Thursday, July 29, 2010

10 years gone......never thought I would be with Lupe de Mere...

Well here we are, staring down the barrel of my ten year high school reunion.......I feel old. However, I feel very much alive!!! This is a post about reflection and the road less traveled, the road that chefs have to take...... or at least the ones that are good at what they do. I tend to get really "preachy" at work about that road. Maybe I'm bitter, maybe I'm self-centered, who knows???? 10 years ago I was working at Sonic American Drive-In, worked my way up to management no less, reminiscent of Judge Reinhold in Fast Times, never thought I would trade tater tots for tapas. Despite my inclination to become a major wall street figure during my early years of college, I kept pushing forward in the kitchen, I even took a tour through Hooters before I decided to enter a professional seemed natural, fun, and it was a way to make a little coin... The biggest surprise is how obsessive cooking can become. It has its own trends, its own language, it probably has its own heartbeat too...I love food culture. Check out these Bronzini's I've heard Mike say multiple times that someone told him to decide what he liked to do and then find a way to get PAID to do it....that's wisdom! That's all it is, if you can find satisfaction(which includes the capacity to accept the bad with good)in what you are doing then everything else will become a little easier..................SIKE!!! Part of that is true, but this is a really stressful industry, most of are pirates, most of us enjoy a cold beverage from time to time. Some days can be really gratifying, you get in great product and manipulate the ingredients just the right way to make them sing......just like these Lupe De Mere(Bronzini's)
Its really hard to take a step back from "super refinement" and do a whole fish plate. These seem to work well for a rustic Italian restaurant though.....
Pan Roasted Bronzini, Grilled Local Sweet Onions, Arugula, Potato Puree, Oyster Pancetta Emulsion
The oyster pancetta emulsion is made with selects from our local purveyor, and it is delicious...!! The fish has great flavor and the onion are ridiculous, seriously you can put one of them in the back of your mouth and suck, all you get is sugary oniony sweetness.......

The script is over rated

Last Friday we did a four coarse cooking demo for a group of about 30 at the Plantation. Not the most orchestrated luncheon,(how could it be when your cooking and plating for 30 people on the spot) but a huge success. The guest appreciate that your not following a script verbatim and your thinking your feet a little. Just doing what comes natural to you, cooking and being hospitable. It forces you to connect with the guest a little more and be less robotic. A steady flow of wine and humor helps too. I've never been much of shmoozer but this was fun. The food was good, the guests absolutely loved it and it helped me rekindle some lost love for this business. Put yourself in the weeds and invite the guests to come see it, brilliant, they loved it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

More from the Ocean Grill

Curry Scented Mahi, green papaya relish, cold water lobster and fingerling potatoes with saracha hollandaise
Olive tapenad crusted Salmon

Grilled Scallops, stewed tomatoes, fried okra and smoked beurre blanc

Duck fat poached Sea Bass, truffle ravioli, honey blossom vinnagrette

Friday, July 16, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Dollar General Challenge Part 1

Dollar General Tasting
Sunday, July 11th
1st Course
masa flour chicken crepe, Spam tamale, roasted arbol and guajillo chile, nacho cheese, Dorito powder

2nd Course
bacon and eggs

3rd Course
compressed Ramen noodle

4th Course
fried chicken and beans

5th Course
spaghetti alla carbonara, crisp Spam, artichoke and Albacore ravioli, pea puree

6th Course

7th Course
Dirt Cake

What fun! What a challenging mess! We fed 10 people 7 courses for about $115. I did 1st course then Brennan, me, Brennan, me, etc. The menu is vague. Promise to write some descriptions tomorrow as I'm sure Brennan will also. Till next time.....

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Dollar Store challenge is around the corner

Braised Pork Butt, Carrot confit, balsamic bar be que
Organic Salmon, Sesame vinaigrette, Udon noodles with lemongrass broth

Chilean Seabass with potato gnocchi puttanesca

Friday, July 2, 2010

We cooked 5 coarses for 12 people, ran through a ridiculous amount of wine and established the rule that you can't pass out before your guests leave

Roasted beef tenderloin with seared foie and bacon wrapped fingerling
Veal two ways with creamed corn

Roasted lamb rack with vegetable slaw and micro cilantro

Shrimp, Lobster, and snail slowly poached in a mason jar with light broth