Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Well it's just about "a wrap"....

So school is almost over...well, except for my externship but thats not a problem. I'm going to really miss my closest friends Madison, Brad, Cherie, Maurice, Robert(I hope you come back and finish soon), Juan, Rachel, Kira, Rachel, Ally, Billy, Lucas, Stephanie and Stephanie, Chefs Rosado, both Brassil's, Passiecki, and of course Chef Klaus! If I forgot anyone I'm sorry...I'm
I wish all of you the best and much success in your culinary endeavors.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Almost done already.....feels like we just started yesterday.

So culinary school thus far has been a very interestng experience. I'm always so busy between school, after school activities, and work. Of course there are other personal situtions wether it is my car breaking down or my hectic(often, but not always) living situation.
Sometimes I feel like I may have a heart attack. Im always so tired, broke, stressed, and I keep on truckin. It has not been easy and I contemplated giving up on the culinary team just so I could get more sleep. I always keep my eye on the finish line though. I have thoroughly enjoyed my production time in school in general. Trying to work in a production kitchen with 30+ students when you only have so much space, so little tools, so little can become quite daunting. The only times I was not able to complete every component of all my dishes for that day was strictly because another student would turn up(or off) my burners. There are some real shit-head students in my class but at least they are few. Most of those types have been held back or dropped out now and that is perfectly fine by me.
Not trying to start a bitch-blog here so I will talk about the positive impact the school has had on me.

 I feel a little silly looking back at some of my personal recipes and cooking techniques and realize that I still have much to learn. I am at a place in my life I believe is the perfect time for moving forward with it. I no longer have that fear that I had for so many years after high school of not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. It turns out that this entire time I have worked in the different restaurants, my love was right in front of me. I just didn't know it.
Cooking is therapeutic to me. I hate going to work(just like other people), but only because I have little time at all for myself and I would rather go to the beach. If I could cook on the beach I would have it made.haha
I feel like a different person when I'm cooking in the kitchen. I hate slow shifts, looking for things to clean when I'd rather be cooking. I love when it is so busy, a lot of cooks would lose their composure, but I become much more focused, energized, and pay such close attention to detail. It is a great feeling, like your on a bad-ass rollercoaster ride. The kitchen I work in currently at The Boathouse has the tightest crew I have ever worked with and I love it. Under our amazing chef, myself and the other great chefs that work with me are so in tuned to eachother when it is busy. It's nice to get into a rythym that is so face paced but so much more smooth. We are all thinking 4,5, or 6 steps ahead while starting ten more things in a matter of seconds. Sometimes it really does feel like all I can see is the kitchen and only the kitchen. Anything beyond the service window is a blur. Slow times are my biggest turn-off in the kitchen. If I wasn't broke as a joke I would rather go home on a dead night. Luckily we are coming out of slow season in a couple weeks we should be going strong every day again.
As time goes by and the more places I eat, the more I develope my palate, cooking becomes more and more exciting when you can actually understand flavors and rely much more upon them, rather than dumping tons of salt and pepper onto things for "seasoning". I'm actually getting to a point where I can taste things and pick out seasonings, herbs, and other ingredients. I'm excited about being on the culinary competition team under certified master chef(CMC) Klaus Friedenreich. I've done very well in school up until now and it is only going to get better. I have a lot of good friends and connections in the industry and I build on that everyday. If you never heard it from me before, you will hear it here first. I will be one of the most famous chefs to ever walk the earth. My food will bring many people together in an awesome way. An old friend told me as long as you work as hard as you can, you will achieve greatness, as well as happiness. The older I get, the more it makes sense. When you love what you do for a job then it really is like you never have to work a day in your life. I have too much pride in myself and my cooking to not do my very best I can.
Understanding people is a major attribute that I possess. People love attention, no matter how they get it. When you cook someone an amazing meal and they come up and thank you over and over again, a feeling off comeplete satisfaction comes over you. In return I can't thank them enough for coming in and trusting me with their appetite, even if only for a few hours. This is why I chose this profession, or rather it chose me, and it took me some time to realize it but I have never felt so sure about any decision I have made in my entire life. Soon I will post some newer recipes of mine and go back and tweak the ones that I have posted in the past just to make sure I am doing them the proper way. I'm already thinking of what type of menu I want to feature at my first

