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Everything posted by jwanger

  1. I agree. The American kitchen has been more directly influenced by continental habits both more recently and more directly than most other businesses and industries in the US, and furthermore culinary schools continue to train this habit. At university I was allowed to call professors by their first names, but at culinary school everything was "yes chef" and "chef fisher said...". I think that while things may be moving towards a more casual atmosphere in the kitchen (as someone else mentioned), this habit comes from the stuffy Europeans who trained us Americans in cooking.
  2. I'm going to be in Tel Aviv for New Years and was wondering if anyone has restaurant recommendations...me and my boyfriend are looking for great food, but we also would really like a young/fun atmosphere to celebrate the occasion. I've been looking at the restaurant reviews so far and a lot of the really great places seem a bit stuffy, which could just be because they're French restaurants and I'm predisposed to think of them as such. Anyway, any recommendations would be highly appreciated! Thanks so much!! Jenny
  3. I can't watch people cut things improperly. If they aren't holding a knife correctly, I need to make sure they fix it. Most people think this is well-intentioned but obnoxious. I have one friend who, no matter what, won't ever change the way she holds the knife (as far away from the blade as possible so that there is an inch of handle between the blade and her fingers--blades are sharp!) and I've taken to looking away whenever she cuts anything. I think I'm just scared because I don't want to witness her inevitable injury!
  4. Anyone know of a good restaurant supply store in Boston where I can get chef's whites and checks? I'm in need of a new jacket or two but have been struggling to find a good place, and online I pay almost the same amount for shipping as for the item itself... Thanks in advance!
  5. jwanger

    Work Choices

    I don't know about England, but I was in a similar boat stateside, looking for a summer job in cooking at 18. I worked in an amazing kitchen helping with prep and dishes, and it was really wonderful. Just dive in, ask for work, send out a million emails, knock on doors, offer to work for free if you can afford it because you'll get to be in better places, and just make sure you bring 110% to every day of work. When you're that young it can often be hard to earn others' respect in a kitchen, and the only way to do it is to let everyone know that you're serious. As for cookbooks, its got a lot that's outdated, but I still think that Jaques Pepin's _La Technique_ is a great one to start with. I would just work through it, try things out, make dinner for your family on weekends, and see how it goes. La Technique Here's a link to the newer edition of the book, which you can get for pretty cheap. Hopefully he updated it a little so it isn't still full of aspics and mousses.... Good luck!
  6. For me, the end of service before cleanup is when I like to eat. My favorite thing to do is grab a big bowl of rice and pour some pureed soup over it. Its filling, and generally speaking those kinds of soups are healthier. Another possibility is to go to chinatown to pick up frozen dumplings--then when you get home you can just put some water on to boil, toss them in, and enjoy. (or nuke them if you're really lazy ) Either way is a pretty easy way to get some real food in you, but like other people said, I think making time is key. Also, make sure you are getting enough water--I don't know a ton about this, but I imagine that if you are dehydrated you might not be processing what you are eating well enough and it could be related to the weight loss. More water never hurts!
  7. On the topic of matzo balls....my family always likes to cook them in the chicken stock and serve right away, but last year when I tried to do this on my own it became more like matzo-drop soup because they all fell apart! Did I just not use enough egg, or am I doomed? Also, when using seltzer in your soup, how do you compensate for the extra liquid, and how much seltzer should you use? Thanks!! Jenny Btw, best way to make charoset is instead of using manichewitz (sp) for your wine, use a nice desert fruit wine like raspberry or blackberry--really yummy! If you want you can even use the leftover as your 4th glass of wine
  8. jwanger

    Chef Attire

    I agree about the whole pants thing! My problem was not only that they were way too long on me (I hemmed all mine) but that the pants were so wide at the pockets! I always have room behind, but on the sides I feel like I'm walking around with sails attached to my hips. Also, for a jacket I think double-breasted is really necessary--I have flipped the buttons in the restroom a few times to conceal all sorts of things--but what I see as helping make things a little more flattering would be piping or darting or some sort of visual line going down either side in a curve--this would remind everyone of what we've got underneath those jackets, would require them to come in a little at the waist, and wouldn't mean we would need a completely new uniform. Viva la (fashion) revolucion!
  9. If my understanding is correct (and it's entirely possible that it isn't), if something is patented it does not need to be protected. So I'm putting down some hypothetical situations that hopefully will further discussion and clarify people's opinions. Let's say I have patented technique x at my restaurant. I get a call from my friend Chef John at Doe's, a small restaurant (does it make a difference in this situation if it is nearby or not?), and he says my technique is neat and he wants to make x with it (or a variation on x). He knows this would infringe on patents, and he doesn't want to do so. Do I grant him permission? Do I charge for his use of it or not? Now I get a call from Big Company who says they want to use the patented technique. What do I say to them? Do I tell them absolutely not or do I charge them for it? Something else? In these situations, does it matter what the technique is? If it is something more basic or an obscure technique? Does it matter if Chef John is my acquaintence or not? Does the quality of Chef John's cooking matter? Are there different conditions for whether you'd say 'yes, free', 'yes, for a price', or 'no'? Are there other possible replies? Just some ideas for thought.
  10. I'd like to bring a question in from a customer's point of view if I might...If I was paying however much (and I'm sure it's a pretty penny) to go to this restaurant, I expect a certain quality of food there, and part of that includes it being unique. If I want something I've heard of, I won't go to the restaurant with the big name chef who offers a certain dining experience, I'll go to the French bistro on the corner or the steakhouse or wherever. As a customer at one of these high-end places, I'd hope I'm getting my money's worth, and at a restaurant like this part of that includes being served unique food and being told truthfully if something was taken from somewhere else.
  11. Hello- For one I have had several ma la dishes in Chengdu, Sichuan, and I have to say I did not enjoy the experience (or the ma la dishes I had in the rest of the country). Then again I'm not such a spicy person. My boyfriend is a big fan, however, but he was also born in Hubei-- a province known to have very spicy food. Anyway, last time I was in China one dish I ordered (Ganbian siji dou- or dried four season stringbeans) has a little bit of ma on it, not too potent and pretty good actually. However, we also heard rumor that the stuff is somewhat addicting.... I was wondering if anyone has heard about the ma being an addictive substance? Thanks, Jenny
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