Friday, May 28, 2010

The French Laundry

Just got into Yountville less than 12 hours ago. Let me just say this, Yountville = Beautiful. Such a quaint little town. I started off my 1st morning by waking up at 6am (still jet-lagged) and going to get some coffee at Bouchon Bakery. I then strolled through town checking out all the little shops and restaurants. I start my stage at the French Laundry on Monday. I am very excited about this opportunity. I will be here at the Laundry for 3 months. From what I hear from friends these 3 months (June, July, and August) are the best. Spending the summer in Napa is going to be an amazing experience. I am sure I am going to learn a lot and meet some great people along the way. To be continued....

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pacojet vs. Batch Freezer

I have worked in some of this countries top restaurants and they have all had some type of machinery to spin ice cream. Which machine works better batch freezers or the Pacojet? Well I believe it is a matter of opinion. You have to look at a few variables when thinking about this topic. First and foremost how much money are you going to have to purchase your machinery? What types of products are you going to be making? How much space do you have available etc.? There are a lot of things that you must consider when purchasing. When it comes to functionality, both machines will produce a quality product. You have to look at the pros and cons of each machine and think about which will be the best fit for your business. If you are not familiar with the Pacojet I will give a brief explanation. It is basically a tabletop machine that weighs about 30 pounds and has a very small footprint on the counter. The way this machine works is that it uses beakers specifically designed to fit as the vessel to put your ice cream/sorbet base into. You place the beaker filled with your base into a freezer and freeze the liquid solid. After it has frozen completely you place the beaker into the Pacojet machine fitted with a blade attachment. Basically what happens is that a blade drills down into the frozen ice cream and “shaves” the base so fine that it appears to be “churned.” The texture and mouth feel of the finished product is very smooth with very small ice crystals. The way a regular batch freezer works is that you poor your base into the machine and a paddle aerates the ice cream while a cooling element chills the mixture. There are certain machines that you can adjust the speed of the paddle to create more or less overrun (amount of air that is incorporated into your base as it is churned). There are many factors to choose from when purchasing an ice cream machine. I just wanted to touch on a few things that I thought are of importance. I believe that every establishment serving plated desserts should have at least one type of machine to produce frozen confections.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

WD~50 Desserts

I had the pleasure of eating Wd~50's Tasting Menu on Thursday. By far the most creative menu I have ever eaten. The food at WD~50 was amazing. The desserts blew my head off. Alex's desserts are out of this world. The pictures that follows are the desserts that I saw on my menu .(Not usually on the regular tasting menu) The first picture is of the pre dessert which is: chewy lychee sorbet, yuzu foam, celery, vanilla oil, caramel and pistachio mix. This pre dessert is a great example of how to bridge the gap between the sweet and savory courses. Really refreshing and awesome! The next course I recieved was: lemongrass mousse, jackfruit, jackfruit puree, lemongrass foam, lemongrass ice, brown sugar crust, and whole wheat sorbet. A stunning presentation! This dessert has a lot of complex flavors that have excellant balance. One of my favorites. The course that followed was: licorice custard, pear tuile, poached pears, pear foam, sake gelee, licorice powder, and sake sorbet. This dessert was very light and very refreshing. My next course was: airated coffee ice cream, argan oil, argan foam, candies pecans, chocolate plaques, and chocolate sablee. Airated coffee ice cream = The coolest technique EVER! My next and last course was the 1st plating of the "Floating Island" which consisted of: dried meringue, passion fruit mousse, banana puree, fresh bananas, vanilla anglaise and passion fruit sauce. It was an honor to recieve a dessert which is not even on the menu yet. The last picure is of the mignardes: milk and cookies, and a chocolate packet. I applaud Alex and Malcolm for their creativty. I want to thank everyone at WD~50 for a great meal and an amazing learning experience.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I have now spent 4 days working at one of the most creative restaurants in the country, if not the world. I have really enjoyed working with my friend Malcolm and the rest of the crew. I have already learned so much. What I really enjoy is that everyone at the restaurant is very intelligent and humble. If I ask a question they will have an answer ready with an explanation on why and how a certain recipe or hydrocolloid works. I am really looking forward to the next few weeks. Right now I am like a sponge just trying to absorb everything I can in the short time that I have. Great people, great food, great restaurant.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Few of Avenues Desserts

2 days after my meal at Alinea my girlfriend and I ate one of the best meals of our lives. I have to admit that the food that Chef Curtis Duffy sent out to us was amazing. The few pictures that follows are of our pre dessert, which was a passion fruit hollowed out with passion fruit tapioca pearls, rose and vanilla cream. The next picture is of the dessert that was sent to me. Chocolate saffron, bergamont, and chewy honey. Awesome! The next pic is of the dessert that my girlfriend ate. Raspberry, Thai black pepper, mascarpone, and African blue basil. And the last pic that you see is of our mignardes, Chocolate truffles.(Reminds me of Norman Loves Black Collection wink wink) Outstanding Meal.