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Report: 2010 Heartland Gathering

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T-Minus 3.5 hours until our first Gathering event begins, so I figure I'd start a thread for us to post reports, pictures, and whatever else to!

I'm leaving work now to go meet up with Alex. Malawry should be cruising in in a couple hours. See the rest of you at dinner!

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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Rona and I drove down from southern Ontario today. We stopped at the duty free to pick up a couple of bottles and so Rona could try on this classic Canadian hat.


We stopped for lunch in Franklin, Michigan at LazyBones BBQ - got takeout - and drove over to the Dragonmead microbrewery - hauled out our BBQ and got a couple of rootbeers. Delightful - she asked us if we wanted plates and cutlery! And brought us pretzels and mustard to go with our rootbeer.

At LazyBones - we saw this bottle of unsweetened sweet tea - wouldn't that be an oxymoron?






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We stopped for lunch in Franklin, Michigan at LazyBones BBQ - got takeout - and drove over to the Dragonmead microbrewery - hauled out our BBQ and got a couple of rootbeers. Delightful - she asked us if we wanted plates and cutlery! And brought us pretzels and mustard to go with our rootbeer.

Glad you liked it. Just FYI to anyone else who might be interested: Lazybones is actually located in *Roseville*, MI, not Franklin, as stated. There's a second sit-down location in Clinton Township, as well, but the Roseville location is basically carry-out only, and is about half-a-mile or so from Dragonmead, which is also fantastic, and greatly encourages outside food.

See you Saturday at the Feast!

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Szechuan banquet was amazing! So much food, all of it delicious.

After that we stopped into Morgan and York, a great wine and gourmet food shop located right next door.

Now we're at Pacific Rim, where I'm drinking a Japanese Mojito - ginger infused rum, muddled mint and shiso, and yuzu-lime juice. So delicious!

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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Agreed about the banquet--amazing, almost overwhelming (but we managed somehow).

This morning we had an interesting and informative tour of Zingerman's Coffee Company, then enjoyed a leisurely sampling of the wares at the nearby Bakehouse and Creamery. It's such a beautiful day here in Ann Arbor that we (well, at least me) could have hung out there at the picnic benches for hours. But onward we must, so the larger portion of the group headed out for the Dearborn/Detroit food tour, while SamIAm, his wife Joyce, and I browsed Kerrytown Market (boned leg of lamb! lobster rolls!) and Zingerman's Deli (where I tasted but didn't buy a $59.95 bottle of 120-year Sherry vinegar).

I suspect that pictures will be posted before too long.

Edited by Alex (log)

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1


Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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The Sichuan banquet last night was simply amazing. Thanks so much to Tammy, and to Lisa and Joe, for setting it up. My mouth was still a little numb this morning from the Sichuan peppercorns. I'd love to get a scan of the menu with the dishes that we had.

I was delighted to have met so many of you over the last couple days--what a fantastic group of passionate foodies. I hope the Grange dinner and the big dinner on Saturday are wonderful. I wish I could be there.

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Foodie Field trip report

9 of us headed out in 2 cars to Dearborn to explore some of the area's Middle Eastern specialities.

We started with a fantastic lunch at Al-Ameer. Again, more food than we could possibly eat. (I told them we only wanted family platter #1, not #2, grrr...) Then a visit to Super Greenland Market, where we found a wide assortment of middle-eastern and regular grocery items. Including the oddly named Spanish Cheese (we got the one that claimed to be "real spanish cheese), which we have no idea what we're doing with yet. But there was an entire refrigerator case filled with it at the market, so it must be popular in Middle Eastern cooking. Anyone have any ideas?

After that it was two bakeries - New Yasmeen and Shatila. Shatila was our favorite (and everyone else's too, I think), and malawry and prasantrin waited on line for quite a while to get their mixed trays of baklava and other pastries, one tray of which will be put for our dessert at today's feast. Others of us got some of their fantastic ice cream to try (the pistachio was delicious, although not quite as good at Jeni's in Columbus, OH). And we wanted them juicing sugar canes - that was cool.

Then we piled in the cars again to hit the restaurant supply shop, were several of us picked up things we just couldn't live without. :)

Edsel, Malawry and I swung past the airport to pick up Fat Guy, and arrived home just in time to get ready to (ugh)... go eat more food!

Edsel got pictures of all of this, I'm sure he'll post them when he gets time.

