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Culture Features Hacks Restaurants

10 Pro Chefs Reveal What They Do With Their Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and while everyone’s planning what to cook for dinner, I’m trying to figure out what to do with the inevitable leftovers that come with a large family that refuses to take food home. Usually there will be Tupperware containers stacked with stuffing, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, ham, and veggies sitting in my fridge that last well into Cyber Monday.

My go-to move is to plop everything onto a plate and introduce it to Mister Microwave. Lazy, yes, but it gets the job done. This year, I told myself I’d put a little more effort into my leftovers and was left wondering what professional chefs do with their extra holiday food the day after Turkey Day.

Photo courtesy of Josh Elkin

These ten professional chefs from across the country reveal their unique takes on tackling Thanksgiving leftovers. Check out what they have to say.


Jason Fullilove (Barbara Jean)

Photo courtesy of Peter Pham

“I like to make a Thanksgiving leftover pot pie with a simple 3-2-1 pie dough!” chef Fullilove shares.

Carmine Di Giovanni (Aunt Jake’s)

 

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“I love to whip up chili with my leftover turkey and vegetables, and then make croutons from the stuffing,” gushes Chef Di Giovanni. “It’s easy to make with everything that’s still in your fridge and doesn’t take a ton of time to put together. It’s also perfect for dinner the day after Thanksgiving and you still have family staying at your house.”

Molly Martin and Lyndi Stein (Juniper Green)

Photo courtesy of Hannah Schneider Creative

“We love to make a simple curry with leftover vegetables,” the culinary duo explain. “We usually have Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, roasted root vegetables, and maybe a spare onion and potato left. Fry up some sliced garlic, onion and ginger if you have it, then add red or green Thai curry paste, a little turkey stock (or even water), and a can or two of coconut milk.”

They add:

“If you have a can of chickpeas lying around, throw it in. Simmer your leftover veg in it just until it’s all warmed through and has a chance to marry and adjust the seasoning. We serve it over rice with lime wedges and cilantro for a comforting bowl that won’t leave you feeling like you need another nap.”

Linh Nguyen (Fleenor’s on 4th)

 

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“I like to make savory bread pudding out of the leftover stuffing, shred up some turkey and add gravy plus a couple fried eggs,” chef Nguyen says. “I call it my Thanksgiving Loco Moco!”

Jake Strang (L27)

Courtesy of Hannah Schneider Creative

“I like to take the dressing (or stuffing) and patty it out,” says Chef Strang. “You get a non-stick pan with a little butter and fry the patties until crispy. Then top with turkey that’s heated up in gravy until it shreds apart. Dump that over the top the crispy stuffing, top with a dollop of cranberry sauce and, if you’re feeling particularly healthy, some leftover green beans that have been slightly overcooked. It’s heaven!”

Greg Biggers (Fort Louise)

Photo courtesy Derek Richmond

“First of all, the [Thanksgiving] sandwich requires sturdy bread but not chewy,” chef Biggers explains. “A well baked, large toasted brioche bun is my go-to. Next, the most important ingredient (surprisingly not the turkey) is the stuffing! I like to make a patty out of it similar to a crab cake then sear it off. Now, you can add everything else left from the table you can find; turkey, cranberry sauce, mayo, coleslaw, and top it off with a side dish of gravy to dip it in.”

Josh Elkin (@thejoshelkin)

 

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“It changes every year, which is the fun part,” the YouTube celebrity chef shared excitedly. “Last year I made a leftover shooter sandwich. It’s a pressed sandwich packing in as much ingredients as I can fit. Weighing it down for a day and covering it in gravy. This year, I’m making a taco with a stuffing taco shell. It’s gonna be dumb smart. “

Nick Korbee (Egg Shop)

Photo courtesy of Hannah Schneider Creative

“Top a slice of bread with gravy, turkey, bacon and a tomato then broil away. When the bacon is crisp, and the gravy is bubbly, top this sandwich with a sunny up egg and enjoy!” Korbee instructs. “The prep for this classic sandwich can even be done while clearing the table. Build it on a cookie sheet and store in the fridge for an easy breakfast the next morning and save both time and Tupperware. If you’re feeling extra festive, substitute the tomato for cranberries for a little extra tang.”

