Monday, November 20, 2006
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Chef Michael Hayes
In a world where you can attain anything from a hamburger or other fast food meal in a matter of minutes, to being able to purchase almost any kind of food in the frozen food section of the local supermarket, it intrigues and captivates me when we are able to go back to the basics of traditional “roots” cooking and dining.
Such is the case of fondue and derivatives of this ancient method of food preparation and consumption. When we think of fondue we often think of the dessert fondues and not of the origins and the different types of fondue that have been around for hundreds of years. To get a better understanding of fondue, the origins and history of fondue and the types both traditional and new fusions of this ancient art of cooking me and the soon to be Mrs. Cheffy went out to a fondue restaurant to get a deeper understanding of this little known art.
Fondue refers to different communal dishes shared at a table in a caquelon (earthenware pot) over a rechaud (small burner) which has French and Swiss roots, most notably the Swiss Alps. It is said that fondue was first documented by Homer’s Iliad with a mixture of wine and goat cheese. The word fondue comes from the French “fondre” which means “to melt”.
Although the origin of fondue is not really known, it is speculated that fondue was an invention of necessity by the French-Swiss as a way of using breads, locally grown produce, preserved meats and cheeses that were prepared in the summer and fall months by mixing the locally produced cheeses with wine, and melting the cheese, then dipping the stale bread in the cheese mixture. This method rehydrated the breads, vegetables and meats to make them palatable. Through the course of centuries there have been many varieties and variations of the original fondue.
Swiss Cheese Fondues:
Fondue Neuchateloise-the mixture of emmantal and gruyere cheeses
Fondue Molite-Molite- equal parts of gruyere and Friborg vacherin
Fondue Fribourgeoise-Friborg Vacherin (served with boiled small potatoes instead of bread)
Fondue de Suisse Central-Gruyere, emmantal and sbrinz
Appenzeller Fondue- Appenzeller Cheese
Tomato Fondue- Gruyere, Emmantal and the use of crushed tomatoes instead of wine.
Spicy Fondue- Gruyere, red and green peppers and chiles.
Mushroom Fondue-Gruyere, Fribourg Cacherin and mushrooms
There are different methods of cooking proteins and vegetables in non-cheese fondues.
Fondue Chinoise- Meats and vegetables cooked in a vegetable or meat broth with red wine and a variety of herbs and spices which should always have garlic and shallots among other herbs and spices. Fondue Chinoise as well as Fondue Bourguignonne is served with a variety of dipping sauces.
Fondue Bourguignonne- Meats sliced thinly and cooked in a caquelon with hot oil and occasionally butter.
Fondue Bressane- Chicken pieces dipped in buttermilk or some other form of cream, then rolled in seasoned bread crumbs and fried in the caquelon like fondue bourguinonne. Bressane is also served with a variety of sauces.
Dessert Fondues- The most popular dessert fondue, by far, is chocolate fondue although dessert fondues can be made out of fruits, coconut, caramel, and marshmallows to name a few. Chocolate fondue is usually made with milk chocolate melted with the addition of vanilla extract, liqueurs and other flavorings. Dessert fondues are usually accompanied by an assortment of confections such as marshmallows, cheesecake, cookies, brownies, pound cake and with a variety of fruits like bananas, pineapples, strawberries and other berries to name a few.
Although fondue has been around for centuries it did not begin to gain popularity until the 1950’s and 60’s mainly due to the markets of the Swiss and French Alps cheese industry coming to a standstill. So, as with a lot of other industrial ideas the idea was to introduce the fondues to the American market and the rest, so they say, is history. Today, although the preparation of fondues is quick and simple you can buy fondue kits which include all of the necessities to make a successful fondue to purchasing microwavable fondues in a variety of flavors.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
And what have you done to my chef???
It was Vickie's birthday last night so after pumping out major volume all day yesterday, I took my honey out for dinner and dancing at a Holiday Inn near our house. She loves getting me dressed up in something other than my chef clothes or torn up blue jeans and rock and roll t-shirts.
Well, it's OK I guess, as long as she doesn't get used to it....ha ha
Saturday, October 28, 2006
What happens when you get some Chef's together around a table with a couple cocktails (and Shirley Temple's) talking about food?????
The stories were hilarious, the bonding was unbelievable, and the evening went on forever....
What an experience, I love this stuff...
Cheffy savors a happy moment with his Toro Belly
The Chef's Roundtable kind of existed over two days. The first was a group of us together over cocktails at Baker's Peter's in Knoxville and part deux was at Nama's Sushi Bar enjoying the food art of Chef J Cooney and his staff, and is definitely going to become a monthly occurance with the Cheffy Boy and Friends.
It was pretty comical to sit and listen to the different stories of nightmares, dreams, the corporate schmucks that enter and exit our lives and more...words could not express how much fun I had.
