Are there any budding chefs out there?

Recommend restaurants, dishes, cuisines, etc.
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Kean
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Are there any budding chefs out there?

Post by Kean » Thu Jan 15, 2004 11:10 pm

Growing up in different cities around the world, I've always loved eating, but in the past couple of years, I've found that I've started to enjoy cooking more and more. It's a great stress relief for me.

I once had an uncontrollable urge to try my hand at Chicken Calvados for the first time when I saw the recipe, simply because it (a.) involved the use of apple brandy, and (b.) involved a great deal of fire in the frying pan (fire good). I suspect it's the same urge that made my brother and I try our hands at making Creme Brulee several Christmases ago (it turned out surprisingly well)...

So I was just wondering how your skills in the kitchen are. Are you someone who likes to whip up fancy four course meals on the spur of the moment? Or maybe you're more of the Mac & Cheese / takeout type of person? Share your stories here.

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Post by Phil McAndrew » Thu Jan 15, 2004 11:54 pm

the extent of my cooking skills are cereal+milk=yum

:(

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Post by Sweet_Baboo » Fri Jan 16, 2004 12:16 am

Hmm - I guess I do more baking than cooking. I cook as well, but don't do too much of cooking a specific dish or from a recipe - just make what's fast, easy, vegetarian/vegan.

I've been baking bread a lot lately (not anything fancy) I like to bake cakes, cake-y breads (like banana, apple, zucchini etc.), and cookies.

I *REALLY* want to decorate cakes. It seems so exciting to make little stars and rosettes. (Which kinda makes sense from te way that I draw) -

I also want to make various chocolate treats - like from the movie "Chocolat" - hmm. perhaps I should look into this for valentine's day...

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Post by hope » Fri Jan 16, 2004 8:40 am

I'm a pretty awful cook, which is sad considering I cook 95% of my own food (I'm vegan). My problem is usually with seasoning...it baffles me. I don't have a touch for it, and unless I'm following a recipe or making a real effort I make everything garlic-flavored.

Luckily I'm a passable baker. My main triumph of the last year has been The Pie, from fake meat to strawberry-rhubarb to plain ol' apple. I haven't made a chicken pot pie, however, and I think that will happen today.

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Post by Chevalier » Fri Jan 16, 2004 9:44 am

Will it be made of fake chicken? I don’t know, but could it be that you’re not an awful cook, but that vegan-conforming food is simply incapable of being good? Though, I know nothing about it, I presume it must involve a lot of tofu and soymilk. Tofu and Soy Milk. This just gives me the willies.

One thing I simply cannot stand is other’s people insistence to try their food. Several years’ back, when I was working at a certain gum company in Chicago, we had this one guy that just loved to brag about his cooking. Listening to him, you could only infer he thought himself to be the next Emiril. His cooking classes from a Community College didn’t help one iota. I can never understand how someone can go to school to be a chef - be this terrible; but then again I never understood the lure of a minimum wage job either. This guy, American-born and at the ripe age of 30 was a two-time loser. He always had an obnoxious way to force his food on you. I recall one time he brought in Tamales. Now tamales are not hard to make, they’re actually a piece of cake. Well, his weren’t, and if they were a piece of cake, this cake had no only raped your beloved ones but kicked your ass, stole your money and then donated it to RNC. His rice was not only 40% sugar, but also carried all the stickiness of Teflon. Maybe he just fried the rice or something. To Top it all off, he food colored the wrapping pink. Several months later, an incident prompted me to review his position. His tamales tipped me to terminate him. The lesson? I don’t like my tamales to be sugared, dry or pink.

Now, if I could only fire my aunt who at all family gatherings pushed her kosher food onto me. Also: Kosher, or otherwise, Jewish cuisine is terrible.

Also: anything you will ever try to replicate from Iron Chef will turn out inedible.

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Post by hope » Fri Jan 16, 2004 10:51 am

It's not the soy, it's me. You gotta trust me on this. ;) I'll admit soy meat and milk are an aquired taste, but they grow on you pretty fast... That, and you learn which brands are good and which aren't; there are huge flavor variations.

My experiences with Jewish food extend mostly to potato latkes with applesauce and matzo crackers, both of which are so inoffensive I don't see how one could dislike them.

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Post by Kean » Fri Jan 16, 2004 11:50 am

Miwa: Many years ago, I tried icing a cake for my then- girlfriend. A long story short, I had a little of a premature icing 'accident' that generated a huge mess.

Chevalier: "We could burn up like tamales!" Kazu, are you reading this? :)

Hope: I probably infuriate some of my vegan/vegetarian friends, as I'm mostly a carniverous creature (I have been known to chew on the occasional green for ruffage, though). For example, my secret ingredients in Thanksgiving/xmas stuffing are herbs de provence and pork sausage meat. And I mean a lot of sausage meat.

As for seasoning, I always find that marinating my meats the night before tends to let the flavours seep into the food. But if you're working with soy meat, I don't think this is very helpful (or perhaps it isn't? I've never tried preparing soy meats before)...

