Demo and stuff

Epcot Food and Wine asked us to come over for a demo. We said yes about 2 months ago to it and well later today we will be @ Epcot's Wonders of Life Pavilion, 1pm, putting together a version of our chilled maine lobster. Aaron Christian, chef de cuisine of bluezoo and myself will be there to walk through a couple techniques using our gastrovac to infuse lobster with orange essence, fennel in different textures, and whatever else we come up with from now until then.
It has been an interesting couple of days/weeks to say the least. We have been open for lunch the last 2 days with a big group at the hotel pushing out 225 covers for lunch then another 250 for dinner. We started the demo prep about 3 hours ago after service died down and will be back to work early to knock the rest out. It's Disney we are dealing with and they want everything laid out a month in advance but that is not how we work, it's a la minute improv for us so if you plan on coming I can guarantee some alterations of our components that have been printed and will be distributed for the demo.
That's cooking though, I can write a menu 2 months out but evolution takes over, you have to be able to go with the flow. Things will change. Plate ups, components, and techniques grouped together with getting your ass handed to you for the last month with no days off, throw in a couple lunch services, sleep deprivation, caffeine overload, alcohol abuse, literally living at work because there is too much to be done, 2 week notices, write ups, not knowing what day it is, yelling at FOH, getting yelled at by FOH, Todd in town for a dinner, empathizing, compromising........really I could go on.
So in the scheme of things just a normal month in terms of being a chef. With that said our demo should feel like a walk in the park compared to everything that we have gone through. Neither Aaron or myself like public speaking but we play off each other well and will knock this out. In closing come see two obsessed, semi coherent chefs talk about some food later today.


Jerome Girardot Fund

Getting a chance to play host to an awesome crowd of chefs Dec 2nd that are here in town to do a dinner for the Jerome Girardot Fund. Follow this link and learn more about Jerome's story, what we are doing to help his family and the collaborating chefs that will be putting their time in for the dinner. I will be joining Robert Ciborowski at the Ritz Carlton on December 3rd as well to complete our portion of the dinner as well.


Food and Wine Behind the Scenes

Kosta put up another great bunch of pictures from our recent food and wine dinner. Thanks to Kosta for taking the time to document and post all these pictures. We were so busy with all the preparations that I only took a half a dozen pictures or so.
Check out Kosta's blog and see all the pictures of the prep, the people and the food.


food and wine

Too much going on right now to write a long post about it so I'll give you the link to Kosta's blog, this is the second year he has come down to help us out. It was a great dinner, and good food considering we were doing a reception, amuse, and 6 courses for what ended up being 165pp.
here it is



Swan and Dolphin All Stars

What an insane week so far and its not going to get any easier. Wednesday we did a chef table for 135pp for the Darden Restaurant groupwith some great food. We cooked everything in the room in front of the guests. Needless to say there wasn't time for pictures between plate up and making 135 parsley oil and isomalt bon bons.
Once that was done it was on to prep for tonight, 20pp, "blue light special"(if you've seen the previous post on this you know what I'm talking about), all the guest sat in our garde manger kitchen after a reception in our cooler with and ice bar and couple raw appetizer selections. Here is a picture of the garde manger kitchen when we were setting up.

We plated everything from the banquet kitchen adjacent to garde manger.

The amuse was buffalo chicken mousse(bresse of course), celery puree, buttered out hot sauce, crispy bresse chicken skin, celery julienne, celery leaf, bleu cheese espuma.

The first course was french onion soup. The top part of the bowl had an Echire butter toasted crouton topped with a nice melted slice of comte and brunoise veg.

The servers place the bowl down and removed the top to reveal encapsulated french onion soup on top of an agar onion disc.

Here is how it was presented to the guest

A little ham air topped off the soup before it was covered by the lid

Our deconstucted Waldorf had an apple puree, apple gelee, brunoise apple, nitro freeze dried raisin powder, encapsulated yogurt-mayo-herb dressing, lemon juice powder, red wine vinegar powder, walnut powder, and a celery root gelee.

Here we are beginning the plate up of the rouget.

The rouget was seared in J.Leblanc and Echire butter, topped with a cartouche then pressed. Chef Cib's barigoule artichoke puree was the base, We followed up with micro parisiene of butternut squash, carrot, celery tourne, olive puree, buttered out meyer lemon vin(echire again), johnny jump ups, and chervil.

Now on to the main which was a dry aged beef tenderloin, la ratte potatoes finished with whipped echire and whiped cream, sugar and ghost white pumpkin, micro red ribbon sorrel, frissee, truffle coulis, truffle coins, savoy cabbage, and bordelaise.

Here is a closer shot of the veg.

After that Laurent went to work with a strawberry and lemon verbena custard, violet macaroon, chocolate and pear pairing, then topped it off with some tonka bean ice cream. Ridiculous to say the least.

Here is a shot of the plate minus the ice cream which went on top of some brown butter crumbs.

A very successful dinner and great to work with all the chefs from the hotel. here is everyone that had a hand in it for perspective
Robert Ciborowski-exec chef swan and dolphin
Arnaud Violtat-exec sous
Dan Herman-exec sous
Devin Queen-exec chef Il Mulino
Bogdon Sonta-complex chef de cuisine
Shannon Murray-Garden Grove exec chef
Paul Bunny-Garden Grove Sous Chef
Russ Neideg- dolphin banquet chef
Greg Shimoda-complex garde manger chef
Ceasar mendoza-dolphin garde manger chef
Laurent Branlard-complex exec pastry chef
Wesley Mayton-Dolphin exec pastry chef
Daniel Richard de la rosa- bluezoo jr. sous chef
and myself Chris Windus-bluezoo exec

It's great to put all the chefs on property in one kitchen. Everyone brings years of experience and it really shows what teamwork, drive, attention to detail, and communication can achieve.


rabbit 5 ways

One of the benefits of working in a hotel is when banquets has a site visit. They usually end up with leftover product and since we are the only restaurant on property that can actually alter our menu and utilize these products we get all the goodies. Last night we had 15 rabbits with only the hind legs removed handed to us. So we started breaking them down to loins, kidneys, frenched racks, fore legs, and scrap for stock. It's a tedious project but well worth it. Tonight we did a black pepper pasta, carrot sheet(agar and gellan), sous vide the legs overnight with duck fat and made a rillette, soaked the kidneys in milk and then basted them with brown butter, sous vide the racks ahead of time then pan seared to mr on pick up, and again sous vide the loins a la minute and gently finished in the pan as well(in my opinion the hardest part of the rabbit to execute correctly).

We agar clarified the stock and ran it through a coffee filter, the servers frenched it tableside, we added a little lemon juice and basil oil to the consomme to help with the overall flavor of the dish. Some radish greens and turnips as well.

In the end you have
1 loin
2 rack
3 kidney
4 rillette
5 consomme

The saute station loves the four pan pick up. A lite fall dish, no all we have to do is get the servers to really push it. Rabbit in Orlando is not an easy sell so it is up to them to really sell the customer on it. I'll usually give them the go ahead in pre-shift to spiel the guests on an item like this, "Try it, if you don't like it I'll buy it for you", a risk you sometimes have to take to get things moving and get people to try new things but so far we haven't bought anyone dinner on that recommendation.