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robert40

Doug Psaltis

532 posts in this topic

I was a judge at that latke contest and almost suffocated from frying fumes and lack of ventilation. I know it is a difficult venue and I have had many meals there -a few very good, most mediocre. Psaltis's was the worst and the flaws were caused more by the chef's conception of the dishes than by the poor facilities at the House. They didn't even read well on the menu and who would put hard, whole chestnuts on a tough, dry, sandy pastry base or leave pumpkin seeds in the pumpkin or serve a savvy food group boneless breast of cheicke even if it is rouge, fermier and from Piedmont, whatever that means in this conext. Tough, dry apple slices in the dessert, a poached egg on shrimp and all of us searching for the cauliflower said to be part of the creation, and let's not forget the deliberately Greek diner appetizers..There's nothing funny or cute about a canape that is a tuna melt..hot canned tuna fish topped with American cheese... more disgusting than funny and so-called latkes that were limp, fluffly fried mashed potatoes..To call those latkes should be to invoke the ire of the Anti-Defamation League. I have spoken to about half-a-dozen others at the dinner, besides those at my table, and have not heard a kind word about that meal. But I will not out them..let them speak for themselves.

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Pardon my ignorance, because perhaps there is a rule about all food being served at the Beard House having to be prepared on premises, but if this is not the case, I truly cannot see any excuse for a NY chef to put on a dinner as poor as this one sounds...

I worked for a chef preparing a dinner for the Beard House. She was carting all of her wares from Seattle, and had prepped for what she deamed the "honor" of cooking at the Beard House for at least a month, asking all of us in the kitchen to help her improve her dishes. This is how cooking at the Beard House is seen by most, I think, who get to cook there. And for a chef who has a kitchen in the city at his disposal, where he could surely have par-cooked at least most of this meal...well, it speaks volumes, I think.


Edited by aaustin (log)

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Yikes. It does sound pretty awful.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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quick question for the "any publicity is good publicity" crowd: do you think this latest installment in the psaltis saga would have been posted if not for the book?

i'm not talking about any kind of organized "get the kid" movement (hard to picture mimi as part of any organized movement). but if Psaltis hadn't already positioned himself as the equal and judge of keller and barber, would people have been a little more understanding?

i hardly think that just another bad meal at the beard house would have been worth mentioning.

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Interesting question. My guess is that it probably wouldn't have been posted or written about. Another bad meal at Beard House isn't exactly news. But if it was as bad as Mimi says it was I'm sure the people who were there would be talking about it among themselves, even if only to say "that was one of the worst Beard House dinners I've ever attended."

Here is the menu postef on the Beard House web site, by the way:

Bites of Classic Diner Food

Forelle Pear and Chestnut Salad

Shellfish, Cauliflower, and Caviar

Poulet Rouge Fermier du Piedmont with Pumpkin Gratin

Toasted Almonds with Poached Grapes and Apples


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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I was with a local Chef that cooked a dinner at the Beard House 2 years ago - I found the equipment, support staff, cookware, and facilites as good as anything I've worked on. It's not top of the line custom french ranges but there are plenty of burners, fryers, plating space, etc. The only off-site prep we did is stocks and some butchering.

More than half the meal was finished after I got to NY at 10:00 a.m.

a2n.jpg

edit sp


Edited by GordonCooks (log)

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quick question for the "any publicity is good publicity" crowd: do you think this latest installment in the psaltis saga would have been posted if not for the book?

i'm not talking about any kind of organized "get the kid" movement (hard to picture mimi as part of any organized movement). but if Psaltis hadn't already positioned himself as the equal and judge of keller and barber, would people have been a little more understanding?

i hardly think that just another bad meal at the beard house would have been worth mentioning.

Of course, Russ, this would not have been posted except for the book. But the book exists and like so many other nonentities striving for fame, at least one of the Psaltis twins realized that to do so, all he had to do was knock the biggest names in the business. I fear for Zakarian, a wonderful guy and an absolutely first-rate chef, for if Country fails, Psaltis may try to make him the fall guy.

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Please with the kitchen excuses. A good chef can cook an excellent meal with some fire, wood and top ingredients - the other stuff is extraneous bull.

You should have witnessed the dinners I put out from a galley kitchen - and at times I was cooking for a Christmas Party of 80.


Edited by rich (log)

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Of course, this would not have been posted except for the book. But the book exists

just to be clear: i wasn't in any way intending that as a criticism. just a warning about the dangers of tacking a big bullseye to your back. but i wonder how his walk-in will be?

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I fear for Zakarian, a wonderful guy and an absolutely first-rate chef, for if Country fails, Psaltis may  try to make him the fall guy.

