Inn and Out Snippets

I was minding my own business, enjoying the summer with my children and working in my garden when I was summoned to The Inn at Erlowest to handle an emergency.

My plan was to open Amuse on Broadway on September 19th, but the call for help has pushed that back some, with a target date in late October.  See, the chef left on very short notice, the sous chef and line cook were set to depart only a week later.  That’s the whole kitchen.  The banquet kitchen is solid, and was intact, but is not capable of running the dining room kitchen as well due to the demands for their services.

Frank Dittrich, a partner at Erlowest, and its General Manager is a good guy, the kind of person that when in trouble, you drop some stuff to try and help.  So, my summer ended abruptly, and I found myself in the kitchen, often alone, keeping business going in the dining room.

I think a good life is a balance of pleasurable work, enjoyable play, and rest.  That’s my goal as I look to at turning 56 in December.

I worked for almost three weeks without a day off, often alone.  I put a menu in place that I could execute, and quite frankly would give me the opportunity to try some recipes and plates I have in mind for Amuse.

I really do not subscribe to the continued use of microgreens. Why are we growing food in order to decorate our food?  Besides, most cooks use them poorly.

I recently purchased 2 beautiful knives from JJ Faiola, who makes chef’s (and other) knives without the use of machinery.  They are hand-forged, hand-honed, and attached to gorgeous custom-made handles.  If you want something special, look him up on FB.

If you don’t know what FB is, you don’t deserve new knives.

If you order something like knives, or any hand-crafted item that takes significant time and labor, then renege on the deal for no other reason than you just don’t feel like purchasing the item, then that’s just dirty play at life.  Yes, someone did that to a fine bladesmith recently.  You may read this, and you know who you are.

Too many people are on too many meds.

American like more cheese, more bacon, extra sauce, a side of fries, and double meat, and no gluten.

Music that says 30 something, but a menu that says 60 something.

Can we not do zigzags on plates with squeeze bottles?

I will not be playing to the crowd.

Crayola crayons are superior to all others.

Why is it that a great line cook is like a trained Ninja  assassin in the kitchen, but can barely survive on the outside?

Not every sandwich needs tomato and lettuce.

Is pprayer saying God might have a flawed plan and you might know better? That’s up to you I suppose.

Not showing up for a scheduled interview makes employers not want commit time to interviews.  That ruins it for the people who care and want a job.

Large plates of food that cannot be finished in one sitting are obnoxious and wasteful.  If your criteria for choosing a restaurant is based on portion size, then Amuse may not be for you.

Watching people decide where to sit in a coffee shop can be entertaining.

While at Erlowest I checked in a late afternoon delivery from Driscoll Foods that was left on the truck from the morning delivery, when no one was there to check it in.  The drivers wear shirts that say Delivery Specialists.

I (and others) carefully explained to a Sysco rep that the lobsters we were ordering were for a dinner for a Make-a Wish sponsored dinner.  The little girl wanted lobster, and that this was the most important part of the order.  I (and others) were sure we had made it clear to her the significance of the lobsters.  The delivery came.  No lobsters.  She forgot.  Her remedy should have been “I’ll get in my car and pick up lobsters at Price Chopper (Hannaford, or wherever).” The reality was “I’ll see if I can get a van up there later today.”

Earlier in my tenure at Erlowest she asked me why I dislike Sysco so much.

Hungry for Snippets

Apparently people are hungry for snippets.  Here you go.

I tried to not write on this blog anymore while moving my thoughts to Facebook and ultimately to my new website.  The problem, as it was pointed out to me by several readers via email that FB has algorithms,  so things I write get missed by a lot of people, so here I am again.

I have not been drinking Bourbon.

I do drink between one and three beers when I get home from work.

I’ve weaned myself of Lexapro, it seems to be going well.

Server: “Chef, what’s wrong with this half and half?”

Chef:  “That’s a carton of egg whites.

Server: Eye roll, and likely thinking “Chef’s an asshole.”

Chef: (thinking) “reading is fundamental.”

The building that houses The Wine Bar is for sale.  If you’ve got those kind of funds, I can tell you that it’s been meticulously maintained.