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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Spanish cheese - it's used widely here in Detroit in Middle Eastern applications, mainly as pieces/slices on a salad, or in a pita sandwich (a salad sandwich is yummy!). It's slightly salty and mild. Think halloumi without the mint.


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Breads are out of the oven, sliced, and being served with the awesome charcuterie that Chris Hennes brought with him. The French bread came out very well; I'm pleased. Oh, man, and that homemade pepperoni is fantastic. Right now we're sort of in a pre-dinner, mise en place kind of place and I'm confident that the meal to come will be both bountiful and delicious. I believe there is a homemade pasta course, a lamb course, a walleye en papillote course, a cheese course and a dessert course. And I'm sure I'm missing a few courses as well.

More pictures to come soon.

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Here are some early photos...

Baklawa ready for the oven, from Chef Crash and his wife


Tammy's mandolined beets, ready for blanching, then the dehydrator


A collection of batards and foccacia, from our master bread baker Tino27 (Tom)


Fat Guy peeling a "dragon carrot"

dragon carrot.jpg

Joyce (Mrs. Sam Iam) stripping some rosemary


Joyce's handiwork


Chocolate truffles from Kerry Beal. The famous Thermomix is in the background.


Tom checking his phone to see if there are any posts about his bread.


One of many trips to the compost pile


"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1


Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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Joe here; it was great seeing all of you at the Szechuan banquet Thursday night!

Lisa put her photos from it up here:


I haven't had a chance to scan the handwritten menu yet (the one with Chinese as well as English), but here are the dishes I think we got:

Cold dishes:

* Sichuan-style spicy beef stew (not actually a stew)

* Pork stomach in spicy sauce

* Spicy firm tofu

* Steamed chicken in spicy Sichuan sauce

* Spicy cucumber salad

Hot dishes:

* Spicy crabs

* Stir-fried jumbo shrimp in spicy sauce

* Scallops in spicy Sichuan sauce

* Sliced fish in boiled Sichuan-style sauce

* Xin Jiang-style chicken

* Cumin lamb

* Beef with pepper in black sauce

* Pork in ginger and garlic sauce

* Ma po tofu

* Stir-fried string beans

* Pork with pickled chilis

We'll never know what the noodle dish was going to be, because we told them we really couldn't eat it... ;-)

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More photos...

Lamb I am from Sam Iam


Lettuce and tomatoes, eGullet style

lettuce and tomatoes.jpg

Cocktail hour begins...

the Gathering bar.jpg

Tammy doing her mixology thing (and very well, I might add)

Tammy mixing.jpg

Chris Hennes, enjoying one of Tammy's creations


A Clover Club changing hands

Clover Club.jpg

Kerry Beal, being a dedicated physician, knows the value of balancing one's alcohol intake with green leafy vegetables.


"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1


Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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The feast is done, the kitchen is clean, and everyone has gone back to their hotels and houses. Everything was delicious, and for once we didn't have twice as much food as we needed - only about 1.5 times, maybe...

Here's the menu, hopefully others will get pics up soon.

Chilled poached shrimp with basil oil and corn/tomato salsa (Alex)

Beets with fennel, blueberries, and a bit of "real Spanish cheese" (tammylc)

Potato-kale shooter with chorizo cream (Kerry Beal)

Hake en papilotte with oyster mushrooms, dragon carrots, shallots and zucchini (Edsel, tino27, torakris)

Duo of rabbit - leg confit and pasta with mustard cream sauce, and saddle cutlet with pickled zucchini and onion and a honey glaze (malawry)

Grilled leg of lamb with fattoush salad (SamIAm & Joyce, Chef Crash)

For dessert we had the usual groaning board buffet, featuring raspberries topped with lemon chiboust (Kerry Beal) and a cigarette cookie (malawry), freshly made baklava and semolina-cheese pastry (Chef Crash), chocolate truffles and bark (Kerry Beal), chocolate cupcakes (boagman's +1, Donna), and a bit of Achatz pie company four berry pie (Alex).

I probably forgot something or someone, but there was a lot of wine, and I'm tired! Apologies if i left anyone on the cooking crew out! I only listed the person "in charge" up above, but tons of people pitched in to help prep and cook and plate and serve, so it was definitely a team effort, and thanks to everyone.

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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I thought it was a superb meal. I'd have been proud to bring any chef in the world into that room. I think anyone, no matter how jaded, would have been blown away not only by the quality of the finished product but also by the teamwork, the collaboration in devising dishes at the market, the seamless interplay of six teams of cooks in a kitchen with finite space and resources, and Tammy's organizational talent, not to mention all the off-menu stuff like Chris Hennes's charcuterie, Tino27's breads, Tammy's cocktail hour, and White Lotus and Dance's tea service.

