This blog is a place for wives, girlfriends, significant others, and anyone else stuck to a chef to come together and chirp to each other about how to deal with the nonsense that goes along with being the wife of a chef. I was struggling to live with a ghost of a husband who I never saw until I met two other chefs' wives that saved me. It was then that I realized there must be more who need love and support too, right? Hilary, First Lady Desperate Chefs'Wives instagram @hilarya25
Sunday, June 29, 2008
My Life Through Dance
PS It's good to be back home.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Hey, it's Number One. Looking for my girls. Call me.
WHAAAT?! Automatically I thought pimp. Right?
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
They were inspired by a male who used Craigslist as a springboard for a dinner date. See here for appropriate articles from Grub St:
The kind Ko Girls have agreed to fill me in on the details of the evening. Look forward to hearing about it next week.
Thanks again, Passion for sticking up for me on the Eater post!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
California Here We Come
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Inside of the tub. See the roots?
Erik's sous chef, Omar, made him a hydroponic herb garden last month. I guess I always understood the general idea of growing plants with water, but seeing before my own eyes has given me a fresh appreciation for the alternative growing method. The set up is basic, a plastic tub with water, 6 circular sections filled with porous rocks, a sponge and a UV lamp overhead mocking the sun. As far as I understand it, the roots grow directly into water that has bubbles blowing into it to create oxygen. Seems simple enough.
The results are amazing. Though I live 20 floors into the sky in the middle of a concrete wonderland, I've got herbs growing in my kitchen. We started with 6, but the mint didn't make it. Now our little babies have grown into chives, basil, dill, cilantro and parsley. We are just now starting to harvest the herbs and I can't wait to add them to food. Well, Erik will do the adding. I'll do the eating.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Worst Mood Ever
Who did I talk to on the phone then? Her name is Kristine and she said, "Don't we have the Wii Fit?"
The obviously more competent salesperson said to her, "NO! Why'd you tell her that on the phone?"
Wasted time. I tried using trackers, checking individual websites and even Craigslist. You'd think I'd give up on that stupid Wii Fit, but I want it more now! But I'm not stupid-there's no way I'm paying double to get it on Ebay. Plus the Circuit City website said their Midtown location had one, but their phone number doesn't work. What on Earth is going on here?? I'm in the worst mood ever.
I wish I were a Vegatarian (again)
I stopped after a year because I couldn't handle it. I was gaining weight from eating too much starch to fill me up from lack of protein; I just couldn't cut it. But now I think about the pain and suffering that animals go through and it breaks my heart. I feel so guilty. But how on Earth could I become a vegetarian when I'm married to a chef? I know there are great vegetarian restaurants and dishes, but tasting menus at fine dining restaurants don't accommodate the needs of a picky vegetarian eater.
So until I have my own farm and I'm able to raise my own cattle and poultry and humanly "do away" with them I'll be an ignorant eater of meat.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Late Night Meals
- Frozen pizza. It's always stocked in our freezer and ready to be heated up piping hot with melting cheese and crispy dough. It has like 10,000 calories per slice, but it's sooo good.
- Leftovers. I'm not about to make a complete meal at 1 AM so we rely on the food from the previous day. This can include: meatloaf, pasta, burgers, burritos or Italian sausages.
- Grilled Cheese. Oh, there is nothing better than a crispy, buttery sandwich of sharp New York Cheddar cheese.
- Chili Dogs. Now this is one late night snack I just can't eat. I love a good hot dog, but for some reason one smothered in chili and cheese is just repulsive. But Erik swears by them.
- Wings and Fries. We haven't done this one in a while but we've had some great late nights snacking on spicy boneless wings and buffalo fries with ketchup and Frank's Red Hot sauce.
- Gyros. He picks them up from a Greek resto in the West Village on the way home. As much as I hate eating late at night I'll never turn down a juicy gyro.
- Ice cream. Not necessarily a meal, but it's always a good go-to for a late night snack. We're big fans of cookie dough and anything with chocolate chunks.
This is NOT any way to end a long working day just before crawling into bed. I'd love to make sure Erik has got healthy, fulfilling meals to have late at night, but I'm stumped for ideas. Got any? What does your chef eat at night? Does he even eat at all?
