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Everything posted by Oreganought

  1. I've been a savory chef all my life,but not ignorant in pastry/dessert and have owned my own restaurant for the last 5 years of my cooking carreer which I sold a few years ago and retired @48 years old.Anyway........I certainly understand your frustration. Throughout my cooking career I have noticed in most restaurants,(and this is a generalization at best)the establishment were either pastry/dessert friendly or it wasn't. When it wasn't, generally there was no pastry chef position,all pastries were puchased and brought in,and heavy on the chocolate,with a few in house desserts that someone with some knowledge or a recipe would tackle and produce.Of course this translated into mediocre desserts sales,and I found again generally,no passion,no presentation to speak of for existing desserts,and of course the waitstaff would plate,no throw something together,and present this with little or no fanfare.This establishment has basically no hope in increasing it's dessert sales without a total philosophy change by the owners/chefs. Unless someone with a knowledge and good pastry skills decides in this enviroment that they will take it upon themselves to break from the pack and make the effort to put out a dessert that has all the earmarks for headlines in any good restaurant,in other words,an actual pastry dish.Which wins over the owners/chefs/waitstaff and actually increases pastry sales by 25% over a 1 month period.You would think this would wake up a few owners...but it doesn't,again generally speaking. The other side of the coin is a little more complicated from what I have encountered.I’ll cut to the chase and give one example.I worked in a 90 seat restaurant with 8 chefs in the kitchen and a pastry chef with an average turnover of about 130 covers through the week and around the 200 on weekends. Dessert sales penetration was about 40% which apparently was acceptable. Desserts were in my opinion,run of the mill,I won’t get into actual recipes. Presentation was not spectacular nor was the taste,again IMO which confirms What others here have said…..most PC suck. Anyway the pastry chef was treated like many I have worked with,little or no respect and many times told to “get the fuck out of my kitchen”at 5:00 just before service,Im sure you know what I’m talking about. This particular restaurant had gone through 3 PC in a 2 year span,and this one had just given notice and the owner was looking for a another.A buddy of mine had just returned from Europe and was taking it easy.One of the better pastry chefs I have known and asked if he would be interested in the position.Anyway……to make a long story longer,he took the job on his terms which from what I was told, an extreme uphill battle.New equipment was purchased as well as a new assortment of china,glass and ceramic plates,bowls,platters and a few that were quite ornate.The bottom line…. every night 3 or 4 of us would help in the platings of his desserts,quite the assemply line and quite demanding on all of us in regards to artistic abilities and the quickness in delivering the product to be picked up by our runners and waitstaff.The big sellers were the platters where a table could share.Many nights penetration with desserts was 1 to 1. And a whole new respect for this position transformed over night in this particular Restaurant.It became a strong profit center and included in this anomaly so to speak was a substantial increase in wine and after dinner drinks that translates into a bigger Average check and of course larger tips.Everyone from the owner,chefs,waitstaff and last but not least the customers found a new reason to come and have a more fulfilling evening. I quess that’s all I have to say.But I think the change has to take place within the individual,to make the effort,and that can be extremely difficult to say the least.
  2. Oreganought


    I should read before I type jackal...you were refering to the amount left over after ladling.
  3. Oreganought


    jackal10 I wouldn't recommend that the pot be tipped into a colander,this could undo the hours it takes just to get to the stage where the extra care of ladeling out the stock helps ensure a clear consomme.This method will not allow all the stock to be used, leaving a few cups for the chef to drink. So it's a win-win situation.
  4. I'm not worth the trouble I must admit.....my best pasta recipes have come to life this way.
  5. Oreganought


    Make sure you add the raft to a cold stock and bring just to a simmer.A 20 minute simmer is plenty,do not move the pot,just turn off the heat.Make a crack in the raft and ladle into cheesecloth....is the short answer. Use whatever flavourings please you.I generally will add extra protien and egg white to my raft. I would imagine you made the stock with a consomme in mind ?
  6. I agree with Dave,Mario's version is probably the closest to authentic. I always heat a serving bowl in the oven,and is where I do the mixing. Also after I have cooked the panchetta I add a little of the pasta water then the pasta and then eggs,next cheese and cracked black pepper. Definately worth giving it a go.
  7. I have 291 Basic French Cooking by Louis Diat was my first.
  8. I always season the grates before I use them,then burn off anything that remains after cooking.With this type of heat (high) there wouldn't be anything including any reminence of seasoning as well.And then I just run the oil cloth over the grate when it has cooled. And come to think of it my iron pan for blackening is not seasoned. This is only my opinion,but with a BBQ cast grill,it is an ongoing seasoning procedure for me,possible because of the way I resort to high heat after, to burn off any crud left behind from different methods of cooking.And if I did shut the gas off without burning off,then when I start the BBQ I will leave on high and scrub until its clean and dry.Then apply oil with a cloth/paper douced in the oil of my choice. Regardless,when I have heated the BBQ,I apply the oil to the grate,just before I start cooking. If you live in a moist climate or near a large body of water,you will need to season more frequently I would imagine. Which leads me to the conclusion that it might be impossible to season a BBQ cast iron grate in the same fashion as a cast iron pan. Might not be a correct explanation,but it's all I could come up with,without actually doing some research.
  9. Oreganought

