What is a Chef ?

Somebody once said; Invite two chefs and you will have a argument, invite three chefs and you will have a war! I guess that's true to an extent, "Two many cooks do spoil the soup." However the flip side of the coin if you are abusing your position to stroke your ego instead of conveying your vision than you probably need to practice your craft a little more.

a chef is nothing more than a really good manager that can cook. Be above reproach and never lie,It is a very big pie and as chef it is your duty to offer everybody a slice. Ask yourself this, Are you developing your people or training new staff? That should send a red flag if you are doing more of the latter.The old autocratic management style is dead, we can do far more damage in greater numbers than by ourselves and always remember a kind word will go much farther than a few pieces of coin ever will.

Try to think in these terms if you gain a persons respect you have they're heart and soul which in turn is all any cook ever wants in the food and take a second to ask this question Am I pushing myself or just pushing people? Put that into your soup and give it a stir sometime.

The French Laundry

This is an expert from The French Laundry Orientation Manual I found very intresting and wanted to share with all.

Kitchen Philosophy

The purpose of the following is to define what some of the essential functions are in the operation of a great kitchen.

• The Dance
What I call The Dance is simply the way each of us interacts with the other. I am sure you have experienced a kitchen that flows smoothly while others have seemed to stumble along. This usually takes a little while to accomplish and happens without a set plan, but you should be aware that it is crucial I the flow of a great kitchen. After you have learned to Dance with one another you will understand the importance. You also must be able to cut-in and have someone cut-in (Dining Room Staff) without losing the rhythm.

• Work Habits
Habits must be formed early so that they can be assimilated into our daily routine and become part of our normal actions. Your habits must be consistent throughout the work schedule in order to execute and maintain the level of quality that we strive for. Example: you cannot expect to have a clean, well-presented plate if you are working in an unorganized environment.

• Seasoning
The single most important function a chef performs and probably the most difficult to do correctly. Without proper seasoning everything that follows reflects this mistake. The purpose of seasoning is to enhance the flavors of the food.
1) Kosher salt.
2) Freshly ground white or black pepper.
3) Acid in the form of vinegar or lemon juice.
• Take the initiative
It is very important for us to have the self confidence to be able to know when and how the job should be accomplished. Common sense and initiative go hand in hand.

• Never be to proud to ask for help.
We all need help from time to time and as long as you are sensitive to our guest’s satisfaction and your coworker’s situation, you should not be uncomfortable to ask for help.

• CLEAN, CLEAN AND CLEAN.A restaurant and especially the kitchen, must be kept as sanitary as possible for both our safety and our guests.

Mission Statement
The mission of The French Laundry Restaurant is to represent the most definitive dining experience by means of incomparable cuisine, service, wine, ambiance and memories.

In view of this mission statement, there are five priorities that mirror the fundamental values shared by Thomas Keller and his management team.


 Be creative and innovative
 Be communicative
 Aim for excellent food product and service every day
 Reinforce the image of The French Laundry with passionate and thoughtful determination
 Make a difference: Use initiative to do the best you can do every day given various working conditions
Be Creative and Innovative

The foundation of our success comes from the creativity within our kitchen and the innovation with our customer service skills. Developing new ways to communicate to our guests what cuisine and service can be at the most elevated levels is our objective. To be able to nurture and grow our creative resources is the goal. It’s a twofold value.

Aim for Excellence Food Product and Service

Attention to detail and a critical eye is what make us stand out from our competition. Being able to give and receive constructive criticism is essential in order to achieve the results and superior product and table service we are striving for. We should never compromise as we deliver The French Laundry Experience to our guests. This means we never compromise quality.

Reinforce the image of The French Laundry with passionate and thoughtful determination

The French Laundry has acquired an excellent reputation to this day since opening in 1994. Creating the image of The French Laundry was a combination of the goals and principals set forth by Thomas Keller and the attention to detail and a sustained, intuitive approach tour guests by our employees. We introduced a new kind of expression in the dining room in reference to fine dining that delivered superior food and wine to our customers with grace, elegance, thoughtfulness and a modest, yet educated staff to the forefront. A gracious, humble, pragmatic and credible attitude is expected from all staff.

The power of this image and Thomas Keller is inherent in the subtleties and strict control of all the mediums in which we communicate to the public with (graphic, advertising, donations, messaging, dress-codes, grooming, off site activities and participation). The respect and understanding of this image is paramount in order to achieve the continued

success of The French Laundry. Our objective is silencing trends and capturing a current French Laundry style. The awe-inspiring aura that resonates throughout the restaurant is quietly translated to our diners on a daily basis in unique surroundings. There is no room for compromise as we represent a restaurant the has become a flagship for cuisine and fine dining in America.