Ed McFarland (Ed’s Lobster Bar)

Photo courtesy Hannah Schneider Creative

“I make Thanksgiving leftover meatballs,” McFarland dishes. “I grind the turkey, mix it with the stuffing and the cranberry sauce, form them into meatballs and heat it up in the turkey gravy. I like to do this because I use all the leftovers and every bite is the full taste of the Thanksgiving menu.”

Darryl Harmon (Clinton Hall)

Photo courtesy of Clinton Hall

“I take leftover pulled turkey, heat it up in the gravy with stuffing, cranberry sauce, baked apples and any vegetables I have from the day before,” offered Chef Harmon. “Then I take mashed potatoes and form into round mounds, add a dusting of flour (optional), and sear them on a griddle to make potato pancakes. Put the meat mixture in between and you have an amazing sandwich. Some people are weird about eating leftovers, but this twist is a fun, fresh take that my friends and family all love.”

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Culture Features Restaurants

Meet The Chef Who Treats His ‘Anti-Restaurant’ Like His Own Pad

Photo: Greg Rannells

When the idea of a restaurant formulates in my mind it goes straight to the dish. What’s the dish I always order when I go to a certain spot? What menu cornerstone makes my mouth salivate like a cartoon coyote at the sight of a blue-feathered cuckoo?

But what if the carte du jour was always changing at a restaurant? Imagine the menu will always change every day no matter what. That’s something Chef Ben Poremba experiences on the daily — and he LOVES it.

Poremba, owner of the Bengelina Hospitality Group, runs six different restaurants in St. Louis, Missouri. If you ask him which one of his spots mean the most to him, he’ll gladly tell you it’s The Benevolent King.

His customers fondly refer to it as the anti-restaurant.

What’s the Anti-Restaurant?

Photo: Greg Rannells

The “anti-restaurant,” a nomme de guerre created by his customers, refers to how chef Poremba runs the Benevelont King.

“I wanted to open a restaurant that’s basically the food I cook at home,” he explained.

The ever-changing menu is created by Chef Poremba every day, where his impulses dictate the offerings. He describes the take on Moroccan cuisine as whimsical because that’s where the dishes stem from — a whim.

When he decides what he wants, he’ll come in that morning before service begins to print out the new menu for that service.

Like his own home, Poremba hangs pictures of his son along the walls of his restaurant. On another wall, there is a rack that stores the restaurant’s equipment like blenders and meat grinders.

“[It’s] just kind of like a home where it’s like your domestic kitchen design,” he said. “I will put produce on the pass, and there’s a spice shelf right in the middle of the restaurant.”

Poremba even says the lounge area at the Benevolent King is nearly identical to the one in his living room.

“Everybody sees me, I see everybody, people will just come up and talk and I can shout to guests from the kitchen to across the room,” he laughed. “Unfortunately, or fortunately, they get my best days and not so best days!”

Before each service, he and his general manager battle over who controls the music.

“I created a few playlists that I love that include anywhere from traditional Moroccan music, to contemporary Israeli music, American pop, electronica, salsa — it’s just one big party and it’s very personal,” he explained.

Photo: Greg Rannells

Running a restaurant where the menu is never the same day-after-day has to be tough though, even if it’s an outlet for Poremba’s culinary expression.

“From the service perspective, it’s driving the staff crazy. The food can have different garnishes, and two orders of the same thing will often come out looking different depending on the time you come in. I want to keep it true to cooking at home. It’s all ingredient driven.”

For example, the other day Chef Poremba’s menu included a charred eggplant spread. Today, however, he felt like serving grilled octopus with a chermoula sauce.

With an incredibly small kitchen, the Benevolent King only has room for two chefs and a dishwasher. Poremba says it’s only about 100 square feet, laughing at the possibility of it probably being the smallest kitchen in America.

