Friday, January 28, 2011


Seems to be a new term that's cropping up more and more in restaurants now. Let me make it easy for everybody. It's mayo. Plain and simple, egg, oil, water, seasoning. Do it right and it can come out like Helman's on steroids. do it wrong, it won't last five minutes without breaking into an oily mess. Along with most sauces and emulsions, there are a bunch of myths that go with making it.
The following are false:

  • you need lemon juice to start the emulsion
  • you need mustard to hold it
  • adding salt after it's finished makes it gritty
The following are true:

  • the stronger the base, the faster you can add oil
  • water makes it look whiter
  • if you use a blender, it'll cook the egg
  • standing water can make it split. dry the container thoroughly before storing.
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1L veg oil 
  • salt
  • pepper
  • dash of worcestershire
  • dash of tobasco
beat oil slowly into egg yolk, season.


This is the term when you're working the whole line alone. I've been doing this a lot recently, as January is usually a slow month for restaurants. Soloing tends to have a strange effect on people. It makes them grumpy, but not mad. They get blunt, rough, direct, and often yell incoherently for no reason. People have limits when soloing. This refers to the amount of covers they can handle by themselves at once. The intensity gets more severe the closer to the limit. I sit around eight, if there aren't serious modifiers. Kitchen people come to expect that if you're alone in the kitchen, crazy shit happens. I've told my boss once to "get your fucking head out of your ass and fix these chits" when certain requests weren't getting through or were forgotten when the order was punched in. The perfect picture for someone on line is a hamster on coke, with random battle cries.

Soloing tomorrow from 10 to 6. Should be fun

Lunch today: Kangaroo with spicy pesto, carrot caliente

Thursday, January 27, 2011


No kitchen is complete without a stereo blasting Alice in Chains with chits streaming in and one worker whining because he listens to rave music and I've got nothing but metal and punk on my ipod. Ok, I admit that's a little specific, but honestly I've never worked in a kitchen that hasn't played the Rooster or Would at least once a week. I don't know what it is, but everyone in a kitchen listens to the same music... or at least tries to fake it. My ipod was playing alphabetically and made it to the s' when the new guy (the one rave guy) punched in. He must have heard a couple of names from a friend because a little while in, he turns to me and says "do you have any Slipknot? I think I like them." "This IS Slipknot. they've been on for half an hour." It was fun watching him stumble around trying to cover his ass with things like "maybe I've just heard their old stuff," while the first album was on. He also mentioned System of a Down. I'm going to load my ipod tonight and see if he actually knows any. This'll be fun

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Truffles are basically the standard for gourmet. You want to look snobby? Black truffle. You want to look really snobby, like massive food wank snob? you get white truffles. You broke, but still want to look like a foody? DON'T GET TRUFFLE OIL! It does not make you look fancy, it doesn't taste like truffles rung out over your plate. It tells everyone you paid way too much for olive oil and you scared it with the presence of a truffle to cover your own ass. Yes, I know the oil is a third of the price, but it's totally useless. If you can't afford the real thing, just use some fresh herbs and make it taste damn good. If it tastes amazing and it looks pretty, no one cares what's in it.

Speaking of massive food wank snobbery, do us all a favour and don't put truffle all over foie gras. They don't go, they don't like each other, and and we don't want to know this meal is costing you $100 a plate. You want to look amazing? keep them separate. Be really fancy and throw a little caviar with toast into the mix. Make it h'ors d'oeuvres.

Here, I'll do it for you. Beluga caviar with lightly buttered toast, then black truffle on vintners cheddar on a crustini, then foie gras cut thin on top of a lightly fried gaufrette. And use russets, sweet potatoes are a lame trend started because they are good for your pancreas and because everyone is a starch and carbophobe. Seriously, they are getting fried anyway, all health value is out the window. Might as well pair it properly.



One upside to January is that I'm off until Wednesday. One downside of January is that I'm not working for four days straight. During these days off (started Sunday), I shall relapse into my addiction of Minecraft, building outlandish cubed buildings and things, stay with my girlfriend, cooking her favourite meals, and finish painting a dresser. Maybe on the dresser.

I picked up a new book while waiting for the girlfriend to finish wandering through the aisles. The Omnivore's Dilemma. It explains where our food comes from now and why that's such a hard question to answer nowadays. It's almost required reading for chefs. there's a great section that goes over how supermarkets give you the illusion of choice, where most products have almost the same ingredients, and most things only come from about four or five different big producers. I highly recommend that along with Food Inc.