Make a Difference

Our goal is to be the best. Each of us must do our part to achieve our own personal goals as well as the restaurant’s elevated standards. We must always continue to educate one another and strive to achieve excellence every service for every guest. We encourage new ideas and open and honest communication, we expect solutions and we commend
great attitudes that help us reach our goals and success.

Wild Salmon

I think as a Chef on of the most important task at hand will always be Whole Fish or Loin Fabrication.

Look at this beauty weighing in at 11.70#

Once the sides are removed you are blessed with the daunting task of removing 40 pin bones per side.


Member Gala

This past week was the Member/Member Gala, it's supposed to be about golf but for us it was all about the food. Friday I made over 200 souffles among my regular À la Carte duties; I have to say that they came out quite nicely although I don't think I would ever like to temper that many eggs again.

And I must say it was the first time I ever worked with bone in filet. You only get two per animal making it not the most practical cut to but it adds a lot of flavor with the bone.

Lime Tarts for 150

Large Parties are just plain fun!


After days of tough competition, Norway has walked away as the winner of the 2008 Culinary Olympics—but the American team had plenty to show for their time in the Olympic kitchen.

The last day of events included the Restaurant of Nations for some of the contest’s most highly rated teams: the United States, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, and Norway. Each country prepared nationally inspired starters, entrees and desserts for a crowd of 110, along with a complete menu and preparation details—a tall order in only hours of competition. With 60% of the overall score at stake, the Restaurant of Nations had no room for error.

From this heated battle, a number of teams earned gold medal recognition: Australia, Sweden, Norway, Canada, and the United States took highest honors for their Restaurant of Nations performance. In the end, however, it was Norway who came out on top in the hot food preparation, winning the category—along with the Culinary Art competition and, as a result, the overall victory.

Rounding out the top honors were Germany, honored for the best cold food display, and Singapore, winning top marks in the pastry competition; Switzerland’s youth team came out on top in their own contest, while Germany’s military team won theirs. The United States placed seventh in the overall competition, coming in just behind Canada and Denmark.

America was not without its prize, however. The American Culinary Federation team, taking part in the regional division, won that overall competition—eking out a close victory over the Culinary Team of Alberta, and helped enormously by pastry chef Jennifer Kopp, who earned the highest score in the entire pastry competition.

While the American team may not have prevailed, their performance was commendable: the national team took three gold medals and a silver; in the youth division, the States took fourth place, and second in the military; and the ACF regional team came out on top. The final win may have remained elusive, but the American team put up a formidable fight.


There’s a new weekly cooking show you shouldn’t miss. It’s about cooking and science, or “Kamikaze cookery” to be more precise. And there’s a good dash of humor as well which doesn’t hurt. The first episode out is on how to cook that perfect steak They use a vacuum cleaner to suck out the air and a blow torch for the Maillard reaction! There is also a blog accompanying the videos. Hereby recommended!

Tonite's Special

Coriander crusted Tuna with Shrimp, Spaghetti Squash, Shiitake Mushroom and Potato Hash finished in a Smoked Tomato Mayonnaise....God I really HATE the Colored plates!!!I have come to discover this, As people, we often make mistakes when we commit ourselves to too many projects at once. Consequently we fall short of the 100% perfection that we expect of ourselves as chefs!


Now that it has slowed down, we have been given more time for creative control of our specials,I am proud to say it is for the better.

This dish was created from a play on Tuna Tataki. We sheeted mango puree with Agar paired it with daikon then rolled it in Tuna seared with coriander topped it with Sriracha caviar and a sweet soy reduction.


The American Mother Sauce

Ketchup, who would have dreamed an Asian sauce based on pickled fish would, over centuries morph into the thick, tomato-rich product that now sits on every American refrigerator door?
A reference from " A New Dictionary of the Terms Ancient and Modern of the Canting Crew: (circa 1698) calls "catchup" a " high east India sauce," likely referencing to Indonesian kecap manis-spelled "ketjap manis" by the Dutch- a thick, complex, Carmel concoction similar to soy sauce.

Elizabeth Smith reputedly published the earliest ketchup recipe, based on anchovies, in 1727's " The Complete Housewife." Dr. William Kitchiner's renowned 1829 British cookbook"Apicius Redivivus, or the Cooks Oracle,"includes several "catchup"; the Mushroom Catchup is key to his famous Wow Wow Sauce for Stewed or Bouilli Beef (No.328)

Colonist had long since carried the ketchup legacy over the Atlantic. In 1801, Mrs. Samuel Whitehorne released her"Sugar House Book," which includes a recipe for Tomato Ketchup. Another for Love Apple Ketchup hit print in 1812, courtesy of an ex-patriot living in Nova Scotia by the name of James Meese. "The Virginia House-wife," an 1824 cookbook from early American aristocrat Mary Randolph (Thomas Jefferson's cousin) also includes a recipe for ketchup.

