Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Has the world stop spinning???

I have finally found someone who is over CUPCAKES!!!!!

How can you be over CUPCAKES???? They are the perfect portable food and tidy neat package....
What is wrong with a tasty little treat.....

So to spite them ...I give you :

THE PANCAKE -BACON courtesy of Yummy Cupcakes(who have the best variety of cupcakes):

Monday, September 28, 2009

More Food Porn

my 1/2 eaten English Breakfast @ Duke of Gloucester in Toronto...not shown is my pint(s)..

Four great things....Beef Tenderloin MR,Steamed Asparagus, Popover , and HOLLANDAISE...mmmm

Beef Tenderloin wrapped in BACON

Not exactly food but mmmmmmmm BEER!!!!

Vegetarian Delights(Wild Mushroom Tarte Tatin w/Tomato Coulis and Baby Carrots)

Experimental open Sushi

Chocolate Ravioli

I had a crazy idea that i would make gravloxs during the busiests period of the year ,short staffed. It turned out GREAT!!!!!

See ..........I am wearing my big girl pants...and jacket and headband..

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Don't let the door hit ya where the good lord Split ya.

The food service indusrty has one of the highest turn over rates. It can get quite expensive to keep training and etc new staff every few weeks and also very annoying.

Most fast food places expect this and have factored this into their budget. But places like where i work, our turn over rate is only applied to our student workers. The biggest turn over happens within the first few weeks of the semester. Then it tapers and we can pretty much tell who will stay and who wont make it.....they are easy to spot. ..freak outs over more than two orders at a time. It's sad but sometimes kids just can't juggle work and school.

But what we as mangers don't expect is when a long time employee who we are trying to coach and nurture and help expand their skills so they can move up fucks us over and ups and quits.

Now I understand when people feel they have gone as far as they can and feel that the new position they have found is better for them....GO FOR IT. But have a bit of class and backbone.....wait scratch that ,  I mean manners and maturity to give your place of current work more than an hour notice.

This just happen to us after this particular person was getting all my love and help and I was trying to take them under my wing so to speak and they were doing great. Myself and another manager covered for them in a emergency...no questions asked. They got away with a lot of stuff  that in any other place , they would have gotten written up for.
So instead of given us some common courtesy.... they came in and said this is my last day.
To which we say....SEE YA!!!! and don't come back looking for your job cause it won't be here.

Who is teaching people to act like this??? This not the first time I have been at places where people either stop showing up( my favorite was I had a employee who never showed up for his shift one day and when I called him he told me he called and left a message saying he was quiting....oh really with who because ya didnt talk to me....dumb ass) or quit without two week or even a weeks notice.

COMMON SENSE PEOPLE. if you work somewhere for more than a year....you might want to do yourself a BIG favor and don't fuck your employer  over. Someday you might want a super duper  reference from them......

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tip Your Hat and Beer to Mr. Guinness

Sorry Arthur G!! I am late by a day. Was to wrapped up in Harps( Guinness light to you weirdos) to remember to write my love "poem"

Thanks to you I can make stew  laced with rich thick stout. Because of YOU, my fondue is creamy yumminess.
Thanks to your beer there is ice cream in my mind( because i forgot to get the rock salt) that will be enriched by your deep darkness...mmmmmmmmm

250 and you don't look a day over 249.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

There is no place like"home"

Sadly, home for me is not actually warm and fuzzy  Ozzie and Harriet. It's my work. My actually home...well I know where it is, i know what it looks like but really, I only sleep , shower, veg occasionally in front of the tv and sometimes even cook a meal there. I don't even do my laundry( my 14 year old, bless his soul, does the laundry for the house.) But I am grateful for the "home" I have. It's clean, organized and well maintained.

I say this because I was recently at another location  to assist with a function and the situation is bad. I mean really bad, like "please someone close the place down and rip this shit up and put it all together. again".

