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Chef Fowke

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  1. I ask this as a non-lawyer, and out of ignorance of the laws of the land... Isn't the matter at hand purely hypothetical and only based in the present? Meaning...The wheel has been in existence for 1000's of years, and no one can lay claim to a copy write. In 1902 Escoffier wrote Le Guide Culinaire, the start of standardized modern cooking. His intent was to have all cooks and Chefs form a nomenclature. With that nomenclature comes a duplication of recipes passed down from Chef to apprentice, and from Chef to competing Chef. My thought here is, recipes and techniques have been in existence for so long, and without copy write protection ~ is that not, in itself, a case in law? The point at hand is about ethics, rather then law?
  2. Or just eat them raw...clean everthing off the shell except for the muscle and the roe and marinate them with a squeeze of lime, some EVOO and a dash of sea salt and pepper. ...you have been warned! This is addictive. PS, If you need any help ~ CALL ME!
  3. With all the interest in the main topic and its tangents it seems only right to reopen my webblog to allow this, and other topics that are not appropriate on eGullet, to develop. Please feel free to bookmark this link: Rare Blog
  4. With all the interest in the main topic and its tangents it seems only right to reopen my webblog to allow this, and other topics, that are not appropriate on eGullet, to develop. Please feel free to bookmark this link: Rare Blog
  5. Being the chef/owner originally written about by AG I thought this would be a good time to pipe in. I have found this thread to be informative and well thought out. My issue with criticism is not about the criticism, but rather the format that it is presented in. It helps me develop my business to hear what people like and dislike about the environment and food I am providing. I did not create Rare to nurture some deep, dark ego that needs feeding. It was created to share my passion of food on the West Coast. To start: being a chef/owner and posting on eGullet means that you need to be ready to live by the sword and die by the sword. eGullet is internationally read and is a great medium to share new ideas and concepts. It is also a vehicle that can cause unimaginable grief, uncontrollable and unmanageable. Years ago, when I worked at a Vancouver Chophouse, I received criticism for only catering to VIPS. While this was not true, an eGullet’er witnesses a wealthy Vancouver business man getting special attention because he had pre-ordered live King Crab to be served to his Chinese guests. The eGullet’er felt that you had to be VIP to get anything good at this restaurant…After reading the thread I approached the other managers and we formed a new understanding that we had to be careful not to make anyone feel like a second class citizen and we formed a new set of policies, understanding that the bulk of profits were produced through the regular diner. In this case, the criticism posted by an eGullet’er was useful and used by an establishment to better itself, as all establishments should. It would be suicidal for any restaurant in North American not to regularly read eGullet to get a comprehensive review of the needs of its customers. When it comes to the G&M review the negativity about the food was acceptable and embraced. We had a management meeting, talked about the food program and made a decision to stick to our direction and continue producing the food we have branded for Rare. This decision was made by using data, not emotion. We reviewed comments, tip averages and velocities. And in the end we read the reviews on eGullet. The quail with sweetbreads was slightly altered ~ we hit the final sauce with a touch of sherry vinegar to tone down the sweetness. Everyone posting on eGullet needs to know that restaurants do read the threads and that they are important to us. They cause change. But reviews that say “I hated the food because it was bad, and I will never go back” mean nothing. They are not thought out. They are just emotions. I will not flog a dead horse. I get it. AG is not a fan of eGullet. I am. She does not like Tuna and Cheese ~ I do, but I am in the crosshairs for my belief and ‘use’ of eGullet and online blogs. If eGullet had a fan club I would be the president. I use it to find new and conventional items for my menus, recipes, direction and culture. I also use it personally for pleasure. But when it comes to reviewing a restaurant, be it online or in print, integrity starts with being factual and not using emotions. And if you post using emotions you need to be ready to defend your position. As an example I look at the AG piece in the G&M. 1. Tuna and Cheese ~ simple, Google ~ 8 380 000 hits. Not so unusual. 