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Post by Sweet_Baboo » Fri Jan 16, 2004 2:44 pm

Chevalier - Meat gives me the willies.

I don't think that everybody in the world should be vegan or vegetarian.

My problem is with the mind set of the society that consumes meat.

Everything from the treatment of the animals, the slaughter houses, all the chemicals and preservatives they put in the meat to make it last through the journey to someone's table, how most Americans eat unhealthy amounts of meat that it makes them ill. - And that so much meat ends up in the dumpster, the poor animals' life completely unappreciated and pointless.

I don't want to tell people what to eat, because that's their decision - but I think as a society, we need to review and understand where this meat comes from, and have a better appreciation for it.

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Post by Sweet_Baboo » Fri Jan 16, 2004 7:10 pm

sorry everyone, if i came off too strong in the last post - all that wasn't directed towards anybody (except for the first sentence)

I guess all I wanted to say is that what ever your life-style or beliefs come down to, it is important to be responsible to that life-style, and know what your choice means on a broader scale - sometimes these things may not seem like a big deal, but often, our money says "Yes" to things that we are opposed to or hadn't even thought about.

It's similar to the difference between saying "don't buy clothes" and "avoid clothes that are made by slave labor" - Idealism and realism just can't stand without the other.

Once again, I'm not directing this towards anyone here, and I'm not saying that people in the forum haven't thought about these things.

Hope - speaking of Vegan sauces - if you find yourself in an Asian market, you should totally pick up "House Chinese Mabo Tofu Sauce" it's SOOOOO good. (i'm eating that right now) You can eat it with tofu, soy ground beef, eggplants, or a mixture of all three.

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Post by Chevalier » Fri Jan 16, 2004 8:42 pm

I didn’t consider your post to be off base in any way at all. So, you shouldn’t worry about offending anyone, at least not me.

I suspect a lot of people have misgivings behind the whole idea of eating meat. I have only a few things to say, first of which is: meat is tasty. There would be also, I suspect much fewer cows and pigs were they not eatable. Biology has many interesting cases where both the parasite and the host live in a mutually favorable relationship. This is just one of those cases.

Excuse me if I do not elaborate further, I feel that my expertise is limited in this area. Anyone’s up to debate the merits of genetically modified food or wages in the third world?

Also, this might be a small pet peeve of mine, but I resolve that we, as a society should never try to resolve anything collectively.

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Post by hope » Fri Jan 16, 2004 8:45 pm

I agree with you, Sweet_Baboo. I usually try to keep my food philosophies hidden, because a lot of people get needlessly defensive and hostile at the very mention of "I am vegetarian" or "I am vegan." I have no problems with people who eat meat or who eat it around me. Food is such a personal thing...

I'll keep an eye out for that sauce. There's a significant amount of stir fry in my life. :)

P.S. We should start a veggie/vegan tip thread, but I can't think of any good tips to start it off.

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Post by dik pose » Sat Jan 17, 2004 12:27 am

I like cooking, always have, but I rarely ever follow a recipe, I just eat what I like and try to eat balanced meals. I'll have some meat , veggies, bread, and always use olive oil if any oil at all. I rarely use salt for anything, just dont think most food needs it. I like to eat fairly plain stuff, nothing fancy, just functional and good for my taste buds. Love salads too, I had trained myself to not use dressing a few years ago, thats my goal again.

My only rule...I do not eat broccoli. Hate it. I get sick if I even smell that stuff near me, I get headaches.

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Post by Kazu » Sat Jan 17, 2004 12:30 am

Hope, Miwa, if you girls can post some tips for good vegetarian dining, that would be great!
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Post by Finnegan » Mon Mar 29, 2004 2:49 am

yeah i've been a chef in a fancy schmancy french-italian restraunt for the past 3+ years. I didn't start out necessarily interested in being a chef... i had kitchen experience prior to this, but this was a whole new world. I was actually trained by one of the best chefs in california. I've really learned to respect the trade of the chef, and the cullinary arts. Honestly tho, it's not the life for me. I've been offered a partnership in the restraunt, but i just can't bring myself to take that path. i'd rather draw.

anyways... it's been pretty cool. i actually know how to cook worth a damn, and do some pretty fancy stuff. Funny thing is, i was taught in a way that i don't really follow recipies. This is why i've been hesitant to post cooking recipies here, because it's kinda like painting for me... add color where needed... no real formula.

but i'll get around to posting some stuff in here soon i guess. those vegetarian recipies here are great... my gf will love them


=BoB=

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Post by Kazu » Mon Mar 29, 2004 3:11 am

Awesome, Bob! I actually moved down to LA with the intention of pursuing a career in the culinary arts. I figured I would hate the film industry after giving it a try and would become a sushi chef or something while I worked on my graphic novels. Fortunately, the entertainment industry is full of great people (some not so good, of course) and I decided this wasn't such a terrible line of work after all. Of course, I will still pursue being a graphic novelist first and foremost.... :D
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