It scared me they were serving people from not only this particular kitchen but from the hot line as well.
Two factors were the problem: the equipment is older than dirt and the cooler/freezer were a mess....I mean so disorganized  and improper storage of raw meats and produce...made me want to spend a day just pulling everything out and then scrubbing it then placing everything back in.
The events them self were pretty easy but  so disorganized..I am super organized...I mean my lists have lists that have lists.
Nothing here except for  a small list . But even then 1/2 the stuff was brought in and I haven't a clue why I  there. The two events I could have done easily by myself if I did what this chef did.

It made me thankful for the places I work in...we have our problems but thanks to OCD we are a clean machine.

OCD is handy at times in the food service industry , though at times it can make you crazy when you think everyone else should be thinking like you.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Maple Bacon Doughnut lovenly brought back from Portland Or. by my very lovely best girlfriend Shelly. Disgusting as it may appear if you look at it as a big pancake with bacon it makes sense.....especially if you're from Canada.

The McMini ....mmmmm from Montreal McDonalads. Basically their version of a chicken baguette sandwich with pesto. Very Yummy!!!!!! When in Rome ya know. 

Beautiful Cupcake from Itsi Bitsi in Montreal. I think mine was Lemonaide.
Heavy like a cake ...very dense. But very YUMMMY!!!

The Bijou Dragon

The Bijou Dragon

Shared via AddThis

Polenta is good for you so SHUT THE F UP!

Stop rolling your eyes.
What is wrong with polenta? Or do you not even know what it is.
In a nutshell it is Italian for grits....cornmeal if you please because that is what it is. But the difference is that Polenta is damn GOOD.(grits are too if you slap them with a lot of butter and bits of herbs ...but then it becomes polenta..but i digress)

Polenta is probably one of my favorite things to eat.......... creamy with fresh herbs and goat cheese with plenty of butter of course and cheese. But stiff and fried is pretty yummy with say , rabbit with a sauce chassuer ( yes, i can toss out french words and know what they mean just like Joel Robuchon( great chef btw...but thats for another post all together.)
But this has little to do with what I am about to suggest you not only eat but try to make yourself ( you will be so proud of yourself when you do)


now now....stop your bitchin and listen for a minute. I thought the same thing...ewwwwwww.
BUT this is a wonderful dessert that is lemony without being puckerie and overly sweet.
The coconut gives it a slightly chewy texture that surprised even me.
I gave this recipe to my pastry chefs for one of our more important functions and it shocked even us how good it was and  how well it was received .

So suck it up and try something new !

Lemon Polenta Cake:

For the cake:

130 g ground almonds (or almond flour)= 4.5 oz

130 g shredded coconut= 4.5oz

130 g fine polenta (or yellow cornmeal) 4.5oz

1 teaspoon baking powder

grated rind of 3 lemons

270 g soft butter= 9.5 oz

270 g caster sugar 9.5oz

4 eggs

juice of 2 lemons

For the lemon glaze:

juice of 2 lemons

sugar to taste

For the lemon icing:

250 g icing sugar =9oz

juice of ½ lemon, approximately

-Combine ground almonds, coconut, polenta, baking powder and lemon rind, and set aside. Using electric mixer beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

-Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Fold in dry ingredients and lemon juice until just combined. Pour mix into greased and lined 9-inch/24-centimeter round cake tin***** (not springform) and bake at 325°F/160°C for one hour or until golden and just coming away from the side of the tin.

-Meanwhile, make the lemon glaze by heating the lemon juice and sugar gently, until the sugar is just dissolved.

-Remove from the oven and cool in the tin. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen. Pour on lemon glaze while cake is still warm.

-Allow to cool completely in tin before turning on to a plate, as the cake falls apart easily while warm.

-Spread the lemon icing over the cake when cooled completely. (You can make the icing more like a loose glaze by slightly reducing the amount of icing sugar.)

**** we did these in large muffin tins for individual cakes
This is not my original recipe .....just so ya know.

Menu For High Holidays

For the non Jewish kiddies out there....in a week there is one of many important holidays for the Jewish People.

The first is Rosh Hashanh....the Jewish New Year/Day of Repentance

And I ,being a good little chef, get the pleasure of serving dinner next friday to a small but wonderful group of students and other people who join us for dinner.

