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Ed Hamilton

Sugar Cane syrup

126 posts in this topic

No, Andy, I suspect a general trend if this was pursued more closely: hotels, especially large corporations, have policies in place which forbid unpaid interns and stages for precisely the reasons offered on this thread. F&B Directors answer to GM's and both are over the head of the chef and both seem subject to more corporate concerns--this is also why there are formal "paid" externships as part of culinary schools; freestanding restaurants and smaller establishments, especially elite restaurants and overworked bakeries and patisseries, especially with chef-owners, are more likely to accept students, unpaid interns and stages. Especially if a known chef were to call on your behalf--or if you were a experienced professional already. There is a presumption that you know your way around but there is undeniably this longstanding, informal--but quite possibly risky--process where the best chefs accept other chefs into their kitchens to work and learn and share and then go back to their own kitchens inspired. The elite chefs interned, staged, learned at the feet of others, and so the process of giving back can renew itself.

Some you have to pay for the privilege; some you just show up and work.

There's a whole lot of sharing and intermingling without pay at all of these festivals, events, celebrity and charity dinners going on nationwide as well--guest chefs and their teams just show up the day or two before and cook in strange kitchens for no compensation, working and plating side by side to pull a dinner off. I've done this alot, gone on the road, hosted chefs and cooks myself and have never signed a release and never actually thought about it.

I think an important issue has been raised. I also think there may be a difference between young, unskilled labor being taken advantage of and more-established professionals choosing this route--but that doesn't mitigate the insurance/personal injury aspect.


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Thank you Steve for cleaning up this heated discussion


"Chocolate has no calories....

Chocolate is food for the soul, The soul has no weight, therefore no calories" so said a customer, a lovely southern woman, after consuming chocolate indulgence

SWEET KARMA DESSERTS

www.sweetkarmadesserts.com

550 East Meadow Ave. East meadow, NY 11554

516-794-4478

Brian Fishman

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You know what they say, where's there's heat, there's fire or smoke or something like that. Well, anyway, I would like to see some documentation, some sourcing, some references, etc. posted to this issue--I suspect this might already have been discussed well on Cheftalk--at least from the foodservice perspective. Undeniably cost, risk, insurance liability, injury deserve closer scrutiny by all of us.


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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It's probably illegal, immoral and unethical for someone to work for nothing, that but if that someone can afford to to do it and can find the right person to work under and the right place that will let them do it, that someone will have a great opportunity to jump start a career. Abuse comes in all flavors and the person who may suffer the most from this system is the person who hasn't got the contacts or can't afford to get this opportunity to be "abused."


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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It's probably illegal, immoral and unethical for someone to work for nothing

And so pro bono professional services are? (Medical, legal, etc.)

Being a dumb volunteer for numerous social and cultural organizations, I disagree. Less often, but on occassion, I have provided pro bono professional services (architecture related, you wags) for both benefit to the client and to my resume. Does this differ? The question of liability is the only downside - and making sure you aren't being taken advantage of - agreeing to only as much as you are comfortable giving away.

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emmmmm,

wanna share the recipe for those Lemon Ricotta Pancakes?

Sure. It's a variation of a recipe for lemon pancakes in Marion Cunningham's book The Breakfast Book.

3 eggs separated

1/4 c flour 2 tb sugar

3/4 c ricotta cheese 1/4 tsp salt

1/4 stick butter, melted 1 tbs lemon zest

Separate eggs and beat egg whites till stiff peaks. In another bowl, stir together the egg yolks, flour,

ricotta, butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest till well mixed.

Fold egg whites into yolk mixture, gently stir until there are no yellow or white streaks.

Then cook on griddle, over med heat.

{my only change is to add good quality ricotta instead of

cottage cheese}

The pancakes are very light and airy.

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I'm in complete agreement with bripastryguy's take on working unpaid in kitchens, (although I realise the thread's focus is more on the specific legal situation in the US).

I get so much in terms of knowlegde, fun and experience out of a day in a kitchen that payment would spoil it in a way. Then things would actually be expected of you. As a "guest", you can get away with being incompetant and you don't get shouted at. You get given bits and bobs to eat. If you were there on a short terms contract, they'd have you cleaning out the fridge!

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It's probably illegal, immoral and unethical for someone to work for nothing

And so pro bono professional services are? (Medical, legal, etc.)

