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Everything posted by mckayinutah

  1. I took a look at this book the last time I was at the bookstore, and was very intrigued by it ( it has gone on my to get list , but is not at the top ). I am interested in trying his substitution for a rubber pump for blowing sugar - the brake line cable for an automobile. He says it is the best thing he has used,for blowing sugar, at a very cheap price I might add Jason
  2. Congratulations chef. The windy city is getting a great talent. I just read that your wife is a pastry chef and that she worked with you at the Jackson House Inn. Will she be joining you there at Avenues ? ( I ask since I had just read that their pastry chef left for the Phoenician in Arizona ) I was also wondering if she is joining you there, did this make the decision to leave Vermont easier, or were you going to go to Chicago even if your wife wasn't working with you. I used to work with a husband /wife team in Michigan ( he was an executive chef, she a pastry chef ) and they always seemed to be in dire straits when one was leaving a job because they typically worked at the same places. They opened a new casino in Michigan, and he was fired after they realized they didin't have the money to pay him, not because of his ability. She in turn had to leave as well. So, in your opinion, is it a good or bad thing to work with your spouse? Take care, Jason McCarthy Executive Pastry Chef Thanksgiving Point Resort Lehi, Utah
  3. Cory, I didn't mean to imply that these changing of positions was based on " big headedness", I was more interested in the number of PC's moving on ( yes, turnover is High in this industry ) and the fact that sometimes a little recognition is to blame for it. Jason
  4. Just picked up the latest issue of PA&D, with the 10 best pastry chefs. This is one of my favorite issues of the year, but it is interesting to know that out of the 10, 3 have left the positions that they had when the issue was done. This brings me to a question that is based on individual opinion. Why is turnover so high for pastry chefs, especially those who have been recently " found " ? Frederic Monti, voted 1 of the top 10 last year as well as this year, gone from the Ritz Carlton in Naples ( see my other thread on other Ritz Carlton PC news ). Is popularity or sudden fame to blame? Mark Chapman, a new 10 best winner, no longer at La Mansion del Rio in San Antonio ( I will say though, he had been there for 6 years, which seems like an eternity in this field ) . Does winning or being named this achievement, give some a " big " head? I'm not saying it does, but out of the last 2 years and 16 top 10ers ( 4 this year were also awarded this honor last year ), 5 have changed positions since they were awarded this achievement ( which is actually less than a year, considering the last 10 Best issue came out in November 2003.) Am I being over dramatic, or is this normal ? just to add to this discussion, Joseph Panepinto, Executive Pastry chef at the Garden City Hotel on Long Island ( A place Bripastryguy and I are familiar with ) just won Pastry chef of the Year at the International foodservice show. I just saw this morning an ad for the pastry chef position at the Garden City hotel. Is it a matter of " take the money and fame, then run"? Jason
  5. Bo Friberg's Carrot sponge from his " Professional Pastry Chef" is the moistest carrot cake I have ever seen. Never need to use simple syrup, and has gotten rave reviews from all who have tasted it ( a cream cheese frosting of your choice makes a great filling ) Jason
  6. If it is Cru, then we now know the identity of Mr. Akwa. Take care, Jason
  7. Huh? Please explain.......... Wendy, If you lower the bowl while the mixer is still running, and you have a cage on the machine, the machine will turn off automatically. If I have a large batch of whatever on the machine, I sometimes find it good to "lower " the bowl to incorporate the stuff at the top that isn't being affected ( mixed in ) by the paddle, whisk, etc. .. When the machine doesn't allow to do this, I found a way to keep the whip, paddle, etc... moving while I lower the bowl as if I was taking it off the machine entirely. It is very helpful to incorporate stuff that I would have to scrape down into the bowl. It is just a time saver. Jason
  8. To add my 2 cents: I had never even seen , never the less used, a 20 quart Hobart with a safety cage on it until I moved to Utah and learned that the state required it on newer models. About 3 weeks after starting my present job, I had the hobart repair guy come to check the oil level on my 60 quart model, and asked him if it was possible to "rig" the 20 quart so that the cage could not be used. He sort of laughed, but I told him I was serious, and that having a guard on such a small mixer had to be the stupidest thing I had ever seen. Adding gelatin or pouring in a hot sugar syrup for making Italian buttercream ( which has to be done while the mixer is running ) has become a very tedious task, as gelatin clumps on the cage and likes to fall in when I am not expecting it, causing my whipped cream to have the notoriuos gelatin clumps that are so nasty to have. Pouring a hot sugar syrup is not as bad, but I still have to be careful not to get any on the cage, while trying to get it poured between the bowl and the whisk. The cage has frustrated so much in the past, that I once ripped it off the machine and threw it across my bakeshop, which was actually good, because it bent enough as to where I can pour in whole eggs now without dropping half of them on the floor. I have also learned to keep it moving when you lower the bowl, which will turn off the mixer instantly. DEATH TO ALL WIRE CAGES FOR 20 QUART MIXERS! Jason
