Saturday, June 30, 2007

I was on my way into the supermarket to buy a newspaper this morning when I was approached by a man handing out printed pieces of paper about a food donation a local organization was conducting.

He asked that if I could give anything it would be appreciated, to which he handed me one of these pieces of paper. I looked over it briefly and said I would see what I could do and proceeded inside the supermarket, neatly folding the paper but not putting it into my pocket.

Once I had found a paper I proceeded to look over the leaflet he had handed me. I was going to buy a couple of cans of corn or something of the like and donate that but when I looked at the paper I was surprised at what was listed.

The Following are a List of Items We are in Desperate Need of:

Chicken (whole or parts)
Breakfast Meats (Bacon and sausage)
Hamburger Meat and Hot Dogs
Potatoes (White or Sweet)
Powdered Drink Mix/Juice Boxes
Spaghetti Sauce
Paper Products (Cups, Plates, Napkins)

Now normally I wouldn’t give this a second thought, but some of this stuff really seemed out of place to me. Eggs, cereal, and Hot dogs make sense to me. Yet, Chicken whole or parts, Hamburger, Paper Products?

I began to put two and two together and realized, hey it’s the weekend before 4th of July maybe they're just getting donations for a BBQ for the homeless or needy.

Something still irked me about the whole thing, so I opted not to buy anything, instead giving a few dollars in the plastic jar one young women was holding on the way out.

It really dug on me on the way home, the things they were asking for. It got me wondering why those items? Normally don’t we see canned goods and powdered milk during Thanksgiving and the winter holiday season? Why so many perishable goods like raw chicken and beef? and why Powdered Drink Mix?

I would assume if your running some kind of outreach program for the needy or poor a nutritious balanced meal would be the first priority on your mind for those people. The needy need food, yes of course, but more importantly they need nutritious food. They need a balanced meal; they need those vitamins and minerals that they lack in the normal meals they can get. What really gets me is the paragraph before the list even says:

"We provide a nutritious meal to approximately 100 youth every Friday night.."

Upon returning home I tried to search numerous sites to find a list of suggested donations of food, but have been unsuccessful in doing so. I know there has got to be one of the larger organizations offering this kind of advice, but haven’t been able to find it.

Ill keep looking, and in the meantime Im going to call this organization and ask a few questions.

Theyre doing a wonderful thing, and maybe Im not seeing the full picture so I might even get over there to help out.

Like a Creeping Shadow...

The weekend has arrived!

Normaly I would welcome such downtime, but from being out of a kitchen for the last six weeks Im really starting to get antsy!

I feel like a herion addict...

"Just one fix, Come on man, I just need to cook one steak.. how bout some chicken? Ill do whatever you want just let me cook some chicken!"


Ok maybe its not that bad, but still. Being stuck behind a desk for the last six weeks and not having cooked anything is starting to bug me.

..Viva la B B Q!

Friday, June 29, 2007

"Your My Kind of Meat!"

Thanks to Cha Xiu Bao for pointing this little gem out.

What happens when you mix the 80's with Engrish?

Oh my......

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"Your a bum! you hear me, A bum!"

Seems the Rocky (at least in my eyes) of Speed Eating might be down for the count!

Takeru "Tsunami" Kobayashi's jaw suffers jaw injury, forcing him to debate retiring

Say it aint so!
I loved to watch this guy eat, amazing.

Battle of the .. Personality Type?!

A good article in the Menupages Blog (thanks to Bob del Grosso) points out some interesting views on Women vs Men chefs.

Actually it seems more about how the views about Men Vs Women chefs are changing to be Personality Traits.

Id have to agree with the article in alot of its point. There are women I have worked with, gone to school with, and talked to that can be/are just as arrogant, cocky, and self righteous about food as any man.

And it has more to do with then just the attitude. The article does a good job of pointing out two major kitchen personalities, Awe and Comfort.

Underlying every cook who desires to move beyond just cooking there are these traits.
Think of it like a Mother/Father Personality trait. Mothers baby and are concerened with wellbeing, Where Fathers seek to better by hard work and showing domination in a particular act (Both of these of course being old outdated trait structures.)

I think every chef/cook/foodie falls into one of these catagories. Im just trying to figure out which one is more dominant in me...

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Chef, by any other name......

