Articles

My Trip To Germany And Spain

New Car

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Dear Friends,
Here is a short report of my trip to Germany and Spain, which lasted from September 13th to October 13th.
When I planned the trip, I made a huge mistake by not booking a direct flight to Cologne. The original plan was to fly to Munich, rent a car there and travel in style and comfort with a rented Beamer to Cologne, while visiting friends along the way. Well, it did not go that way………
The first company I booked with tried to scam me out of $450, which took about a week to sort out. Eventually, I got my money back but still did not have a car one week before my trip started.
I then booked another car with another company. Renting a car with automatic transmission and a/c proved to be much more expensive than anticipated, but eventually, I found a great deal for another Beamer for $850 for one month. The only problem – if you want to be 100% insured for all eventualities, the additional insurance for one month runs nearly $1700, so that the total would have been about $2500 for one month. I know that one is supposed to NOT buy the additional insurance since one has coverage with one’s credit card. But I did not want to take the risk to be liable for thousands of $’s in damages if something major would have happened, so the risk was greater than I was willing to accept. Instead, I decided that it would make more sense to buy a car once I get there, since I want to move to Germany anyway next year.
I was not able to find a flight from Munich to Cologne (my main-stop on this trip), so I decided to take the train instead.
I left Ft Lauderdale for my first stop, Philly (2 hours), where I had a 3-hour layover. Then on to Munich (8 hours), where I took the Lufthansa bus to the train station (1 hour). 3 hours later, my train left for the 5 hour trip to Cologne. (Total travel time – 22 hours !)
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Arrival……..

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I arrived beaten, tired and hungry, but to a very warm welcome by my friends Gaby and Ralf, who had a lovely apartment waiting for me to use free of charge during my stay.
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first dinner in Cologne – schnitzel and spaezle- what else….

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The next day, Gaby asked me if I want to join her and Ralf for a short trip to Spain, where they own a beautiful villa by the sea. Of course, I said yes, so off we went for a long weekend in Mallorca. Spain is everything I remembered from trips I took there many years ago – wonderful people, great food, perfect weather; everything is just beautiful. We had great bbq’s at home and superb dinners by the beach, paella, seafood, wine, company………ahhhh 🙂
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Gaby and Ralf, breakfast

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do as the tourists do…….

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view from my bedroom

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my bedroom – handmade lace – what else…….

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Ralf and I…..

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YEP……

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ham-paradise

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where I want to spend eternity…..

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the very best Morcilla in the whole wide world……

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sorry – forgot to take the pic when the paella arrived……

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Life is Good……..

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Two day’s after returning to Cologne, I bought myself a car and was now ready to visit friends I had not seen in many years.
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First I went to the town of “Adenau” in the “Eifel”, a beautiful mountainous area about 45 minutes from Cologne, where I stayed at the lovely home of my friends Heiner and his charming wife Sigrid. Heiner and I are friends since the early 80’s. We met in Manila in the Philippines, so our memories of that time and place are plentiful, happy and exciting 🙂 .
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Heiner and Sigrid

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Heiner and Sigrid’s home

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view from Heiner and Sigrid’s home of the “Eifel”

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view from Heiner and Sigrid’s home of the “Eifel”

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view from Heiner and Sigrid’s home of the “Eifel”

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old buddies……

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cheers !

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Sigrid and I

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My next stop was Bietigheim-Bissingen, where my friends Albrecht and Heide own a lovely restaurant for 30 years, the very cozy “Kueferstueble”. Albrecht and I worked together about 40 years ago, first on the “Royal Viking Sky”, then at the “Restaurant Ratskeller” in Ludwigsburg.
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Albrecht and Heide

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Heide in front of the “Kueferstueble”

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happy times……

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schweinehaxe mit sauerkraut und kartoffelknoedel

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bier und wein, so soll es sein……..

