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eG Foodblog: BryanZ - Alchemy


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I never imagined that my first post in my first eGullet foodblog would be so difficult to begin. With so much to share over the next week, I hardly know where to start. I want to make these next several days engagingly fun, witty, and intimately personal so that anyone so inclined may easily immerse themselves into my food-obsessed world. My goal is to bring enough of my (hopefully) unique personality and perspective to make this blog as interesting as possible. And, of course, I welcome any questions, comments, feedback, or musings that you all may have. Together, I think we can make this a really fun week.

With that said, let's begin.

First, a little on my background for those who may be unfamiliar. As you may have surmised, my name is Bryan. I'm currently living in northern central New Jersey and am 19 years old. During the school year, I attend Duke University in Durham, NC and am actively involved in the food community both on campus and in the surrounding area. At home, I cook a lot and work a little, much to the chagrin of my bank account. I'm half-Japanese, in case you're wondering, and this identity has played a relatively significant role in my culinary philosophy. By the way, I turn 20 on the 15th of July, in the midst of this foodblog. This scares me to no end; my childhood is but over. I'm more than willing to talk further about my background, culinary or otherwise, if anyone is interested. Just ask.

Now let's introduce some of this week's crew.

First, the Girlfriend.

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Offical taste-tester and capable of eating her own body weight of, well, just about anything. You know the stereotypical jock boyfriend (usually a football player in those TV family sitcoms) who eats his girlfriend's family out of house and home, my situation is eerily similar. She also apparently picks herbs while looking mysterious and deep in thought.

Next, the Mother.

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Pays for groceries and other toys. Provides general financial and moral support. Drinks a lot of wine, as seen here.

Finally, the Sister.

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Takes care of the pastry stuff that I'm too lazy to do. Baking, ice creams, sorbets, all that jazz.

I must confess to not being on eG much in the prior week or so. Just a couple of days ago I returned from a trip to Anguilla and French St. Martin, two Caribbean islands known for having very good food. Perhaps fittingly, in Anguilla we stayed at the Cuisinart Resort and Spa, a great luxury resort owned by the Cuisinart kitchen appliance people. I'm not sure if this is directly relevant to food per se, but I'm more than willing to reflect on the meals of my recent travels if anyone is interested.

Bringing us to the here and now, this week marks the beginning of New York City's Summer Restaurant Week 2006. While Restaurant Week has it haters and admirers--I'm of the latter camp--it does offer the opportunity to eat at many of the city's top restaurants on the cheap. Today, Monday, I have two lunches and a dinner planned as part of Restaurant Week. After that, I swing downtown to see a concert at the Bowey Ballroom and perhaps stop by at Room 4 Dessert, Will Goldfarb's (akwa on eG) hypermodern dessert bar.

On Wednesday I have two more lunches and another dinner.

On Friday the family is off to California for a weekend trip. We're driving from LA to San Francisco up the coast with an overnight stop in Carmel. Then on Sunday I've got meals at Bouchon and Gary Danko. Then, this blog must unfortunately come to an end.

Of course, I'll be cooking a good deal, too. Some of the things I'll be playing with this week include carbonated fruit, a recently purchased commerical induction burner, my new mini-water bath, and trying to figure how to make alginated butter orbs (the plight of many a molecular-inclined cook). Much more on all this in the coming days.

Finally, I'm working on a long-term project of opening up an underground restaurant in my apartment/dorm next semester, similar to the late and great StudioKitchen in Philadelphia. If people are interested in this or have advice to give (or legal counsel) please post. My concept is called Z Kitchen. The site is up and running but still in beta development. My Z Kitchen e-Lab, HEAVILY influenced by the brilliant people at ideasinfood (twodogs on eG), is also in its infancy.

So, yeah, a lot to do and only a week to do it in. I hope you all continue to tune in and participate and ask questions and all that fun stuff.

ETA: My mother requested I add a picture of myself. So, Hi.

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Edited by BryanZ (log)
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holy cr@p!

