Chef’s Q and A

Here is the transcript from a recent interview I conducted with myself.  My wife added a couple of questions.

Who are your favorite entertainers?  “I really miss Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé, their brand of entertainment is timeless.”

What are your favorite animals to cook?  “Pigs, ducks, and of course for personal reasons, rabbits.”  “Goats are good too.”

Did you go to culinary school?  “No, $30,000 (at the time) seemed like a lot of money to learn clipboard management.”

Are you a team player?  “Yes, I am, but the manager is not always in tune with the players.”

When are you going back to therapy and face your issues?  (My wife added this one) “Good question, I suppose I really should go sooner than later.”  “I have three major issues that need addressing.”

Out of your wife and you, who is the biggest asshole? (asking for a friend) “I am, no contest.”

You are a reasonable person, are you not?  “No, I’m not.”

Have you ever considered a typing course?  “No, I have not.”

Who is your favorite chef?  “Daniel Humm, his demeanor and style are so intriguing to me.”  “I used to like early Mario Batali the chef, but Mario the red-faced womanizer became an unsavory caricature.”

Do you hate restaurant critics? “Yes, as Marco Pierre White once said, we are being judged by those who know less than we do.”  These mostly self-proclaimed experts on dining are nothing more than novice writers a I am but have no actual career.  “I also dislike critic wannabees on the interwebs. Yelp is not a positive outlet for honest food and dining criticism.” “Keep in mind that there are exceptions to this opinion, but not many.”

What did you have for dinner tonight? “Hoisin pork ribs cooked sous vide at 180˚ for 4 hours, then set on a low grill for about an hour. Perfect.  Not falling off the bone as some people think is the right way to cook them, but tender enough to eat without any toughness.”  “It’s a fine line.” “Deviled potato salad and my pickle juice coleslaw.”

Who would you most like to cook for?  “Well, if it were a possibility, my late sister.  I miss her daily.”  “From a culinary perspective, my first restaurant employer, Mike Iacobacci who owned Mike’s Pizza Adobe in Schenectady.”  I’d like to show him how far I’ve come.”

Where did you grow up?  “When I grow up, I’ll let you know.”  “Schenectady if you must know.”

What was your favorite thing to do as a kid?  “Shag fly balls that my brother Dan would hit to me.”  “Baseball in general, I was the greatest outfielder Schenectady has ever produced, but no one ever taught me how to hit.”  “Any coaches I had then were shit.”

What’s the most annoying thing customers say to you?  “This is good, but my wife’s ____ is better.”  To which I respond, “You say that because she’s sitting next to you, and you have to go home with her.”  “Also, I’d like to see your wife cook her gnocchi while cooking for the other 50 people in this room.”

What is the best advice you can give a home enthusiast?  “Remain a home enthusiast.”

Best tip for the novice getting into the business?  “If you’re a novice, don’t get into the business until you’re a professional.”

What is your favorite fast food?  Burger King Whoppers.  Chefs sometimes like to bullshit about not eating that crap, but they’re bullshitting.”

What’s the worst thing about being a chef?  “There aren’t too many good chef’s positions in our area, so you end up too often working for people who have no idea what they’re doing.”

Final meal before the chair (assuming you’re convicted of killing a Walmart cashier)? “McDonald’s, lots of McDonald’s.”  “It’ll make quite a statement upon the moment of my death.”


Whatcha Gonna Do

As many of you are aware, I am in the planning stages my own project in Saratoga.

Here are a few thoughts just to give you a glimpse of what I’m working on and what I hope to be doing soon.

I’ll be serving well-crafted Mediterranean plates in a contemporary and creative style using the flavors of Morocco, Spain, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Tunisia, France, Algeria, Syria, and Israel.  Each dish will not necessarily be from one country, but will express the ingredients, techniques, and tastes of the region.

Yes, I know there are a few more countries on the Mediterranean Sea, but you get the picture.

We’re having a garage sale on May 18th, maybe I should sell tacos at the same time.

My lamb Bolognese has its roots in Italy, but the use of lamb, mint, feta, pine nuts, and raisins collects the flavors of other nearby cuisines.  Perhaps it’s no longer Bolognese, but it’s a good way to communicate to people what the dish started out as before it was kidnapped by my brain and made into something unique, and expressly mine.

