Andoni gets his stuff

Yesterday was hectic.  First I awoke to a dusting of snow.  No big deal, but the Boulder turnpike was a parking lot at 7:30am and the heavy spring snow became more intense as I got closer to Denver.  I took the toll road in to save time.

The school is being cleaned and given a fresh coat of paint.  So I came into a place that was a little bit in disarray.  The staff helped me unload my huge load of groceries.

My first goal was to get all of Chef Andoni Aduriz’s stuff consolidated so that he could get to work.  I have been in steady communication with his translator Elena who is an IACP member and has been dogging me about the various components that Andoni needs  (lots of Fed Ex shipments that are still rolling in).

But Chef Andoni is not the only one coming to the conference or with special needs.  Fairly early on in the morning I get a call from this lady in Arizona who is calling about a product I need called Cholla buds and Saguaro syrup.  I need both for a Native American cooking class.  Cholla buds are tiny cactus buds that apparently taste a little like artichokes.   They are a pain to harvest which explains the exorbitant price she was quoting me.  The Saguaro syrup is apparently even harder to harvest as it cost about $10 an oz.   Anyway I was going to have it Fed Exed, but since she was coming to the conference she was willing to bring it to me.  Not sure why she couldn’t have decided to do this a long time ago…………..oh well.

Elena called and said that Chef Andoni was on his way to pick up his food.  I madly gathered the last parts of his order and double checked it against my list (I just want to add that I have received two lists since I first started to work on his order).

He came and he checked his order along with his Sous Chef Oswaldo, who might look like “where’s Oswaldo” if he wore a little cap.  Both are very nice and every so often they looked at me and said can we get this in smaller size.  I was like what are you cooking for the smurfs?  They opened up snap peas and saw the pea size inside and said “can you find smaller”  Honestly Chef I can’t  get any smaller unless they were baby snaps.

I had this pea dish when I ate at his restaurant in 2005.  It was amazing.  A small bowl with a thin layer of miniature peas covered with a super flavorful gel.

They looked through all of their food order and I think they were suitably impressed that I had acquired as much as I had and that I understood the Chef’s language (Spanish and the language of ingredients).

I told them I would be meeting them at JWU to bring them more stuff.

Before he left I had one of my freshly graduated students snap this picture of us.

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It seemed like just ten minutes after he left all the Fed Ex packages came flooding in.  His Kaolin clay, the Methyl Cellulose, the Xanthan gum and the Calcium oxide.

I spent the rest of the day organizing the food orders into different bags for the different chefs and check on the other scheduled deliveries.

At around 2 pm,  I get a call from Elena.  “I took them to Whole Foods and they saw these great sprouts that he wants you to get”  I said “why didn’t you buy them?”  Like I don’t have enough to do, that I need to trace your footsteps and purchase the stuff that caught your eye.

I gathered all the different chef’s bags loaded them up and headed to Italco where I picked some more stuff.  I had Tim Ziegler set up litle bags of herbs and spices to put into each of the chefs bags.

I rushed to JWU and dropped all the bags and gave Oswaldo the stuff they were seeking.

Then on to the Sheraton to drop off the bags of ingredients that will be used there and to have a meeting to go over details with my main contact with the management company Steve Gigantiello.

Home then straight to bed.  A long but successful day.

Mad food shopping spree in preparation for the IACP conference

OK, I just spent the last two days combing the Internet and various ethnic and regular grocery stores for all the stuff on my global food order list.  I am glad to announce that the worst is behind me.  Today I was looking for fresh nopales in a Mexican market and then I went to the Asian market in Broomfield.   It was a zoo in there.   I have yet to find a product that Andoni wants called Katsobushi which is a combination between kombu and dashi.  I finally had to give up.

Yesterday I was on the air on Gabby Gourmet in a phone in spot to promote the conference.  That was a new experience.  They were impressed with my radio voice, which is strange because I’ve had several disk jockeys tell me that I have a perfect radio voice.  Who knows maybe I’ll become a regular on her show.

This whole project has been intensely educational and in between grumbles about impossible to locate product requested by star chefs who probably won’t use the product anyway, I am learning tons.

I rush into school tomorrow to meet up with Carrie Balkcom and one of my recent graduates and we will start to divide the different chefs stuff.

Andoni Aduriz should be dropping by to pick up his stuff (what I have managed to get so far) and take it to JWU to begin prep.

The tsunami of IACP energy will descend upon us in earnest tomorrow.   Should be an interesting week.

Now this is food porn…but can we please take it further

Just stumbled on this on yahoo.  There is no doubt that Carl’s Junior is going to sell more burgers.  It’s interesting that Padma is a spokesperson for the culinary world.  She could be one of those women that hang out with car racers waiting to be sprayed with champagne.  I might be ignorant, but does she cook? And what about Tom?  Wasn’t he recently in some commercial sellout ad.  Crazy how the world of money goes.

Obama never promised us a rose garden

Out with the roses and in with the barackolli.  According to this article at the BBC this is exactly what Mrs. Obama wants to do.  They are planning to plant a vegetable garden at the White House and set an example to the rest of the nation.  Way to go Obamas.  Maybe we can finally get back to our Jeffersonian ideals of remaining a nation of small farmers.  Click this to read the full story.