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After spending 3 nights full of great food, many bottles of tasty wine, and many happy memories, I went on to visit “Gechingen”, the little village in the “Black Forrest where I grew up. There I visited Gisela, the widow of my childhood friend Roland, who left us way too early 10 years ago.
Not much has changed in the 50 years since I left. If anything, Gechingen has become even prettier than I remembered.
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my old school on the left, the old town hall in the center

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the old town hall with my old church in the background

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the church I went to as a kid….

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view from the church….

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my old school

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From Gechingen I took the scenic route through the heart of the “Black Forrest. Starting in “Freudenstadt”, the “Schwarzwaldhochstrasse” stretches about 65 kilometers to its end in Baden Baden”. I took my good time, stopping many times to take in the beautiful views and enjoy the typical specialties in small Inn’s, such as “Schwarzwaelder Kirschtorte:, “Schwarzwald Becher”, and for lunch, “Schwaebischer Rostbraten mit Hausgemachten Spaetzle”.
Once I reached Baden Baden, I splurged and spend a night at the “Brenners Parkhotel”. At $600.00 a night, not exactly budget-friendly, but what the heck…… 🙂 .
Next morning, I traveled back up the “Schwarzwaldhochstrasse” to the “Kurhaus Sand”, where I took a right turn down the steep and hairpin-rich road towards “Buehlertal”. This took me past the “Hotel Wiedenfelsen”, where I did my Apprenticeship 50 years earlier.
In Buehlertal I visited my former boss, “Ersatz Father”, and nowadays great friend, Karl Mueller and his lovely wife Uschi.
I did not have their address nor phone number, but I remembered the general area where they live and where I visited them many years ago on my last trip to Germany, when I was accompanied by my wife Maria, who has since passed away.
After asking a few people on the street, I got directed to the house of Karl and Uschi. I rang the bell, which was answered by a man I judged to be my age, so I assumed him to be Karl’s son Markus. I asked him if Karl Mueller lives there. He asked me what I want. I told him my name at which time he remembered me and happily hugged me. Turns out, it was Karl, 82 years old, but looking not a day over 65 🙂 Uschi remembered me right away, and from that moment on, we had a great time remembering times past, a million small things long forgotten but now easily recalled.
That evening we had a great dinner, followed the next day by a wonderful afternoon of conversation, coffee and sweets in a typical “Black Forrest Inn” on the “Scwarzwaldhochstrasse”.
I stayed another day in the “Rebstock” in “Buehlertal”, then took the “Autobahn” from “Baden Baden” back to “Cologne”.
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Karl and Uschi

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“Hotel Rebstock”, Buehlertal

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Karl and I

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Karls’ “Bettflaschen” collection

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a small Inn on the “Schwartzwald Hochstrasse”

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Love those two………..

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one of the restaurants at “Hotel Rebstock”

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maultaschen mit pfifferlingen und kartoffelsalat at the “Rebstock”

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krevetten in oliven oel und knoblauch at the “Rebstock”

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Death-strip – road from/to the house where Karl and Uschi live – two people can walk side by side – with the car, it’s like having a death wish……but, unless you want to walk…..

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view from Karl’s and Uschie’s balcony over “Buehlertal”

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After another week with Gaby and Ralf, filled with huge amounts of food and wine, on October the 13th I took the same horrible journey of 22 hours back to Fort Lauderdale.
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dinner at Gaby’s and Ralf’s home

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daily breakfast spread

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best breakfast dish ever – “Mett” (raw pork)

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And here are a couple of great things you’ll find while traveling on the Autobahn:
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curry wurst mit kartoffelsalat

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the cleanest public bathrooms in the World (you pay 75 cents to get in, when you leave you’ll get back 50 cents. The toilets clean and sanitize themselves mechanically

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Click here to watch the video of the self-cleaning toilet !!!  🙂

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And finally – the craziest thing I encountered during this month :

 

believe it or not – this is an actual schnapps you can buy in bars

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mixdrink- lemonade and “Ficken”

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Yep…..

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and yes, you can smoke in some bars…

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I bet you have not seen one of these for some time in a public space………..

