My ChefsOpinion About New York Times Food Critic Pete Wells Recently Published Devastating Review Of Thomas Keller’s Manhattan Restaurant Per Se

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A dish served in an egg shell at Thomas Keller's Per Se. Credit Rob Kim Getty Images for Starwood Preferred Guest

A dish served in an egg shell at Thomas Keller’s Per Se.
Credit Rob Kim Getty Images for Starwood Preferred Guest

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New York Times  food critic Pete Wells recently published a devastating review of Thomas Keller’s Manhattan restaurant Per Se.
While I personally respect professionals like Thomas Keller for their skills, media savvy and good luck, NOBODY is infallible.
And please,  never forget the other thousands of equally great chefs around the world who serve equally great food (at least) on a daily basis without being recognized on the monumental scale that some (very few) other chefs have had the good fortune to receive. Not for nothing, the saying goes – “The higher they fly, the deeper they fall”
Remember, there are only a handful of artists in any medium whose work will command millions, while an ocean of others will produce innumerable masterpieces which will wither unrecognized and are never seen by more than a handful of lucky patrons. The same goes for food, service and other masterpieces of our hospitality industry.
Those of us who don’t make it big will just have to suck it up and take the reward to which we are accustomed best – a decent salary (mostly) and the happy faces of our guest’s on their way out :-)
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And yes, sometimes, even the best of us screw up and we need to be told about it in order to be able to make corrections !
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Read more: http://www.mensjournal.com/food-drink/chefs-restaurants/american-fine-dining-isnt-for-you-per-se-20160115#ixzz3xj4XDwH7

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I have just posted a review of this article on my FB site, which resulted in the following comment :
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Larry Campbell :
“Haters… I believe this is an art and some of us are better then others. Don’t hate respect.”
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To which I replied :
“To be a great chef means you are a top craftsman, not an artist.
Our professional label is “COOK”. Chef is a title.
While it is nice to be admired in ones profession, one should not lose sight of reality. Fine dining, at any level is just food, service and environment elevated to the next level. Not magic – just professionals doing their job. The point is that so few folks nowadays have any idea what good food, great service and sublime dining-environment is and are therefore fascinated with the new element of their dining experience and thereby mistake that for extraordinary quality :-(
Food like this has been served in restaurants around the world for ages. Most Americans have never been exposed to any high quality dining experience and are therefore smitten with old hats.
This is not to take away from Per Se and especially not from Thomas Keller, but great dining has been around forever and will continue in thousands of restaurants around the word.
Ballyhoo and/or crappy reviews will not change that.
Gourmets, Bon Vivants and Hospitality-Professionals will make sure that superb dining experiences will live-on, no matter if they are the “In” thing of the moment or not ……..”
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Comments Welcome :-)
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Beef And Bean Burrito

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Nowadays,  most folks are familiar with burritos. International cuisine with its many variations has come to the farthest corners of the world and that’s a great thing. Not so great is the fact that most of the ethnic food has been bastardized to the point of no return. I am not talking about changing and improving the originals, which is fine as long as you can still figure out the origin behind the dish. No,  I am talking about replacing good, simple, honest ingredients with cheap crap, third-rate fillers which have the sole purpose to make a buck. When it comes to burritos, I have come across some incredible bad, tasteless excuses for the real thing lately in a variety of “Mexican” eateries here in South Florida. The filling usually has consisted of mainly rice and shredded lettuce wrapped in a tortilla, then re-heated in an oven and served with the usual condiments for laughable prices. Seems that instead of burritos on the plate, there are burros in the kitchen ? ! :-(
I prepare burritos often at home and the one thing they all have in common is the quality of ingredients I use for the filling and the fact that I cook them on a  Comal  or cast-iron pan to get that great crispy outside so essential to a great burrito (In my Opinion, anyway :-).
As long as you use a great filling, burritos are easy, quick and they ROCK :-)
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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More Beef Burritos Here

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Beef And Bean Burrito

Beef And Bean Burrito

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Beef And Bean Burrito

Beef And Bean Burrito

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Allgäuer Wurstsalat Mit Hörnchen

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Hörnchen  means “Little Horns” in German. They are such a wonderful pastry when properly prepared. Unfortunately, to find good Hörnchen (Croissants, Media Luna’s) is increasingly difficult and in some areas downright impossible.
A good hörnchen is as light as a feather, with dozens of air-seperated layers of buttery pastry. Most of the stuff you can buy these days are mass-produced, previously frozen concoctions which have only a faint visual resemblance to a real hörnchen  and none of the flavor and texture qualities of the genuine article. Some are not even made with puff pastry :-(
However, there is a silver lining –  in my opinion, that stuff is perfectly suitable for a good sandwich or as an accompaniment to a rustic salad.
For today’s lunch I had these babies from a commercial bakery close-by, to share the honors of being my lunch with a “lecker” allgäuer wurstsalat.
Eaten together with the salad, dunked in the rich dressing, they served their purpose as “side bread” well.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Hörnchen

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P.S.
If you don’t have access to Fleischwurst  (German Bologna) and  Allgäuer Bergkäse, you can replace them with  Swiss Cheese and  American style Bologna
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Allgauer Wurstsalat Mit Hörnchen

Allgauer Wurstsalat Mit Hörnchen

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Allgauer Wurstsalat Mit Hörnchen

Allgauer Wurstsalat Mit Hörnchen

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Midnight Snack – Good Stuff ! Not Crappy Bags of “Nachos & Salsa”