The cuisines of the Mediterranean are connected in so many ways that it’s impossible to separate them by borders, political ideologies, religions, or even continents.  There are too many historical reasons why Spanish food is closer to Sicilian food than Sicilian food is to Milanese food.

I will not serve chicken breast ever again.

It will be chef-driven cuisine served in a unique, comfortable and convivial format.

Seating will be very limited.

I look forward to making my rabbit pâté again.

When people are two-faced, the only thing you’ll know for sure is that you can’t trust either of them.

There will be plenty of fresh pasta, as in Yawning Duck kind of fresh pasta.

I will not allow employees to use cell phones in view of customers.

I’ve been doing a lot of character development for the short story I’m working on.

I’d like to keep Wednesdays open for special events, like fundraisers, cooking classes, and private functions.  Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will be open for dinner.

Social media will be important, and you’ll need to follow along on Facebook and Instagram to know what’s on the menu each week, and what Wednesday’s are about.  The website is being worked on. That too will be kept up-to-date weekly, an easy task, but all too often ignored.

I did a lot of planting in the garden yesterday. I’ll have some nice produce to work with.

I will cook everything the way I believe is best, I cannot cook properly if I’m anticipating a possible allergy (claim) or dietary/lifestyle choice.  Pasta has gluten, risotto has dairy (never in the form of cream), I use rich chicken stock often, and there are onions in a lot of things.  I must cook along unrestricted guidelines in order to make each dish what it should be.

I will cook a lot of food that has no gluten, meat or dairy since the cooking will be Mediterranean based.

Don’t however ask for gluten-free pasta, there’s no such thing. Get the gist?

Things will be made and presented as designed, as tested, and as described on the menu.

Try your best not to work for less than you’re worth.

Make sure you know your worth.

I will express who I am as a person and as a chef.  I will be accessible to everyone due to the open kitchen.  I plan on being available to everyone, answering questions, telling stories, and talking about food and wine. Blah, blah, blah….

The wine list will be simple but well-thought out, approachable, and most of all, fun. No bargains for us, but there may be bargains for you.  I’m not going to serve cheap wine.  Inexpensive perhaps, but not cheap.

I will not do happy hour; this place will not be about specials, and mark-downs.  The people who decide to dine early will be treated and charged the same as those who decide to dine late.  No specials, it will be a short menu changed weekly.  There might be room for a special night, perhaps on those open Wednesdays.

Wine will be served in simple glassware without theater.

The golfer is John Daly.

I love a good Arnold Palmer on a hot day.

I will not sell gift cards.

There are two kinds of owners, those who get in the dish pit, and those who do not.  The difference between the two does not necessarily indicate success or failure, but it certainly says a lot about the chances for success or failure.  It also says a lot about one’s motivation for being in the business.

I plan some time in the dish pit.

As things become finalized and the picture and timeline become clearer I’ll pass along a more comprehensive report.

Thank You

On Monday night the Chez Sophie reunion dinner took place in honor of Chef Paul Parker who’s undergoing treatment for cancer.  The turnout was great, the spirits were high, and the sense of community was inspiring.

I learned of Paul’s illness when I was sent a link to a GoFundMe page set up by a family friend with a goal of $10,000.  My first thought was that I wished I could just put the whole amount in.  Then I thought about what my wife and I would contribute, and we discussed and settled on a figure.  As I was at work later that day prepping for dinner service, I had an idea that would allow me to contribute the whole 10k and more.  What we did on Monday night was spawned from that thought and with the help of a lot of community-minded individuals we exceeded the monetary goal and more importantly we showed a family that they are not alone in their fight, but have an entire team in their corner.  As someone who has witnessed the fight against cancer too many times, I know what an emotional boost can mean to someone who’s ill.  Paul, we’re on your side and will battle with you.

In the Spring of 2004, I had just started working at Chez Sophie in Malta.  One night after service my car wouldn’t start, and it needed to be jump started by Paul and Cheryl’s SUV.  Before I left for home Paul had me take his cell phone with me in the event I had further car issues.  It was a small gesture, but It was the first time I learned that Paul cared about people other than himself.  It was the first in a series of kind acts I saw over the years and now it’s time for him to be able to draw from the good acts he’s committed over time to help himself.

My wife commented that whenever someone needed a job, all they need to do was go to the kitchen door and ask if there was anything available.  There were so many times that the restaurant couldn’t afford another employee, but he’d say, “come in Friday at 2, we’ll find something for you to do.”  I think people often forget or are unaware that Chez Sophie was not just a great restaurant, but a place where people came first.  We we’re fed well, we were always paid, and we had the opportunity to accumulate great memories and cultivate friendships.  Thank you, Paul and Cheryl.

The list of people who contributed was lengthy, but I’d be remiss if I did not mention in some way those responsible for making the evening a success.

For use of the site of the Chez Sophie so many people were a part of, the Fodero Diner in Malta, Dunning Street Station I thank owners Chef Scott Ringwood and Bob McKenna, General Manager Diana Murphy, and Chef Bruce Jacobson.  Diana took care of many details along the way and was on hand for the evening to assure things were as they needed to be.  Scott and Bruce were indispensable in the kitchen.

The kitchen crew was rounded out by Dominique Brialy, Mark Graham, Ali Benamati, and Nick Yusavage.  Thank you all who made the work light with your help ideas, and most of all your spirited camaraderie and focus on the goal.

To our service team who came together and reminded me what a professional service team looks like, I am grateful for your efforts.  It was a difficult job that was performed well.  Jennifer Derby Colose, Jay Christiansen, Micki Lee, and Patrick Gilgallon.  Also, on the Bar, Mitch Rowen.  All these professionals are Chez Sophie alumni, and it shows.  They stepped into the roles without missing a beat and more importantly, they turned 100% of their gratuities ($1500.00) over to the fund-raising effort.

A proper Chez Sophie experience would not be complete without great wine and great wine service, which was made possible by  our event sommeliers, two of the best in the business who not only gave their time, but also contributed and/or facilitated the donation of all the wine consumed (some of it in the kitchen).  Dominick Purnomo (Yono’s) and Joseph Armstrong Winebow), thank you from the bottom of my heart. It was one aspect I didn’t need to worry about as I knew it was handled by two gentleman who are on their game time and time again.

I also need to acknowledge business owners Matt Funiciello of Rock Hill Bakery, Gary Warrington of Edelweiss Veal Co., and Eric Guenther of Adventure in Food Trading Co. for generous donations of great product, and Mark McNary of PFG Foods, Dale Miller of Maple Leaf Farms, Douglas Bernthal of Skurnic Wines, and Ryan Moore of Lauber Imports for facilitation of product donations

Finally, T.R Laz for his work in providing photographic memories of the event, and Jonathan Anthime Miller for providing wonderful music.

To all those who provided items, services, and artwork for the silent auction, a genuine thank you, as the bids were plentiful, and the result beneficial.

Living a life in a specific way can cause you to have people come to your aid without a thought.  It’s not charity, it’s drawing on assets that you have earned and banked.

To all the people who donated, cooked, organized, served, and attended, thank you.

Amused to Death (a Roger Waters Song)

I am grateful for being given the opportunity to return to The Wine Bar and lead the kitchen for the last 15 months.  I was at a low place in my life both emotionally and professionally just a couple of years ago and getting back to a familiar kitchen was the best thing for me at the time.  My creativity was stagnant, and my ability to thrive was almost non-existent before my return.

I have over time regained both my desire to be creative, and my aim to be a better and more influential chef.  As I look to the future, I have come to the realization that for further growth and satisfaction I need to venture out on my own and see what I can do as a chef when I am able to set the parameters and make my own rules.  In short, I need to express myself as a cook and as a person in my own arena.  Much more to come on that.

Therefore, it was necessary to resign my position of Chef at The Wine Bar to find my optimal place in the culinary landscape as I strive to reach my potential.  My last dinner service was April 6, 2019, a little sooner than I intended, but too often circumstances around these decisions fall out of your control and the influences of others’ actions can thwart even the best laid plans.

Again, thank you to the Wine Bar for giving me the ability to find my way again and the chance to grow as a person.  I think the last year has been mutually beneficial for most of us as we gained some great memories.

After three stints at The Wine Bar, I can assure you that there will not be a fourth. I’m going in my own direction, and at the age of 55, I’m hopeful that what is to come will be my last culinary adventure.  I have a few things left to prove to myself, and not much else to give any other owners, as I have extended myself beyond what many of them even know, and have too little to show for it.  I’ll put much of that on me, but this industry does not reward too many people for their hard work and dedication.

The dedication will now be to myself, my personal projects, and to my family.  I will promote my brands, and my projects, and work hard to make each one a success.

The Yawning Duck  will be my new restaurant, opening in 2-3 months.  In the mean time I’ll be offering catering services through the Yawning Duck, I’ll be working to do what I can to help those in our industry who need it through chefs4chefs, and I’ll keep you informed about my life on chefsday.  More on my plans in a separate post, soon.

What I will offer as advice to those who are in business or management, spend less time and effort trying to catch people doing something wrong and put more into noticing all the things they do right, and acknowledge it.  They’ll be happier, you’ll be happier.

Chez Sophie Reunion: For a Good Cause

As many people who follow restaurant news know, former Chez Sophie (and Rare Earth Wine Bar) chef/owner Paul Parker has been diagnosed with cancer of the tongue and lymph nodes in his neck.  The prognosis is good, but too often with cancer treatment comes financial difficulty.  I have decided to organize a fundraiser to help offset the costs of treatment, and to help supplement the family’s income while Paul is out of work, and to allow him to focus on getting well.

On Monday April 29th there will be a fundraising dinner event at Dunning Street Station at 2853 State Highway 9 in Malta, NY.  The site is the former long-time home of Chez Sophie where so many of the restaurant’s classic dishes were created and maintained.  The building is going back in time thanks to the generosity of owners Chef Scott Ringwood and Bob McKenna, and Dunning Street/Lake Ridge general manager Diana Murphy.

The doors will open at 5:00 with a cash bar for cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres.  There will also be an opportunity to bid on some great items in a silent auction.  Those who are not having dinner are welcome to attend and say hello to some old friends, have a drink, and help support the effort.

Dinner will seat at about 6:30 with a quintessential tasting menu from the former great restaurant.  The group of chefs assembled thus far include me, chef and owner of Yawning Duck Culinary Services, and chef at The Wine Bar; Mark Graham, Chef de Cuisine/ Adelphi Hospitality; Dom Sud; Nick Yusavage, Executive Chef at Pasta Pane; and of course, Scott Ringwood of DSS, and Lake Ridge.  I am working at locating others and hope to add to the list.

Service will be coordinated by Diana Murphy of Dunning Street, and by Jennifer Derby Colose, who worked at the old spot, and was FOH manager for Paul and Cheryl at the Hilton site for a couple of years. There will be former servers and bar staff on hand to complete the reunion.

As a special and very appreciated treat, Dominick Purnomo of Yono’s/dp had volunteered his time along with Joe Armstrong of Winebow Inc. to pair wines and provide wine service for the evening.


Bean Paste | Warm Rock Hill Bread | Olive Oil

Country Style Pâté| Dijon and Whole Grain Mustards | Pickles

Crab Cake | Lemon-Caper Mayonnaise | Micro Salad

English Pea and Cucumber Soup | Crème Fraiche | Pistachios

Veal Scaloppini | Lemon Cream| Braised Carrots

Crispy Duck Breast | Apricot and Green Peppercorns | Wild Rice

Camembert | Fig Jam | Candied Almonds

Almost Flourless Chocolate Cake | Whipped Cream | Fresh Berries

The cost of the event is $100 per person for dinner, wine, beer, and cocktails are additional, plus tax and gratuity. The wine pairing will be $50, a true bargain, or you can choose your own beverages.

You can call Dunning Street Station at 518-587-2000 starting Tuesday, April 9th to reserve a spot.   Please, do not leave a message as you may not be guaranteed a spot.  All proceeds will go directly to the cause. 

Keep in mind, this is a fundraising affair and a dollar value cannot be placed on the outpouring of support, the effort necessary to create this event, and the special evening this will be.

I remember one of the first things said when the opportunity to move from the diner to the hotel came up “Now we can finally get health insurance for Randy (long time dish washer).”  I never forgot that, or the generosity Chez Sophie showed many people over the years.  It’s time to repay.

If you have any questions, or would like to help in any way you can, please email me at

We’re looking for product donations from food vendors, and items for the silent auction.  I will donate an in-home dinner for eight valued at $1000.  I also have a framed Chez Sophie print created and signed by Paul’s father, Joseph, that my wife and I will add to the mix.

There is also a GoFundMe page set up if you’re unable to attend the event but still want to help.

Are They Worth It?

