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David Hensley

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Everything posted by David Hensley

  1. David Hensley

    How can I retrain my customers?

    So, I've recently become the Exec, at a local place. I've no real authority to change the menu, thanks to my owners. I can, and have, tried my best to improve the existing menu, as it stands. I've been met with about a 50/50 split of lovers and haters. The lovers, of course, urge me to keep going in my current direction, which I appreciate. The naysayers, however, are of an old lot, local folks who only discovered the place, because they heard (and discovered) that the food was bland, and unexciting. What should I do? My owners are about 50% sympathetic to them, and its killing me, because I have to work twice as hard, to make both flavorful, and bland food, haha. I'm caught in a position in which I like my owners, but hate my customers, ya know? Perhaps it's the opposite, now that I think of it... I'm literally at a 50/50 point, as far as tableside commentary is concerned. Half love it, half hate it. The ones who love it are youngerish, 30-35, people like me, almost. The older crowd is really becoming a problem, though. Tonight was slow, but we still had about 20 people come in at once, half of them ordered steaks, mid-rare...then sent them back until they were mid-well... Those of us in the business know what I'm talking about, and know that I mean no offense to anyone... How can I, if I can at all, retrain my customers to accept tasty food, instead of pasty food?!!?
  2. David Hensley

    Pickled Shrimp

    Having approached the issue from both the ceviche side, and the blanch and pickle side, I can say that I agree with Katie, in that they're always rubbery, somehow. I've not tried the alkaline method, though, but will soon. Could anyone give me a quick summary thereof?
  3. When I fry potatoes, hillbilly style, with onions and carrots, I make it a point to get them firmly, but gently blackened on one side. A beautiful, perfect golden brown is simply inadequate...they must be clearly black in color, or else they don't taste "right" to me.
  4. Any progress on the products, Rob? I'm drooling, and waiting...lol
  5. Please keep us informed, Rob, as I'm interested in this product, as well. I'm entering the final phase of a new restaurant, and would like to utilize these bags as a part of my menu design. Your experience is trusted, and needed!
  6. David Hensley

    Kitchen Violence and Bullying

    I've been there....done that...so to speak. As a natural bully (not that I was, but certainly wanted to be), I've learned the hard way. Being bullied is simply unacceptable, PERIOD. When someone tries to bully me, I solve the problem quickly, quietly, and with a greater show of force. If you threaten and shove me in the kitchen; I punch you in the mouth, then hit you with something heavy. This will usually solve the problem quickly, and efficiently. Being bullied in the kitchen is just like being bullied anywhere else, I think. When you're threatened, respond with quick, quiet, and overwhelming force...leave NO doubt that this behavior is UNacceptable, and WILL be met with consequence... Thats just my opinion, though...I'm a different kind of guy, I suppose...
  7. David Hensley

    Why don't we brine beef?

    &droid, I'm glad you bring this up! I've been brining beef for years, and I seem to be the only one, anywhere... For small steaks, I prefer a quick spice rub, and equally quick cooking. For large cuts; Brisket, whole chuck roasts...etc., I almost always give it 24-36hrs. of soak in a heavy brine. I find that over the course of smoking or braising for long periods, the brining helps retain moisture that most people would replace with some kind of sauce. Although I love a good sauce, I sometimes just want beef-flavored beef, ya know? I'm the weirdo who will occasionally just brine and oven roast an entire brisket....to be carved and eaten like a good prime rib....
  8. David Hensley

    Silicone Coated Whisks

    I have used them, and frankly, I hate them. On the better models, you pay a bit more, for nothing; on the worse models, you pay a bit more, just to get a loose silicone covering which allows food to get inside the coating, and never come out again. The only real advantage I can personally see, is in safely using them inside of non-stick cookware, but even then...I hate them.
  9. David Hensley

