I think he's telling he's telling us to take a moment to relax and enjoy the...
I think he's telling he's telling us to take a moment to relax and enjoy the...
One of the best meals we've ever shared was at Per Se in New York City with Jonathan Benno at the helm. It's the meal we are reminded of when we experience something notable and wonderful at other restaurants. It was Thomas Keller's definition of a success.
It's Friday night, Amaya's asleep on the sofa in the sun room, exhausted from a busy week at camp. Next week will be crazy, we've got lots of catching up to do, but tonight is beautiful. The (enormous) yard has been mowed, the floors are clean, the boxes are dwindling in the workshop and garage, the house is peaceful, and I feel relaxed for the first time in forever. It's home and it feels good. Welcome to New Hampshire.
It's all about ratios. You know it's working when you agree more often than you want to kill each other. And as long as you can laugh about everything later.
June 6, 2005
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
June 3, 2005
In the midst of preparing for a big move it can be hard to find moments of peace in the chaos of everyday life. We have a lot of stuff, some of which we use constantly, and some of which we keep for workshops, or for the library, or "just in case" we might need it someday. It would suck to have to buy something we already owned at one point, then again, sometimes you have to cut down the inventory. Moves are an opportunity to look closely at all of the things that fill your house and decide what's truly important. It's a time to edit.
As we sort through all of the stuff, one of the best parts of the process is the memories. Reminders of happy moments, accomplishments, and things that made us laugh or cry. It's all good looking back because we've come out on the other side. We're not the kind of peaple to look backwards very often, so this is a special time for us, these last few weeks in the very first place that was truly our own.
Someone asked me the other day what I would miss most when we leave PA. The first answer was our house. It's been a great first house and we're sad to be leaving it. There's some comfort in hearing that the people who are buying it seem to love it too. We want to leave it in good hands so that it can continue to be a happy place. The second thing that came to mind was proximity to the people we love here. We'll still see them and talk to them but it won't be as easy or as often. "Anything else? Any stores or places?" Nope, not really, everything else is replaceable." I'll find new stores. Amaya would have been starting a new school anyway. Other stores and services were very good but nothing else feels irreplaceable. It's another reminder of what is important. We're excited for a new adventure, as we take some time to appreciate where we are now. We can only hope that the new house in Bow, New Hampshire will be as lucky and as happy as the one we're leaving.
Marian Bechtel talks about the power of embracing your crazy ideas. A talk from TEDx Teen that applies to everyone.
May 17, 2005
May 6, 2010
We've had some interesting conversations on Twitter lately about pursuing passion. The idea of doing what you love for a living is one of endless fascination because we all want to love what we do. Of course that doesn't mean it won't be difficult. It means that you are inspired enough by your daily activities to overcome obstacles and solve problems because it makes you happy to do it. That's a pretty lofty goal and sometimes the hard part is defining what you want to do and, more commonly, the hardest part is making it a reality. Truthfully it often comes down to your ability to sell. You're selling your passion to other people so they will pay you to do it. Sounds so simple as long as you're willing to put yourself out there to make it happen.
A few years ago I was invited to a cocktail party/meeting of Les Dames de Escoffier in Manhattan. I hadn't seen that particular friend in several years though we had reconnected via Twitter and I was feeling restless. Amaya was at an age where I finally felt comfortable sneaking away for an afternoon and evening and not being able to return quickly if needed. She spent the day with Dad and I hopped on a train into the city. I grew up in New York City and though I may never live there again, it always feels like coming home. Hanging out in Washington Square Park before the event, people watching and enjoying the afternoon, I was reminded that no matter how much changes in the city the core of it remains the same.
The event was exactly as I expected, several big names and semi-familiar faces, all of whom seemed to know each other quite well. It was wonderful to reconnect with my friend but I was reminded of how little I enjoy social events where I have to introduce myself to everyone. That's sounds terrible, doesn't it? Alex is very good at networking at these kinds of gatherings. He always has a smile and something to say to everyone he meets. That is not one of my special talents. One of the older ladies who noticed my discomfort gave my the eye and said "You know dear, you only get out of these events what you put into them. If you stand on the sidelines all night you may have wasted a trip." It was a fair assessment and one I took to heart. I still hate going to events with more strangers than friends, but now I try to remind myself that if I put some effort into things I can become the person who makes the introductions rather than trying to find a way to break into a conversation. I enjoy bringing people together, that is one of my talents. I just need to be comfortable enough to do it.