The restaurant’s structure is pretty different than the other, more traditional, restaurants Poremba opened. He admits it was tough handing the everyday reigns of the other spots over to someone else at first, but in the end it’s what made him happy.

“I missed cooking what I wanted to cook, the foods I enjoy for leisure,” he tells us.

Chef Ben Poremba

Photo: Greg Rannells

Born in Isreal, Poremba learned the art of crafting cuisine from his mother – who herself was a chef and culinary instructor for 40 years.

The Benevolent King is actually dedicated to Poremba’s mother who is a frequent visitor and “guest chef” at the restaurant.

“I love her food and her flavors,” Poremba tells us. “My mom decided she was going to help out. She’ll show up five minutes into service with an amazing eggplant dish.”

“I decided to stop by and you should serve this,” she’d tell him…which her dutiful son does.


Even though it’s grown from his passion, the Benevolent King is still a business. Poremba says the menu will still continue to evolve and change, but he’s working hard to implement a smoother structure for his staff. Regardless, he’s enjoying the hell out of his unfettered cooking experience.

Categories
Cravings Features Restaurants

Here’s Where These Pro Chefs Like To Eat After A Late-Night Shift

We’ve all had that late-night work shift that seems like it carries on for days. You know, the one where you end up so exhausted, that the thought of cooking dinner is simply not an option. When that happens, I have two go-to late night options.

The first is an In-N-Out Double Double with extra grilled onions, extra spread, and extra crispy fries. A tried and true fast food order. The second, if I’m too lazy to drive to In-N-Out, is breakfast at any 24-hour diner chain that serves eggs, bacon, and pancakes. I’m sure I’ve mentioned my love of breakfast at least once in these past six years.

That’s what a food writer’s go-to late night eats is. But have you ever wondered what professional chefs like to indulge in after a long dinner shift?

These nine amazing chefs from around the country share with us their favorite late night go-to’s.


Jason Fullilove (Barbara Jean| Los Angeles, CA)

Photo: Peter Pham

“In Mid-City, my go-to late night spot was El Carmen — great tequila and mezcal selection and tacos,” says chef Jason Fullilove of Barbara Jean LA. “If I feel like balling out I will take my staff to Pizzeria Mozza.”

Chef Fullilove also shares one of his go-to spots when he’s not on the clock.

“I live in Palms, a bit west of Culver City. I like to hit up Boardwalk 11, they have great burgers and will do them lettuce wrapped if you’re trying to cut weight!”

Eric Renz (Clinton Hall | New York, NY)

Photo: Andrew Werner

Chef Renz of NYC’s creative gastropub Clinton Hall says he always caps his nights at West Village’s Waverly Diner. There, he likes to order the Waverly Melt Sandwich which he pairs with a vanilla egg cream soda.

“The cheesy, greasy sandwich and the the slightly carbonated sweet egg cream always makes me feel genuine happiness after a night out.”

Tony Galzin (Nicky’s Coal Fired | Nashville, TN)

late-night

Photo: Danielle Atkins

Nicky’s Coal Fired is probably best known for their pizzas and pasta. Being around pies all day, chef Tony Galzin probably wants to end the night with something a bit different. His preference: fried buffalo wings.

 “They can’t be breaded or boneless though, and I’ll only eat them with traditional buffalo sauce. M.L. Rose in Nashville has the best buffalo wings in my opinion!”

Louis Tikaram (EP & LP | Los Angeles, CA)

Chef Louis Tikaram

Photo: Richard Guinto

EP & LP Asian restaurant and rooftop bar combines Thai cuisine with overtones of Chinese, Fijian, and Vietnamese fusion. The popular Los Angeles restaurant and rooftop bar is run by Australian native Louis Tikaram.

“My favorite late-night spot to take the EP crew post service is Ruen Pair in Thai Town,” the executive chef shares. “Its multi-region Thai menu is spicy, funky, and perfect with a cold beer after a busy week in the kitchen.”