Now do your civic duty and plant yours.  It’s the American way.

Crazy day

Little sleep the night before.  Busy thinking about everything I need to do for the next two weeks.

Today Douglas Baldwin came to the school and set up a mini sous vide lab on Hot Line.  We tasted a slew of different proteins many cooked between 12-24 hours.   It was enlightening and a good precursor to the class on Tuesday March 31.

Then Johnny Wild form King Canyon Buffalo came by and we talked about the upcoming Wild and Rare dining event at the school.  The owner Chris Nerud and I go back  and he will join us at the event and will contribute buffalo to the meal.

Then Carrie Balkcom from the American Grassfed Association came to help me with the organization of the IACP master classes.  She took me to the Denver Sheraton home of the former Adams mark hotel to meet with the Convention planner.  Carrie has way more experience than me at conference planning and knows many of the Chefs who will attend the conference.  I am relieved and know that with her help we will make this a great conference.

Rushed home to pick up my daughters and get a coconut shrimp stir fry on the table before my parents came over to babysit our kids while we went to a Boulder Valley School District presentation by Ann Cooper the Renegade Lunch Lady.

Ann Cooper has been hired by the BVSD to change the way food is prepared for our children.  Out with chocolate milk, processed food and plethora of refined sugar foods pushed on us by the USDA for the benefit of whatever food lobby that gets rich off  of the subsidy. In with food cooked daily from local farms (whenever possible), salad bars, water fountains and other whole food choices.

I am so happy that BVSD is blessed with Ann’s presence and guidance in changing the way our children eat.

Long but exciting day.  Now to bed.

IACP public events registration

For those interested in learning about and signing up for the events open to the public click this

Fireside Garden Project

For over a year now my wife Lucy has been actively trying to get my son’s elementary school to start a garden project.  Today we broke ground.  In an hour and 45 minutes, we broke ground, took away all the turf and filled the plot with compost rich topsoil.

It was amazing to see how many people came to help out on the project.  Parents, teachers and their children working together as well as some volunteer students from CU who were assigned to write a paper about the project.

Laura Ruby was there representing the Growe Foundation who was kind enough to provide the funding to get this project off the ground.

Future farmer

Future farmer

Even if you can't reach it, try anyway. He was also trying to eat a cookie at the same time.

Even if you can't reach it, try anyway. He was also trying to eat a cookie at the same time.

Worm patrol

Worm patrol

My son Paris

My son Paris

Then the dirt came. Time for king of the mountain

Then the dirt came. Time for king of the mountain

I know I have mostly talked about food and teaching on this blog, but this project is also very close to my heart.

Every spring I look forward to planting my own garden and watching it grow.  My kids participate and we eat what we plant.  There is no more powerful connection to the earth than that.

I’m glad to see this movement taking place in our country.  The connections our children will make to the source of food will be permanent.

To all that participated thank you and thank you Growe Foundation.

IACP is opening up some Master Classes and Tours to the public

In order to increase sales in this dour economic climate the IACP has agreed to open up a bunch of their Culinary Day Trips and Master Classes to the public.  I do not have the complete list of the events open to the public but as soon as I have them I will make them available.

I believe they will be allowing the public to purchase tickets to the Andoni Aduriz class which should be one of the top events of the conference.  The class will take place at the Johnson & Wales campus in their large demo auditorium. We are very privileged to have Andoni come to Denver.  I ate at his restaurant in 2004 and it was one to the best meals of my life.   He is a disciple of Ferran Adria and considered by many to be the second most talented chef in Spain.  He is a very nice man and you can tell that he is completely devoted to his art.   If you have the opportunity to go…do it.

Click on the IACP link above and see if you can sign up for this event.

Stay tuned for more info.

The latest student presentation challenge

I put the students to a presentation challenge and I promised to put it up on the blog for my viewers to vote on.

The components roasted strip loin, pommes frites, asparagus and sauce Bordelaise.

Now it is up to you to chose:

Student #1

Student #1

Student #2

Student #2

Student #3

Student #3

Student #4

Student #4

As usual I allowed them to choose their respective plates from the plethora of plates that Bauscher has provided.  From that point on I let them completely determine their own presentation.  I believe they all waited until the last minute to make their decision.

Once again I had no hand in these presentations.  Tell us which one you like best.

Former student turned cheese guru and the combi zen master come for lunch

My former student and also former head cheese guy at the Truffle Cheese shop at Cherry Creek, Jim Arnold, came for lunch today.  He was able to talk to our students about the bloomy rind cheeses we presented at lunch.  The second guest for lunch was Connor Martin the local Rational Combi oven demonstrator.  We were happy to have both of these fine professionals join us and tells of their background and experience.

I believe it is very important for our culinary students to see all the possible avenues available to the trained culinary professional freshly out of school.  It is no longer just a career path straight into the restaurant industry like it was in my day.

Many of the culinary careers of the future have yet to be created.

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