In 1837, Jonas Yerkes sold American consumers bottled ketchup, made from the byproducts of tomato canning. The Heinz family took that ball and ran with it, and in 1876 released their higher-quality ketchup, proclaiming it "Blessed relief for Mother and the other women of the household!"

Deceptively simple in its ubiquity, modern ketchup embodies nearly perfect culinary balance via its simultaneous triggering of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami taste, Burgers and fries would have never been the same.


I know sometimes I tend to go on about Hydrocollids, but this one I really find note worthy. It seems at work we've been having an issue keeping our dressings emulsified together perhaps the hand mix doesn't have enough torque I'm not sure but the servers pre-portion them into ramekins before service and that's where the real trouble starts. To get them to take a whisk and evenly distribute the sauce before portioning is apparently much greater a strain than they can bear.

This is where the fun starts, If you take a standard Vinaigrette and mix 1.5 tsp of FOOD GRADE(I can not stress that enough, I don't understand people that buy chemicals from Dow and such)Xantham Gum per Gallon of Vinaigrette just use a stick mixer for about 2-3 minutes

Xatham Dressing is on the right, regular is on the left

You will find you have and evenly distributed emulsified dressing as shown here with our illustrious Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette. Which the continual breakage has been a thorn in my side until now

Summer Flavors Revisited

What would entice you more; the finest sturgeon caviar or something that you have never had before? That was the question I asked my guest this weekend, not to be up tight or overbearing but you could have had the finest caviar; and would ask yourself, was it refreshing? Did it complement the dish? DO NOT GET ME WRONG! I love Caviar of all kinds the pop,refreshing squirts of flavor...yum I just wanted summer flavors and refreshing memories of the 4th of July. What hot summer day in July could be more complete without watermelon the southern Gastronomic Crown and a none more fitting pairing of that than that of fresh blue-fin crab salad with watermelon caviar and smoked tomato aioli every flavor of the summer southern low country is represented here . Personally, I think this dish was so very successful in so many ways. Once again this was a good step forward in progressive Spherification and regional cuisine fusion.


Spherification means exactly what it sounds like it means. It’s the process of taking liquid, which takes the shape of its container, and reshaping it into a sphere. The liquid is barely solidified on the outside, and left to be itself on the inside – a ravioli with itself as both delicate skin and liquid filling.
The technique relies on a simple gelling reaction between calcium chloride and sodium alginate: enrich a tasty liquid with either calcium or alginate and then drop it with a squeeze bottle, syringe, spoon, or whatever else will get the job done, into a bath of either calcium or alginate. After a certain amount of time (the longer the time, the thicker the jelly-shell that develops) gently remove, rinse, and serve. The pictures shown here are of a Truffled Veal Jus Ravioli I had the Honor of producing at work the other day

The technique relies on a simple gelling reaction between calcium chloride and sodium alginate but experimentation with percentages of the chemicals in the liquid might be necessary if you're not following a recipe

1: Enrich a liquid with either calcium or alginate

2: Drop it with a squeeze bottle, syringe, spoon, or whatever else will get the job done, into a bath of either calcium or alginate

3: After a certain amount of time (the longer the time, the thicker the jelly-shell that develops) gently remove

4: Rinse and serve

Things to put in your mouth???

Flavours that pair well together and seem to chemically match are commonly referred to as Ketones or molecules that have a special carbon oxygen bond together. They have to have a certain order activity value or O.A.V.. These were first brought to light by perfume companies trying to find scents and taste that would match. I did some poking around and came up with a list written by Heston Blumenthal on egullet in 02"

Strawberry and coriander
Snails and Beetroot
Chocolate and pink peppercorn
Carrot and violet
Carrot and coriander
Mango and violet
Pineapple and blue cheese
Caraway and lavender are surprisingly interchangeable
Cauliflower (caramelized) and cocoa
Liver and Jasmine
Banana and parsley
Harissa (chili paste) and dried apricot
Chocolate and Parmesan

Fresh Pasta

The other day I decided it was time to keep up with my pasta skills, not being in an Italian Restaurant anymore I don't get to practice them as much as I should. I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome. The recipe I used was quite easy and offered much elasticity by working 5-6 yolks into it it had a rich golden hue.

1 3/4 C a/p flour
5 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1Tbs milk
1 tsp e.v.o.o.

