Business Trip

I have just completed a great 4 days in New York City having been a participant at the annual StarChefs International Congress. ( An amazing event that brings over 1,000 chefs together to meet, discuss, demo new techniques and of course party! (Not that chefs need a reason to do that)

The congress is the brain child of Antoinette Bruno and Will Blunt; two people that truly make the culinary world better by bring us together not just once a year at the congress, but each day on their amazing website    

Please allow me one second to brag!  I was award Rising Star Hotel Chef for San Francisco this year. People have been congratulating me, but for me all I can say is thank you and thanks to my great team!

Back to the story—Three days of intense Q and A’s as well as food demos from Chefs from around the globe from the likes of Albert Adria, Dan Hunter, Johnny Iuzzini, Dan Barber, Charlie Palmer, David KinchMichael Ginor, Ken Oringer and Thomas Keller.  After sampling and discussing amazing products and flavor combinations; I tried to navigating through the city this week which was difficult due to the United Nations General Assembly was in session. 

 I did get to spend one night at the restaurant Aldea (Chef George Mendez) what a amazing dinner, then lunch at the playfull David Burke Townhouse. Next night was a great meal at the New York Yankee Steakhouse feasting on grass feed organic beef while watching my team beat up on those pesky Tampa Bay Rays. The next night I was privaged to be invited to the almost open 20 million dollar restaurant Lincoln in Lincoln Center helmed by the sooo talent Chef Jonathan Benno. Who for the past 6 years was Chef de Cuisine at Thomas Keller’s Per Se. (It will open this Friday) Get your finger ready to dial for reservations that will only be taken one month to the calender day! We feasted on dishes like Sea Scallop, Sunchokes, Almonds & Sunflower Oil or Trippa Origanata and the perfect Rigati with Dungeness Crab, Pacific Sea Urchin, Peperoncino & Sea Beans.  Plus three other great dishes not to mention dessert. Service was smooth and the restaurant was beautiful, with a wood panel ceiling and walls made of glass that enclosed the entire restaurant as well as the kitchen which sits in the center of one of the dining rooms. I wish I could tell you who else was dining at the other tables, but let’s just say they were the power people of the New York elite as well as culinary A-list’s.  Get ready New York City for the next great restaurant.

My second to last meal was a back in my old neighborhood while growing up at the Iron Horse.  I was a a local bar & grill and it was perfect! Ahhhh, the good old days with friends and family there.

Now, I have come to the last meal of the trip and I wish I slept through it!!  See, I am typing this review while in seat 24D flying 33,ooo miles up in the skies headed west to my home in San Francisco, surprised to learn that they were passing out “dinner”!  I heard the man in the row in front ask what it was and the flying waitress said “your going to like it because it is healthy”.  I was intrigued until I set my eyes on a Turkey Dog wrapped in pastry, baby carrots and a one oz cup of “farm” ranch dressing.  O’ shit! 

Why could I not have been sleeping? Thank god my stomach was full from my last meal back at The Iron Horse.

I could not bring myself to even open the shrink wrapped, gnarled, thing until the person next to me opened theirs. I thought the smell alone would bring the plane down. I had to take a picture of this for you to see.

After taking this picture.  I put it back in the bag for which it came and read the ingredients list which started out with mechanically separated turkey, water, salt, corn syrup, flavourings, sodium phospahate, sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrite.  I guess they didn’t get the slow foods, organic, sustainable movement memo! 
Next was this cute little bag of what said Baby Carrots. I have never seen a baby carrot that small in my life and it tasted like hmmmmm I have no idea! It had no flavor properties a healthy carrot should have. It was dry and looked like a carrot “splinter”.  Don’t even get me started on the “farm” ranch blue cheese dressing that I guess they (not really sure who, they are) wanted me to dip my faux carrots into.

It just amazes me that we have such a talent bunch of chefs in the world and these corporate suits that come on the airline mini tv screens just before the plane takes off and say “thank for flying with us, we have the best trained employees from the pilots to the air waitress (Who say the meal is healthy?) to the thousands of people behind the scenes (Who the ones that designed this amazing meal?) Send the culinary team for classes on buying, sourcing or how about give them a computer to log on to the Starchefs website just to see what real chefs are feeding the world!

It can’t be that difficult? At least not as difficult as the problems they are try to solve at the United Nations!!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin