Chef matt on been a chef

Hello one and all,

 

My name is Chef Matthew Schutten-Burt. I’m a Canadian chef with 15 years of experience on the line. I’ve worked across the country as well as in the UK. I work, currently, at http://www.garlicsoflondon.com under Head Chef Carla Cooper, where I function as the morning chef. My team and I are responsible for bread shift, desserts, set up, lunch service and all the butchering. Formerly, I was the sous-chef at http://www.dinkels.ca and the attached restaurant, Paulo’s Italian Trattoria.

I was asked to write a piece by Chef Noel on any topic I so chose and I think I’ve come up with an important one for both male and female chefs.

First things first, it’s important to note that I’m not…politically correct. I don’t go out of my way to offend anyone, surely, but I also feel the need to be direct in what I’m going to say because it is of, I believe, utmost importance.

We aren’t going to talk about food today. Nor are we talking about any new technique, method, recipe or ingredient, we aren’t even going to address the Business itself, but rather our actions within it.

Today, now more than ever, our actions are under constant scrutiny. We have health inspectors, TripAdvisor, Yelp and a whole host of food blogs, YouTubers and Twitter users who have the ability to let others know what they think about our food in an instant.

This is on top of the already demanding specifications it takes to make it into the likes of the AA Food Guide, or even appear on Michelin’s radar, and I’d argue the blogger and twitter-er can do more damage to a restaurant than either “major” group can. That is to say, there are plenty of successful restaurants that make their owners millions without a rep ever setting foot in the dining room.

Thus, we come nicely to my topic: professionalism.

What do I mean by this word? Simply this; how we interact with each-other, FOH and our punters, whether behind closed doors or in full view of our dining rooms.

Never before have we been watched so carefully. Our profession, due to the likes of Chef Ramsay and Chef Oliver among others, has been shot to the forefront of pop culture. Yet never more have we been thought of less for our craft and more for the shenanigans that have been brought to light and have, for all intents and purposes, become tropes and memes of culinary culture.

It is expected of us to shout, to scream and the swear. We are expected to belittle our co-workers, to behave as children and over-dramatic actors. It can be argued, and, in fact I AM arguing, that chefs such as Gordon Ramsay have done more harm than good for our trade over the last few years.

Certainly he is innovative, and his food is par excellence, but one cannot, cannot, cannot look away from the antics and showmanship that is demonstrated on American television through Kitchen Nightmares and Hell’s Kitchen.

Is the face that American telly puts on for us our true persona as culinary wolves? No. It is, however, what sells in America. One needs only look as far as what British television shows to know that this isn’t the case. The UK version of Kitchen Nightmares is far different. Being Canadian, I’m blessed to get access to both.

But sadly, it’s usually the vocal, crass and often loud minority that draws attention to itself. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and all that.

But in this case I think it is imperative to be the solution ourselves, rather than just stand by and let the customer and the media portray us how they want. We are professionals and, if you’re reading Noel’s blog, I have to assume you’ve CHOSEN this career path, not been forced into it.

Your pride should genuinely be hurt by the low, base and unexceptional level that is not only expected of us, but (in some cases) looked for.

There is, however, a remedy for this.

We need to treat ourselves, firstly, with respect. It is impossible to function and work in a high-stress, fast-paced, often hot and exhausting environment unless you look yourself in the mirror every day and say “I can do this. I’ve got this. I’m well trained. My crew has my back, and I’ve trained them well. We know our roles, we know our staff, we know our menu.” Only when you can do this can you move on to step two.

Secondly, treat your under-chefs with respect. Don’t talk down to them. Talk WITH them. Certainly, when the heat is on, expect a “Yes, Chef!” from them, but don’t call them out in front of the rest of the crew. That kind of action gets passed around to those who weren’t there as the night’s juicy gossip. Talk to them after service. Work on the issue together, and never in hearing range of others. Most of us have offices. We should make use of them.

Please note there is a caveat here. Some people just don’t fit, and the level of insubordination can get insane. If you must remove somebody from line for the sake of customers and staff, do so. Firmly, calmly. Let them make the noise. Retain your composure.

Thirdly, be kind to your servers and, through them, the customer.