Here is our menu:

Cranberry and Peach Glazed Turkey Breast(Kosher)

Sweet Potato Tzimmes

Sliced Apples with Honey and Fruit Platters with Mint (Pre Set)

Toss Salad with Balsamic, French and Italian dressings

Herb Roasted Tri Color Potatoes

Lemon Orange Honey Cake

Round Challah

The Next High Holiday is Yom Kippur ........Day of Atonement
There is two menus . One for the dinner  and the following day for the Break Fast....not breakfast but BREAK FAST...the meal taken after the breaking of the fast...

The Dinner menu :

Chicken Schnitzel with Apricot Confit

Mash Root Vegetables

Steamed Haricot Verts with Balsamic Vinegar

Caramelized Onion Kugel

Green Salad (Sliced Onions and Tomatoes with three dressings)

Gelfilte Fish Warm (carrots and onions) Preset

Kosher Chocolate Cake

Break Fast:

Plain and Sesame Bagels

Whipped Cream Cheese

Lox w/ Capers

Sliced Tomatoes, Onions and Lettuce

Tuna Salad with Celery

Deviled Eggs with Olives


Relish Tray with Carrots and Celery

Kugal Apple Cake

now i know your problem going,"how cool, you have a kosher kitchen." Well, I don't. But i do what i can and respect jewish laws in regards to my menus. All my meats,breads etc are kosher. The vegetables and fruits because that is not an issue, at least not to my knowledge.
It does make for some insteresting menus that is for sure.

Human Soul of Dispair Longs for Substance


Food is what we all need and at times want. But what drives a craving and what drives us to fixate on it and at time obsesses over something of substance.
Pregnant women are allowed to give into what is called hormonal cravings. It is believed that their bodies crave something it is missing. Though i doubt that when the body is in need of more calcium, that triple fudge chocolate ice cream is what it had in mind.The same is to be said about young children. That they lean towards foods their body instinctively needs to grown and function better during the day. And it is only a learned habit of parents in the "be good and get a cookie" that we have evolved into not listening to the normal balance of our bodies.
But does anyone really say (on a normal daily basis) say,"gee i love a big peach"....(actually , i did on Friday and thank god we had just received our local produce order of peaches..mmmm mmmm good)
Most of us presume that the milkshake we think we want is what we need when really it is the body screaming for calcium.

I wonder if we paid more attention to the natural flow of "cravings" and body cues that we be a slimmer society rather than obese one.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tony B . Rocks it in Brooklyn

Do you watch No Reservations?
Watch it on monday the 7th of Spetember. ?

Do like Tony...go explore the city you live it. Fcuk Applebees, Olive Garden(never been there by the way or Red Slobster) and check out the smaller home town places and support them...

In Buffalo:
Amy's Place
The Town
some say Panos(last time i ate there it was terrible)
Just Pizza
SeaBar( I adore Mike Andrzejewski ..in my mind one of Buffalo's best)
Hutch's(have not been there in years but been around for ages and Hutch is another great guy)
Grandma Mora's...
There is an indian place up on Niagara Falls Blvd near UB that i cant remember the name of that is fantastic.
Any place Koni is at...he is the master and makes the best Asian food.
Wegmans in Rochester(Pittsford Store) This place makes the other Wegmans look like the red headed step child. Best what i cal QSR or pick up and go section. Sushi here is KILLER.
The Old Pink...3am steak sandwich
Old Man River
John and Marys
Asa Ramson House
Butterwood(desserts...i actually know the owner)

and you have to go to Fanny's once in your life ..just for the the decor alone

Thats all i can remember off the top of my head.....

food good.

Big Pickle Day

Wondering work today , I realized I should probably tell who ever is reading this(as if) who I actually am.

Hi...I am a cook.

I can't remember a time when I wasn't cooking. It seems all I have always done or wanted to do was cook. My mom was a good cook. Gramdmothers....ekkkk. Except if you think that jello molds and pouring Life cereal as cooking then they were GREAT.

My dad's mom did make fab bread and butter pickles....i think my mom has the recipe somewhere. Must ask her for it when i remember.....if i remember.

