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Posts by Rob W

It's kind of like asking someone what their favorite kind of car is...   It really is something you need to hit your local kitchen store or Williams and Sonoma and ask to see and hold the knife -- they're used to it -- and see if they have a cutting board so you can get a feel for the weight, balance and motion.  You may want to go in your whites or bring in your schedule; some places offer discounts to culinary students or people in the industry.   Not sure how...
Errol,   I'm actually in the Culinary Arts department up in Delaware Tech, so I can't offer any institution-specific advice; however, there are a few suggestions that are general I can offer:   1) Learn as much as you can now.  If you have a commute into work and a smartphone or MP3 player you can plug into the car or listen to, head over to http://stellaculinary.com -- he has a slew of audio podcasts that take you through the basics of culinary, cooking methods,...
Quote: This would be a really good idea.  I recently had a pizza from a fairly upscale restaurant the other week and was incredibly disappointed because the crust had ZERO flavor.  Great, homemade sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil, but the crust could've been made out of cardboard and it would've tasted better that the bread.
The big thing for me would be a good flow...  from the refrigerator to the prep area to the stove and back to the prep area to plate it.  Maybe a nice center island in case I wanted to have guests over and entertain or hold a class/demonstration.
I'd have to agree with the focaccia idea -- it's a very wet dough, and comes out very airy with a lot of tunneling.  There's so much you can do with flavorings by adding some fresh herbs like rosemary or even oregano...  maybe toss in some dehydrated tomato skins one day if you do your own sauce.   Also, while you hit on all of the points of herbs, crust and crumb, don't neglect the actual flavor of the bread; if you have the space in the refrigerator, make your...
Trying to get back into the swing of things -- I'm just about caught up in Sanitation, so I want to continue on from here, but the weekend class schedule kills my free time...  I'll do my best to get back on that! 
I had a friend of mine who's a chef instructor at Le Cordon Bleu Chicago do a video for me on bread making.  I highly recommend watching it:   http://vimeo.com/27352685   Watch your kneading and fermenting/proofing times.   I use dry active yeast at a ratio of around 3% by weight to the flour (letting that proof in hot tap water with a pinch of sugar or flour for 10 minutes), 2% by weight of salt (get's added after the slow kneading) and anywhere from 62-67%...
If you have a tripod, it will come in very handy.  Here are some good tips for lighting and photographing food:   Use as much natural light as possible.  Open the blinds and get near a window -- do not use your on-camera flash if at all possible. Grab a tri-fold presentation/poster board from Office Depot and use this to bounce light onto your dish. Excellent suggestion for the 5000K color temperature CFL bulbs -- these approximate the color of natural...
How are deep fat fryers really all that different from pan frying something?  After all, restaurants turn off their fryers at night and change their oil every couple of weeks or so -- with that in mind, it's fine if you strain the fat through a couple of layers of cheese cloth and store it in a cool, dark place.  It's fairly common to "cut" new oil with old.  New oil takes a bit of breaking down to brown well and adding in used oil helps to get that browning process...
But it's OK -- I work for the college as a computer science instructor, so I get to go for free... minus books and whatnot. :)   I'm taking two classes, Sanitation and Food Prep I, that's about all I have time for this semester with my work and teaching schedule.  Sanitation is good, but a little boring; I was supposed to take it over the summer, but it was cancelled so I did a lot of self-study and I'm pretty much on autopilot with that at the moment.   So, my...
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