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Foodie take note: Great news! Michelin Star Chef backed restaurant opening up in April!!

Oh lord, Bo Innovation actually has three stars? Didn't even notice that

Yaletown lunch on a Sunday in March with gluten free options?

Good Wolfe is no longer in operation.

On Being a Chef, Nobody Gets Out Alive

Agreed, though for a lot of chefs the first act can stretch much longer and may never end... which is not necessarily a bad thing. The thing about advice such as this is that although it's always appreciated to be well informed about the challenges of a particular field of work (long hours! little respect! you'll have to pay your dues!) I think it's a huge disservice to be actively recruiting people away from it. Like other sectors the culinary industry faces challenges in terms of attrition, changing demands for skill sets, etc. If we suddenly dissuade all these people from working these jobs (much like farming), then we continue down the path of industrialized, mass produced mediocrity.

And if everybody takes up a 9-5 job, who will do the rest of the jobs that apparently nobody else wants to do? That phenomenon is already alive and kicking in 21st century North America, and this sort of attitude only makes the situation worse.

I for one don't regret going into the industry and if eventually I have difficulties doing it due to my physical state then so be it. A lot of people take several tries to find a career that suits them and some end up doing sometime their entire life only for the paycheque and waiting for the weekend/end of the shift. I for one find that incredibly sad.

Feb 23, 2015
Blueicus in Not About Food

2015 RESTAURANT Closings in Toronto? To June 30...

They're speed holes, they make the burger go faster

Top Chef Boston – Ep. #10 – 01/07/15 (spoilers)

agreed, a pressure cooker should reduce most meats to falling apart tenderness by 1 hour. With the added time of searing and bringing the stock up to a boil it brings the cook time up another 20 minutes. The only real challenge is that you can't casually open it up and poke the meat to check, which a lot of chefs like to do, though if you are smart about it you can quickly depressurize, check, put the lid back on then pressurize in about five minutes

Jan 09, 2015
Blueicus in Food Media & News

Vancouver’s top new restaurants of 2014

And when she hates something she has a habit of continually kicking them long after she's reviewed the place

Vancouver’s top new restaurants of 2014

Let's just say she's capable of holding a grudge.

Sodium Citrate -- First Attempt

I don't know if there's any science behind it or if I'm crazy but the muting of flavours has happened to me too. Made a fonduta out of taleggio and once I added the sodium citrate, boom, the distinct aroma of that cheese faded away. If it isn't the ph change doing something perhaps the emulsion causes flavours to be more difficult to perceive, such as the difference between a very stiff mayo and a runny mayo

Dec 08, 2014
Blueicus in Home Cooking

Dumpling disaster, any ideas?

Making gyoza-style dumplings that don't contain wheat or wheat starch is, unfortunately, practically impossible. It would probably be better to make a cooked crepe with your flour, wrap it around your filling then cook it again. Glutinous rice dumplings (tang yuen in Chinese) are made with the glutinous rice flour and cold water, a bit of hot water can be used to gelatinized some of the starch but you can't do that to all of the starches or you will get the sticky mess you referred to.

The cooking method for tang yuen is usually to steam or boil them, frying doesn't really brown rice flours much

Dec 07, 2014
Blueicus in Home Cooking

Globe Review of America in the Trump Tower

I would like to see the lunch ladies tackle the foie torchon

What's in the fluorescent red cooked smoked salmon?

If the label says pink salmon it should be of the species Oncorhynchus gorbuscha,a pacific salmon that is typically caught wild. The colour is probably just natural colouration from its diet. Salmon flesh colour does vary greatly depending on species, diet, and time of year

Nov 27, 2014
Blueicus in General Topics

Lots of high profile new restaurant closings, anyone know why?

Yeah, their Facebook page mentions it. It was actually from that news I started to think...

Lots of high profile new restaurant closings, anyone know why?

Now that you brought attention to my typo it would be wrong to edit my OP. Chef changes could explain yours truly and possibly Bero (although if I recall the restaurant closed way too soon after cantor left) but the chef at The Grove is still there, right? Same with ursa.

Lots of high profile new restaurant closings, anyone know why?

