Monday, September 17, 2012

Dinner Parties

I love cooking for small get togethers.  Especially if I have the chance to be social or become part of the group.  And it's always better with a glass of good red wine.  This summer was full of friends visiting from out of state or country... the vegetarian couple in from Ireland, a chef friend that went to Kendall who currently runs a bed & breakfast in Costa Rica, the numerous family shindigs I get drafted into, and probably a couple others I can't seem to remember right now.  Anne & I also went to our first underground dinner a few weekends ago, which was an experience in itself (especially since a guest opened a 1970 Bordeaux).

Here's a few pics of us at Rob Nuey's party.  If anyone's ever in Costa Rica, look him up.  He runs Casa de Flores, a B&B where he both owns & cooks.  Http:/ or +506.8519.1285.
Photo: Plating on Monday

My courses that night...
Potted Shrimp & Lobster Crostini, Herbed Petite Salad...
Gingered Plum & Prosecco Soup...
Pistachio Gelee, Mandarin Foam, Shaved Coffee Infused Chocolate

I'm available for events too, assuming it can be worked around my schedule.  Just comment or message me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Portrait of a Line Cook, Franco Gonzalez

"My name is Fran." 

Franco didn't understand the male/female variation of his name translated into english. 

"Your name in english is Frank, Franco."

Head shaking no.

"No, my name is Fran."

Me shaking my head no.  This was a common discussion between the two of us while we worked together.  He was a helluva fish cook.  He also made a mean staff meal... always when staff meal had already been done with for hours.  Usually behind your back.  Sneaky, fast and proud, I always found Franco fun to work with (when we weren't tormenting the living beejeezus outta each other).

He was a native of Pueblo and his entire family worked at the factory in town, a factory which made parts for Volkswagen.  My old boss, James, sold him his old VW Golf, and even though Franco couldn't drive manual, happily stalled it to and fro, proud to be able to have a car his family may have well produced.  Almost every cook I've ever met from Pueblo has been a incredible cook.  They just get it.  They can wring flavor outta just about anything given a second to think about it.


Every once in a while Fran/Frank/Franco would show me some random kitchen catalogue and ask me if something was, "a good price".  He was piece-mealing his dream of opening a taquería back home, and small fryers, flat tops and butane stoves were his obsession at the time.  A good dream if you ask me, I still want my own place.  Heck, I wouldn't mind owning a taquería.  Mexican food kicks ass.

We had our differences at times and he was known for pulling the occasional prank.  I was butchering beef tenderloins for a party when he decided to drop a sixth pan of ice water down my back.

I hit him with a tenderloin.

Then I grabbed my own pan of water and chased him through the kitchen.  

He was too quick for the second part of my revenge.  Lucky for him.  I miss Fran.