This Ted talk seemed somewhat timely given those recent conversations about pursuing our passions. Perhaps it's a good time to mention that we are planning to evolve our approach to workshops and create more small group classes to bring people together. While the one on one workshops are special, we want to focus more on interaction, bringing people together in a kitchen to share ideas, learn new techniques, and revisit old ones in a small hands-on environment because chefs learn best by cooking. You'll learn more about this soon. In the meantime here is a great talk by Sally Hogshead about how to fascinate your audience.
It's funny how things that are originally designed to break down barriers eventually end up becoming somewhat restrictive themselves. Blogging was originally begun as weblogs, on-line diaries where people wrote about their lives or whatever interested them and threw it out to the internet to see what would come back. As time passed people began to think of blogs as a way to make money through advertising, and then as a way to get a book deal, and then as a platform to build brands. Now all things are possible, blogs are large and small, homespun and polished and it's a good thing. Yes, it's sometimes frustrating to see how things have changed but that's evolution. We can't embrace it and abhor it at the same time.
Here's why we started blogging. We were looking for kindred spirits. We were in the southwest mountains of Colorado trying to open a hotel and restaurant and we were feeling isolated from the cooking community. So we started blogging. Our first attempts were tentative and self conscious and over time we became more comfortable. In some ways it helped that we had very few readers in the beginning, it gave us time to find our voices. Nowadays people seem to expect an instant readership and it's just not that easy. It takes time to build an audience. I can't tell you how many times I starting following a blog only to have it peter out. Blogging is a commitment. I have to admit that these days I don't read new sites unless they're recommended by someone and I don't follow them unless I see they've been around for a while and are committed to blogging.
Writing is a funny thing. You like to think that you're doing it for yourself, in actuality it's for the readers. You like to write, they like to read, it's a symbiotic relationship. Blogging is the job you do for yourself, it may lead to other things but it requires commitment. When we started this blog we promised our readers ideas in food. Not necessarily stories or recipes or photography, though it has evolved into that, we promised ideas. Now readers expect daily posts with photos and we do our best to live up to that, keeping in mind that at our core we are still about ideas in food. That's us. Other people develop their blogs for different reasons and have very different styles. The only true standard that you will find is that successful bloggers blog. They keep their promise to their readers and that makes all the difference.
April 2, 2005
Hardie Grant Books has published Maximum Flavour, Recipes That Will Change The Way You Cook, across the pond and we couldn't be happier. For those of you in London there are signed copies at Foyles bookstore. To commemorate our first release in the UK we wrote about pie over on their blog. It includes the recipe for our butter piecrust and for Kitty's strawberry pie. We were also over at The Independent recently, talking about ways to make your food more flavorful.
And while we're here, a big thank you to everyone who has bought our books. Every time you buy one it helps support what we do here, there, and everywhere. We appreciate it.
Alex will be teaching classes at EL Ideas in Chicago this Sunday January 19 and Monday January 20, 2014. The cost for each 2 1/2 hour class is $125 per person and if you sign up for multiple classes, each additional class is only $100. The collaborative dinner with chef Phillip Foss on Monday evening will be $185 per person.
The class schedule is as follows:
Sunday, January 19th
10:00-12:30pm: Gluten Free Baking
2:00-4:30pm: Sous Vide Cooking
Monday, January 20th
2:00-4:30pm: Liquid Nitrogen
Monday, January 20th
Collaborative dinner at EL Ideas
2419 W. 14th Street, Chicago, 60608
7:30pm- 10:30 pm
Space is limited, so email your request for any or all of the itinerary to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the reservations line at 312.226.8144
January 15, 2005
Kitty Broman Putnam
1916 - 2014
This is all about me. When I think back and remember Grandma Kitty, it's like she was just here. We sat together and talked. The conversation was about me. Reflecting, I realized she made everything about me. Whether we discussed my successes or my failures or just my thoughts, she’d look in my eyes and help me figure out what I needed. It made me feel special, happy, upset, angry, sad, joyous. She always focused on me.
I lay awake thinking about Grandma Kitty and me. I realized she was able to make everyone feel this way. Every single interaction she had, she made it personal. She was a good listener. She made life not about her. She made it about me and everyone else she cared for.