I guess I better start changing my late night menu. In the meantime I've got to find one of those Wii Fit games. Everyone who has one says they love it and they have all lost weight. The things is it's impossible to find! The price is nearly doubled on ebay, so that's not even an option.
I will be looking forward to visiting some of our old food stops. Unfortunately our favorite restaurant, Sabatino's, has shut down. It was this charming little Italian place with waiters who always remembered you, gingham table clothes, and the best pasta al forno I've ever had.
The one thing the LA has over NY any day is MEXICAN food. My mouth is watering thinking about El Tapatio. This is the place for 5 pound burritos and an horchata blend that melts in your mouth. They played loud mariachi music on a jukebox and sold homies out of 25 cent machines. I cannot wait to go back for a super burrito with carne asada.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Tofu Contest Update
TOP NEW YORK CHEFS TAKE ON TOFU
House Foods, in conjunction with the Gohan Society,
Presents Summer’s Hottest Cook-Off Event
WHAT: Four of New York’s hottest chefs will put their tofu technique to the test this July in a “Tofu Around the World” cook-off event sponsored by House Foods, makers of House Tofu, America's most popular brand of tofu. The chef-contestants, who will battle for the grand prize of $5,000, are Erik Battes, Chef de Cuisine / Perry St. Café; Wylie Dufresne, Executive Chef & Owner / WD 50; Edward Higgins, Chef de Cuisine / Insieme; and Akinobu Suzuki, Executive Chef / Sakagura. The participating chefs will have the opportunity to showcase their own unique cooking styles and embellish on their signature tofu dishes.
Hosted by the WOR Radio Food Talk personality Mike Colameco, the cook-off will be judged by a distinguished panel of food experts, including Michael Romano, Executive Chef and Partner of the famed Union Square Café; Peter Berley, noted health food chef and author of The Flexitarian Table and other titles; and Andrea Strong, writer and creator of The Strong Buzz food blog.
WHEN Tuesday, July 22, 2008, 3pm - 5 pm
WHERE Astor Center, 399 Lafayette St. at East 4th Street, New York
The event is open to the public and admission is free.
To RSVP, email email@example.com with your name and number of guests.
MORE House Foods America Corporation (HFAC) has produced tofu in the United States since 1983. The HFAC Tofu comes in Premium (non-Organic) and Organic and is available in five firmness levels: extra soft, soft (silken), medium firm, firm and extra firm.
House Foods Tofu is high in protein, low in calories and carbohydrates and has no cholesterol. House Foods Tofu is made from US grown soybeans that have not been genetically modified. In a recent tofu taste test conducted by the San Francisco Chronicle, winner House Foods Tofu was described as “creamy,” “tender” and “fresh-tasting”. For more information visit http://www.house-foods.com/
The Gohan Society’s mission is to foster an understanding and appreciation of Japan’s culinary heritage in the United States through outreach to chefs, culinary arts professionals and all who admire and enjoy Japanese culture. http://www.gohansociety.org/
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Erik Battes to Compete in Tofu Contest
Thanks for publishing this, Eater.
CK and Michelle Obama
Top Chef Attacks New York
I'm excited to see the events they cook for as well the chefs they work with. No doubt there will be a lot of runs to the farmer's markets and maybe even something to do with the Food Network headquarters...a mock cooking show like The Apprentice did home shopping? Oh and look for more Gladware, loads of Gladware. I'd like to see them do something in Brooklyn, too. It seems like there are endless possibilities for quickfire/elimination challenges. Looking forward to it.
How's this for a quickfire challenge? Cook a 3 course luncheon in a 550 square foot 1st floor apartment in a 4 story walk up then serve it to the Desperate Chefs' Wives on the roof. I'm down.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
The chef invited me to go to the Union Square Farmer's market this Saturday-yeah, I jumped on that opportunity. It's not often that Erik let's me near his work, both in the physical and emotional sense- it's important for me to see how he works.
Even though we've been in this area for the past 4 years I've never been to the farmer's market. Weird. The first thing I noticed was the powerful cilantro permeating the air. Ahh. Even though it was hot, crowded and humid I;m so glad I was able to go with Erik.