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Soooo.....time flies when your having fun....LOL

I know it has been a long time once again since I have written a blog. Since I work with pretty much all trained chefs at work, there is really little to no opportunity for me to come up with specials at The Boathouse. That's fine though, since I am so busy with school AND I have made it on to the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary team under Chef Klaus Friedenreich, a CMC (Certified Master Chef). We will be helping the current culinary team for the september competition and my team (the new team) will competing in St Augustine in January. I told everybody I was going to be on the team. I did. I told everybody I would be a famous chef one day and I will. Remember you heard it from me first:-)

We are starting to get into some actual recipes now and I couldnt be more excited in class. Things are very disorganized on a daily basis. I have my crew of people I stick with because I know they have the determination and passion to succeed. We are the ones who finish all our recipes in class first and we are the ones that do 90% of the cleaning up afterwards while others just do their best at being lazy. Thats okay with me. They will never make it in this business with their attitudes. I can't spend too much time thinking about them though. Me and my crew are going to the top.

As far as recipes, as stated earlier, I have little time to worry about stuff besides my own future and success. The other day I was thinking, you never know as much as you think you know. I just can't believe how disrespectful some of these people are. A person I used to work with, who is near the end of his schooling at Le Cordon Bleu started bad-mouthing Chef Klaus the other day and I must say I have NO respect for him now. He certainly made terrible impression upon my friend Madison from my class. I felt embarassed over the way he spoke of Chef Klaus in front of her. I wish I had not introduced him to her. I will still act civil towards him but I do not want to be associated with him in any sort of professional setting or any setting at all. I have the highest respect for Chef Klaus, as do my classmates, and he deserves the respect from all of these young wanna-be chef's. Ugh, it really gets me upset when people are not humble and are pompous asses with out of this world ego's.

Anyways, another thing I have been focusing on are all the positive things, wether it pertain to cooking, working, or life in general. Things are just going fantastic. I have been stressed out over money and all but things aren't so bad. Well it's time to eat some GWABKI"S so later on.

Monday, April 4, 2011

I was soooo looking forward to my first day of school.....

....but I was in a total daze. I was so interested with my instructor. He is a master chef and out of the thousands of great chefs in this country, there are only between 70 and 80 master chefs and he is one of them.  I could not sleep at all the night before so I went in my first day with red, watery eyes, sniffling, yawning and hobbling about as a result of work from the day before. Then after getting out of school...about 2 oclock....or so..... I'm all cozy in the chair with my 11 month old niece...and we're both almost asleep(she's laying on her back on my chest with her little cheek pressed against mine)(so frickin adorable!)....when I get a COMPLETELY unexpected call call. They needed me to work.... at 4, and I did. Now that I have officially been awake for over 38 hours straight, I'm going to bed...gotta be up in 4 hours. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

7 days, 8 hours, 50 minutes until....

....begins the first day of school...and the next big step in my culinary career. April 4th I begin my "diploma program" at Le Cordon Bleu. At first I was very alarmed at the fact that the school, has dropped their AS degree program. They have basically cut the entire program in half. I would say that I am nervous about the difficulty that may certainly present itself along with the the workload of school...but I certainly love a challenge and I have the utmost confidence in myself and my culinary abilities.

Up until now I have worked in restaurants from burger joints to semi-fine dining establishments. I have worked from the ground up and learned everything I know from working in kitchens under different chefs. The whole reason I started this blog was to serve as a journal to document my schooling. I have heard wonderful things about Le Cordon Bleu, usually from former students that have found success with running one or more kitchens in reputable restaurants. I have, on the other hand, heard some very terrible things about the school as well, most always from students that have made it no where in their career. This is fine with me. As with anything in life, you get back what you put into something.