She showed me what a work ethic was.
She let me know that Oso's bark was fierce, but that he threw foam rocks.
She taught me the power of a hand written letter.
She gave me Strawberry Pie.
She candidly let me know when the Christmas roast was Raw!
She made sure to let everyone know Aki was the best thing that ever happened to me.
She followed that sentiment, letting everyone know that Amaya was the other best thing that happened to me.
She reminded me to eat more ice cream cones.
She encouraged me to follow my dreams.
She gave me a shoulder to lean on and always magically had a tissue up her sleeve when I cried upon it.
And now she shows me that in her absence all I can think about is her.
January 8, 2005
This Christmas Alex's sister Meredith and her family stayed in London for the holidays. We sent Amaya's cousin Maddie a toy and we slipped some books in a package that Alex's mom was mailing to them. For Mer & Brian we found (hopefully) a cool cheese store in London and sent them some holiday indulgence. As luck would have it on the very day their cheese was delivered we received a gift from them from Murray's Cheese in NYC. When we lived in the city Murray's was a favorite and we were happy to unpack the box and discover several pristine cheeses and a box of crackers. It arrived a few days early to be safe. As my mother had just decided to stay in the city with a sick friend for the holidays I was struck by inspiration. I would send her some cheese too.
What followed followed was a comedy of errors, which I won't bother to relate. Suffice to say that my mother did not get her cheese. The messenger service explained in great detail on Christmas Eve why it wasn't their fault and there no one was answering the customer service line for the store. A few days later we still had no answers and so Alex reached out to Murray's via Twitter. The response was instantaneous and they took care of the problem in a way that went above and beyond the call of duty.
Two lessons came from this. Twitter is apparently more effective than phone calls or email. And customer service really does matter. My mother waited at home all day for a delivery that never came and yet they were able to turn that around with a heart felt apology and a relatively quick response. It took a few days and a few attempts but I was a loyal customer already and so I was predisposed to forgiveness when I felt like someone actually cared about what happened. Last year a favorite local business messed up a special occasion and they couldn't be bothered to apologize or even act as if they cared. Needless to say we never went back. On the other hand we will still visit Murray's when we're in the city and send gifts to our loved ones from their store. We can't control everything but we can control how we respond to a difficult situation and that makes the difference.
For the record, a January 1 deadline for any kind of manuscript is a very bad idea. And when for some unknown reason you picked that date yourself you have no one else to blame. Holidays must be celebrated and books must be written and there's not much else to say about that...except sometimes you have a child who you want to appreciate the Christmas spirit. You want them to have the best Christmas ever and not be overly affected by impending deadlines and that takes a strength of character and focus that I have not always maintained as well as I would have liked this year.
Still Amaya has assured me that what she wants most is for all of us to be together as a family and enjoy ourselves. There's a special emphasis on that word because all too often lately we've been consumed by thoughts of work. It's too easy to be distracted these days with the internet and email a single finger's swipe away and haven't we all we been guilty of looking at a phone while a child patiently, or not so patiently, waits for our attention. In spite of this the tree has been decorated and the stockings have been hung. The presents have been bought (but not yet wrapped.) There's stollen in the pantry and cookie dough in the fridge. The next few days will be a whirlwind of activity and joy and that's what all the hard work is for. It's the joy. It's the big smile and the squeeze of hands and that moment when she leans against me and whispers "I love you." That moment is what makes all the hard work worthwhile and it's what the holidays are all about.
The Importance Of Finding Your Love
"You never know in your life what's the little thing that will change the course of your life."
She talks even faster than Alex does but it's worth the effort to keep up.
We put freshly plucked garlic chive seeds, basil and lime pickle into the mortar. We added salt and pulverized the mixture. When a rough paste formed we added olive oil. These ingredients combined to create a magnificent flavor mash.
We picked these tomato gumballs. We chose to pick them because they caught Amaya's eyes. She wanted to taste the tomatoes on the vine. We let her. The tomatoes were sweet and bursting. Amaya's interest led to a full on quest to harvest a quart of tomato candy. Being open to seeing the world through someone else's eyes allowed us to discover what we were overlooking.
