This week I re-started culinary school. Set the alarm for 5:30, woke up with cafe au lait, ate oatmeal, jumped into rush hour and ran into Chef Jim’s smiling bald head right on time. He is a good, funny, tough little guy with a shitload of experience for his 30ish age: CIA, Houston, Los Angeles, Manhattan.

There are about 16 people in the class, most have more experience than me. No obvious assholes, might possibly fall into a good work-together mambo. No matter what bullshit cut-throat antics there are on Hell’s Kitchen, in a real kitchen you work with and help everyone around you or you … get … a … bad … rep, and you’re screwed.

Three weeks of knife skills ahead, followed by three weeks of soup. Might shoot some video.

We talked about different styles this week, including molecular gastronomy. Here is the all-star, Ferran Adria, at the world’s best restaurant, El Bulli. In a wordier verison here.


Slow Food @ Owl Valley

moon apps

A promise of Gazpacho Shooters under the Hackberry tree fetched us to Owl Valley farm last night, thanks to Laura of Punk Rock Gardens and her husband Sean. Our friends Christine and Holly made for a genial party of six — so long as we kept the conversation away from the dying newspaper industry. (We all have some sort of P-N connection.)

The evening was a progressive dinner through native woodland put on by Slow Food York. Called a Full Moon Walk, it turned out to be a sweet ramble through Judy and Richard Bono’s place on the Kreutz Creek, east of York. Since buying the six acres 20 years ago,  the Bonos have weeded out invasive species and encouraged spectacular local growth. (Full story and great photos here.)

We began by getting lost, and then … well, here’s Dee:

“We saw a sign to MoonWalk Parking and a man sitting beside it on a tractor. He directed us to neighbor’s side yard across the road from him. We stopped to talk to Richard, who is the owner. Then we began the walk in, past a gorgeous restored farmhouse and grounds. I couldn’t see any other houses for the trees, but I did hear the creek.

“The path meandered up to the first food station. Each spot had long tables with white tablecloths and ice buckets with bottles of wine and food with colorful plates, napkins, cups. I had cucumber lemonade to drink. It was delicious but a little disconcerting to chew your drink!

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