The first thing that might come to mind when a home cook hears the term “wild food” may be a vision of hunting moose in the forest. However, a professional chef knows that wild foods include many gourmet items, such as truffles, herbs, and fresh-caught fish. Even without foraging for these foods, the savvy chef can incorporate wild food into a traditional menu with delicious results.
Cooking wild runs the gamut from adding indigenous fruits and vegetables to totally living off the land, as espoused by survivalists. Many cooks are excited about working with wild foods, and cooking wild is coming into its own in kitchens across the continents. Australians look to “bush tuckers,” people who foraged for wild foods in the Australian bush country, as inspiration for their modern wild food revolution. Closer to home, Native Americans serve as inspiration for chefs who are cooking wild.
Menus can be diversified by the judicious addition of wild mushrooms, wild fish, or game meat, for instance. Of course, wild foods are available for buying instead of foraging. A number of quality gourmet sites offer a great selection of wild food. Specializing in wild edible food, including wild greens,
Executive Chef- Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Most aspiring chefs look forward to the day that they can add “Executive Chef” to their signature, the day when all compliments (and let’s face it, complaints) will be directed toward them and when they will be running their own professional commercial kitchen. So now that you’ve earned the title Executive Chef, what does that mean for you?
There’s a lot of training involved in becoming an Executive Chef and being able to run your own successful professional kitchen. A reputable degree is of utmost importance, as well as a few years of apprenticeship learning the trade.
An Executive Chef actually spends less time in the kitchen than any other chef does. He or she is responsible for all the paperwork and has to make sure the inventory gets taken care of. Furthermore, an Executive Chef has meetings to attend, whether it’s with vendors or with his own staff members, has to manage the kitchen and its environs and deal with the many issues that crop up on a daily basis. He or she has to plan the menus, and create innovative recipes that will be appetizing and successful. It is for this reason that the actual cooking is typically done by the Sous chef or Line chefs.
Touchdown! Whether you are an avid tailgater or never tried throwing a tailgate party before, now would be the right time to give it a shot. You can choose to tailgate at your home or at the game. The choice is yours. The following are some helpful tips that will help you make the best of your tailgate party.
6. If you choose to tailgate at the game, the last thing you want to forget is your cooler. Fill it up with frozen water bottles in place of ice to save yourself from bringing extra packages. A cold drink of water will always come in handy.
5. Do as much preparation as possible prior to the tailgate party. This will allow you to enjoy the party to the fullest, rather than having to stand over the food and worry about everything running smoothly while the party and game are on.
4. Just about everyone will agree that the worst part of throwing a party is cleaning up. Make use of as many disposable items as possible, such as containers, plates, bowls, cutlery, etc. It will save you a nice amount of time once the party dies down.
3. Make sure to have enough food to go around. You want people to keep coming back to your tailgate party, game after game. You’re better off being left with loads of leftovers than not having what to feed your guests. Leftovers can always be frozen and defrosted for later use.
With more and more people opting for the healthy, eco-friendly alternatives, bamboo is becoming increasingly more popular by the minute. You can buy just about anything bamboo these days, from bamboo furnishing to bamboo clothing, and even bamboo dinnerware. What’s all the bamboo hype about, and is it really as eco-friendly as it is made out to be?
First some quick bamboo facts:
- Bamboo plants grow up to 4 feet per day, making them one of the fastest growing plants on the planet.
- It takes between 3 and 5 years for a bamboo pole to regenerate, whilst it takes other trees a minimum of 30 years to regenerate.
- It produces more oxygen than the equal number of trees.
- Bamboo doesn’t need any pesticides to help it grow.
- It is 100% biodegradable.
Now, as for the eco-friendly hype, it all boils down to what products you are talking about. As for clothing, the process that the bamboo has to go through to be made into fabric is quite ‘ungreen’ to say the least.
Summer is the time of year that we spend most of our time outdoors, specifically in the garden. Spend that time wisely. Growing your own fruits and vegetables is a clever idea for more reasons than one. It definitely takes much more time and effort than running to pick up some fruits and vegetables at your local supermarket, but the benefits easily outweigh the drawbacks. If you don’t have a backyard big enough to grow your own produce, some cities offer commercial gardening centers where you can rent some space to grow your own fruits and vegetables. Otherwise, try growing some produce out of a container. Grab your hoe and let’s start digging.
1. Planting your own fruits and vegetables slices your grocery bill in half. You pay for the seeds, which result in a beautiful garden with plenty of fruits and vegetables to choose from. You don’t have to worry about under or over-buying, rotting food, and having to throw it out.
2. With all the pesticides and unhealthy chemicals that are added to everything in sight these days, you can never be sure of what harmful ingredients you are ingesting. With growing your own produce, you have the list of ingredients right there so you don’t have anything to worry about.
3. Nobody can argue that there is nothing like biting into a fresh fruit or vegetables straight out of the garden. You don’t have to stand in the grocery sifting through dozens of fruits and vegetables in the stand and settling for ‘the best’ of the crop.
For some reason, when people think of food safety, ice is not one of the first things that come to mind. However, the importance of handling ice properly is just as important as the safe handling of meat, fish, and all other foods. It is important for employees to be taught how to handle ice safely in order to avoid, in the best case scenario, bad tasting ice, and in the worst case scenario, poisoning. For best ice results, make sure to follow these guidelines.