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Conclusion:
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1) Real friends are the best thing in life !
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2) Germany is the best place to retire, assuming you love cold and rainy weather (Which I do) 🙂
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3) In Germany, if you want to eat real Italian food, don’t go to an Italian Restaurant. (It seems that most “Italian” Restaurants in Germany are now run by folks of other  ethnic backgrounds)
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4) Food, in general, is still far better in Germany, especially in traditional German restaurants.
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5) Ethnic restaurants in Germany don’t serve ethnic food 😦 . Just like in most other countries, “Ethnic” food has been adapted to local taste, but in Germany much more so than anywhere else, to the point of being unrecognizable (see # 3)
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6) Everybody should visit Europe at least once, to get a better perspective of life and circumstances in places with strong traditions and immense History.
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7) Life is Good !
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A Sad And Unfortunate Temporary Break For Bella, Myself And ChefsOpinion – (Slowly Getting Better)……

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Dear Friends,

I am happy to be back, able to post and enjoying to cook, eat and share my humble cuisine with you.
From 9/13th to 10/13th I spent a wonderful month in Germany and Spain, visiting friends and family and having a great time eating and drinking in the company of much-missed friends, most of which I had not seen for many years, as well as making new friends along the way 🙂 .
I also put time to good use to facilitate my return to Germany, where I plan to spend the remainder of my life with good food, good friends and (occassionally) good booze 🙂
I bought a car, started looking for a house, registrered my new address in Germany, etc, etc.
I also spend a long weekend in Spain, where my friends Gaby and Ralf own a Beautiful Spanish villa near the beach.
I had taken many notes and pictures to share my trip with y’all as soon as I’d be back in Miami.
However, the night before I got back, my beloved Bella was attacked and badly mauled by two loose-running rottweilers.
This caused both Bella and I to suffer tremendously, her physically, me psychologically, which eventually morphed into a full-blown breakdown of my well-being.
I was bed-ridden for a week, while trying my best to care for Bella (with the help of two great vet’s 🙂
Well, it has been 10 days now and I am happy to report that both Bella and I are on the way to recovery.
I assume that I am able to start posting my European experience starting this coming week, and that the unfortunate episode of Bellas attack will be but a bad memory soon.
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Hans.
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For those of you who are skirmish DON”T scroll down to the bottom of this page !!!
There are pictures of Bellas wound’s there, to let those of you who can handle this kind of stuff see how badly she had to suffer.
Again, she is (slowly) on her way to recovery, and things should be back to normal soon 🙂
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And, on a lighter note:
When I was sick I did not have the strenght nor the will to cook every day. The first two day’s, I lived off apples and dry  knäckebröd .
However, that did not provide me with the nutrition I needed to get back on my feet, so, during a spell of light improvement of my strength,  I prepared a big pot of what must be the oldest, best-working and best-tasting remedy in the word:
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“Chicken Noodle Soup With Veggies And Egg”.
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After five days of this for both lunch and dinner (apples for breakfast), I am now feeling better and blessed with enough strength to take on my daily chores, including driving Bella to the vet daily, preparing my usual food, and keeping “ChefsOpinion” up to date.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Chicken Noodle Soup With Veggies And Egg

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Chicken Noodle Soup With Veggies And Egg

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures
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LEFT SIDE


 

RIGHT SIDE


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Serrano Ham, Morcilla, And A New Car

Dear Friends,

After the most recent hurricane, I have decided beautiful Florida is not for me anymore.
I am currently in Germany to scout for a new place to live. I will spend one month in Germany, a few days in Austria and a few days in Spain (where I am presently at).
Being with friends every day does not afford me to spend much time at the Computer, but I will at least try to show you a few of the “goodies” I encounter along the way 🙂
This morning, breakfast gifted me with the pleasure of eating the tastiest sausage ever, among many other outstanding, beautiful and yummy local products.
Later on, my friends Gaby and Ralf took me to the local market, which had an incredible abundance of local produce, fruits, meats, and seafood.  However, for me, the most outstanding moment came when I found this ham vendor.
Less than $ 20.00 for 1/2 an entire Serrano ham !!!

