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Everything posted by Joisey

  1. My wife is continually amazed at the mess I can stir up at home..."You're not this much of a slob at work, are you??" LOL. I'll second the soapy water filled sink to start with, as well as the empty dishwasher. I also will find a spot in my prep where I can back away and devote myself to cleaning and re-organizing. Another thing I will do is re-use as many pots and pans as I can. Sometimes wiping stuff out rather than washing it is effective and saves a lot of dish space.
  2. Joisey

    Buffalo Wings

    I grew up in Central NY and have eaten more than my share of wings. I really didn't start cooking them until I worked part time for the guy who pretty much brought them to the South Jersey area (Hector Smith at Charlies, then DiOrios in Somers Point, NJ). His recipe for hot sauce was about 75% Franks, 20% cooking oil and 5% Worcestshire sauce. He used oil because we used to make the stuff by the case and butter solidifies as it cools. I didn't like using it, but the other flavors were spot on. To me, wing sauce without butter is like vinaigrette without oil..not right. You need the balance. One other tip I would give is to find a kosher chicken processing plant and see if you can get your wings there. They are usually much meatier. I also agree that ranch dressing is a complete abomination, but pay attention to your blue cheese recipe too, if you're making it homemade. Nothing worse than weak BC.
  3. OK ZT, here's 2 more cents from a lifer: I've never done anything else that I liked. I started out as a fry cook at 17 in a situation JUST LIKE Tony Bourdain's formative years in Provincetown. Of course, the alcohol, sex and adrenaline are going to appeal to a high school kid, right? We've got the energy and have never really made money so we don't know what's good and bad. My dad was happy that I was finally applying myself to something and suggested that I check out CIA (a family friend from long ago had a son who went there). So off to CIA I went at 19, expecting the college experience of MORE sex, alcohol and adrenaline and maybe a few classes along the way. RUDE LIFE INTERRUPTION #1. CIA was like boot camp in chef whites (at least it was back in 1989, can't speak for it now). I was suddenly thrust into the world of hard work, lots of studying, little time for fun and getting screamed at by Chefs (which I was NOT used to). I almost washed out but too many people were counting on me to make it so I stuck it out. After fucking around (for lack of a better term) for a few years to catch up on lost partying, I started acquiring some chops as they say. I managed to get out of my podunk city and got a job at a casino in Atlantic City. Even though casino food is..well, it is what it is, it was also the big leagues for me. I was suddenly surrounded again by talented although somewhat unmotivated people and I got to see what a REAL line is like. 8 years of that prepared me for management, and I've been a chef in just about every situation since then. LIFE REALIZATION #45: I love this career. You've gotta accept the fact that you're not going to make any real money until later on and that you're gonna work a TON of hours and holidays. If you're used to taking weekends off to go skiing or whatever else, go be an accountant. We're PROUD of the fact that we can put a suit on and sit at a desk playing on the computer (kind of what I'm doing now while my cooks work) but I highly doubt that THEY can do what I do. It's a peculiar mindset for sure, but one that's easy to slip into. You can read Kitchen Confidential because Bourdain waxes poetic better than I ever could about the job, but suffice it to say that once it's in your blood, forget about it. I've tried getting out twice and it didn't work. The one thing I will tell you is to keep some perspective about the job...if you're in my situation, which is a journeyman chef, you need to look to the future. I am probably going to look into teaching because I'm sure as hell not going to be able to retire on what I make now. Give it a shot. You don't have to love it after a week, after a month, after a year. Just make sure that you're always giving your best because in the kitchen all you have is your reputation and if you slack, someone will decide for you whether you're cut out for the life. Good luck.
  4. I usually tell anyone who asks this question that any education is a good education. However, in the last few years I have started adding the caveat "but don't overpay for it". Personally, I have been finding that my CIA diploma from almost 20 years ago hasn't opened nearly as many doors as it used to (Portland Oregon? Forget about it, I'm lucky to have had the jobs I've had here). If you're going to a school, research it and get some feedback from chefs and employers about the quality of graduates. We have two major schools here in town, one of which is doing a terrible job IMO of preparing these kids for the real world (to the point where the former students have/are suing the school). I've seen community college kids that blow away 90 percent of the people I went to school with, but then I've seen guys with good experience that know more than most grads. It all comes down to YOU..how much are YOU willing to put into it, because if you're giving 110 percent and have a good mentor chef, you will come out ahead of most grads and have a great starting point on your resume.
  5. Saying "Hot Behind" to my wife and getting the wink/nod. Yelling at my wife for leaving knives in the F**king sink..."Keep the knives OUT OF THE SINK!!"..."but why can't you just look first?"..."BECAUSE THAT'S NOT HOW IT F**KING WORKS!!!!!!" Yelling at anyone who covers things in wrap before they are cool and doesn't punch a hole/leave a corner open.."So you want to get everyone sick??" (rolly eyes from everyone else). Also, the raw over cooked thing. Telling anyone in the area that the pan in the sink is hot. This is probably a good thing. Trying to show my wife/anyone else how to hold the carrot/celery in place without endangering your thumb and forefinger. Getting super impatient when I'm shopping with anyone else. I can't take the meandering walk, shopping like going to the storeroom should be a surgical strike. Get in, get out.