It was a gorgeous morning and we knew we needed to find something to do outside. The answer was easy, a visit to Solebury Orchards, one of our favorite local spots. We were lucky because in addition to cherry tomatoes there were blueberries and blackberries ripe for the picking. And in the farm market we also discovered fragrant peaches and nectarines. It was a good haul for everyone involved. Amaya discovered the joys of super sweet tomatoes eaten straight off the vine and watching butterflies gather nectar from the wildflowers. Days like these are what summertime is all about.
Memorial Day, for those of us who have trouble remembering, is not about barbecues or dinner parties. It's a day to remember the men and women who died protecting this country and all that it stands for while serving in the United States armed forces. It's a day to appreciate what we have, the luxuries and the choices, which are actually one and the same. We grow up knowing that we are free and mostly very well fed. We grow up knowing that we can do better than our parents did and that hard work and smart choices will likely get us where we want to go. It's not too much to ask to remember one day a year that these privileges come at a cost. There are people putting their lives on the line every day so that we can live the lives that we do. Remember it and make the most out of every day.
May 27, 2006
1. Creativity doesn't exist in a vacuum.
2. Creativity and curiosity are a magic combination.
3. Creativity expands when shared.
4. Creativity has to be paired with knowledge in order to make things happen.
5. Creativity works like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it gets.
6. Creativity isn't about finding success, it's about asking questions.
7. Fear kills creativity.
8. Fun inspires creativity.
9. Creativity leads to flexibility.
10. You need to create in order to be creative.
May 16, 2009
Two important things happen in May. It's the start of movie season and it's Alex's birthday. He loves a good action movie and our opportunities to go see one in the theater are few and far between. It's one of the few activities that actually lets him shut down his brain and relax. So every year I conspire with Amaya's Aunt Peg to arrange for babysitting and spirit off him to see something with great storylines and lots of epic explosions in an IMAX theater. I'm fortunate that his birthday tends to coincide with the first big release of the season and this year is no exception. It's definitely an Iron Man 3 kind of a year. Now I just have to get him to the theater.
We aren't much for politics on this blog but recent events have given us pause. President Obama recently signed into law the "Monsanto Protection Act". It was slipped into a larger bill and passed many of us unnoticed until it was too late. It is a sobering reminder that our country is often more interested in protcting corporations than it is the consumers. We may not like politics or want to be involved in them but there is no denying that they impact our daily lives in ways we are not even aware of. As parents we are realizing that we need to pay more attention, yes it's a cliche, but it's also a great motivator. Maybe it's time to stand up for the food we want in order to make sure it's still available for our children in the future. We need to take responsibility, and by "we" I me mean me, for paying attention to the larger picture because if we don't take responsibility we cannot expect anyone else to either.
April 6, 2006
April 6, 2005
This video is longer than what we usually put on the website. You need a little time to curl up with it. It's totally worth it because it's the story of a man who knew what he wanted, wasn't afraid to go after it on his own terms and succeeded. That is something I think we all aspire to regardless of our particular muse.
Tom Ford is an icon for a reason.
March 23, 2010
March 23, 2005
What are you doing this Sunday? We'll be hanging out at Stockton Market in Stockton, New Jersey. It's just across the rive from PA. It's one of our favorite places, you can find us there almost every weekend, especially in the winter. We go for Amaya's favorite cookies,the macaron from Sciasa Confections. We're always excited to see what new things Bret Cavanaugh has on display. He makes beautiful and functional wood carved items like the candle holder pictured below. If we're there around lunchtime it's the perfect place for barbecue at > than Q, formerly named Mighty Quinn's Barbecue. Or if we've already had lunch we can often be found savoring a scoop of ice cream from Half Pint Kitchen. Last weekend we bought a Calamansi lime tree, from the flower guy inside the front door, that we're doing our best not to kill. Hopefully buying an established potted tree will work in out favor. There's lots to do and plenty of other food and farm stands to check out. So come join us on Sunday March 10, 2013. We'll be there all day, from 10am-3pm, selling and signing copies of our book Ideas in Food, Great Recpes and Why They Work and enjoying the market. We'd love to meet you there.
They help tell a story. They accent food. They can get in the way. They should be functional. Too many pull focus from the food. They are more difficult to use than you would think. Less is more.
