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October Newsletter 2017

Posted by on Oct 3, 2017 in Newsletter | 0 comments

Ranch Dressing on Everything I must say that ranch dressing is somewhat addictive and goes with all the bad choices one can make-cold pizza, chicken wings, French fries, burgers and anything you may want to smother, such as something bland or lifeless on your plate. Just think of all the times Guy Fieri has said he could put something on a flip-flop and eat it. It can cover a lot of mistakes. Commercial ranch dressing is one of those things. I am not advocating that you go out and stock your shelves with every shelf-stable brand on the market...

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September Newsletter 2017

Posted by on Sep 6, 2017 in Newsletter | 0 comments

Da “Jang’s” Unleashed This is not the name of a movie my eldest son thinks I should see! It is a reference to getting the word out about the big three ingredients in Korean cooking. For those of you who may not know by the title, the big three are the “jangs”: Gochujang, Doenjang and Ganjang. Hence the name “Da jangs.” In my last post, I talked about the variations in soy sauce from the major cuisines in Asia: Chinese, Japanese and Korean. In diving deeper into the cuisines, I became focused on the...

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August Newsletter 2017

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

Soy Tasting I have been doing research on different cuisines to fine-tune my understanding of core flavors and techniques. Every region or cuisine has nuances, but one should know the iconic dishes that best exemplify the cuisines. I was reviewing Asian cuisine and started breaking down the key pantry items that one would want to have in the cupboard. In my world, you may never know when the urge to make yakitori, Thai red duck curry or Bulgogi will strike! A common element across the Asian subcontinent is soy sauce and/or fermented...

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July Newsletter 2017

Posted by on Jul 6, 2017 in Newsletter | 0 comments

Sobia When the air temperature is 109F in the morning, you approach the day a little differently. That is the case as I look out at the Saudi skyline from my hotel. Being in Saudi Arabia during Ramadan is an interesting food experience. Ramadan is a special time for the Muslim world. For a month, your eating schedule is completely turned around, as you must fast from sun up to sun down without drink or food. Then you enjoy a daily break-fast meal called the Iftar. The Iftar is a communal event meant to be shared. The mood was described to me...

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June Newsletter 2017

Posted by on Jun 8, 2017 in Newsletter | 0 comments

A Shoemaker It is an unfair assumption that all shoemakers are bad. However, the term “shoemaker” had a place in the culinary world that I grew up in. It was a statement/insult about not doing something to the best of your ability or having it done by someone who was not properly trained to do what was expected. Some say that it goes back to a Shakespearean verse about a cobbler in Julius Caesar. I just know that I had it thrown my way several times at an early stage in my career when the quality of my work was not its best. Why...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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