Showing posts with label chef. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chef. Show all posts

March 1, 2011

Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking

I really REALLY wanna get this book: Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. It's one of those once-in-a-lifetime books on food, science and biology. In other words: everything around cooking and eating.

January 14, 2011

Book: Turbo cuisinier/gastheer


I've edited the photobook that I made as a way to remember the great time I had during my course at the academie voor gastronomie last year. January 24th is our very last day as well graduation. I honor of that fact, I've made a few alterations to the book and added a few pages. You can still preview as well as order a copy of the book on Blurb: Turbo cuisinier/gastheer | Book Preview.

December 4, 2010

5-course Menu d'Aquitaine

As part of my exam at the "academie voor Gastronomie" in de Echoput near Apeldoorn, where I took a course all of last year, I have to create a 5-course meal with accompanying wines. At first I only had random ideas of things I like to eat or know how to make well. Then I had trouble figuring out an overall theme to the menu, something that ties all together. Then I could think of a theme or common idea but had no clue about the wines to go with the food.

And then it dawned on me: the region where my parent live, where we used to go on vacation when I was a kid and the Bordeaux region is sometimes referred to as L'Aquitaine region! So... that will be my theme. I can make canard from the Sud-Ouest where my parents are. I have the wines from that region, but also the Bordeaux-like wines from Bergerac. And I have the dishes and seafood I used to eat while on vacation on Ile d'Oléron with the fabulous Pineau de Charente. So I set out creating my courses and used seasonal vegetables of regional combinations and sauces that I like. And the result is on Google Docs. Sorry folks, it is in Dutch. If you'ld like a translation, just contact me. I'll be happy to explain. But wait until after Monday!

In the end, finding the wines was the hardest. What I did was decide on which type of wine would go with a dish and then I'ld search on Internet to find wines in that category, appélation (AOC, AVA) or château. It was surprisingly easy finding an actual bottle that matched my description. At first I had chosen the Bordeaux Clairet to go with the terrine of duck liver. But I couldn't find a good white Bordeaux to go with the "ris de veau". Until realized I could match the Clairet with the "ris de veau" and simply pick a good white for the terrine. I chose an AOC Bergerac. The red (La pie Colette) that goes with the "magrêt de canard" is one I actually bought and brought with me, after doing my intern at Restaurant des Deux Lacs last Summer. So that one was easy and fixed. 

Now wish me luck for Monday! And oh, I only have to make one dish, not all. I choose the Moules Charentaise and I practiced them tonight. Went well. Found a solution for the runny sauce. ;)

August 31, 2010

Photo of mine used in news paper

News paper de Stentor from Apeldoorn has used one of my photos from the Academie voor Gastronomie course. :) With permission, of course, but I forgot to mention to list my name. Now it's credited to the Echoput. Oh well. Live and learn.

August 22, 2010

Internship at les deux lacs

Well, my internship at restaurant des Deux Lacs (formerly known as "restaurant les Deux Lacs") turned into a little vacation as well. That is both good and bad. I had hoped to work full-time in a restaurant learn from that what it would like to have a place of my own. I know it'll be hard, but how hard? I know I will be tired but how tired? I expect a lot of things to have to deal with, but what exactly?

I learned some but not all of these things. I had a great time! I worked 4 days straight and was beat when they themselves went on their first vacation in 3 years. :) That gave me a pretty good indication of 'how tired exactly?'. :) The chef, Frédéric and his girlfriend, Magalie, and I got along great. Especially considering we'd only met briefly in May and for a second during times I'd had dinner there before. Fred and I worked well together as if we'd been working together for ages. I went shopping with him, something I love and he hates, so it was fun for both. Imagine going into a Toys-R-Us with a 5 year old: that is me going to food 'n delicacies wholesaler! I'll buy enough food to feed a transatlantic cruise-liner if no one stops me! But it is always infectious, so we had fun.

Lunch was all days nicely busy, dinner during the week was brief but perfectly timed. French people arrived predictably around 8pm and - this being a small town in a quiet area - left after their meal. Everything well executed. Weekends were different. That is when they go out, celebrate or dine together, and when they dine, they dine well. So we'd start the mis en place at 930am, have a quick warm lunch before noon, handle lunch, clean up, go home between 3-6pm, finish the mis en place for dinner, start dinner at 8pm sharp (not a second sooner, you barbaric Americans :) !) and finish the last desserts around 1030pm. Clean up, close up and have a supper ourselves around 11pm so we could drop dead in bed by midnight. Rinse, dry, repeat. Isn't that great!?!?

Needless to say I had a ball, but mostly the talking in French all day long, listening, searching for words, answering, stumbling over words and thinking was so grueling that by 9pm I'd be so tired, I'd simply nod, smile or say yes/no. Having to formulate a grammatically correct, meaningful sentence after working 8 hrs was simply too much effort by that time. :) And since he and I were "locked" together in the kitchen practically all day long, we talked all day long too about anything. Life, love, food, recipes, the academy were I'm doing my course, vacation, Holland vs France, TV, ads about this or that, travel, computers, Internet, websites (theirs sucks but I'll be working on that), produce, meat, fish, vegetables, DSL routers, WiFi and security, repeaters, Telcos, smartphones, iPhones, Android (they have an HTC Desire which they now adore after I showed them what mine could do) and so on.

