Game Seven and Other Stuff

As I sat and watched game seven of the World Series I typed whatever random thoughts hopped into my dysfunctional mind.

I really do try to be nice to everyone until they prove to me that they don’t deserve it.  Some people present early evidence.

Just the sight of Joe Buck irritates me.

I really need to update the about section of this blog.  That then me isn’t the now me.

Too often chefs and restaurants in Saratoga are limited by the shallow labor pool as a result of too many restaurants, and too many mediocre restaurants that produce poorly trained cooks.

We all have issues, I clearly have issues, and our industry has issues which gives many of us issues.

Video has finally been charged with murder in the death of the radio star

Every year people seem shocked that Christmas is coming so soon.

John Besh

Sexual harassment is huge in the restaurant industry, from the top down to the bottom up.

Do we really have 50 essential restaurants in the Capital Region? Not really, I’m thinking 20 at very most. Perhaps we have 50 individuals important to the local restaurant/food scene. Off the top of my head while watching baseball: Steve Barnes, Eric Paul, Dominick Purnomo, Bob Lee, Paul Mccullough, Rob Handel, Angelo Mazzone, Joe Armstrong, Vic Christopher, Daniel Berman, David Gardell, Dimitrios Menagias, Yono, Eric Guenther, Jim Rua, Greg Kern, SCCC, Jonathan Stewart, Michael Mastrantouno, Donna Purnomo.  There are more, and I know I’ve overlooked many and there are those that I’m just not aware of.  Help me out, who’s on your list that I’ve not included?

We need more cooks and fewer Executive chefs.

We need more owners that understand the difference between a Chef and an Executive chef.

Truth be told, I’m not sure I’ve ever actually been an Executive chef.

I recently read an ad for an Executive Chef’s position (for a local independent brand) that oversees 4 units.  The pay was listed at 45K.

Low pay is a big issue in our business, from top to bottom.

When the last restaurant you worked in still uses photos of your work for new posts on Facebook

I look forward to hanging out by the sauna at Crossgates Mall in my bathrobe while eating BBQ flatbread

Filling large take-out orders is not what I’d consider catering.  Apparently Chipotle does catering.

Jenn and I need to get to 15 Church sooner than later.

Joe Buck certainly can beat a topic to death.

Stop bastardizing carbonara.  If what you’ve made is not carbonara, call it something else.

English is many people’s 2nd language, even when it’s their only language.

I’m going to start on two new projects next week.  One is outlining a mentoring program where us old experienced chefs can help out young cooks on their way up.  I really think we need this.  Message me on Facebook if you think it’s something you’d like to be a part of.  Sometimes people just need someone to talk to with all the things we deal with in the industry.

Saying penne pasta is like saying apple fruit.

Putting the ball in play is also important in baseball.  Kind of important in life too.

I don’t need the shit that goes along with all the shit.  I have no intention of being over-dependent on the labor pool in my future endeavors.

Congratulations to the Houston Colt .45’s.

Welcome back to Boston, Alex Cora.

I generally dislike running specials out of my kitchen unless I’m gauging a dish for a new menu.

There are typically three kinds of specials: “we’ve got some surplus product” or “use this up before it goes bad.”  That’s the reason I don’t order specials, I don’t want your “about to turn product.”  There’s the owner that simply likes specials, they want one app, one entrée, and one dessert every day. I hate that, it breeds poorly thought out dishes.  Finally, there’s the “trying a dish for an upcoming menu to get some feedback and test the execution in the kitchen.”  I don’t mind that one as much since it’s likely something the chef has been putting some thought into rather than simply cleaning out the cooler.

I once saw cream of cheese soup on a specials board.  That’s what happens when you force it.

Very recently a special called NY Strip Parmesan:  NY strip grilled to order, finished with marinara and melted cheddar cheese served over penne pasta.

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A Bridge of Snippets

Here’s a few feeble thoughts to bridge the gap between my last real post and the next real post.  I will tell you this, my next one will be my most personal to date.

Jenn and I like to buy our own cooking and kitchen supplies for home, we have specific tastes, style and requirements.

I’m a much better cook than administrator.

It’s often appalling that some people call themselves a chef.

How about a dinner party centered around my life in the restaurant business.  Some of my favorite dishes, and some of the best unfiltered stories from my experiences? Would you attend?

I don’t like cooked strawberries, raw are fine. I don’t like raw blueberries, I like them cooked.

People I either know personally, or are acquainted with on Facebook that I think I could spend a day cooking with: Jennifer Derby Colose, she’s my all-time sous chef, Matthew ‘Fuj’ Scher, we have not met in person, but he’s helped me out, and seems really nice, and fun to be around. He’d also bring good beer and/or whiskey. Robert Rymarz, his story is fascinating, I’d love to hear it while we worked. I’ll mention more in a bit.

Jenn, Theresa and I had a meeting and decided that ordering pizza from Caputo’s would be the best way to get dinner on the table.  We had separate cars, so Jenn ordered and was to pick up the dinner while I headed home. During the ordering process Jenn asked if two of the chicken wings could be taken out and packed separately so Stella could have them as we worry about her diary allergy.  The response from the young lady on the phone was “no, we don’t do that.”  As it turns out the owner knows how to correct a problem.  I wasn’t happy about the response so I wrote a review on their Facebook page.  Within 30 minutes I got a response from ownership and we had a conversation about what happened. He called the Wilton location, redirected the young lady’s thought process, offered to replace the order and promised a free order next trip.  I then deleted the review from their FB page and the owner asked me why. I said “because you took the necessary steps to correct the problem and as someone in the hospitality business I appreciate that, so you don’t deserve to have that review.”  I have a new friend, and will be enjoying their food again.

There’s a lot of new restaurants in Saratoga either just opened or about to open.  I can predict with almost pinpoint accuracy how things are going to go for each of them.

Small menu people!  Focus your efforts on fresh, thoughtful food.

I’ve had some really bad jobs.  What the Hell was I looking for?  I kind of know the answer to that, and soon you will too.

I worked briefly many years ago at the Seven Horse Pub.  One premise I was hired on was to reshape the menu which didn’t go well. The owner thought the bigger the menu the better. “No, you really don’t need 7 versions of your grilled chicken sandwich.”   The freezers were jam-packed with crap.

Define what kind of place you want to be, make it something that people want, stick to it, and do it well.

You cannot open a restaurant for everyone.

People sometimes ask me if I an interested in consulting on their project of opening a restaurant.  I tell them what I charge and I don’t hear back. Then things like this happen.

I’m not saying to hire me to ensure success, but get some experienced professional consulting and follow the advice you paid for.  The restaurant business is very difficult, so don’t just think you can wing it.

Make your servers learn the menu no matter what kind of restaurant you have.  There’s not much more annoying to a chef than to have a server come into the kitchen and ask a question that they should know the answer to.

Rob Handel, because he does some really interesting shit.  Mohammed Mohonni Malih, because I would like to improve my Moroccan cooking.  Mehmet Odekon, because I would like to improve my Turkish cooking, and because I miss him.