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Everything posted by ScoopKW

  1. It's a logical argument. Many places buy sides of beef and only buy prime. The cuts that aren't going to be sold as steaks are ground for tartare and hamburgers. So, yes, USDA prime hamburger. It would be easier to simply add fat. But if you have half a cow already -- make the most of it.
  2. I had a Kyocera mandoline. I liked it a lot. Notice the past-tense? It fell apart in my knife bag. Cracked in three places. I need something more sturdy. Recommendations, please. I googled and googled but could not find a small stainless mandoline, preferably with a ceramic blade.
  3. Thanks! And curses! Now I have a new mission in life. Get a table at this (and the Mexican) restaurant. Never did get a table at el Bulli.
  4. I've never understood why people will leave a restaurant unhappy or feel uncomfortable about sending food back. Maybe they're afraid we're going to spit in their food? Not happening where I work, not a chance. Even on a day when we're getting crushed, we all recognize that the chef isn't paying our paychecks. The guests are. Guests get what they want. And if we can't make the dish the way they want it, they deserve to have something else instead. We'd never send out a sloppy dish like the one BeeZee described. The cooks would be afraid to put that in front of the expediter. The expediter would
  5. In general, I've found you have to stand up to FOH, because they will make your life a living hell with special requests if you let them. Since the gist of that paragraph was "respect everyone and do things the way they want them done," I think that the chef is acknowledging that the cooks don't necessarily have to kow-tow to the servers. In a good operation, all server requests go through expo, anyway.
  6. Cauterize it on the flattop and get back to work. Seriously. It's just a cut. No biggie. Better than going to a hospital/immediate care center and getting stitches and missing half of service. And honestly, it's less painful. Better to not cut yourself in the first place. I haven't done so (at least not seriously) in a very long time. (Knock wood, etc.)
  7. Isn't Bloomington a college town? Perhaps that has something to do with it.
  8. Not really. But we get a lot of "cooks" who read Kitchen Confidential (and ignored the part of "why you shouldn't try to become a cook") and now think they can hop on a line. Food TV has created legions of people who think their home kitchen skills translate directly into the restaurant environment. Much of that list can't be understood by these cook wannabees. They certainly don't know what a "pick" is. I knew exactly what that chef was talking about, and I agree completely. Know your picks, and then clear your mind and reset for the next pickup. That's SOP and a mandatory skill. Anyone who c
  9. Most people are taking exception to the "come in sick and let the chef send you home" requirement. There are, frankly, cooks who cannot be trusted to do the right thing in this regard. They call in sick when they're really just calling in drunk, hungover, want to do something else. But the rest of it is beyond solid. This would be a good kitchen to work in, I have a feeling. Especially if everyone is on the same page.
  10. Personally, I think whoever wrote this is a genius. http://www.happyplace.com/23551/ridiculously-detailed-craigslist-ad-for-restaurant-line-cook
  11. As far as clothing is concerned, I make it easy for myself. I only buy chef clothes that were made in America. And all the rest of my clothes were made in Hawaii. (I have a zillion Aloha shirts.) All of my shoes were made in Germany -- Birks or nothing for me. And I try to find socks and underwear that was made someplace reasonable. I cannot vouch for the political integrity of all of my socks and underwear. But I do try. And when it comes to restaurants, if I learn that a place is exploiting their workers, I won't go there. We have a few bars in Las Vegas that are guilty of this, and I don't
  12. We're the only first-world country with a large homeless/beggar demographic. Roughly one-third of our citizens are two paychecks away from homelessness. Sure, most of them are in that position because they don't know a thing about finances. But they are largely set up to fail. We don't have a social hammock -- our large homeless population is proof positive that the system isn't working. And we can naturally assume that everyone drives on the right side of the road. But that doesn't make it so. The excuses I hear from foreign tourists are just that -- excuses. It is not hard to find out how t
  13. I disagree, Annabelle. Let's pick a low-skill job like trash collector. Those guys make almost as much as my wife, who has a BUNCH of letters after her name. I don't think there's much skill involved. And let's be clear -- I do not begrudge them their salary. I certainly don't want their job. (And I work in a high-stress kitchen -- most people would look at what I do for a living and say, "Oh hell no. I don't want any part of that.") The way I see it, if someone is working full time and doing something productive for society, they should at least earn a living. It might not be a GREAT living.
  14. One of the points that we all keep going back and forth about is the concept of a living wage. A living wage in San Francisco is vastly different than a living wage in East Bumbleduck, Oklahoma. Even with $10.55 plus tips, the server needs to hustle to pay the rent (or mortgage if the server REALLY hustles).