  9. I am hoping that all that were able to attend this great event would be kind enough to give their opinions on it, both good and bad, so that those who weren't there could live vicariously through them. Also, do you think the 5 day seminar program was worth it? I am considering attending it in the future, but would like the opinions of those who were there in person attending, to see if it is worth the $$. Thanks, Jason
  10. It worked, quite well actually. Thanks again. Jason
  11. The dough is on the bench now. We went with 8 gallons lowfat milk. My bread baker says it looks about the right consistency ( she has been making this dough 3 or 4 times a week for the last 7 years, so I trust her judgment.) But keep your fingers crossed. Thanks Dave the Cook and Rachel perlow for your help and advice. Jason P.S. I will let you know how it turns out.
  12. Having trouble finding a substitution for dry milk. I am all out and need some help. I am making a potato soft roll. Recipe calls for 8# nonfat dry milk and 6 gallons of water, so I need a substitution that uses non fat LIQUID milk. I have found substituitions that go the other way, from liquid to using dry and adding water, but how would I go from dry to liquid? Any help is greatly appreciated. Jason
  13. That is what I thought you meant, and I apologize for misunderstanding you. To add on to what others have said, and to respond since mkfradin has added a little more insight into who their worker is, I agree that this person seems to need more " guidance" in what they are doing. Just because they are graduating with a pastry degree or diploma doesn't mean they know what they are doing. I was the same way. I graduated from a well known culinary school in this country not because I could do things hands-on, but because I knew the theoretical aspects of things. I could tell you what happened if you did something, but I couldn't do it in a hands-on situation. It didn't help that there were anywhere from 24 -25 students per class, which doesn't give a lot of " individual time" with the chef instructor when you have a problem or question. My first job out of school was filling donuts, icing brownies, cupcakes, etc..., and I was fortunate enough to be able to learn from that, move up to a baker's assistant position, then head baker, then assistant pastry chef, and then head pastry chef. Maybe this person is like I was, and will improve with time and the correct guidance. I wish you all the best and hope everything works out for you mkfradin. Take care, Jason
  14. KarenS, I have a few concerns after reading your post. You state and I quote " I have 20 years of professional experience; I have students work with me - I would never expect them to do production, they don't have the finesse or training' Now, I am going to take it that you mean 20 years of baking experience. Are the students that you are speaking of culinary students or students of another sort? If they are culinary students and you never allow them to do production , how are they to learn? I may be understanding you wrong on this, and if so, I apologize, but you make it seem that you do everything and they are there just to sweep up after you. I have worked with many culinary students in the past and treat them all alike. I show them how I want something done and once they are 120% sure how to do it, they then get free rein with it. If they mess up, then they are sat down and we figure out what is wrong and do our best to fix the problem, if it indeed can be fixed. If I feel it can't be fixed and it is in my best interest to find someone new, that is the route in which I go. I don't want to or can do everything myself, so I make it my responsibility to show them how to do things right. It is up to them to ask further questions and bring up concerns, although I do keep on eye on them, but don't "babysit" them every second of the day. As the pastry chef over many venues and employees, it is my responsibilty to be a teacher, not just a doer. I have done that in the past, and believe me, it doesn't sit too well with employers or my pastry staff, to do everything myself when there are people who are there to help me put out a good, consistent product. Jason