Nick Korbee (Egg Shop | New York, NY)

late-night

Photo: Egg Shop

Chef Nick Korbee of Egg Shop in NYC is a man of two cities. Balancing his time between New York City and Los Angeles, Korbee has two late-night loves that he frequents.

“When in L.A., I can’t resist a late night danger dog. I’m not talking about a tourist trap spicy sausage. I’m referring to the bacon-wrapped version, grilled over a trash can on a steel plate.”

While in New York, however, he likes to indulge himself with a large slice of Sicilian pizza topped with tons of chili flakes.

Jeff Axline (Bobby Hotel | Nashville, TN)

late-night

Photo: The Bobby Hotel

You’ll find Chef Jeff Axline of the new Bobby Hotel, in Nashville located in Boutique Row, hunting down some spuds after a long shift.

“Any diner with good old-fashioned seasoned curly fries are my late-night staple,” says the executive chef of the boutique hotel’s Bobby’s Tavern. It’s as simple as that.

James Reamy (Meatzilla | Los Angeles, CA)

late-night

Photo: James Reamy

Chef James Reamy, known for slinging pizza-topped burgers to the hungry masses in Downtown Los Angeles, says that when he’s off from work super late and looking for cheap comfort food and alcohol, his favorite spot is Nodaji in Rowland Heights.

“It’s nothing special, you won’t see Jonathan Gold chillin’ there or kids who have Eater favorited on their web browser — how I usually like it.”

Reamy says he was introduced to Nodaji by a friend a few years ago and instantly fell in love with the place.

“It’s just a good low-key spot that serves casual Korean/Japanese food late and soju even later to the local community,” Reamy tells FOODBEAST. “They have these trashy bulgogi fries — crinkle cut, canned nacho cheese, you know the drill — that were actually the inspiration for the bulgogi fries I put on the menu at Meatzilla!”

Esther Choi (mŏkbar | New York, NY)

late-night

Photo: mŏkbar

Chef Esther Choi of NYC’s mŏkbar specializes in Korean cuisine with a modern approach. When she’s ready to unwind after a long shift or some drinks, however, she says not much holds a candle to Chinese food.

“Let’s be honest, nothing soaks up late night booze like Chinese food.”

Choi says that her favorite late-night spot is Wo Hop City in Chinatown.

Chef Dave Anoia  (DiAnoia’s Eatery | Pittsburgh, PA)

late-night

Photo: Hannah Schneider Creative

DiAnoia’s Eatery is an Italian restaurant in Pittsburgh that’s an Italian deli and cafe during the day and a full-on restaurant at night. Chef Dave Anoia, who’s also the owner of DiAnoia’s, likes to treat himself to a little fast food when he closes his doors for the evening.

“My go-to order is the Cheesy Gordita Crunch,” says Anoia who likes to hit up Taco Bell’s drive-thru. “It’s my ultimate guilty pleasure.”

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#foodbeast Hit-Or-Miss Opinion

Should Chefs Decline Requests to Make Modifications to Their Food?

I’m a firm believer that food is art, and chefs are artists. The chef is the one with the vision and they bring it to life, so they have the right to control how their food is served – without modifications if they so choose – regardless of dietary preference or restrictions.

After all, if you were paying a painter to commission a piece of art for your home and you were colorblind, you wouldn’t ask them to omit red and green from their creation… or would you?

There of course can be a conflict between maintaining the integrity of a dish when trying to please a customer. But do all alterations, no matter the size or degree of effort, affect a dish in a drastic way?

I ran into this very issue on a recent trip to Animal, a pretty popular restaurant here in LA. I told the server I couldn’t eat gluten or dairy, which evoked a panicked look I have become pretty accustomed to by now.

I’ve worked at a restaurant. I totally get it. I know how difficult it is to make modifications during a busy dinner service. I also understand how a chef’s signature dish might be slightly different if they prepare it in a way that adheres to my restrictions. But, I didn’t choose to be cursed with a weak digestive system. If I could smite the God that made it this way, I would.