Aaahhhhh, Life is Good ! 🙂
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Best Sausage – EVER !

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1/2 entire Serrano Ham – Less than $ 20.00 – Paradise 🙂

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My new baby…… 🙂 
Most everything set. Just need to buy a new apartment and I am done. Let the new Life begin …….. 🙂

After Irma…………

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Dear Friends,
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I am happy to report that our power and water just came back, neither Bella nor I have a scratch, both Bella and I need a shower after 1 1/2 day without A/C, otherwise, we are fine 🙂
There was quite some damage around the house but nothing major. As you can see in the pics from just outside our house, even a lesser than Cat 5 hurricane will pack a punch. Down the road from here in Hiatus, for the length of a whole block, the power lines are all down, the poles just snapped and the power lines are all over the street.
Thank you, Lord, and please bless those who got injured, and bless the souls of those who lost their lives.
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I will be back with my regular posts soon.
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Life is Good !
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Hopefully, This Is To A New Beginning……..

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If Bella and I have to run because the house is destroyed, these bags contain our life. Medicine, passport, computer, tablet, $, change of clothes, toiletries, some goodies for Bella. Hope it does not come to that. Let’s hope for the best……

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Dear Friends of ChefsOpinion,
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As most of you know, Bella and I live in South Florida.
As most folks around the world know by now, we expect to have a bit of a problem with category 5 Hurricane Irma, who is forecast to hit us in a few short hours.
So far it has left tremendous destruction in its path through the Caribbean.
At this point, we can only hope for the best. All precautions have been done and the only thing left is to pray.
The irony is  that I have a flight booked for next Wednesday to Germany, where I have planed to move back to permanently before year’s end.
I just hope I did not wait too long…….
But, Bella and I are in good spirits and hope that this monster will not cause us too much harm and we, as well as everybody else, will get out of this with minimal financial harm and that our health and lives will be spared.
I wish everybody a great weekend, good luck and I hope to report back in a few day’s that Bella and I have come out of this unscathed 🙂 .

Cheers, and God Bless 🙂
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August 21st 2017 – A Historic Day In Our Universe – Total Eclipse Of The Sun – (In the Kitchen)

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Here is a picture for all the folks in the hospitality industry who today were not able not to see the phenomena live, because they slaved on their jobs  (as usual), while the rest of the world  (as usual)  had a good time 😦 
Enjoy !!! 🙂 
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“Total Eclypse”, as seen by the majority of the folks in the hospitality industry

 

Here are some lesser, less realistic pics of what was going on……….
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BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS # 60 – “Fruit, Milk And Some Interesting Reading”


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Dear Friends,
while today’s featured breakfast might not warrant a post of its own, I think the accompanying article by Jeremy Taylor, which appeared in  THEFW, will make some interesting reading for my non-professional readers, as well as for my many young cooks and chef- colleagues, who are lucky enough to have entered our beloved profession decades after most of the practices described in this article have been abandoned (at least some of them, in some places).
I don’t want to go into the details and the opinion I nurture about these practices, but those who know me will understand that I believe in most of them to this day 🙂  😦
As for the breakfast on this page, it might not be an example of culinary craft and/or art, but it certainly is an example of the beauty of some of the culinary bounty that is easily available to most of us in its original, God-given state, it’s richness, beauty, and simple awesomeness 🙂
(I know, that was a bit of an awkward sentence, but it just felt good to express the joy that comes to my mind when looking at these pics).
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Click here for more  Breakfast Of Champions  on  ChefsOpinion
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“Ridiculously Demanding Craigslist Ad For Line Cook Goes Viral

Thanks to Bloomington, Indiana and America’s desire to stuff their faces like these are the last days of the Roman Empire the job title of chef has grown in stature and prestige.