Matsugen, My Love
Matsugen (pronounced with a hard g sound) was fantastic! I know I'm a JG lover but I stand behind Matsugen. No sightings of Jean-Georges which was terribly disappointing but the staff more than made up for my lack of JG love. The servers were right on and the managers were attentive and polite. I was told that all the tableware was from Japan; each dish was beautiful.
Chefwife J, L and I were able to go into the kitchen and say hello to Chef Kyle Herman. What a charmer. He gave a tour of the fish tanks that divide one portion of the dining room and the kitchen. There are 4 tanks alternating between salt and fresh water. They had names for them all , some of which were originals from 66.
I am a self proclaimed NONfoodie so I'm not going to sit here throwing food adjectives at you like a pitching machine in a batting cage. But I will tell you my favorite part of the meal and things I think you should order (should you like my advice): deep fried shrimp cake & shitake mushroom (18.00), black cod with miso (22.00) (AMAZING AND SO WORTH THE PRICE!), Kizami-Kitsume fried tofu hot soba with scallion (14.00), and of course the sushi. For dessert: parfait, something with tomato (I forgot the name) and the grapefruit (it's so much fun!). Oh, and start with the Japanese pickles (5.00), they were so tasty/crunchy I could have eaten them by the bucket. In fact they inspired Chefwife J, L and I to do some summer pickling soon.
I loved it.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Matsugen Opening Night
He got chefwife J and I a table at Matsugen tomorrow night! I am so excited. I've been hearing all these things about this place and it has finally opened. JGM closed 66 a while back and it is now being reopened as Matsugen: an authentic Japanese eatery with hand cut soba noodles. I'll be sure to give updates on the evening sometime on Sunday. Jean Georges is flying in early from the Food and Wine Classic in Aspen to be there opening night. I hope I see him. He's my Alsatian heartthrob.
In other news, Eater didn't appreciate my lookalike photos. Screw them. I'm so annoyed too, because I thought mine were wicked good. Oh well.
I'm headed to HOBOKEN tonight for a friend's birthday. NOT somewhere I usually go, we'll see how this goes..
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Eater's Chef Look A Like Contest
and ... John Ratzenberger as Cliff from Cheers
and...Richard Attenborough (a la Jurassic Park)
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Win NY Wine and Food Tickets
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Sight of a Wife
After 25 years on this beautiful and fragile Earth, my eyes are starting to go! This wife needs glasses. Damn. What a year: my first gray hair and blurry eyesight. Thank goodness I still have my figure. And as I speak I'm out of breath from these forward rolls I saw some gymnasts doing. Try lying on your back then rolling up (to a complete stand) onto one foot while the other leg is completely extended in front. TOUGH.
But beyond that I'm grateful tonight that I don't have to pick up Erik from work. The PATH trains are down from the Jersey side up to 33rd St. The Holland Tunnel is closed one lane too, so no way. I wasn't thrilled about possibly having to get Erik at 1 am tonight and he gave me a hard time about it. I was honest and direct (something I work on with great effort) and he still got mad.
P.S. Shakes at Sonic are 99 cents; can't beat that!
- The chef and I are going back to Los Angeles, after 4 long year, to see his folks and visit our old stomping grounds. I am very much looking forward to the beach, some El Tapatio burritos, and old friends.
- It's hot hot hot out here in the Midwest and East. Some restos in Manhattan aren't even cooking on these scorching days. Eater
- School is out in 5 days. Finally!
- Erik is competing in a tofu contest in late July. That should be interesting, I hope I get to go.
- The Picnic Club of NYC has still yet to meet, I'm sooo looking forward to it when they do.
- I really need to update some of my links. I've got links to blogs that haven't posted in over a year. Really? That's just silly. Plus I'm missing tons of links. Got any suggestions of some of your favorites that pertain to this very specific blog?
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Out The Door
Saturday, June 7, 2008
WTF is a smoke pistol? Whatever it is I got it for Erik's birthday. And by "got it" I mean I told him it was okay for him to buy it online. And his birthday was only 10 days ago. Oops. At any rate, this smoking gun thing is supposed to be able to smoke things with half and hassle and time of whatever people used to smoke food with. I obviously don't get it. Anyone with better knowledge is welcome to share.