Trust me when I say we gluten-free folk don’t get our jollies from being difficult. We just want to go to the hotspots in town and still feel like a normal human rather than a pariah who probably would have been eliminated from society if natural selection was still a thing.

After 10-15 minutes of waiting, the manager came to my table after meeting with the chef to give me a copy of their menu with notes on what dishes I could eat. Every single item was crossed off except one, because everything contained either gluten or dairy, and they had a strict no modification policy.

Either that, or the $120 bone-in ribeye with half the ingredients (listed as MP) which mysteriously was the only dish they were okay with “modifying” by omission, and also the most expensive on the menu.

It should be mentioned that I would have been able to eat one of the dishes if they just didn’t put the fried shallots on top as a garnish.

Sure, there are people who choose a particular lifestyle like gluten-free because they think it’ll make them lose weight, yet all they eat are substitution products like crackers and cookies made from rice flour, which has a higher carb content than wheat thereby negating that whole weight loss plan. People like that ruin dining for those that actually have severe intolerances or allergies.

It’s these people that are instilling doubt in servers and chefs and tainting the restaurant experience for those who have been gluten-free since before it was popular because they have to be. I’d go into detail about what happens to me when I eat gluten, but I don’t want you to barf up your lunch.

But regardless of why someone doesn’t eat something, I would think the point of opening a restaurant is so people from all dietary walks of life can enjoy your food. Of course, I’m not saying every item on the menu should be up for grabs.

It would be a straight-up crime to make a dairy-free fettuccine alfredo or a gluten-free Beef Wellington because the items in question are debatably the most important ingredients of the dish. But in the grand scheme of things, it really would not kill you to cook that chicken piccata in olive oil rather than butter, and I’ve eaten many a steak tartare without bread and enjoyed it just the same.

Part of this is the customer’s responsibility, however. I rarely go to Italian restaurants because most of the things worth eating have gluten or dairy. There’s no way in hell I’d go to Babbo and ask Mario Batali if he can make his pappardelle bolognese gluten-free, because even if his restaurant did serve gluten-free pasta, it would most likely be outsourced instead of made in-house to avoid cross contamination. So in the end it wouldn’t even be a good representation of their food anyways.

All I’m asking for is some common sense:

From the customer – It is not a badge of honor to be a difficult patron. Being high maintenance doesn’t mean you are important or distinguished. Make your server and the chef’s life as easy as possible. If you’ve never worked in the food industry before, chances are you have absolutely no idea how many steps go into making your meal. If you’re pretty sure a dish is like 50% made of stuff you can’t eat, don’t order it.

From the chef – I really do think some rationality should be taken into account in your quest to find the best way to preserve your art and get your message across. If it’s as simple as just leaving one ingredient off the plate, I feel like that is not a ludicrous request. If like 4 of the 6 ingredients are off-limits, obviously tell the customer that dish isn’t going to work out.

The dining experience should be about showcasing your skills and creating a menu that has something accessible to all excited patrons rather than just those who are blessed enough to have a stomach of steel or those willing to endure a night of pure agony.

Because after all, art is meant to be shared… and in the culinary world, tasted.

Categories
Cravings Features Restaurants

16 Chefs & Cooks Confess Their Most Hated Thing To Make

mozz-stick-stk-01

To anyone who has ever worked in the food and restaurant industry, there has certainly been that one item that you just dread having to make.

A group of chefs and restaurant cooks were recently asked what their least favorite dish to prepare was from the menu where they worked. The question was met with an overwhelming response that highlighted dishes that were either annoying to make, tedious, or simply too dangerous to be worth the trouble.

Because it’s still Reddit, please take these stories with a grain of salt. Also, regardless of these responses, it’s still a chef’s job to prepare whatever the customers’ menu choices are so don’t let these stories deter you from ordering what you want at a restaurant.

Dig in!


Poached-Egg-Stk-001-2014

Mother-f*cking poached eggs.

Let me tell you a story. It’s Sunday, you went HARD last night. So did everyone else on your crew, you’re all running on four hours of sleep on the sixth day of your shift because Monday is the day the restaurant is closed.

Last month the owner decided BRUNCH WAS A GOOD IDEA. So that fat bastard and his friends could come in and drink mimosas all day.

You put on two pots of water and add just the right amount of vinegar to them keeping one just warm and the other in front of it just under boiling. You know two isn’t enough for service, but you don’t have space for anymore. It’s like seeing that your car doesn’t have any brakes but driving towards a cliff anyways, but what can you do? It’s service time!

ORDERING: 3 benny, 4 frittata, 2 lobster grits, 1 fruit platter, 10 muesli.

The day begins, the water of pot one starts getting cloudy from the first six eggs dropped for the benedicts. Two hours pass, pot one is now only half full, looks like milk with bits in it, you can smell the vinegar in it searing on the sides of the pot. That’s one down, you run it to dish, put a rush on it but you know the dishwasher is backed up, one pot left.

Three more hours pass, as the poached egg orders keep coming and the water gets worse you start adding in extra eggs to compensate for the ones you break trying to get them out.

It’s eleven thirty, ORDER: 8 benny – SOS 4, Hardpoach 2. That’s the moment. THAT’S THE MOTHERFUCKING MOMENT THE WATER SHITS THE BED.

The mass of eggwhite on the bottom and the opacity of the water makes putting in 16 eggs impossible, let alone the 18-20 you’d need to actually get the order done.

The first pot doesn’t even have water in it. Your head is still fucking throbbing and why the fuck do you even have to deal with this shit on a SUNDAY HOLY SHIT WE STILL HAVE DINNER SERVICE FUCKING KILL ME JOSE JUST SLIT MY FUCKING THROAT NOW JOSE I CAN’T FUCKING TAKE IT.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why I hate making poached eggs.


Endless quesadillas

When I was a cook I used to hate making quesadillas. We made them in skillets and I only had 6 burners to cook everything in my part of the kitchen with. When groups would come in and order four quesos and some other dishes and I would get yelled at because I took longer than the 15 minute window we were given drove me mad sometimes.

Yes they are easy to make. Just that they take up too much space and cause a back up of tickets when they come in bunches.


Built-in bias

Just a cook here but I HATE making Chicago dogs. I work at a mom and pop ice cream and sandwich shop and the shear amount of things I have to pile on one hot dog and try and make it presentable annoys the shit out of me. There are a lot more labor intensive items but nothing annoys me like that damn dog

Also I hate Chicago dogs anyway so… maybe just a built in bias


Things fall apart

When I worked at Panera everyone hated making the roasted turkey avacado BLT. It was on the smallest bread and would always fall apart.


“Cheeseboards, Assemble!”

Cheese-Board-StockSnap-001

Fucking cheese boards. Nothing is more annoying than having to get a cheeseboard out in the middle of a busy service.


500 dabs genuinely hurts

I’m a catering cook and we have a number of things that are rather annoying. Any sort of passed “puff,” because pâte á choux is a pain in the ass. Squeezing 500 dabs of it genuinely hurts. Roasted veg. 15 hotels pans of raw veg just gets boring to make. Fruit displays. They take a while to prep, and no one eats them. Prosciutto wrapped blue cheese filled dates. Yes, they are delicious, but I have to make 400 for your 200 guests and a lot of people don’t eat dates or blue cheese. Anything skewered. Again, a lot of labor. I’m sick of spring mix, goat cheese, apple, cider vin salads. Can we get a new trend?


bacon-stk-2016-oct-01

Bacon a mess

A sandwich with 6 different types of bacon, a maple bacon glaze and bacon aoli. It is an absolute mess and the glaze burns on the trays super easy once it’s put in the salamander.


“Gluten free, please.”

When someone wants something gluten free. Not enough people order gluten free so we don’t prep it beforehand. And gluten free pizza bases take ages to cook as opposed to normal. Just slows you down when it’s busy. I also always wonder if the person is actually a celiac or just decided to go gluten free because it’s the thing to do now.


