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The Minimalist vs. the Chef

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In fact, the only thing that restaurant kitchens have that home kitchens rarely do is ultra-high  BTU cooktops, broilers, and ovens, and even some home kitchens have those. 

But those make a huge difference. I never realized what an advantage it was until we sold our home with the powerful gas cooktop and bought a house with an electric stove. Everything takes twice as long. Most home ranges just do not have enough power to achieve professional results.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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More artisinal/high-quality/organic resources for the home cook:

Meat, game and the like:



Snake River Farms





Taylor Shellfish Farms


Catalina Offshore Products


Royal Hawaiian Seafood (if you live in CA with a day's notice)



Sonoma Organics (if you live in CA)


Gourmet Mushrooms Inc.


Oh! Tommy Boy's Organic Farm (if you live in CA)



Cypress Grove Chèvre


Redwood Hill Farms


Spices, Herbs, Microgreens:

Green Cuisine Microgreens


Nirmala's Kitchen


The Tasteful Garden


Mountain Valley Growers.


Mountain Rose Herbs


Mountain Meadow Seeds


"At the gate, I said goodnight to the fortune teller... the carnival sign threw colored shadows on her face... but I could tell she was blushing." - B.McMahan

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I thought, what an incredible plug...

That's what I got from the article, too. Much as I like Bittman's approach (I used his slow-roasted sparerib technique from How to Cook Everything here and here), this piece was a not-too-thinly-disguised press release.

And I've always maintained that the best meals, for a number of reasons, are those eaten at home.


Edited by Jim Dixon (log)

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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Thought this might be helpful to people as well – since we haven’t really addressed the “chef to farmer” connection… I believe that many people have the perception that many of these places exist solely to cater to restaurants – with a few exceptions – that is not largely the case.

The point of origin of most of this stuff is just regular people.

Farmers who are just that… farmers, many of whom have abandoned the mechanized methods of factory farming – which at one time was a very rare thing.

A great many of them sell to the public, albeit locally, through local farmers markets and on-farm stores that you physically must travel to… while some do also take orders and ship by phone or participate in local coops.

To find them all you need to do is find a directory of growers in your area – like this one (and many others):



Usually townships have such directories pertaining only to that area, where you can see where the farmers markets are - then you can buy locally and direct – high quality, sustainable raised food around your town – in addition to internet sources.

If you want Millbrook Venison for instance:


Or Wil Hi lamb:


Though there are still many places that buy items you just can’t find on any farm like Buddha’s Hand or Cape Gooseberries and then offer them for sale:


I grew up on a small farm in Kentucky.

I have eaten on a daily basis, vegetables out of the ground/off the plant - into the pan… eggs from the nests of free roaming chickens… beef from a side in our deep freeze from cattle that walked around all day eating grass and had names… smoke house cured ham from Amish country… peaches off the tree… bluegill, catfish, bass, trout I caught on my own line and cleaned with my own knife from a lake in my grandfather’s back yard… crayfish I caught with my own hands… quail, dove, deer, rabbit hunted that morning.

Still... there is nothing special about me, this is common practice by millions.

Your knowledge of such food need not come from expensive restaurants or culinary schools.

If one has the attitude that something is not possible then they have already defeated themselves from the inside – nothing in the outside world need raise a hand to them.

Cut out the middlemen once in awhile.


Here's an even better national directory:


Edited by sizzleteeth (log)

"At the gate, I said goodnight to the fortune teller... the carnival sign threw colored shadows on her face... but I could tell she was blushing." - B.McMahan

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I kinda have to wonder if the home cook can ever match the level of professional chefs by buying from the same sources as the chefs do. Those chefs regularly buy from those sources, and so those sources are always going to keep aside their best products for those chefs. From a business point of view, it just makes sense that you're going to put more efforts into those who bring you the most business. Even among chefs, there's a certain hierarchy where somebody like Eric Ripert is going to get the best fish. Unless a home cook is willing to buy as much as the chefs, then I just don't think those purveyors are going to give their best stuff to a home cook.

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There is another aspect here to eating out. We rarely do, but when we do eat out, we are determined to try something that we would not prepare at home normally or something we are unfamiliar with.

Trying to follow a recipe without a goal in mind for where the food should ultimately end up is difficult for me personally. If I have a bar set to strive for, I am much better able to comprehend the recipe as a whole or incorporate a new technique.

It drives my husband crazy when I am picking the components of a dish apart as we are dining, and grilling the staff about what's in the dish or how it is prepared. He doesn't mind a couple of weeks later though, when I reproduce the dish at home, and make adjustments according to our personal tastes or what is readily available seasonally, or apply and ingredient or technique to food stuffs we regularly have in rotation.

Inspiration - that's the only thing that keeps me eating out.

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