Georgia/Florida weekend's coming up. Mike I challenge you to a pumpkin carving contest Amenities
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So for the past 3 months or so I've been the Garde Manger Chef for the Plantation. Trying to find the medium between refinement and feeding the masses. A little overwhelmed but enthusiastic about my new position. I'm starting to understand why chef's I had worked for always told me to enjoy being a cook while you can. Just come in and enjoy working with the food with a clear head and no fires to put out. No personalities to try and understand and figure out how to manage all while inspiring them to actually care about what they do(garde manger being one of the hardest things to get people to care about. Now I walk in the door ready to be greeted with a slew of problems. I'm starting to understand how to balance it all though. Back to back 15 hour days for weeks at a time take their toll but oddly enough you start to get used it and adjust. I guess chefs build up an immunity to long hours overtime. Sometimes I don't know how Dale's still standing at the end of the day when he hasn't taken a day off in two weeks, came in an hour before I did and left two hours later every night. The guy's a machine. I'm enjoying my new position and all hours, responsibilities and pressures that come along with it and feel like I'm already becoming a better chef from it. I'm excited that the Plantation was bought by a company with such high standards and the resources to truly build the it up to it's full potential. The sky's the limit now, expect big things to happen at the Plantation. To add on to all of the pressures and changes at work, I'm over joyed and a little frightened to say that I'm also going to be a dad in less than two months. Talk about motivation to push myself even harder. There's a new meaning to life now.
Mike's last post gives me a chance to kill two birds with one stone with this post. About a month ago Brennan and I were in south Florida and were fortunate enough to be in town the same time that Jeff Potter was doing a Q & A about his new book, Cooking for Geeks. We had the chance to meet and talk with him about his new book and I just received my signed copy in the mail this week. The book is great, it takes a strait forward, logical approach to explaining the chemistry, process and magic of cooking. I have only scratched the surface of this book, but it has a much different feel to it as opposed to other books written by long time professional chefs(maybe chefs get a little to emotional about their food sometimes). Either way, I would definitely recommend that cooks stop what they are doing right now and run out and get this book.
Now, to answer Mike's question, what I know about Tapioca Maltodextrin is that it is considered a transformational hydrocolloid. Meaning that it transforms fats or oils into powders. It is water soluble so milk would not work because it has water content. Maltodextrin, however, is incredibly useful in conveying flavors in a "nonlipid form" as Jeff says in his book. I made powder from duck confit oil last week and the flavor is beautiful. If I could, I would just "cut and paste" all of Jeff's words on the subject but that might deter you from getting the book. Its a must have. Use about a 60-40 ratio of fat to maltodextrin for best results, and pass your powder through a sieve to fluff it up.
Cooking is a close relative of chemistry. Cooks will benefit by simply accepting it, sure, some cooks over do it, but when you can understand how things work results become more gratifying. Till next time..............
So I don't know jack nothing about molecular gastronomy. I have dodged it and dogged it to no end in my typical style. But Pyk made a hazelnut powder that has rolled endlessly in some hampster cage deep in the recesses of my mind. Teach me, tell me your wisdom Jedi or at least give me some tips Pyk and perhaps enlighten myself and yonder reader. Tapioca maltodextrin. Fats into powders. So, would milk work? It has fat in it. Or say a pureed coconut? Or does it have to be a complete fat or something w/ little to no moisture? Inquiring minds want to know....... Till next time.