Category: Uncategorized

Coming This Spring

Coming This Spring

For restaurateurs, restaurant managers, chefs and professional cooks, and for those contemplating a restaurant start-up – this seminar will help to set you on the right path and provide you with some important operational tools.

Look for seminars this spring in Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, Plattsburgh, Saratoga and Albany New York; as well as Burlington, Vermont and Boston, MA.

A full day with Chef Paul Sorgule of Harvest America Ventures. Includes a working lunch and interactive exercises that bring the information to life.

Look for details in the near future. In the meantime, visit our website and blog:

http://www.harvestamericaventures.com
http://www.culinarycuesblog.wordpress.com

Building Your Food Memory

Building Your Food Memory

What does a fresh, seasonal strawberry taste like? How about apple pie, a Georgia Peach in July, A Prime Steak just off the char-grill, or even a cup of hot chocolate with cinnamon whipped cream? We would likely answer: it tastes like a strawberry, apple pie, a peach, a steak or hot chocolate. We know what they taste like from experience. Somewhere in our subconscious mind we can envision the texture, smell and flavor or each one of those items only because we have enjoyed them before. Without previous experience it would be impossible to describe those items and even with that experience it is very difficult to describe those items to someone who is lacking a previous experience themselves with that food.

We can make comparisons in an attempt to describe items that someone else has not enjoyed, but they generally fall short on accuracy. Case in point, how many different proteins are simply described as tasting like chicken (alligator, frog legs, rattlesnake, etc.)?

Now comes the interesting part of food memory from a cook’s perspective: You really can’t cook unless you have experienced taste, aroma and texture. Recipes are great, but they lack the flexibility to adjust for seasonality, size, maturity of raw materials, the impact of terroir, brand, or process. Tapping into food memory allows a cook to truly understand how to prepare an outstanding dish and if necessary, adjust to reach the correct end result. Additionally, one must always remember that food memory takes into account the environment in which those tastes, aromas and textures were experienced. When the context of the experience changes, so will memory of the food. That prime New York Strip grilled outside on a patio overlooking the vineyards of Napa Valley will taste differently when you try to replicate the food experience in an employee cafeteria. Food memory becomes the benchmark by which all other experiences with the same food prepared in another location and at another time are measured.

Why is a baguette so different when produced in your local bakery than in that boutique boulangerie on a side street in Paris? Some will claim it is the flour or the water, but is it that simple? Maybe it is the centuries of history behind that Parisian baguette, maybe it is the way that the baker kneads the dough, or maybe it is simply because it is Paris after all. I know chefs and bakers who spend countless hours, days and months trying to recreate that perfect loaf of French bread, Robuchon whipped potato, or Italian pizza crust to no avail. A restaurant in New York once determined that the flour and water for their pizza crust had to be imported from Italy. It was the only way that they would be satisfied with the results that compared to their memory.

The importance of this rambling is that every serious cook or for that matter, lover of food, must dedicate the time and effort to building food memories. Create your benchmarks by tasting everything you can, in every ideal location possible, with the right companions. Without this data in your subconscious, great cooking will alway allude you.

Restaurant New Year’s Resolution – Business Success!

Restaurant New Year's Resolution - Business Success!

It is hard to believe that 2013 is here. If you are a chef or restaurateur, one of your New Year’s Resolutions will probably revolve around creating greater opportunities for business success.

Let Harvest America Ventures help you through a formal operational assessment, development of a staff training program, assistance with concept development and menu engineering, implementation of control measures, or even strategic planning for a bright future.

Harvest America Ventures is a hands-on consulting/training firm with extensive expertise in restaurant assessment and operation and decades of background in teaching and training.

Give us a call or refer us to a friend today. We are ready and willing to help!

Happy New Year,

Paul Sorgule, AAC, MS
president
Harvest America Ventures, LLC
http://www.harvestamericaventures.com
culinarycuesblog.wordpress.com
psorgule@hotmail.com
518-524-5906

A Teachers Greatest Joy

A Teachers Greatest Joy

What is the significance of teaching? The longer I taught, the more I realized that teaching is a calling that has many rewards. By far, the most significant reward is the pride and satisfaction derived from seeing graduates succeed in life. This success takes many forms: some are successful with their careers, some are successful with their contributions to their community or their country, and many are truly successful with their family life. However it is measured, any impact that a teacher might have on this is rewarding beyond words.