1) nyc restaurant week

2) our second (in a short period of time) youngster blog

3) hapa blogging (that'd be a half asian person for you haoles)

4) road trip

5) molecular gastronomy experimentation

that's a mighty tall order bryanz, but i'm sure you can fill it!

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I'm half-Japanese, in case you're wondering, and this identity has played a relatively significant role in my culinary philosophy.

OK, tell us more about it!

My thoughts exactly!

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I'm half-Japanese, in case you're wondering, and this identity has played a relatively significant role in my culinary philosophy.

OK, tell us more about it!

My thoughts exactly!

And mine, too!

Good morning, teenager. There are only five days for us to greet you that way. Have fun. I'm looking forward to hearing how you will celebrate July 15th.

I would also love to know more about the Caribbean eats you had during the past week, and what it was like at the the Cuisinart Resort and Spa. I would say with its name, it's food related. :wink: Did you learn some new stuff about Caribbean cuisine, or get some cooking ideas?

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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I'm deeply envious of your precociousness, I believe at 19 I was smoking pot and cutting class... Could you please make some more heat stable ravioli? (with measurements etc) I'd really like to start experimenting along with you... It's funny, who would think you'd need a blog, with so many people following what you were doing anyway? :smile:

I'm really excited to see what you'll do!

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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Hi Bryan, I am looking forward to getting into your culinary food-obsessed world (many would say I live in that world but I think there are relative degrees of this affliction!).

My kids, particularly my 3-year-old, are really interested in cooking. He always tells me he will cook for me when he is older. I was wondering, did you start in the kitchen really young? Who influenced you? Did you read about food from a young age too?

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The concept of a high-end eating establishment in a student apartment is brilliant. And having it at Duke, where the students have, ahem, a bit of discretionary income, could be an ideal combination. Hell, I'll give it it try!

I also love the fact that this is the second blog in a row from a resident of the Triangle (OK, so Bryan won't be in NC during this time, but he lives here most of the year when he isn't traveling around the world).

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I'm deeply envious of your precociousness, I believe at 19 I was smoking pot and cutting class... Could you please make some more heat stable ravioli? (with measurements etc) I'd really like to start experimenting along with you... It's funny, who would think you'd need a blog, with so many people following what you were doing anyway?  :smile:

I'm really excited to see what you'll do!

I don't even remember being 19! :wink:

I am molecularly-challenged. I am interested to see what you come up with.

What are you studying at Duke?

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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I'm half-Japanese, in case you're wondering, and this identity has played a relatively significant role in my culinary philosophy.

OK, tell us more about it!

My thoughts exactly!

As you might imagine, having any sort of dual racial identity makes one feel somewhat unique. For someone as into food as I am, it's not difficult to extend this dual identity into cooking. On the practical level, I'm grateful for having traveled extensively throughout Japan. I've stayed in many of Japan's top ryokans (traditional inns) and have eaten at many great restaurants. I'll post some pictures from last summer later this evening when I have more time. Speaking more philosophically, I believe that the Japanese respect for ingredients, simplicity of flavors, etc has been well instilled in me from a young age through my mother. I'll admit that the way I think about food now is somewhat gimmicky and trendy, but the ingrained respect for food and the beauty of it is what makes my passion for food more than just fleeting.

Good morning, teenager.  There are only five days for us to greet you that way.  Have fun.  I'm looking forward to hearing how you will celebrate July 15th.

I would also love to know more about the Caribbean eats you had during the past week, and what it was like at the the Cuisinart Resort and Spa.  I would say with its name, it's food related.  :wink:  Did you learn some new stuff about Caribbean cuisine, or get some cooking ideas?

Of course, both Anguilla and St. Martin have beautiful beaches and great weather. But after a disappointing trip (foodwise) to St. John last summer we really wanted to combine beaches with food. In the end, it was the food that was the most surprising. I have a few pictures from the trip of some of the better food I ate. It's worth noting that the Cuisinart's fine dining restaurant was some of the best and certainly the most creative "resort" food I've ever had, solid NY Times 2-star fare. Anguilla also has a restaurant overseen by Michel Rostang, a very famous Michelin 2-star Chef, in the Mallihouana resort. It's worth noting that the Cuisinart's food is better. I suppose you might expect that coming from the Cuisinart people. Caribbean food "related" pictures are coming later tonight.