  6. "Don't assume, it only makes an ass out of you and me" Holy shit, I worked with some real D-Bag managers. I've heard 90 percent of the above and more.
  7. Has anyone done raviolis with the rolling pin that has the cutouts carved into it? I saw a magazine article about it a few years ago. You make a big sheet of pasta, spread your filling over it then fold it in half and crimp the edges. You then roll the rolling pin over the dough and it cuts perfect raviolis. It seems like a cool and easy technique to make a lot of pasta in a short amount of time.
  8. I know this is an old thread, but it's a good topic. Most everything has been touched on, but I'll reiterate that a pinch of sugar or even some honey has a huge effect on the balance and flavor. Someone else also brought up keeping a vinaigrette emulsified for a while...if you use a REALLY good EVOO, it will solidify when it reaches a certain temperature. I used to be able to keep vinaigrettes on the cold table in a constant state of semi-emulsified and it would only require a couple of ladle stirs to bring it back completely. This works especially well if you used a hand mixer or blender/food processor to make the vinaigrette initially.
  9. As a CIA grad it irritates me to hear this.
  10. I tried getting out twice and came back both times. I've resigned myself to the fact that it's in my blood and evidently what I was put here to do. I agree that it's the cameraderie and the pride of doing something that not a lot of people can do well that gets its hooks into you.
  11. To me, taking the profanity out of the kitchen in the name of professionalism is the equivalent of neighborhood gentrification; it makes things pretty for everyone else at the cost of the people who actually reside there. There is a REASON why people gravitate towards the kitchen, the idea of freedom from conformist attitudes is one of them. If you take away profanity and vulgarity, all you're left with is an extremely stressful office job. Nobody wants that, it's the reason we do this in the first place.
  12. I make these all the time and they are a great and easy dinner (and a killer special if you need one on the fly). In another thread I recommended using a star tip because the ridges hold sauce better and look more interesting. I LOVE the idea of stringing a fishing line across the top of the pot. A tip to those whose arms get tired is to place a pot of the same size upside down next to the blanching pot. You can easily rest your arm there and just put the tip of the bag over the water. This method is also a good one to have your kids help you with, I always have a couple of 6 year old volunteers to help cut the dough Daddy is squeezing out of the tube.
  13. I was touched once, by a waitress many years ago. It made me want to stay in the business for as long as I could.
  14. That's a great setup. I am going to build something similar with my bullet smoker, except I'm going to grab an old refrigerator off craigslist and modify that for my smokebox. I also want to look into modifying the bullet to have an electric element so I don't have to mess around with the charcoal chimney anymore.
  15. I've worked with people who were employed under him in Atlantic City and the term "Jackass" is indeed appropriate according to them.
  16. This just happened the other day, it's an old war horse and I can't BELIEVE anyone would fall for it, let alone the Assistant Director of Purchasing. One of my cooks asked Jerry for a specialty cheese for a dish he was working on, some "Fromunda" (GROAN..I know, it's 3rd grade but whatever). Jerry took the bait and called 4 or 5 local purveyors...The Director said he had 3 messages on his machine saying they've never heard of that particular cheese and they couldn't get it. It might be worse knowing that there are purveyors that would fall for that as well.
  17. Leah Chase, great lady and one of the queens of southern cooking.
  18. One of the best tools ever from kitchens past was a triple-bladed mezzaluna knife. You could make serious work out of a lot of parsley in a short amount of time. This thing was older than dirt and I've not been able to find another one.
  19. In one kitchen I worked at, I used to consume 3-4 of those ridged plastic pitchers of water a night. I just drank it right out of the pitcher, harkening back to my "2 for 1 pitcher nights" at my favorite bar. At home I like having those big fast food cups around, my favorite is the 64 oz one from 7-11, perfect size for mixing iced tea or crystal light. I agree that there aren't many nicer options for larger glasses and I'm writing these suggestions down for future purchase.
  20. A while ago there was a thread about this line of pots/pans that Target carries, can't remember the name. I have a few of them, they are heavy-bottomed and dirt cheap. I'll echo the kitchenaid, you'll also need a cuisinart. You will rule your world with those two things. For cutlery, don't go crazy at first. I get the most usage out of my chef knife and my offset handle serrated ("z") knife. Buy quality now if you can afford it and build your collection slowly. Check out Craigslist for cheap/free stuff, I've picked up some great things from that site.
  21. The knives I got at CIA were awful F Dicks. Luckily they were lost/replaced soon after I got out into the industry. I'm partial to the Wusthof Grand Prix knives (original handles). However, my absolute workhorse knife is my Henckel offset handle serrated ("z" knife). My boss just bought myself and the other managers these knives made by Chroma which are kind of cool. Very sleek and they actually feel good in your hand. Anyone else use these or know about them?
  22. Those are only acceptable if they're free range and sustainable.
  23. The Turducken thing was really cool and represented in a nutshell why Symon will be good for ICA.
  24. You want to start a war, tell that to a career waiter. I've worked in BOH all my life and I've given up trying to reason with people on this subject.
  25. There are usually local certs you can get, but I've found that because ServSafe is so comprehensive it is a widely accepted substitute.
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