Tuesday, October 4, 2016

It's Not About You

“It’s not about you.”

Four words that I wish someone would have said to me very early in my career.

It’s not about you.

Those words have been rolling around in my head for a little over a year now.  I’ve been fixated on understanding what hospitality means and how to better exemplify it and I’ve distilled it down to those four words. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cook's Day Off - Operation "Omelette Farcie"

Well, it's been quite a while since I've had the motivation to post anything here, but my Mom gave me a pretty solid idea.  I've been spending most of my days off cooking for myself lately, little experiments with dishes/techniques I've wanted to try, so why not document them?

For kicks, I'll include what I was listening to while cooking.  A big part of cooking (for me anyways) is having the right sountrack while you're working.  It's completely subjective, but I think it's as essential as pairing the right wine or beer with a meal.  Today I chose The Clash's "Combat Rock" album.  Mostly because it's a classic and has a great tempo for cooking, but also "Straight to Hell" will be playing right around the time it could all fall apart.

No guarantees, but I'll try to be disciplined enough to document them here on regular "Cook's Day Off" posts.  To kick things off, I decided to start with one of the many great absurdities in classical French cooking, and a pro-level egg cookery maneuver.  

Friday, August 19, 2011

Perfect (and simple) Summer Evening (or anytime) Drink

My good friend (and wine rep...those are good friends to have) Tim Grenier recently shared a simple, delicious summer drink that he picked up from Pete Seghesio of Seghesio Family Vineyards in the Alexander Valley of Sonoma County, CA.

Pour yourself (and a friend or lover preferably) a glass of a nice Zinfandel (no, not White Zinfandel...), and place four or five slices of a nice ripe peach in it.  Let it macerate (soak) in the wine for ten or fifteen minutes, drink the wine, eat the wine-soaked peach slices, and repeat as desired.

Do this outside, on a patio, and enjoy a late-summer evening for maximum effect.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Favorite Cookbooks

I've seen a few of my favorite chefs come up with a list of their favorite cookbooks recently, and it's always fun to see what they're really in to, and maybe you share an love of a particular book with them.  I'm a cookbook junkie, so when I'm not physically cooking, often I'm reading cookbooks - constructing the dishes in my head, thinking about the techniques, forming new associations that I may not have considered before...and marveling at the pictures (food porn...mmmmmm).

So here's a handful that I keep going back to and what I love about them.  They're all pretty different, but the common thread that ties them all together is that they succeed in being much more than just a cookbook, or a story book with recipes and pretty pictures.  They're books that successfully communicate the philosophy that drives the chef and/or restaurant, and the risk and obsessive determination that goes in to making a world-class restaurant.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Gumbo in New Orleans!

As I type this, the "Dralion" catering crew and I are driving through Chattanooga, Tennessee en route to Charlottesville, Virginia. We started at 7:00am from Houston, Texas, and anticipate arriving just before 6:00am tomorrow. We timed our arrival perfectly, though unintentionally, to stop for lunch in New Orleans. We met a friend of Brian's at a little hole in the wall called the Convention Bar & Gril, and I had a killer bowl of gumbo.  Since Patrick and Jena had never been to NOLA before, we drove around the French Quarter for a bit after lunch.  Showed them Bourbon Street and Jackson Square, then hit the road.  

The last time I was in New Orleans was pre-Katrina, and from the looks of it, the French Quarter, downtown, and other high traffic areas have recovered completely.  The outlying areas are a different story.  I remember them looking pretty rough before the storm, but a lot of it looks like the hurricane hit last week.  There are still partially-collapsed buildings and houses where you can see the high-water line standing as a silent but glaring monument to a total catastrophe.  It's really sad.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Social Media & the Independent Restaurant

The restaurant industry and social media platforms have always had a tenuous relationship.  With the advent of the message board and blog, suddenly the phrase “everyone’s a (restaurant) critic” became excruciatingly true.  Next time you’re going to go out to eat, hop on your computer and Google the restaurant you’ve chosen.  No matter where you’re going, - a rural truck stop diner or Jean-Georges, I guarantee there will at least be a couple dozen (if not hundreds) reviews.
I’ve heard a number of friends and peers in the industry lament the fact that “any hack with a blog” can smear a restaurant (deservedly or not) and damage its credibility, but fail to acknowledge or fully understand the enormous potential that free web-based platforms offer the restaurant industry – especially the independent operation.

Monday, April 12, 2010