Had fun cooking with the girlfriend tonight. Made her favourite. Roasted mushrooms, garlic, and carrots with thyme, and sauteed lamb chops with scallions, rosemary, and thyme. Fairly simple home cooking. toss veg in olive oil, sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper, roast for an hour and fifteen at 350. Put pan on medium heat, add in lamb chops, season with salt and pepper. If you want a touch of fancy, crush up some dried parsley flakes, and use it as a light crust for a touch more colour. once you turn the lamb over, add in brunoised scallions, garlic, and onions, with fine chopped rosemary and thyme. OM NOM NOM

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Everything done in the restaurant is done from scratch. the sauces, the toppings, the sides, everything. Today I did onion rings. My girlfriend always says "to make something from scratch, you must first create the universe." I took a few liberties with the rings. I didn't grow them or mill the flour ourselves. but other than that, I did everything. After working on these for four hours, I got to hear from one of the servers that a family came half-way across Canada just to eat here. Suddenly, the monotonous act of onion rings seemed a little more bad ass. Oh, and we made the top 10 list for restaurants in the city.

Rings recipe:
  • 20 lbs onion rings
  • 6L buttermilk
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • breadcrumbs
  • flour
cut onions into rings, dredge in flour, dunk in seasoned buttermilk, cover in breadcrumbs. deep fry at 350.

Lunch today: tomato sandwich with bacon, ale and cheddar soup.

Friday, January 21, 2011


In a kitchen, everyone is accountable. It doesn't matter where in the food chain you are. If you screw up, you get reamed. One of my bosses does the ordering for supplies and food. The past two times he's ordered, he's gotten gloves that are too small for anyone in the kitchen. One perk of my job is being able to yell at my boss. One of the owners came into the restaurant and walked into me handing my boss a glove, asking if he can get into the ones "he stole from the oompa-loompas store room" and asked if "the supply company was based in the land of Oz, cus only a fucking munchkin could wear these."

Once they stopped pissing themselves with laughter, my boss, T, ordered a case of large gloves. Problem solved.

Lunch today: Wagyu on a bun with lettuce, tomato, and wasabi aioli

Thursday, January 20, 2011


We boil beef stock over night for our gravy and sauces in the restaurant. The person closing is supposed to turn the burners down really low so it doesn't boil down. This didn't happen, so today I walk in to find my boss swearing a blue streak over a black pot. It didn't just boil down, it burned, caught fire and bellowed black smoke for a few hours. the fire got so hot inside the pot that the bones actually popped and cracked. We let the night guy clean the pot. Bugger left a tar mess in the sink. Out of everything the only thing the boss was angry about was that the bones can't be salvaged, we have to start over.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Prepped a whole suckling pig last week. Took off the trotters, spread it on the baking rack, scared the hell out of the waitress. Asked her to come into the kitchen for a sec, facing the baby pig towards the door. She came around, screamed and ran o the front of house. The usual stuff done with whole animals. Draped the pig in a wet tablecloth and tried to get it into the oven. apparently the head on the pig was rather large, and prevented it from fitting. The Boss said we'd need a saw to get the head clean off. I bet him $20 that I could do it with any knife. 5 Minutes later, I had it off with a paring knife. Another kitchen worker proceeded to split the jaw and hold it over his head like a helmet, chasing the Waitress around the bar. The Boss still owes me 20 bucks. took the head and trotters and brined them for head cheese. The pig roasted nicely and another catering event went without a hitch. The waitress will never eat pork again.


Got the details for a catering event today. Staff party, 25 guests, godfather theme. Knowing the people are from another kitchen and have a unique sense of humor, we ordered a horse head. Menu and decor ideas have been flying all day. charcoutrie, antipasto, Calebrese salad, pasta, veal. Prep starts in a couple of weeks. Should be fun.

Lunch today: Wild boar crumbled and sauteed with onions, on a bun with kale, radicchio, baby spinach and arugula


Spent the weekend with my girlfriend. She never buys bacon because she's afraid of eating the whole thing by herself. Apparently love means sharing a rasher of bacon.

Bacon seems to be one of the foods where everyone has a different opinion on how to cook it. Render it slowly and turn only once, keep it moving on high heat, layer it and bake it, I've seen it cooked dozens of ways, once with a propane torch, and it all just seems the same. add heat, rotate until white foam appears, dry, serve. it's all good.

pork belly, sugar, salt, pink peppercorns, thyme, zip lock bags, smoking wood ( apple or cherry),

  • trim the pork belly to size
  • combine equal parts salt and sugar, a handful of pink peppercorns, and a bunch of thyme for cure
  • pack on cure heavily and evenly on pork belly
  • place in zip lock bags and refridgerate
  • turn over once daily for 12 days
  • smoke at 180* for 6 hours