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Kyle Branche

 et al.

Each night you brace yourself for that moment of the evening when the pace of activity behind the bar shifts from a comfortable cruise-control to pedal-to-the- metal overdrive. In anticipation, you’ve prepped during the shift’s quiet time so you can deliver your best-selling cocktail with ease. But what quality of drink will you be serving?

Geographically, Latin cuisine covers an enormous stretch of the globe. But philosophically, it can be reduced to one simple idea: flavor definition. At least that is what Guillermo Pernot, chef-owner of Cuba Libre restaurants believes and strives to achieve. When it comes to Latin food, he claims, “Cooks tend to overdo, rather than allowing the essence of foods to peek through . . .

You’ve probably heard the adage that the only constant is change. It’s especially true in the beverage industry, where manufacturers continue to introduce new products to capture the imagination of spirits enthusiasts.

Essentials of Indian spices.

There was a time when wars were fought, continents discovered, and fortunes made all in the pursuit of spices. This is what it is like in Chef Floyd Cardoz’s kitchen. His kitchen is a veritable court of flavor, spices gain a fine measure of their former glory, as well as much of their old-world appearance.

Monterey. The name evokes so many vivid Californian and American images . . . John Steinbeck and Cannery Row, a beautiful bay teeming with deep-sea fish and mammals, abalones, seaside golf, a picturesque Carmel artists’ colony, a rugged coastline of surf-torn rocks and steep mountains . . . and wine. Yes, Monterey County’s wines deserve acclaim on the order of every other magnificent Monterey attraction.

Bars are often nickled and dimed into ruin, or considering today’s high prices, they’re quartered to death. And it happens with almost every flick of the wrist. The culprit is lax or nonexistent portion controls. A drink’s sales price is hinged to a specified portion of alcohol; if the amount of spirit fluctuates, the drink’s profit margin will waver as well.

Where does a pastry chef get his or her inspiration? For me, a walk down the streets of New York—which brings the aroma of roasted nuts, the sight of brightly decorated store windows, or the musical jingles of the Mister Softee truck—is enough to stir up my creative juices.

We’re not too deadly serious.
We want the events to be strong on entertainment value with a bit of education snuck in. 

—andrew chase

These events become fun for the staff, giving them something that they can be proud of.

—gerhard tratter

A little sweetness is said to be a bad thing with asparagus, but I don’t agree. Some sweetness is just fine with asparagus.

Asparagus has a long history of being treasured. The early Greeks and Romans not only prized the elegant spear as a delicious food, they considered it an aphrodisiac as well as a nifty first aid treatment for bee stings and toothaches. 

Make a commitment to stocking fresh mint, which lends itself to so many creative uses. Try it in variations of the mojito, caipirinhas, and caipiroscas or with fresh fruit in smashes.

Chef Anthony Goncalves never went to cooking school. He never started as a dishwasher or cooked under an award-winning chef. He never ran a large-scale operation. And yet, he is the chef and co-owner behind the 210-seat, 27,000 square-foot restaurant, 42 at the Ritz-Carlton Westchester, which sits atop the tallest building between Boston and New York with postcard worthy views of the Manhattan skyline and Hudson River Valley. How did Goncalves achieve such success in an industry so ridden with competition and closures? Equal parts talent, passion, charisma and, of course, a faithful Westchester investor.

Food-friendly wines from Ribera del Duero offer broad ranges of styles and prices that most american restaurants can embrace, from value-priced, fruity, quaffable Joven/Roble bottlings to complex and age worthy Riservas and Gran Reservas.

Of Spain’s trio of celebrated red wine regions, La Rioja has a long international reputation for excellence. Priorat, which burst on the wine scene two decades ago, remains aglow with praise for its distinctive high-octane, mineral-laden wines. Ribera del Duero, like Priorat, is short on fine-wine history, but it doesn’t generate the same gush of print and online media attention. Smart American restaurant buyers, however, seek out and list Ribera wines.

Millions of words are devoted to aid buyers in selecting beverages, but few words are dedicated to guiding buyers in selecting glassware in which to serve these beverages.

“There are no linens on the table, and we have an evolving menu. Ray’s and Stark Bar was about breaking the rules without breaking standards.” – Reza Samadi

“As a cook, would you rather fill a computer-generated order or steal a few minutes to talk with the eccentric fellow who has arrived with a basket of just-picked string beans?" -Alice Waters

Michael Mina's head sommelier, Josiah Baldivino shares two "Wow factor" reds.

Builiding a successful catering business requires additional planning, energy and motivation from you and your staff, but the extra effort will complement and stimulate your restaurant dining program, making your enterprise stronger and more profitable.

If you are reading this column and you are not my brother, be sure to review your leases and guaranties with your real estate attorney. A space isn’t “perfect” if your lease terms are not acceptable.

How do we go about educating our front-line people about what’s inside all those beautiful bottles on the backbar and how to sell them?

For her signature dish, Beer Braised Pork Belly, Johnson braises the meat in dark, malty beer, whole grain mustard, coriander, and fennel.