#CookingAMA

I was invited to host a feed of the cooking week ask me anything on amafeeds. Feel free to drop in and fire off a question. As I have nothing in particular to sell, I took the ask me anything format to heart and will answer anything you think you may want to know about my life (provided I don’t feel it is too personal). Most of the questions so far are about my vocation but a few are more about life. All the questions so far are interesting and many have caused me to ponder and even reestablish some first principles. 

¡Viva México!

Not it, but kind of like…

For a lot of (maybe bad) reasons, I (and most others) associate my culinary heritage first with Italy and then second with Melting-Pot America. But the truth is that my first choice is almost entirely wrong. I do have a strong culinary ancestry from that region, my paternal Grandmother, although from Sicily. I also started my career in an Italian restaurant, and made my biggest claim to fame creating another one. However, given that I am second generation American with DNA from equal quarters: Mexican (Paternal Grandfather), Italian (Sicilian, Paternal Grandmother), German (Maternal Grandfather) and  Polish (Maternal Grandmother) my second choice is the most correct ethnically and indeed “spiritually” too. I am an American, and so not easy to pigeonhole, but believe it or not, as close to my heart as Italian food is, there is another equal lover, from south of the border. Continue reading

All Borders Are Fiction, Perhaps Especially Food Borders.

I came across a rather silly, surprisingly stupid article from NPR yesterday. Surprising because regardless of leaning NPR is more often than not known for intelligent content. Still we must try to imagine all experts as if they are mammals, and in this NPR helps us out. The piece in question (at once answering a common question on the existence of stupid questions) asked: “When is it OK to profit from cooking other cultures food.”  Continue reading

How The Mighty May Have Fallen

 

As many in Hong Kong know, Dan Ryan’s in Pacific Place is closing down after 27 years. I hasten to add the group is still alive and kicking, even though the flagship is about to close. Dan’s was not only one of the first tenants of Pacific Place, a once singular hub of Hong Kong shopping elites, but was also one of the first authentic, successful, freestanding, restaurants here. Dan’s was founded in part because the group of bankers who started it were sick of what they called hotel food. At that time about the only way to get imported western food was to eat at hotels. Hotels often tend to fuse things and in so doing make passable but often inauthentic or caricatured dining experiences. Continue reading

An Unknown Soldier.

Blair and I (upper left) at an after work bitch session somewhere in Wanchai 1995.

Blair and I (upper left) at an after work bitch session somewhere in Wanchai 1995.

I learned last night that a former colleague and friend died suddenly of a heart attack at the relatively young age of 56. Blair Anthony Sweet and I both worked for Dan Ryan’s at the same time, when I first moved to Hong Kong in 1994. He had arrived about a year earlier, and as such was my first Chef friend in town. We worked each in one of Dan’s two Hong Kong shops so we always had a bit of friendly sibling rivalry going. Continue reading

Making a show.

Hey friends, City Super’s wonderful culture club Executive Chef Charmaine has invited me to help out with a few cooking classes coming Christmas week.

1. On December 20th I will do a “Christmas Family Roast” of inverted turducken (Chiduckee?), along with twice baked potatoes and glazed winter veggies.

2. On December 22, I will make “A Very Vegan Christmas” featuring a Portobello Wellington, along with Quinoa Pilaf in a Baby Pumpkin, and Winter Berry Trifle.

Please feel free to sign up so that you can criticise my inept culinary skills first hand.

Hohoho.

Chef Paul

PaulPrudhommeSigningHolgaACropI have often dismissed the outpouring of regret when a celebrity passes away. In those times I usually like to point out that while the celebrity lived (and died) pretty well, many unfortunates lived and died in horrible circumstance, unnoticed. No less can be said of one of my culinary icon’s, Chef Paul Prudhomme. Having said all of that, I would like to take my moment to eulogize a person that had no small amount of impact on my life (and to be sure, the lives of many).  Continue reading