Hi Bryan, I am looking forward to getting into your culinary food-obsessed world (many would say I live in that world but I think there are relative degrees of this affliction!).

My kids, particularly my 3-year-old, are really interested in cooking.  He always tells me he will cook for me when he is older.  I was wondering, did you start in the kitchen really young? Who influenced you? Did you read about food from a young age too?

My mother is a pretty good cook. Admitedly she's not spectacular, but she always wanted to make sure we (my sister and I) ate well. My father doesn't care that much about food, so his influence isn't significant. Of course, however, I'm very grateful for their ability to more or less provide for me. Anyway, I started really getting into food at about 12 or 13. I began cooking at home and a couple years after that I convinced my parents to partially redo the kitchen (Viking range, stainless appliances, new counters and sink, etc; our floors, however, are still HIDEOUS) when we were doing other home renovations. From then, I've been cooking as much as possible, with my mother's great support. My most significant influences include, perhaps naturally Japanese and French cuisine (because I'm big time Francophile), and, generally, creative-thinking chefs. Dufresne, Achatz, Keller, Vongerichten, Liebrandt, Mason, and the pair at ideasinfood immediately come to mind. As I mentioned before my most recent and ambitious project is trying to open this underground restaurant. I guess I like doing my own thing and this venture will certainly be a test of that.

As for now, I'm late in picking up the Girlfriend for a day in the city. No time for breakfast, but I PROMISE I will unleash a whirlwind of pictures late tonight. Expect 3 NYC restaurant meals, the eats of Japan and the Caribbean, and maybe some other random stuff.

Please ask questions, I'm anxiously waiting to get back to them all.

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Ah, a blog featuring some of my favorite things: Duke, Jersey, and California! Bryan, why do so many Duke students come from this area? I love the underground restaurant concept and am anxious to see it unfold.

Once again, I'm having major "kids who can cook" envy.

At Duke I'm majoring in Economics and History and am getting a certificate in Markets and Management, Duke's closest thing to a pre-business program.  So I'm sort of pre-law, pre-business, pre-not knowing what to do with my life.

Bryan, Mr. FB's degree is in "Business Management Science" -- they broke the mold after that one! :laugh: (FWIW, he 'knew' at 21 what he wanted to do forever, and by the time he was 40, changed his mind twice.)

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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This is gonna be sweeeet.

So exciting? Will there be sous-vide excitement? Sodium Alginate crazyness?

Oh boy.

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Hey Bryan,

I’ve been having trouble keeping up with everyone’s blogs of late.

1. I’m very impressed with the type of cooking that you’ve accomplished at such a young age. Ah, to be 20 again …For me 36 was the traumatic year, since I was no longer in the desirable 18-35 demographic. But I digress.

2. I’m jealous of your stove. Can we see the rest of the kitchen? And if Sandy hasn’t yet asked, the obligatory fridge shot?

3. Man, I wish I can get myself to Z-Kitchen.

4. blog on!

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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We hoped it would be you!!! (And the picture of all those gizmos and thingamabobs from Jane Jetson's kitchen confirmed it). Wow---a whole week of travels and cooking and dining and alchemy with those amazing tools.

And a birthday, as well. Nice. You're a Tuesday's Child, and on the day you were born, we were on our Honeymoon. With all you've added to eG, I consider that a special gift.

Could you work in a hand-written grocery list or recipe, please. And a shot of your hands at work.

This is gonna be a great weeeeeeek!! :smile:

Edited by racheld (log)
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I can't wait for this BLOG to get rollin'!

I must also add, on a completely superficial level, that you have a lot of good-looking people in your life. It feels like I'm preparing to watch a foodie version of my favourite primetime TV drama, acted out by hot celebrities.

*munches popcorn*

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