Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dinning out magazine 2

I have been throwing around some ideas for the next issue of dinning out. They asked me to a liquid nitrogen recipe. I have settled on a coconut sou-vide lobster claw tempura with a Colorado corn gelee, roasted peas and miso-beet, wasabi-watercress, and yuzu dipping dots.
Dipping dots are a old favorite of mine. They are made by dropping ice cream base into liquid nitrogen using a syringe. I made a basic creme anglaise and flavored it. The roasted corn gelle is made by grilling corn and shucking it. I then added some tomatiilo water and cilantro. I pureed all ingredients and then heated. I bloomed 2 sheets of gelitan and dissolved in the puree. We then froze the mixture solid overnight. The next day I lined a china cap with cheese cloth and placed the frozen block inside. I let the block thaw in the walk-in for 2 days. You are left with a clear flavor full liquid that you can turn into a gelee. I used the apple noodle recipe and placed the gel in a triangle mold.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Tasting menu

This week we feel a bit more confident in our menu. We are trying some new techniques and combinations. We are starting a little late this week. There has been a lot happening in my hotel pulling me away from the menu. We have had a lot of people calling for the cheese course from last week. We will run it 1 more week.

Tasting menu 10-23-07

Point Reyes blue cheese with whipped balsamic,
Peanut butter dipped grapes and Alsace Caviar

Odwalla Green Machine Sorbet made
Table side using liquid nitrogen
With grilled watermelon and curry air and watercress puree
We glued the salmon, scallop, and shrimp together with activa

Strawberry noodles with chocolate black truffle whipped cream
And pop rock encrusted blueberries
The pop rocks were pulverized in a blender and each individual berry
is coated in hard crack sugar and dredged in the pop rocks

Black Walnut bubble gum

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bubble gum

Ever since I was a little kid I always wanted to make bubble gum. I always wanted to end a meal and give someone a interesting flavor to chew on their way out of the restaurant. I got the product from They have the ingredients and instruction on how to make the gum. My first try was a marshmallow gum. The biggest difference between store bought and fresh gum is that the fresh gum stays chewy longer. The flavor last about the same time but the possibilities are endless. The flavoring needs to be alchol based and very concentrated. I also made a spearmint, hibiscus that was awesome.

Westword article

We were fortunate this week to have Jason Sheehan from Westword in Denver to come in and see some of the new food that we are doing. I have known Jason for about 7 years going back to a review he gave me at Indigo. I respect Jason a lot. He is a former chef so he certainly knows a lot more then your typical critic. In his first year writing for the paper he was nominated for a James Beard House award. He won!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Tasting menu

I am writing my Post and running out the door tonight. Finally going to enjoy 5 days off with my wife and kids. I feel this is the best menu we have done so far

Tasting menu

Point Reyes Blue Cheese with Peanut Butter
Dipped Grapes and Caramelized Whipped Balsamic

Pomegranate, Roasted Tomato Sorbet with Black Olive Dust Made Table side
with Liquid Nitrogen and Served in a Glass Hand

Sou-vide Alaskan King Crab with a Carbonated Cantaloupe Jelly,
Warm Parmesan Mayonnaise and Roasted Shitakes and Peas

Beet Meringue with yogurt and Almonds,
Colorado Pine Carmel and Quince

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dinning out magazine idea

Dinning out magazine has asked me to do a liquid nitrogen recipe for its next issue. After tasting the carbonated yuzu jelly I wanted to implement it on a dish. One technique that we have been working on is freezing purees onto solid food with liquid nitrogen. . This technique allows the center to stay thawed and the outer layer is frozen. I decided to make a watercress puree that the oyster is dropped into and then into the liquid nitrogen. You repeat the process a few times to get a solid skin on the outside. I am paring it with the yuzu jelly, crispy frozen seaweed and wasabi beet caviar. I have a week before the recipe needs to be done so we will see how I feel about it next week.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Carbonated yuzu jelly

