Thursday, May 21, 2009

Simple Social Graces on 17Dots/ East Village Radio

This week’s show is like a many a love letter mix tape from my past. Songs of heartache and longing and love mixed with total dance jams. Listen here and let me know what you think!

Codeine - Cave In - Frigid Stars LP

Jesus and Mary Chain - Perfume – Munki

Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood – Sand - How Does That Grab You Darlin’?

Unrest – Imperial - Imperial F.F.R.R.

New Order-Every Little Counts – Brotherhood

Lush- Never Never – LoveLife

Jackson Five – Looking Through the Windows – Looking Through The Windows

Neneh Cherry – Buffalo Stance - Raw Like Sushi

5Star – All Fall Down – Luxury Of Life

Martika – Toy Soldiers – Martika

Atlantic Star – Object of My Desire – Object Of My Desire

Madonna – White Heat – True Blue

Go Go’s – This Town – Beauty and The Beat

Nick Lowe – Cruel To Be Kind - Labour Of Lust

Adverts – Gary Gilmores Eyes – BBC sessions

Wipers – So Young – Over The Edge

Green Day – I Was There – 39/Smooth

General Public – General Public – General Public

Vic Goddard – Stop That Girl – Rough Trade Sampler

The Jam – Beat Surrender – A Solid Bond EP

5th Column – Schroeder Ye! Ye! – All Time Queen of the World

Look Blue Go Purple – Cactus Cat - LBGP EP2

The Shaggs – My Pal Foot Foot – Shaggs Own Thing

Galaxie 500 – Flowers – Today

The Go Team – Slumberland Gods - Pre Moon Syndrome

The Smiths – Miserable – Rough Trade Sampler

Velocity Girl – Blackzilla - Pre Moon Syndrome

Alaska – Bailando – Grandes Exitos

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Notes from the James Beard Awards 2009: Day 2

Day 1 really took a toll on my body physically. It was a good lesson: restaurant work is no joke. You're on your feet and using your arms actively for pretty much 8 hours straight. I woke up feeling like I had been in a car wreck so I called in sick to work and went back to bed. I basically stayed flat until about 12, then took a shower, had some food and got ready to leave for Day 2.

I arrived at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall around 2:40, changed in to my whites and checks and scarf again and reported for duty. I was assigned to assist Chef Michelle Bernstein at the James Beard Awards reception. This years awards' theme was "Women In Food" which was thrilling. The reception featured stations run by about 25 different women chefs and really showcased some incredible creativity. While I waited for the Chef to arrive I chatted with some of the other student volunteers and realized my friend Mac's wife Andrea Reusing who owns a restaurant in Chapel Hill called Lantern was one of the featured chefs too. Small and cool world!

When Chef Bernstein and her assistants arrived we got to work sorting out what we had and what was missing. Her menu was uni (sea urchin) Cuban sandwiches and a Poisson (fish) broth with foie gras foam. Although I've been experimenting with seafood in my diet recently, foie gras is a bit of a stretch for me but I assisted with whatever she needed and my personal politics made no appearances. I have decided that this is my policy as I continue my studies and have new opportunities in the food world. What I think doesn't matter until it's my shop and in this case, to be able to assist one of the most well respected woman chefs in the country was a huge example of the value of leaving something at the door. This is actually something I think about a lot and struggle with, but something I've decided is right for me right now.
My station at the james beard awards. Working with Chef Miche... on Twitpic
As we continued to set up another assistant showed up who was none other than Jeff McIniss from last season's top chef. He was really sweet and we ended up working together pretty closely as the evening went on. He's from Miami as is Chef Bernstein, and was in town too so she asked him to help with serving the VIP dinner which included her menu as part of the first course. The dinner began immediately after the awards were over and we began to press the sandwiched and pour the soups and foam. It was great experience for me as I'd never worked in a catering situation at all, let alone one where you're serving Jacques Pepin, Daniel Boloud, Eric Ripert, Ming Tsai and Lidia Bastianich. It truly was a THRILL. As things wound down I was able to stroll around the hall and sample some of the other menus and have a glass of wine. I left feeling happy and having learned a ton. Chef Bernstein was super sweet and I loved seeing her camaraderie with the other chefs and particularly the other women chefs. It raised my bar of aspiration higher but to me that's a good thing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Notes from the James Beard Awards 2009: Day 1

Delicious artichokes at chef's night out at vermilion. on Twitpic
I know, I know. Late pass to me on not being a hyper fast blogger. But dude, I was working and tired as hell when it was over so there. I'm finally recovered AND done with my internship at Pure Food and Wine (more on that shortly) so I'm ready to type!
May 3, 2009
Super super rainy day. I had volunteered to work the "chef's night out" party, one of the kick off events for the James Beard Awards. The party was held at At Vermilion, the relatively new NY branch of the Chicago Restaurant Vermilion. I arrived at 3 PM to report for duty along with another student from the Institute of Culinary Education I appeared to be the only Natural Gourmet student there and most of the others were from ICE or the Culinary Institute of America. After suiting up (instead of my usual chef's cap or bandanna I wore a rather smart looking hounds tooth scarf, fetchingly matching my checked pants!)I reported for duty. Chef De Cuisine Ipshita Pall assigned me to get to work frying cakes for the party. One of the signature desserts is a piece of deep fried cake flavored with plantain and spices and paired with luxurious sauces. having worked only in a raw restaurant and attending a cooking school which doesn't deep fry much I had no real experience with the fry station but got the hang of it pretty quickly. As they were expecting about 1000 guests we had to fry about 900 pieces of cake which took about 4 hours. Although my hand took a bit of a beating it was surprisingly satisfying and I think I only burned a few of the cakes which was pretty lucky. Working alongside the line cooks and at the direction of the two women chefs and expediter Eli (formerly of of At Vermilion, now at Table 8) was really wonderful.
When the party started I was assigned to the plating station inside the the kitchen and also two stations in the upstairs party to make sure that they didn't run out of food. It got hectic but was really fun. I sadly didn't get to see my hero Rick Bayless who I understand was there but did see a bunch of food network B listers and some top cheftestants and the winner of season one.
One of the reasons I was excited to work this was the the owner of the restaurant and the executive chef Maneet Chauhan (as well as the aforementioned chef de cuisine) are all women. It was interesting to see the dynamics between the staff and the women in charge, particularly since there were some vast cultural differences between them. I noted that the main key to bridging these differences is humor and of course, good tasting food.