  15. This is why they're so resistant to change. They prefer the evil that they know to the unknown evil. Technically, they are supposed to at least make minimum wage. If tips plus $2.33 per hour doesn't average out to minimum wage, their employer is supposed to make up the difference. This never happens in the real world, however.
  16. Well, you were misled about how the union works. Nevada is a "Right to Work" state. That means that the employee is NOT required to join the union, and yet they get the same benefits as those of us who pay the dues. You fill in a form when hired and that's that. It basically works like the ideal situation you described earlier where the unions have to do a good enough job that workers WANT to pay dues. That's exactly how it works with the Culinary Union in Las Vegas. I don't know if this is the case elsewhere. But that's how it is here.
  17. Incorrect. Nevada is a right-to-work state. A worker who opts-out of the union DOES NOT have dues deducted. Many of my coworkers opted out. We all get the same benefits, though. My medical benefits and pension come DIRECTLY from the union. The other casino workers have their own health and retirement plans. Culinary is a completely separate entity. If you need information about how the culinary union works in America, feel free to ask. You are debating armed with facts that are simply incorrect. If you knew how things actually work here in America, I have a feeling your debate position would b
  18. If you're addressing my previous post (the quote feature is useful), I'm saying that the servers where I work have full medical, retirement and pension benefits, just like every other member of the culinary union. When it comes to benefits, only United States senators have it better than we do. It doesn't matter if you have worked 30 years in the industry or on how many continents. This isn't the first time I have told you how compensation works for a member of the culinary union in Las Vegas. Either you have a very short attention span, or you think I'm a liar.
  19. Even here in Las Vegas, the culinary union only represents the workers at the big casinos. We all have it pretty good. And servers here make more than $2.33 -- and they get benefits. So the union is doing it's job for us. But MOST culinary workers in Las Vegas do not fall under the union blanket and get nothing. For every server where I work, there are 50 who work at places like Applebee's, Red Lobster, and Ma & Pa's diner. Many of the "ma and pa" operations pay under the table -- their workers have no benefits and not even workman's comp or unemployment insurance. And people put up with t
  20. And the way far too many people deal with this knowledge is to say, "Well why don't you go get a better job?" How very Scroogian of them. (I'm sure "Scrooge-like" is probably more correct.) Things are a bit better here than they were five years ago. But servers HAVE a job. There are many people who want one and still cannot find one. The single parent server trying to raise children on $2.33 an hour plus tips need TIPS. What they don't need is a lesson in Macroeconomics from a smug person with a vastly-inflated sense of entitlement. They don't need foreign visitors telling them they should sim
  21. The problem is "on average." In tourist towns (Orlando, Las Vegas); or in tourist areas (Fisherman's Wharf, Times Square) four or five stiffs a day can mean the difference between paying the rent and homelessness. And this pervasive attitude of foreign visitors, "Too bad. Not my problem. Why don't you just become more civilized," doesn't help matters.
  22. The unions would like to address the issue. But they are powerless to do so. The government operates at the pleasure of business. Not the other way around. Tourism boards work for the benefit of business, not people. And you're right, nobody will address the issue. Welcome to America. But how does not tipping or under tipping help?
  23. C'mon. We're just as capable of spotting foreign visitors in our country as you are. The fact that your server is genuinely surprised that you haven't stiffed him or her should be the BIG CLUE about how most of your countrymen treat servers.
  24. Sorry, but this doesn't square with my reality of living in American tourist towns my entire adult life. I have sat in restaurants where I live and heard your countrymen brag about how they weren't going to tip at all, because they can claim they don't know better. (When the waitress was out of earshot, of course.) There is a PERVASIVE "well, we're never going to see HER again" attitude when it comes to visitors to the USA. I am not suggesting that this attitude is common here on eGullet. I think most of us are more enlightened. But this is my reality. (To be fair, this is the reality of my fr
  25. This has been my experience as well. (Well, I'm back of the house, so I just hear the horror stories.) I have lived my entire adult life in tourist towns. I've watched this unfold for the past 25 years. I think the ignorance excuse is becoming anachronistic. Most of the ignorance I see these days is willful ignorance. "How you do things does not square with my reality. So I think you are lying to me and I'm going to do what I please." While they don't come out and say that exactly, that's what I infer from what they do say. And yet if we don't kowtow to all their silly cultural idiosyncrasies
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