Mix together making dough and double wrap in plastic film as it will dry out rather fast and let it sit for at least 30 min..I took the time to chop up some fresh Herbs and work them into the pasta. Working it through the numbered rollers just be sure to never go past 5 or rather good luck if you try. Anyway I took some fresh crab mixed it with ricotta cheese and seasoning pressed out all air and sealed it with an egg wash. The end result magnificent and well worth the time it took. Topping with a seared scallop some frizzled leek in a pool of Mango Cream with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis I was quite pleased and Happy for the rest of the day

Ten elements of basic kitchen knowledge

The other day I came across an interview with Herve This, at the end of it was a rather interesting list of ten elements to remember about cooking and what he thinks is the most important tools of our trade. I only hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Trained as a physical chemist, Dr. This is the godfather of molecular gastronomy, the emerging discipline of understanding the physical and chemical structure of food and the scientific processes of cooking.
Naysayers accuse him of tarnishing culinary traditions, but to Michelin three-star chefs such as Spain's Ferran Adria and Paris's Pierre Gagnaire, he's a guru. Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor and Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking, the first of his books to be released in English, set out to make kitchen science accessible to the lay cook. We talked to him about distilling countless napkins' worth of experimental results into practical advice on how to prepare meltingly tender meat and why all you need is a good oven.

Helping chefs understand and apply the rules of chemistry in the kitchen has made Herve This a culinary hero to Michelin three-star chefs such as Ferran Adria

The term "molecular gastronomy" is now associated with chefs like Ferran Adria, but you disagree with that usage. Why?

They are doing molecular cooking. The truth is that molecular gastronomy is science, molecular cooking is cooking, and chefs are not scientists.
What equipment do you consider essential for home cooks?

A good oven, certainly. Induction is fine, because induction is more efficient than a gas stove. That's all.

No thermometers? Scales?

If you have a good thermometer in your oven it's alright. I would say that we lack knowledge more than tools. Our kitchens are full of gadgets, but if we don't know what to make with these tools we cannot make anything.

You've devoted a lot of research to collecting and debunking "precisions" - old wives' tales about cooking.

I have more than 25,000 precisions. People say you should make stock by starting the meat in cold water to extract more juice. Is it true? Well, let's do the experiment. We take one piece of meat, cut it in two to have the same quantity of fat, and put one part in boiling water and one part in cold water. In the end, when the temperature has reached equilibrium, you have exactly the same. So, this is wrong.

You have assembled a list of 10 fundamental pieces of knowledge for cooks. It includes unexpected items like salt dissolves into water and salt does not dissolve into oil.
You see how silly it seems? It's not obvious. Imagine that you take a glass of oil, you put some salt, even after one century the oil will not be salted. This, according to Pierre Gagnaire, is my main discovery.
Yes, he was putting Maldon salt on meat just before serving, but the salt was drawing out the water from the meat, so it was dissolving instead of giving the crunch he wanted. I had an idea: Put the salt into oil because it will be protected. And now, in all of Pierre's kitchens, there are small cups with various oils and various salts. He tells the press in many interviews this is my main discovery, but I will not get the Nobel Prize for that.

Do people understand these basics?

They don't know. Water boils at 100 C. It seems obvious, but it's not. I have a cookbook written by a three-star chef with some scientific education, and the book states that when you put a lid on a pan you can increase the temperature of water up to 130 C. You will never achieve 130 C.
So how can home cooks apply this knowledge?

Imagine you have a tough piece of meat. If you cook it at a high temperature the water in it boils, rule number four, and evaporates, rule number seven. You now have a crust, but it's still tough in the middle. To make it good and tender you have to apply rule number eight, collagen dissolves above 55 C [131 F]. See, it's easy.

How do you respond to people who criticize you for dehumanizing food and cooking?

There is an easy answer. Imagine you take a moonlit walk with your lover and you understand why the moon shines. Are you less in love? No. You know, any way of discussing what you eat makes it better. If you just eat, you're an animal; but we are not animals, we are humans.
Hervé This's

10 elements of basic kitchen knowledge
1. Salt dissolves in water.
2. Salt does not dissolve in oil.
3. Oil does not dissolve in water.
4. Water boils at 100 C (212 F).
5. Generally foods contain mostly water (or another fluid).
6. Foods without water or fluid are tough.
7. Some proteins (in eggs, meat, fish) coagulate.
8. Collagen dissolves in water at temperatures higher than 55 C (131 F).
9. Dishes are dispersed systems (combinations of gas, liquid or solid ingredients transformed by cooking).
10. Some chemical processes - such as the Maillard Reaction (browning or caramelizing) - generate new flavours.