Love what you do

This is going to sound super pretentious but….

As a chef, my number one job is to love everything I have to do.

If you do not put equal passion and honor and “love” for each dish and each customer who orders something difficult to make or custom order where they ask for everything on the side and well done you simply should not be cooking.

If a perfect night for me was only cooking the dishes I liked to cook the way I liked them I would never have a perfect night.

I try to push myself to constantly love the shit I hate, peeling veggies, butchering massive amounts of slimey product, shucking oysyers until my hands are numb, hell, even mopping.

This business has a huge rate of turnover, burnouts, and frankly assholery that is totally a side effect of a Chef’s clockwork ability to learn a couple of advanced techniques and disciplines and then suddenly assume that they are God’s gift to cooking and that everybody else should kiss their ass, read their minds, and only order what makes the night “easy.”

The amount of psychological abuse a Chef does to themselves and others on a nightly basis is totally avoidable.

It really is a shame, because it is the service industry and it should be about serving people. I have a motto I learned from my first mentor, “Every man a king.”

 


Donut-Balls-StockSnap-01

The dreaded donut hole

I worked the overnight shift in a bakery. To this day, I don’t even like to eat donut holes, let alone make them. We had this giant stainless-steel gadget that I was supposed to fill, then crank so it dispensed small bits of batter into the deep fryer, but it was messy, time-consuming, and really a two-person job if only for purposes of basic kitchen safety. Also, they never really trained me on how to use that thing.


sampler-platter-stk-001

Might want to get that checked out, Chef

If it has the word “platter” involved, I feel my piss begin to boil.


“The bane of my existence.”

Not a chef, rather a bartender. Used to work at a bar that had two-for-one cocktails on a Wednesday night which applied to any cocktail we offered. For the most part, it was completely fine: line up a bunch of glasses, fill a bunch of shakers with the required booze and mixers, shake and tip into the glasses.

Mojito-StockSnap-002

Mojitos were the bane of my existence; took about 5 extra steps when making them and the mint stuck to the shaker so you couldn’t just rinse it and reuse it for the next drink. And they looked fancy so, without fail, as soon as I made a batch of mojitos for a customer (they typically ordered 6-8 at a time due to long lines), the next person would think “ooooh, they look good, I’ll order a round.” Cue me stuck behind the bar for 30 minutes while the line grew longer and customers start getting annoyed.


Spread on a bagel

Hard cream cheese on a fresh cinnamon sugar bagel. I work at Bruegger’s Bagels and that is the one single thing that I hate making. In case you don’t know how New York style bagels are made, you have to boil (kettle) them before you put them in the oven so that they get that nice outer shell.

Cinnamon sugar bagels, however, don’t get kettled because for some reason cinnamon sugar bagels taste better soft. This means they are a bitch to prepare straight out of the oven though. First you have to try to slice an extremely squishy, sticky, hot bagel by hand. Then, if the customer wants anything besides a whipped cream cheese, you have to try to evenly spread it onto the bagel without completely flattening it all while the cream cheese instantly melts upon contact with the bagel.

So, if you ever order cream cheese on a hot cinnamon sugar bagel at Bruegger’s, don’t be surprised when it’s mangled and hideous.


“What would you like in your sandwich?”

Former sandwich artist here: I cursed anyone who ordered all toppings and more than two sauces on their sub. It’s disgusting and damn near impossible to close.


Cheese-Pizza-Stk-01

Half and half

Former pizza cook. We had red sauce pies, and white sauce pies. White was olive oil, ricotta, and garlic. Red was normal marinara.

Some people just HAD to have a half white, half red pizza. It took twice as long, and ended up cooking funny because the white side would be done first. Then they’d bitch when the price was higher than a normal pizza.


The Leaning Tower of Poutine

Used to work at an independent family restaurant in Canada and they used to have a tower of poutine. It was a terrible burden for the cooks to prepare and us servers could never get it to the table in one piece.