Being a dumb volunteer for numerous social and cultural organizations, I disagree. Less often, but on occassion, I have provided pro bono professional services (architecture related, you wags) for both benefit to the client and to my resume. Does this differ? The question of liability is the only downside - and making sure you aren't being taken advantage of - agreeing to only as much as you are comfortable giving away.

Our firm's errors and omissions coverage includes damages incurred in company sanctioned charitable and pro-bono work. I'd be surprised if your firm's coverage excludes that. Your broker can provide guidance.

There is a charitable exemption or liability cap in many states for charities and their volunteers. The Boston bishop considered hiding behind it to avoid responsibility for his pederast priests. But, we're not discussing that, we're discussing working without pay or benefits or coverage of law in a for-profit business.

I'd be very interesting in seeing the agreement, as I'd expect it waives all liability against the management for any damages the student may suffer


Edited by Rail Paul (log)

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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But, we're not discussing that, we're discussing working without pay or benefits or coverage of law in a for-profit business.

okay, but the same holds true for unpaid positions in all these "professions." Doctors intern (I realize at some point they get paid, but part of it is during schooling), lawyers clerk (maybe always paid?), architects intern, typically during schooling, to get experience, very frequently without pay, especially in high profile offices. Not that I think it is right, but it exists. Some well known architects have been known to run their offices with free labor. Is there a difference here?

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No tsquare, your doctor/lawyer in training examples are paid--minimally--quite handsomely--or pay out themselves, in tuition, for the privilege. You're clearly aware of architectural practice so perhaps there is an analogy to be drawn to cooking. Though the not-for-profit charitable aspect in this vs. the for-profit distinction Rail Paul highlights seems a key distinguisher to me--but then I'm not a lawyer. We have enough lawyer foodies on this site, so anytime now, Steve, Ron, et al?


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Steve Klc, What is with that wedding cake picture? It seems so boring with the sugar cube fondant. I am the woman who makes wedding cakes every-day.I love life. I have never thought of letting things go.

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I've recently posted a few thoughts about fondant and wedding cakes here:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?act=ST...t=0#entry188954

But this has to do with being a stage how? If I thought you were actually interested I'd tell you the story behind that cake--how it came about and how it ended up on the cover of British Cake Decoration--at the time quite significant for an "American" because only one of Colette Peters fancifully distinct creations had made their cover. I was the second American so featured, and apparently should consider myself very lucky. (For the record, I considered myself fortunate and lucky, because I see talented people go under-recognized by the media far too often.)

Since you make wedding cakes as well you know brides have different expectations, different notions of what is boring, beautiful, elegant or funky. As an artist I try to identify and then surpass those expectations for each individual client. That's what I try to impart on the stages and students I've had over the years, it isn't necessarily about tips or trucs or recipes but a way of seeing, a way of approaching your work, your client and yourself. As far as grasping the beauty inherent in this particular cake of mine, well, I'm afraid I can't help you there. You either get it, or you don't.


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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I visited several kitchens and trailed for a night before deciding on an externship site. Only one place asked me to sign a waiver before trailing. I thought it was interesting that nobody else asked me for anything, and I visited both big hotel city restaurants and small neighborhood suburban places. Granted, this was only for a one-night visit and not for a formal stage. It didn't strike me as odd until I visited the place that requested the waiver, which basically stated that I understood I was not covered under workers compensation type laws and that I would not hold the restaurant liable if I was injured.

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I visited several kitchens and trailed for a night before deciding on an externship site. Only one place asked me to sign a waiver before trailing. I thought it was interesting that nobody else asked me for anything, and I visited both big hotel city restaurants and small neighborhood suburban places. Granted, this was only for a one-night visit and not for a formal stage. It didn't strike me as odd until I visited the place that requested the waiver, which basically stated that I understood I was not covered under workers compensation type laws and that I would not hold the restaurant liable if I was injured.

Thanks, Malawry

If you're comfortable discussing specifics, was the internship arranged by your school, or did the various establishments have prior relationships with your school?

I know the Shop-Rite market in town has agreements with the various high schools which supply co-op education students. These agreements cover pay, working conditions, access to equipment, notification in the event of injury, insurance coverages maintained by both the school and market, etc. These arrangements are transparent to the students.

The Culinary Institute of America has an extensive externship program. Would any CIA grads be able to comment on coverages, arrangements, etc?

