Blog

May Newsletter 2017

Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Newsletter | 0 comments

Civet Civet, a braised rabbit dish, is one of my favorite to prepare when I get a chance. It requires some old-school techniques as well as some skill and perfect timing to master. Look up Civet de Liêvre, Escoffier Recipe #1821 for those who are really “geeky” and want to check my facts. A civet is a braised dish usually made with hare with a sauce finished with a liaison of fresh blood. When “whole hog” butchery was normal, animals may have been brought to the kitchen in a state of rigor with little or no field...

read more

April Newsletter 2017

Posted by on Apr 4, 2017 in Newsletter | 0 comments

My Morning Ritual I asked my growing boys if they could remember one constant in our lives over the years of getting them to school on time. They really couldn’t think of anything, but after a little prodding, there was a vague glimmer. From the first day I started to walk my kids to the bus stop or fight the chaos of the morning drop-off lane, there was cup of coffee. There was always a cup. I drink a few cups in the morning, but by midday I am done. I don’t know what was going on inside my head to think that standing in a pair of...

read more

March Newsletter 2017

Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 in Newsletter | 0 comments

The Game Within the Game Cooking on a regular basis in a commercial kitchen is a tough sport (if you want to call it that. I do!). With any sport, there is a level of preparation that needs to go into being ready when you need to be at your best. In today’s world, you cannot get away from the fact that media, advertising, education and the medical profession are all promoting a healthy lifestyle through imagery, engineered foods, new drugs, and in some cases, guilt. To work the hours in a busy kitchen and not burn out at the end of the...

read more

February Newsletter 2017

Posted by on Feb 1, 2017 in Newsletter | 0 comments

My Chicago Food Bucket List Over the years, I have written and talked about how great a food city we have in Chicago. So, I started contemplating my own Chicago food experiences and realized that I have not yet completed my bucket list. In anticipation of the ACF conference coming to town, I thought I would list out some of the iconic food experiences that I have enjoyed-and those I have yet to accomplish-for those of my readers who may visit the Windy City this year. What makes a place or menu item Iconic? There are those things that are only...

read more

January Newsletter 2017

Posted by on Jan 4, 2017 in Newsletter | 0 comments

Time to Get Off the Bench At the start of a new year, we reflect on what has passed and what is yet to be achieved. Every year, we go through this, but do we achieve what we set out to do? In many ways, I believe we do, but we may not openly acknowledge those milestones in our lives or check them off as done. As I closed out 2016, I began to look to 2019. Why so far away? It is a completion date I just put on a calendar. I have an outstanding resolution that I made to myself that is over 30 years old. As an innocent and bright-eyed boy, I said...

read more

December Newsletter 2016

Posted by on Dec 6, 2016 in Newsletter | 0 comments

Ball and Chain While walking back from the gym the other day, I was inspired by the colors of the trees, the low light and the feeling of the late autumn dusk. I began to think about the season-and of course the food I wanted to cook. I was interrupted by another coffee pitch on my music service (I am too cheap to pay for the commercial-free service). It was about everyone’s favorite pumpkin spiced this or that and other contrived flavors to make you feel in the season. I generally let these sorts of things pass me by until the next song...

read more

November Newsletter 2016

Posted by on Nov 1, 2016 in Newsletter | 0 comments

Grytts The word Grytts is an Old English word translated as “coarse meal” derived from the removing of the bran or chaff of grains. Chaff is a word that those who have spent time around the farm know-it’s the dried outer casing of wheat or corn after the kernel has been removed by threshing. Driving around the farmlands this time of year, you see the combine harvesters in the fields, streams of wheat and field corn being transferred to trucks to be processed into the various commodities we use on a daily basis. Did you notice...

read more

October Newsletter 2016

Posted by on Oct 4, 2016 in Newsletter | 0 comments

Oktoberfest and Birthday Wishes Over the years, Oktoberfest has held a special feeling for me. No, it is not the crisp, malty amber lager drank by the liter! Yes, that is fun, but it’s more about my first experience really getting something for my birthday that was over the top. It became a story I tell year after year. It was being dragged to Munich on my birthday in the back of the chef’s car to experience Oktoberfest as best we could. Just thinking about it makes me smile about this act of hospitality. Growing up, you have big...

read more

September Newsletter 2016

Posted by on Sep 9, 2016 in Newsletter | 0 comments

The Taproom I am proud to say that the craft beer business has done something that I thought would never come back in style. They have brought back the true meaning and experience of a “local.” I am not talking about chocolate imperial stout or a funky limited-edition DIPA. I mean the taproom! The path I took to getting my Cicerone Certification took me on a winding trail of experiences, but it didn’t just start a couple years ago during a mid-life crisis, when I had to figure out where to go after competing with Culinary...

read more

August Newsletter 2016

Posted by on Aug 2, 2016 in Newsletter | 0 comments

Enjoy the Monotony It has been said many times that the “devil is in the details.” The success of anything can be destroyed if the details are lost or not performed correctly. Many argue that not focusing on details prevents you from achieving perfection. Whatever you do, mastering the little mundane tasks can be the difference defining your own personal perfection. Whatever you think perfect is, it has to be learned over time and with lots of similar experiences. This is where the monotony sets in! As a chef and weekend BBQ...

read more