I’ve managed people for a long time.  As a manager for Dick’s Sporting Goods, and as a chef I’ve had to make a career out of assessing talent and contributions vs. the wanting to keep or fire certain individuals on staff.  The final question we need to ask when deciding to either keep or dismiss an employee is “are they worth the trouble of keeping?”  If so, make sure you’re committed to putting in the work to fix any problems with that worker, if not, then let them go without hesitation.

I was listening to sports talk radio recently and the Odell Beckham Jr. trade to the Cleveland Browns was the focus of the discussion.  He was seen by some, including the Giant’s management, as a distraction because of his antics, his behavior on the sidelines, and his perceived disruptive nature.  One contributor to the talk defended OBJ and criticized the Giants explaining that an organization needs to weight out the pros and cons of an individual before deciding that he needs to be removed from the team.  Since I eat, sleep, and dream about work, I thought about how this rule relates to restaurants.

Having a good attitude, being reliable, and being good at your job is a no-brainer.  These people however seem to becoming less available.

How about the guy who shows up every single day, never requests time off, but despite being pretty good at his job, hardly ever does anything beyond the minimum required to maintain their position?  We need those without ambition to fill jobs in a consistent and daily basis without question.  Keep them and seek out others with ambition to train, develop, and advance.  Have peace of mind that the first guy is going to show up and keep a station covered. One less thing to worry about.

What if your chef is great, but is too hard on the staff, creating a scenario that causes servers to either quit or become poor employees?  If you’re unwilling to correct the reasons, she might be unhappy with the staff, the let her go, the problem will never be fixed and it’s time to move on and find a chef with lower standards. You’ll be happy because you do not have to address the underlying issue with training, the service staff will be happy, and the atmosphere will be more pleasant.

What if we invest in our people and they end up leaving?  What if we don’t and they end up staying?

We really need to take more interest in the people who work for us and attempt to show a reasonable amount of empathy for a situation they may not be able to control.

How about the great server who coworkers and customers like, but refuses to learn anything about the menu?  Depends? Are they required to learn the menu?

The guy who’s 10 minutes late every shift, but does a good job?  How about the one who is 10 minutes late every day and does a mediocre job?

My Siena College cross country coach said, “you’re fair by treating everyone differently.”

How about a server who’s so bad that his work reflects on and affects the work of others?  Incorrectly sending orders to the kitchen can spoil the cook’s ability to do their jobs properly. Failing to finish your side work or set up the night before can leave work for others, not allowing them to do other things. If being bad at your job makes others be bad at their job, then it’s time to find another line of work.

If a cook fails to do the necessary prep work on Tuesday then the cook working that station on Wednesday may have a tough time being ready for service on Wednesday.

If a quarterback is no longer effective, then a receiver may not be able to perform up to his potential and can get frustrated.

Great service can make the food better, bad service will make for a more critical diner.  Bad food and poor kitchen performance can make the server’s job more difficult.  Find out which one is doing a good job and build your restaurant around them.

The Giants have decided that OBJ is not someone to build the next season around.  The ineffective quarterback is their choice, and they’re entitled to that choice.  The empty seats may tell them something in 2019.

Servers, if it takes 10 minutes for the food to go from the pass to the correct table then it’s going to result in cold food.

A server should never tell a customer that their errors are the fault of the kitchen.  Cooks are trained to have good memories.

OBJ may or not be likable, but his so-called antics are worth having his talent on the team, unlike the antics of some players who break the law, have domestic violence issues, and drug problems.  His behavior is mostly born out of passion for the game and a desire to compete, perform well, and win.

If your team members are performing their jobs well, or at worst, adequately and are otherwise good employees then keep them, train them, and invest in them.  Overlook their poor qualities if it does not disrupt the performance of the restaurant.   If they’re typically late, complain, call off often, AND, are not good performers then move on, they’re not worth it.

The Cleveland Browns will find that Odell Beckham is worth it.


Sandwiches, Sombreros, Sacrifice, Snacks, Sales, and Saws

The sandwich density principle is too often violated.  Why on Earth would you put tuna salad on a bagel?  Remember folks, the pressure required to bite through the bread should not exceed the pressure needed to displace the sandwich filling.

If your burger bun cannot hold up to the burger you create, rethink your burger bun.

Is it me, or has PYX 106 playing the same 100 songs for the last 30 years?