I'm stuck on Vancouver so I don't get the chance to talk to the folks at Toronto, but so many of the new wave of interesting Toronto restaurants, Bero, Ursa, The Grove, Yours Truly, etc, etc. have or will be closing soon. Obviously the reason for each restaurant may vary but anyone know why exactly? Does it primarily stem from a lack of business, or does it go deeper than that? It's too bad since I don't get much time off and when I got back I'd planned on going to at least one of them

The one pastry

The lemon tart at Thierry. They could easily just discard the rest of the offerings and just stock the entire bakery with lemon tarts.

High end dim sum in the area

Ended up going to Red Star on Granville, they do have a separate menu with english and chinese that corresponds to the items on the check sheet. Luckily I'm literate enough in chinese to muddle through a menu but I use the english if I'm impatient enough.

We ordered a variety of things from the menu and found the strongest items to be the buns though found the items a bit hit and miss in terms of delicateness and refinement (some items like the har gow had overcooked skins and the fish maw with shrimp were a bit too soft while some others were fine, like the buns) and the e-fu noodles with seafood was served in a clay pot and was presented sorta messily. It was unexpectedly busy for a Monday lunch though, which is impressive. Also everyone seemed to get the roast duck which we were too full to get, seems like it was a specialty there.

Also would kill to find a really great chinese donut wrapped in rice noodle that's got crisp and light 油炸鬼. In both Toronto and Vancouver the typical dim sum places don't do it justice and I usually have to go to the congee places to get a good one in Toronto,

I'll give Jade a try next time. I've been there before for dinner and liked what we had.

Top Chef Boston - Ep. #1 - 10/15/14 (spoilers)

Season 2, name's Curtis

Oct 19, 2014
Blueicus in Food Media & News

High end dim sum in the area

Just to add some context I go to sea harbour somewhat regularly, and I've frequented Neptune, sun Sui wah in Vancouver, Kirin on cambie and good choice. Sea harbour is personally my favourite

Top Chef Boston - Ep. #1 - 10/15/14 (spoilers)

The Canadian version of the show was produced by a different company than the American version, there was some consultation but ultimately different entities handled the day to day logistics. We weren't that tightly sequestered after elimination, though depending on the season or the circumstances of the challenges that may vary. It appears the American version may require most of the eliminated contestants to be locked up more tightly for a longer period, especially with last chance kitchen and some of the other challenges that require eliminated contestants to return.

In terms of production values I'd say TCC is closer to the first 6 seasons of the American show.

High end dim sum in the area

Looking for high end dim sum in the greater vancouver area. Cost nor location not an issue, looking for high level execution and even some creativity.

Top Chef Boston - Ep. #1 - 10/15/14 (spoilers)

I managed to catch the first episode, some brief observations:

The instant feedback is interesting, one thing you don't get as a contestant is any feedback unless you are on the top or on the bottom. Even better is hearing the judges' feedback for the other competitors: It's a lot easier to figure out how strong everybody is based on both positive and negative feedback. As a contestant you usually don't have time to see or taste much of other people's stuff (especially if they work on the opposite side of the kitchen or are serving at the other end of the room) so it's good to know what other people are doing.

The relay race is interesting, there was some fast work and some precise work and then there was fast and incredibly sloppy work. Ron may have been fast, but that's fairly shameful looking butchering he did on the mackerel. I don't shuck clams much myself, but my first instinct wouldn't have been to do what Katsuji was trying to do to it. Especially since there were three other seafood options available to deal with I most certainly would've fought to do anything but the clams, which still leaves me with three options.

George made a bad decision choosing Gregory as the challenger, he let emotion override smart decision making. Too bad, he could've done fairly well. Especially since losing for Gregory bore no negative consequence apart from a bit of wounded pride.

Some contestants I like? Mei, Joy, Doug, Gregory

Addendum: No disrespect to Richard, but my least favourite modern cooking technique was demonstrated by Michael, agar pearls are the rubber bullets of the culinary world, they rarely taste like much and are better suited for crowd control than eating. I like agar, I just don't like it when they turn it into little hail stones.