I also have to say I was really moved watching Mr. and Mrs. Chef Crash work together in the kitchen producing baklava, fattoush, and that semolina thing, in a carefully choreographed culinary dance like nothing I've ever seen before. Talk about two hearts beating as one.

The only major disappointment of the evening was Torakris's refusal to make tempura.

Someone will need to start a topic for planning next year's event, which by the way will coincide with the 10th anniversary of the eGullet community.

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Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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So. Completely. Jealous. Wish I could be there with all of you. I'm living vicariously through the posts and photos. Nicely stocked bar, I might add! Must plan ahead to make it next year. This is way too much fun to be missing out on.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I swore I wasn't going to eat until the brunch today, but then I saw one of Donna's cupcakes in my kitchen, and I couldn't help but pour myself a glass of milk to go with.

Speaking of the bar setup (thanks, Katie!), here's an approximate list of what I mixed up during cocktail hour:


1 Aviation

2 Aviatrix

1 Mademoiselle

1 Juliet and Romeo

1 Basil Gimlet

1 Shiso Gimlet

1 Vesper

1 Kachumber Kooler

1 Clover Club

1 Songbird


1 Scofflaw

1 Daywalker

1 Trinidad Sour


3 Mai Tai

2 Mojito (one virgin)


2 Jack Rose

1 Apple Cart


1 Tomato Kiss

1 Maximilian Affair

I think that's about it. It was a very gin-y night, but that seems appropriate for high summer...

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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As the flock returns to the diaspora, we should start seeing more photos and reports. In the meantime, a quick mention of our final event: the bacon brunch at Zingerman's Roadhouse.

We started the brunch with the pleasure and honor of a bacon tasting led by Ari Weinzweig, founder of Zingerman's. Ari is one of the most influential figures in American gourmet food. He has written a whole book on bacon. We tasted Edwards, Benton's, Neuske's and an Arkansas pepper bacon. Ari's basic contention is that bacon is the American analog to olive oil in Italy: present in most regions and cuisines, high and low, in amazing variety that only the locals really understand and appreciate. Tasting these four excellent bacons side-by-side really underscored that bacon is a many-splendored product. The Benton's bacon was both my favorite and the most controvesial: it has such a strong, smoky flavor that it's challenging to eat straight, and would totally overwhelm a lot of things (e.g., fish) as an ingredient, but the flavors are immense. Ari likened it to a big Barolo or many-year-aged cheddar, which I thought was astute. I can see why Neuske's is so popular in the gourmet-food world: it's delicious but also very accessible. The Arkansas pepper bacon was also great. The Edwards was the least interesting to me, but still quite a lot better than standard supermarket junk.

Here's Ari running the tasting:

2010-08-08 12.04.54.jpg

This is the menu:

2010-08-08 13.01.33.jpg

After we tasted bacon we had eggs with bacon, waffles with bacon, biscuits with chocolate-bacon gravy, and a surprise dessert bonus of bacon gelato.

Chris and Karen Hennes and I had a little time before our flights, and we had missed Friday's field trip to Dearborn, so we hit a couple of Dearborn spots after brunch: the Super Greenland Market and the Shatila Bakery. Both pretty impressive. The Korean Americans have H-Mart and the Indian Americans have Patel Brothers, but they've got nothing on the Arab American superstores in Dearborn.

Now I'm sitting in the Detroit airport thinking about next year. I'm looking forward to another one. Thanks everyone for coming from near and far and especially to Tammy for her leadership.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Well, here were my two contributions to the dinner on Saturday night (well, besides helping out Edsel with the Hake en Papillote).

First up was some traditional French batards and mini baguettes that I cut across the bias:


And second was some focaccia (which I did last year), but topped it this year with some slow caramelized onions (thanks to the help from Alex) laced with reduced balsamic vinegar and finished off with some fresh thyme (thanks to the help from Prasantrin):


Dinner on Saturday was absolutely fantastic and while I left definitely feeling full, I wasn't on complete overload. While I much appreciated the comments I received during the day for the breads, the best compliment of all was when I returned to the cutting board at the end of the meal to start divvying up the leftovers and everything was simply ... GONE!

Thanks again to tammylc for arranging and pulling off another great Heartland Gathering weekend. It was exactly what I was hoping it would be.