I was out to dinner with my roommate on Saturday, enjoying a meal at a chain restaurant when he started firing off culinary questions at me.

He's semi-new to the "professional cook" game, but no stranger to the industry. He hails from India where his family owns and runs hotels. We were engaged in a lengthy debate and discussion about food and recipes when he stopped and said..

"Man, dude, your gonna be a great chef.."

Now I dont know if its my humility, or the fact that I have a hard time thinking Im anything special, but there was such a mixed reaction from me when he said it.

On one hand my chest swells with pride at such a compliment, but on the other theres a cold chill down my spine.

Ive been thinking about it alot for the last two days and Im left wondering "what makes a great chef great? Knowledge? Skill?"

This question is nothing new to the culinary debate ring, I have heard it debated a million times before.. but in the end Ive come to this conclusion...

I dont care.

It sounds funny I know, but I really dont care what "makes a great chef" because we all know deep down the answer to that question. Passion, Commitment, and Information are all really good answers.. and in a sense all true.

But from where I stand right now, from what I know and what I have seen the only real answer for me is Understanding.

To know what Julia Child knew... to know what MK Fisher knew... to understand that at the heart of it all cooking, nah, food is about the meal. Its about the togetherness, the bond that happens while sitting down to a meal.

Understanding that we all desire, we all love and want, and during that brief time at a meal we each co-inhabit the same moment in time, the same desire for company and comradery.

What is a real chef?

Our grandparents, our fathers, our mothers, our brothers and sisters, our friends...
They are all chefs, if when you sit down to a meal with them they see through your eyes and you through theirs.

Its not about fame, its not about money, its not even about having the best menu or recipes. Cooking isnt a competition, at least it shouldn’t be.

Sitting down to a meal with those you care about and sharing that brief moment where the world ceases and time stands still.

When I think back on it, when I really think about it what I picture in my mind is visiting my grandmother in Philadelphia.

The oven was always on, the stove always full of pots and pans. The aroma of meatballs and tomato sauce hanging heavy in the air. Her, ushering her five grandsons into the small nitch of her apartment that served as the dining room to feed them. The look in her eyes as she stood over us all and smiled as we stuffed our little faces.

A Chef, by any other name....

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Shoutout Sundays

As promised heres another installment.

Many of you may already know Susan "Farmgirl" and if you dont, you should get to know her.

She set out some time ago with only a dream of having a farm. What has transpired since that day has been recorded in this excellent blog. The daily ups and downs, comings and goings, suffering and joys of a small farm are all here.

The love of animals, gardening, and food all represented in this fantastic blog. Her pictures can speak a thousand words as well.

Keep it up Susan, and Ill keep singing your praise.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

More Fuel for the Foie Fire

This just came over the wire...

Foie Gras possibly linked to Mad Cow-like disease.

I can already here the activists peeing themselves with joy over this one.

to qoute from the text:

"“It is not known if there is an increase of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes or other amyloid-related disease in people who have eaten foie gras,” said Dr. Alan, director of the Human Immunology and Cancer/Alzheimer’s Disease and Amyloid-Related Disorders Research Program at University of Tennessee at Knoxville and lead author of the study. “Our study looked at the existence of amyloid fibrils in foie gras and showed that it could accelerate the development of AA amyloidosis in susceptible mice. Perhaps people with a family history of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or other amyloid-associated diseases should avoid consuming foie gras and other foods that may be contaminated with fibrils.”

Its validity is still in question, Ive sent an email and will follow up with a phone call as soon as I can get a moment, but boy oh boy is this gonna make the Anti-Foie movement a bunch of happy campers.

What The Funky Waggles....

..Was this guy thinking?!!

Restaurant Discovered to Have Slaughtered a Goat During E-Coli Outbreak Investigation

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Funny Conversations

I linked the blog entry done by Hungry In Hog Town about using horse fat to get the perfect tasting french fry to my friend who is currently in vet school.

I wanted his take on using Horse fat, from a medical and different perspective.

What proceeded was, as is common with him, hillarious.

Me (8:43:25 PM): whats your take on it
Him (5:34:12 PM): what's my opinion on consuming horses?
Me (8:43:37 PM): the whole horse fat thing
Him (5:34:54 PM): i personally have never (knowingly) consumed anything that came from an equine source, so i can't personally recount flavor quality etc
Him(5:35:12 PM): however, my suspicion is that the whole thing is a placebo effect
Me(8:44:47 PM): oh probably yeah
Him(5:35:40 PM): i.e. they would taste just as good if cooked in bald eagle fat
Him(5:35:42 PM): or panda fat
Me (8:45:05 PM): lol
Me (8:45:09 PM): awsome

... Panda fat you say....