FOH is the link you have to the customer. Without them you can’t get food out of the pass, let alone get orders in to the kitchen. They tell you about allergies, dietary restrictions and modifications. Granted, most of these are irritating, but if the customer comes back, or stays longer buying booze and dessert, who gives a damn? We exist to make money. We have a skill we are passionate about that people are willing to pay for. Respect the servers and the (reasonable requests) of your customers and they’ll be singing your praises.

This may all seem like common sense, but I think it bears repeating. Especially in light of how trainee chefs are coming out of catering college these days. I don’t know the current situation in Europe or in the UK, but here? It’s a disaster.

These…petulant and petty youngsters are coming out like puffed-up little school children, not realizing that finishing catering college is only the first rung on a very, VERY long ladder.

If you’re a trainee chef and reading this, check your ego. I’m not concerned with how good you think you are, there’s always someone else who’s better, and if there isn’t? Quit now. You’ve peaked. It is important to look at every shift, every service, every day as an opportunity to improve upon your skills and learn some new ones. Only then will you begin to be thought of as worth your salt by your superiors.

Bottom line, chefs? Be excellent to each other and your staff. We have little home life, leave our spouses and children alone when we wish we didn’t. We miss birthdays, anniversaries, valentines, new years and football games. We miss Christmas Pantos. We miss baptisms. We miss graduations and vacations.

And sometimes…well, this causes our home lives to collapse. When this happens, we only have each other. Our families extend beyond our homes. You know this. And you know we forgive the worst offences from each other because of it. But, let’s not abuse it, shall we? Each one of us may come to a day where our restaurant family is all we have for that moment.

Until next time, chefs,

 

Take care,

 

Chef Matthew Schutten-Burt

Garlic’s of London

London, Ontario

Canada

 

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An Italian breakfast

Traditional Italian Easter Breakfast

 

In Italy, a famous saying goes: “Christmas with your family, Easter with whoever you wish.”

                          

This proverb seems to invite a real exodus from their family environment, but perhaps in Rome and surroundings, is not quite so, because to the Romans, Easter is an important holiday that you get to celebrate since the early morning, with a rich Easter breakfast.

The traditional Roman Easter breakfast is, generally, preparing the table with dishes symbolic of the Christian religion, because this moment (Easter) celebrates the end of fasting and the return to life.

 

The table is completely set because this “breakfast” is very important in the regional tradition, almost more than the classic Easter lunch.

 

 

On the table will be present both sweet dishes and savory dishes.

We will find the typical Pizza battuta, served with chocolate Easter eggs, Pasqualina cake, to match with the Corallina (a type of salami), but definitely not miss the Colomba, the famous Easter cake.

 

 

In addition, the Roman tradition wants that on the table there are some cooked dishes including, for example, the Coratella with artichokes, Frittata with artichokes and boiled eggs to enjoy with cheese pizza.

 

 

Surely you can’t say it’s a light breakfast but the traditions are traditions and as such, we must try to pass them on from generation to generation because it’s nice to continue what our ancestors began. Happy Easter everyone!

P.s.: Don’t forget this breakfast has to be served with a generous glass of wine… maybe two!!

 

Tralee 14/04/2017

Massimiliano Bagaglini

 

guest blog industry life

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Hello one and all,

 

My name is Chef Matthew Schutten-Burt. I’m a Canadian chef with 15 years of experience on the line. I’ve worked across the country as well as in the UK. I work, currently, at http://www.garlicsoflondon.com under Head Chef Carla Cooper, where I function as the morning chef. My team and I are responsible for bread shift, desserts, set up, lunch service and all the butchering. Formerly, I was the sous-chef at http://www.dinkels.ca and the attached restaurant, Paulo’s Italian Trattoria.

I was asked to write a piece by Chef Noel on any topic I so chose and I think I’ve come up with an important one for both male and female chefs.

First things first, it’s important to note that I’m not…politically correct. I don’t go out of my way to offend anyone, surely, but I also feel the need to be direct in what I’m going to say because it is of, I believe, utmost importance.

We aren’t going to talk about food today. Nor are we talking about any new technique, method, recipe or ingredient, we aren’t even going to address the Business itself, but rather our actions within it.

Today, now more than ever, our actions are under constant scrutiny. We have health inspectors, TripAdvisor, Yelp and a whole host of food blogs, YouTubers and Twitter users who have the ability to let others know what they think about our food in an instant.

