Speak Up

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Burn Out!

As you all know chefs endure some of the most gruesome working conditions. They work 25 hours a day, 7 days a week, with little or no breaks. They are forced to work at light speed to put out immaculate food piping hot to hundreds of diners each night. In the rush of dinner service it's inevitable that even the most seasoned chefs will get a few cuts and burns.

When Erik first began working for Jean Georges he came home with massive burns on his fingers, hands, wrists, and even arms. Of course now that he has been cooking for some time he gets burned and cut much less. But he still gets them. It usually happens when he's working too fast and makes a careless mistake. (Oh, I hope he doesn't kill me for writing this.)

While browsing through my picture files I realized I don't have any of my chef's burns or cuts documented. If you've got pictures of nasty or oozing battle scars please email them to me so I can share them with the world. Perhaps you've got a funny story about a wound-please share. Have you ever been burned? I burned the inside of my wrist (no scars thank goodness) while I was dumping a pot of Mexican chicken soup into a bowl. I almost dropped the massive pot. OUUUUCH!


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Food Snob

Would a food snob eat a giant rice krispie treat?

I am not a food snob, I swear. But sometimes I just want to scream and roll my eyes in disgust when people say certain things about food and dining. Such examples would be, "Caviar, sick!" or "I don't eat that. " Shuuut up! I can't help it but I just get so annoyed. And I blame Erik. A chef's lifestyle lends to upscale dining experiences, courageous food adventures and a respect for produce and edible animals.

Am I the only chefwife who experiences rage at others who exhibit food ignorance? The worst things I've heard: 1. "I don't eat fish, that's so unnatural" and "Is it one of those 'fancy' places that only serves a one ounce hunk of meat?" Yes, at times restaurants can get annoying when you expect a larger portion than you get. However, the "normal" portion that people are used to at places like Applebee's and Chile's are entirely too large. Plus, most restaurants expect you to order an appetizer and a dessert along with your entree.

So, I guess I am a food snob.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tyler Kord Takes Over 7 Greene

In January I told you about Perry Street's Tyler Kord who left to open his own place in Brooklyn described as "New American, with a little Hungarian, some Korean, and a bit of Wisconsin thrown in." Well, I'm so happy to say that there are more details of his new plans on today's Grub Street.

I can't wait for his restaurant to open and I know its going to be a success. Wait, is it bad restaruant luck to say that? Should I be saying "break a leg!" or "burn a finger!" instead? Whatever.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I'm Back!

Costa Rica was just fabulous! In the trees behind our casita were the most adorably strange howler monkeys. Named after a deep, throaty bark/oink they make, these guys were cool. The small beach on the pacific coast, called Samara was quiet and there were hardly any tourists there. The Ticos (locals) were so relaxed and chill, quite the opposite from NYC. It was a much needed change of pace. And who can beat sleeping under palm trees in hammocks?

When I headed south for Central America I thought that the food would be typical of Mexico and the like. I was wrong. The food of Costa Rica is nothing to write home about, but it certainly wasn't bad. I enjoyed the national dish Casada which is rice, beans and some kind of protein such as fish, beef, or chicken. But the best place to eat in Samara is Restaurante Manglar-and it was Italian. Huh?

But now it's back to work for both Erik and I. On Thursday night I'll be at the LOM event, and I'd like to see a few of you there.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane

Vacation's all I ever wanted!

This will be my last post for a week as I am off to Costa Rica tomorrow morning! This is actually the first vacation with just the chef and I (excluding the honeymoon) and he planned the whole thing! It's also the first non-cookie cutter getaway. Someone even had the audacity to say I icked a "strange" place to go. [Insert mad face here. ] We will be staying on Playa Samara in a small hut-like ...hut. This should be quite an adventure. After a 6 hour flight we'll be driving 4.5 hours to our hut at Playa Samara. We decided to go here because of two great recommendations from a cheffriend and a bartender at Perry. I will have loads of pictures and stories when I come back.

Thanks to all the chefs covering for my chef when he's out!! You're the best!


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Summer of my Chefhusband- Boss?

I am obviously too professional.

As a teacher I am privileged enough to get the whole summer off! And by "whole" I mean I have Mondays and Fridays off and the rest of the week I'll be at the school planning for the next school year and writing reports. However, as a teacher I am not privileged in my pay. As you may have heard teachers make about three beans an hour, and I need all the beans I can get.

Why not get a job? A simple, summer job with just enough pay to make me feel useful and just enough responsibility to keep my brain afloat over the summer. Yes, a hostess, or maybe a reservationist! What a great job! Now, if I only knew someone in the restaurant industry who works at a resto in the west village close to me...

Bing! My chef husband! He can get me a job at Perry St, right? WRONG. Erik has made it quite clear that I am not welcome to work at the P. And how come? I'm punctual, poised, organized and polite. That seems like a perfect match for a JG restaurant. Sometimes I think about applying and using my maiden name (a la Lucille McGillicutty). Too bad the GM would recognize me. If I could only pay him off. Erik would never know.