Adding Jameson whiskey or Bailey’s Irish Cream to a recipe does not make it Irish food, nor does cooking it in or with Guinness.  We seem to have a cultural insensitivity when it comes to food and cooking.  There’s no such thing as Irish nachos or Italian tacos, Buddha is not a brand name, chopsticks are not hair accessories, and pretending to celebrate someone else’s culture or holiday by getting drunk and wearing stupid looking shamrock hats or sombreros is not cool, you look like an idiot.

Using ingredients from other cuisines and learning to cook the dishes from other cultures is ok. Adapting recipes to suit your needs based on the products available to you or altered to the tastes of your personal taste is fine. Being inspired by cuisines of the world is a great idea, and can be enlightening, but too often companies, restaurants, or individuals make a mockery or misrepresent the foods that are an important part of an ethnic group’s culture or a religious group’s belief system.

Cook from the world respectfully, joyfully, and playfully.

Authentic is overrated.

Is a man who takes action because he wants his children to have a better life to be commended?  He does something that isn’t overly harmful to anyone, but it may take a spot at a major university deserved by another applicant who will likely go on to another college and do well in life.  Writing a big check is a sacrifice, and apparently common in the wealthy community where such sacrifice is necessary in order to give your offspring a better chance in life.

Some mothers walk 1000 miles with their children through harsh conditions in order to give them a better life.  Our nation, based on Christian principles would like to make sure that these people of zero means get in legally, like those Christian folks that founded the US did.

My college roommate, his father, and two of his brothers walked for 52 days out of Cambodia when the Khmer Rouge took over

I’m at the Honda dealership as I write most of this.  There’s a mother and a chubby kid waiting, she has allowed him to have a complemtary can of Coke, a bag of Cheez-Its, a hot chocolate, a bag of Goldfish, a pack of Lorna Doone cookies, and for health reasons a pack of fruit snacks.  None of my business.  The furious crinkling of bags, the chewing and the slurping has become my business.  His mother should also turn her cellphone ringer down so everyone in the place does not need to be made aware of everyone of her many text messages.  She complains every time she gets one, but texts back every time, and of course she has her setting just so that each key press is audible to all. I do not belong in public.

Still off booze, I’ve been feeling good for the past few days.  I’m think I’m over that first hump.  Now to convince myself every day that I’m better off.

I really wanted a beer, or six with my corned beef dinner on Sunday.

While I’ve been sitting here at Saratoga Honda, I have seen almost everyone else waiting be visited by a “service consultant” who explains that they need something more than what they came on for.  My consultant, when explaining to me that there is a nail in the tire (I knew there was), expressed his uneasiness with only replacing the one tire vs. all of them since they prefer the tires match in wear level.  My question was “do you prefer for any safety reason or do you prefer $600 to $150?”  He said the one tire change would be fine.

So far, this is Chef’s day.

The car is ready.

I’m off on Wednesdays so I’m going to buy a new table saw and hang out in my garage/workshop with no one but my thoughts and Piper the dog that lives at our house.



Sober Snippets

Some stuff I wrote down over the past week.

People believe it, just not enough to live it. They want the reward, not the sacrifice.

When you post on social media, you get to choose how you’re presented. Present well.

As a restaurant server, keep in mind that 99% of the customers did not come in to see you, visit with you, hear you, or smell you.  They may have come in because of you and the job you do, but still not to see you.

People can over-think things, but I find that most people under-think things.

The no drinking thing is going well except for some side effects.  Alcohol withdrawal makes you feel like shit, but I know it will pass and I’ll be better off for it.  Also, now that I’m not consuming a few quarts of beer and a couple Bourbons nightly my Lexapro is having more of an effect on my brain.  Good? No, my dose of 20mg considered that I drank every night and now is the only drug in my head, so it’s having quite the effect.

You can’t imagine the excuses young folks make when they let you know they cannot work on Saturday.

I slept in today is not a valid excuse for missing your 2 pm work time.

Headaches, nausea, body aches, and feeling dopey and tired due to too much anti-depressant are not fun, but I do get to work every day and do my job.  I also get two elementary children off to school every morning, and my handicapped daughter ready for the day and off to her day program.  No, I’m not Superman, or am I greater than anyone else.  I simply know that what you do in life is get up and do what is required of you.

At some point it’s time to throw your 20-something couch potato out.  Potatoes smell when they rot.

“I couldn’t get to work today because I didn’t have money for gas until my mom got home.”  Funny, you had enough money to buy a bag of weed.

