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Everything posted by ScoopKW

  1. The last time I had a really bad case of food poisoning, I was living in Egypt. Foodborne illness isn't really an "annoyance." What sort of places are you going to where you expect to get sick from eating? I'd quit eating out entirely if this was the case.
  2. Any chef worth his toque will be happy to talk to a local farmer. Call a few during slow times (before service on a slow day) and ask to set up a time to talk -- whether in person or by phone. You might not get to talk to a chef the first time you call -- because they're busy making sauces and doing prep. Even then, you should be able to get a "I can give you half-an-hour on Thursday at noon" commitment from him or her.
  3. Are you SURE about that? Restaurants don't pay NEARLY what customers pay in grocery stores. At our place, we buy our greens by the bushel. (Literally, we buy one bushel at a time. And sometimes 2/3 bushel boxes. For things like frisee, mizuna and mesclune, we go through a few bushels a week. For things like micro-cilantro, maybe half a bushel a week. Basil, about a bushel. Thyme, at least a bushel. Much of our greens come from hydroponics outfits here in Las Vegas. We're already on board with hydroponics. We serve between 200 and 500 covers a day, high-end fine dining. I'd call a restaurant th
  4. I'm not treated like a rock star because I tip well. I'm treated like a rock star, THEN I tip well. See the difference? They have no idea how I'm going to tip when I show up at a new restaurant. But I'm always treated very well. Mainly because I do my best to bring out the best in people. I had a boss once who always said, "It's easier to care about people than it is to pretend that you do." I've found that sincere enthusiasm is the key to every lock in the world.
  5. I haven't tried Ramsay's new place at Paris casino because I haven't heard anyone (cooks, chefs, servers, guests, friends, critics, nobody) say a good word about it. Except for the food review at the local newspaper, who has never handed down a bad review, ever. (I suspect the paper disallows bad reviews about major advertisers.)
  6. Have you considered that since you expect to have a miserable experience, you generally do? When I go out, I expect to have a great experience. And I generally do. (And I'm quite a cynic, so you can't accuse me of being a granola-crunching, "Earth energy" type.) But I have found that in general, attitude really IS everything. My good attitude rubs off on the server, who then asks the cooks to "VIP" my order. When I go out to eat, I usually end up getting freebies that I didn't order, just because I know how to compliment a chef. ("Please tell the chef that the horseradish and dijon cabbage was
  7. I think that many of them LOVE the confrontation. "I'm a vegetarian, and by God I'm going to make sure everyone knows about it. I'm going to go to a steak house, and make them serve me an off-menu vegan entree. And then I'm going to talk about how gross meat is so everyone gets to hear about my philosophy. I sure hope they serve foie so I can make a scene about that, too!" Based on the way some of these dingbats act, you have to imagine that's what's going through their head.
  8. I'd go to Spain as well. It's not like Hawaii is going anywhere. You can take what you learn in Spain and be better off if you decide you want to become an islander.
  9. That's fine. You shouldn't have to eat anything that would make you sick, or even uncomfortable. But the point I've been trying to make is that there are scads of people out there who are claiming allergy to onions when they aren't actually allergic, they just don't like onions. And there are so many of them ordering meals lately, with (perceived) false claims of medical necessity that it does no favors to the people who really cannot eat certain foods. I view these sorts of people the same way I view the people who insist on being pushed around airports in wheelchairs just so they can get thr
  10. You're amazed that I'm right on the money? Thanks for that vote of confidence. (I'm assuming you're "wowing" about the sleazy practices at this restaurant. I can't help but be snarky, though. It's just my nature.) Young_ -- I would suggest printing this thread and showing it to the owners. They are eventually going to kill someone -- an old guest with a weak immune system, or a young guest, or basically anyone with a weak immune system. Do you really want to be part of such an organization? Selling month-old food is unacceptable. There is no justification for it. The longer you continue to wo
  11. Yes. And a lot of them are awfully damned sanctimonious about it. And it's not just the vegans. It's the dingbats who have their incontinent little chihauhua annointed as a "service animal" so they can bring it into places where dogs normally aren't allowed. It's the "I'm deathly allergic to shellfish and most kinds of seafood" guy who goes to a sushi bar. It's the superiorly annoying group that comes to the restaurant and spends the entire meal yakking on their cell phone about their latest rectal exam so that all the rest of the guests can enjoy it, too. There are a lot of spoiled pampered p
  12. Here in Las Vegas, the low end of the pay scale is $15/hr. Most cooks make in the $20/range -- with "Cadillac" benefits. (We don't worry about getting sick, retirement, or anything of that nature.) And here, the "food quality" problem is on the opposite end of the scale -- you'll be shocked at how much gets thrown away (actually, it's sent to a pig farm) because it's more than a few hours old. The casinos don't futz around -- they don't want the bad reputation and lost revenue that comes with making a guest sick. Their philosophy is, "Food is cheap. Reputation is everything." Temperatures are
  13. I agree that it's not worth the risk. But WTF do you do for the guest who claims to be allergic to salt? Everything has some salt in it. What should we do? Walk across the street to the pharmacy and buy the guest a bottle of distilled water? I just find it odd that people say things like, "I'm deathly allergic to onions, please pass the ketchup." Or, "I have a horrible gluten allergy. Is the penne fresh?" And perhaps I'm cynical -- but I have a feeling that the majority of these requests are because the guests think they are special snowflakes and don't trust us to hold the onions just because
  14. We had one come in tonight, claiming to be deathly allergic to onions. Then the moron asked for ketchup to go with his meal. I guess he never read the ingredient list on ketchup. Deathly allergic, my ass.
