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504 article submissions by the ChefTalk.com community.

Keeping Great Employees

  Keeping the best people on the team is critically important. Take a bit to think about the gravity of having good kitchen kin at the most vital times. When the printer is vomiting tickets onto the cutting board and the GM is freaking out about the gluten-free demands of table 21, who is best to be standing by? Does loyalty want to be questioned at that time? Or does the discussion about a pay raise make for a jagged moment? What about not getting the schedule just right for the line cook that needed off for his kid’s birthday? How is this band of brothers and... read more

The Truth About Leftovers!

Let me preface this post by saying that I am not writing this as a warning or an expose.  I am just writing this as an informative piece on the business that is running a professional kitchen.  I just want to provide a little insight into how things work behind the scenes give everyone a little peek.  So, with that being said, I want to address leftovers.  On more than one occasion, I have been asked by a patron at many of the places I have worked at what exactly happens to all the food that is leftover at the end of the day.  The truth is that the answer is not cut and... read more

Cooking With Urbani Truffles

by: Jim Berman I asked a group of young cooks what they knew about truffles. Of course I got the predictable "chocolate" and "expensive" and "good!" I also, surprisingly got "don't they use pigs to find them?" and "it's like a mushroom." So, given the opportunity to bring some Urbani truffles into the kitchen, I was enthused about the opportunity to do so. Urbani does not deal with the chocolate lovelies that fetch way too much money around Valentine's Day. No, no, the colorful heritage of the Urbani Family brings the subterranean delicacy from the soils of Italy to our... read more

History of The Truffle

A rare fungus that grows underground (only several inches below ground). They come in both white and black varieties. Not all truffles are created equal, as there can be considerable quality differences between truffles due to ripeness and location of harvest. Truffles have a pungent, almost magical flavor that is greatly appreciated among gourmets.     La Truffe A fungus that grows under certain trees mainly Oaks, but also chestnut, hazel and Beech                      Arguments amongst truffle scholars   The name comes from the Latin Tuber or Tubera, meaning... read more

Packing in Festive Feasting (How To Make Fruitcake w/ Photos)

By Becky Billingsley   A densely packed fruitcake lovingly laced with grape juice is a memorable holiday treat with a creamy texture using this old southern method.   Holiday dishes served at the South Carolina coast have influences from several cultures (German, Scottish, Irish, French, African), but about an hour west of Myrtle Beach the roots run deep to 17th-century England. That heritage is found in a generations-old recipe called Packed Fruitcake.   Pulitzer Prize-winning author Julia Mood Peterkin (1880-1961) wrote about old southern ways in her books and... read more

Hot Buttered Rum--A Kid Friendly Recipe

by: Ruben Urias   Hot Buttered Rums warm the soul, relax tired muscles, and comfort the weary--both young and old.  Yes, really.  Kids can also partake in the coziness of hot buttered rums by replacing the potent spirit with tasty apple cider.  But first, you need a flavorful, non-alcoholic mixer that can be added to whatever warm drink you wish.    For those unfamiliar with hot buttered rums, they are basically any rum drink that’s been warmed, sweetened, and given more body.  There are dozens of variations of this formula that vary by family, region, and... read more

Footprint on the Moon

  Cooking is a job. It is a way to take rough and raw ingredients, turn them into something palatable and, with a little experience and knowledge, perhaps make people happy with the bits and pieces on the plate. And that is all. Political opinion matters for nothing. Chefs that get all high and mighty by sharing their thoughts about, say, the fair treatment of wage-earners in Uganda are not lending any voice to the down-trodden and, more than likely, are laughable for their attempt. Stick to cooking. Desire to do something of measurable impact to save the environment... read more

On Being A Sous Chef

  For those of you not in the know I recently was hired on at the University of Houston as a sous chef.  This is a big deal for me as this is my first job as a sous chef.  I was very excited when I got my first chef coats with my name sowed in.  Well this happened back in mid August and it seems as things have finally settled down.  My schedule has been hammered down into a predictable pattern and I am finally starting to get a handle on all that I need to do as a sous chef.  I just want to share with you some thoughts as a first time sous chef. The first challenge I... read more

More than a Chef

"I bet you cook all the time right?" "What is your favorite thing to make?" "Your wife\girlfriend\husband must love you."   We as chefs get questions like these all of the time.  At best we smile ruefully, knowing that the person asking the question will never understand, and give a polite response.  At worst we seethe to ourselves at how stupid the average non professional can be. Maybe we even show it a little bit.  Having worked in food and beverage for 12+ years I have my own answers to these questions and their ilk.  It would probably surprise none of you to... read more

Inebriated Fruitcakes

  "Fruitcake is a geological homemade cake," Charles Dickens     When I was a kid I hated fruitcake. Ok, hate is a pretty strong word, an intense dislike is probably more appropriate, and this is coming from someone who's had a sweet tooth since the day they were born. But to be honest I didn't really gave it a chance.   One of the sticky little blocks always seemed to appear around holiday time, I'd spot it stashed in the back of the refrigerator. I wouldn't eat it even when there were no other sweets in the house. The way its plastic wrapping stuck to it kind of... read more

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