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Every, everybody did a great job on pulling this weekend together. BTW, A very special thank you to Malawry for the rabbit confit and homemade noodles. Highlight of the Saturday feast, IMHO.

Superb weekend, one and all! See you in Cleveland, 2011, I hope.

Carpe Carp: Seize that fish!

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I'm just on my way to YYZ now (free wifi on the airport express!), but I wanted to add my thanks to Tammy for arranging the gathering. I enjoyed everything I participated in, and I especially enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of all the events. Ann Arbor rocks!

tino's bread was awesome. Damn that Kristin for being greedy and taking all the bread home. :angry::laugh: (What? I don't know what you're talking about! :unsure: )

Special thanks to those (you know who you are :wink: ) who brought back some of the camaraderie and warmth (and human relationships) that was once pervasive. It was one of the greatest characteristics of eG, and I hope with more gatherings like this one, that aspect returns once more to the boards, too. Y'all made the trip doubly worthwhile!

(And Malawry and Tammy, you missed a great coffee jelly eating imitation--even better than sliding off the massage table!)

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Breakfast menu and the kitchen where breakfast is prepared.


Our trip to Dearborn - would you buy beef from this vendor?


The sugar cane juicer at Shakila.


The Charcuterie plate at Grange. My favorite was the terrine.


The salted walleye brandade fritters. Yum!


Pig's head.




Peaches with grains - I've forgotten what else.


The chef's tattoo.




Plum dessert with goat cheese sorbet I think.



Connie (white lotus) in her tea prep and tasting mode. A greatly appreciated part of the gathering. At moments when you were becoming a little exhausted she'd show up with a nice big cup of orange pekoe or a little tiny cup of a fabulous green tea.


Alex's local shrimp with a wonderful salsa and basil oil.


Bill, a dweller at Tammy's housing, was very useful for getting rid of leftover food. Shortly after the spoon cleaning of this measuring cup - I think he tried to swab it with his tongue.


FG flipping the bunny bits.


Bunny 3 ways.


SamIam's lamb accompanied by Chef Crash's fatoush.


The four bacons for comparison at Zingerman's Roadhouse.


Egg's with pimento cheese and peppery bacon, waffles with grits.


Connie - convincing Ari that he needed to get better sencha.

