Monday, April 26, 2010

New Endeavor???

I am literally days away from the edge of the cliff that is the busy season. Every minute I live I am that much closer. I decided to make good of my time left to myself and my family. I am starting a new project, and for once, it will not cost me an arm and a leg. I was inspired to hand build my own chef knife.

I am a knife and cookbook junkie. I can never have enough of any of them. Something struck me that the ultimate of these collections is to have one to call your own. So my book is years down the road, but my own knife? I am very skilled with my hands and can learn anything by reading and research. Apparently lots of people do this and it is fairly common, affordable and available! I picked out the blade, and the wood and hopefully I can get all this stuff in before the season starts. I do not know if it is an onvernight thing or a several week thing...either way I will be more than happy with the results. Look for updates and check for pictures.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Awesome Friday Night A La Carte Service! (A short one)

So yeah, this will be a rather short entry. Just wanted to share with everyone what a wonderful, text book day of ass kicking I accomplished in the kitchen. I got in at 8:30am and immediately sear off a case of marinated duck breasts for tomorrows station, and started my mise en place for one of the items on the a la carte menu. I finished all that around 9:15am. I broke right into de-boning, trimming and pounding french breasts of chicken, breading them Milanese style and pan frying them. Break time at 10:15. Back to work by 10:45, I am slicing eggplant lengthwise on a meat slicer to get perfectly straight first cts, then I cut the lenghtwise the other and make small dice, pan sear them in a hot pan with very little olive oil and let them cool, later I will heat them up with some garlic, brunoise of tri color pepper, and kalamata olives for the Branzino Plate, olive timbale, buillabase broth. I made a sauce Vin blanc, also a Sauce Pommery, which is a vin blanc, finished with Whole grain dijon mustard. We had a tasting menu today for a wedding in July, so we made filet, I made Potato croquettes, Mushroom madeira demiglace. I seriously can go on and on, but it was a full day of non-stop work; all of my tasks were accomplished on time and without any difficulty and I was cooking, rather than supervising for most of the time. A la carte service was flawless and our timing was spot ya!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Day in the Life...

So I find myself up at 6:30 every morning, usually from my alarm, but sometimes from a slight tug on my chest hair, compliments of my daughter Caroline. This morning it was all alarm, and it was wonderful. As usual I go on the computer, check my email and get in the shower by 7:15. By 8:30 I am in work, changed into my chef attire (jacket with logo and name/title, checkered pants, long apron, and my skull cap) and turning on all of the ovens, cooking surfaces and equipment, and unlocking the kitchen's refrigerators and storage rooms, getting ready to start a new day. Rarely is the Executive Chef in with me, I never hold a grudge or am upset with this point; this is just how it is, and it means I am the Sous Chef, and I am responsible enough to handle things on my own.

On a normal weekday I have a list of things that need to be done, seeing as we are closed on Mondays I make my weekly prep. list in the office before anyone gets in at 9:00. Today I have to make the specials for the next two days, and get the party going. By the way, today is not a normal day. We have our very first luncheon of the season today at 11:30. My crew comes in at 9:00 on the nose in a flood of white shirts, checkered pants and a buzz of Spanish, Tagalog, and English. It is time to start the day.

The structure of this luncheon was as follows:

*11:30 Passed hors d' ouvres (hot and cold)

*12:15 Plated, pre-set salads, consisting of Baby red and green romaine lettuce wrapped in a cucumber ribbon, citrus vinaigrette, diced cucumber, red and yellow grape tomatoes, candied walnuts and dried cranberry.

*1:30 Choice of Grilled Atlantic salmon with lemon chive beurre blanc with white and wild rice medley, and baby spring vegetables

or Roasted french breast of chicken with a mushroom pan gravy, roasted sliced sweet potatoes and baby spring vegetables

*2:15 Plated dessert of fresh berries, Mango, Lemon, and Raspberry sorbets in a brandy snap tuille basket.

VERY basic menu for my kitchen. Passed hors d' ouvres were in the window at 11:15 and everything went smoothly. The main course was plated up by only myself and the chef in under 30 minutes.

Things went out well, we hit a little snag when the new guy didn't put the first 40 plates in the hot box(a large metal box that can hold about 85 plate at a hot temperature) After the Chef and I separately reamed him out, he got it perfect. We both just got mad at the fact of the new guy not being able to just say " I don't understand" instead he wasted our time by plugging along and doing his own thing. However, after all was said and done, the party went out smoothly and there were no complaints. Trust me, when you work in a country club filled with rich old people, complaints happen not daily, but hourly. It is just all they have left. This was a short day, I was home, playing with my daughter and talking to my wife by 3:15pm! These days will surely be missed in a months time.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Here Goes Nothing...

How did I get here? I think it started all the way back in 2001, when I met a my friend Nathaniel Rhodes for the first time. We just hit it off and became friends immediately. We laughed our way through The Culinary Institute of America, joking about the difference in our upbringing (him being black from St. Louis, and myself white from Long Island) tastes in food, women and everythibg else under the sun. He was my group leader, one of the best in fact. He was my Class president, and he was my student graduation speaker.

One of his major talents is the ability to talk the underwear off a nun. He is extremely persuasive and very articulate. A few weeks ago he talked me into "doing something"...he urged "if only I listened to him and follow his instructions". Here I am, Twitter account, Facebook fan page, and now blogspot, talking to myself most of the time about food and postingpictures I took or others took of me. It is slightly therapeutic regardless of my lack of fans and followers, it fortifies my passion and love for the trade I have been a part of since my adolescent years.

Where this will take me? I am not sure, but I think I will try to keep it up. Recipes, pictures if I figure ot how to do so and a run down of daily activitis perhaps. I will tell you that tomorrow I have a luncheon for 95 people at 11:30 in the morning. VERY small catered event compared to what volume I will be doing in a matter of weeks. I work at the very same country club I externed at when I was a student, now as the Sous Chef. The busy season will be upon us any minute now, and there will be no time for anything but brutally fast-paced cooking and production. I will be missing my wife, Erica and my daughter, Caroline very much in the months to come. Well then, gotta go plan my future, read on, the next posts wont be so friggin boring.