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.
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
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
We dropped in again today to enjoy the nostalgia, but are again stymied by a poor service mindset. In this case it goes to the head office, though the staff remains about the same as last time…unfriendly, downright grumpy, and technically incompetent.
The headquarters has switched this shop to a limited menu eliminating many of the classics (like all of the sandwiches). It seems (though I have an incomplete survey) that they eliminated lower priced items. Meanwhile their two other Hong Kong shops sell the full menu, so their is no logistic or supply reason for the cut in service, just one of serving themselves over the needs of their customers. Perhaps an avaricious last dash to grab as much cash as possible from the Pacific Place store. One could assume that many coming in this period, are their most loyal fans. Though to be frank we are again sitting in a restaurant nearly devoid of customer on a day where it would have once been overflowing with trade and good cheer. That’s a crying shame.
In March of 2015 I learn of, and then mostly adopted, a change to my eating habits that has been relatively easy (for me) and had a relatively positive impact to my size, weight and blood pressure. I became mostly-vegan. “Mostly” in part because of my job, which does require me to eat meat on occasion. Also because I enjoy meat, believe dietary science urges omnivorous nutrition, and don’t subscribe to the “animals are peaceful” philosophy of many vegans. Indeed I believe if the tables were turned the animals, even my beloved dog (to say nothing of our evil cats), would have no hesitation in making a meal of me.
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.
Please feel free to sign up so that you can criticise my inept culinary skills first hand.
Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. It speaks directly to the kind of chef I have always wanted and tried to be. It is a purely American, purely secular holiday of conviviality. The sharing of warmth and familiarity with loved ones, around a table piled high with good, rustic, homey, and wholesome food. It is the opportunity to assess the bounty of ones life, ones kith an kin, ones larder, ones fortune…and in so doing appreciate all that there is rather than being mindful of what is missing. Continue reading
I 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
Following yesterdays theme let me lob another grenade at everyones favourite food demon: GMO. One of my weekly podcast subscriptions, from before it was cool, is the wonderful Skeptoid, by Brian Dunning. It is an extra treat that this week Brian (who is away on forced sabbatical) hosted the show instead of one of his guests. The episode lists and knocks down all the favourite tropes of anti-GMO advocates. For those who prefer, the episode is always also transcribed (at the link) for easy reading. In the end we are left with no reasonable objection to the continuing progress of our “farmacology”.