Mario Sounds Off..

.. and boy is he pissed.

Thanks to Bob Del Grosso for pointing this one out on his blog.

Mario Batali Chimed in and gave his two cents on food blogs/bloggers. The piece cuts deep and quick getting right to the point and making a very strong stance.

It has left me to think a lot about what I post and ask myself "Is this valid, non-slanderous information?".

The only response I can come up with, God I hope so!

I hate misinformation and down right mud slinging as much as Batali it seems. Now at the moment I can’t hold a candle to his wealth of information or skill (yet, mind you) but I try my best to dig and learn before I speak.

Batali brings up a really good point about blogs being nothing more then a conduit for mudslinging and misinformation. The internet in general is a polluted sea of garbage you have to wade through to find some real worthwhile stuff, and blogs are no exception.

But for some a blog is nothing more then a soapbox they can stand on and preach and hope someone sees their point of view. It’s like walking through a bazaar of self proclaiming prophets and seers who will tell you what they know is truth and what they say is gospel.

So how do you safe guard yourself? What can you do to make sure the information you post is correct and not opinion?

I’m not sure I have the answer really. I can tell you what I do. I email, I call, I search for the topic in more then one location, and I ask a lot of questions. I’m not saying that this is the right thing to do in regards to finding out fact vs fiction, but its what I know to do right now.

And sometimes Im very wrong in what I report. But if I can catch it, and I can look deeper into it Ill try my best to face the facts and own up to the fact I was wrong, and if I can find the right information Ill tell you about it. That’s all I can promise.

Now it sounds by now that I’m defending myself and my blog. Yeah, you’re probably right, but Batali makes a damn good point and brings the issue to forefront of my mind.

He ends his post by saying:
But, in the end, I do not hate the blogger. I just expect, and want, more from many of them.

He’s absolutely right. There’s too much misinformation already, I refuse to add to the garbage. So, I hope in some small way, that I meet those expectations Mr. Batali.. and if I do not, then I hope to improve till I do.

Monday, June 18, 2007

As Promised

I posted a story about Kellogg removing all marketing for children under the age of 12. This included ceasing using cartoon characters to appeal to children and adding toys to cereal boxes.

The article in question gave the impression to readers that the change in marketing was done voluntarily, but was brought on by the possibility of a few lawsuits from activist groups.

I thought how good it was of Kellogg to take the initiative and realize that maybe getting kids to stuff their faces with sugary cereal each and every morning instead of eating a decent breakfast wasn’t the best plan for American health issues.

But alas, as it turns out there’s more to this story then meets the eye.

Turns out there was a settlement in a case between CCFC, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and Kellogg. Backed by a pending lawsuit from two Massachusetts parents (whom, I’m gonna bet money here, blame Kellogg for their child(s) obesity) sought to change Kellogg marketing strategy toward children.

After more then a year of negotiations Kellogg has agreed to restrictions on marketing to children. This includes ending marketing to children INSIDE public schools and restrict use of licensed media characters.

Here’s a list that was agreed upon:

Food advertised on media-including TV, Radio, Print, and 3rd party websites- that have and audience of 50% or more children under the age of 12 will have to meet Kellogg's new nutrition standards, which require that one serving of food has:
-No more then 200 calories
-No Trans fat and no more then 2 grams saturated fat
-no more then 230 milligrams of sodium (Except Eggos frozen waffles)
-No more then 12 grams of sugar (Excluding sugar from fruit dairy and vegetables)

In addition Kellogg will not:
-Advertise to children under 12 in schools and preschools
-Sponsor product placements for any products in any medium primarily directed at kids under 12
-Use licensed characters on mass-media advertising directed primarily to kids under 12, as a basis for a food form, or on the front labels of food packages unless those foods meet nutritional standards.
-Use branded toys in connection with foods that do not meet the nutrition standards.

Now it’s great that the company is doing this, it’s really a positive step in the right direction to getting kids to pay attention to what they eat and think about eating better.