I am finding that some of the best things I make are buy mistake. I was trying to make a carbonated soda. I did not know that you need a soda syphon to do it. I put the mixture in a co2 container with 2 whippets. The drink was shit but after leaving it in the fridge overnight I walked into a carbonated jelly. It was absolutely amazing and will be the base for a recipe that I am doing for dinning out magazine in the next issue


300 g water

25 g yuzu juice

50 g Sugar

2 sheets Gelatin

2 ea Whippets

Place the water, yuzu and sugar in a heavy duty saucepan. Cook until the mixture boils. Bloom the gelatin in water. Add the bloomed gelatin sheets to the hot mixture. Place in the co2 canister and add 2 whippets. Release a small amount of the co2. Place in the fridge overnight. Screw off the top the next morning and play.


There are alot of marshmallow recipes on the web. The one that I have been making for the last 3 years involves whipping egg whites with cream of tartar and adding boiling corn syrup and sugar mixture over the top in a mixer and whipping until it was set. This was a gelatin free recipe. I then came across the french laundry version that has gelatin. I liked the results from the french laundry's better. Versawhip is a chemical that is used in confectionery products to increase volume. I did not know when to incorporate the virsawhip until I found a pdf on They say to incorporate the virsawhip with the sugar and corn syrup before you cook it. We achieved about 20% more volume with the virsawhip. We made a yuzu pomegranate marshmallow.

21 g Gelatin

1/2 cup Cold water

2 cups Sugar

2/3 cup Corn syrup

1/4 cup Water

1 g Versawhip 600

10 oz Yuzu syrup

6 oz Pomegranite syrup

Place the gelatin and water in the mixing bowl of your kitchen aid. Add the sugar, corn syrup, water and virsawhip to a heavy duty saucepan. Cook until 250 degrees. Slowly pour in the sugar to the bowl while the beater is mixing. After 2 minutes add the yuzu juice. Layer in a glass casserole dish that is buttered and sprinkled with a lot of powdered sugar. Repeat the recipe adding the pomegranate syrup this time. Pour over the yuzu marshmallow and allow to set for 2 hours. Remove from dish and cut.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Notter demo

Chef nooter is the king of sugar. He recently did a demo at Jhonson and Whales university in Denver. Here is the show piece he did for his demo

Monday, October 8, 2007

Tasting menu

This week we decided to go down to 4 courses to see if it will sell a little better. We are moving into fall now and are seeing some great produce. We got some pomegranates and pineapple quince in.

We did a yellow tomato gazpacho sphere on top of the heirloom tomato tart. The sphere melts as it goes to the table into a nice cold soup. We put a puree of yellow tomato and olive oil thickened up with xanthan for the cold soup.

After we make the spheres we set them up on these foam egg cartons to help them keep their shape and not break. Originally I wanted to do a roasted cauliflower sorbet with the liquid nitrogen course. It turned out like shit so we are going with the pumpkin and beet.

The venison course came out perfect. Smoke, blueberries, pickled plablano.

The dessert course utilizes that great fall produce. A slice of pomegranate with the seeds roasted on the lychee mousse.
Tasting menu week 2

Camembert tart with gazpacho sphere and pine nuts

Roasted beet and pumpkin sorbet with curried seeds prepared
Tableside with liquid nitrogen

Grilled venison with smoked blueberries, pickled plablano
and sweet corn pancetta cream

Chocolate cone with lychee white chocolate mousse
and pineapple quince gelee


Last Sunday we did a event for at Strings has been around for over 20 years and Nole Cunningham has been the owner chef the entire time. Noel was featured on the inside front cover of food arts in September for his tireless work for Share our Strength. I admire Noel for not only running the same restaurant for that long but also donating to the community in so many different ways. When we do events like this we like to do new experimental items. I always like to get liquid nitrogen on a menu when I can. We took the passed app course and our menu was:

Liquid nitrogen cooled butternut squash elixir

Buffalo short rib cones with blackberry jelly and fresh mint

House smoked sturgeon with a green apple creme fraiche salad and carrot cardamon caviar

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Have fun

This business sucks. It is very hard to work in this industry. The hours, the people, the bullshit. The only thing that you can do is laugh it off and have fun. I am a joker. I work hard a but I also keep a very light mood in my kitchens. I always keep a piece of butcher paper hung in my office with some of the best one liners given by my staff. Here are a few. I asked a waiter to run a 5 onion soup to the dinning room. He picked up the ticket and looked at me and asked where the other 4 soups were. Mind you this is a waiter that has been working here for 10 months and who has seen that ticket 500 times. The other good one this week was a order for a side of ajus. The waiter spelled it agew. Obviously the High school education is paying off.

