Sunday, September 21, 2008

Prep work

Preparation is everything. I think that was the motto of the Culinary Institute of America when I attended it. And in the kitchen, it’s absolute fact. A chef that is organized and well prepared, sets himself up for success. All too often, especially on the media circuit, inspiration seminar, product development, cooking class, public appearance set that I’m on currently it’s difficult to achieve.

You’re traveling from state to state, kitchen to kitchen, often working with new chefs, and people of varying degrees of both skill, passion, and drive. It’s tough, but I’m getting good. I’ve learned to get it all in writing, send recipes way in advance, be specific, overly specific, and like the famous line from Mick Jagger, “ you don’t always get what you want, but if you ask, you may get what you need.”

So, doing an event with 4 different companies involved can be tricky or in this case, very easy.

Bravo, the CIA, and the folks at Astor center know how to communicate. Everything I needed was there, everyone was hospitable, and the preparation showed in the results. It was a great class, and once again, the ultimate goal of any business, to procure more business, was achieved. Trail Blais will be heading back to Astor. Trail Blais will be appearing in Hyde Park. And as we wait to hear more concrete info, we will be doing more Bravo related work.

I know I haven’t been covering much about the food we have been producing, but at Astor we were asked to do 3 courses somewhat inspired from Top Chef.

A new Manhattan. a cocktail, we used Michter’s Rye whiskey ( go get some now ! ) smoked some cherries, and whipped up some bliss maple to create a pretty tasty molecular mixology version of my favorite drink.

Raw hamachi with fried chicken and smoked mayonnaise.
A dish I whipped up for Eli ( ENO restaurant ) one night. It’s just the ultimate, “you stuck your sashimi in my fried chicken” sort of thing. And the smoked mayo will soon be packaged and offered on our web site!

Tofu, with beef fat and green curry. This was the first time I revisited this dish and I’m very glad I did. Kevin, from CIA, did such a tight job on mincing the beef fat that we were left with some nice crispies of the fat that added a needed texture to the dish

Dry ice......... cream, with bacon flavor.

We couldn’t source nitrogen, and so I subbed some dry ice and demonstrated, quite honestly, a more applicable way to make creative, quick ice cream at home.

The crowd was awesome, especially a young inspired chef I met named Sam. I am looking forward to working with Sam in the future.

And, the most inspirational moment of the event for me was working with the CIA students. These guys made me very proud to be an Alum. Massive props to Max, Kevin, Patrick, and James. These guys will be my go to help in the NY area from now on...


travelingbetty said...

Richard - I was lucky to be in the audience at Astor. It was an amazing demonstration and I am still dreaming about bacon ice cream (as well as everything else you made)! One question for you - you mentioned that you got the dry smoke ingredient from someplace in Indiana over the internet. I have tried to locate this site and apparently I didn't take good notes. ;) Could you let me know what the site is?

Thanks and I look forward to sampling your food some more sometime in the future!

Skigen said...


I was also at Astor. The spice company Richard mentioned was Terra Spice. You can find them at Richard--great meal and nice mention of young aspiring chef Sam. You are what is known as a mensch.