    No Boil Lasagna Noodles

    I've used several brands of "no-boil" sheets, and generally liked them all. That being said, I was unhappy with most of my results, primarily because I hate a wet lasagna. Most of the recipes I tried seemed to call for an excessive amount of moisture, which the pasta didn't fully absorb. I did, however, find a good trick to fix it. I found that a soak in hot water, for just 10-15mins will pre-hydrate the pasta, just enough, so that your other ingredients don't need to be overly wet. I find that the soaking saves not only time, but hassle, as well. My result has been consistent, and I no longer need to have lasagna skating all over my plate while I chase it vainly with a fork...
  10. David Hensley

    Culinary goals for 2014

    Host Note: This post was split off from the Happy New Year Chefs topic to create this new topic No, rotuts, not you. JK Dcarch, I agree that the new year will bring many new projects. Personally, I've decided that this year will be my "Year of Meat", in which I try to focus on charcuterie techniques from around the world. What are everybody elses culinary goals for the new year?
  11. Believe it or not, my owner and I are currently plotting to try this!
  12. I've noticed lately, both locally and nationally, the trend of selling some preparation of "hens egg" on menus. Pickled hens egg yolk slow poached "hens egg" with whatever "hens egg" gratin You get the drift, folks..... Have we all been eating cocks eggs, unknowingly? Have I really failed so badly at biology? Is it the hens favorite egg? WTF...please help me.....
  13. David Hensley

    You Like Popcorn, Don't You...

    For better or worse, I'll be doing it myself haha If Andrew Zimmern can watch it being done, I can likely do it...
  14. David Hensley

    You Like Popcorn, Don't You...

    Personally, I'm interested in some sorghum seeds. They apparently "pop" just like corn, but look like a micro version, and are just slightly inherently sweet... I honestly hate popcorn, but am curious to find out what other seeds may "pop" in a similar manner.....
  15. I was born and grew up in WV, around Beckley. Is anyone else from around there, or have you been there? I just wonder, because I almost never hear of people discussing the idea... I'm of the impression the there are foodstuffs that can only be found in WV, and southern WV in particular. I'm talking about things like "Killed Lettuce" or even a pepperoni roll, which sounds ubiquitious, but apparently can only be located in WV and PA. Things like a "hot bologna sandwich" which is a grilled bologna "steak", about an inch thick... I don't think for a minute that WV cuisine will change the world, but I want with all my heart to think that it will influence the way we think of cuisine. If nothing else, it might remind us that when we have nothing else to eat, we could at least make the best of it... What say all of you?
  16. David Hensley

    Question about Using Copper Pan

    Cook things in it, man! If it has a good, solid lining, then I wouldn't worry so much. If the lining becomes thin, then maybe worry just a small bit. Some of us don't have such nice toys to play with, enjoy it while you have it !
  17. David Hensley

    Greetings from Appalachia

    Where in Appalachia are you from, Pip? If you don't mind me asking....
  18. David Hensley