February 9, 2005
This winter we've become addicted to a lavender scented neck and shoulder wrap. We love it so we're sharing it with you. Amaya has dubbed it the "warm and cozy." The one we use is from Herbal Concepts (photo via Amazon). It has a small flap that is designed to wrap around the neck attached to a small cape that drapes over the shoulders. We warm it up in the microwave and, depending on who is using it, drape it over the shoulders, wrap it around the lower back or belly or blanket it over feet and legs. It's a wonderful all purpose soother for kids and adults. It's perfect for long hours hunched over a computer or simply watching movies on the couch. Amaya takes hers to bed with her and it replicates the hot water bottles of old, warming chilly sheets with the added benefit of a soothing fragrance. It's an affordable luxury that makes our day a little bit better.
It's that time of year again. TIme to shop sales and make lists and decide who you love enough to part with some of that hard earned cash. Here are a few good ideas for the cooks in your life.
The Thermapen is on sale from ThermoWorks right now for $89 and it is a major splurge. It's also a practical gift. It takes accurate temperatures faster than any thermometer out there making it perfect for all of your cooking and baking projects. We keep ours right beside the stove and hardly a day goes by when it doesn't see some sort of action. We love it even more than our laser thermometer. You can also buy it via Amazon if you hate filling out new forms online.
Everyone should have a good kitchen scale. This one by My Weigh costs under $40 and will work well for most home cooks. For cooks who like to work with hydrocolloids and other small quantity ingredients you can add a jewelers scale from American Weigh for under $10. These are the two scales we use in our kitchen and we would be lost without them.
Our current coffee of choice comes from Blue Bottle Coffee. You can order real pounds of freshly roasted coffee, Cascara Tea, various accessories and an autographed copy of their very cool book, The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee: Growing, Roasting, and Drinking, with Recipes to send to someone you love. Last we ordered the code: FREESHIPLOYAL got you free standard shipping in their online store and there's plenty of time before Christmas to get something for the coffee lover in your life.
And finally, for the sweet tooth on your list there is Monastery Candy. They make some of the very best chewy caramels, plain and chocolate coated, that we've ever had. Paired with a small jar of crunchy sea salt (which is good for everything), their caramels are close to perfection and reasonably priced too.
Embrace conflict as a collaborative tool. You learn more from exploring a difference of opinion than you do from listening to someone who is afraid to disagree with you.
We started by cold smoking whole king trumpet mushrooms. Then we sliced them in half and scored them. We pan roasted them in olive oil and when they were richly browned and cooked through we put them on a bed of tarragon. We seasoned them with a sprinkling of salt and a lighting spreading of yuzu kosho.
I compile ideas. Bits and pieces come together and become thoughts, dishes and processes. Then they are stacked in lists. The more ideas the greater the list. The problem is I generate ideas faster than I can execute them. So then there is a backlog of ideas, waiting in line. And once the line gets large enough the newer ideas trump the older ones. And that is unfortunate, because many of the older ideas need to see the finish line. So I create, I write, I cook, and still their are lists. What is important, especially for me is to remember to go back to the lists, read them, dive into them and get them involved. Otherwise a list is just words on a page.
We just found out about this grant program today and we're a little behind the times. We need to garner at least 250 votes on their website by tomorrow night in order to qualify so we're asking everyone to please take a couple of minutes and visit the Mission: Small Business℠ site and log in with Facebook. (There is no other log in option besides Facebook.) Once logged in, you can search for our business to vote.
In case you're curious here are our answers to the essay questions on the grant application. That way you'll know what you're voting for. 250 votes gets us to the next round to qualify for a $250,000 grant to expand Ideas in Food. If you like what we do here please take a couple of minutes to give us your vote. Thanks!
1. Tell us about your business; how successful is it and why is it unique?
Ideas in Food is an education based culinary consulting company. We saw a need to provide continuing education for chefs and cooks and this naturally spilled over to the avid home cooks. We teach private workshops, tailored to the individual and focusing on learning the techniques, understanding ingredients and increasing creativity. We also work with food service companies and restaurants to help improve knowledge and efficiency in order to make better food in different circumstances while adhering to the bottom line. We believe that knowledge allows cooks to be better technicians and be creative and innovative in their own kitchens. In this same vein we bring avant-garde restaurant techniques to the home kitchen, and document it all on our blog. One day it might be breaking down a duck and using all of the parts in different ways and another it might be exploring the use of tapioca starch and guar gum in ice creams. We stage classes and demonstrations at locations around the country including Le Sanctuaire in San Francisco, El Ideas in Chicago, Astor Wine and Spirits in New York City. We keep a hand in the current restaurant scene by participating in in a series of guest chef dinners working with a roster of chefs that include George Mendes, Michael Voltaggio, Dominique Crenn, David Chang, Daniel Patterson, Tony Maws, Wiley Dufresne, Sean Brock, Alex Stupak, Ken Oringer, and Carlo Mirarchi. We’ve traveled around the world to present at a variety of professional conferences including International Association of Culinary Professionals, Star Chefs, Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, The Arts Institutes, The Experimental Cuisine Collective at NYU and the Food Hydrocolloid Conference.
