A few months back I had these grand plans to launch a burger centric You Tube channel. Unfortunately as I started on this venture I quickly realized that to make a proper channel with an abundance of content it would take an immense amount of time and energy, of which I did not have. Continue Reading
We all have been there. It’s 1:30 a.m. and the bartender just called “last call”. Your party of weekend warriors have consumed the night and with the evening coming to a close, you say your farewells and your fellowship is dissolved until next weekend, where you will undoubtedly pick up right where you left off. Once you reach your humble abode, the first thing you do is hunt for food to abate the case of the “munchies” you have contracted from the nights festivities. The “munchies”, for those who don’t know is the ravenous state of hunger one acquires after a full night of partying, which in turn creates the urge to consume large amounts of junk food. Some of the best creations are spawned from the late night kitchen raids that are caused by this gastronomic state. Just look at some of the mainstream fast food chains. Taco Bell came out with the Doritos Locos, a taco in a Doritos shell.
One of the greatest gastronomical gifts St. Patrick’s Day gives us is Corned Beef and Cabbage which graces nearly every Paddy’s Day celebratory menu. Although this dish is not traditionally Irish, it has become synonymous with American celebrations. Originally gaining popularity in the 1800’s as an economical substitution for the more traditional boiled bacon found in the homeland, corned beef actually gets its name from the corn shaped salt that was used to cure the meat.
Almost every chef I know has a fetish like relationship with the cuisine of the Asian continent. Whether it’s Vietnamese Pho or Korean Bulgolgi, there’s just something about those bold exotic flavors that excite the palate like the finale of a 4th of July fireworks display, 1812 overture and all. On discovering Thai food, Anthony Bourdain once said, “it was like discovering a whole new box of crayons”. From the first dish I tried, I have constantly been drawn to the rich flavors of curry, lemongrass, coconut milk, and spicy peppers. The depth of flavor can be considered unmatched compared to other global cuisine. Thai food seems to strike a perfect balance of sweet, salty, spicy, and umami.
Early in my career I managed the kitchen at a small bed and breakfast in the Appalachian Mountains of southwest Virginia. During this tenure I had the chance to meet several traveling business types that would ask me to recreate the food from their trips. One such request in particular was for the iconic Cajun stew better known as Gumbo.
Valentine’s Day, a completely overhyped commercialized holiday that forces the public to buy flowers, overpriced cards, and cheesy heart-shaped boxes of cheap chocolate. Far too many people fall into the trap of meaningless gifts to try to display their affection, forgetting that the best way to show someone who you love is from the heart. To do this, I would recommend the path through the stomach, it has worked for myself and so many others. In this recipe I deliver the “one-two punch” of the classic French vanilla custard topped with a window pane of sugar and a foundation of rich caramel sauce, better known as Creme Brulé.
It has been said that the Super Bowl is the most watched event of the year, with viewers totaling in the billions, and no Super Bowl party would be complete without the ubiquitous Buffalo Wing. A perfectly designed appetizer that can deliver any number of flavor combinations. Sure, I for one love the classic style, with its perfect blend of creamy butter, spicy pepper, and salty vinegar, but there are so many more styles that warrant an appearance at your Super Sunday soirée. This post shows three of my all time favorites.
It’s is 8 pm on a Saturday night and the restaurant is booked. The buzz of the dining room fills the air as a small platoon of wait staff hustle through the crowd delivering the chefs nightly offerings. Pungent aromas of garlic, herbs, and truffles entice the senses as order after order is put through to the tiny kitchen with its motley crew of culinary renegades. To the dismay of the sauté cook, one of the waiters has forgotten to order an entree for his table. Accompanied by an audible grumble the cook quickly fires the dish as the general manager enters the kitchen to announce a VIP table that has just sat down in section 3. By now the kitchen is humming like a well oiled machine, putting out dish after dish of impeccable cuisine, but alas, catastrophe has a way of showing up at the most inopportune times. The rhythm of the line is quickly thrown off as the cold station cook slices his index finger while cutting into a blood orange. The expediter quickly jumps in to finish off the salads while the cook attends to his injury. Plates are now starting to get backed up in the window and ticket times are beginning to become long. This makes both the wait staff and the guest restless. Just then Murphy’s Law kicks in. In his haste to alleviate the back up at his station, the sauté cook hastily turns to grab the aluminum sauté pan containing the persillade crusted sea bass without grabbing his side towel. The cook lets out a high pitch yelp followed by his favorite explicative, and consequently drops the pan and its prize on the floor.
The worst day in the kitchen is the best day of your life. There is nothing like the feeling of adrenaline you get as you push your way through a mountain of orders that seemingly never end. During the battle you become one with the machine and you realize that the madness is over before it began. Then it comes. After all is said and done, and the last dish is served and cleared, the feeling of accomplishment rushes over you. You and your team have survived the night and the battle is won, but only the battle, for you will be back to fight again the very next night.
I want this blog to be more than just a list of recipes. I want this blog to be an insight into a unique culinary journey that I call my life. Yes, there will be plenty of awesome recipes, but I thought there should be more. Being in the “Biz” for over 20 years, I have amassed some truly special experiences that I want to share with you. So grab a beverage of choice and have a read.