    Chef Sean Brock's Sour Corn Recipe

    As a native Appalachian, I can tell you this...it's not that complicated, really. Take your measure of corn, however much, or little. Salt it liberally, until it gives up its juice, and tastes a bit salty. You want to taste the salt more than the corn, just slightly, as this will change over time. Add some vinegar, about a tablespoon at a time, until it becomes just slightly sour, and stop. Pack fairly tightly into crocks of some sort, and cover with muslin, or canvas. Store for 6-8 weeks before freezing, or canning. Pick the coolest, darkest place you can find, and don't be afraid to adjust the time until its ready. You'll know. On the cob will take longer to "get good" than cut corn will, but either way, its delightful!
  19. I recently quit a job at a local Country Club, for too many reasons to mention here. I took a bit of time off, just to spend with the girlfriend, and my kids, and after a couple of weeks, began the usual routine of both pounding the pavement with a fist full of resumes, and for the first time ever, seeking employment electronically. I sent my qualifications out to about 20 employers, received about zero responses, and managed to find a low-paying job at a local Italian cafe. A week into the new job, I get a call from a recruiter, for an Exec position that I sent in almost 2 months ago. I speak with the recruiter, and shortly after, the owner of said restaurant. I like what he has to say, but he wants me to drop everything, and come for a 3 day audition that very weekend, just 2 days away. I immediately go into scramble mode, and manage to arrange almost everything I need...except the free time from my current job. Due to schedule requests, and other variables, taking the weekend off isn't really feasible. This doesn't upset me at all. I call my prospective new employer early the next morning, on his personal cell, no less, and explain that I'll need to reschedule the interview, if at all possible. He says that its no problem, and that 3rd and 4th (this was on 06-18, mind you) would be fine for him. We agree on the dates, I thank him again, and he says "We'll see you on Tuesday and Wednesday...", and we part ways. It occurs to me less than 18 hours afterward, that the 3rd and 4th are a Thursday and Friday, so I immediately try to contact this owner, and get no answer, so I leave a detailed voice mail. I repeat this call 4 more times in the following week-and-a-half, leaving identical, detailed messages each time. Today, I call 3 more times, finally getting in touch with this owner as I'm getting ready to head to work. He informs me that he "finally" got my messages on this past Saturday morning, but "just hadn't gotten around to calling you back", and that if I was still interested, that I would need to be there at 10am tomorrow morning. I will not be there, I'm afraid. My real question is this: Why did he give me his personal number, if he doesn't check his messages regularly? If I make a serious professional effort to contact him, to clarify his own mistake, why do I not receive any response until less than 24 full hours before I'm expected? Maybe I'm wrong, but I sincerely feel this guy to be out of line, and completely UN-professional in his current manner of business dealings. I hate to miss out on an opportunity of this size, but realize that pattern of behavior, and lack of accountability to be just a few of the reasons that I left my last long-term job at the CC. Am I wrong here? I'll gladly accept any feedback, either for, or against my stance...I'm just very curious as to how everyone else would react here...
  20. Just to clarify for some of you, I made it clear that I might NOT be able to clear my schedule at a moment's notice. When I spoke to the prospective employer the next day, he was fine with the re-scheduling. Afterwards, when I needed clarity on the dates, he failed to return any of my calls for almost 2 weeks, only answering his phone 24 hours before he wanted me to show up. Either way, I'm no longer upset about it. I still have a steady job, and a great owner to work for.
  21. Like I said, I've decided to let this one pass by.... I just feel like I'd be better off not starting a job in a frustrated state of mind, and frustration only begins to describe it lol. Other good jobs will come, and for now, I'm still gainfully employed, and have a great boss.
  22. David Hensley

    Chocolate Milk: How do you make yours?

    Fair enough, Fair enough, Chris! The syrup I make is almost like it, Splenda, or otherwise.... If you like your chocolate milk, drink it or make it however you choose...... Personally, I prefer strawberry milk...
  23. David Hensley

    Chocolate Milk: How do you make yours?

    Yes, Shel, you can use Splenda measure for measure in just about any recipe. Tri2, what a wonderfully over-complex way to make some choco-milk..lol You should talk to dcarch for fine-tuning your recipe, he could probably build a machine...to open the carton...which contains the ideal result....hahaha Seriously, in my opinion, if you crave choco-milk, make a syrup of your choosing, cool it next to the milk, then mix the two, and enjoy! Yes, I know you could use some carrageenan, or maybe some xanthan gum, to get the "ideal" texture, but FFS, its just chocolate milk...... No offense was intended by this post......to anyone....
  24. David Hensley

    Chocolate Milk: How do you make yours?

    Personally, I make a syrup, just like the ubiquitous chocolate company (LOL), then fridge it, and use like normal. I use just about the same ingredients, minus the espresso powder, and a touch more sugar, but otherwise quite similar. Sometimes, when I'm going to have my diabetic daughter on the weekend, I'll make a small batch with splenda, just so she can enjoy too....
  25. OK, here's one for you, it may or may not be appropriate for the thread, I'll gladly let the mods figure it out haha I worked for a Chef once, and from an idea we discussed, I developed a recipe for a savory cheesecake. We mutually used the recipe until we parted ways, but we agreed that once I left, the use of said recipe would end. When I left there, it stopped, but just a couple of years ago, it began again. He recently did a dinner for the James Beard Foundation, and used said recipe, without any credit to me. Shouldn't he at least have "adapted" my recipe, for his special dinner?