I have worked with "chefs" that completed their schooling through Le Cordon Bleu were just plain lazy. They had absolutely no sense of purpose or drive inside of themselves, than to be anything more than a slightly over-paid and self-glorified line cook. When I tell people I'm going to Le Cordon Bleu and they start to say negative things about the school, I quickly realize that they are yet another lazy person with no drive or ambition and certainly no love for their "craft".

It's funny that the chefs I know that have attended Le Cordon Bleu and have succesful executive chef postions now in reputable restaurants throughout florida (and beyond) were always hard-workers to begin with.

I am fully confident in the direction I'm moving in and look forward to challenging myself to become the best chef I can be. I'm already studying some famous restaurants in and out of the country that accepts some externships. I can't wait to run a kitchen again, except now as a trained chef with absolutely full control of my budget and menu creation. Once I have completed my schooling, spent 2-5 years as a sous chef, and attained an executive chef position, I will spend much more time creating new exciting recipes, flavors, and move quickly into the study of molecular gastronomy. After ten years from now I will have at least one restaurant. That is my goal and that is what I will do. Remember you heard it here first!haha

No recipes today. I have not made any specials in quite some time but I am going to change that as much as I can starting tomorrow night, if my sous chef Nat has not already created one. We'll see when I get there.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Oh my god it has been such a long time since I have written a new blog!!!

So let me start of by saying, yes, it has been almost 3 months...yes I made some specials...but there are a few changes. First off I am STILL waiting to get into Le Cordon Bleu...I really do hope that the way the admissions department works is not a reflection of the type of schooling I will recieve there!lol
Anyways, I no longer work at Harmoni Market in College Park. I left there to work with Chef(Robert Walker) at The Boathouse in Winter Park, FL, a few miles from my house. Before I left Harmoni I made many many specials but since chef was gone I was always too busy to write my blog.

So just to share a few little specials I did....

Now typically when I make a soup or stew or something like that, I tend to just eyeball my measurements and my Jazzfest Cajun Gumbo is a perfect case in point.


(with approximate measurements)
1 lb. Andouille Sausage sliced or chopped
1 lb. shrimp (16-21)
1/2 lb pancetta diced and crispy
1 lb. roasted chicken breats
2 large onions (1 white, 1 red) rough chopped
4 bell peppers (2 red, 2 green) rough chopped
4 celery stalks chopped
1 whole garlic bulb minced
1 cup creole or blackening seasoning
1 qt fish stock
1 qt chicken stock
2 lbs fresh okra sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
4-5 bay leaves whole
10 roma tomatoes chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp. fresh thyme
1 tbsp. dried parsley
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1/2-1 cup of chocolate roux (just a dark roux-flour and butter)

I started it off by cooking my meats one at a time on high but using the same pan. (My recipe for the restaurant was about three times this amount and I used a 5 gallon pot, but at home you can just use an 8qt stock pot if you like) and I keep the grease from the pancetta in the pan. I then add in my olive oil,onions, celery and peppers and sautee them and deglaze with some chicken and fish stock. I then add the tomatoes, garlic, and okra, along with the remaining fish and chicken stocks and cook until everything is thoroughly stewed and add the remaining seasonings and let simmer on low for a couple hours. If you notice a lot of the juice has evaporated, or if you have accidentally overseasoned a bit, you can add more chicken or fish stock(broth) to the pot. Bring it back to a boil and slowly stir in one tbsp of roux at a time making sure to fully incorporate the roux into the gumbo. Do this until your gumbo has reached the desired consistancy. It should be thick and hearty in the end and the best damn gumbo you ever tasted!! I recommend it with some of chef Lindsey Walkers utterly delicious cornbread at The Boathouse in Winter Park! :-)


For the sauce you will need:

2 cups marsala drinking wine(real marsala wine!)
2 cups merlot drinking wine
1 cup veal stock
1 sprig rosemary
1 bay leave(dried)
4 shallots finely diced
1/2 cup leaks roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh cremini(baby portabella's)
1/2 cup carrot roughly chopped
2 tbsp black peppercorns
1/2 cup of minced kalamata olives
1/2 cup butter diced
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Get a 2 qt saucepan and heat up half your olive oil(1/8 cup). Drop into the pan, your shallots and sweat them for a few minutes until any liquid is au sec and deglaze your pan with a 1/2 cup of merlot. Add in your leaks, carrots, mushrooms, and olives and sautee once again until all liquid is au sec(almost completely gone) and then deglaze again. At this point you may add any remianing wine and ingredients(except for butter) and bring to a boil and reduce by half. Remove from heat and strain out liquid through a chinois so you are left with only the liquid reduction. While still hot, slowly stir in your tiny diced cubes of butter one at a time until desired thickness is acheived.

For the stuffing you will need:

1/2 lb of sausage crumbles
1 diced fennel bulb
1 diced onion
1 diced apple
1 gallon of white bread crumbs
3 cups chicken stock(broth)
2 cup cremini
1/2 cup dried cranberry
1 tbsp sage
1 tbsp thyme
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lime zest
6 tbsp butter melted

First, cook sausage crumbles if not already done so. Then pour in together chicken stock over and mix into the bread cubes in a 4 qt mixing bowl and then add all the ingredients together. Make sure to thoroughly incorporate all ingredients together. Then place into a  4" 1/2 hotel pan and cook on 350 degrees for about 30 minutes covered and then take out of oven, pour melted butter over top of stuffing and cook another 10-15 minutes for a nice crust on top.

For the pork chops all you will need will be some center-cut pork chops with or without the bone and some bacon or pancetta grease. In a hot saute pan, put enough grease to almost cover the bottom of the pan and then sear the chops in the grease until each side is browned but the meat is still med rare inside. Finish them off in the oven at 400 degrees for about ten minutes(or more depending on how you eat your pork chops.

For the carrots: Well I'm sure I have written about them before and they are always a crowd pleaser so check it out.


This is really an easy and super delicious stew that appeals to the masses!

For the stew you will need:

2 quarts water
4 large tomatoes
1 large red onion diced
3 garlic cloves minced
1 cinammon stick
1 cup chick peas
3 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
2 tbsp veal stock
1 large diced carrot
6 sliced cremini
1 cup beef stock
3-4 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp allspice
olive oil
1lb of lamb(cheapest cut still has great flavor)

Basically for this one you will just sear the lamb on both sides in a stock pot really good and then remove from pan and set aside. Then add the onion and garlic and saute and deglaze with some of the beef broth veal stock. Once cooked, add all remaining ingredients and lamb and bring to a boil for 5 minutes and then simmer for a couple hours on low until reduced to desired consistancy. Then...enjoy!!'s late...goin to bed...write more tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Things to talk about...Crab Cakes with pineapple-cucumber salsa...blackened Mahi...bolognese sauce...steak with creamy sweet potato, truffle and goat cheese puree...chicken picatta!

Ugh...where to start. I wanted to do this blog on a daily basis but it appears I have not written anything in over a I have been trying to get things figured out with Le Cordon Bleu and when I will actually be able to start classes.

So since I usually write about the specials I made that particular night or the past couple nights, here are a few in a row and if anyone likes them then they can check them out.

Chicken Picatta

2 Chicken breasts, boneless
2 tbsp shallots finely diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp capers
Juice of 1 lemon and pinch of zest
1/2 cup white wine
1 tsp fresh parsley
salt n pepper to taste
1 loose packed cup of fresh arugula (optional)
1/2-3/4 cup flour
3 tbsp of unsalted butter

