Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mont Blanc Christmas Party

This is the Mont Blanc Blog about the custom molecular dinner we did for them using some of their productshttp://montblancgourmet.com/blog/

Tasting menu 69

I have been getting some emails lately about how crazy my food is and that I am doing some kind of disservice to the culinary world. Why would you ever float food or why did you put a inedible garnish on a plate they ask? My answer is why not. As long as the garnish if functional like the chap stick compound butter. I would rather challenge my guest with new flavors or presentations then throw out the same shit year after year. Look, I was the chef 2 years ago looking into this crazy world and wondering if it had a place. After a few years of burning my hands in LN or making soda or even making Lego's my answer is yes. I am having a blast and the people that try our tasting menus do to. I know my customers will remember their meal, will yours??

Quail eggs
Chorizo, black vinegar, blackberry

Compressed watermelon
Olive salad. Snow crab, whipped feta

Line caught tuna and prosciutto terrine
Parsnip pudding, curry sphere, zucchini

White chocolate macadamia nut brownie
With coffee ice cream made tableside
With liquid nitrogen

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

Tasting menu 68

I am working on changing all of the menus in the restaurant this week. We are going to make some changes to help with our business levels in 09. One thing we will do is not to offer a breakfast buffet Monday through Saturday. We will be able to control food cost better and with one less cook. We are going to have to take a look at all of our operations to make sure we are running a tight ship next year. New Years eve should be very interesting this year. Rumor has it that Wide Spread Panic will play in our ball room after their concert in Denver. Merry Christmas to everyone and have a creative 09.

Smoked tempura cranberries
Rainbow trout, dried Japanese cucumbers, apple gastrique

Parsnip fries
Bresola, caper aioli, red pepper textures

Frankincense space foam

Sou-vide Colorado lamb chops
Chanterelle, blue cheese marbles, chestnut powder

Peppermint ice cream rolled in gingerbread crumbs
Made table side with liquid nitrogen

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Silicon Mold for Floating Dish

I bought some bouncing balls today to use in my soft silicon mold. After the mold is cured I will be able to make 1/2 spheres of any flavor and glue them together for the for the floating plate.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gadget Inspectors

This article came out Monday in the Rocky Mountain News. There is also a video part if you get on the website. Last week we all learned that the Rocky Mountain News was up for sale and might shut down in the near future. The paper has been running for over 150 years and it will be a tragedy to see it go.http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/dec/14/slicing-and-dicing-the-claims/

Tasting Menu 67

I hate December. Most people like it because they get to spend time off with their families. Chefs get to spend 20% more time at their jobs handling holiday parties and special request. This week marks the end of our major Christmas parties. I will take all of the business I can get, who knows what the first quarter of next year will bring. I am looking forward to spending some time on some ideas I have had floating around my head. I am still playing with my superconductor like a little boy on Christmas morning

Grilled Hama Hama oysters
Buddha’s hand, garlic jel, fried bread

Popcorn soup
Butter lattice, Siracha caramel corn

Maine Lobster
Ginger mosaic, corn sorbet, avocado cream

Fresh baked blueberry muffin
Yuzu cream cheese ice cream
made tableside with liquid nitrogen

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Floating Truffle

Ever since I started cooking I have always thought about floating food. After a gentle nudge from Jason at Westword and a lot of help from Robert Semerad of Theva labs in Germany my dream was reached. I have been like a kid playing with the superconductivity "plate" since it arrived from Germany yesterday.

Robert has baked rare earth metals into this superconducting cube. It is attached to a special plastic plate with glue that can with stand the -320 temperatures of liquid nitrogen. The "plate" is a rare earth magnet ring that levitates on top of the cube when the cold temperature of the superconductor is reached.

Any round food item can sit inside the ring as it turns and spins. It is imposiible to not sit there and stare at it in amasment. How can this be done? I have already had thoughts about eggs, bubble gum, spheres, you name it. Thanks again to Robert for helping me make my dream come true. We will be getting in more "plates" in so our guest can play with their food.