But before you become a chef, you have to work your way through the kitchen. Farm Bloomington, a restaurant in Bloomington, Indiana, figured there would be so many applicants with culinary stars in their eyes for their line cook position that they posted a Craigslist ad with 44 intricately detailed job requirements.

They include “Only answer ‘yes, chef’ or ‘oui, chef’ and “Always show up to work, even if you are sick as a dog. Let the chef see that you’re really sick and send you home.”

If taken separately, the requirements are overbearing but not necessarily unreasonable. But when you read them all together it offers a horrifying peak inside the id of the restaurant industry.

Harry Shaffer, the general manager of Farm Bloomington, has admitted the ad was posted in haste by a sous chef and the restaurant quickly took it down.

However you can’t really ever erase something from the internet. You can see the entire list that should make any wannabe Food Network star reconsider their path below.

Farm Bloomington Menu

COMMENTS:
Ridiculously Demanding Craigslist Ad For Line Cook Goes Viral | http://thefw.com/ridiculously-demanding-craigslist-ad-for-line-cook-goes-viral/?trackback=tsmclip

To enjoy the full impact of this article, click on the link to the original post just above this line and scroll to the bottom of the article to read 120 comments, of which the majority is quite entertaining and not a few are very funny 🙂
Cheers !
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Most Cooks Start Like Him, Only A Few Get To That Point……..

 

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Click on the picture to see a wonderful, inspiring video……
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Image: Sam Griner

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Oh Dear – Is This The End Of The Chefs Profession ? !

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Image property of enjoymedia

🙂 🙂 🙂  Click Picture to see the End of the End 🙂 🙂 🙂

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# 1000 !!! (ChefsOpinion’s Post # One-Thousand)

1000 th
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Dear Friends,
I would like to thank all my readers for being loyal followers of ChefsOpinion for the past four years.
When I started this blog, I was a very different, happier man. My wife Maria was still alive, I was still active and successful in the profession I had chosen more than four decades earlier, and I was still living the good life 🙂
But alas, in 2013 my life took a turn for the worse and all I had to keep me going was my dear Bella and my love for cooking. (And eating).
From that point of view, Bella and ChefsOpinion was what kept me alive and kicking 🙂
Originally, (before the downward spiral of my life), the idea was to build this blog into a professional website and make a living doing so. But I found out soon enough that I did not have the motivation, nor the drive, to build another business from scratch again.
So, after a bit of adjusting, ChefsOpinion became my  Culinary Diary.
The reward for spending lot’s of $, time and effort to produce my “Diary” is in my knowledge that I am able to entertain and inspire so many people with my food. Between my direct subscribers, the web-search results and mostly by my fellow linkedin hospitality-professionals, ChefsOpinion has now anywhere from 200 to 2000 hits a day. This is even more remarkable when you realize that most of the dishes I publish are down to earth, “real food” items, which are prepared for the purpose of being enjoyed as good-tasting, enjoyable and easy to re-create meals, not some fancy, over-styled concoction which solely exists to look pretty, as do so many (if not most) of the food-pics you’ll find nowadays on the internet, in books and in magazines.
My pictures are taken free-hand (no tripod or special lighting), with a $100 point and shoot camera. As for my writing, I usually do it at around 3.00 am when it’s quiet and Bella is asleep. No fancy proof readers, no quest to write in a never before seen witty style. If professional photography and professional essays are what you are looking for, ChefsOpinion is not it.
If, however, you are interested and maybe even passionate about food that comes from the heart and can be re-created and enjoyed day after day by you and your loved ones – welcome again to my humble publication.
I am also happy to report that my private life has started to normalize and I am enjoying life as much as possible, even without Maria by my side; but Maria is in my daily thoughts and prayers forever and I will never cease to love her 🙂
So, dear friends, I hope that I can entertain you with my blog for years to come and I hope to see you down the road when it is time to celebrate Post # 2000 🙂
Hans.
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Bon Appetit !   Life is Good !
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P.S.
If you have not subscribed yet, today is a great day to do so – and to tell your friends to do the same 🙂  Thanks !
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