2. Food Comments ~ the customers will decide ~ please read Mia’s review and 4.5/5 on food. a. We re-introduced the tuna and cheese and sold out by 9:30pm each night ~ with only positive responses b. The amuse for the weekend was Ahi tuna melts and a beef cheek crostini ~ unfortunately very few of our customers read AG and only two tables knew what a Gillwich was. 3. ‘These chefs are obviously tying too hard to perform acrobatic feats of culinary invention before firmly planting their feet on the floor’ ~ I am a 40 year old chef who has been in the industry 28 years and Quang is 27 and has worked his way to Sous Chef in Canada’s finest restaurants, including going to the Bocuse d’or. What team is better suited to push the envelop of cuisine in BC? 4. AG criticises that we do not have chocolate on the menu? We don’t have a Caesar salad, chicken wings or burger on our menu ~ we are not everything for everyone ~ as Mia said, this is no steak and potato place. 5. The group of rowdy industry people in the lounge were a group of real estate developers having drinks. 6. Pre-opening we did not host a eGullet party, we had two edible BC parties and a charity event for the Children’s Heart Fund. 7. I remember dropping by the table and saying hello and asking about the meal. Tim paired and served the wine pairing with help of the server and floor manager. Flogging a dead horse? Venting? Someone does not like the quail, tuna and cheese or desserts. I understand. Be specific. If you do not like the way the server served you, explain. If the room is wrong for your demograph, I understand that as well. It helps the restaurateur when they get feedback and nobody should be afraid to post what they believe is true, just be ready to back up what you have said. I will continue to proceed in the direction that I originally planned. I plan on sticking to my guns and being successful. There will be people who do not like or get (usually because we dropped the ball) what we are doing. POST! In my case, and in closing. The reason I posted on this topic is because I received this letter on Sunday ~ a letter from a Vancouver Concierge who thought it was his duty to write a letter to the G&M in response to AG’s article. This gentleman is standing up for us, and I have never met him, but he wanted to be heard ~ just like all of us on eGullet. "After having a wonderful meal for the first time at Rare One last evening, as Globe subscribers and "foodies" (not food industry workers) we were very displeased by Alexander Gill's opinionated rant of this new shining star on the Vancouver culinary scene. Like Ms. Gill, we chose the six-course tasting menus, although we selected our courses (twelve in all) from the menu rather than picking the "chef's choice" option. With the exception of a foie gras course that didn't tickle our fancy, and two desserts that fell rather flat, the food was, frankly, stunning: artistically presented, perfectly prepared, featuring both classic and innovative combinations of ingredients (the latter, with the exception of the foie gras course, worked perfectly) and blended with some of the most succulent sauces we've had in Vancouver, easily on a par with Lumiere, West, Diva at the Met, and other top tables in this city. In particular, the yellowfin tuna course (which included reggiano crisps and creamy couscous) was superb. Good thing we didn't read Gill's review before we went, as she found the tuna and cheese combination "stood out as an exceptionally odd clash". We would've guessed the same a priori, but in fact this blend worked surprisingly well, the buttery richness of the couscous and cheese bringing out flavors in the perfectly seared tuna that we'd never tasted before. Gill is getting a well-deserved reputation among Vancouver's Globe readers for being narcisstic (who except Gill would be offended "that neither chef bothered to schlep out from the kitchen on a quiet night and lend a hand with the food explanations" ... we'd rather have them concentrate on the food!), gustatorily "challenged", gratuitously snide, and more interested in writing a gossip column than a restaurant review. Her trenchant critiques of Watermark and Habit fortunately seem to have had little negative impact. When we've been to the former, the place has been packed, and for good reason: some of the food we've had there has been stellar, and none half as bad as we would have expected from Gill's devastating diatribe. Habit remains jammed, consistent with excellent reviews from other more experienced local food critics and the persisting lineups for tables. We suggest confining Gill to reporting on new bar openings (or some other area that would satisfy her overarching need to impress readers with just how "cool", trendy and chic she is). The Globe prides itself on objective reporting and good journalism ... so so give us a critic instead who is fair, balanced, experienced, and above all, has an educated palate and a focus on the food!” ( chef fowke note: name withheld to protect the innocent)
  6. I just checked my emails from my Media liason... I have been rolling on the ground laughing for over an hour! Hi Cate, I'm trying not to do invite dinners for new restaurants. I will attend media dinners once in a while, but only for a big event, like an anniversary or something. My review of Rare will be in the paper this Friday. I was impressed with the attention to detail. Cheers, Alex I must have missed the part about AG being impressed by anything!