(With this post, we've delineated a free-lance, "Hi Can I intern here for a few days" approach from a formalized element of professional education)


Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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I visited several kitchens and trailed for a night before deciding on an externship site. Only one place asked me to sign a waiver before trailing. I thought it was interesting that nobody else asked me for anything, and I visited both big hotel city restaurants and small neighborhood suburban places. Granted, this was only for a one-night visit and not for a formal stage. It didn't strike me as odd until I visited the place that requested the waiver, which basically stated that I understood I was not covered under workers compensation type laws and that I would not hold the restaurant liable if I was injured.

When I did my externship when i attended NY Restaurant school they told us we are covered under there insurance not the restaurants...


I bake there for I am....

Make food ... not war

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Oh Americans. :wink:

At Cordon Bleu Paris if you complete either Superior Cuisine or Superior Pastry you can do one three month stage immediately after. Or if you do both you can do two three month stages. Halfway through Superior you can take an optional stagiere orientation course and then it's off to the races as the first one to request a specific stage gets the chef who makes the calls to make your call. I believe this session every three star and major patisserie has at least one CB stagiere. But you can request any stage and the chef will make the call. It's not a guarantee they will take you but almost.

And you pretty much sign your life away but we've already done that for school. They're more concerned that your immigration status is secured with a Carte de Sejour and to obtain it you must have your own medical insurance.

I hope to do my cuisine stage first and then pastry.

Steve, I can't remember if I'd told you but I have just recently visited all the pastry grandes maisons and tasted every signature and seasonal item. My soul wavers between Pierre Herme and Peltier. I remember you telling me that Chef Conticini is an especially generous man to work for so that weighs the scales. But I've recently been corresponding with Dorie Greenspan and my heart just races when we discuss Herme.

I have not yet tried the grande maison restaurants and their plated desserts. This is a whole other area that I'm just starting to work with this session in Intermediate. I cannot wait to work with the element of temperature. But again I don't really know much yet about this area at that level.

I would appreciate thoughts from you all.

Thanks.


Edited by loufood (log)

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Externships at L'academie are arranged through a cooperative effort between the student and Barbara, the director of admissions (who runs the externship program). Most students handle almost everything themselves after consulting with Barbara. (If you don't, she'll eventually do it for you, but it's far better to take control of the situation...who wants to be assigned to their next job?)

All externships are paid, and most DC area restaurants accept externs. Citronelle is the only place I know of that has a policy of not accepting externs. Most of the chefs in town have a history with L'academie, and understand what an externship entails. As far as I know, externs are to be treated for financial purposes as a full-time employee of the kitchen, meaning the kitchen provides pay, insurance, pays payroll taxes, and so on. I think the agreement chefs sign for L'academie when accepting externs delineates these responsibilities. I am pretty sure L'academie does not accept legal or financial responsibility for a student on an externship.

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Stev klc, I realize that my remark came out a little rude. Your cake is pretty. I have just wondered why you used that picture. I don't care for fondant because it tastes like a sugar cube (and most people peel it off to eat the cake).

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Thanks for the recipes! I seem to remember more, but it's been a while so it may be me. I'll try societeculinaire.

Thanks again, Elyse

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The $50,000 Pastry Challenge aired yesterday, January 11th -- wow, what a cool show. Some AMAZING showpeices here, especially the "Indiana Jones" one with the jungle/tiki motif made out of spun sugar. I really wish they showed more of Team Klc though, for selfish reasons. :biggrin:

The TVFN site doesnt seem to have a time of when it will be on next, as I went through their weekly schedule listings, but Food Network often re-runs these things.

Steve: care to comment about your showpeices? Pics? One of those you featured was Colleen's "marilyn" cake right?


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Wow, I'll bet their stuff was fabulous. Too bad I can't see the show.

On a related note: why do we thrill at pastry and sugar work set pieces yet turn up our noses at those aspic-imprisoned formerly-savory displays (even before they've been on display for 3 days :hmmm: )? The kind of stuff that ACF competitions require. Brad, ngatti, chopjw, 1x -- any ideas? SteveK, Cheffette, Wingding -- I'd be interested in your answers, too. (and of course any one else :biggrin: ).

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Quote Suzanne F: "why do we thrill at pastry and sugar work set pieces yet turn up our noses at those aspic-imprisoned formerly-savory displays "

I think it is because the pastry set pieces are fantasy impossible art things made of food and we react with wowness. The aspic things are just sort of gussied up food things looking like we are somehow supposed to eat them and we are scared. Also maybe because it is very far out of our culture at this point.

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The next airdate for the $50, 000 Pastry Challenge show airing on TVFN, is Saturday Feb 1, at 5pm.