GSI Score

When you check out from any Starwood property you have the opportunity to rate your entire stay from the friendliness of staff to food quality. This is called our Guest Service Index or GSI. Today ratings were posted for all brands. Our restaurant came in #3 for all Westins and #10 overall for all brands. Our brands include St. Regis, Le Meridien, Luxury Collection, W, Westin and Sheraton. This is a huge honor for us considering that we are not a resort property rather a business hotel with very traveled and educated customers. I am very proud of my entire staff

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Silver Solder Plate

I really like table side presentations. It is a chance for the guest to see a little kitchen prep in the dinning room. As I was soldering some pipes for a plumbing project at home, I was taken back by the shapes the solder would make as it hit a hard surface. I wondered if it was possible to make someone a plate table side. Solder in the 60's, 70's and 80' was made from lead. These days it is lead free and non toxic so my plate was still an option.
I began by melting the solder into a liquid ball.

I then picked up the sheet tray it was on and slammed it against the table. I then cooled the plate with cold water. After a few seconds it is cold enough to serve a dish on.

A free formed plate remains that when cooled can be used as a app plate
Here I used the plate for some liquid nitrogen dipped creme anglaise cherries

Client Holiday Party

Every year we throw a big reception in the lobby for our clients. This year we did chef action stations throughout our decorated lobby. We made a few molecular dishes including cranberry mint spoons with eggnog gelee, roasted Colorado lamb with mint neutral caramel and of course the liquid nitrogen station with peppermint and eggnog rum ice creams

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Tasting Menu 66

I am posting the menu for next week a little early. We are doing a special menu next week with some Mont Blanc products. They are having there Christmas party here next week. It is insane here at the hotel right now. For example I have 5 parties in my restaurant tonight along with over 1000 in banquets. During the holidays you really see which employees and which managers step up their game. Needless to say December is not going to yield a lot of time to play. Tis the season

Mole Shrimp
Dried pasole, cotija relleno, cactus glass

Chocolate Polenta
Pulled spicy pork, mozzarella sheets, tomato textures

Ghana Space Foam

Caramel Chicken
Carrot pudding, pea sphere, brioche

Chai tea noodles
Coffee consommé, condensed milk
Made table side with liquid nitrogen

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Art Institute Demo

I was asked by chef Corey to come do a demo at the culinary school I graduated from in 1997. They have started a new class called Art Cullinare where they study and then learn the techniques of the best molecular chefs. Their first day was El bulli, Alinea and The Fat Duck. We agreed that I would come make a composed dish using some different hydrocollids and the thermal circulator. I would then talk about some techniques using liquid nitrogen. My demo came on the Monday after Thanksgiving. We had not received our normal shipment of LN due to the holiday. There is a small airgas store pretty close to the culinary school so my plan was to stop over in the middle of my demo to fill my small dewar. Everything that could have gone wrong did. My thermal circulator would not work. This was the base for the composed dish. To make it even worse the shop were I went to fill the tank had the same problem, they did not receive there shipment due to the holiday. A good chef will always figure the situation out. I poached the eggs in water, not the same texture but they got the point. As for the LN, I talked about its physical properties and what I use it for. I will go back to the school on Monday so they can actually try something. All I could do is shake my head, smile and get through it. No matter how much planning goes into a event there is always something that will go wrong. The trick is not letting the guest know there is anything wrong.

Tasting menu 65

We are getting into the start of our Holiday party season. We have a lot of parties on the weekend so if you are coming for the tasting menu please make a reservation so we can be sure to save you a table. After some plumbing work at my house I am going to play around with silver sauter. I want to make a plate for someone table side. I would bring out the torch and melt a silver plate for you in the dinning room. That's my problem, even when I am working on something that is not food related, my brain is still thinking of how I flip it into a dish.

Blackened Colorado trout
BBQ onions, smoked grapes, whipped yogurt

Bacon consommé
Sweet corn, tempura clams, potato foam

Forrest mushroom sheet
Prime rib, hollandaise, broken baby vegetables in soy

Peanut butter frangipane tart with strawberry ice cream
Made tableside with liquid nitrogen

The Gadget Test

If you have ever lived in Colorado or watched the news on your way through town you probably recognize this guy, Bill Clarke. He was a news anchor for many years at channel 7. Bill is retired from TV, now he does some side projects for different media outlets in Colorado. Bill asked me if he could bring up some kitchen gadgets that he ordered off those late night infomercials. I have always wanted to know if the electric vegetable peeler really works or if the slider grill made perfect paddies. We had a blast trying some different gadgets. The only one that really worked was a microwavable pasta cooker. The story will be coming out in the Rocky Mountain News Spotlight section in the next 2 weeks.