2017 US Pastry Championships- Bronze Medal Winner-
Chef Manuel Bouillet
This years Bronze Medal Winner at the US Pastry Championships was Chef Manuel Bouillet of Barry-Callebaut, Chicago Il.
2017 US Pastry Championships- Silver Medal Winner-
Chef Richie Pratadaja
This years Silver Medal Winner at the US Pastry Championships was Chef Richie Pratadaja of Fika, NYC.
LOSING OUR GRAND HOTELS – THE END TO AN ERA
by Chef Paul Sourgle; MS, AAC CULINARYCUESBLOG
There was a bittersweet moment last week when I learned that the Waldorf Astoria would be closing as it transitioned into condo units in New York City. The Waldorf was always that grand old lady that everyone held as a pinnacle to the glamor of the hotel industry. This was the place where kings and queens, business icons and ambassadors, world renown speakers and rock stars held court as they spent time in New York City – the center of the universe. For people in the hospitality industry, it was the Waldorf that defined the best of the best – the grandeur of magnificent ballrooms, the grand lobby that defined class, the restaurants that brought grace to the hotel experience, and the behind-the-scenes enormity of magnificent kitchens, boiler rooms, florists, maintenance departments, and housekeeping laundries. The Waldorf was as important as a hotel could possibly be and as such was the place that defined a persons’ importance either as a guest or a member of the immense staff.
The Waldorf is more than just another casualty of a changing industry and a business environment that is morphing with the times – the Waldorf is the center of the center of the universe. When people think hotels and New York, it is the Waldorf that almost always comes to mind. To lose this grand statement of hospitality would be equivalent to major league baseball losing the Yankees or the Red Sox (always dangerous to list these two teams in the same sentence), similar to losing Kodak as the definition of photography, or Ford and Chevrolet as manufacturers of American automobiles. In other words – this is big.
2017 US Pastry Championships- Gold Medal Winner
Chef John Cook
This years Gold Medal Winner at the us Pastry Championships was Chef John Cook from Norman Love Confections, Florida.
2017 US Pastry Championships NYC,NY
Winners of the 2017 US Pastry Championships NYC, NY
(from left to right)
Richie Pratadaja (Silver Medal)
Jordan Weston Snider (Honorable Mention)
John Cook (Gold Medal)
Manuel Bouillet (Bronze Medal)
Jordan Weston Snider (Honorable Mention)
(Check back, we will be adding full photo coverage!)
“MAKE MY DAY” – WHAT PUSHES A CHEF OVER THE EDGE
by Chef Paul Sourgle; MS, AAC CULINARYCUESBLOG published Feb 27, 2017
It was one of those famous lines in a movie that survives for decades, that is used, and reused by many to make a point – sometimes unrelated to its original intent – a statement for the ages. Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry challenged a criminal to question his moxie and lack of control by encouraging him to push “Harry” over the edge and allow justification of radical action – “Make my Day”.
Now, Harry was the classic good guy/bad guy – one who we can support and reject all in the same breath; a hero and villain all wrapped into one. To some in the restaurant business, especially from days gone by, Harry and the chef are pretty close brothers from different mothers. Some might make the comparison stating that from experience a chef might be the savior of the kitchen and a restaurants reputation in one moment and an out-of-control “Make my Day” kind of lunatic the next.
Today’s restaurants can ill afford this type of “fly off the handle” type of chef, yet we all know that some still do exist. I can tell you that even those who do not visibly demonstrate those traits of the temperamental chef are likely still holding those Clint Eastwood style ranting’s inside. So, if this is the nature of the beast, why is it so? Is there a course in culinary school or a segment of the apprenticeship model that teaches how to be Dr. Jekyll AND Mr. Hyde?
I certainly do not condone the ranting and “on fire” temper of chefs who think that Hell’s Kitchen is the way it ought to be, but I do acknowledge that the environment can easily trigger the craziness of the rough and tough, screaming, pot throwing, and cursing person in the tall hat. So, for the purpose of understanding, but not condoning this behavior I thought it might be interesting to look at the triggers that can set the chef off on a tirade.
THINGS THAT BRING OUT A CHEF’S INTERNAL WEREWOLF:
 UNDEPENDABLE VENDORS:
Chefs take pride in their ability to produce consistently great food, in a timely fashion, that exceeds the expectations of the guest. This is, after all, the core of their job description. This is difficult to accomplish if vendors fail to produce the right food, at the expected quality level, at the time requested. When vendors fall down in this regard the chef’s system falls apart. Now, chefs are not likely to fall on the sword like Gerard Depardieu in Vatel, but they will likely lose their temper.
 SALESPEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW THEIR PRODUCTS:
Although I do hate to generalize – far too many salespeople today do not understand the chef, the kitchen, or the product that they are trying to sell. “Where is it from- what farm – what part of the country? How was the animal raised? What is the flavor profile of that pork? What is the typical yield from a case of…? What is the shelf life of that cryovac meat? When was the fish caught and how was it handled?” These are not unusual questions, nor are they unrealistic expectations of a person whose job it is to sell a product. When a salesperson is unable to answer these questions accurately – the chef will lose his or her patience, every time.