This is on top of the already demanding specifications it takes to make it into the likes of the AA Food Guide, or even appear on Michelin’s radar, and I’d argue the blogger and twitter-er can do more damage to a restaurant than either “major” group can. That is to say, there are plenty of successful restaurants that make their owners millions without a rep ever setting foot in the dining room.

Thus, we come nicely to my topic: professionalism.

What do I mean by this word? Simply this; how we interact with each-other, FOH and our punters, whether behind closed doors or in full view of our dining rooms.

Never before have we been watched so carefully. Our profession, due to the likes of Chef Ramsay and Chef Oliver among others, has been shot to the forefront of pop culture. Yet never more have we been thought of less for our craft and more for the shenanigans that have been brought to light and have, for all intents and purposes, become tropes and memes of culinary culture.

It is expected of us to shout, to scream and the swear. We are expected to belittle our co-workers, to behave as children and over-dramatic actors. It can be argued, and, in fact I AM

arguing, that chefs such as Gordon Ramsay have done more harm than good for our trade over the last few years.

Certainly he is innovative, and his food is par excellence, but one cannot, cannot, cannot look away from the antics and showmanship that is demonstrated on American television through Kitchen Nightmares and Hell’s Kitchen.

Is the face that American telly puts on for us our true persona as culinary wolves? No. It is, however, what sells in America. One needs only look as far as what British television shows to know that this isn’t the case. The UK version of Kitchen Nightmares is far different. Being Canadian, I’m blessed to get access to both.

But sadly, it’s usually the vocal, crass and often loud minority that draws attention to itself. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and all that.

But in this case I think it is imperative to be the solution ourselves, rather than just stand by and let the customer and the media portray us how they want. We are professionals and, if you’re reading Noel’s blog, I have to assume you’ve CHOSEN this career path, not been forced into it.

Your pride should genuinely be hurt by the low, base and unexceptional level that is not only expected of us, but (in some cases) looked for.

There is, however, a remedy for this.

We need to treat ourselves, firstly, with respect. It is impossible to function and work in a high-stress, fast-paced, often hot and exhausting environment unless you look yourself in the mirror every day and say “I can do this. I’ve got this. I’m well trained. My crew has my back, and I’ve trained them well. We know our roles, we know our staff, we know our menu.” Only when you can do this can you move on to step two.

Secondly, treat your under-chefs with respect. Don’t talk down to them. Talk WITH them. Certainly, when the heat is on, expect a “Yes, Chef!” from them, but don’t call them out in front of the rest of the crew. That kind of action gets passed around to those who weren’t there as the night’s juicy gossip. Talk to them after service. Work on the issue together, and never in hearing range of others. Most of us have offices. We should make use of them.

Please note there is a caveat here. Some people just don’t fit, and the level of insubordination can get insane. If you must remove somebody from line for the sake of customers and staff, do so. Firmly, calmly. Let them make the noise. Retain your composure.

Thirdly, be kind to your servers and, through them, the customer.

FOH is the link you have to the customer. Without them you can’t get food out of the pass, let alone get orders in to the kitchen. They tell you about allergies, dietary restrictions and modifications. Granted, most of these are irritating, but if the customer comes back, or stays longer buying booze and dessert, who gives a damn? We exist to make money. We have a skill

we are passionate about that people are willing to pay for. Respect the servers and the (reasonable requests) of your customers and they’ll be singing your praises.

This may all seem like common sense, but I think it bears repeating. Especially in light of how trainee chefs are coming out of catering college these days. I don’t know the current situation in Europe or in the UK, but here? It’s a disaster.

These…petulant and petty youngsters are coming out like puffed-up little school children, not realizing that finishing catering college is only the first rung on a very, VERY long ladder.

If you’re a trainee chef and reading this, check your ego. I’m not concerned with how good you think you are, there’s always someone else who’s better, and if there isn’t? Quit now. You’ve peaked. It is important to look at every shift, every service, every day as an opportunity to improve upon your skills and learn some new ones. Only then will you begin to be thought of as worth your salt by your superiors.

