Sunday, December 30, 2007

I really can cook....


They are what interviewing chefs do as part of the hiring process. It is the process of cooking for your potential employer. I have never had problems with a tasting. But for some reason this past week in Chicago I forgot how to cook. The tasting involves sending a menu and a list of ingredients up and they supply the food. They also will sometimes give you a mystery basket of food. Its a suprised and they tell you to cook from it. Again no problem have done this many times before.

Well I showed up at 530 am to cook and not all the product was in yet. I also tried something new for this tasting and had timelines drawn up and a prep list ready. Well it was a disaster and I was helpless to stop this train wreck. It was like watching a nightmare come true.

Then halfway through the prep the Corporate Exec Chef came in and told me that they wanted twice as many plates plated up. This means double the prep.

After the tasting word got back that they were not happy with the tasting and were not sure what they were going to do. I was supposed to get a call on friday telling me what the next step was. I am slated to interview with the client next but it is Sunday and still no call. Needless to say I am a little on edge. Oh yeah I also have caught a nasty cold as well. Let me know what you think is going on here......

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL and to all .........yada yada yada

Wow what a Christmas sitting around the table talking to my family and enjoying just being still was fun. The opening of the presents by lil chef was the best part of the day though. She got a tonka truck.....she picked it out, a lil backpack, some clothes, a Mr Potato Head(she is a chefs daughter) but the thing that was the show stopper and has been played with more than anything else was the $.75 bottle of bubbles. We played for over an hour with that, the cat thought it was pretty cool as well.

BUBBLES RULE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Monday, December 24, 2007

I am starting to like least for this year

Chefs hold a special love hate relationship for the holidays. We love them because of our childhood memories and it is the time of giving. But we hate them for the fact that it is the busiest time of the year for us. While everyone else is running around cheering and celebrating we chefs are working hard long days and just when the Christmas rolls around and everybody else is settling back for a week of doing nothing we are thinking about the longest night of the year.....That's right NEW YEARS EVE.

I tell my family that my favorite holidays are Halloween and Super Bowl Sunday, yes this is a holiday if I say it is. No one goes out to eat on those nights. Oh yeah I am also a big fan of Arbor Day as well, Hallmark cards and wal mart haven't figured a way to capitalize on that day yet.

But this year I was fortunate enough to have the holidays off and spend them reliving my childhood memories. Like most chefs my fondest recollections evolved around food and for me that means Christmas cookies and candies.
But in true chef fashion I made sure to put making these little delicacies off to the last minute and then proceeded to spend two 18 hour days getting them ready and oh lets throw in several complicated cookies I have never made just for fun. We will also make our fudge from scratch no marshmallow whip in this house. Oh we can also go ahead and make enough to make these large platters of holiday sweets to give as presents to all our family and friends. I'll never learn. You know the keep things simple.......NEVER!!!!

As you can see we got them done only after many yelling and screaming matches with my significant other and some mistakes but it was fun and worth it.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Lil Chef and the cinnamon rolls

Just found this amusing......Things to do on a snowy cold day.

tap the link

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My own Lil Chef

Since my time at home I am finding it harder and harder to not want to be in the kitchen just cooking to cook. And in the absence of a sous chef I have recruited one.
This past week I helped a friend cater a lunch for his race team seminar he puts on. The meal prep went well as did the lunch but I made too much dessert, chocolate mousse cake. I left the mise en place at home for later and went to serve the meal.
Later that night my significant other was complaining about wanting something sweet. So I went in and started to assemble the dessert. Well standing at my feet is my 2 year old sous chef. Well she hopped on her chair and started putting chocolate chips on the cake. In typical sous chef style she assumed the cake was her creation.
Well we served the cake and it was a hit. But the next morning we got up and came down for breakfast and the lil chef went straight to the fridge and helped herself to the cake. Since then there is a constant sound in the house.......her opening the fridge door. And for some reason the handle of the fridge is covered with dried chocolate mousse.
Her mother and I cannot figure out why she has been hyper lately either.....:))

Friday, December 14, 2007

When to pass off a job offer

The famous chef offered me the job of executive chef. If was an honor and I was flattered. But the problem is that they have gone through 4 chefs in 3 years. In case your wondering that means there is a problem. A BIG PROBLEM..... the client is a pain in the ass and the famous chef's company is run by a bunch of ego maniacs. The ego maniacs I can handle nothing new there but the client is a so full of themselves that the lady who runs the place is nothing short of a bitch..... Having taken a long hard look at this seeking some advice from some folks including the cities gossip columist. I decided to pass.