But anyhoo, I am  divorced mum of two semi teenage boys(loves of my life besides my man )

life partner...... I am not one of those "I need to be married" girls. Buy me a pretty ring or a shit load of music and cookbooks and I am yours for life....I am easy ,so I have been told.

I started in restaurants as a 15 year old dish dog/prep girl. I can peel carrots, onion and shrimp faster than most cooks/chefs. I actually miss it at times because all it involved was peeling and listening to music....(that is my other joy..MUSIC. You will read many references to music through out this blog.)

Went to the C.I.A. IN 1990....Worked in many different types of establishment...including Disney... Great place with some of the most talented and messed up people I have ever had the privilege to work with.

From there, because my ex didn't like that i was getting good money and we had a HOUSE!!, WE moved again to Washington State where I was an Executive Chef/Innkeeper. Another great job that got shot in the ass(don't ask..it involves someone named Stinky..you know who you are;) )

But then I landed backhome sking my ex to go away and striking out on my own. Went back to work at the first place i ever worked...........

Then on to stupid job at Quinoas(don't ask) then a Tex mex place(don't ask) both i ran as chef manger(really it was the title i gave myself so i didn't feel like a cunt) Then (cue angels and choir) I was head hunted for the job i currently hold as an Executive Chef at a local University for a national company.
I am in charge of anything food related on campus(for the most part...retail is on their own except when they need my help knocking heads together) This means all the catering and two dining halls. Lucky for me I am blessed with a great team that i get to work with( well 95% of them i feel blessed...LOL) I work 55-60hrs a week most weeks...spend a lot of time on my feet. Never a dull moment and never a day without something going wrong or something needing fixing.Good times........

But it makes for a very exhausted me...........

Right now we are going into our busy season.(well our busy season is never ending) It's the fall semester and so much to do..Homecoming, High Holidays, Wedding shit load of mini events(crap, i need to do a menu centered around Asian food for 50 ppl under $400 total including drinks...go me) then trustees which are the super bowl for us. My play time. I am grateful that my clients love myself and my catering director...THANK GOD!!!!!!

Then on to more little events.......special events, holidays followed by the end of semester...and winter "break"...LOL break as if!

oh gosh....is it May 2010 yet? I need to go to Europe and lather myself in Rammstein goodness(it's the mini cupcakes talkin)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Support your local farmers DAMN IT!!!!!!!

I am a firm believer that as a chef   cook, you should use whats around you as much as possible to not only get the best and freshiest food but to help the local farms that really need it.(actually all farms need our support). Sustanablity is a huge factor in cooks lives..lest it should be.
Where i am, we not only buy within a 50 to 100 mile radius, we recycle and compost. Almost nothing goes to waste. Not a bad start for now. It will slowly turn into whole foods and grains and soon the elmination of two deep fryers(i hope)...Actually the school my sons go to took out their deep fryers much to the joy of the parents.
My next step is to farm out the leftovers to a food bank like Second Harvest. We used them at Disney and i swear it was a great thing to do. We tried to use our leftovers ourselves but there were many times we just couldnt. Second Harvest was a god send . Nothing was wasted. And people in need were feed. Win win for everyone.

So I was very excited when i saw this pop up in email....take a look at where farmers markets might look like in the future:


And if you live in WNY then you better be going to either the North Tonawnada , Bidwell,Broadway or Clinton Street Farmers  Markets. Your Stupid if you don't.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Say Good Night Mabel!

"I bet you eat real well cause your a chef"( real quote from a friend of mine)

two words:
No Time.

we eat on the run and late at night. It has to be quick and be able to shove into our collective mouths and downed in 2 minutes because that is one minute to long for us to chew.
I gained 150 in 4 years. Some ways from the hours i work. Some was the stress of being a young married mother of 1 then 2 sons.

Cooks rage on diet soda and coffee. If and when we eat its usually a sandwich, burger or worse ,dessert. Quick fast calories that will get us through the 5 hr service that is about to walk through our front door.
Then ,if we are lucky, we have some sort of protein followed b a very tall cold beer that is followed by two more . Then we go home at 1am to wake up at 7am to take the kids to school and go back to work.