2. How is your business involved with the community you serve?
We have a hands-on approach to working with clients and other like-minded individuals. Our website, www.ideasinfood.com is a hub for ideas and information on all aspects of food. We have a constant dialogue with cooks and chefs around the world via the website and Twitter and their questions often lead us to new breakthroughs that we are happy to share. We love the open source aspect of Ideas in Food and have found that giving away ideas in invaluable because the inspirations come back to us a hundredfold. We have a book, Ideas in Food, Great Recipes and Why They Work, published by Clarkson Potter and another book, also with Clarkson Potter, in the works, to be published in August 2013. In the past year we have written pieces for Gilt Taste, Popular Science, Food 52 and Aroma Magazine. Our belief is that knowledge is empowering and a collaborative community fosters innovation and inspiration. We’d like to take our individual workshops to the next level and offer a set program of larger classes that will appeal to different chefs in addition to the bespoke workshops focusing on individual menus and areas of interest. 3. What would the Grant mean to your business plan and how would you utilize the funds to ensure long-term growth and stability?
The grant would give us the opportunity to expand the business and establish a permanent space where we can host culinary programs from 2-5 days for chefs and cooks to come and learn new skills and increase creativity. Currently we are teaching classes out of our small workshop. The grant would let us move to space designed for slightly larger classes and events, with rooms to offer the participants and their families to stay in. We’d like to establish a diverse, hands-on curriculum of topics including whole animal butchery, flavor pairings, menu development, no-knead baking and food styling, where we include guest chefs and instructors to teach classes based on their specific skill set and professional cooks, chefs and enthusiastic amateurs can come to learn, inspire, and be inspired. Avenues for continuing education in the food service industry are scant and we think that it is one of the most important ways that all cooks can keep their edge and enthusiasm in the kitchen. It’s a tough industry and time off tends to be devoted to loved ones, so if we can create a family friendly space where chefs can come to learn and their families can be with them, perhaps exploring the area during the day and joining them in the evenings for meals that are the direct result of their classes and culinary activities they will be able to integrate all of their passions into one trip.
Mental stimulation and new experiences are so important for chefs. There’s no way to overstate the fact. We need to stretch and grow in order to stay motivated and inspired. During the course of our workshops we’ve often heard that the experience rejuvenates a chef’s creativity and gets them excited to get back into their own kitchens. Instead of focusing only on smaller, individual workshops, a large space will also allow us to bring people together in a creative environment to learn from one another and become inspired from the group interaction.
3. What types of challenges can you identify with your business plan and how will you overcome them?
The biggest challenge will be finding the space and putting the program in place. Through our business we have an extensive network of chefs, writers, photographers, and beverage professionals that we can draw upon to teach classes. Instructors who design their own classes, will be able to share very specific skill sets and will be able to bring their own passion to the venue. It’s a unique opportunity for people in the business to learn from one another and get to know each other. While there are a few professional conferences where chefs can go to network and learn from each other, there is something special about smaller groups and real conversations that can take place when people are working side by side and sharing an experience. We like facilitating connections and bringing people together. It’s our hope that these small group classes will allow people to build relationships that they will take back into their kitchens and help foster the culinary community. We may need to start off in a bare bones environment and rely on the students and instructors to create the atmosphere instead of focusing on luxury accommodations and state of the art kitchens. Fortunately we already bring a fair amount of equipment to the table and are not afraid to bargain or exchange skills and services in order to make things happen.
