Posts Tagged ‘new year



Chinese new year really hit me for the first time this year.

I found myself on sommerset here in Ottawa which is our spadina – and low and behold I got myself a hold of something…. Chicken feet. I’ve eaten much stranger things in my travels – but have enjoyed them all with friends. Tonight I had the treat to eat some traditional chinese food with some friends – exactly what I wanted.

But thats never enough I guess.

As 3 am slowly rolls its lazy eyes I finished a design I wanted to share – something I guess I needed to do…

Have a good service,




Matters of great importance can easily be solved on a barstool




whats up – whats up?

Us Canadian chefs have a different type of fun come the winter months.  We get squirrely. We try to bang on the things that are well out season in our own country – as well on the things that are.  But to be honest the Ontario winter menu mostly speaks of how much chefs yearn to be with their families – preserves, braises and stews.

This time of year for chefs is vacation time – few patrons want to go out for dinner after the Armageddon of Xmas – let alone new years -the ones that do I give my utmost respect as I garner them as the diehards.

I’m talking Bruce Willis in his 20’s – yippee kai yae kinda diehard – not the wanna bees.

I wish that us as chefs had backing as strong as this everywhere…

The point being – as deranged as it could be it refines in the art of the soup.

Soup and stew has been around in every culture around the world at every part of their dominance. Either a proper consumme for a prince or – in my corner – a braise/stew mashed up of the “leftover bits” for the peasant folk.

At the heart of cooking culture is the cooks who are living under the poverty line that eat better soup than you’ve ever had outside of 1700’s Paris.

The difference being we’re not oppressed, the similarities being we’re slaves, but we live the same goodness as badness – we eat amazing food, but barely pay the rent.

The outcome – hopefully triumphant – sits dirty on a satin throne.

The best thing’s I’ve ever eaten have been during  staff meals in a Canadian winter.  Hands down the availability of seasonal ingredients combined with the want to feel warm creates the best feel good bowls of nourishment a chef can offer a chef.

Damn it feels good to be a Canadian.

Have a good service,


Kung Hei Fat Choy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Kiss a Chinese person today and wish them happy new year!



If the madness of december has a sane side – its the family or friends we spend christmas with – even though they are, in all normallity, insane themselves.

a few candycane bandannas…

My wife and I spent a beautiful time at both of our parents homes this year – mostly in the kitchen – where all the warming memories of the holidays tend to subside.  I noticed during a 8 hour session of baking, preping, basting and creating new things to do from scratch that the dinner we were spending all day to make wasn’t nearly as fantastic as the day we spent together. My wife making my Baba’s perogies with my mother for the first time, cooking lamb racks with my father in law in the garage on charcoal while drinking single malt, the good things in life.

It’s a bit soft but I really enjoyed cooking all day with both sets of my parents, even after cooking 7 days a week for a month.

Hope you enjoyed your holidays and happy new year!

Have a good service,


julia and jacques cooking at home  – wins every time


Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band


It’s the beginning of January, a tepid time contrasting the heat that december brought upon us in our kitchens – a time when we can breathe a bit softer, laugh a bit hardier and focus on our craft evenly and concentrated.  But what do us as cooks look forward to changing in our lives? A new job – a new dish – a new management technique – a new way to express yourself.

I  just flew back from Saskatoon last night after driving my bro there starting in Ottawa – it was a 4 day journey that illuminated the importance of family, the intense beauty of Northern Ontario,  the prairies, and of the journey.  Saskatoon is the country in the city, full of amazingly honest and loving folks that are more concerned with you leaving their store happier than you came in than leaving with less cash in your pocket.  The habitants aside, arriving at Saskatoon even though I stayed for a few nights, was the end of my trip – the task of driving 3300 kms in an intensely smelly car (fast food helps), the random towns we stopped in – with the almost predictible oversized statues of canadiana was what made it. ( Check out husky the muskie and his 2010 winter olympic mittens)

It is the journey.

thunder bay sunrise in rearview

Lame and preachy at times – it took me 3300kms in that stinky car and a night cooking for the kind friends that put us up for a few days in order for me to realize what I want my first restaurant to look like, feel like and serve.  The hours I’ve tried to extract out of my head what I think I want, what i would brand my resto as seem almost futile to a 5 day trip across what i believe should be a compulsory part of enjoying what Canada has to offer.

The subtle changes that happen during a seemingly average journey can start to stumble down a hill that provides the support to snowball those changes into a monster revelation – one so strong that it can defy you – if you stand back and watch it grow.

When I started making bandanas and tshirts for myself, then my coworkers, then my peers, i never thought I would be providing others I didn’t know with something so close to me.  But standing back, I am excited to watch it grow, to screen until it’s sunny again and be proud of what I have to offer.

Express yourself.

Something difficult in our almost military conformity.  I want to wear a bandana that makes me a bit happier, a tshirt that makes me a bit prouder, whatever.

I started this to express myself, and thats where I’m taking mise en gear this year in 2010.

Have a good service,


Some people have everything, and other people don’t.
But everything don’t mean a thing if it ain´t the thing you want.


aint no school like

churner the beurre

After several gorging of my parents’ delicious festive fare – in between full glasses of wine of course – I came across some food equipment that created a new category to add  into the list of kitchen tools : relic.  There’s no other word to describe the importance, usefulness or standard of some of the things my grandparents used in their kitchen that now reside in my parents home.  Looking some of these things over I was filled with an overwhelming appreciation for the simple machines that gave way to the creation of their electric counterparts and allowed the cookers of the world more free time to do other things, like cook more.

Gearing up for the new years’ at the restaurant I’m faced with an old school question : poaching eggs during dinner service for 140+ … how?  An imersion circulator would be the easiest logical choice, set it around 64’c and relax for an hour, grab a coffee – ice bath, reheat and crack – easy right? Well what if – and most of us don’t – have an immersion circulator?

more than one way to skin a deer

As in most things in life I rely on Jacques Pepin and his wiley antics that keep my brain on point with some very old school techniques that still have modern day applications (watch him make an omelete with Julia Childs – it stupid how good that man is) .  So a pot of water in motion some salt and vinegar and a bunch of flats of eggs – probably to order maybe a few ahead, but it’s going to be fun either way.  Sometimes bringing it back and proving to yourself you can do it old school provides more confidence to try doing it different, using new equipment and chemicals to improve on your classic technique.

This past year has been filled with all the classic technique I could muster,  but I really want to go play with some ideas in food as well as for the gear.

Happy new year everybody!

have a good service,


don’t touch me cause I’m electric and if you touch me you’ll get burnt.

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