Category: dinning out

The Poor Man’s Slow Hustle #4

True confessions of a chef #1

After 10 years of cooking professionally and trying with all the might my small yet determined physical self can offer, with all the passion in my glowing heart, and with all the smarts in the multiple folds of my brain, I only make a few dollars (literally a few, this is not a dramatized statement) more an hour than when I graduated from college.  10 year of toil, turmoil, and complete dedication.  I make less than I did before pastry school.  I make so little that I was upset when minimum wage got increased.  I make so little that I got a pimple of stress when my great job offered its shiny spot to me.

Eating is the number one necessity to living, but the work involved is not valued.  Like teaching your children, these building block of society our overlooked and negated to the needy.

I have preached it before and I will continue my soapbox speech.  Tipping is ridiculous and at this point it proves nothing.  You tip because you have to, not because you want to.  Since the industry has exploited the goodness of your dining generosity, it needs to be restricted.  Servers, food runners, hosts, cooks, dishwashers, and bar backs, we all deserve to make a living wage, and just like a capitalistic system, the wages should not be so binary.  Front of the house makes it rain, while back of the house is in the drought.

The system is not working, and this in turns makes it very difficult to want to go to the kitchen day in and day out, taking that precious passion and putting it towards you.

We are the overlooked crowd.  You read about running a restaurant, and the service  involved in making the guest have such a grand experience, and the struggle or impute of the chef is never mentioned.  It’s all about that happiness in the dining room, the articles never mentions the that person under the bandana.  It is starting to get to us.  I see a lack luster in cooks because we are not getting enough out of this bargain.  Someone has to speak up, and it will be Marigold and her golden wit.

Fall Inspirations

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Although I am currently struggling with the complications of Autumn, when I think about the warming and comforting fall flavors, I get those good Goosebumps.  The chill is coming, but warming up with food is amazing.  This is the definition of comfort food, it is a feeling of safety, it is a physical reaction of an internal hug.  It warms you, calms you down, makes you forget about the harsh reality of daily living, transports you to serenity, if even for a moment.

Maple, caramel, clove, allspice, ginger, bay leaf, molasses

Pears, apples, pumpkin, squash, grains, beets, brittle, fennel, saffron, persimmon, bananas

Spiced rum, hot apple cider, dark roasted coffee, oatmeal stout, caramel

These are the flavors on my mind, and nature is my tool of inspiration.

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This dish is to remind you of fall at a Midwestern cider mill.  Apple cider doughnuts tossed in a rum-maple glaze, squash mousse flavored with chai spices, bacon brittle, dried apple shoe strings with sage.

Wait For It…

I have perhaps the best idea ever for a dessert.  I am going to say a word that I never thought I would ever say pertaining to a dessert, especially when the word “great” or “best” or “anticipation-worthy” is involved.

So here it is: s’more.

There, I said it.  If you immediately lose interest, I understand.  I certainly would not listen past this word when someone is trying to describe an innovative product, a salivary-induced dessert, and new idea that will spark imagination and delight.

Also, I will not say “deconstructed” because the dish is not deconstructed, it is reconstructed.  But that word will not appear in the name or even in the description based on principal- the principal that deconstructed is an overdone and a cliché concept.  Anything resembling that terribly passé word will be lumped into that same, shameful category.

I am thinking about calling it “Fireside” or perhaps “The Rebirth of S’more.”

I don’t want dull childhood memories of this store-bought mélange of ingredients to come across as misleadingly simple or contrived.  This ‘new best idea ever dish’ amplifies the best part of the s’more while also improving upon the aspects that are underwhelming.

I can’t say too many details about this idea without giving away too much.  You have to wait for it.  The intended restaurant where this is to début is not open for business yet.  The doors are not open, the fires are not lit, the tables are not yet set.  Until then menus are printed, until the water glasses filled, until your cocktail shaken, until the music spinning, full disclosure on “Fireside” is clandestine.

The best part of this over used childhood treat is in the applying of heart to transform the ordinary into the somewhat extravagant.  The parts themselves are simple, but together they transform into a classic.  Since the best part about the s’more concept is the interactive involvement of everyone, a active role will play a part in the enjoyment of this dessert.

The underwhelming part of the this treat is the reason why I don’t even think that the s’more is good.  It is this gooey glob with a single note sweetness.  Let’s be honest, it’s boring.  Outside of the bonfire, it’s bland.  The novelty trumps taste, the overall impression being lack luster.  There are only two flavor profiles, being chocolate and graham.  I think I can do better.

Unfortunately this is call I can tell you until El Che opens its doors, until there is wood for the hearth, until someone can slide your credit card.  Until then, keep your tongues anxious and your minds curious.