Some of the items we discussed:
One question that I posed that got some pretty good feedback was I asked "If you could snap your fingers and fix one thing in your establishment immediately, what would it be?" Is a pretty good question to ask yourself if you are in the industry...
Tricks and practical jokes we have played on waitstaff and staff
The frustration of playing into the politics of being a profiled chef in communtiy events like Chef's Auctions, Taste of the Nation, ACF Meetings etc.
Complex fusion flavors and how excited talking Asian food makes the Cheffy Boy. Sambals and why you should not send someone to the Asian Store for products, why Chef's should not go to the Asian/Ethinic stores during working hours.
Different viewpoints on why none of us can seem to find and keep good waitstaff and why some of the best waitstaff in our community wind up in corporate chain restaurants instead of higher end restaurants and catering facilities.
Man, was this a lot of fun...
During part deux it was kind of hard to carry on conversations because we kept discecting Chef J's food trying to figure out how he did this or how he did that, trying to guess his combinations of flavors and methods of execution. He just blows me away.
Will post some pics of the food art of Chef J and his staff in another entry.
So keep in mind, that if you are interested in having a Roundtable in your town email me and the Culinary Evangelist may be coming to a town near you...
Peace, Hugs and Cookies,
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
On Thursday, October 26, Restaurant Edge and Chef Michael Hayes will be sponsoring our first"Chef's Roundtable" at Nama's Sushi Bar in Knoxville, Tennessee featuring the impressive food art of Sushi Chef J Cooney.
The premise for the Chef's Roundtable is to get local chefs around a dinner table discussing what Chef's love to talk about the most: food, their jobs and themselves.
Unlike organizations and organizational meetings, these gatherings are designed so that the passionate can discuss our industry, new and old products, systems that we use and facing/dealing with common problems that often arise in our kitchens/establishments.
Our first Roundtable will feature Chef Mike discussing RestaurantEdge and the advantages of its use for all phases within our industry. The Chef's Roundtable will feature local chefs from diverse backgrounds and special guest, Chef Rob from Aspen, Colorodo.
Hopefully, this will be the first of many Chef's Roundtables sponsored by Chef Mike and RestaurantEdge. So, stay tuned, the Culinary Evangelist may be coming to a town near you...
For information on hosting a RestaurantEdge Chef's Roundtable email Chef Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Sushi really rocks my world.
It is one of the only purist cuisines readily available and affordable for the general public, and not only that, no matter where you go, it's always real food by real people.
There are people that push the envelope as far as sushi and variations of sushi goes but the bottom line it is pure food prepared in an ancient technique.
I am pretty good with sushi, but to hang out with a sushi chef and be in constant awe of his ideas and knife skills is something that always captivates me.
I was able to take Greg to a level that I once was taken by Chef Scott. It is so much fun being able to play with stuff that you don't normally get to play with, or learning stuff that you really don't know anything about.
The Sushi Bar that Greg and I went to we pretty much found by accident and man did I freak out. The sushi chef was a young white guy that was totally phenomonal. I was so captivated by Chef J and his taste, color, texture, presentation, combination of flavors that Greg and I commenced on eating his entire menu and then some...that was kind of wild...
I featured Sushi Chef J on RestaurantEdge as a "You've Been Spotted By RestaurantEdge" spotlight and I published the article for him and now it is hanging on the wall in Nama's Sushi Bar in Knoxville, TN
My buddy Chef Dave from Pennsylvania had jokingly called me the Culinary Evangelist due to the fact that I try to be somewhat motivating to other chefs and cooks with my uncanny outlook on of our somewhat crazy business.
These are pics from my giving the commencement speech for the graduating class of Second Harvest's Culinary Program in August.
At first I thought the "Culinary Evangelist" thingy was kind of funny, then Dave had sent me his reference list and descrips because I was one of the people on his reference list. I was listed as Chef/Culinary Evangelist...ha ha....Cheffy thought that was pretty funny and then when I saw the pics from the commencement I automatically thought of Dave...
You rock Buddy!!!!
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
THAT'S WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT IS COMMUNICATING...SHIT...IT AIN'T THAT HARD...
THIS PIC IS A PRIME EXAMPLE AND A PRETTY COOL STORY...
BEFORE I GO INTO THE STORY, TAKE A LOOK AT THE PICTURE AGAIN. SHE KNEW WHAT SHE HAD-WHAT SHE NEEDED,-HOW MUCH WAS DONE AND HOW MUCH WASN'T!-WHO SHE NEEDED TO CALL AND WHAT WAS LEFT TO DELIVER TO WHAT CHURCH....
PLANNING FOR THIS LITTLE PARTY THAT CONSUMED NOT ONLY THE HOUSE BUT THE FRONT AND BACK PORCH (COCKTAILS AND SMOKING IN THE BACK), THE HORSESHOE PIT, THE FRONT YARD AND PORTIONS OF THE STREET AND ALL OF THE NEIGHBORS YARDS, EVEN IF ONLY ONE OR TWO PEOPLE AT A TIME...