  15. Mags, Thank you for the kind words of encouragement. It means a lot to me. To add on to my previous response, I guess I gave the impression that I was considering changing careers, which I am not. I guess it is best to explain a little more. I came to Utah almost 4 years ago to work for a highly regarded resort and pastry chef. I was hoping to gain some more experience in the sugar and chocolate aspects of this field, but the situation didn't work out there and I left before learning a thing. I also was planning on using that " new found experience" to help land a job back East, where I am originally from and would like to go back to. I planned on doing this soon after the Olympics came and went. But I am still here. I now work for a property that is not very rewarding but very easy. I make good money, work probably 35 -40 hours a week on salary, but I have not been challenged in quite some time, which I feel I need to continue to improve. The restaurant that was on property began out as upscale, went to more of a TGIFriday's atmosphere, and is now going back to more upscale sometime this summer. I am on my 3rd F&B director in the 3 years that I have been there. Alot of changes in a short period of time, which doesn't help the situation. I would love to take advantage of being so close to Vegas to go to the World Pastry Forum this July, but my wife and I are in the process of adopting a child from the Ukraine ( hopefully this Fall ) and all the spare money goes to that. ( It is very expensive ) . It just makes me feel that I am falling behind sometimes in what I should be learning or knowing, by not being able to go to these functions. The adoption has also added more time onto when we can move back East, but it is for a very good reason, which I can accept. So in a nutshell, I am more frustrated than anything else. It also doesn't help that I am probably the most impatient person in the world. I want what has to be done, done NOW, not in a day, or a week, or a year, but that is my problem. Hopefully I will be able to start looking for a new position at about this time next year. Thanks again, Jason
  16. Finally decided to chime in after reading about how many " career changers " we have here on egullet. I have much respect for all of you who have left well paying jobs to become part of this crazy thing called foodservice. I don't think I could have done that. I graduated from High school, went to culinary school for 2 years and have spent the last 12 years climbing the pastry ladder, so to speak. At 32 I feel over the hill in this industry, having not gotten to where I feel I should be at this age, and could not even imagine doing something else this late in life. Baking and pastry is all I know. I eat, sleep, and drink it, and many times have thought about quitting, but it is like an addiction. And just to add to the sore feet scenerio with no breaks, the longest I have worked is 29 hours straight. Take care, Jason
  17. This book didn't look like it would appeal to me, but when I saw it in a discount bookstore for $8 I picked it up. Haven't made anything from it yet but did write down the names of the recipes that appealed to me, and there were quite a few. Jason
  18. This the the lemon curd recipes I use as well, and have received many compliments on it, so my vote goes for this one. Jason
  19. Steve, We didn't do anything to keep the brulees or sabayon cold on the buffet. Usually only 15 -20 brulees were put out on a tray at once, and they usually were gone within 30 -45 minutes, and the sabayon was just given more " fluff" by adding whipped cream. It usually was out for an hour or so. To add, I had never done or presentated creme brulee or sabayon on a buffet, so it was basically a learning experience of some sorts for me. I actually have since seen brulees on other buffets and they were presented in somewhat of the same fashion. Jason
  20. If I am making a small amount of angelfood cakes, I'll use fresh whites (Ii use fresh whenever possible,) but if it is a large volume to crack and/or separate, I see no difference when I use whites in a carton. Jason
  21. Good topic I have some experience with pastry buffets, with 2 of my previous employers winning "best of's " as a matter of fact, so I do have some expertise in this area. I think they are a great way to showcase your stuff, but I do see some concerns, depending on how they are run. By this I mean, is it self -serve or does one of your employees serve? Self serve can be a nightmare, for many people do not know the correct manor of serving themselves. At my most recent employer we did self serve and basically just ran up every 15 minutes or so to check on it. Many times I would see half slices of cake that someone had cut because it was too big for them, instead of just taking a full slice and not eating it all. Who wants to see a half slice of cake on the buffet table? Also , by the time you got down to the last 2 or 3 slices of a cake, it looked like a bombed had landed right in the middle of it, again not very appealing. As far as items go, I think a good pastry or dessert buffet should have at least 1 if not 2 hot items in a chauffer, cakes or tortes , a couple of standard ones plus 1 or 2 different and more upscale varieties ( everybody is familiar with that approach ) , some smaller items ( we did smaller size - 2 or 3 ounce serving size ramekins, of creme brulee , as well as 8 or 10 different petit fours ) and of course, berries accompanied by some type of sauce ( we did orange sabayon - very popular). We did this for our Sunday Brunch Buffet, but also did it during the winter EVERY day for 4 months ( winter in Utah brings out the celebs, especially to Park City, where the Sundance Film festival is held in January ). A lot of volume, so much so , that we had 1 pastry cook that did the buffet exclusively for those 4 months. ( which in a big resort or hotel may be popular, but is not often done in a smaller place ( 130 rooms ) On the whole, I think buffets have their place, but I wouldn't want to do one every day ( once a week is enough for me, thank you ) Jason