But really? Really? This is what he wanted for his birthday? I can think of more interesting things like toothbrushes and Popsicle sticks. Maybe I'm just grumpy but I seem to be finding it harder and harder to maintain an active interest in what he does. I find myself checking up on Eater and Grub Street less and less. But maybe I'm just burnt out from my own stresses to take on the stresses of others. We'll have to see what the blog days of summer have me resorting to.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Why Oh, Why Oh, Did I Ever Leave Ohio?
I just got back from a short trip to Columbus where I saw my brother Chris graduate from high school. The hardest part about going home to Ohio is leaving. I want nothing more than to live near my family. But it's so hard to convince the chef to move there. I don't blame him either. Columbus isn't known for its innovative food scene. Then again, who's to say Erik can't change that? It is a constant struggle with us, mostly after I get back from a trip to see my family.
It's not just because I miss my family, but aslo I can't imagine ever having children here. I just don't have the same support system. I've tried to root myself in this area, but it's not that easy when I'm alone myself most of the time. I am able to make connections here, but Erik and I, as a family are not. Ah, this is so hard! I struggle between wanting to be a supporting wife and wanting what I want!
For now, I'm loving the life I have and getting back home as much as I can. Maybe some day...
Monday, June 2, 2008
- 1. Cooking is such a change from your day job, how did you get into it?By eating. I've been eating my way through New York, and one day I realized I was totally food-obsessed. Not only was I eating everything in my sight, but began reading anything that had to do with food. When I had a television, I would watch food programs all night, all the while eating a meal I had just cooked, and during commercials I would read a cookbook or a food magazine. As an art director, I probably should have been reading about advertising and graphic design, and believe me I tried, but I always felt like a phony. My heart just wasn't in it.
- 2. HOW on Earth are you doing it? Working two jobs is hard, but working a 9-5 AND cooking seems like it might be impossible.What's that saying, "Desperate times call for desperate measures?" I reached a point where I had to do something about this thing inside me (call it a passion, an obsession, a sickness). I felt I would explode if I didn't pursue this voice, and I'm suffering much less now, even though it's physically and mentally draining. Straddling two disconnected lives has been more stressful than I had imagined, and in all honesty it's nearly impossible to do both very well. I'm just grateful I'll be able to focus full-time in the kitchen this coming fall.
- 3. How are your family and friends reacting to the change in careers?My parents have been amazingly cool. My mom simply wants me to be happy and healthy. If that means cleaning toilets for a living, great! And my dad said he was proud of me, and that's not something a Korean parent says very often. My oldest brother, Henry, encouraged me by saying any work that you truly love will require some sacrifice and years of hard work. I think my other brother, Chuck, is a bit more nervous about the whole thing and sees giving up this career as a big risk and a shame. My friends? Fully supportive and encouraging. They've been great, perhaps because they no longer have to hear me whining about how I hate this job, etc, etc. Hehe.
- 4. You must be so busy already, what was your motivation to start the blog?It was the suggestion of my brother Chuck and my friend Gerry. It got started mainly as a place for me to take notes, ruminate on food and cooking, and share my experience with just a handful of friends. I've been really surprised to see how often people check in, and so now I feel I owe it to those friends to keep up the blog.
- 5. My husband went to the Culinary Institure of America but he tells people not to go to culinary school unless they have loads of money. The value of on site learning is amazing. Do you have any plans to attend culinary school?Well actually, that's how this whole thing got started. I've been contemplating culinary school for at least 7 years. Every year I would call or email a bunch of schools to ask for an application. So following tradition, I began doing some research again last fall. I really respect the pool of knowledge on Chowhound and eGullet, and after digging around a bit on those sites, I found endless posts from chefs saying, "Don't do it!" "Go work in a real kitchen first to see if you can hack it!" "It's not worth the $50,000 debt!" The same words, more or less, were echoed by Jamie Oliver on his blog and endless other well-respected chefs in the book Becoming a Chef. It was invaluable advice. It's been an amazing and eye-opening experience to learn on-site, in real-time, with practicing chefs. I mean, I still have this tiny nagging feeling of wanting to go to school, but mostly for a change of pace from the "real world." Maybe if my future business takes off, I'll sign up for school just for fun, at the ripe age of 55.
- 6. Why are you anonymous? It is completely respected of course, but you must have a specific reason.It was for the sole purpose of not being found out online by my co-workers and my boss. People do a whole lot of googling and web-surfing in this industry.