As I look back at 2012 I felt compelled to acknowledge how proud I am of all of the students that I had the pleasure to teach and the staff that I had the pleasure to work with.

Here is just a sampling of some who come to mind and should be noted for their accomplishments. If your name does not appear, please do not feel slighted, it is just a sampling. I hope to write another book over the next year or so that shows the connections between teacher and student.

Chef Jamie Keating: Owner/Chef of Epic Restaurant in Georgia and past member of the U.S. Culinary Olympic Team.
Chef Curtiss Hemm: Teacher extraordinaire and founder of Pink Ribbon Cooking.
Chef Tim McQuinn: Executive Chef of the North Hero House in Vermont.
Chef Gretel Ann-Alexy: Owner/Operator of Cupps Bakery in Vermont and contestant on the Next Great Baker.
Chef David Russ: Career Military Man, past #1 Chef in the U.S. Army and member/coach of the U.S. Military Culinary Olympic Team.
Jack Edwards: Director of Marketing and Sales for Miner Family Vineyards in the Napa Valley.
Wendy Hackett (Kilponen): National Account Manager with Seattle’s Best Coffee.
Chef Robin Schempp: Owner/operator of the Right Stuff Product Development and Consulting.
Chef Steve Schimoler: Chef/Owner of Crop Restaurant.
Arthur Cote: National Sales Director Fortessa China.
Chef Ryan O’Malley: Chef Instructor at New England Culinary Institute.
Chef Phil Flath: Executive Chef at Ocean Edge Resort in Massachusetts.
Chef Paul Ozimek: Executive Chef at Taste Restaurant in Albany and past member of Charlie Trotter’s Team in Chicago.
Chef Jody Winfield: Executive Chef at Bone Island Grill in Georgia.
Chef Tim Hardiman: Chef/Owner of The Tailor and the Cook in Utica, New York.
Tracey Caponera: Director of Inter-Institutional Programs at SUNY Delhi.
Jonathan Copeland: Director of Seafood at Dole and Bailey Provisioners in Massachusetts.
Nicole Fiacco: Account Director at the St. Regis at Monarch Beach in California.
Nick Dolota: Event Planner at a Savvy Event in Sonoma.
Chef Jamie Prouten: Executive Chef at Tiburon Tavern in Sonoma.
Chef Eamon Lee: Corporate Chef at Maines Company.
Jack Moyer: Vice President 1886 Crescent Hotel in Arkansas. Board member of Historic Hotels of America.
Kristin Parker: Wedding and Events Coordinator at the Whiteface Club in Lake Placid.
Chef Jason Porter: Regional Chef for The Compass Group.
Rene Farley: Senior Manager at Apple, Inc. (my favorite company)
Brian Perry: Maitre d’ at Morton’s of Chicago.
George Flay: Executive Chef at Ardsley Country Club.
Julie Krzyzanowski Bumgarner: Director of Catering and Convention Services – Hyatt Rochester.
Chef Jennifer Beach: Director of Baking at Popovers on the Square in New Hampshire.
Chef Kathy Donaho: Chef Instructor at Le Cordon Bleu in Las Vegas.
Dawn Swaney: Sous Chef at Mintwood Place in Washington, DC.

and hundreds of others who I have had the pleasure to work with in the classroom and in the kitchen.

Happy New Year!

A Special Dinner at the Left Bank Cafe

Monet’s Table – A Special Menu Fresh subtle blending of natures’ colors and culinary bounty inspired by the beauty that only Monet could capture.  The food preparations will follow the classical stylings of Auguste Escoffier and Joel Robuchon.   A gathering before dinner with hors d’ oeuvres and a Kir Royale   Appetizer:    Giverney Salad…

Priorities

I will stay away from the heated debate over gun control for the time being and focus on a topic of equal importance.  Following the tragedies of this past week forces everyone to take stock and think about what is really important.  Having just received the local paper I was amazed and somewhat disturbed to…

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