Whose got time for it?

Sleep is for wusses(case in point....its 4:30am and  i am still wide awake and will probably sleep till 11 if i go to bed soon. Thats 11 am. Kids want pancakes and turkey sausage and appearently only i Queen G can make it. Mind you I have teenage sons...they should be making me brunch.

I need a nap.......

Grammar Nazis

ok...my spelling and punctuation is borderline nutters.
I am hoping that with this blog, the writing skills will improve....but your guess is as good as mine.

You're a What?

Me during  Trustess and my partner getting on my nerves just before serving 200 ppl.
Ok...so let me set one thing straight.

So you have just spent $732987327847 at Culinary School. Nice going. Now if it was before 1994 i would have said ,"if  you went to one of the big schools, you done good."
But not today.
No offense to my school(C.I.A.) BUT culinary school is not the same as when i went there.
First ,chefs instructors have to be all PC and warm and fuzzy. Really? cause thats how they are in the real world?I dare anyone to ask any of the great American chefs; the Peels, the Bourdains, the Kellers ,etc if the chefs they trained under gave them a huge when they messed up the samething three times during a busy service . Probably they were yelled at or something was thrown at them as they waddled through their first years perfecting the craft.
It is a craft by the way. Some say skill, Ok , i might  agree....my point was actually this: Just because you were dumb enough to  spend that much money for 21 months of "training" and with 7 months at Applebees under your belt does not, and I repeat DOES NOT, make YOU  a "chef". Nor does it make you a better cook than someone who had the forsight to do it the old fashion way and apprentice his way up. There are many many days I wish I had  had the balls to run off to Europe and work for free(cause thats what truely passionate freaks like me do , to gain the experience***
Chef or Chef de Cuisne is the head person in the kitchen. In America , we call them the executive Chef. They are usually, as i fondly like to call them, the pencil pushers of the group. 90% of the time they spend their time  bored out of their minds with paperwork when really they just want to be cooking.
Some EC love paperwork...I don't and never will. But i spend to much of my time doing it and taking meetings. Such as my life as an EC.
And just because you run a kitchen of 2-5 people doesnt make you the Chef either. Head Cook: go for it.
Chef is a respectful term that is part of the culinary history given to us by the great  Escoffier(if you dont know who they are, put the knife down and find a different profession/...shame on you) and the Brigade System. Most of us that have been around the "biz" long enough have manged to work our way up it.  i can probably say with some accurace that 89 to 93% were dishwashers or prep whores when they were 15-16 years old. Oh the good old days of P&D 300LBS o f shrimp a day in the middle of summer....how i miss those days sometimes.

and last little tib bit...... My team doesn't go around calling me chef anymore. They call me Gretchen most days to my face, Probably "that bitch or c#$t" behind my back other days. I don't want to be called chef. It is embaressing on a day to day basies because I don't chef for a living.......


I was born a cook, I live like a cook and I shall die a cook...thats who I am.
And I am proud to be one.

*** I am in no way bad mouthing my formal education at the C.I.A. It is a great school and i truely believe i have gone further because of it. But given the choice of apprecianting in Europe and formal education...book the ticket Dan-o. And i dare say the chefs i had would say the samething though i doubt they get the Hawaii 5-O reference.

Can you cook while still sleeping?

Long week but still upright , which is good for now.

So this is my Blog about the industry i work in which if you have any sense in you then you will never step on foot near it.
There is no glamour in what i do. One in a zillion get famous or even have a great successful place to call their very own without co owners who have funded the gigantic amount of money it takes to open then sustain a place till you might turn a profit which most dont. They just break even or fail.
It is long hours, on your feet ,hot nasty kitchens and for women it means pulling your weight. If  there is 50 lbs of chicken to be picked up off the floor and carried into the walk in then you best high tail it with the box before the chef yells at you about warm kitchen air forming bacteria on his chicken.

One good this the instant gradification that comes it. The pleasure cooking gives someone who truely loves it. I love it...always have and it is one of only three things i know anything about to great detail.

I have no real goal here. Probably just a way to blow off steam about the daily frustrations and gradifications that come with being a cook.