Bottom line, chefs? Be excellent to each other and your staff. We have little home life, leave our spouses and children alone when we wish we didn’t. We miss birthdays, anniversaries, valentines, new years and football games. We miss Christmas Pantos. We miss baptisms. We miss graduations and vacations.

And sometimes…well, this causes our home lives to collapse. When this happens, we only have each other. Our families extend beyond our homes. You know this. And you know we forgive the worst offences from each other because of it. But, let’s not abuse it, shall we? Each one of us may come to a day where our restaurant family is all we have for that moment.

Until next time, chefs,

 

Take care,

 

Chef Matthew Schutten-Burt

Garlic’s of London

London, Ontario

Canada

follow matthew on twitter @matthewjburt

guest blog allan maynard

halibut

Potato-crusted halibut

Cider sauce

  • 300 ml of bulmers
  • 150ml of veal stock
  • 200ml of double cream
  • salt to season
  • 250 g of fresh mussels, or mussel meat
  • vegetable oil
  • salt
1
Begin by preparing the sauce. Add the cider and a pinch of sugar to a pan and reduce half Add the veal stock, reduce by half, then add the double cream
  • 300 ml bulmers cider
  • 150ml of veal stock
  • 200ml of double cream
2
Bring to a gentle simmer and reduce again until there is 180ml left. Season to taste and set aside until required
  • salt
  • pepper
3
Peel and cut the potato for the fish into matchstick-sized pieces. Blanch in vegetable oil at 100 c until soft but not coloured. Drain on a paper towel and leave to cool
  • 1 large potato
  • Rape seed oil, for deep-frying
4
Once cool, add the potato to a bowl with a pinch of salt and the 2 yolks, mixing together until combined. Dust the halibut fillets with a light coating of flour, then apply a thin layer of potato mixture to each one. Set aside in the fridge until required
  • 2 egg yolks
  • salt
  • flour for dusting
  • 4 halibut or cod fillets 130 g each
5

To cook the fish, heat a little oil in a large pan. Cook the halibut fillets (potato-side down) over a gentle heat for approximately 5 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown but not too coloured. Turn over the fish and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until cooked to your liking
  • olive oil
 6 Meanwhile, reheat the sauce and add your fresh mussel of mussel meat, check salt seasoning
 you can see more of allans dishes follow him on twitter @lesouschef and Instagram @lesouschef

Guest chef

It felt great when Noel asked me to write something for his blog. I love food with a passion especially dishes cooked using local ingredients where is possible but dishes I love to cook are Indian and Asian for different combinations to create great flavours.  I think this stems a bit from my dad who opened on the sixties the first Chinese restaurant in Ellesmere Port although we have no Chinese heritage. Unfortunately he had a great foresight to see that Asian restaurants were becoming extremely popular but not the foresight to see that his business  partner was not a good choice and he was forced to sell the restaurant. This was my first experience of restaurants and kitchens and as youngster I got to taste what customers wanted in front of house and the traditional food cooked by the chefs for themselves. One of the first lessons I learnt was preparation was essential as with Chinese food the cooking can be very fast and the second lesson was that the Chinese cook pork belly very well.

My introduction to Indian food came while I was working in the Sudan and our house manager was from Goa. He showed me some great dishes and a great insight into spices and how to achieve great flavours to which I was grateful. Again the lesson of preparation was essential to help achieve great food . So I have included two dishes that show that preparing ingredients can produce fabulous flavours on a plate. The first being a traditional chicken korma and I assure you if you try this dish you will never buy a sauce from a supermarket again.

20160625_231428

TRADITIONAL CHICKEN KORMA

SERVES 4

Ingredients

1.5 kg of chicken thighs deboned and skin removed

For the coconut paste

125 grams of fresh coconut flesh or frozen grated

50 grams of blanched almonds roughly chopped

4 tsp of white poppy seeds

For the masala

1 medium onion roughly chopped

2 tbs of vegetable oil

6 cloves

6 green cardamon pods bashed

3.5 cm cinnamon stick

1 tsp salt

1/4 to 1/2 tsp chilli powder

200ml of water

125ml of thick yogurt mixed with 125ml of water

3 black cardamon pods seeds only crushed

 

Method

Blend all the ingredients for the coconut paste in a mini processor add a touch of water to help it bind. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy based wok or saucepan over a medium heat. Add the cloves, green cardamon pods and cinnamon stick and fry for 30 seconds. Stir in the onion and salt and fry for 10 minutes till the onion just about browns, add the chilli powder. Then add the chicken pieces and fry to brown the chicken, add the water and the coconut paste bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Take the pan of the heat and stir in the yoghurt and water mix then return to a gentle heat and cook for 30 minutes uncovered. Make sure the mixture does not stick to pan add water if needed. After 30 minutes stir in the black cardamon seeds and serve with Basmati rice.

