Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Going Nuts

I am a little pissed off today. I woke up this morning to hear of another recall, this time its pistachios. What is going on in these plants. At our hotel we have 2 kinds of health inspections, one is done on the state level that happens a few times a year. The other inspection is done by a company that our corporate office hires to come in. This inspection is like the states inspection on steroids. The inspector is ruthless, which he should be as he goes through our property. Even if my temperatures are off by 2 degrees, it is a violation. My question to the health department is, how are we suppose to protect our customers when the raw ingredients are contaminated? Are these products being tested before they leave the factory. If someone knowingly distributes unsafe product, they should be jailed. Its murder playing with people's lives like this.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tasting Menu 80

I should have kept my big mouth shut about not getting any snow. Last Thursday we had a good size storm that dropped around 20 inches. The hotel was slammed, we did around 600 covers for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That is the main difference from working in a independent. If I was in my own restaurant, I wouldn't have made it off the couch that morning. I would have called it a snow day but here at the hotel we have customers that are here everyday and when it gets really cold out we get slammed. I will have a small news segment on Wednesday on channel 2 in the 9 o'clock hour promoting the cookstreet class

Grilled butter shrimp
Old bay popcorn, mint tabbouleh, rainbow caviar

Berbere rubbed pork carnitas

Sopapia, smoked grapes, fried sour cream

Ice wine sorbet

Sous-vide duck with honey and clove
Cranberry beans, warm root vegetable brulee, soy sugar

Mexican vanilla ice cream
Cinnamon tortilla, frozen caramel powder

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Little Greener

We just purchased this water filtration/carbonation system for the restaurant. We now can bottle our own water in reusable glass containers. I am anxious to play around with the machine to see how I can implement it into our molecular work.http://www.naturawater.com/

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Tasting Menu 79

Next week will start to pick up for us again. I have a wine dinner on Thursday night that is sold out. We are hosting the event along with Buil & Gine winery in Spain. Xavier Buil is personally making the trip over from Spain for the dinner. It should be a great night. I am also getting ready for April 1st. The iapc conference is here in Denver this year. They have asked me to help gather equipment and organize the event. There are some great professionals speaking at the conference including Alex and Aki from Ideas in Food, chef Andonu Luis Aduriz from http://www.mugaritz.com/ in Spain and one of my favorite chefs Michel Nischan. After helping with the conference I will be teaching a molecular class at Cookstreet that night.

Avocado, blue crab, strawberry caviar

Bone marrow, blueberry sphere, lobster mushroom

Vietnamese spring roll
Cilantro wrapper, shrimp and pork, salty peanut ice cream

Honeydew consommé
Mascarpone noodles, plum ice

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Molecular Class

I will be teaching a class on molecular techniques at Cook Street in Denver on April 1st. The cost is $175 and we will be covering liquid nitrogen, compression, safety and sourcing, pectin, spherification and activa. I am bringing the big tank, should be a fun night. http://www.cookstreet.com/index.php?option=com_classesmgr&Itemid=62&cid=443

Chive Rocks

This has become my favorite garnish for consomme. They actually look like little rocks sitting in the bottom of a pond. I use the cold oil method to make them. 1# of chives are blanched and shocked. They are then placed in a blender with a little water, honey and salt. I add a small amount of xantham to help keep the mixture emulsified. I then use a ration of .45% agar to the the weight of the puree. I then cook the mixture until it comes to a boil
We then place a bowl of oil over a bowl of liquid nitrogen. This will get the oil cold enough to set the shape of the rocks
The chive puree gets dropped into the frozen oil using a squeeze bottle with most of the top removed. I let the puree sit for about 30 seconds. I will then gently push the side of the bowl giving me a rock like shape instead of a sphere. The rocks keep the flavor and color for up to 5 days when they are submerged in oil. They will be rinsed in hot water before being place in the consomme bowl

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tasting menu 78

It has become increasing difficult to keep up with my blog lately. Being a GM requires a lot of time and patients. You have to be like Switzerland, remaining neutral when talking and dealing with employees. When I was independent I was able to dismiss people when they were not doing their job. Being in a corporation is much different. We must document the behavior of the employee no less then three times before we are able to act. I believe that it protects the employee and gives them another chance to perform. This is a good thing but lets face it, some employees just don't get it no matter how many chances you give.

Lemon grass salmon
Blue crab rice, wasabi pop rocks, watercress

Foie Gras Consommé
Grilled lobster, chive rocks

Floating caprese salad

Smoked brown sugar cured pork
BBQ pudding, garlic blossoms, pineapple augratin

Chocolate covered almond marshmallows
Raspberry ice cream made tableside with liquid nitrogen

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sage Confrence

We hosted our parent companies awards gala here at the hotel last Monday night. The banquet room was transformed into this amazing set. I was asked to give a sorbet/floating food demo on the main stage as we served the final course. The next day I took a team down to the Curtis hotel to make our ulitimate wonton with soy bubbles for a reception for all of the Sage executives in town. For the most part it was a boring event except for a ballon animal artist and a guy walking around on stilts. I finagled the ballon man to make me a flower arrangement for my wife. The stilt guy was hillarious, he always had a joke about his height as he walked buy. "This is why I am so skinny" he yelled down to me. "I can never reach the food"I should have tackled him at the knee caps before I left but I had to be on my best behavior

Monday, March 9, 2009

Tasting menu 77

It looks like it should finally calm down a little this week. I have been so caught up with keeping prep levels up that I have had no time to play or work on anything new. I am finalizing a class that I will be teaching at Cookstreet in Denver. It looks like we are shooting for a April 1st class. The weather has been nothing short of bizarre this year. It has been 70 degrees in Denver for the past 3 days. We have had no snow fall this year. Cold weather reminds us to cook in different ways. It's hard to be in the mood for a good casoulet when it is so hot out.

Carbonated grapefruit
Palm sugar cured line caught tuna, tarragon, taro

Duck prosciutto
Fried risotto, black olive jell, black trumpet mushrooms

Passion fruit and sage sorbet
Poached grapes, blue champagne

Spicy shrimp blanket
Artichoke dirt, corn gnocchi, shallot

Mexican vanilla ice cream with frozen caramel apple crunch
Made tableside with liquid nitrogen

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Food Allergies

Michael Natkin from herbivoracious.com sent this interesting post to me that he did on food allergies. We have all kinds of food allergies coming through this hotel everyday. It is something we take very seriously here.http://www.herbivoracious.com/2009/02/understanding-deadly-food-allergies-this-post-could-save-a-life.html

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

RIP Berkinstock Clogs #18

You were better then #8 but not as good as #12

Tasting menu 76

I enjoyed a extra day off this past week to recover from restaurant week. Whenever I take a extra day off something inevitably goes wrong. This week it was a horrible headache that I could not control. I had a small bump develop around my ear this past month. I thought I had brain cancer or something along those lines. Come to find out that I am starting to get severe migraines. I got some medication that I can take when I feel a attack coming on. No doubt that it was caused by stress. DAMN YOU RESTAURANT WEEK

Grilled scallops
Yuzu curd, Fennel pollen, Treviso jelly

Watermelon powder
Oregano nuggets, Tomato, Fried feta

Guacamole space foam

Sous-vide black lime and all natural pork
Chimichurri, Sour cream rice, Compressed tomatillo salsa

Chocolate filled doughnut holes with espresso ice cream
Made table side with liquid nitrogen