  22. Hello all, I happened to stop by my local Barnes and Noble Booksellers yesterday, and to my surprise, saw the newest issue of PA&D. I almost didn't see it for 2 reasons: 1. They now have a new look. I was so used to seeing the script " Pastry Art and Design" on the cover that I actually had to do a double take to see that it was in fact the magazine. I usually get thrown off by the "P" since there is a magazine called " Pasta " that I sometimes mistake for it. The title is now in plain Block letters, which I think looks good. 2. I had just come from having my eyes examined, so I was somewhat seeing " blurry ' ( I was actually walking around with 1 eye open and 1 eye shut ) and could actually only see things up close if I took my glasses up onto my forehead ( so to say the least, I almost didn't see it.) Back to the important stuff. I like the new look as well as the new format of sorts that is inside. They now have columns on wine, bread, schools, cookbooks,and prepared desserts, as well as the usual 3 or 4 PC spotlights ( I have always loved those ) A very nice article on Jill Rose ( she is on the front cover for those looking for it ), who has opened her own pastry shop ( I believe her last gig was PC at LaCaravelle, which is or already has, closed ), and some other things that I won't mention that are always well liked by me. I thought I would just let anyone who is interested know what I have found. Take care, Jason
  23. I freeze dough both baked and unbaked. For unbaked doughs, as soon as it is formed ( into rolls, hoagies, kaisers, etc...) it goes in the freezer. Just pull, defrost, proof, and bake. HTH Jason
  24. Along this line I've always wondered why menus don't have pictures of the food next to the descriptions. I'd be much more willing to try something 'new' if I could see what it looks like first. Dan I will suggest 4 reasons why pictures next to the descriptions is a bad idea: 1. Unless you are talking about TGI Friday's, Applebees's, Chili's, and all the other casual chain places, it is , for lack of a better word, "cheesy " to have pictures on your menu. Also, most places with pictures on their menus are chain restaurants, which leads me to #2 2. Pictures on menus are very expensive to do, hence they are usually only done by chains that have the money to do it. A few years back a restaurant I was working for was able to put pictures of it's desserts on the menu along with the descriptions because we had been approached by a new printer in town and he offered to do it for free to get his name out. When we found out that it would cost $600 to do just 10 menus that way, the owners said thank you but no thanks. 3. Most importantly, to me at least as a pastry chef, I want the diner to be amazed at the look of the dessert as it comes out to the table, which is lost if they see what it looks like before they get it.( The "wow" factor still has it's place in desserts.) Seeing the look of a dessert before it comes out could sway the diner to ordering it, but if you have good waitstaff who are excited about your desserts, and realize that the restaurant as a whole wins when dessert is sold, you should be able to sell your desserts just as easily as if they were shown in their entirety on the menu. 4. SEE #1 AGAIN. Jason
  25. Hello all, Went to my local Borders bookstore and saw that they had the New CIA book. Took a quick glance inside and was impressed, very much lile "Professional Baking" by Gisslen. I also happened to see a copy of "Professional Baking " by Gisslen, although it looked different to me. I have a copy at home , but could not remember what edition it was. When I went home, I saw that I have the 3rd edition, and the one in the store was the 4th edition, so this means a new book. I will try to get back there to see if there is any new stuff in the 4th edition, although it looked pretty similar to the 3rd edition. ( I know Bo Friberg's editions of his " Professional Pastry Chef" are like that, with very little "new" stuff compared to the previuos edition) It would seem to me that putting out 2 books that are very similar in purpose ( The CIA's and Gisslens ) would be hurting both, but maybe some competition is good. I haven't worked much from my edition of " Professional Baking', but the CIA book looks a little more of interest to me. ( although I have no intent of purchasing, it does look good for someone who is starting out or thinking about getting into Baking and Pastry. Bye for now, Jason
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