Food Job: Ice Cube Carver

Gläce Luxury Ice is a meticulously designed and differentiated ice brand specifically designed for use in premium drinks and cocktails. The Gläce Mariko Sphere is a perfectly spherical 2.5-inch piece with a melting rate of 20-30 minutes. The Gläce G-Cubed, a symmetrical 2.5-inch cube, has a dilution rate of 20-40 minutes. Gläce Ice pieces are individually carved from a 300-lb. block to ensure flawless quality and a zero-taste profile, never contaminating the essence of premium liquors and drinks.”

 

They’ve been featured in drinks at Playboy parties, the Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance, and “uber-lux” car shows, and are now part of Sysco’s restaurant distribution chain. The company maintains that the true power of their cubes lies in “tastelessness.”

 

Stephen Colbert agrees. “When you spend 75 dollars for a bag of hand-carved ice,” the host told a studio audience, “that is totally tasteless…it’s conspicuous consumption: an hour later you’re literally pissing your money away.”

This post was written by Zachary Crockett Follow him on Twitter here

Photo Finish

It is impossible to answer the question “Who is your favorite child?” It is far, far easier to respond to the question “Who is your favorite food photographer?”Elm Mushrooms

I have admired David Bishop’s work for a long time and though we have never met — or even spoken. I did ask him to answer the following questions. I’m sure you will admire his work with the same awed enthusiasm I feel for it. Check out his portfolio. It is sensitive, artistic and — well — simply awesome!

Q: How did you decide to become a food photographer?
A: I began my career shooting tabletop still life and hired food stylists to customize food props for the kitchen related shots.  I was soon impressed not only with their diverse cooking skills but also how they incorporated sculpting, painting, problem solving and model-making along with good communication skills.

I began testing with both the stylists and their assistants and found that shooting food offered me a unique opportunity to photograph a subject matter with an intrinsic sensuality and appetite appeal and one that speaks with a universal language. Eventually Food & Wine Magazine, Bon Appetit and many women’s magazines began hiring me. Continue reading

Restaurant Color

windows-on-the-world1We may go to “destination restaurants,” just once in a lifetime. We tread in their hallowed halls with reverential awe.

El Bulli was just such a paradise. It shone brightly in the exalted galaxy of gastronomy. Disciples flocked to hear the angels of Ferran Adria sing in perfect harmony. We bowed our heads, murmured our hushed Amens and departed with full hearts and empty wallets.

There are “those” restaurants — and all the others…

To open a new restaurant is a daunting undertaking fraught with danger and near death experiences.

Everyone knows: location is everything…though, of course there are exceptions to every rule and some restaurants thrive mightily in unlikely spots, but even a simple neighborhood restaurant must have a long gestation period.  Nine months is barely enough time to think through a cohesive strategy.

As I mentioned in an earlier posting: the first question for a restaurateur to ponder is who lives and works nearby, and who will become regular guests? Are they wheeler-dealers or bikers? Meat eaters or locavorian vegetarians? Will they be doctors and dentists or driver’s license dispensers? Are they blue-plate seekers or diners-after-darkers? Are they (YIS’s) Young Impoverished Students? Or WOOFS (Well-Off-Older-People?)

Nothing can proceed logically until a decision is made about the composition of the target market. This demographic definition will dictate the design of the space and the content of the menu.  Indeed it will (or should) point the way to every effective decision from the marketing and publicity to the “voice” of the servers who may welcome a table of four hedge funders or frown upon a young couple wearing dirty sneakers and an infant on their hip.

Speaking of hip, white has become the super sophisticated color of hyper COOL fine dining. Sound is hushed. White tablecloths have given way to austere bare wood surfaces that provide stark contrast with white walls and white light. Food is plated back in the kitchen — precisely — on large white plates by white- jacketed chefs and presented, formally, by bowing white-shirted servers.

White is what color is not.

Color was once HOT.

Joe Baum, restaurateur

restaurant impresario Joe Baum

At the legendary La Fonda del Sol opened by Joe Baum, fashion designers draped the waiters in ponchos, serapes, and high-heeled matador boots. In the dining room, color was used as architecture.

The room’s sun-drenched adobe walls set off vibrant purple and orange banquettes. Chefs tended spits and grills laden with suckling pigs, legs of lamb, sides of beef, and whole turkeys that turned slowly and aromatically over beds of glowing coals. Cauldrons of soup simmered to the beat of the marimba and mariachi bands. Big food was center stage.

The atmosphere was infused with excitement and gaiety that was reflected in the advertising campaign, featuring a mustachioed hombre with eyes closed and head on the table, who made various wise-guy pronouncements such as: “We are not responsible for deals and bargains struck during meal periods. There is to be no dancing on the tables after midnight. And, if you go home with someone other than the person you came with it is no fault of the management.”

It has been said, “Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

Maybe.

