Stuff in My Head

When you cook the foods from a culture, and I’m not talking about simply using the ingredients from that culture’s cuisine, but claiming to be representing that culture, then do it with respect, and not as a gimmick or a marketing stunt.

Brady won’t be around much longer.

Mahomes will.

I’m strongly considering getting another tattoo.  I want something that makes sense, something that represents who and what I am, not who and what I think I am or want to be.

Mariano Rivera was an unsuccessful starting pitcher.  He entered the Hall of Fame by the first ever unanimous vote as arguably the best relief pitcher ever.  Find your niche.

When carrying three plates requires the server to hold one of them like a football and alter your plate presentation.

I once worked with a server who at 76 years old could manage to carry five plates.  The problem was that when she hit the dining room she forgot where she was going.

Wouldn’t it be cool if phone chargers were all the same?  I think we all know why they’re not.

An underage drinking sweep by the SLA on the day of Chowderfest could raise some funds and perhaps help return to an event about chowder.

I heard from a beer distributor that Chowderfest is the number two-day for beer sales in Saratoga behind St. Patrick’s Day.

People who cannot bother to clear the snow off their rear window before they drive.

If you think inspirational quotes, motivational sayings, and posters designed to stimulate your desire to excel are going to bring you success, then you’re nuts. They’re not, only you can stimulate your desire to excel.

I’ve started writing the spring menu.  I will stray from my norm. It’ll be good, I assure you.

Clarity and conciseness.

There are about 5000 gods worshiped by humans, yours is the right one, I’m sure.

I love when people come to work 15 minutes late, then stand there complaining about not being able to find parking while holding a cup of hot Dunkin Donuts coffee.

A shift starts at 5, you arrive at 5:01, clock in, get dressed, make your greetings, settle in and are ready to start working at 5:15 or so.

Either they’re too lazy to work or they’re stealing our jobs.  Make up your minds, which is it?

About 50 million Americans receive government assistance, a little over 20 percent of the citizen population.  Non-citizens do not qualify for public assistance.

Mussels with Pernod and cream go to the table, couple eats half the mussels, send mussels back requesting more broth, chef does his best to add more being careful not to overcook the existing mussels.  Couple not happy with the refill, while asking for a third helping of bread. Chef explains to server that the broth is made by cooking the order of mussels with butter, Pernod, and cream.  Couple doesn’t understand and isn’t satisfied, asks bartender. Chef drinks Pernod.

Tate had surgery today for umbilical hernia.  Yesterday the hospital called me to update their demographic information.  After the usual name, address, and employer, ethnicity comes up.  I said, “that question is irrelevant”, but the woman says, “we like to ask it.”  I said you like to ask irrelevant questions?  “No, I don’t,” she claims.  “Would your wife consider herself Hispanic” comes next.  I said, “I thought you didn’t like asking irrelevant questions.”   I added “I’m not answering questions that have nothing to do with Tate’s health, or billing and insurance.”  She moved on.  My wife, who is a medical administrator calls me “non-compliant.”  I find that title complementary.

Tate’s fine. Surgery was this morning, he was running around this afternoon.  I had the same procedure in 1964, but I was sliced open and certainly not an outpatient.  Who says America isn’t already great?

Today the Chocolate Lab named Piper who lives with us was trying to tell me something.  I asked her if Timmy had fallen into a well.  She asked me who Timmy is.  She’s too young to get that joke.

Sometimes it’s best to doing nothing about something.

Some of in this business have the opportunity to work for some of the few great restaurant owners.  Here’s a great testimonial to one of the good ones, on of the families that make a difference.

I’m lucky, I work for people who care, and make my life in this business easier.

I knew a Mexican

I’ve known a lot of Mexicans in the restaurant business, which used to be a thing in Saratoga before ICE started getting rid of the good dishwashers, prep cooks, and line cooks.

Saratoga in general wants good restaurants, luxury hotels, and a well-groomed city.  What they don’t want (in general) is Mexicans, low-income housing, and it’s less fortunate showcased on Broadway.  Saratoga has gotten rid of most of the Mexicans, (but still loves to celebrate and profit from Cinco de Mayo to its fullest).

Americans love Mexican food, especially tacos.

Americans love products made with cheap labor.

Too many Americans use the drugs run by the cartels who can make life difficult for people trying to live a decent and simple life which in part causes the influx of people coming across the southern border to escape the violence and to improve their lot in life by doing the jobs Americans are unwilling to do or do well.