  15. I'm probably too late to be of much help but here are some tricks. I've been through a bunch of hurricanes, living in the Caribbean for so long: 1) Fill bread pans with salt water and freeze them solid. Transfer the blocks to the top shelf of the refrigerator, preferably before the power goes out. The fridge will stay colder, longer that way. 2) Open your fridge once per day. Once. Take everything you'll need for the day out and place in a cooler (that has one of those blocks of salt ice in it). 3) My favorite tip is to buy a couple cases of beer in aluminum cans, and freeze them. Place those
  16. I think a good liberal arts program is a must. Not just for the career, but for a well-rounded life. Learn Spanish. Seriously. Learn it. Other languages might be French and/or Chinese. You can't go wrong learning a bunch of languages. History courses are useful. Writing courses are similarly useful. My advice for education would be: 1) Go get a BA in something. History, English, journalism, communications, doesn't really matter. Go get a classic education. Then go to a culinary school. And work in kitchens to pay for it all the entire time. Maybe part-time work. But keep at it. My BA from a hi
  17. And in the Las Vegas Review Journal.
  18. I'm not going to bother debating vegetarian customers again. They'll come in and ask if there's a way to make a meatless, cruelty-free ossobuco. The customer is certainly NOT always right. We had a dingbat come in the other day and claim to be allergic to SALT. Slapping the stupidity out of them is not an option, unfortunately.
  19. Here in Las Vegas, it's a health department issue. If an inspector pops in and sees cooks with earbuds deployed, that's a demerit.
  20. I just wanted to add an update. I work at a high-end restaurant in Las Vegas. Our foie sales have tripled since the California ban. Californians are driving to Las Vegas and plunking down what we're charging just to try the stuff. It's great for our bottom line. But because of the ban, more people are eating foie gras than ever. Prohibition simply doesn't work. Now we buy our foie from New York, instead of Sonoma. (And I think the Sonoma foie was better, but that's just my opinion.) And we're raking in the cash from Californians who come here to eat the "forbidden fruit" that they think they c
  21. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2205763/350-Kobe-steak-dinners-sellout-upscale-Manhattan-restaurant-listed-menu.html So, apparently real kobe is back on our menu. Here in Las Vegas, there are three places selling it. I'm wondering if it's really the real deal. There are still SO many places offering faux-be beef that I'm skeptical.
  22. Where to begin? "Cooks have very little in benefits." We dropped my wife's "Cadillac Government Employee" insurance because mine is better. She had to pay $96 biweekly out of her salary. Mine benefits are better, and no cost whatsoever to me. "The drunk will be kicked out." This happened very recently. A cook came in too drunk to work. He was asked to sleep it off in a hotel, and then come back the next day. It's hard to find cooks who can handle the workload in this town. I have worked with cooks whose "smoke breaks" do not include tobacco. And I've worked with cooks who always seem to have a
  23. I make Buffalo wings for Monday Night Football. Always have. Always will. I'm thinking about adding onion rings to the mix, seeing as the oil is already hot. Buffalo wings and shoe-string onion rings. Works for me. I might just do the onion rings tomorrow. Just get into a habit of making something for a particular event, date, whatever. It will evolve into a tradition soon enough. And if you're smart, the "traditional dish" will be dead simple. For instance, my Buffalo wings, I've made them so many damned times that I can do it sleepwalking. What I can't understand is traditional dishes like C
  24. Are we expected to believe that someone has worked decades in kitchens and not seen the drunken debauchery that everyone else has seen in kitchens? I don't get drunk at work. I don't have sex with half of my coworkers. But I've worked with people who do. And I daresay most of us "in the life" know exactly the kind of person I'm talking about. Why? Most of us have worked with that person at one time or another. We're probably working with that person RIGHT NOW. They have different names and appearances. But the personality is the same. Stereotypes can be unfair and cruel. But the stereotypes be
  25. Baking soda. Not salt. It works. Naturally, it's best to use older eggs. But baking soda makes the eggs easier to peel no matter what their age. I have nothing to support this other than anecdotal evidence of hard boiling hundreds of eggs, though. If anyone has some solid chemistry as to why (or why not), I'd love to hear it.
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