March 16, 2010 § 2 Comments
I have a stash of fun video footage from South Beach Wine & Food Festival so now is as good a time as any to share one such clip. The occasion is this Week’s TIME Magazine which contemplates Daniel Boulud’s Burger Bash entry, more complicated than most. It wasn’t the winning strategy at the end of the day, but do bells and whistles ever really have a chance against a classic? Check out Josh Ozersky’s story on page 63 to find out his argument. Oh yeah, and if you use a magnifying glass, you might notice my photo is credited, too
February 8, 2010 § 1 Comment
Tomorrow I’m posting a brief write-up on Short Order, the Miami New Times food blog, about the yummy steamed roast pork buns at Sakaya Kitchen. This fast-casual restaurant (you order at the counter, seat yourself, and then grab your food when they call you) is a newcomer to the Midtown area , but has quickly developed a following for its flavor-packed, no frills Asian menu. I spoke with the chef/owner, Richard Hales, to learn a little bit of his background and was pleasantly surprised with what I found out. Here’s an excerpt of our email conversation.
In 1997 I did a total change of career and left business school. At the time I owned a small bakery delivery business in Tampa and on the day of the closing packed a bag and moved to New York City. Shortly after I started the culinary program at the French Culinary Institute. My first cooking position was at a Myriad Group restaurant called City Wine & Cigar with Patricia Williams. It was short lived and I quickly applied with Jean-Georges Vongerichten and he just as quick shut the door in my face. He looked at my resume, handed it back, said I have no experience and walked away. I followed him around the restaurant telling him how good I was and how he had to give me a shot even though I had no f’n clue what I was doing. He ended up putting me at Vong which I stayed for two years and ended up as Sous Chef. After Vong I wanted a classical old school position so I started as the rotisseur at La Grenouille for about a year. While living in New York City I traveled quite a bit to Asia, backpacking, eating and doing little stints for free here and there learning technique. I ended up in Hong Kong at the end of one trip helping a friend at Vong. One thing lead to another and I was asked to be the Asian Chef of the new Mandarin oriental, Miami in 2001. The Asian Chef position was going nowhere so I moved about six months into it to be the Assistant Manager of Azul with Michelle. Our Sommelier left abruptly and I took over the day to day duties of the wine program and ended up with the job. Spent four years as the Sommelier of Mandarin Oriental, Miami and in 2006 was promoted to Wine Director of the Mandarin Oriental, New York. I left New York City for Miami at the end of 2008, took a year off and started Sakaya Kitchen about six weeks ago. Sakaya Kitchen is a mixture of the techniques I learned and the food I love to eat. I never put anything down on paper, I just opened and started cooking again.
August 21, 2009 § 1 Comment
You may have seen my item today on Short Order about the French Fry Fairy. As it would happen, I was sifting through the morning’s emails and Twitter feed from bed when I overheard this new blogger mentioned on Today in South Florida, and curiosity was piqued. So I quickly emailed our new nymph of the greasy delights some questions. (It’s been a while since I actually had a “kitchen interview” on this monster, right?) The Fairy promptly got back to me with the thoughtful responses below, for your reading enjoyment!
Have you always had a passion for fries?
My French fry obsession began in my early 20s when I started traveling for work. Being a very picky eater, there were often very limited menu options available to vegetarians in some of the smaller towns that I had to visit. There was always the pasta option with watered down sauce or a side salad with wilted lettuce and fake cheese. The one thing I could always find that pleased my palate was French fries. By default I ended up consuming more potatoes than most would think humanly possible.
What made you decide to take the leap to blogging?
Eddie the neighbor – who is my faithful cohort in my adventures – and I were at the Clevelander about a month ago and I was eating fries. I eat fries so often that I thought it would be fun to track my adventures. Eddie agreed and that was all I needed. I had a website up in three days and the quest for the perfect fries began!
Are you worried you’ll run out of fries to try?
I am worried I don’t have enough time to try all the fries! I plan on trying fries all over Florida and anywhere else that I travel.
What makes a good fry?
A good fry is crispy, salty and cooked thoroughly – so it doesn’t have a baked potato taste. They also have to be firm, so I can dip them in mayo, ketchup or any other dipping sauce the restaurant provides. I always think it is fun when restaurants do something out of the ordinary to their fries. Last week I tried yucca fries at Versailles and a couple weeks ago I tried artichoke fries at Canyon Ranch.
What fries are the best in town?
I only started doing this a month ago, but Five Guys fries are amazing!
Best alone or with a burger?
I don’t eat meat, so I happen to like French fries as a solo entree.
What advice do you have for the Burger Beast (burger blogger in Miami)?
Try all the veggie burgers and let me know where to go!