Apple noodles

Gellan F is a thickener made from seaweed. You use alot like gelatin but the biggest difference is you can heat the product and it won't break down. I have tried to make a noodle like the Parmesan noodle at el bulli. The problem is is that he uses agar and when I made it taste like shit. When they make it it probaly taste amazing. The gellan leaves no flavor in the food. On our current menu we are making a green apple noodle with watermelon and red curry chicken. The noodle is easy to make ounce you get the portions right. That is the delema with this cooking style. You have to find the time to figure it out. I must have made it 100 times to get the ratio right. El bulli has a line of chemicals that you can buy. The only problem is they have mixed the chemicals for there applications. What if they don't carry that product any more. I recommend buying chemical in there purest form. Then you can come up with ratios that will always work for you. Here is the apple noodle recipe

95g green Apple juice

5 g Glucose

1.2 g Gellan F

A syringe

Plastic tubing

Ice water

Juice about 4 green apples. Let the mixture set for 5 minutes. Scrape off all of the brown solids from the top. Weigh out the Apple juice and place the gellan on top. Blend with a hand mixer. Place in a saucepan with the glucose. Heat the mixture until it boils for 1 minute. Take a large syringe and fill it with the Apple mixture. Place a plastic tubing on the end and push the juice through. Place in ice cold water for 1 minute. Push the noodle through using the syringe.

Tasting menu

I have a lot of frustrations in my restaurant. I work in a hotel now where there are good things and bad. We have money, one thing that you don't when you work for independents. When I wanted to order my chemicals or a 4000$ vacuum sealer they said yes. (I am still waiting on my vacum sealer)The problem here is I have 200 bosses that like to pull me in so many directions. My restaurant has to please so many people at ounce. Our menu focuses on solid ingredients and techniques.To get some of our molecular ideas on a menu we decided to do a5 course tasting menu paired with wine. We want to to do this because it is a way for the chefs here to be creative in the mix of a very busy operation. Thank you to chadzilla and idea in food for some inspirations on our first menu.


Heirloom tomato salad with balsamic caviar and a blue cheese pancetta marble


“Miso Soup”

Liquid Nitrogen prepared tableside
Colorado peach, egg white and honey sorbet
Crème Anglaise dipped mango
Truffle popcorn

Chicken skin encrusted halibut with sun chokes and hibiscus demi


Roasted pear and almond dumpling with a
Hazelnut panna cotta and Mexican chocolate soup

Glass hand

I have been lucky enough to be apart of some pretty interesting events in my career. I have cooked at the James Beard House in New York 3 times. It is a very hard event to pull off. In 2000 I had a restaurant called the Hilltop cafe where I was able to get a lot of good press. I did an event for slow foods with my father at the Westin and one of the other chefs cooking there sat on the James Beard House board. He asked if my father and I would like to do a dinner there. When these guys ask you you don't say no. I took a second mortgage on my house and began to write a menu. You have to bring your own wine, food, staff, and find a place to sleep and cook. The first time in 2000 we prepped at the W on Lexington. One of my courses for the dinner was the sorbet course. I decided to make a glass hand. You take a heavy duty dish washing glove and fill it with hot water and garnishes like flowers or herbs. You tie it off and hang it in the freezer. 2 days later you cut off the glove and drill a small whole for the sorbet. I filled 300 gloves and hung them in the freezer at the W. I wish I had a picture. It looked like a Halloween movie. To update this dish recently I made the sorbet with liquid nitrogen. It was a lemon curd champagne sorbet with gooseberries and shortbread crumbs.