I’ve got tons of mixed emotions about it, I introduced 21 seasonal menus from the kitchen, and went through some real highs and lows there.  It has been a big part of my career and life.

I think my doctor reads this goofy blog and now he knows I’ve weaned of my meds.  If it makes you feel any better, I did it very slowly.

If you think the “best supporting actor/actress” Oscar is silly, work in a restaurant.  The supporting cast is very important to the success of the lead characters.  Sometimes more important.

I checked out the ingredient list of the miracle burger, that’s the name of it, right?  Well, lets think about the shipping involved.  What’s involved in getting all the components to the fake food factory, the manufacturing process, and the shipping to wholesalers, then to retail outlets.  That’s some carbon footprint.  Think about the footprint left by locally raised beef.

My wife calls me a non-compliant patient.

Beef burger, with salt and pepper, three naturally occurring ingredients.  Impossible burger has eighteen, mostly processed ingredients.

I do love sandwiches.

The first table wasn’t until 7:00, the servers come in at 4:30.  When the first order comes in and chef is preparing amuse, directing the kitchen the server comes to the pass and admits “I haven’t looked at the menu, but can you tell me what comes on the lamb?”  In my head I’m thinking “You could actually read the menu I put some effort into.” Instead I explained what I was on the lamb.  That’s surprising since I’m off Lexapro.

The Mindy Project is a horrible show.  My wife likes it however, so I watch it, begrudgingly.

At the same time, server number two, looking on the white board, starts to ask questions about the list of desserts I wrote up there at 3:30.  These are desserts I worked on during the day.   I’ve learned to be more patient, but I delivered “listen you two, I have no idea what you’ve been doing for the last two and a half hours, but now that I have orders in, it’s not the time to start asking questions you should have asked earlier.”  This is unfortunately the common server behavior I’ve witnessed over the years.

Google.

My focus on, and command of dinner service is not always seen in a positive light by those unfamiliar with normal protocol.  It’s also looked upon with eye rolls by those with little interest in doing a stellar job.

Do not brag about your 30 years in a job if you’re still in the same position you started in.

Due to Stella’s dairy allergy, and a peanut allergy in the class, the rule made by the teacher is that snack can only be fresh fruits and vegetables.  There is one parent so upset by this that she’s been arguing on Facebook all day.  Her concern is that her son plays a lot of soccer and has 4% body fat (like most active eight-year-olds) and needs calorie-rich snacks throughout the day to survive.

Apparently, he has no need for fresh fruits and vegetables.

In past years, Stella has eaten lunch alone.  She has friends who insist on having a dairy-free lunch so they can eat with her.  Those kids are being raised with empathy and compassion.  Some kids however are not.

Parents fighting against fresh fruits and vegetables.  America, where fresh food is inconvenient.

Horses love fresh fruits and vegetables.

I’ve eaten horse.

Good night.

 

 

 

 

Mental Health Progress Needs More Than Luck

I’m trying to move this blog to my facebook page, Chef Dominic Colose, but the response is pretty low.  Therefore, I’ll keep posting here until I can get enough readers to make the switch to either that location or to my website which is being completed.

Mental health is an important issue for me, as my long time blog readers know. I will always be dealing with my own demons and difficulties.
This past week Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts retired from professional football, citing that the rigors of rehabbing from constant injuries has taken a toll in him and he wasn’t able to do it any longer.
My take is that physically the man is superior, and gifted, so the mental and emotional aspects of life in the NFL were too much, so he took control of his mental well-being and decided to do what was best for him. For that, fans booed him as he left the field for the last time. That was such a selfish and appalling act. If Andrew Luck had become so distraught and committed suicide, the response would have been “why didn’t he say something?” Well, he did. Nice going sports fans, way to truly support your team and it’s players. It’s clear that sports fans do not see their heroes as people, but as ?
In my business, mental health, alcohol and substance abuse are big issues, with serious consequences. In just the past few years I have known or worked with at least 5 chefs and cooks that have committed suicide or died from drug overdoses.
If you’re in or near the game, realize that the people who entertain you with sports, television or cooking are human beings with real issues. We are not here solely here for your entertainment, and you will survive without us. Be gentle, be kind, and be caring. Most of all, be what humans should be.