But it was great! They gave me a culinary going-away gift packed with gourmand goodies and I was baffled. I took home wine, cakes, cantaloupe, duck breast fillet (canard) and cheese. And half of the fois gras we both made by hand. That's 500+ gr of fois gras de canard (not the gross, cruel kind, please, give me some credit!). And to top it off, Fred said that if I ever wanted to open a restaurant he'd be honored to work with me and offered to partner up together. Of course, it would have to be in France, but they are visiting The Hague in the Winter and maybe I'll be able to talk some sense in him. ;)

update: photos online

August 9, 2010

An introduction to my "cooking" course

I had been playing with the idea for a while already when the owner and founder of the Academie voor Gastronomie approached me and asked if I would like to help out. They had seen my pictures of each day in class and were wondering if I'd be willing to lend them for publicity purposes. They thought it would make a great promotion for the course and give a clear idea of what went on. I thought about mini-websites, blogs and other fancy shit, when finally ending up at a clean and simple solution: a book! Online for candidates, hard copy for classmates.

So I agreed and put together a Blurb book with pictures from the first 12 lessons and added some explanatory text. Check out the preview:

June 20, 2010

BBQ at Hart Beach Surf Club

I helped out Romano and his friend from rent-a-chef hosting a BBQ at Hart Beach Surf Club in Scheveningen. It was cold, windy and rainy during a WC soccer match. But while everyone was watching, I was busy preparing the BBQ with fish papillotes in alu foil, ostrich steaks, potato and bean salads and a ton of sausages. It was a South African braai, in honor of the host of WC, and they made a delicious apricot chutney in traditional style. Wonderful!
In the evening, there was a party there, a Live South African band "Teba Chumba" and a raffle giveaway. Very funny to be a reggae party with people instead of a house party. But I party well everywhere. ;)

April 13, 2010

Beemster Lusthof

Last weekend, a friend from the academy, where I am taking my course to become cuisinier/host, asked me to help him out. He had to cook a 5-course menu for members of the Beemster Lusthof. It's a cooperation of local farmers, beekeepers, etc. from a special region in Holland - called de Beemster - that grows bio-products. Everything from cows, sheep, milk, cheese and yogurt to honey, fruit, jams, beer, flour, corn and vegetables. The menu was to be created using only their own local, fresh, bio-grown products. My friend, Ronald Roos, needed some help because everything was going to be prepared on-site and the group was a bit too large for one cook.

The day was a lot of fun and very educational. Both logistically as well as food-wise. We had 5 hrs to prepare everything (!) from scratch: roasts slow-cooked "au bain marie" until done; vegetable bouillon, lam, tiny meat balls, a terrine from carrots, mashed potato and French toast for desert. In the end, everything went fine and the guests were very happy. We were both exhausted, though, after standing on our feet for more than 12 hours! O_o I'll have pictures up on smugmug soon...

Update: pictures are up on smugmug

March 5, 2010

Echoput - day 3

I've uploaded photos from Echoput - day 3 to Smugmug. This time we focused on making fonds, the base for all sauces. We made fresh fish fond from Tarbot scraps and veal fond, which the restaurant will finish cooking for us. And we had a lesson on the difference between wine that had time to air first and the same one without air, straight from the bottle. BIG difference. So think about that. However, leaving the cork off won't do a whole lot. Decant it in a nice carafe or something.

February 17, 2010

Education at "De echoput"

Last Monday, I had my first lesson for the year-long course "Cuisinier and Host". It's a brand new course for people in the food/restaurant business or thinking of going into it. It combines parts of a chef, host and sommelier into one intensive course. Because these professions can all benefit from one another when they know more about the other, without having to be excellent in the others.

The course is given at the Echoput in Apeldoorn and organized by the Dutch Academy for Gastronomy. There was so much to remember, write down and talk about that I forgot to take pictures regularly. But I have a few online. I'll update the gallery as the year progresses.

January 14, 2010

Career change: Gastheer-Cuisinier

Just before NYE, I decided to opt for a possible career change in a few years. I've always wanted to learn more about the restaurant business, cooking, being a host/maitre d' ;) but couldn't really find a good place to try it. Then I did: the 'academie voor gastronomie' in Holland created just that type of year-long course: Turbo opleiding Gastheer-Cuisinier.

There was an open house last Tuesday and I went there. It was everything I hoped it to be and the other people were nice and diverse from all kins of backgrounds. So that should prove educational in all ways. The course will start Feb 8th, not next week as I first thought. They are trying to seek official approval with the bodies that can decide these things, bu either way: a certificate from this institute will get quite the attention. Nationally as well as internationally. Granted, it's the Gordon Bleue in Paris, but just right for me!