What a phone call that was.

They took it the same way Paris Hilton takes being rejected at a singles bar. Not well!!!

So its on to the next stop.....

I will keep things posted as they happen.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

When good things happen

This past week I was asked to go to DC to cook for this famous chef to see if they wanted me to takeover one of his flagship restaurants. This is something that happens that I have only heard about. Get on a plane at 5am fly to DC take a limo to the restaurant meet the chefs talk for a while get everybody comfortable, then my bosses boss says now go cook something for us. No mystery basket no menu just go cook in a kitchen that I have never been in and know nothing about the operation and oh by the way we are putting out a catered lunch for 200 at the same time. The kitchen is full of people who have just been hired, several of the corporate chefs are running around looking over your shoulder. The only way I can describe this is that you are auditioning for a supporting role in a major motion picture directed by Speilberg staring Pitt and Witherspoon and I am the plucky comic relief.

They were all very nice but SHIT!!!

Now what do you cook for four corporate chefs whom you have admired for many years. Steak and Potatoes of course. They loved it offered me the job and put me back on a plane. Total time on the ground 6 hours.

I love this career.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

In order to keep cooking you need to have a kitchen to cook in

I am interviewing with three different places and all of them are in the large grand scale that I love working in. One is with a large sporting venue that will doo $100k on a regualr is with a new facility that is opening and needs a chef to spearhead its opening.....and the final one is taking over for a museum that is managed by very famous chef. Not sure how this is going to work out but I will let you know.

Friday, November 23, 2007

When did thanksgiving equal eat till you fall asleep then go shopping

I am finding that the commercializing of America to become sickening. Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that corporate America cannot find a way to capitalize on. Not much profit line on turkey bread and sweet potatoes. So what is a business to do.....oh here's an idea lets make that day the day to start our shopping for Christmas. Hurry little consumers jump through hoops to get the $50 laptop and oh lets not forget to get there early and pose for the news cameras.

The news seems to be dominated by how many people were in line at 3 am at the local wal mart. People wonder why middle America is viewed as being so gullible. Fox and CNN had to send their reporters to Nebraska or Wyoming to find the herds that were migrating outside the local K-Wal-Target. Not LA not New York but middle America. There was a 3 minute news piece ran on what time the malls opened this morning. And 1 minute blurb on the fact that the Mozel Sanders foundation fed 30k homeless on thanksgiving and the only reason it was that long was the fact that an NFL player help sponsor it this year. We seem to have lost the spirit of thanksGIVING for the expression of saying thanks for how much we get and equating giving for how much we spent. Sad really.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Not all of us enjoy preparing for small groups

I have been reading alot of blogs lately related to foods.....I have also been watching After Hours with Daniel. I must agree that here in Indianapolis we seem to be the last stop on the culinary trend highway but at the same time we still eat here. While I really enjoy looking at the trends of what is coming to us here in middle earth there is also an insight into the thoughts of those folk thinking and it is not any different than my thinking and those of my chef friends here in the Circle City.

I am amazed at the arrogance of chefs and foodies that seem to think that production on anything more than 100 people is horrific. Yet when those chefs need to suddenly dazzle 3000 guest paying $250 a pop each they seem to suddenly have a need for guys like me. I produce on large scales I am not happy unless there are 500 people wanting to be feed. The Thomas Kellers of this world are most definitely needed. I have been an admirer of his for years. His sense of creation is amazing. Ferran Adria is one whom I laughed at and thought its just a fad it will go away Escoffierist like myself won't have to look at this new molecular cooking for long. Now I find myself googleing his recipes, for my edification. Although I see a day that chili's has a mango pork inside out ravioli with a lemon foam......that menu item took me 10 minutes to figure out.......maybe I should apply to apple bees for their corporate exec chef....

