Saturday, April 21, 2018

Waste not and want not is the chef's kitchen motto

For One Fine-Dining Chef, Cutting Food Waste Saves The Planet And The Bottom Line : The Salt : NPR:

Tim Ma prepares a duck confit salad at his restaurant, Kyirisan, in Washington, D.C. Ma says being mindful about reducing food waste is an integral part of his philosophy in the kitchen — not just for environmental reasons but also for profitability.
Becky Harlan/NPR

"In Ma's kitchen at his popular Washington, D.C., restaurant, Kyirisan, sea bass filets are served to diners, the bones becoming the basis for stocks while the heads might be deep fried and served as an off-menu item. Carrot tops aren't tossed out — they're blended with sautéed garlic, oil, water, basil, parsley, pistachios and scallions to make a creamy pesto. Carrot peels are recycled, too — fried into thin strips that become a crunchy garnish. Tough kale stalks might be braised, then fried for more texture and tossed into a salad with pickled shallots, radishes and duck confit."

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The great vanilla shortage

Crisis in Madagascar as price of vanilla nears that of gold - France 24:

Vanilla is one of the world’s most popular seasonings and an important ingredient in products ranging from perfume to ice-cream; but it is no longer the staple it was around the world. Madagascar, the world's main producer, is facing a crisis.

The great chefs are now turning their backs on vanilla. Famed French chef Gilles Marchal, whose restaurant is in Montmartre, Paris, declared with regret that he now works much less with the black and bean-shaped pod.

The reason being that the price is now equivalent to that of gold per kilo, and is eight times the price it was just a few years ago. The price per kilo has jumped from $50 (€42) in 2012-2013 to $400 (€340) in 2016-17, according to a 2017 Cyclope report (the bible of commodities traded internationally).

Several factors explain this price spike including uncontrolled market speculation and a vanilla crop failure in Madagascar, which produces 80% of the global supply. The island was also hit by Cyclone Enawo in March 2017, which destroyed many of the vanilla orchids which produce the seed pods, and this was followed by a major drought.

"Vanilla today costs $600 per kilo (€485 euros), it's huge," says Georges Geeraerts, president of the group of vanilla exporters from Madagascar (GEVM).
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Saturday, April 14, 2018

Like a cocktail? How about a dried octopus sour?

When Elex Ng was developing the menu for his new cocktail bar, Nanyang Club, he sought inspiration in a nearby Chinese medicine store. His early experiments with dried mushrooms and herbs were underwhelming. "Then I saw this whole dried-out octopus. I was like: 'Okay, why not?'" he said.

The result is the Fisherman's Wife, a very local twist on the classic whisky sour that cuts the flavors of dried octopus and oysters with ginger and citrus. It is the kind of idiosyncratic drink that Ng, who fell into bartending after leaving the army, thinks may come to define the cocktail scene in Singapore, which remains heavily influenced by western and Japanese bar culture.

Silent restaurant service

There are times when I wish there were more restaurants with a code of silence.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

New type of bubbles for beer

Saturday, April 7, 2018

The myth of the Indian vegetarian nation

The myth of the Indian vegetarian nation - BBC News:

"What are the most common myths and stereotypes about what Indians eat?

The biggest myth, of course, is that India is a largely vegetarian country.

But that's not the case at all. Past "non-serious" estimates have suggested that more than a third of Indians ate vegetarian food.

If you go by three large-scale government surveys, 23%-37% of Indians are estimated to be vegetarian. By itself this is nothing remarkably revelatory.

But new research by US-based anthropologist Balmurli Natrajan and India-based economist Suraj Jacob, points to a heap of evidence that even these are inflated estimations because of "cultural and political pressures". So people under-report eating meat - particularly beef - and over-report eating vegetarian food.

Taking all this into account, say the researchers, only about 20% of Indians are actually vegetarian - much lower than common claims and stereotypes suggest.


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Thursday, March 29, 2018

The persuasive stereotype of the rude French waiter

Is Your Waiter Rude, or Merely French? A Debate Is Revived - The New York Times
Few cultural stereotypes are more pervasive than the surly French waiter.
In the 1985 movie “European Vacation,” Chevy Chase and his family meet a Parisian garçon who, after insulting the brood, offers them dishwater to drink.
Well, in Canada recently, Guillaume Rey, a waiter at Milestones Bar + Grill in Vancouver, British Columbia, filed a complaint against the restaurant’s parent company, Cara Operations, after he was fired for being combative, aggressive and something of a bully. His defense? He’s not rude, he contends. Instead, he’s French and his former bosses are discriminating against his culture and heritage.
The argument is a novel one, but with enough traction that one member of the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal who reviewed the complaint agreed that Mr. Rey deserves a hearing.