Note: Stories have been edited for spelling and flow.

Categories
Brand Fast Food Features Video

These Two Top Notch Chefs Found A Way To Elevate White Castle Sliders To The Absolute MAX

white-castle-two-eps

When we picture fast food comfort menu items, White Castle’s famous sliders are pretty high up on that list. There’s something about a beef patty, grilled onions, and cheese that just works so well together. Our very own Geoff set out to meet some of the most talented chefs across the country to see what their elevated take on the slider would be.

Two episodes into our White Castle series, For The Love of the Slider, we’ve met some pretty cool personalities who gave us their personal take on the the iconic mini burgers.

Santa Ana, CA

First stop was Chef Linh Nguyen who works as the executive chef at Crave Restaurant in Santa Ana, CA. Linh started eating White Castle when he was 12 years old and started playing with flavorful ways to “upgrade” the burger.

While easily devour-able on their own, Linh came up with his own mouth-watering variation for us to try. The chef incorporates hatch chiles, bacon jam, and cornmeal fried pickles to upgrade his White Castle burgers.

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Imagine the satisfying texture and heat that comes from such a spicy take. We can still hear the scintillating crunch of the pickles.

Yum.

Chicago, IL

Next, we then took a trip to Chicago and met Chef Tanya Baker. The 28-year-old James Beard finalist grew up channeling her Louisiana-bred father’s Cajun style of cooking, opting to apply such to her interpretation of a White Castle slider.

Chef Baker’s sliders include a fried boudin cake, shrimp étouffée, and a seasoned remoulade. As you can see from the image below, they’re oozing with flavor. Geoff probably needed a napkin or four by the time he was done with them.

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If watching popular fast food burgers getting upgraded by professional chefs is your thing, this series is the one for you.

Keep an eye out on Nov. 8, 22, and Dec. 6 for the next few episodes.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Watch Chefs Taste Microwaved Dinners For The First Time

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To be a decent chef, you kinda have to have a halfway decent palette. This means you can’t always be eating microwaved dinners at home. Y’know, the ones you find in the frozen foods section of your supermarket.

The folks over at Facts gathered a few seasoned chefs and sat them down to try various microwaved dinners.

Some of the items include Irish beef dinner, a microwavable burger, vegetable spaghetti and sticky toffee pudding.

Watch as they taste and react to the frozen and reheated meals.

Categories
Restaurants

This New Restaurant Will Have No Servers, Chefs Will Bring Their Meals To The Tables

People often complain about the service some waiters and waitresses provide to them in restaurants, so how can this problem be fixed? By cutting the servers out of the equation altogether, according to one restaurateur based in L.A.

Chef Phillip Frankland Lee is the owner, operator and head chef of Scratch Bar and Kitchen on La Cienega Boulevard in Beverly Hills, or at least that’s where it used to be. After shutting down that location, Lee is opening up a brand new Scratch Bar location on December 1st, 2015, in Encino, California.

The only difference between the new and old locations? The new one won’t be employing servers, but will instead have the kitchen employees (including the cooks) delivering the food to the tables themselves.

While everyone’s immediate assumption is that Lee just hates servers, the reality of it is much less spiteful and actually makes pretty good sense.

“I hate it when I go to a restaurant and someone takes my order and they don’t know the menu,” Lee said. “I wanted to have a situation where the only guy you’re talking to is someone in the kitchen cooking.”

Instead of having a new server bumbling over the ingredients of a particular dish or running back to the kitchen to dig up details after every question, the cooks will be available to give detailed information to the guests in regards to their food, providing much more thorough answers to any questions the visitors might have.

Since there won’t be any servers, effectively eliminating the need for tipping, each bill will come with an 18 percent service charge. Lee believes that this is a better way of paying his employees, claiming that he will be able to give them livable salaries now rather than simply providing them with the minimum wage.

The war against tipping is beginning to take shape. Which side are you on?

Image Source: LA Times, Zagat