I like Zakarian too. I think his work is brilliant and Town is IMO deserving of far more recognition and attention than it gets. So it seems a bit odd to me that so many people have been speaking of Country as though it were a "Psaltis restaurant." As far as I know, Country will be a Zakarian restaurant. I have heard that, at least up to this point, the dishes are Zakarian's and that Zakarian is at the chef's station calling orders during service. People initially spoke of Esca as a "Batali restaurant" even though it was more Pasternack's place than it was Mario's in terms of the kitchen, and I'm not sure why we are doing differently here.

All this is to say that we shouldn't take any credit for Country away from Zakarian.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Didn't Ducasse call him, "the best cook in my kitchen"?

Or is that like a book blurb that can be taken back?

There's a big difference between being the "best cook in [the] kitchen," and being a Chef.


"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

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I fear for Zakarian, a wonderful guy and an absolutely first-rate chef, for if Country fails, Psaltis may  try to make him the fall guy.

Do you honestly think someone like D.P. can take Zakarian down? I'm curious, not being snarky (that will be my new tag line). I can't imagine DP ever having any real influence in the restaurant business.

[edited because the first edit was not done properly and attributed the quote to someone else ...]


Edited by FabulousFoodBabe (log)

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

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“I think an aspect of my personality that Thomas hadn’t expected was that I am completely outspoken admittedly sometimes to a fault. After about a month of working at the Laundry, he asked me when I thought I’d start contributing to the menu and I told him I didn’t feel comfortable doing so.”

“I just don’t think about food in the same way,” I told him.

“What does that mean?” Thomas asked me. And I explained to him that I thought a lot of the dishes were created with aesthetics as the primary goal, with how enticingly they could be explained to a guest as the second consideration, that the sauces were meant to look bright and beautiful and that sometimes they ended up flavorless in this pursuit. While I understood that other elements are important, I always think of food in terms of flavor and taste first.”

To single out just one example after reading the above quote one could believe its only natural and expected for people to scrutinize any meal Doug may produce and be "outspoken" about it. Even if it is at the James Beard House.

For every action there is a reaction. Or at least that is what my mother always told me.


Robert R

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quick question for the "any publicity is good publicity" crowd: do you think this latest installment in the psaltis saga would have been posted if not for the book?

i'm not talking about any kind of organized "get the kid" movement (hard to picture mimi as part of any organized movement). but if Psaltis hadn't already positioned himself as the equal and judge of keller and barber, would people have been a little more understanding?

i hardly think that just another bad meal at the beard house would have been worth mentioning.

Like I said and it seems more evident as this thread progresses, DP has decided to sling shots at very well respected and established people without earning his own stripes. That is why the Beard dinner post was...posted. It's not that the FL walk in was not a little unorganized at one instance or that Barber does not use cookbooks for ideas (like everyone else). the problem seems to be that Psaltis for no other reason than to make himself look better brought these subjects up and made himself a target. So he better be a damn good chef or no one will cut him ANY slack.

Elie


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Almost 50,000 hits and almost 400 posts - what more publicity could a food book author have hoped for on eGullet?

I think we made the book a success beyond its author's wildest dreams.


Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Almost 50,000 hits and almost 400 posts - what more publicity could a food book author have hoped for on eGullet?

I think we made the book a success beyond its author's wildest dreams.

look up the definition of "pyrrhic victory."

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Almost 50,000 hits and almost 400 posts - what more publicity could a food book author have hoped for on eGullet?

I think we made the book a success beyond its author's wildest dreams.

But this goes back to the question "is all publicity good publicity?" A LOT of the afore-mentioned 400 posts have been beating DP up, calling his integrity into question and, now, suggesting that he isn't actually a very good chef. And now his restaurant is open, I get the impression that people are lining up to bash that too.

But maybe thats what he was hoping would happen? :unsure:

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I fear for Zakarian, a wonderful guy and an absolutely first-rate chef, for if Country fails, Psaltis may  try to make him the fall guy.

just for the record: that's a badly edited quote. i believe it was mimi who said that, not me. zakarian may be a wonderful guy, but i have never met him, nor eaten his food.

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after everything I have read, I am not buying the book. I have already spent too much energy on this person, much more than he deserves.


It is good to be a BBQ Judge.

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I fear for Zakarian, a wonderful guy and an absolutely first-rate chef, for if Country fails, Psaltis may  try to make him the fall guy.

just for the record: that's a badly edited quote.

And that's the understatement of the year! Ugh, sorry. I fixed my post upthread.


"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

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I'm not in any hurry to buy the book either, even if I have contributed my share of viewings on this thread.

This is a lot like baseball. Ballplayers are forgiven a lot of sins as long as they perfom at the plate. Mr. Psaltis you are up and your plate had better be worth the dish.


Edited by TrishCT (log)

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