Brace yourself here comes the rant

While I do not feel the need to educate the world on my cuisine......leave that to the 22 year old culinary school grad.....I do feel that the more people I can expose to quality prepared food the job of elevating their palate may have been accomplished. The applebees, tgi fridays, and olive gardens of this world want to do nothing more than put a mediocre flavor on a plate while trying to make sure that they maintain the proper profit percentage. They don't care about what is being done to our sense of taste and enjoyment. The American palate is being slowly destroyed by honey jack chipotle quesadillas served with a chili ranch dressing. How can you taste anything in that?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The next chapter

Time to move on. We are going to have to close the business. I am not bitter so much as frustrated. I thought I knew how to do this on my own. Sales have slumped, only about 30% of what was projected. I do not regret this, I always wanted to do this and I tried it. I feel like I got a masters degree in the last 2 years. This is the toughest thing I have ever done, I cannot remember ever in my life working so hard. Being a small business owner is an experience that every person should try once. It makes you appreciate working for for someone else.

The thing I am looking forward to the most, aside from a paycheck, is getting sleep at night. I do not think I have had a good nights sleep in months. My family life is in a stressed state as well. This is not why I got into business for myself. It seems somewhere we lost out way. I am hoping that we will be able to get a fresh start. There is a job offering in the area that will pay very well and hopefully get us back on track.

Its funny the company I used to work for and laid me off wants me back badly. Its kinda nice to be wanted for what you do. I know I can cook well and run a very efficient kitchen. I guess there is something to be said for knowing your place in the world.

I have come to the conclusion that I have a obligation in this world. Not necessarily making a fortune but raising and keeping a family. I have learned in the last couple of months that there are simply some things in this world that are more important than lots of money. My wife and daughter give me more happiness than any amount of money ever could. Learning this has made the last 2 years almost worth it.

Looking ahead I find myself wanting simplicity. Keeping life comfortable. I let you know how it works out.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The world of feeding

What a couple of months. We have since downsized and gone to a soley offsite catering company. We are still searching for an investor and if something does not happen soon we will close. I feel at peace with this if that decision has to be made. My employees are beside me through all this. That is the one thing that makes all this pain somewhat bearable. The company has lost a little focus thorugh all this and it was tough to get everybody back on track. But it seems to have worked for now.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Business of Money

We are at a crucial point it is time to get the investors lined up and put together. It is one of those times that if this does not work out the company will go under. its kind of interesting to watch this unfold. ....... More to come

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What a Dipshit

That employee who quit suddenly you remember that failure of a human being. Well he was working at his new job and one of my best clients was at the event. The client asked what happened and why he left our company. He told the client that we were operating in an unethical manner and that he did not feel like he should be a part of that. Truth be told I have this fuckwad on tape stealing liquor and padding his time cards. But I kept him around because he was a friend and we had been working together for several years. Just proves that I have only a handful of true friends. What an asshole!!!!!

Saturday, April 14, 2007


What is it about employees that you work so hard to keep them happy and make sure they have everything they need to be sucessful and yet they never seem to have any devotion to you. For instance I have this fucko that works for me he has been working for me for three years at 2 different locations I have defended him many times and run interference between him and the people who do not like him and what does he do he quits for a job that is with a company that sucks all because he thinks he knows more. The funny thing is he doesn't realize what a fuck up he really is. What a jackass. Ever known anybody who is a retard but you keep them around just hoping that some day they will turn off their idiot button? Guess I will have to start looking for another stupid sidekick.

You try and try to be good to them and they fuck you everytime. Guess this is what I get for trying to be Capt-save-a-ho. Funny thing is I got three applicants today who walked in off the street looking for work. So I guess this will work out in the end.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Helping others

I have had someone come into my life with regards to working on getting sober. This is the one things in my life that gets me excited. I find working with others to stay sober to be so rewarding. It helps me stay sober and it reminds me of my time when I came in to getting clean and sober. I know the success rate of coming into this program but at the same time it does not mean that I will diminish my efforts in working with M. He may or may not make it but I will do all I can to help him.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Listening to U2 and the streets still have no names

We have been up and running for a year and this is the first time I have had to sit and reflect on the past year. We started our company with just 4 people and now we have 30 employees three locations and the world has just exploded. Four years ago I was a junkie hustling in NOLA thinking to I would rather be dead. Today I have own a company that will do over 2 million in sales this year and over 10 million in a couple of years.

I have not stopped to even look back till this moment. I have a daughter and a partner for life who both love me and have shown me a life I only dreamed about. I sometimes miss the action but hustling is hustling. Its just all legal now.