10 mg is the new dose, Doc said it was ok.  So, follow my advice, 10 mg and a glass of water, makes you feel the same as 20 mg and a 40 oz Olde English Ale.  Keep in mind that I’m not a doctor and have no license to dispense medical advice.

A picture really can paint 1000 words, a shitty picture on your Instagram tells me a lot.  A great picture also tells me a lot.  What do you want to tell people?

In my experience with the illegal population, albeit a small sample size, they’re too afraid to seek medical attention, free or otherwise. No, they’re not here for the free medical care either.

Go to conservative and right-wing patriotic sites on Facebook and read what people are writing.

I hate kayaks.

No, God did not send Trump to save America and stop thanking Jesus.

I love those quotes of inspiration and motivation people post on social media thinking somehow it will change lives.  Some of my favorites:

“Forget to turn the dish machine off again and you can’t work here anymore.”   “If you’re bored, I’ll find you something to do, but It may not be pleasant.”  “Great, enjoy the concert, I hope your new employer is more understanding.”  “You’re right, eight hours is a long shift, I’ll be sure to cut your hours, so you don’t have to complain so much.”

Not everyone can use Google Docs, and similar apps that allow people to work on documents together but from different locations and at different times. The fact that people refuse to learn something new make my life more difficult.

I’m trying to go paperless in my work, and I get it, having a paper in your hand can be more comforting, but my mimeograph machine is broken, so read your emails, and print the document out if you like, it’s 2019, I don’t take I’m not good at computers as an excuse anymore.  Besides, you’re all on your phones all the time anyway, make actual use of them.

Keep up or move aside.

Corned beef on Sunday or something Irish?

St Patrick’s Day, as I understand it is the #1 day (weekend) for beer sales for Saratoga bars.  Gonna be a shit show once again.  Can’t you people drink alone in your own homes like a respectful drunks?

At least when I drink and act like an asshole I’m around people who will forgive me.  Smart, right?

Thank you to all of you that emailed me and sent messages of encouragement and gave me direction to finding a good therapist.  Your caring means a lot to me and I won’t forget you in my will when I’m dividing up my extensive holdings.

I lied about the will and extensive holdings, but you have my gratitude.

Gotta Dance

This is part of the post I deleted yesterday, I wasn’t happy with the overall negative tone, so I reworked it and present it again.

I read recently on Table Hopping about the death of local chef John O’Leary.  I didn’t know John, but I understand he was a very nice man and ran a solid and well-maintained kitchen.  The fact that he was a fellow chef who died at such a young age is sad, and it affects me.

I’m finding that too many young cooks are not prepared for the life of a chef.  I recently texted an employee ten minutes after his 2:00 shift was supposed to begin and was met with “I slept in today, I’ll be there by 3:00.”  My response was “don’t bother, If I have to do your prep, I might as well cover the station tonight.”

I find myself wanting to teach less and less as I age.  I never really had a teacher and see myself a self-taught chef.  I consider myself to be very observant and able to pick up techniques by watching other cooks whether it’s a coworker or on the youtubes.  I find that I explain what I’m doing less and less lately and have adopted a “why don’t you just pay attention to my work and perhaps you’ll learn something.”  I’m not sure it’s a great quality in a chef, but it’s certainly where I am right now.  I suppose a retirement gig as a culinary instructor is out.  At least I’m self-aware.

While I never had a teacher, I find myself channeling various chefs that I’ve watched over the years including Thomas Keller for his devotion to high standards, Daniel Humm for his declaring “make it nice,” and Jim Rua for his passion for making food taste good, and Mario Batali for his ability to crush a bottle of wine or two.

I really need to stop drinking, I don’t want the comment section of the report of my death on Table Hopping to read “well, he drank too fucking much.”

I know I’ve been saying that for months, oh wait, it’s been years.  Time for professional help.

Yes, you heard it here first, I think I could use some help with the booze. Today is day two, time to make some calls, wish me luck.

It’s been said that the harder you work, the luckier you get.

Hit my FB inbox or email if you’ve got any suggestions on who I should call.  Therapists (I currently don’t have one), outpatient programs, etc.…. Thanks in advance.  Oh, nothing religion based please.

I guess all I want to do at this point is spend my time cooking for people who enjoy what I do without having to show people who can’t get out of bed how to follow a recipe.

My wife just told me that you can’t dance with the devil on your back.

