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 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. 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 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 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 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