But shame on Kellogg for spinning this as almost completely voluntary. Makes you sound like a Hero, when in fact you’re just doing what you agreed to.

Let’s hope other companies wise up soon and follow suit.

Now if you’ll excuse me..
I have a box of Lucky Charms calling my name

Documenting The End of an Era

Bob Del Grosso has come up with a wonderful idea...

Hes going to document the death of Foie Gras in the US.

Stay with me on this one, cause its a good idea.

"I've decided that it's only a matter of time until the tiny American foie gras industry is wiped off the map. To mark it's passing I've made a map that to track news about protests, legislation and special actions by animal rights commandos against restaurants and farmers."

So help him out, if you see a story or hear of something that contributes to bringing an end to Foie Gras in the US let him know so he can find and tag it.

Dont send him info about people fighting against the ban or people FOR Foie.. just the movements against Foie.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Soundoff Sundays

Ive come to realize that I spend alot of time on this blog discussing and reporting on topics regarding the food industry, but dont spend alot of time talking about food.

Funky, I know.

In my downtime I spend alot of time searching the web for other foodies and reading what they are up to. I have come to really enjoy alot of these sites and blogs we are all committed to.

So I have decided to start a weekly segment Im going to call:

Shoutout Sundays.

Every Sunday I will post a link to a site I read, follow, or respect. I hope you all follow the link, bookmark, and enjoy these sites as much as I do.

So without any further delay...

I am pleased to give you Petit Chou.

This site is run soley by Julianne, AKA Petit Chou. Great photos as well as the feeling that she just plain loves food. It hasnt been updated since the end of 2006 (Hope all is well with her) but reading the backlog is well worth it.


Truth in News...

Wise man once said:

"Never believe everything you read."

Oh how very true this can be.
I have it on good authority that Kelloggs move to remove childrens advertising wasnt exactly as "Voluntary" as they are spinning it to be. The article makes some mention of possible laws to be passed and a lawsuit against Kellogg, but my understanding of this is a law was passed restricting the use of certain marketing methods in regards to children under the age of 12.

Im awaiting the hard evidence from a source, but suffice it say if this is the case.. for shame.

I will post again once I have a chance to review the facts as they stand.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Down to Business

Ive been doing alot of opinion pieces as of late, and while those are fine I want to take a step back from them for a bit. For the record though, my opinions are not set in stone. I welcome debate and fact vs fiction at all times during a matter of opinion. There are things I am opinionated about, but am probably wrong because of misinformation or a skewed viewpoint. So to anyone who reads this blog, please feel free to debate with me, I may end up seeing things better your way or vis verse.

But now, on to today topic: Books.

There are now millions upon millions of books written, being written, or in the process of being thought to be written in the world. I want to share with you some of my personal favorites. These are all books Ive enjoyed more then once and will probably read again and again and again.

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First up we have Lessons in Excellence with Charlie Trotter.

This is actually the first culinary book I had ever bought, back in my youth so long ago (So it seems). I bought the book thinking it would be an in depth look at how Chef Trotter runs his kitchen, and it was.. but it was also much more then that. It really gives you a chance to crawl inside the mans head and take a look at how he sees business. It goes into detail about the standards and practices he expects his staff and himself to uphold at his restaurant.

Its really a great book to read even if your outside the restaurant business. Its a great view of how a man and his vison has been successful.

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The Making of a Chef Michael Ruhlman

Not like I even have to mention why this book makes it on the list, but for the sake of argument...

Michael Ruhlman does a outright fantastic job of giving you a first person view of the life of a Culinary Arts student, more directly one that attends the CIA. Ive read this book, I dont know how many times, and each time I read it Im reminded of why Ive choosen to do what I do. This feeling is shared by so many people at this point having this book NOT on my list would probably cause me to be blackballed.

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Cooking for Kings: The First Celebrity Chef by Ian Kelly

This book is all about Antonin Careme, the first highly regarded chef and considered the father of modern kitchens. You get a very good view of the life of a young cook who seeks to become a great chef, and you also realize that even in history half of getting anywhere is who you know.

Through well placed connections Careme ends up under the service of both Nepoleon and Czar Alexander. The book also contains diagrams of banquets, copies of menus, and pictures.

A really good read about the history and changes in kitchens.

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Les Halles Cookbook.

All around good read and good cookbook.

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French Laundry Cookbook.