I know I’m a grouchy old man sometimes standing on my porch yelling at the kids in the neighborhood to stop riding their bikes on the sidewalk, but I do appreciate you allowing me to vent here, and let it be known that it helps.

When poor service spoils the food and the server blames the kitchen.

You went to culinary school and cannot make a simple vinaigrette?  Who’s to blame here?

When a kid graduates high school and cannot read who do we blame?

Schools, teach them the fundamentals of cooking, we’ll teach them the rest.

Interesting sight at Health Living recently.  As I tried to enter with one of those little “I’m not going to buy that much” carts, a woman in front of me happened to be blocking the entrance while she was detailing her cart with one of those sani wipes provided for people who think there are germs only on grocery cart handles, but nowhere else.  Within five steps into the store she was digging into a bowl of sample chips that everyone who passes has put their potentially filthy and germ laden paws into.  Please don’t delay my entrance into the vegan scented grocery store with your pretend cleanliness again.

Where’s the intensity?

Thanks for the therapy session, I’ll send you a check.



Snippets in Waiting

As I wait during auto service I’ll share some thoughts.

I was working happily in the kitchen when I was informed that two gentlemen from Sysco were in to see me.  I knew that their day was about to take a turn for the worse, and mine was about to be interrupted needlessly.  I went out to say hello, and cordially explained that I was not a fan of Sysco and had no intention of ever using them.  The guy who did the talking was the District Manager, and he explained that Sysco was on a mission to right their ship, correct the mistakes of the past, and create a new partnership with chefs.  I commended him on the well-rehearsed corporate speech, and that he had delivered it as well as any of them that I’ve been hearing for the past twenty years.  Same speech, different delivery system.  Sysco is Sysco, and they’re not going to change their level of service.

See kids doing something they’re not supposed to be doing, you ask them to stop and they deny doing it even though you just saw them doing it.  Kind of like Robert Kraft.

When they’re fighting with each other, told to stop then both turn on you.

Servers eating and using their cell phones in view of patrons

About 10% of American adults have a food allergy, almost 20% claim to have one. That’s not a problem for the people who do have an allergy?

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

In my experience with the illegal population, albeit a small sample size, they’re too afraid to seek medical attention, free or otherwise. No, they’re not here for the free medical care either.

The Mormon Church is worth about 40 billion and collects about 8 billion in tithing annually. The Church of Jesus Christ The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 35 Billion.  The Catholic Church in the US alone, about 30 Billion.  These tax-exempt organizations based on a mythical figure, not immigrants, are the free-loaders.

An awful lot of our elected officials are free-loaders.  I do agree with Trump on one point, we need term limits to get the career criminals politicians out of what they have been calling public service.

Kenneth Copeland is worth 760 Million.

I think is the same tactic used by the Third Reich to rally the uninformed working class to support Hitler and the eventual war against the Allies is being used now.  Just as the Jews were not the root of Germany’s problems in the 1930’s neither are the US’s problems caused by illegal immigrants.

Call it bruschetta, it will sell just ok.  Call it toast and you can build a business on it. Europe has been serving stuff on toast for a lotta years.

Now I’m waiting to meet a friend for a liquid lunch, more thoughts…………

Remember when the grocery bags were at the end of the checkout lane?  Some years ago, they were moved behind the cashier when scanning was in full swing so the cashier could scan and bag at the same time. Why then do they scan all the items then bag all the items? I’d love t bag but there generally aren’t bags where I can access them.

Many of them don’t even think they’re criminals, they somehow justify getting wealthy while in office.

The Spring menu is coming along nicely.

Two people walk into a bar, take seats 2 and 3, leaving the first seat against the wall practically useless.

I was just reminded not to judge a book by it’s cover.

Someone recently said they’re sick of eggs on everything.  Bullshit, eggs are delicious on things and should be on everything.

Apparently, Cat Cora is some sort of entitled brat.

Two more people walk into a bar and take seats 5 and 6.  Now you have four people using six seats.

During service I intentionally ask very specific yes or no questions to the waitstaff since all the information I need is contained in either the yes or the no.  Why then over my years of service do I generally get a long-winded answer filled with irrelevant information and defensive lingo?  Other times I’ll say, “what specifically do you need?”  Unfortunately, the answer rarely tells me what they need.

Overheard as I’m writing:  “What do you do?”  “I’m a chef at 99.”