business. I can spend 3 hours making one tray of chocolates or I an spend the same time making 500 chocolates, buying wholesale ingredients. My point is, come at this from a number of angles. Maybe you can tell that I love crunching hypothetic numbers. I've helped a few people in this forum do just that and I always offer that for free to anyone.
  9. I sell mine at $2.50 per pc and $20 for a box of 10, which is what I push. Pricing is a matter of two things in my opinion: 1. perceived value to the customer and 2. what the market will bear. Obvious statement, but it very much applies to chocolates. If you're selling enrobed ganaches they have lower perceived value than airbrushed artistic bonbons. In some ways it doesn't matter how good (taste and texture) the chocolate is because the general public is often not savvy enough to discern what we care about. And size is irrelevant. I've seen people who make these massive (3 oz maybe) truffles and try to sell them for $1.50 and they don't move. Put an exquisite airbrushed bonbon next to it and sell it for $3 a pc. Why? Because most people buy them to give as gifts or treat themselves to something special. In regards to what the market will bear, I sold mine at the prices I mentioned in my shop. But, when I went to a regional chocolate show, where mine stood out as the best of show, I was able to charge $3.25 per pc and not hear a single complaint.
  10. Almost all yoghurts are disgusting to me. But somewhere vaguely in the back of my mind from a childhood trip to Germany, I seem to recall a yoghurt that I had for breakfast that was ultra cream, lightly sweet and more like a custard. I suppose in America we might label this European Style Yoghurt, but I've never found one that I like. Then I found Noosa. Interesting flavors, always creamy and a perfect size for me. I'm loving the blood orange and pumpkin, but liked the blackberry serrano. Cardamon pear was not my favorite but more because of the fruit texture than anything else. A friend swears by the apple which I've avoided because it feels too mundane. Anyone else a lover?
  11. Rural restaurants

    Please consider that accessibility comes into play, not just population. I used to joke with reporters that I was probably the most remote James Beard nominee in history requiring a minimum of a 3 hour drive. My town was under 10,000 btw. I think about Blaine Wetzl's restaurant which should be considered for the list.
  12. @Alex On my book tour, in New Orleans, I stopped in the Museum of Southern Art and they had a exhibit of modern tea cups, some of which were for sale. I immediately was drawn to what she calls "Meditation Bowls," and jotted down her name for later research. Since then, she and I have had numerous conversations, and we've worked on making the materials food safe, less likely to chip and so forth. And quite frankly, I don't worry about such things as customers stealing these. If someone wants one that bad I'll bless them with it. But it won't be easy for them to get since I and my sous will be the ones placing and removing the dish from in front of them. And Alex, let her know the connection to me, she'll be tickled.
  13. Nothing new to report. Building hunting. Popup dinners. Meeting new connections. I've been spending more time finding the artisans who will create my tableware. Here's ONE that I've already contracted with.
  14. Netflix: Raja Rasoi

    I'm in episode 3 and I can't not tell you all how amazing this show is. I'm learning so much! "You never eat meat with paratha, only roti. Paratha already has a layer of fat."
  15. Thank you for doing that. I'll give it a try for breakfast tomorrow and see how it goes.