December 28, 2009

Academie voor Gastronomie

2009 was bad year. But instead of looking back too much (already did that), fo 2010 I want to focus more on myself, what I want, like and love and food, cooking, chef, being a host is definitely a big part of that. So whereas last year around this time I had decided to follow a course for becoming a chef at the local ROC, this year my ambition is higher and I'm signing up for a crash course for chefs, sommeliers and hosts at the Academie voor Gastronomie near Apeldoorn.

The course will be the first step on my way to becoming a chef and own a lunchroom somewhere in the world. Don't really care where, not really. Location and placing are more important, besides I've been meaning on leaving Holland for the last 10 years anyway. This is a good excuse. :)

November 12, 2009

Dream job


Today, I found my dream job (sorry, in Dutch only): chef in château Les Merles. *sigh*
15 points on GaultMillau scale (out of 20), dependable 35-45 guests year-around with peak to 55-80 in Summer. Situated in the Sud-Ouest of France (best culinary region according to the French) and near my parents. The place has a restaurant, a bistro, hotel, beds, sunny terras, country-side, golf, wellness, in short: the works. Now about my resumé, did I mention I've worked in a kitchen for, uhm, 3 years...?

September 19, 2009

Capo Cucina

Wednesday was my monthly cooking workshop with a group of guys I met through Marc. we gather at Capo Cucina where chef Romano teaches us Italian cooking and shows us tips and tricks during preparation! Have a bunch of our work in progress up on SmugMug.

September 7, 2009

Netherlands wins 2 gold at Asia Culinary Cup 2009

The Dutch team "Nationaal Team" has won 2 gold medals at the int'l Asia Culinary Cup in Bangkok, Thailand. The team of Wynand Vogel won in the categories 'Cold Buffet' and 'a la minute'. Source: Misset Horeca

August 11, 2009

Culinairy trips

On August 22nd, I am going with Michel to Antwerp to enjoy Antwerpen Proeft. And I just discovered through SpecialBite@twitter that a week later, there is something similar in Rotterdam: Heerlijk Rotterdam!

August 10, 2009

Cooking again!

Last week of Juli, Dee called me saying her brother - the chef - at Square had been getting rid of some people and was looking for good and dependable people again. So I went and talked, got €12/hr and started working on Thursday and Friday again! :)

Thankfully, the vacation makes a bit better to get "broken in" because it can get really busy there. So far, I've had a nice couple of evenings and am already starting to get the hang of it. Amazing, how much I've actually learned already over the past 2 years. :)

I also kinda decided that I'll seriously look into opening my own lunchroom somewhere. In Utrecht, there is a perfect spot appearing. Might be good, might not. I could even sublet my house, rent a small place somewhere else and just try it. I love cooking so much, having the lunchroom seems inevitable.

July 23, 2009

Restaurant Square

I will be a (part-time) chef again at Square in Den Haag at "het Plein", right in the backyard of the Dutch parliament. It's a nice place but management has its issues. They try though. So it's not the best places, but my old friends Daniel (chef), Deborah and Gio from Doen! are there and for 2 days it's good enough. Gonna work Thursday and Friday evenings. Busy times but that's what I want to learn anyway. The rhythm of the kitchen when the going gets tough, I can handle the rest. How do you optimize? Where to cut corners and where not (NOT the quality!).

Should be interesting and I'll be tired on the weekend again. But I can sleep in on Friday morning, so that's important. Yey!

July 19, 2009

BBC - MasterChef

I know there are a few cooking and kitchen related programs on TV these days. But I'm am baffled by Twitter storm related to BBC - MasterChef! O_o psych! It looks all right and original (how come BBC keeps coming up with these amazing good ideas?!) and the things the amateur chefs have to do are simply astonishing, James! Totally stupendous! Wonder if RTL/SBS/NET will license it here in Holland. ;)

update: hype is over the Australian version

March 5, 2009

Home make-over

Well, Petra is gone. She moved out last weekend. The house is really empty even though most of the furniture is still here. It's weird. I guess the soul is gone or something. It feels chilly, lonely and cold. Most of the walls are empty and there is a lot of space suddenly.

It's not all bad though... I lost the Wii but gained a PS3. I lost the Ferguson Hill plexiglass speakers but gained a Logitech Z-5500 THX surround set-up. I lost analogue audio, gained Dolby Digital with fiber optical connections from both the PS3 and Mac Mini! Woohoo! Amazing!

I bought some cool wall art at Blik but sadly they're in back order and won't get here for a while. :( Oh well,can't win them all. I checked the local gardening center and found a ton of beautiful plants that I can use both in the scorching heat in the back window sill or the sunny, cooler front window. Now if I only found some nice pots to use. The window sills aren't very wide...

I also bought 2 great Wüsthoff chef knives. Wow! Even I am amazed. They're so sharp. I gave my old set to Petra because she didn't have decent knives and I wanted better ones. That way we both win. :)

Now if only I could find a nice new bed to sleep instead of a matress on the floor...