---------------

Steve

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Jason--yes, now that chefette has posted everyone can see her "Marilyn" cake avatar, which was quite a tasty, inventive and delicate cake. At the time, the "work" judges--the German, Dutch and Swiss judges whose job it was was to walk around all the kitchens and watch us work, our habits, assess our "new" techniques, our cleanliness, our organization--were...shall we say...under-appreciative of just how special that cake, in judging parlance an "entremet," actually was. Ironically, it was one of the most photographed items by the judges themselves!

Colleen conceived of and then implemented the Marilyn look in innovative fashion, which involved silk-screening, a shower liner from Home Depot, developing a caramel gelatin of just the right taste, color and texture--and then applying it at just the right temperature onto a cake which is also at just the right temperature. Also, the jagged caramel tuiles--incredibly tasty and paper-thin--stuck onto the side of the cake were also made by an innovative technique--powdered caramel sifted onto a silpat and baked, allowing it to fuse, then harden as it is removed from the oven and cooled. (That's the principle behind many of the flavorful powdered dried tuiles and lollipop things Ferran and Alberto pioneered at El Bulli.) Caramel as paper thin as a sheet of phyllo which packed flavor but would crack at the merest hit of a fork.

One of the "taste" judges said to us he downgraded our cake--taste-wise--because he had just come back from France and had too many caramel cakes and desserts there. That's what you are up against sometimes in events like this--differing standards between the US and Europe--and not making a big enough impact due to different sensibilities or peculiarities of judges. (That's OK, though, the previous year, while this judge was still a competitor, our team outscored his head to head.)

As unappreciated at the time as that Marilyn cake was, it has been splashed on just about every promo and ad and brochure and magazine article since. I wouldn't be surprised if those same dismissive work judges still don't "get it." The Italians, who cover and appreciate stuff like this very seriously, liked it so much they've run it several times in their professional pastry journals.

As far as this TV show, I haven't seen it yet. I was getting ready for a media luncheon the next day at one of my restaurants, Cafe Atlantico, and forgot to tape it. But if that year's production crew had the same level of commitment as the year before--which was also taped and produced for the Food Network--after commercials there isn't much time in an hour to really focus on more than the top 2 or 3 teams, and also try to tell some kind of story, some kind of narrative. It's a tough job. And the organizers of the event have their own idea who is going to place in the top positions. The MOF's were a given, Drew Shott's team was a given and I can't even remember now who came in third. As it should be, I hope the show focused on those teams. (And not like the show from the previous year--where the 3rd place team must not have been predicted to do so well by the organizers in advance--and as a result the TV coverage seemed skewed more toward the team which actually came in 4th--En Ming Hsu, Michel Willaume, and Thomas Hass--and not the 3rd place team. That year Colleen and I finished right behind En Ming, coming in 5th with our teammate Richard Ruskell of The Phoenician. We were barely mentioned then, we're probably barely mentioned now--but that's as it should be. We didn't do well enough.)

Suzanne--on this I can only speak for myself, but I like all that garde manger stuff on the savory side, all those refined and elegant banquet or buffet presentations. When I have occasion to see some of them--say at a more formal hotel brunch--and it is done well--I still enjoy eating them and I'm appreciative of the labor and technique involved. Sure large scale presentations are a dying/dead art--but many of the same techniques are still used in high end French restaurants, especially involving gelee--it's just that the little set pieces and those cold composed salads are prepared for individual diners and presented on individual plates. I see remnants of this from Boulud to Michel Richard to Antoine Westermann and even in what some of the more innovative Spanish chefs are doing.

That's not analogous to pastry showpieces, however--but more analogous to the plated desserts, petits fours, entremets, etc. that we're asked to do. In the French competitions--or French influenced ones like this $50,000 Pastry Challenge--we're asked to do modern viable stuff and it is taste which counts the most. The showpieces are extra--to show skill in that area as well. Perhaps part of the decline, and why that savory-aspic work has fallen out of favor is that it was not tasted? That was also, historically why so many of the best chefs and pastry chefs didn't take the ACF-style "Culinary Olympics" very seriously--the French didn't go and neither taste nor originality was much of a factor. I still think ice carving is viable and artistic--and it is mostly chefs not pastry chefs who do ice. I also think you'll see the ACF dinosaurs modernizing a bit--and adapting their competitions to fit the times better. More live cooking, more market basket stuff, more taste as a factor.

Still the ACF, though, so don't get your hopes up.


Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Steve and Colleen,

Have you documented your work from this event? If so, is it posted where we can admire it appropriately??

ChocoChris

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