    Summer truffles

    The summer truffle or black truffle is what Keller is refering to.The white truffle is harvested in the fall,sometimes called the winter truffle. Any good purveyor in your area should be able to find what your looking for. Excuse the short answer....I'm just going out the door.
  10. Beets are one of my binge foods,I'll stay away from them for long periods of time and then pig out.Now,because of this tread,I'm forced to make my Beet Risotto.
  11. I believe "low and slow" has been around for millenia,without sauce. In the boundries of that definition I have BBQ'ed a handful of times in my life,the rest of the time I just grilled and added sugar to a sauce,for that BBQ'ed look. IMO
  12. Oreganought

    Hot food cold

    In the summer months I cook an eye of the round,and refridgerate. Thinly sliced roast beef sandwiches with onion slices,garlic mayo, salt and cracked pepper on a good portugese bread.Comfort food for me.
  13. Some people have experience stomach pain and vomiting from raw or undercooked fiddleheads,so I would recommend that you blanch them first,and sautee until tender.I've never blanched,but have always cooked until tender and never had any complaints.
  14. LOL. It sure is one of those ingredients that you either love or don't understand yet. I sell out everynight during the fiddlehead season,and it's fun to watch the customers that ordered devour this little fern and others at their table, cringe.I love it.
  15. This is the season for fiddleheads here in Ontario.Personally,I like them rather plain,not to mask the delicate flavour. Every year we would offer them as a side,sauteed in a little evoo,butter seasoned with black cracked pepper,salt and lemon.About a 2 week season, after that the ferns start to unravel and can get rather mushy.
  16. Oreganought


    A friend of mine asked if I wanted some french fries,as a snack. Walked into the kitchen with him and watched while he filled the basket and then lower the basket into cold oil,and then turned on the stove.
  17. Oreganought

    Chicken Thighs

    Thighs are a favorite of mine as well.I did stuffed thighs Sunday which turned out pretty good. Debone the thighs and leave the skin on,pound and flatten a little. Heat a pan and add some oil,I used olive oil,add some shallots and shredded mushroom,I happened to have some shiitake and oyster and saute for a few minutes add garlic and cook a few more minutes.I added some cracked black pepper and some dried cherries and prunes that I reconstituted in some sherry and a few tsps of white wine vinegar,deglazed with the sherry marinate added some rosemary and thyme,it's what I had.Then reduced until almost dry,added some bread crumbs that I made fresh and then dried in the oven,seasoned the mixture and let it cool down. Spread the mixture on the thighs,rolled them up and tied.In a hot pan I seared on all sides until nicely browned,in a 375 oven until cooked. After removing the pan from the oven I removed the thighs to rest and poured out the fat then deglazed with white wine,reduced added some chicken stock,more herbs and reduced,seasoned the jus,touch of lemon a little butter off the heat and tasted pretty good with the thighs.I cut the thighs into medallions,and had mashed potatoes and asparagus.Finished off the bottle of wine with dinner.Done for another day.
  18. I think I heard or read somewhere that Chicken Kiev originated in a restaurant in NYC to make the Russian immigrants feel more at home.
  19. On a busy night I will use a timer for a reminder and use it as a pivoting point,or if I have items in the oven I tend to forget like,croutons or pastry of sorts.A preliminarily vaque assesment of the timer.Never use it verbatim,but it does come in handy on occation.
  20. My blend consists of 50% French Continental, 25%Sumatra Mandheling-Lintong,25%Ethiopian Moka Java. I find the earthiness of the Sumatra and the bright tones of the Moka go very well with the French,for my taste.
  21. I agree jaybee.overrated IMHO.I also feel the same way of Kona.But I do prefer a fuller bodied coffee,so they wouldn't have hit my top 5 list anyway.
  22. I always thought it was shark meat,never heard of the skate controversy.
  23. Oreganought

    Cooking Stocks

    One is made from the soul,the other is microwaved.
  24. Oreganought


    That's interesting jordan,I believe most Canadian butter is around 84% butterfat.Now I understand why all the talk about imported butter from France,Italy,Germany.I use a brand called Lactancia,quite sweet and rich.
  25. I've always thought HC as being at the pinnacle of indulgence,where the visual was the most important aspect of this period,taste secondary. And I don't believe HC can be duplicated in the modern era,for lack of conviction in its application.One upmanship doomed to fail,if you believe that simplicity is the natural evolution that any artform takes.
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