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Life is Good – mostly because life is what you make of it :-)
Take the snack I prepped for myself an hour ago for example. Rather than opening an over-prized bag of crappy nachos (Totopos), a can of over-prized, VERY crappy cheese dip and a tub of sometimes surprisingly decent salsa Mexicana, why not grill up a good quality naan and cover it with a few slices of great quality coppa ham, pecorino cheese and a few marinated chilies and pronto ! – great food for about the same price and effort.  Life (and a midnight snack) is what you make of it :-)
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Midnight Snack - Coppa & Pecorino Sandwich

Midnight Snack – Coppa & Pecorino Naan-Sandwich

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Midnight Snack - Coppa & Pecorino Sandwich

Midnight Snack – Coppa & Pecorino-Sandwich

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Paniertes Rinderschnitzel (Breaded Beef Cutlet With Pickled Onions)

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Breaded  anything – can’t go wrong with that.
Anything breaded topped with pickled onions – got a winner every time :-)
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Paniertes Rinderschnitzel (Breaded Beef Cutlet With Pickled Onions)

Paniertes Rinderschnitzel (Breaded Beef Cutlet With Pickled Onions)

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Pickled Onions

Pickled Onions

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Preparation :
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Delicious Quickie – Bucatini Con Sarde

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Definition  of Quickie : “something done or had quickly”.
– Ok now, time to get your minds out of the gutter :-)
We are talking about a wonderful dish, quickly and easily prepared, light on the wallet yet tasty and pretty to look at.
– Did I mention – time to get your mind out of the gutter :-)
While I absolutely LOVE fresh sardines, for this recipe I prefer good quality! canned sardines in tomato sauce.
This dish is one of my go-to dishes when I want something tasty and quick either just for myself and Bella, or in good company when unpretentious food is welcome (Midnight snack anyone ?)
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Bon Appetit !   Live is Good !
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Bucatini Con Sarde

Bucatini Con Sarde

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Bucatini Con Sarde

Bucatini Con Sarde

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Filet Mignon With Sautéed Potatoes, Shiitake And “Hoi Sin Delight”

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For  50 years I have prepared and eaten Filet Mignon with either Sauce Bernaise or a Demi Glace derived sauce, such as Sauce Chasseur, Sauce Bordelaise,  Sauce Chateaubriand, Sauce Perigueux, Sauce Robert, etc, just as any hot-blooded, french-trained chef would do :-)
Yet yesterday, although I had demi glace at hand ( I usually make a batch of demi glace and freeze it in individual portions ), for this dish I wanted to try something new, especially something to go well with the shiitake mushrooms.
So I mixed together the following ingredients which are a staple on my cupboard :
” Hoi Sin Delight ” –
Hoi sin sauce, soy sauce, garlic paste, chili sauce, lemon juice and – hold on to your hat -ketchup ! From this I got one of the best sauces I ever had with grilled or sauteed meat. I liked it so much that from here on I will use this concoction often, whenever I need a quick and delicious sauce or dip for any protein – seafood, chicken, beef, pork or what-not. Even as a drizzle for fried rice or grilled vegetables, this stuff rocks !
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Filet Mignon With Sautéed Potatoes, Shiitake And "Hoi Sin Delight"

Filet Mignon With Sautéed Potatoes, Shiitake And “Hoi Sin Delight”

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Filet Mignon With Sautéed Potatoes, Shiitake And "Hoi Sin Delight"

Filet Mignon With Sautéed Potatoes, Shiitake And “Hoi Sin Delight”

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Filet Mignon With Sautéed Potatoes, Shiitake And "Hoi Sin Delight"

Filet Mignon With Sautéed Potatoes, Shiitake And “Hoi Sin Delight”

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Preparation :
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Romaine, Octopus And Bean Salad

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Trying  to end 2015 on a healthy note :-).
Well, BS, I just don’t feel like cooking today :-(
Anyway, I could eat this salad for no reason any day, anytime, anywhere…….
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Bon Appetit !   Happy 2016 !
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Romaine, Octopus And Bean Salad

Romaine, Octopus And Bean Salad

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Romaine, Octopus And Bean Salad

Romaine, Octopus And Bean Salad

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Romaine, Octopus And Bean Salad

Romaine, Octopus And Bean Salad

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Preparation :
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Mac & Cheese – Boss Level

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(Beef Tenderloin, Three Cheeses And Whole Grain Pasta Casserole With Pesto)
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When you want something a bit more exciting than this :

OK, but...........

OK, but………..

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Adding a few more ingredients and a lot more love will give you a much more satisfying culinary experience :-)
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for  Pesto Recipe
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Mac & Cheese - Boss Level

Mac & Cheese – Boss Level

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Mac & Cheese - Boss Level

Mac & Cheese – Boss Level

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Mac & Cheese - Boss Level

Mac & Cheese – Boss Level

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Preparation :
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Shrimp Lo Mein ( 撈麵 )

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Of  all the Chinese, Asian and Chinese/Asian-inspired dishes I prepare at home, the fast and easy to prepare Lo Mein is the one I cook most often. I usually vary the main ingredients according to what’s in my fridge and/or cupboard, but the basis are always Chinese wheat noodles, seasoned with oyster sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, grated ginger, garlic paste and chili paste. Sometimes I augment the seasoning with hoi sin sauce. As for the other main ingredients, I use vegetables, pork, beef, seafood, poultry or mushrooms, sometimes just one of them, sometimes more than one and sometimes all of them together. In all the years I prepared this dish, I never had one I did not love and I never get tired of it, no matter how often it flies in through my kitchen window :-)
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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Shrimp Lo Mein (撈麵)

Shrimp Lo Mein (撈麵)

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Shrimp Lo Mein (撈麵)

Shrimp Lo Mein (撈麵)

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Shrimp Lo Mein (撈麵)

Shrimp Lo Mein (撈麵)

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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