First I pounded the shit out of the chicken and lightly coated them with the flour and some salt and pepper. After setting them aside, I placed a hot saute pan over my burner and threw in my olive oil, shallots, garlic and diced onion and cooked them for about 3 minutes or until au sec and then deglaze the pan with a little of the white wine. I then add the rest of the olive oil and the chicken. I cook the chicken for approximately 1 minute and then add in my capers, lemon juice and zest, remaining wine and I reduce the liquid by half (or until thickened slightly). I then add in the fresh arugula (for mine) and remove from heat. I then dice the butter up and slowly stir into the sauce to thicken. I poured this over some basmati rice and garnished it with a pinch of fresh parsley and julienne strips of manchego (a delicious sheeps milk cheese) over top. Oh and guessed it...served with grilled asparagus!!LOL

Alrighty then...on another night, I pretty much took the easy way out and just blackened a mahi filet. I served it with my morrocan spiced carrots and a cucumber-pineapple salsa across the mahi filet. This dish really needs no special introduction or attention for that matter. Basic, simple, and delicious were the ingredients. We sold a bunch of them.

Now....whats better than fresh salsa???? Fresh salsa...the next day!!! Of course when you give your salsa, dressing, sauce, marinade, or anything along those lines, time to sit and meld together longer, it's gonna be really good!

So I decided to make maryland style crab cakes the other night...SUCCESS!!!

Maryland-Style Crab Cakes

1 lb of fresh lump crab meat
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced red pepper
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup mayonaisse
1/2 cup cream cheese diced
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 egg
1 tsp of dried tarragon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp of sea salt
1 tbsp of lobster base (optional)
a pinch or two of old bay seasoning (optional)

I basically mixed all the ingredients except for 2 eggs and the panko bread crumbs. First I mixed into a 4 qt mixing bowl, the mayo, cream cheese, dijon mustard, 1 egg, tarragon, cayenne and lobster base and set aside in cooler for ten minutes. Then I took another 4 qt bowl and mixed my rep peppers, onions, and plain bread crumbs together thoroughly and set aside for 5-10 minutes in fridge. Then I mixed the two bowls together into 1. I then took a 4 oz scoop and scooped out leveled scoops of the mix onto a sheetpan (flat side down) to chill in fridge for around thirty minutes or so. Then I take another sheetpan and press down slightly to even out all the mounds with flat tops and bottoms and then I place each cake into an eggwash and then bread in the panko bread crumbs. After that, I returned them to the fridge until needed for an order. I cooked them in olive oil in a pan and served over arugula with the cucumber-pineapple salsa and remoulade on each side. Sold out half way through dinner!!

Another night I made a Strip Steak with rutabaga (a type of turnip) and potato smash on side. I served a creamy truffle, goat cheese and sweet potato puree over the top of the steak. With braised pearl onions and mushrooms.

Truffle, Goat, Sweet Potato Puree

1 large sweet potato peeled and diced
4 oz of fresh soft goat cheese
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1 oz of truffle oil
1 tsp of dried tarragon
pinch of nutmeg
1 tbspoon of brown sugar

I took a 1 lb strip steak and seasoned it only with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. After grilling the steak to temperature I set aside to rest a bit. While this is happening I had one large sweet potato diced, and boiling down in a pot. In another pot I placed about 1/2 cup of heavy cream, goat cheese and truffle oil and reduced the liquid by a third. When the sweet potato is done, I add the cream mixture to the pan and mix thoroughly using an immersion blender until the texture is a silky, velvety cream that melts in your mouth. I also took a 1 lb bag of pearl onions, peeled them, and cooked them in some balsmic vinegar for 20 minutes or so and then tranferred to another sauce pan where I added olive oil and some merlot for deglazing my pan. I then lowered my heat and continued cooking the onions in oil and deglazing with the merlot. I also took a lb or so of brussel sprouts and cooked them "amanda style".LOL I first blanched them in boiling water and then an ice bath. I then cut up a lb of bacon and a whole onion and started cooking it in the pan and threw in the brussel spouts and cooked them down until thoroughly carmelized througout the pan, using some of the balsmic glaze from the other pan as well.

I'm sure there was something else to write about but it's late and it's my moms birthday and Im goona go hang with her now :-)