Also a VERY good read. Great tips and basics in this book. Not only that, the pictures are awsome.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Couple of articles

Just a few articles I want to point out that I think are noteworthy.

Kellogg Foods to Phase Out Children’s Marketing Campaign In pursuit of leading children to eat better and think about eating healthier Kellogg’s is phasing out its advertising campaign aimed at children.

"Kellogg also announced that it would stop using licensed characters or branded toys to promote foods unless the products meet the nutrition guidelines."

Good for them....Tucan Sam was reported as saying:

"What am I gonna do now?! I have three brats to feed, and they dont even like Fruit Loops!"
(Just kidding... Tucan Sam has yet to comment.)


Pixar Keeps It Real. Pixar studies sent staff members to follow around chefs like Thomas Keller in preparation for their upcoming movie Ratatouille. I was excited to see this movie to begin with (Much like how I love the chef scene in Little Mermaid ..ok maybe ive said to much) but now with seeing this article I’m really excited.

Mr. Keller, who has lent his name to a companion children’s cookbook for the film and is the voice of a restaurant patron, helped guide the culinary education of the Pixar team and subsequently became friends with Mr. Lewis, the producer.

The chef’s handiwork is most evident in the final dish, the one on which the entire plot hangs. The dish is the movie’s namesake, and needs to be so special it will impress the restaurant critic.

Mr. Keller cooked a fancy layered version of ratatouille called confit byaldi. “We had to think about what would make the food transformed,” Mr. Keller said. “What would transport him back to his childhood in a Proustian sort of way.”


Foie Gras Ban Upheld In Chicago

sigh... How I wish these people would just go away. Now for the record I’ve had Foie Gras (Goose Liver) twice in my life. While not a big fan of it, I respect its many and diverse uses. To make matters worse, the activist movement to ban Foie entirely has reached Philly, where these people see fit to stand outside respectable places of business and protest..often making diners very uncomfortable.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Don Herbert (AKA "Mr. Wizard") passed away today.

I loved that show, much like Mr. Rogers he spent his time teaching kids the joy of education, and more importantly the importance of having fun while learning.

Also, the man wasnt afraid to blow stuff up on his show!

I wonder if I could get copies of the old shows for my son?....

Putting Two Together

I’ve been thinking a lot about two subjects.

One of which was Ruhlman's entry about Masa, the other was the conversation I had with a classmate about her desire to leave the food industry.

It wasn’t until I began to think about them both, together as a single issue or thought that a question popped into my mind.

Why DO we choose to cook?

Cooking is one of those really weird human traits sometimes. Some people cook when they get depressed or stressed (Ever seen someone’s mother go hog wild in the kitchen after a family member or friend dies?), some people cook for the sheer joy of it (Julia Child, oh why have you left us?!) while some cook for pure profit (Countless chains and franchises).

So what is the most common motivator? what is the one most common thing that draws us to do that work that is sometimes deemed as so manual labor, so below normal working "class"?

To be honest I don’t have the answer. I have theories and thoughts about the subject, but definite answers.

For years I have been asking people why they got into cooking/the food industry. The most common answer has always been, and probably always will be, "I love to cook, so I thought why not". Now there have been a few exceptions to this rule.. Some of the more interesting responses I have heard have been:

"I want to be a celebrity chef"

"My mom and dad said I had to choose something, so I choose this"

"I was bored"

"I don’t even like to cook, but my mom thought it would be a good idea"

Serious as a heart attack here, honest to god replies.

Underlying all of this though I’ve found one common trait in all the serious cooks I’ve ever met. As gruff and dirty as we seem sometimes, as angry and cold as much of us tend to get in the kitchen sometimes, were all there to provide a service to the public, to our fellow man.

My classmate was quoted as saying:
"It’s the mentality of the business, everyone just cares about themselves. I want to, I don’t know, help people. That and its all about food, just food."

But what if it’s really more then that? What if it really IS about helping people?

At the end of the day when you get home from work do you say to yourself "I did a lot of good today, I helped people.", probably not. It’s really not a forward thought on our minds, but I think it exists in the back of our minds.

I know, for me and only me I speak here, that when I get home from a job in a kitchen I say to myself:

"I cooked some good stuff today, I made people happy, and that’s why I love to do what I do".