Am I asking too much? If I don't work at Perry St, I'll have to work at Duane Reade! For you non-NYers that's a drug store. Why won't he let me work? I think he has some strange idea that I'll sabotage his career or something. Pah-lease! I just want to spy on him. Kidding! I just want to work there, that's all.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ladies of Manhattan

Being such a unique group of women here, it's not often that I find other groups that I can relate to. However, Ladies of Manhattan is an organization I want to see grow and flourish.

Their mission is simple, yet powerful: "Influence, engage & inform women in a social forum through which they can expand their social circle, life & business potential." That goes hand in hand with the goals of the Desperate Chefs' Wives.
Last year, Brandi Anderson and Meghan Elliott created a group for women that has now grown to over 300 members, including myself and my BFF Chefwife, J. LOM hosts fantastic events with food, drinks, gift bags, and fellowship with successful women. With their funds going to Dress for Success and Y.E.S., LOM certainly has got it right.

I'd like to encourage you all to attend the next event which will celebrate the group's first year anniversary. On Thursday April 24th, 2008 from 6 - 9pm at the A.I.R Gallery (511 W. 25th & 10th) LOM will host an event that will include:
-Complimentary Cocktails & Hors d' oeuvres
-Exclusive LOM Gift Bag
-Live Performance by Broadway's Xanadu
-Sensational Sound Architect - DJ Nishiyama
-Raffle Prizes and more...
-Also featuring "Dr. Ava Shamban" from ABC's Extreme Makeover

My post is not doing this organization's mission and ideals justice. Please visit their website and spread the word to other Ladies of Manhattan that you know. If you'd like to become a member, just email them: join@ladiesofmanhattan.org


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Chef TV

No matter where you are you're inching your toes toward capris and floral skirts, straw hats and flip flops. But don't pack your beach tote just yet-there are chef shows to watch!

Julia Child would probably enjoy the modern version of the industry that she created-chefTV. After all, she was humours and silly just like many of the shows on now. From the super popular Food Network, to the ever growing Top Chef and the still emerging After Hours with Daniel (on the MoJo channel) chefTV has become an oasis for foodies and fastfoodies alike to come together and enjoy-food and food culture.

My top 3:

I love Daniel Boulud! It was Eater who called him "cute as a button" and I totally agree. He's charming and respectful and the concept of his show is unique. He says in the intro that, "Food tastes better after midnight, than before midnight" (Ask me to do an impression, you'll think you're hearing DB himself). He goes to well-known, non pretentious restaurants and he and the host chef make a meal and eat it with other chefs, industry people, and even actors. We watch as they eat interesting foods and share stories from the kitchen. It's great.

Say what you will about Tony Bourdain, but his show is great! A mix of food and travel and his free form expression make it one of the best hours on TV. The best part is that I learn something (actually a whole slew of things) every episode. It's really good TV.

Ok, ok, maybe it shouldn't be on here but it's so addicting! I like Gordon Ramsay, I really do. He's a total vein popping psycho on the show, and it's all an act (probably). But who cares? The cooks on the show are a joke, GR is a nightmare, but as long as you know that going into it, you'll enjoy it. Or not.

Honorable Mention goes to Top Chef. I enjoy it less and less each season. At least last season one of Erik's former coworkers was on the show-Lia Bardeen. For some reason the challenges have been so boring lately. Cook for a block party...totally not hard to do, or fun to watch. Why not do an episode where the cheftestants have to prepare kid friendly versions of fois gras and oysters?
BUT, there was an excellent parody on SNL this weekend. Check it out on Eater. If you like Top Chef, you'll like this skit. If you don't like Top Chef, you'll like this skit.
And I've never liked Rachel Ray. I always that she was a bif TV joke with boring recipes my mom could make. But after I watched her life story on the food network, I stopped hating her. Erik, too. I can't explain why, but I just don't hate her anymore.
Do you watch ChefTV with your chef? Or is he totally done with TV chefs and the like by the time he gets a chance to watch TV? Are you an Iron Chef lover? An Emeril fan? Admit it!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Wives Unite!

the river that divides us

Ok, enough is enough. I am embarrassed to say that I've only met up with ONE other chefwife via this (amazing) blog. So, we need to get together. I don't even know exactly how many of you there are in the NYC area. And are Saturdays good for most? We have so much to talk about...IN PERSON! And between all of us I'm sure there are tons of places that would love to have us at their bar in a primo location. We need to pump up this group's success to make this clan of women more well known and powerful in Manhattan. Ooh, maybe we could even do a BYOP (picnic) day when it gets warmer.

Suggestions? Ideas? Hate it?


Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Sweet Dreams....
photo by: Michael Harlan Turkell
This was the mother of all mumbles. I was telling my comatose that I was running late for work. And by late I mean I would be 55 minutes early instead of an hour early. For those of you who hate being late, you know what agony this is. It was a mistake to even utter words to my R.E.M. deep sleep chefhusband.

"I'm running late" I mutter from the bathroom while furiously brushing.

"Wylie [Dufresne] called for you. He's mad you're late. Then Daniel [Boulud] called and you didn't even hurry up for him"

Should I be more worried that Erik is completely insane when he's asleep or that he's dreaming of other chefs? Definitely the latter.
photo courtesy NY Magazine