SO ANYWAY...ON WITH THE STORY...THANKSGIVING 2005
LAST THANKSGIVING I WAS INVITED TO A THANKSGIVING DAY, BREAKFAST FOR SIXTY PLUS AND THEN DINNER, WAS INSURED BY MY HOSTS THAT IT WAS GOING TO BE A PARTY IF NOTHING ELSE...
SO, I JUST WOUND UP IN THIS BUM-FLIPPED TOWN IN THE MIDDLE OF VIRGINIA. I HAVE MY GUITAR, MY LAPTOP, MY DIGITAL CAMERA, AND I WASN'T FREAKING WORKING....HOW GOOD CAN THAT BE???????????????
SO, THE WOMAN THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO PICK ME UP AT 6 IN THE MORNING, DECIDED IT WAS A GOOD TIME FOR A COCKTAIL, IT WAS THANKSGIVING AFTER ALL...
SO I SETTLED INTO HAVING A GREY GOOSE AND SOME KIND OF SHIT THAT I BOUGHT FROM HESS OR SUNOCO OR ONE OF THOSE GAS STATIONS OF MY CHILDHOOD...PROBABLY A FREAKING ORANGE JUICE....
THIS HAPPENED LAST YEAR, BUT I FOUND THIS PIC TONIGHT AND IT HAD A LOT TO DO WITH THE DILEMMAS THAT I AM HAVING PROFESSIONALLY AND I HAD TO WRITE ABOUT IT...
IT'S ALL ABOUT ORGANIZATION...
SO ANYWAY, I HAD A COCKTAIL OR TWO BEFORE I ARRIVED AT THE HOUSE DOWN ON RALPH STREET, PAMPLIN, B.F., VIRGINIA...
ONCE I WALKED INTO THE HOUSE WITH ALL OF THE OBLIGATORY HUGS, KISSES, AND HOWDY-DO'S AND I AM GLAD TO MEET YA'S, THIS DRY ERASE BOARD WAS ONE OF MY FIRST EXPERIENCES.THAT ROCKED MY WORLD!!
GO AHEAD LOOK AT IT AGAIN AND TELL ME IF YOU SEE AS MUCH ON THAT BOARD AS I DO. AND SHE'S A FREAKING HOUSEWIFE...I'M A CHEF AND I DON'T EVEN SEE OTHER CHEF'S THAT ARE THAT ORGANIZED...WHAT THE HELL?
WHEN I WALKED INTO THE HOUSE, THIS BOARD WAS ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS AND THOUGHT IT WAS A GREAT PICTURE... I TOOK SEVERAL SHOTS OF THE BOARD, I THINK I LIKE THIS ONE THE BEST...
BUT ANYWAY, LET'S DISECT THIS SON OF A BISQUIT...
HERE IS A WOMAN, LITTLE SUBURBIA B-F NOWHERE, VIRGINIA AND SHE IS COOKING FOR THE TOWN FOLK AND FRIENDS, DOING 60 PLUS FOR BREAKFAST PLUS GOT TURKEY'S ON THE SMOKER FOR TONIGHT.....
KEEPING FREAKING NOTES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
AFTER I TOOK THE PICS OF THE BOARD, SHE LOOKED AT ME LAUGHING (WITH COCKTAILS IN BOTH OF OUR HANDS AT 7:45 am)....
"CHEFFY BOY....WHAT IN THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?"
I COMMENCED ON ONE OF MY ORGANIZATIONAL BATTLES, LETTING HER UNDERSTAND THAT IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROBLEMS WITH WHO I AM OR WHAT I DO... AND WHO I WORK WITH/FOR
WHOA HOO....CHEFFY JUST HAD A THOUGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!
ORGANIZE YOUR MIND AND HARMONY WILL FOLLOW...
IF MY FRIEND "JUST" CAN TAKE THAT PHILOSOPHY AND TEACH IT TO EVEN ONE OF HER CHILDREN, I WILL BE BLESSED....
THANKS JUST...T'WAS A GREAT DAY...
Sunday, August 27, 2006
I had Greg take this picture pretty much as a joke. It's pretty funny that as much volume that we do that we have such primitive equipment and this pic is of me making my weekly version of demi. Unfortunately, due to the size of our kitchen and our tools we are forced to perform tasks in a rather primitive way, such as this, making demi in 8 gallon batches instead of 20-50 gallons which would be my preference.
Due to the lack of us not having a baker, our Corporate/Executive Chef Tom has been doing 99% of our baking and wedding cakes. He really has been doing some nice stuff.
My Buddy Chef Scott came into town for a few days to come hang out with the Cheffy Boy from Greenville, SC and as always there were the endless babbles about our passion for food.
While Chef was visiting, of course I had to work, here is a stuffed tilapia dish that we came up with for a function of a hundred plus
Tilapia stuffed with Shrimp and Scallops topped with Sauce Newburg.