There’s truth in that, I’m left to wonder how many cooks/chefs also say that to themselves. I know I can’t be alone in how I feel about it, because how many chefs hold their breath and wait for the table to smile when they put out that first special of the night? How many go that extra mile to ensure the guest is happy?

We may not be in a third world country building wells, or on a Mercy Ship feeding hundreds of relief/humanitarian workers (Tyrone I’m looking at you buddy, Kudos!) but some of us "Help" people by making them smile, make them forget about the world outside for five minutes and enjoy an hour or so of tranquil peace.

I reread Ruhlmans post again and found a quote that provides insight into what I’m saying and Ill leave you on that:

“Some people accumulate the money a little bit all year,” he continued, recalling a specific customer. “Old woman. ‘Masa, I come here once a year.’ Herself. Not fancy.” The thought of this woman, who saved all year each year for one of his meals, here in the dimly lit, quiet restaurant, moves him, and I see he is about to cry. He rubs his eyes to stop himself. “That’s all we can do, you know. A hundred percent. That kind of face, when I see, I love. I’m soooo happy what I did. I spend a long time working. This is my best customer. Even no money. They understand. That’s why I can do.”

Friday, June 8, 2007

Hail Hail The Weekend is Here!

A quote from The French Laundry

"Staff meal was first about the fundamentals of cooking and how to work with by-products, using scrapsto make something tasty, eye-appealing, and satisfying. But the message underlying was "Can you be passionate about cooking at this level?" staff meal. Only the staff sees it. If you can make great food for these people, create that habit, have that drive, that sincerity, and keep that with you and take it to another level in the staff meal, then someday you'll be a great chef. Maybe"

First Course "Importance of Staff Meal" pg. 115

There are a few things Id like to touch on about this quote. I was talking with a classmate today after class. She was very frustrated with culinary school in general and when I asked to detail what it was that was bothering her, her response was:

"It’s the mentality of the business, everyone just cares about themselves. I want to, I don’t know, help people. That and its all about food, just food."

This brings up a really interesting aspect of the food industry as a whole. I think the best analogy I have ever heard in reference to the industry was:

"You know Little Shop of Horrors right? Well you know how at first Seymour just has to feed the plant blood from his finger, then cuts of raw meat, then whole people? Yeah, Plant=Food Industry. It’ll eat you alive; eat your whole life alive, if you let it."

I’ve found this to be so very true, but not without exception. The key to this quote and the quote from Thomas Keller are almost one in the same, in premise. "If you let it"/"..Keep that with you and take it to another level..", both of these have an underlying principle about the food industry and cooking all together.

If you have a vision, a dream of what you want to do you can’t let the work stand in your way. You can let the work bend you, or you can bend the work. But to bend the work it takes work. It takes sacrifice, blood, sweat, and tears. Those are the cost of dreams.

Keller makes an excellent point about family meal. It’s the most basic meal in the kitchen and you can either throw things together in a pot-luck sort of manner or you can give a damn and try. You can apply knowledge and skill and make something you can be proud of, something you would be proud to serve to your fellow foodies.

Think of it this way, if your parents or your spouse were to walk into your restaurant wouldn’t you want to go the extra mile for them to show them your skill? Same should apply to family meal, hell, even more then family meal it should apply to everything you do in the kitchen.

The biggest obstacle to this? Laziness. I would bet all $2.85 in my bank account that that’s the case.

Doing things to a point of "excellence" is hard work. No matter what field you’re in, you have to work hard and have people under you work just as hard to reach that point. Once your there you run the risk of getting "burnt out" quickly. It takes effort, time, and energy to maintain it.

But we are reminded by Keller that if we can maintain and strive for that point of excellence in even the simplest of things, we can surely maintain it in the greatest of things. The only thing holding us back is ourselves, we are our greatest obstacle.

So my response to my classmate:

"You could give up and quit, even though you’re not happy. But you have to look at every aspect, look at the small detail. Will you be happy in 5 years with your choice? Will you regret what you’ve done? You have to do what makes you happy, but sometimes what makes you happy isn’t what you need. Do what you feel you need to do, just remember the devil is in the details. Think about your choice long and hard before you make it, and make the one that suits you the best.