But it works for restaurants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food Job: As Easy as Apple Pie

If there was a parliament of pastry, Apple Pie would be the prime minister and Johnny Appleseed its roving ambassador.

They say nothing is as American as apple pie but Isaac Newton, knowing the gravity of making such a claim, could have upset the apple cart by pointing out humble pies appear throughout the world.

Some think the best apple pie is topped with ice cream.  Others insist an apple pie order isn’t complete without a slice of cheddar cheese. Modern folk mindlessly munch mini-pies nuked from the microwave; others dream of apple pie and visualize Norman Rockwell’s Mom in her red checkered apron with the straps criss-crossing like a pastry lattice across her back.  They say nothing is as loving as a pie, golden, delicious and hot from the oven baked for the apple of her eye.

Adam and Eve, George Washington, Norman Rockwell, McDonald’s and Steve Jobs had vastly different views of apples and apps.

Clearly apple pie is a state of mind.

For the fortunate an apple pie is a pie of cake.

Food Job: Bake your own unique apple pies and become a valued supplier for restaurants, country clubs, food trucks and wherever great food is offered.

Food Writer Job:  Become the world’s greatest expert on the topic of apples. Here are a few subjects to cover:

Apple pie origins

Adam’s apple (was it worth the bite in the Garden of Eden? Were Adam and Eve the only couple who were truly made for each other?)

Apple computer

An apple a day keeps the doctor away?

Apple brandy

Apple cider

Apple in mouth of a pig (why?)

Apple martini

Apple nutrition

Apple picking

Apples that don’t fall far from the tree

Apple use in aromatherapy

Applebee’s (restaurant review)

Apples dippers at McDonald’s (opinion of)

Apples in art

Apples in history

Apples in literature

Apples in religion

Bobbing for apples

Candy apple

Curious customs associated with apples

Dried apple dolls

Golden apple of Hesperides

Johnny Appleseed

Lifecycle of an apple from seed to harvest

Newton’s apple

Snow White and the poisoned apple

The Big apple (origin of name)

Varieties of apples

Where apples grow

Which variety to choose for baking an apple pie

You get the idea?  It is a form of word association. You can do this with virtually any single food subject. Begin a blog.

Quote: The first written mention of a fruit pie:
“Thy breath is like the steame of apple-pyes.”

Robert Greene (1590) ‘Arcadia’

 

Food Gifts for Giving

A new handmade food gift is cherished every bit as much as an heirloom. Like the work of those who lived before us, we can get by with little or no formal training.

The important thing is to continue to create our own unique signature and pass it along to others who will appreciate and respect the work of those who created cockerel crowing weather vanes, sculptures, teapots and tabletop and kitchen utensils.

Here’s an example of a simple gift for a friend: Fill a rubber (medical) glove with Hershey’s kisses. Attach a note with the words:

“I’d like to give you a hand.”

(ICDT!) (I Can Do That!)

WOW: Fascinating Past Facts

Windows-on-the-world-logo

Windows on the World iconic logo

The Windows on the World collection of restaurants and bars – WOW – sitting aloft 107 stories in the sky took a virtual village to create and maintain. Developed under the visionary leadership of restaurateur Joe Baum and his partners, here are a few facts that made “Windows” hum.

  • Windows sat 1,314 feet high in the sky; 1,274 feet above mean sea level.
  • Over 2,450 food items were ordered every week.
  • 2,000 bottles of beer were on hand at any give time in the Greatest Bar on Earth.
  • There were over 20,000 bottles of wine in the cellar. (If you laid their corks end to end, the corks would measure 3,333 feet.)
  • 700 wines from around the world made it to Windows’ wine list.
  • The Greatest Bar on Earth featured 16 different kinds of vodka.
  • Over 27,000 bottles of champagne would be sold in one year (imbibed with 51 lbs. of caviar per week!)
  • 1,000 calls or more were made to the Reservations office every day.
  • There was always a seat in the house — in one of the 2,500 chairs.
  • 3,600 eggs were bought every week (that’s a lot of chickens).
  • 700 lbs. of shrimp were consumed every week.
  • It took a lot of cooks to cook up all of that shrimp and caviar — 52, to be exact.
  • A rose by any other name would smell as sweet — 3,000 flowers were ordered every week!
  • The dishwashers would clean 3,000 forks a day.
  • Windows’ panorama of color included 145 different shades of paint, 19 fabric wall coverings and 11 custom carpets.
  • The oldest member of the staff was born in 1921; the youngest in 1978.
  • Windows had the Manhattan’s youngest sommelier — 25 years old.
  • There were more than 500 people employed at Windows on the World, speaking 25 different languages.
  • The beaded glass curtain on the 107th floor contained 430,000 imported glass beads on 1,178 strands of steel cable.
  • On a clear day, you could see 90 miles in every direction from the 107th floor.
  • In high winds, the tower could sway 11 inches.