4. Describe the talent on your team and how they make your business successful?
Ideas in Food is a partnership run by Aki Kamozawa and Alex Talbot. We both bring our separate and combined passions to the business. We are driven to create an environment where we can share the principles necessary to create the most delicious food possible. Alex is a wonderful presenter; good at making tough topics seem approachable and drawing people into experiments and discussions. He loves to solve problems and culinary mysteries are his specialty. He is very good at negotiating a deal and drawing people into partnerships. Aki is the writer, working slightly more behind the scenes to organize and explain how things work. She is very good at intuiting what people need and moving to provide that extra level of service. We both have backgrounds in restaurants and catering. Additionally we helped open and run a boutique hotel in Colorado giving us intimate knowledge of the amount of work and the level of operations that will be needed to make our dream come true. We both work hard to get the most out of our teams, encouraging them to be better and empowering them to be able to create a great experience for every guest and student. We lead by example and try to inspire those we work with. We continuously ask what is possible and share the process we travel to get there. Our greatest gifts are the abilities to share knowledge and bring people together.
5. Anything you'd like to add?
This grant would be a game changer for us. We have steadily grown our business for the last four years and it has crystallized our dream of this culinary center where chefs and cooks can come together in a slightly more relaxed environment to share ideas and techniques and play in the kitchen. It's a chance for food service professionals to recharge their batteries and learn about new ingredients and techniques. We want to a create a learning vacation spot specifically tailored to a group of people who's careers depend on their ability to stay current, well informed and able to inspire their own teams.
A big THANK YOU to everyone who voted for us. We made the 250 and are still gathering votes to let the selection committee know that we have the support of our community. We can't tell you how much it means to us that you were able to help us get to the next level. Fingers crossed that the judges like our business plan. We'll keep you posted.
June 29, 2010
Rittenhouse Tavern to host “Ideas in Food” Authors
For a Creative Culinary Workshop and Dinner
Join Alexander Talbot and Aki Kamozawa on Monday, July 23rd
Rittenhouse Tavern will host a creative culinary workshop and special one-seating-only dinner with Alexander Talbot and Aki Kamozawa of the popular website and book “Ideas In Food” on Monday, July 23rd.
Rittenhouse Tavern, which is normally closed on Mondays, will host the six-hour hands-on workshop from 10AM to 4PM allowing access to the entire restaurant (kitchen included) in hopes that participants will be inspired to take innovative and resourceful approaches to food and find a focus when developing dishes. The workshop, which is $250 per person, is geared towards chefs, culinary students and at-home-cooks that are curious to explore and learn more about food, while utilizing Talbot and Kamozawa as resources for refining their ideas. Lunch will also be served for workshop participants.
Separately, Executive Chef Nicholas Elmi will team up with the duo to prepare a special 7+ course dinner that evening with one exclusive seating at 6PM for $105 per person (not including tax and gratuity). The dinner will highlight the ideas and techniques utilized in the workshop, guaranteed to pique the interest of chefs and food lovers alike. Reservations are recommended but not required for both the workshop and dinner.
“We’re excited to welcome Alexander and Aki to Rittenhouse Tavern,” says Executive Chef, Nicholas Elmi. “I've known the two of them for years and we frequently bounce ideas off each other. It's important for chefs to never stop learning and this workshop will allow everyone the opportunity to openly discuss their ideas and develop recipes with a new perspective in a creative atmosphere.”
Rittenhouse Tavern is located on 251 South 18th Street in the Philadelphia Art Alliance. For more information and to secure a reservation call 215-732-2412.
Necks are one of our favorite pieces of meat to work with. In this case we took the idea of working with necks and applied it to the vegetable world. We slowly braise the broccoli neck in roasted chicken jus. When they are cake tester tender we glaze them with the braising liquid. In this dish we paired the braised broccoli with our twice cooked scallops.
Wanting to continue with our gluten free developments we put our sourdough donuts to the test. We combined our sorghum starter* and used our What IiF flour in our sourdough donut recipe from the book. The results were tangy, rich and delicious. We coated the donuts with cardamom sugar and the lactic tang of the sourdough did the rest. These are a wonderful addition to our repertoire and hopefully you will give them a go soon too.
*We have now modified our sorghum starter to a blend of sorghum and flax seed meal in equal parts by weight. The flax seed adds some elasticity to the starter and gives it more body, a great improvement.
We saw this on Brain Pickings today and are shamelesly reposting it here because it's that good. It's about creativty, a skill we are constantly trying to improve, and the video is definitely worth watching. If you've never checked it out, Brain Pickings should be one of your daily reads. Maria Popova always manages to find at least one and usually several new and inspiring things to write about every day.
April 12, 2006