Be aware though, that no matter the choice there will be sacrifice. The sacrifice may be small or large depending on the choice you make and what you value. Sacrifice personal happiness now for a degree that may open doors to do something you really love? or leave now and search for that thing to do, sacrifice being the loss of a degree that might have or have not helped. Really it comes down to how you feel, but don’t think the whole industry is like what you’ve experienced so far, there are some out there that feel the same way you do, I’m sure of that. You just have to find each other."

She didn’t come to nutrition class, but I hope to see her on Monday in class. To come this far and not finish would be a shame in my opinion. No matter what she does, I hope she finds what she’s looking for.

..Then someday you'll be happy. Maybe.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A good Video

Was poking around on and found this video. Its all about GMO's (Geneticly Modified Food). Heres a few clips.

The Future of Food

Part I

Part II

Part III

For more info check out

Ruhlman Chimes in

Michael Ruhlman has added in his two cents on the food art debate, standing by his stance that "I feel the need to say it again: food is not art, and chefs are not artists".

"Cooking is a craft that can be raised to artful levels, but a craft only and always."

Though this statement seems rather pessimistic to me, even as much of a lover of food as we know him to truely be (The man has eaten things I can only dream of) Im left to wonder why this point of view from someone so looked to as a "foodie guru".

Not without a good amount of words to back up his claim on how he sees the world of food in relation to art, he stands firmly by his thoughts when some of us, if not most of us, are trying to find where we can squeeze food into the "Art" world.

The post includes a excert from "Reach of a Chef" (Which Im sad to say I have yet a chance to read... if I could squeeze a couple more dollars out of my account maybe Ill get a copy soon) in which he talks about Masayoshi Takayama Chef/Owner of Masa.

He describes Masa as an artist, and by all accounts rightfuly so. Recieving 4 stars from the NY Times, among other amazing reviews, the restaurant has become a sort of Mecca for sushi/sashimi lovers the world over.

Ruhlman spares no details about Masa's work, giving you a sense of sitting right there at the table watching the man work. Silently and perfectly going about everything he does like some kind of food brain surgeon.

It leaves me wondering if I even want to call food "Art" lest I spoil the beauty of what happens at places like Masa. The simplicity and attention to detail alone make it a almost holy land of food.

So regardless if you consider it art or not, you must bow and accept this as beauty.

Now, if only medical science would hurry up and find a cure for shellfish allergies Id save my 400$ and be there in no time.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Humble Pie You Say?

Ill have a slice please!

So far to date, and much to my surprise, the votes have Picture C as the leading example of "Food Art", with Picture A a close second.

What I have realized, through discussion, debate, and research is that what we perceive as art is heavily based on "Opinion". Also the whole idea of "Intent" was just recently brought to my attention, an idea that leads to a whole series of other debates and questions. But let’s look at what I know now...

A) Art in a general sense is considered so by the opinion and the agreement of the Majority.

B) Food itself can be art, as suggested by paintings depicting Breads, Fruits, and Vegetables. The focus of the painting being these items and nothing else, suggesting the artist saw these items as beautiful by themselves.

C) The idea of food being art is a growing opinion in this country. Allowing chefs to become freer to experiment with plate presentation.

The debate of "What is art?" is nothing new, and it may never truly be answered. Mainly due to the fact that there is no REAL answer to that question. Its opinion, art is opinion in its most simple form. Some see Piss Christ as art, while others see it as Heresy, Some see the Mona Lisa as a timeless classic, while others see her as "That one chick" (Actual quote I kid you not).

But it’s the majority opinion that allows us to socially except something as "Art". It’s the masses that decide beauty in creative form and the masses are beginning to see the beauty in food.

So, the question that remains today, for me at least, is this:
Why, if the majority sees food as art, does the art community still consider food "Not Art"? What would it take for them to see otherwise?

This of course is a gross generalization based of articles I’ve read and stories I’ve heard, the loud voices of a few speaking for a whole community is never a good thing. But it’s the loud voices that form public opinion, and right now Id have to say public opinion matches my question.

****side note***
I am still awaiting a response from both Harvard and Yale Visual Arts Departments as to their official stance on what "Art is" and if they consider food art/food to be art. I’m really interested to see what comes back and Ill share with you the second I hear.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Debate Gets Heated

After talking and debating the idea of food art and what makes it so/not so a little more I realized something.

What determines what we perceve as art is different per person, but a majority have like ideas and thoughts about "art" in general.