One issue with running a kitchen in Saratoga is that Saratogians don’t raise a lot of dishwashers and line cooks. Too many of the white young folks in Saratoga have no sense of responsibility, no sense of urgency, and no work ethic.  Concerts, family trips, birthday parties, and hanging with friends seems more important than learning the value of employment. Of course, if you don’t need the employment, that employment has zero to little value.  The reality is that I prefer people who need a job and are committed to it.  I’ll even take that over young people who tell me they want a culinary career but can’t seem to be able to be committed for whatever reason.  Nope, give me an energetic young person who needs the job, and can learn, that’s who I want working for me.

When you take great risks to cross the border however you can for work, you are clearly 100% in need of a job, and chances are you’re going to be thankful for your employment, show up on time, and not ask for every other weekend off.

Many years ago, one such young man was presented to me at the kitchen door.  He spoke no English, he was anxious, and tremendously out of his comfortable, yet uncomfortable environment.  I gave him a job despite what I may have known to be true about this young man. His paperwork checked out with the payroll company, so I had done my due diligence.

The young Mexican quickly learned English, his 4th language, got his own apartment, and as it turns out was a great trumpet player.  He was also a committed employee.  This is more than I can say about too many of the young people I have hired in Saratoga restaurants.

I’ve sat and shared meals with a good number of Mexicans, all of them a pleasure to break bread with.  Tortillas actually.  I’ve learned about Mexican cooking and culture, and I’ve learned that building more tables and fewer fences (or walls) is the best way to make our small world a better place.

Guess Who’s Back?

Back again.

It’s me, Mr. Wishy Washy.  When I stopped writing several months ago, I thought I had nothing left to say on this blog, in fact, I thought blogging was getting tiresome.  The fact of the matter is that I was spreading myself too thin and it was easiest to give up writing.  I often make rash decisions, and I sometimes don’t consider all the possibilities before I make decisions.

Well, I’ve cut my work schedule down to four days and have turned down several outside catering gigs lately to have more time at home for family and fun projects like writing.

I’ve also met with a social media/web specialist so I can get my website, my blogs, and Facebook pages under one umbrella.  One of the issues I faced and led to the decision in part to quit chefsday was that my work was too scattered.  Being more organized in my web presence may help. We’ll see.

I think almost everybody makes decisions like I do, or at least has a similar thought process like I do.  I just happen to do my thinking out loud and in public, so perhaps I seem like I can’t make up my mind.  I don’t know, it’s hard to determine.  I guess I cannot commit to a reason why I appear to be all over the road.




To get back into the swing of things, let’s do some snippets.

Her self-serving style, her “look at me” kind of prose has no place in our culinary panorama.  I think she’s of little to no value to the local restaurant scene and writes and reviews with a vindictive tone that should preclude her from judging the work of others. I know without question that her food and restaurant knowledge is lacking.

Once you accept you are being judged by people who have less knowledge than yourself, then what’s it worth?  Marco Pierre White

She may be nice otherwise, but having a hack review our work just isn’t fair play. The TU should be better than that.

Chowderfest was a wreck again this year.  Someone argued with me about my criticism.  He said people could go earlier and stick to quiet venues like the City Center and places on the outskirts.  Why? Is it fair that because places start serving alcohol at 8:30 am (Farmer’s Hardware had a pre-party with drink specials) and idiots don’t know how to act in public when they get a couple of drinks into their feeble brains that families cannot enjoy all the venues offering chowder? Why should they be the ones to have to be selective?  Let’s load the drunks into one venue and let those interested in a community event have the run of the city.

St Patrick’s day will be here soon enough.

Most of the Mexican workers have been chased out of Saratoga, leaving a serious lack of decent line cooks, prep cooks, and dishwashers.

Saratoga has 4 Mexican restaurants, and celebrates Cinco de Mayo (not a real holiday) with full gusto.

My former employers, the owners of Chez Nous in Schenectady have decided to close their doors.  What I like about their closing announcement was their honesty.  They flatly said we simply aren’t doing enough business and the place is losing money. They gave it a shot, on their own, with their own funds, and that’s worth something.  It’s also far more than most people accomplish.

Most place who decide to call it quits make up a story rather than admit a failed business.

The Braeburn Tavern on Broadway in Saratoga is for sale after a short stint.  I recall a lackluster meal there while being the only table.  Apparently, they’re leaving the location to “focus on another project.”

My son no longer likes baloney. He forgot to tell me after I put it in his lunch.

Did you see this in the Times Union?

I’ve been using CBD oil for about a month now, I’m feeling a little less anxious, and my focus and thoughts are clearer.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of cooking a large meal for the staff at Yono’s/dp for their annual staff party.  What a great gesture and show of appreciation for their staff, and what a great time I had working in their kitchen.  Thank you.

Pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Wednesday.

A lot of people have no understanding what happens in a restaurant before the door is open for service, nor do they understand the number of moving parts involved.

I get road rage in the grocery store.

Good to be back.