My next dish really needs preparation because the cooking of the prawns is so important you can’t start looking for ingredients or the prawns will over cook and spoil the dish. The dish has origins from Cambodia I have just put my twist on it but my friends have cooked my recipe for their friends and have had excellent feedback. It’s a great dish once prepared is so quick to cook so you don’t keep your dinner guests waiting.

20160625_231514

PRAWN, PINEAPPLE AND MANGO CURRY 

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 firm mango but not over ripe

1 Tsp corn flour

1 medium sized pineapple

2tbs of vegetable oil

3 cloves of garlic finely chopped

100 gram of shallot finely chopped

1 red birds eye chilli (more if you want more heat)

500 grams of fresh king prawns peeled

Juice of one lime

1tbs of fish sauce

1tbs of light soy

Hand full of fresh coriander chopped

White pepper to season

 

METHOD

Peel and cut the mango into 10cm squares and do the same with the pineapple. Mix the corn flour with a touch of water and set to one side. Heat the oil in a wok to a medium heat add the garlic and allow 1 minute to sizzle till it just changes colour but does not burn. Then add the shallots and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, add the chilli and prawns turning the heat to high and cook till the prawns just turn pink about two minutes. Add 2tbs of water, lime juice, fish sauce, light soy and the corn flour, stir fry for a few seconds just to thicken the sauce. Then add the pineapple and mango and cook just too warm through. Stir in the coriander and season with the white pepper. Serve with Basmati rice.

I hope you try these two dishes but hope that you take on board “It’s all in the preparation” and again I thank Noel for letting me write for his blog a great chef who is inspirational to many.

many thanks to David for a brilliant piece . you can follow david on twitter @Diddy186Davis for much more

 

Seabass sauce verige

Guest blogger Allan Maynard joins us this week, Allan is sous chef at the 2 aa rosette Glan house hotel, you can follow Allan on twitter @lesouschef and the same on Instagram  to see his stunning food. Here are two of Allan’s favourite summer dishes

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Couple of my favourite and quick summer recipes, perfect to impress loved ones with restaurant style food
  • Sea bass, sauce vierge
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 2 sea bass fillets

For the sauce

  • 100g cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp small capers
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 100ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • handful torn basil leaves and chopped chives, to garnish
  • 10 black olives 
  • 1 bunch of asparagus 
  •  Line a grill pan with foil and brush lightly with butter. Brush the fish on both sides with butter and season. Lay on the foil, skin-side up. Put the tomatoes and shallot in a pan with the capers, lemon juice and oil, and season. Grill the bass for 5-7 mins under a hot grill until just cooked and the skin is starting to brown. Meanwhile, warm the sauce through for 2 mins, then stir in some of the torn basil leaves. Lift the bass onto warmed plates using a fish slice and spoon the sauce around. For the asparagus i pot of seasoned simmering water cook place asparagus into the pot cook for 2 minutes, remove and season with butter and salt .  Serve with steamed new potatoes or small baked potatoes, asparagus and add the remaining basil and chives. Perfect also for the BBQ

Ingredients perfect summer desert Eton Mess (works with all summer berries why not mix and match) 

  • 500g/1lb 2oz strawberries hulls removed

  • 400ml/14fl oz double cream

  • 3 x 7.5cm/3in ready-made meringue  nests, crushed

  • 1 bar off your favourite chocolate

  • sprigs of fresh mint, to garnish

Preparation method

  1. Purée half the strawberries in a blender. Chop the remaining strawberries, reserving four for decoration.
  2. Whip the double cream until stiff peaks form, then fold in the strawberry purée and crushed meringue. Fold in the chopped strawberries and your favourite chocolate
  3. Spoon equal amounts of the mixture into four cold wine glasses. Serve garnished with the remaining strawberries and a sprig of mint