Now in one debate it was mentioned about using ketchup to paint a picture. I remembered some time ago seeing a Youtube video of this EXACT thing, and apperantly it was so popular the artist ended up on CNN.

So here adds another avenue of debate...
Lets continue..

Monday, June 4, 2007

Catching Up

Still have some work ahead of me here, but I spent some time today catching up on some of my favorite blogs.

One group of posts by Bob Del Grosso in particular really caught my attention and got me thinking. Basicly to sum it up the repeated theme was "Art/Food Art" and discussions arose at to what one would consider art in relation to food.

Ive always had a strong stance that Food in general, when cooked well and prepared neatly and beautifuly can be "Art", while macaroni pictures and artists who use peanut butter and jelly on a canvas are not in any way "Art".

After a short discussion with my roommate I came to realize that in some ways Im a hypocrite when it comes to what I percieve as food art and what I percieve as "art".

So, lets clarify.
Art is defined as (in part):
1. the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.

With that in mind any number of things, even *cringe* PBJ canvas painting, can be considered "Art". Now remove the uppidy societicrites(I totaly just made that word up) who will tell you that art must "not be afraid to scare or upset its viewer" or tell in general what "makes" art and what doesnt and lets look at the general picture of Food in relation to Art.

I have a poll placed on the right hand of this blog. Please take a look at the following 4 pictures and you tell me which you would consider to be "Food Art" if we define food art as followed:
Food Art- the creation of a piece to be considred which base medium is food in which adhears to the (above) definition of "Art".

So here are your choices:

Example A: Croquette Potato as served at Alinea
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Example B: Pomegranite photo (Example of Food Photography)
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Example C: I Cake Marti Guixe design artist. Cake is made as a pie chart to show the amount of cake ingredients.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Example D: Random Google Photo.. dont ask me what the heck it is!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

So take a minute, Vote and Ill post the results in a few days to see what we all think makes up "Food Art."

Good Eating!

Friday, June 1, 2007

The Cost of a Dream

Now that the first few days of classes are done and the weekend has come I thought Id get a real post done and out of the way.

I want to touch back for a second on a previous post about the current state of Culinary students and their loan situations by Kim Severson. I posted my feelings about the article previously but a series of events that took place upon my return to school leads me to touch on it in a little more, personal detail.

During my externship (A required part of the education here at the CIA) I filed my FAFSA and waited patiently to see what kind of Federal Aid I could be award to assist with the final cost of the 7.5 more months left till the end of my AOS. I heard back from the finacial aid department at school and was under the assumption(Theres that word!) that my federal aid was actually over the amount required and I was all set.

I called twice after to ensure that there were no costs that were being missed, I wass assured that all was right with the world.

Fast forward a few months to day 2 of re-orientation. Im standing in the bursars office at 8 am waiting to get my pink slip filled in so I could go about classes the next day. I approach the window, say goodmorning to which is replied..

"Welcome back! ok, thatll be 6,626$ please..."

The look on my face must have been something like me witnessing this womens head spliting open and leprichans doing a tap dance out of the empty shell because she almost lurched back in her chair when she looked up from the computer screen.

After talking with the bursars office it turns out I do not owe the school 6 grand..
No, I owe them 12 grand.

How on earth does this happen? I thought to myself.

Well turns out the finacial aid office does not have the data for on campus boarding. Which brings me to where I stand now.

With a month reprieve from the bursars office (on a 2 grand goodfaith deposit) I have to come up with 12 grand by July 1st, or Im out on my.. well you get the idea.

Now this brings me directly to my current status and my rant. Ready? cause here I go.

As a student who is planning on finishing his degree and attempting to use his education to improve his life how is it that my tiny little dream should cost me roughly 50,000 US Dollars to obtain?

And I have it kind of easy. Foriegn students are paying close to 65,000 right now for an AOS.

College has always been, and probably always will be, one of the most expensive endevors one will ever undertake in their life. Of that I am sure and well aware, but what I dont understand is for as much as is paid for this education youd think we could at least know before were standing in a corner how much is due.

I must have called the Finacial aid office a hundred times before returning, mostly out of fear that I was missing something. Had that office and the bursars/resident life/whoever communicated effectivly what was still due on my account I would have been able to secure a loan in the time I had.

Instead I am now scrambling to secure a loan in t minus 30 days and counting.

So, Whats the cost of a dream?
Stress and frustration would have to be my answer at the moment.