Oct 18, 2014
Blueicus in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston - Ep. #1 - 10/15/14 (spoilers)

Unfortunately I don't have cable these days and the streaming thing isn't always reliable. However, I've been reading these recaps for a while and it's almost better than watching it on TV

Oct 18, 2014
Blueicus in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston - Ep. #1 - 10/15/14 (spoilers)

An element of chance always factors into what happens, the filming of the show just happened to coincide with the restaurant's extraordinarily busy season, if the restaurant I worked at was quiet in the summer then I would've been in luck, though this is not to downplay the skill of the other contestants since some of them clearly got further than me and one of them was the chef at the restaurant right beside mine.

As a side note, Richard Blais happened to be a guest judge on the episode I got eliminated on because my deconstructed American classic (tuna casserole) was deemed the least favourite out of all the dishes. How I could've possibly prepared for that, I have no idea. However, it's also true that at the end of the day I made something they didn't like and all the ranting and excuses in the world won't make up for that.

Oct 17, 2014
Blueicus in Food Media & News

Top Chef Boston - Ep. #1 - 10/15/14 (spoilers)

A large majority of the chefs would've dealt with oysters and lobsters before while only a few would've shucked clams at work (most people just steam them until they open then take out the meat since people generally don't eat raw clams anyways).

What a lot of people seem to misunderstand about practicing is that you don't just do something a dozen times and instantly you become good at it. If you work at an oyster bar you can do hundreds a night and by no means after one night of work can they even be considered an exceptionally good shucker. Becoming even a half decent oyster shucker requires you to do dozens, perhaps hundreds of oysters. Each oyster is different and you have to learn how to handle each type depending on the shape of its shell, etc. It's a large investment in time, effort, and money that could be better spent learning something else. Besides, the person who got kicked out did the stupid thing and chose a stronger cook to challenge; if he chose a weaker cook he would've still been in and spending hours and hundreds of dollars learning how to shuck shellfish really quickly would've gone down the drain real fast.

Top Chef Boston - Ep. #1 - 10/15/14 (spoilers)

Practice? In between their regular jobs and the fact that they're already taking over a month's leave of absence to go to the show do people think most chefs have time to sit down, conceive of all possible boston-themed challenges, practice them (i guess I have to go buy a few hundred dollars of seafood to practice these dishes as well), learn to make all the iconic Boston dishes, on top of practicing and memorizing a number of dishes they need to have up their sleeve for the usual mass catering/fine dining/dessert/odd ingredient etc. challenges.

Also in my experience there was about 3 weeks between learning that I was on the show to the beginning of filming, in that time I had to confirm my leave of absence, make sure everything ran in order when I was gone and worked extra days because my chef went on vacation before I left

West End Foodies

The people who took over the place made some bad decisions, BOH staff pretty much bailed, I don't foresee good things

Top Chef Duel Kevin vs. Art

In layman's terms, make the Food Network Canada servers believe that you're accessing the website from a Canadian ISP. How to do it? I don't know, it's like asking a pure mathematician to show you how to do your taxes.

Oct 08, 2014
Blueicus in Food Media & News

Top Chef Duel Kevin vs. Art

Left behind a Master's in Computer Science to cook and I may have been a decent computer scientist but I'm certainly a better cook/chef, more engaged with my work at the very least and probably a damn sight happier with my career... and people wonder why poorly crafted chain restaurants and fast food outlets dominate, all the good cooks are leading better and more productive lives as 'real' professionals.

Oct 07, 2014
Blueicus in Food Media & News
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Best restaurant on this list? Need your vote!

The diamond and keefer bar are probably closest to the criteria of atmosphere and decor, and of course the cocktails are good. Pour house drifts closer to a pub/lounge at night. As everyone else says, Brooklyn is a bass turned up to 11/shots kinda place, not someplace I'd go but everyone's scene is different.

Best restaurant on this list? Need your vote!

I actually had a relatively nice time at Pidgin recently, though there's been a staff turnover there recently (as have many restaurants in the Gastown area). I hear a chef's coming in from Toronto but I'd expect the menu to change quite a bit by that time.

Personally I don't get the undying love for Chambar. I had a dinner there some time ago, the plates were pretty but things either didn't eat particularly well together (textures, flavour combinations) or had execution problems (boulangere potatoes were literally boiled slices of potato in broth). Perhaps I just ordered wrong.

TUC has good mains, but I find their appetizer and dessert selection somewhat boring.

YMMV, but I'd choose Wildebeest or Pidgin out of that list.