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Camp Cooking Dutch Oven Cooking

After languishing as a footnote to culinary history, Dutch oven cooking is making a comeback. There are several influences behind this, ranging from the vast numbers of historic reenactors who use them on open fires, to the Dutch oven cooking competitions waged as part of the food-fight phenomenon that’s grown exponentially across the country. There are even a few inns that specialize in Dutch oven cookery. Dutch ovens are the most versatile cookware you can use. Name the cooking technique---from braising to baking, sautéing to deep frying, and you can do it in a Dutch... read more

Unraveling The Complexities Of Burgundy

The term "Burgundy", in the minds of the American masses, has come to denote generic red wine.  Mediocre restaurants often use the term to signify their mundane house red.  But this is analogous to using the term "Coke" to designate all cola drinks.  Yet Coke tastes different than Pepsi, which in turn differs from the supermarket brand.  For the cola connoisseur, only Coca-Cola is real "Coke."  Such is the case with Burgundy. REAL Burgundy is wine made from within the boundaries of the Burgundy region of France.  Red Burgundy is made from the pinot noir (PEE-noh NWAHR)... read more

Horseradish Beyond Roast Beef

If you like horseradish - I mean really like horseradish - then everything that is remotely edible is fair game. For instance, with apple pie, and that's not apocryphal. At the annual horseradish festival in Collinsville, Illinois, horseradish is revered with the kind of passion one usually associates with baseball in the "glory days" at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field. The farmland around Collinsville produces ten million pounds of horseradish a year, and has been appropriately named by the town's promoters as the "horseradish capital of the world." For centuries this member... read more

On Fad Diets

Last night I was at a gathering with a bunch of my wife's teacher coworkers.  During the multitude of different conversations that we had the subject of food inevitably came up and along with it different ways of eating and even dieting.  One of my wife's coworkers mentioned that she no longer ate beef, chicken or pork, make herself a "mostly vegetarian" since she still ate fish and seafood. This was all find and good since she was contentiously making that choice and not really "dieting".  Another then mentioned that she and her husband have been trying out the "paleo"... read more

Helpful Suggestions for Ordering Counter Side

So, let  me start this post by giving a little explanation.  Most people might be wondering why I, someone who works in the kitchen, would have a valid idea or opinion about ordering at a counter.  Well you see, where I work is set up to I am not only the one preparing the food, but I am also taking your order and serving you.  The way it works is that after I finish prepping everything, I set up a hot line where the customer comes up to a counter of sorts, look at the food and order it.  I think the purpose of this set up is that there will be a better connection from... read more

Lost In The Supermarket

When did this happen, I muttered to myself as I stood clutching the handle of a shopping cart. A woman standing next to me gave me an odd look and pushed her squeaking cart around the next isle. I was staring at lawn chairs in the biggest supermarket I've ever been in. I'm not that nave. I know that in order for supermarkets to stay competitive today they have to sell more than food. Department stores, too, follow this rule and inversely have aisles of groceries. It's as if supermarkets and department stores have morphed into one.  But it suddenly seemed overwhelming... read more

Cooking Pumpkins

It's the Great PumpkinAccording to an Irish myth, one day a man known as "Stingy Jack" for his miserly inclinations had a drink with the devil.  True to his name, Jack convinced the devil to transform himself into a coin in order to pay for the drinks. The devil did so but Jack kept the coin for himself.  He placed it in his pocket next to a cross so the devil could not change back.  Jack then freed the devil under the conditions that he would not bother him for a year and could not claim his soul upon his death.  The following year, Jack trapped the devil in a tree by... read more

How To Make A Difference

We all want to make a difference, to create magic moments in the lives of our customers and employees. I will show you how you can make a difference. My goal is to get you so excited, you can’t wait to try this out because you know you are going to be awesome. The first thing I ask my clients who want to improve their service is, "What's it like to work for you? Do your employees feel respected and appreciated?" Before you can ask your employees to deliver service with a smile, you first have to ask yourself, "Am I giving them anything to smile about?" One of the... read more

Theres A Bear In My Kitchen

Dateline: June 1, 2001 - On the road to Texas Recently, while making a marathon 3000 mile road trip from Western Oregon to the Texas Gulf Coast where I was about to begin a new job, I had ample opportunity to reflect on my career as a professional chef. As the miles clicked off my odometer and I sped past side roads leading to some of America’s most remote and beautiful National Parks I couldn’t help but remember some of my experiences of cooking in out-of-way, back-country kitchens.For some reason, bears have played a significant part in my culinary training.I was born... read more

A Managers Guide To Employees

I would like to begin this article by saying that in the past 12 years of managing employees of various kitchens that managing union kitchens has made me a better manager of people. I have no doubt that some of our readers are currently managing kitchens that are unionized and have found it to be the most difficult experience that they have ever had. I can most certainly agree with them. But as I have been gaining more experience in this area I can offer my advice and share some of the tools that have helped me grow. In the early years of the development of the... read more

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