Thursday, September 5, 2013

Tipping? Tipping! Tipping?!?!?!

I admit I will read from time to time.

Sometimes it is good info, sometimes it is just trash. Seriously, who cares who the most fashionable chef is? JUST COOK YA BASTARDS!

But as I saw the comment count get real high on THIS article about tipping, I got curious to see what the articles were all about.

As someone with an invested interest in the industry and its trends I often wonder what people think about it. It is amazing how many people I know that think some of the cash they give out goes to the Kitchen staff. The idea of where the money goes has a trickle down to the person who actually cooked their food. Sadly I have to tell each one of them that they are sorely mistaken. Even one commenter on this post had the same opinion.

How sad is it that the person that makes the tip here is the person that took your order. Basically wrote down what you said and tapped a screen to have cooks MAKE your food. I say basically because they have other duties to do, but so does everyone else in a restaurant. To me, and this is not everyone, it is an easy job. I have done it all when we were open at the original Diner  Chef, Line Cook, Prep Cook, Host, Busser and Waiter. Sometimes more than one at a time. The great thing about the diner was people saw you preparing their food and would on occasion leave us a tip on the pass as they walked out of the place. Solid folks if you ask me.

I don't know what the solution is. Maybe just make it a JOB. No tip. This is what you are EXPECTED to do during someones meal and if you don't....fired. Just like a cook gets fired for not doing his thing or a manager gets the boot for messing up payroll.

I recently had such bad service that I left NO tip. It was really hard for me to do that but it was so lousy. So bad it is not even worth getting into the details. But the idea that the waiter ruined the good food is a damn shame. If they were splitting the tip with the kitchen, they might have all made a little cash. Maybe all of you half ass "waiting for your big INSERT CAREER break" crappy waiters should be on my side.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I see you out there....

If you like what you see, I would love to hear what you think.

It really warms up my fingers to see that some of you out there dig what I am writing.

I would like to extend my thanks to those of you reading and showing others my ramblings!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Can A Glacier Hold Ceviche?

Sure it can!

The Resto I work for is inside MoMA PS1. Right now there is an exhibit called EXPO 1 that is awesome. One of the benefits of working there is getting to see these shows go up, meet the artists and enjoy them in a long term capacity.

For every exhibit that goes up it eventually has to come down. The one I am talking about in particular is YOUR WASTE OF TIME. A room full of glaciers plucked from the ocean and put in a freezer room right across from our place.Luckily it was coming down the day of a baby shower we were hosting on the roof.

It was amazing to see them get the glaciers INTO the museum, what was even more fun was getting them out. How you ask....

Making big ice into little ice one swing of the hammer at a time. Chainsaws were ineffective, crowbars were useless. If you know anything about the place I work, we are known for not really doing things conventionally and often using whats around us to enhance our presentations. This was a perfect opportunity.

We sifted through the shattered pieces to create an ice bowl for the ceviche we had made for the party.

Using some salt to "glue" the ice together we were able to form an interesting and dramatic shape.

Jalapeno, Green Olives, Red Onion, Cilantro
This really is one of the biggest things I love about our place. I just never know when I am going to have to pull something like this together.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Sometimes I can't help buying things

I walk into grocery stores and I am astounded by what I find sometimes. Seasonings that I have never seen, juices I didn't know people drank, bricks of sugar, all that stuff. 

What I like to do when I find something completely fun is just buy it and dig in. Fun, right? RIGHT?!?!?!

So here is the DONA ISABEL HELADO.

The instructions sound like making Jello...with milk. Mix the package with a cup of milk, whip until doubled in volume and put it in the freezer. Super easy and if this gives me something tasty I am going to be even happier.

This nite I made a Halibut dinner because it looked the best at the fish store. Had some Sauteed Kale with dry chilis, Brown Rice and the Halibut Grenoboise. Tasty meal right? BUT HOW WAS OUR FANCY DESSERT?

Here you go.

It was tasty, but still pretty odd. Lucuma is a Peruvian fruit but if you look at the front of the box it was a blueberry. The fruit looks more like an avocado and a cantaloupe had a baby. There was a pleasant flavor but like nothing I have every tasted.

That was the whole point I guess. Finding a new flavor and igniting a pile of thoughts about food. Now I know there is a flour made from Lucuma and when you add Agar Agar you can make something cool.

I wonder what happens when you bake with it?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sometimes you find a little SaranWrap in your food

Last nite my lovely fiance and myself met some friends for a catch-up meal at a pretty decent restaurant. Here in NYC it is Restaurant Week(month), and being budget conscious right now, we chose the RW Menu. It was a solid menu, quite tasty and prepared nicely and then we got dessert. 

I have worked in spots that do RW. It is always the same story "how do we give a taste of the place with out breaking our food costs?". You want to put your best foot forward. You want it to still feel like your food. The problem is that RW brings people in DROVES for a cheap(er) meal from a place you may not spring for on a normal day or nite. So what ends up happening is what I call "pre-plating", no idea if there is a word for it or not. 

Let's say you have an ice cream desert. Covered in a bunch of garnish and such. If you are a really busy place you MAY have someone in the walking freezer pre scooping ice cream balls and putting plastic wrap around them so your line cook can move a LITTLE bit fast during service. The problem is that when you move that fast, or are too lazy, you don't check before you plate. The plastic gets buried under marshmallow and praline aaaaaand voila you are chewing on plastic.

That being said, it has happened to ALMOST everyone. Dumb mistake but it happens. You want your food fast and they want to get you your food fast. No one would do it maliciously and I think that is the mindset you have to go into the next conversation with.

The moment you tell the server that there is a foreign object in your food one of 2 things will happen. He will either look at you like you are crazy or he will scurry to the kitchen to tell the kitchen that they screwed up. The first option is really frustrating but some people do so crazy things to get a free meal. I once had a woman, during RW, put a BRAND NEW dry wall screw in her food to try to get it for free. How did I know? IT WAS COMPLETELY CLEAN. Anyway, they see a lot of crap or mistakes all day and you are just another person they have to make happy. Not your fault, I know, but that might be it. The second option is what I think people are looking for. Yes Sir/Ma'am and run off to the kitchen to get you something new to eat, sans foreign object.

I was so pleasantly surprised how well it was handled. I was the only one at the table not freaking out or even thinking about demanding anything. As I pulled the wrap out of my mouth I thought about every way that it could have gotten there and by the time I put it on my plate I came to the conclusion it was an easy mistake. The rest of the table was outraged to a certain point and demanded I say something. I called our pretty good server over and broke the news. He was responsive and fast. Whisked the plate away and sent the manager over to make their case. He was great as well. I didn't ask for anything but they comped our pre appetizers and to me that was too much. Maybe one of them but not both. Thank you, it was very nice, but I know your bottom line and I already feel like crap that some line cook is getting his ass handed to him.

What am I trying to get at? Think about it for a second before you rage at the kitchen. Sometimes you don't find a pin bone in a fish, it does not make your meal inedible. There shouldn't be anything foreign in your food but no one is doing that to you on purpose....promise. Go out, Go Eat, Be Nice!