So lets start off with i guess what should have been my first ,but is now my third post.

Deconstructing the Madness of a Chef

My Fall Menu for Big Special Event for the money people:

  Buffet Breakfast

Coffee Cake and Fresh Fruit Tray

    -    Buffet Lunch

Tuscan Chicken Breast with Lemon Pesto, Butter Lettuce, Sundried Tomatoes on Ciabetta Bread

Slow Roasted Firecracker Beef with a Cool Lime Sauce on Assorted Wraps

Grilled Herb Foccaica with Red Pepper, Avocado, Fresh Mozzarella and Creamy Mustard Spread

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette

Mexican Chopped Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

Afternoon break:

Pistachio Cigars

Mini Key Lime Tarts

Coffee service, Assorted Juices, Soda & Water (in Carafes on Tables)

Social Functions
Poached Pear and Brie in Filo Purses

Mini Beef Wellingtons

Grilled Polenta with Mushroom Ragout.

Island Cerviche Cucumber Cups


Harvest Salad with Apples, Chayote, Jicama and Currents tossed together with a Fresh Sage and Toasted Mustard Seed Vinaigrette on top of Mixed Greens

Pretzel and Pumpernickel Rolls


Jaeger Schnitzel with Hunters Sauce

Butter Poached White Asparagus

Braised Lentils with Whole Grain Mustard

Vegetarian Option:

Herbed Potato Pancakes with Forrest Mushrooms and Asparagus.

Served with a Sweet Onion Mascarpone Sauce


Black Forest Terrine with Crème Anglaise

Almond Peach Tart

Fruit Trifle


Buffet Breakfast :

Homemade Granola and Fruit Parfaits

Vegetable Strata

Belgian Waffles with Blueberry Syrup

Eggs Cooked to Order

Assorted Bagels with Nova Scotia Salmon, Cream Cheese (Reg and Light)

Tomatoes, Onions and Capers

 Morning Meetings:
French Pastries
                                    Scones with Devon Cream

Fruit Kabobs    
Raspberry Twists
Assorted Italian Cookies
Florentine Cookies
Buffet Lunch

Pesto Roasted Turkey Breast


Shocked Green Beans with Hearts of Palm and Roasted Red Pepper

Smokey Pasta Ribbons Gazpacho Salad

Corn Cheese Chili Pie

Red Beans and Rice Salad

Fresh Rolls

Afternoon Meetings:
Strawberry Cheesecake Bits
                       Assorted Petite Fours
                       Mini Lemon Meringue Tarts
                              Tiramisu Bars
                         White Chocolate Tarts

    Social Functions
 Dedication and Reception

Artichoke Beignets with Remoulade

Spicy Cornbread topped with Peach Bbq Duck

Baked Black Bean, Chorizo and Avocado Eggrolls with Cucumber Salas

Apricot Bits with Whipped Blue Cheese and Basil.


Boston and Arugula Lettuce, Sour Cherries, Julienned Beets, Roasted Vidalia Onions, Candied Pecans, Goat Cheese with a White Balsamic Dressing

Entrée: Duet

Ginger Marinated Beef Filet with Hosin Demi Glace

Seared Fresh Halibut with Peach Salsa

Whipped Roasted Root Vegetables

Haricot Verts with Gremolata


Cassoulet with Creamy Leek Sauce


Four Layer Mocha Crunch Cake

Mini Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Fresh Berries

Pumpkin Crème Brulee Tarts

                                    Buffet Breakfast
                                    Ambrosia Salad

Huevos Rancheros
Eggs to Order
Turkey Sausage
                                    Assorted Bagels with Nova Scotia Salmon, Cream Cheese(Reg and Light)

                                    Tomatoes , Onions and Capers

Scones with Assorted Local Jams

Morning Meetings:

Buffet Lunch:
Southwestern Garlic Flank Steak
Rosemary Ranch Chicken Skewers

Turkish Salad

Artichoke Bread Pudding

Caspian Bean Salad

Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse Cake

Lemon Cooler Cookies

Chocolate Macaroons
Cranberry Bundt Coffee Cake