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505 article submissions by the ChefTalk.com community.

True Cooks

  There is a very clear, yet unspoken language among cooks. Call it a familiar handshake. Most definitely a lifestyle. But it is not a secret society. Instead, it is a very public honor among thieves sort of thing, emblazoned with stitches, burns, inspired food, dark-ringed eyes and tobacco-stained fingers. And a declaration across the front of a shirt.  Much like the pride of belonging to a gang, or wearing a Pirates’ baseball hat, a Star Wars jacket or displaying a Rise Against bumper sticker, there is a certain feeling in belonging by showing an association.  At... read more

Tools Every Kitchen Needs The Essentials

Chefs get asked all kinds of questions. Recently, I received the following question: "Dear Chef Christopher-- I dream of being a great cook. What equipment should I have in my kitchen so that I can fulfill my dream? I want everything I need to be a great cook." For those who aspire to be the best cook they can be, having the proper kitchen equipment is paramount to maximizing success and limiting the frustration (you know, the kind you get when trying to whip egg whites with a fork and a small plastic bowl, or roast a turkey in a flimsy pan that's plainly too small--all... read more

Dry Rub Marinades

If the mosquito is the most ubiquitous phenomenon of the summer, surely the backyard barbecue runs a close second. And what the barbecue inevitably spawns is the marinade, that delectable emollient that at once soothes and enhances the fare of the evening. Most often a marinade consists of a moderately priced oil, an acid, such as wine or vinegar, and seasonings - a combination similar to a salad dressing. Food authorities preach that the acid tenderizes the meat, while the seasonings suspended in the oil flavor it. Until recently, recipes for dry marinades (most often a... read more

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

Thanksgiving is the perfect time for soul food to shine, and one Southern chef has refined the traditional Sweet Potato Pie with another soulful seasonal favorite. Since Chef Teresa Thomas launched her restaurant called Southern Caviar in 2008, diners around Myrtle Beach, S.C., have been thrilled with her upscale versions of down-home Southern cooking. She learned her craft classically at Johnson & Wales University when it was still in Charleston, and then her Southern senses were honed at Charleston's famed soul food Mecca called Jestine's Kitchen. Now her signature... read more

How To Use A Chef Knife Part III With Photos

Part II Basics with the chef knife Most chefs would probably agree that the chef knife is their most important weapon in the arsenal of kitchen tools. It is the professional chef's constant companion, a reliable side-kick. Aside from basic workhorse cutting, the chef knife is an extremely versatile knife capable of performing a wide range of different jobs. The chef knife can cut very delicate items as well as break small bones by using different ends of the blade. It can also dice, mince, or if necessary, reduce something to a virtual puree. I have even seen... read more

On the Road with Dega Catering and the Dave Matthews Band

  When the kitchen is always in motion, how do you feed one of the biggest bands in the world? Dega Catering is the long-running food crew charged with fueling the Dave Matthews Band as the group snakes its way across the country during their nearly annual summer concert tours. Feeding the band members, riggers, drivers, stagehands, sound technicians and guests with restaurant quality food can be daunting. Executing the food that is befitting the demands of a rigorous tour schedule is a feat all its own. Fold in the desire to minimize a negative environmental impact,... read more

Hunting Camp Cooking

If you belong to the first group, may as well stop reading right now. But if you believe in setting a fine table at hunting camp, then read on. What we'll be doing is exploring the problems and special conditions inherent in cooking "gourmet," given the restrictions imposed by time, location, and available tools and appliances.First thing to keep in mind is that you have to make some compromises. To be sure, I've been fortunate, in my work, to enjoy meals at some upscale hunting camps that would hold their own against anything served in a fine-dining restaurant. Such... read more

How To Make Cinnamon Rolls

by: Chef Jim Berman I think good cinnamon rolls are taken for granted. There is certainly some craftsmanship that goes into a good, quality cinnamon roll, but I think that the ability to produce a really spectacular morsel is not given its due respect. Mass produced, mall-wrought fast-food style rolls are commonplace. These fat-laden, way-too-sweet gooey dough amalgams are not pure specimens; rather they are the one-size-fits all, “eat it, semi enjoy it, feel lousy afterwards and come back for another next time” variety. In other words, they get by as a good cinnamon... read more

Fish Descriptions Part I

ChefTalk.com would like to thank Chef Charles Weber of Riva Restaurant in Chicago, Il. for sharing some of his fast knowledge about fish. Recently Chef Weber put together a comprehensive document of fish descriptions for his wait staff to help educate them about the subject. At our last Chef's Journal we asked Chef Weber if he would share it with the ChefTalk community and he was more than happy to do so. The list is very comprehensive, in fact, the list is so comprehensive that we have broken it up into two parts. SEARCH TIP *(If you are looking for a particular... read more

Pepper Profile Chipotles

Generally speaking, chipotle in English refers to any smoked chile pepper. The Spanish word chipotle is a contraction of chilpotle in the Náhuatl language of the Aztecs, where chil referred to the hot pepper and potle was derived from poctli, meaning smoked. The word was apparently reversed from Náhuatl, where it originally was spelled pochilli. Other early spellings in Mexico are tzilpoctil, tzonchilli, and texochilli. The most commonly smoked chiles are jalapeños, named for the city of Jalapa in the state of Veracruz. They are also known in Mexico as cuaresmeños, or... read more

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