Tableside sorbet

When I first started using liquid nitrogen I read of a table side mixture that they made at el bulli. They use lime, vodka and egg white to make a sorbet. I grew up in days of table side. I use to work at a restaurant where we did Cesar's, steak au-poive, and bananas foster table side. You don't see it anymore. Whether that is because kitchen labor is down to nothing or it is too hard to coordinate with the front of the house, I don't know. I think it is a real show to make something in front of the guest. When we first received liquid nitrogen we were putting everything in it. I even put my finger for too long ounce ( I am still growing back skin) When we tried olive oil we got a crystal like consistency. We decide to do a yuzu, strawberry, egg white sorbet with olive oil dust. It is very important that you use a egg white when making the sorbet. You get a amazing texture and it helps it not to turn into a solid block. We place a egg white in a bowl with the puree and yuzu. We slowly pour in the liquid nitrogen and use a whisk to incorporate into the sorbet. You can't see what you are doing but you can feal the sorbet getting tighter. In a tempered glass(very important) you add a small amount of olive oil. Add about 1/2 cup of liquid nitrogen. As the nitrogen evaporates you are left with a crystal. You place a small amount of sorbet in a bowl and sprinkle the dust on top. We have also taking balsamic and whipped it with versawhip 600 to achieve a air consistency to top the sorbet. We get liquid nitrogen from a company called Airgas. It cost 1.50 to rent the dewar a day. 85$ to fill it. 90$ for the hose and 175$ for the thermal separator to get the stuff out of the tank. We wear masks, gloves, and apron when getting it out of the large tank. It is -320 degrees and can cause major injuries.

Miso Soup

We all love miso soup. It is amazing how so many ingredients can be added or taken away to give depth to the soup. I had a culinary competition about 3 months ago and wanted to come up with a new presentation. I am always in and out of whole foods getting produce for the restaurant when our purchasing guy fucks us. I noted empty gel caps one day a thought about powdering all ingredients and placing them in pills. I lost the competition but gained a new dish. The gel caps are filled with dashi, wasbi pea, dry corn, butter powder, and sweet soy. The guest receives a bowl of very hot water. They add the pills and stir until dissolved. We then add some Vietnamese BBQ pork, cilantro and a creme fraiche togarashi noodle using methocel to make the noodle.
Creme fraiche Togarashi noodle

224g Creme fraiche

2 g Togarashi

5.1 g Methocel sga150

75 g Water

Heat water in a sauce pan. Remove from the heat and blend in the methocel. Add to the rest of the ingredients and pulse with a hand blender. Place in a bowl over a ice bath for 3 hours stirring every 20 minutes.The mixture must be ice cold to work The water must have a temperature of 100 to 114 degrees so the mixture jells

Liquid nitrogen spheres

A technique we have been working on for about 5 months is making spheres. I saw this technique from moto restaurant in Chicago. This involves taking a balloon and filling it up with air so it almost pops. this stretches the plastic so it is easy to remove. You then fill the balloon with 60 cc of liquid. We have found that purees with high water content work the best ie.. carrot, watermelon, beet, tomato. You then add a small amount of nitrous gas to the balloon. This will force the ingredients to the outside of the balloon. You then roll the balloon in liquid nitrogen. This creates a hallow sphere. You then let the balloon temper in the freezer for 2 minutes. You can then cut the latex off leaving you with a perfect sphere.

Where to begin

I'm a chef through and through. I grew up in the business(grandfather and dad are pretty traveled chefs) When I wake up I think of what I want to make. When I am driving home I think what I could have done better. At 30 years I thought I was done. Too many owners that did not give a shit or to many employees more worried about which waitress they are going out with. I was introduced to some new techniques and ingredients recently that have changed my outlook. Instead of what will I grill today I wonder what I will freeze or sous vide. As I started exploring and trying new things I found that there is not alot on information on getting started. The blogs I have read have got me thinking out of my comfort zone. I hope my experiences and creations do the same for other people