  7. The other event was a for The Children's Heart Fund bought by two doctors at St Paul's hospital. We hosted an 'opening soon oyster party' for twenty Doctors. We raised over $3000 for the charity.
  8. Just for fun I googled: Tuna & Parmesan lol, I am cooking in the same ultra avante garde league as Betty Crocker! Long live the tuna melt.
  9. Live by the sword, die by the sword! I just read the review by Alexandra Gill in the Globe and Mail (western edition). 100% polar to Mia Stainsby. I like quail, sweetbreads and honey and am going to stick with it... ...if I had to make a choice, I am going to side with Mia ~ lol, because it is the better review ~ because of the style of research, integrity and writing. Now it is really time to see this thread ~ READ. CHEW. DISCUSS.
  10. Thanks... The review was more then I could have asked for. I am very pleased. Saturday is the offical grand opening and I look forward to some serious cooking this year! Brian
  11. Thank you everyone for the kind words. We have limited the reservations in March and concentrated on each and every customer. April 1st we will allow a few more reservations each night and continue to build... This week Tim and I have concentrated on the development of 'The Servery', the upper lounge area that looks into the kitchen. We have secured Jesse, one of the top muddling bartenders in the city. He is the Quang Dang of the bar, creative, young, and passionate. The drinks are 10/10 ~ my job now, is to support Jesse's beverage program. After weeks of work and test kitchen, I launched two new items to support 'The Servery'. The first is simple, KICK ASS GREAT marinated olives. I am starting by using European greats; but I am sourcing local and Californian olives for the summer. Second is fun; I did an English style pickled egg ~ but used quail eggs. The flavour worked well. This was a fun project and I am working on a few more additions. Next time any eGullet are in, visit me in the kitchen and I will tour you through 'The Servery' and introduce you to Jesse and the lounge food program.
  12. ...you had me until the white chocolate (thinking Laura Secord circa 1970's).
  13. Mike, try keeping a Microplane in the shower so those baby corns don't grow on you. ← oh my god! I just laughed so hard the pickled baby corn I was eating came out my nose! (note to self: personal microplane)
  14. Ultimately, is it not the customer who has the choice? If you want leading edge food, you need to travel to Napa, Spain, etc. The chicken wing analog really breaks this down to its basic element. Go to Buffalo if you want a real Buffalo wing, but none of are going to do that ~ and we will be happy to sample our local pubs version. The evolution of food is dynamic. I use different foams at my restaurant. Am I copying Il Bulli circa 1994? Yes, but this is the direction food is evolving. I have made tomato, beet and wheat caviar; 99% of the guests who eat at my restaurant know the inspiration is founded in the late 1990’s in Spain. The customer desires new tastes and textures. As a chef, it is my job to stay current with the trends. Posting similar photos of dishes, recipes, or exact descriptions is/should be illegal and is immoral (amoral). In the same note: making a hollandaise with margarine should be seen in the same light, Escoffier set standards for recipes; the consumer should hold chefs to the same standards. If a restaurant/chef uses culinary nomenclature on there menu it should be standardized. I think stating that you are using tomato caviar on your menu is enough of an ode to the master.
  15. That man is a machine (Sean Heather) ....how does he do it? I think I need to increase my Guinness intake or something. I look forward to reading the blog. I am looking forward as well to Un-wind opening up at the old Panama Jacks on Howe Street. I think that may be my late night watering hole after Rare closes for the night (or when Brian and I sneak out for a libation and some food). ← Called it: I am the president of the Sean Heather fan club! I cannot wait to see the blog. ...more importantly I cannot wait to eat the cured meats, cheeses and drink the wines!