- Clean ice machines on a daily basis. Otherwise, the machines, aside from producing poorer quality, bad tasting ice, won’t work as well, and will use more energy to reach its proper temperature since slime and mineral deposits build-up in the machines.
- Clean all ice supplies, such as buckets, tongs, pitchers, picks etc., with hot soapy water or place them in the dishwasher after each use. Make sure they are left to dry fully.
- Filtered water to make ice cubes is the way to go. Have a filtered water system installed in your ice machine in order to get the best quality ice for your guests.
- All employees must wash their hands prior to handling ice, even though they are not meant to actually touch the ice with their hands.
- Make sure to have separate equipment that is made for the handling of ice only.
- Never reuse used ice. You want to supply your guests with the freshest ice at all times.
There’s more to being a successful chef than having all the right equipment and knowing how to turn ordinary into extraordinary. Food that is cooked while you’re wearing your daily garb just doesn’t look/taste the same as when you’re wearing the proper chefs’ attire. The uniform gives you that extra oomph that your food needs to be anything less than perfect. Anything less than perfect is unacceptable for your profession.
Even though, when we think "chef", we visualize a tall white hat, jacket, and pants, in truth a chef’s uniform is a combination of more accessories. The majority of chefs do not don the entire uniform. However, any chef working in an upscale restaurant or hotel will surely be required to dress in most of, if not all, the attire. Some tips to consider when buying chef’s uniforms:
- As any chef can attest, a restaurant kitchen is hot and stuffy. Therefore, make sure to buy clothing that are comfortable and give you just enough room to breathe. You still want to portray a professional, neat, clean look to your customers, so make sure not to overdo it on the casualness. Bear in mind that clothing that is too loose is a fire hazard.
- Chefs’ whites can be made out of different fabrics. Your choice of fabric should be based on what your criteria is – comfort, heat resistance, stain cover-ups, etc. Most chefs opt for the cotton uniforms since cotton is the coolest fabric available, and can also endure frequent washing at higher temperatures.
- Uniforms are available in colors such as white, black, gray, black and white checkered, etc. The most popular choice is a white jacket and dark colored pants. The white gives you, your kitchen staff and the customers the impression of professionalism and cleanliness. The dark pants are the best way to hide stains if you choose not to wear an apron.
Think plastic and elegance cannot go hand-in-hand? Plastic dinnerware can be much more practical than regular china or glassware, since you save on money, as well as avoid having to worry about breakage and losing the real stuff. Plastic dinnerware is a must during the spring/summer picnic/barbequing months.
Most plastic dinnerware is manufactured from one of the following materials: melamine, polycarbonate, SAN, or good ol’ plastic. Can’t make your mind up on which material to go with? The following information will give you a better understanding of the difference between each material and help you decide.
Melamine resin is an organic compound often used in kitchen utensils and dinnerware. It should be handled like any fine quality dinnerware. Although better than plastic, when melamine is exposed to high heat, the heat will cause it to decompose. Therefore, it is not safe to place melamine products in either ovens or microwaves since they take in the microwave radiation and heat up. However, they can be places in a dishwasher. Melamine is a thermoset plastic. Therefore, it cannot be melted down and, as a result, cannot be recycled through melting.
Although we’re already more than a month into Spring, I can guarantee you that a large majority of restaurant owners have yet given their restaurants that much needed, well-deserved deep cleaning, as well as a good buffing. It is much easier for you, as the owner and/or chef, to skip the spring cleaning. However, studies show that if you want your customers to return, you better get those gloves on and do the following:
- Though your kitchen gets it daily wash-down, there are many areas in the kitchen and dining area that are either overlooked or just go unnoticed, ie. the top, sides, behind, in and underneath equipment; beneath raised counters or appliances, hoods, filters, walls, ceilings, light fixtures, etc.
- Mopping your floors on a daily basis is good for cleaning the actual surface. However, while mopping, the dirt gets stuck in the pile and grime and grease tend to build up on the tiles and in the grout, causing it to discolor. Giving it a good deep cleaning or steaming once a year will restore your floors to its original color.
- If you have carpeting in the dining area, all regular vacuuming actually does is remove the surface dirt. Deep cleaning your carpets yearly will suck out the tough dirt stuck in the carpet, leaving you with fresh plush looking (and smelling) carpets.
No kitchen can survive without fry pans. They can be used for practically anything from sautéing to stir-frying. It is probably the most versatile of the pans. There are so many different types of frying pans that are made out of different types of material. Using the wrong type of frying pan can turn your cooking extravaganza into a nightmare. Get to know your frying pan before using them to get the best results the first time around.
- Copper frying pans are the cream of the crop. They are superior in heat conductivity and are extremely durable. However, being the cream of the crop comes along with a price tag which makes it out of reach for most homes. Cooper also tarnishes quite quickly, and therefore requires maintenance in order for them to keep that impressive shine.
- Stainless steel frying pans are very durable, require much less maintenance than copper and are also more budget friendly. Although they do not conduct the heat the same way that copper does, they do a pretty fair job at distributing the heat. The biggest downside of it all is that food does tend to stick to the frying pan unless they are very well greased.