Sunday, October 26, 2008

dessert menu at textile

some desserts for the fall at textile.

liquid pumpkin pie/ pecan shortcrust/ brown butter ice cream

manjari "torchon"/ cranberries/ cocoa nib brittle

lemon blancmange/ candied fennel/ pistachio gelato/ yogurt croquant

apple jam/ pound cake/ butterscotch/ blue cheese ice cream

"coffe & milk"/ iced milk/ milk jam/ french toast/ coffee foam/ bacon streusel

a few things ...

it has been some time since i've written anything on here. to be honest, i dont have any spare time. i work in the mornings at gravitas and then go finish the day off at textile. it's busy work being a full time pastry chef at two of houston's top restaurants. on top of that, ive spent the last weeks trying to find steady help at gravitas.

what is it about the majority of culinary students thinking that out of school they will be making the wages of a sous or pastry chef? this is a very tough and demanding field. its very hard and requires you to put all your effort forth for little pay. its the nature of the beast. it separates the chefs from those who were lured by the stardom and celebriti-ness that recent tv shows have elevated this blue collar field into.

i had a tough time getting to where i am at now. after a week stage at a hotel i will not name, all the sous and executive chefs sat me down in an office. each then took turns telling me why i would not and could not be anything in this field. why they were so high and mighty and why i will never be like them.

since then i went to work for joseph sanchez at rickshaw. he is an amazing chef and friend. after a few months there he promoted me to his sous. i loved working at rickshaw. i learned alot from joseph and it introduced me to the flavors of asia. while at rickshaw we participated at the cesar salad competition. i competed against the afor mentioned hotel and came out victorious. i won for best presentation while they won nothing.

with my background there i went to apply at noe. mike potowski (sous then and former exec chef at rickshaw) immediately took me in with open arms. noe was an amazing experience and i still refer back to the beginning of my career as my noe days. it was amazing working along side robert gadsby and mike potowski. i admire both chefs highly. unfortunately we all had a falling. but the memories of an amazing team will always be there. at noe i really learned to branch out from the normal pastry chef routines. at noe i started developing my style.

a year into noe, chef gadsby was invited to participate on iron chef america. to this day i am very shock and honored gadsby decided to take me along. he had other sous in la and chicago. so we went. we fought hard and lost to mario batali. a few months after we taped, the episode aired. we had a viewing party at the omni hotels. i invited all the sous from the afor mention hotel, but non showed. to this day, i know none have seen the iron chef battle.

then i had short stints at a little bakery, soma and the americas in the woodlands. their i created new and profound friendships with jonathan jones, justin bayse and randy rucker. we all talk, hang out and talk all things about food. 'its a groovie thing'

and now i am working double time with jason gould and scott tycer at gravitas and textile, respectively. i am now working for two of the cities top chefs. its incredibly intimidating, but i push forth to keep up. its alot of work and i'm constantly having to question everything i do and why i do it and how it affects my product and when to do it and on and on and on. its a great experience and i'm learning alot about food and why i am in this field.

and on my spare time i read and write about food. and some of you read my ramblings. thanks.

well. come see me gravitas in the am and textile in the pm. if im not there, i am more than likely grabbing a beer at beavers, hanging out with justin or lending a helping hand at randy's tenacity dinners.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

art culinarie

for those who dont know what art culinaire is, or are not subscribed to it, do it now.

i was flipping back a few issues and looking at the pictures. food is very visual to me. i first look at the ones that catch my eye. the ones with colors, textures, unique china, chocolate, modern techniques, etc. its where i get inspiration on flavor combinations and how to plate my food.

one night i was looking throught art culinaire #78 fall issue 2005. i was reading a bio on jason carter and flipping through his food. then i came upon a pastry chef who does indian desserts. honestly, his presentations are horrible and i can see why i ignored him for the last 3 years. but this time i trekked on and read his recipe for curry-filled chocolates with saffron mehendi. as i read, his description read very similarly to my torchon! the pastry chef is jehangir mehta and he has been doing my torchon since fall of 2005 (or earlier, the magazine was published then). what i thought as original, is no longer.

my torchon was inspired by the foie gras torchon with beet filling i had at wd50.

i was a bit disappointed, but i got over it. the last time this happened was when i thought i was being original by making pastry cream in the microwave for 10 minutes. a month after i bought happy in the kitchen by michel richard, i read his happy kid pudding. as well as his reconstructed lemon egg (which i did a mango version of it on iron chef).

i was upset to find out i wasnt the first. but jj eased my pain. he said it makes sense. sharp minds think alike ... or something like that.

anyway. the whole point of this entry is to share ideas like the ones my mentors do. so without further ado, here is my torchon recipe:

2 1/2 lbs guanaja chocolate (valrhona 70%)
6 cups heavy cream
1 tsp sea salt
16 ea gelatin sheets (bronze)
20 ea frozen liquid filling (1 oz, any flavor, thickened with xanthan)

bring cream to a scald, pour over chocolate. whisk until chocolate has melted. (ganache)
add salt.
bloom gelatin in cold water. melt in microwave and whisk into ganache.
let cool at room temp for 15 or so minutes.
meanwhile, prepared 2x2" molds.
spray molds with nonstick spray.
line the inside of molds with acetate strip.
pour ganache into mold and fill halfway. freeze for 5 minutes.
remove from freezer. place frozen liquid filling in center and fill with remaining ganache.
freeze overnight.
the next morning place torchons in cooler and let thaw for 3 hours before use.

there you go. ENJOY! or come see me and ill make you one.

Monday, October 6, 2008

my table awards

congratulations to all the winners!

it was really exciting to finally meet all the chefs i talked to erika so highly about. it was an honor being nominated. better luck next year, no?

oh! and please come by gravitas!
jason continues pumping out amazing food. im trying to keep up. this is my current menu

gravitas favorites
smoked brownies/ spiced peanuts/ vanilla ice cream
buttrescotch bread pudding/ butterscotch ice cream
caramel and chocolate/ gianduja mousse/ salted caramel ice cream

pumpkin fondant/ brown butter ice cream/ streusel
goat cheese cheesecake/ tarragon anglaise/ walnut brittle
pear tart/ grapefruit creme fraiche/ balsamic gastrique/ vanilla ice cream
lavender pot de creme/ braised figs/ orange sable

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

cafe con leche

cafe con leche
Originally uploaded by fuzzzycatt
now at gravitas for this week only.
evolutions of american cuisine: spain

dark chocolate 'torchon'/ coffee milk liquid center/ cocoa nib brittle/ almond orxata/ coffee 'soil'