  16. yes~reservations Working on a new cocktail for tomorrow night: the Dubliner: 1 oz Irish whiskey, 1 oz Irish Mist® herbal liqueur and 1 oz light whipped cream. See Jesse in the lounge for more information.
  17. What a blurrrrr.... I did not have anytime to take any pictures. I cannot wait to see what the food looked liked, we were so busy cleaning rabbits, venison, halibut and salmons that the actual plating was secondary! We were, as they say in the business 'in the shits' for the full 4 hours!
  18. ...for the first time ever ~ I AGREE 100%. I miss that place. gumbo.
  19. Oh wow, thanks! I know I can do a lot better, though. I've since found out who sent the roses. They are from a friend...not the person I had in mind, but it was a very thoughtful and kind gesture nonetheless! ← You were super! (I ate the rest of the dessert) ...it was a hard night at RARE ~ every table had a tasting menu AND my parents showed up (from out of town). Tension was high! We had a small hick-up then produced at a level I was proud of. The roses were beautiful.
  20. Are you saying...gasp...that Murphy (and his damn laws) live in the kitchen too? Your recount of the story sounds incredibal and hair frazzing at the same time! Way to go Lorna. Let us know next time you are called back "into the fire" I'll be sure to schedule my first dinner at Rare to coordinate! Having never even heard of Michel Cluizel I do believe I'm going to have to do some 'research' (ie eating a bunch of chocolate) before coming. ← Lorna's next shift is Tuesday... We are going to work on a chocolate terrine recipe, lemon torte, beignet and a frozen N2O frozen fruit foam. As well, Lorna is going to bring a recipe for RARE to feature. By the end of next week the dessert menu will be printed.
  21. for guaranteed mushrooms.... Go to lamb creek (...and follow the 100's of pickers with bags over there shoulders), it is 20 or so KM sw of Cranbrook. Wait a few more weeks. If you want to pick today you will need to go south of Portland.
  22. I currently have the following desserts offered: • Panni cotti foam with caramelized hazelnuts and warm chocolate frappe • Deconstructed Guinness float • Chocolate Terrine (a terrine made with dark chocolate, ganache and chocolate cake crumb) • Absinthe and blood orange soufflé (30 minutes and $21 ~ packs a wallop! Pre-order with reservation) • Un-pasteurized cheeses with cumquat preserve • Starting Tuesday ~ lemon torte (because Marc Theut says; ‘you can tell a great restaurant by its lemon torte’). I cannot wait for the spring/summer when I have local berries and fruits to work with.
  23. I was told, many many years ago, by a crazy Frenchman that tartar started in Northern Africa when the French were exploring. When they ran out of food they would kill the horses to eat. The General (or top officer) would get the tenderloin of the horse, chopped and served with whatever condiments they had (usually pickled). Citrus was added to clean the flavour of the meat. The horse was eaten raw because fires for cooking would attract the enemy. To this day I still prefer the horse version over the beef... Second note: very few restaurants hand cut the beef long enough, or keep the meat cold enough through the process...if these two factors are maintained a superior product is created.
  24. I like when a server takes my order without using a pen and paper... It gives me more of a feeling that I am being hosted. When the pen and paper comes out it feels like 'order taking'/business rather then the fantasy we all want to experience when we go out to dine. I have rarely seen a pen and paper in a michelin star restaurant... ...in my limited experience in France I do not remember seeing a chit in the kitchen. The chef held all the chits and verbalized the food orders to the cooks. It is a nice touch and builds the mystic of the experience. Less business, more hospitality!
  25. This probably does not help... But the best bread pudding I ever had was in Vancouver at the Hamilton Street Grill. He does a gingerbread pudding with caramel sauce. He is offering the recipe...try PM'ing NWyles. It is fantastic.
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