Edited by heidih
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    • By Bu Pun Su
      French food is my favorite cuisine and l’Arpege is my favorite restaurant. Currently, entering the 4th year that I haven’t returned to l’Arpege (Since ’06, I usually make an effort to go there at least once every 2 years). At the very least I had a chance to savor Alain Passard’s cuisine in late ’12 when he became a guest Chef at Beaufort hotel Sentosa – the most memorable part was when Alain personally cooked 2 Brittany lobsters for me. Fortunately, Singapore has a restaurant owned and run by Passard’s apprentice & his former sous chef, Gunther Hubrechsen. Therefore, whenever I crave for (home-style) French cooking that’s light, delicate and delicious, I often come here. Similar to my Les Amis’ experience, I’ve actually been here about 4 times since 2008 but never wrote a (serious) review even once. As a matter of fact, Gunther’s is one of my favorite restaurants in Singapore
      I had dinner at Gunther’s in the same week as my meal at Les Amis. On purpose, I ordered carte-blanche here with similar budget to the Les Amis’ degustation menu. I wondered how these 2 elite gastronomy restaurants (cooking nouvelle cuisine without any molecular element) would fare against each other. A short comparison in a glance,
      Les Amis = 7 courses including one dessert. 2 courses with caviar and 3 courses with black truffle. There were scallop, lobster and wagyu beef
      Gunther’s = 8 courses with a dessert. 1 dish with caviar and also 3 courses with black truffle. There were scallop, gambas and wagyu beef
      Anyway, I ate and enjoyed very much the following stuffs at Gunther’s (my top 3 dishes):
      1st: cold angel hair pasta with Oscietra caviar - the restaurant’s most well-known dish and Chef Hubrechsen should be proud of it. It’s the 3rd time I savor this dish; it’s still very delicious – the flavor, the smells, the texture and all other elements were spot on. High degree of consistency...
      5th: carabinero gambas with tomato rice – given how far Spain from Singapore is, the kitchen did a good job in preparing this prawn. I tasted the gambas’ freshness and sweet flavor; it’s well-seasoned too. The Japanese rice cooked with the prawn’s stock and tomato was pleasant except I prefer rice with firmer texture (like in risotto or paella)
      6th: grilled scallop with black truffle – the main highlight of my meal. The Hokkaido scallop was juicy and tender though not as tasty as the one I had at Les Amis. However, it’s well-enhanced by the sublime and sweet caramelized onion below as well as the pungent winter truffle aroma and flavor on top of it. I liked the onion very much here – a good example how Gunther brought out the essence of its ingredient; possibly the closest one (in terms of ‘deliciousness’) to the Passard’s perfect onion gratin with parmesan that looks deceptively simple
      What makes Gunther’s special is that the talented Belgian chef-owner is capable of generating many different kind of ‘unassuming’ dishes and elevating them to higher level using no more than 3 fresh produce on each plate. It seems modest at times, but actually quite sophisticated. Let me describe a few more dishes I had,
      4th: roasted garlic with onion essence – if I had to pick one dish I like the least, it’s probably the one. The roasted garlic had smooth texture and good smell, well-integrated with mascarpone sauce. However, I found the (garlic) portion was too big. After consuming 2/3 of them, I just swallowed the rest (almost no chewing) so that I wouldn’t be too stuffed and/or dilute my palate for the next dishes
      7th: Char grilled wagyu beef in bordelaise sauce – this was the main course served in a nice portion with a right amount of “fat”. Delicate Japanese beef was generally a safe choice; the chef didn’t do too much and just allowed the natural flavor of high quality wagyu to shine. The sauce and the grilled corn were precisely executed. Nothing wow but it’s hard not to like Japanese beef J
      8th: Truffle parfait – dessert. It’s a soft and light vanilla ice cream served with rich chocolate brownie and topped with aromatic smell induced by the Perigord truffle (having slight peppery taste). I hardly eat dessert with truffle in it. This one was sweet and rather delicious
      There were a couple more dishes I had and you can see/read them on the picture link below. For the meal, I drank 2 glasses of wine. The first glass was 2010 Vincent girardin chassagne-Montrachet; it’s rich and creamy with buttery aromas. The second one was 2009 Black quail Pinot noir; it’s medium bodied with dark berries delicate fragrance and dry finish in slight acidity – a quite refined pinot noir that surprisingly went along nicely with my scallop dish (of course, better with the beef). Oh before I forget, this place only offers one type of bread and butter – to be exact warm mini baguette and salted butter served at room temperature – simple but good; I ate 3 baguettes if not mistaken. The meal ended with a petit four consisting of a green tea macaron and canele – both were fine.
      It was a quiet evening, about half of the restaurant’s capacity was filled. Probably most people were still busy to attend reunion dinner with their friends and colleagues. The dining room decoration was minimalist dominated by dark grey color for the walls (some paintings were hung on them) and medium lighting. This way guests would not feel overwhelmed and the food took center stage. The staffs were polite and helpful without being intrusive. Besides the sommelier, one friendly “Indian” maitre d’ and the greeter, most of restaurants’ FOH staffs were relatively new. Chef Hubrechsen, usually visiting the dining room to greet guests, explained that the staffs turnover at Singapore restaurants were still very high; he even did not have any permanent sous chef assisting him in the kitchen. So the good thing is that it’s almost guaranteed Gunther himself would always be in the kitchen daily to ensure food quality.
      I gave my overall meal experience at Gunther’s nearly 94 pts (a good 2 ¼* by Michelin standard) and it meant about the same level as Shinji by Kanesaka Singapore and Eric Frechon’s Le Bristol, seriously. Another lovely meal, and overall it ranked as the most memorable one I’ve ever had here. Well, there was no bad meal experience at Gunther’s. Hope I can return again sometimes next year, even better if not on my own expenses. Lastly, I prefer this place over Les Amis by a small margin. Check here for pictures, https://picasaweb.google.com/118237905546308956881/GuntherSRestaurantSingapore#
    • By Kerry Beal
      Today we started out with a trip to the college to start getting ourselves set up for tomorrow. Then at 10 am we met at ChocolateFX and started our tour. Of course hair nets are obligatory if you are going to go into a food manufacturing facility!

      Wilma and Art had the small pan set up so that we could pan some raisins.

      Here's Pat (psantucc), with beard appropriately netted, applying some chocolate to the raisins.

      Ava (FrogPrincesse's little one) preparing to add more chocolate, Kyle helping and FrogPrincesse awaiting her turn.

      The fancy packing machine.

      Listening with rapt attention to Wilma explaining the making of ganache truffles in the round silicone molds.
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