... rollin' 7.
I was approached to participate in this '7' thing by a good friend at this very well maintained food blog. It was started here. The idea is to rummage through your old blog archives and pull out seven links, each in one of seven categories.
Chadzilla (no link... you're on it) was started 5 years ago this month. My first post was 1 August 2006 (seems like so long ago). Since then, the blogging game has changed quite a bit, and I've learned to not take things too seriously (whether if that's for better or worse I'm not sure, but I'm still here). The first series of posts were related to our weekly menu changes during Miami Spice 2006. We literally took the 'spice' aspect as a theme. Interesting to look back at these posts now (there is definitely merit to the idea of revisiting a 7). It may be difficult to chose posts the quintessentially represent each category without getting submerged into this old journal for hours, but here goes...
My Most Beautiful Post
With the current focus on foraging and utilizing unusual plants, the pictures from our visit to Tropical Delights with Andre Mejides remind me what a bounty we have available right here in our own state. Although cultivated, the walk-through did seem like foraging because Andre doesn't carve out rows or plow fields, opting to more or less let things grow as they will with a little encouragement, care, and knowledge. This is 'most beautiful' simply because it celebrates that which comes from the Earth.
My Most Popular Post
meat glue 8 August 2006
This was one of the first posts, and one of our first forays into the mysterious cooking style now known as "Modern Cuisine." I believe that transglutanimase was the first non-conventional ingredient we sought out. After opening that first bag of Activa RM, we went ape-shit glueing almost every possible protein combination we could find in our kitchen. The results were sporadic and we documented most of it. While not very scientific in method, the post still pops up in most search engines on the subject. We were just having a blast with the stuff.
My Most Controversial Post
the leash 29 June 2008
This caused sort of an internal controversy. Apparently, the Sonesta company which I had been employed by for almost 10 years took offense to this declaration of 'independence.' I see that as just plain ridiculous. It almost suggests an insecurity within the corporation. However, as everything eventually played out this post proved to be true. We did in fact find new creative freedom culminating eventually as the Paradigm dinners. This would have not happened under the strictness of the past. That's just a fact. Was it painful for them to watch us grow and become better chefs without the corporate eye on us? All this is in the past now (seriously, it's gone, get over it). Today is a much much different story, but that book has yet to be told... patience.
My Most Helpful Post
paradigm essence (no date)
This is technically not a post (and I guess technically not all that helpful except for myself). It's the photo album of the Paradigm dinners. This does not include every dish or even every meal, but just those that yielded interesting results or at least decent pictures. So... not a post, and not helpful. Please browse through it if you have the time. Some of these make me cringe now.
A Post Whose Success Surprised Me
making vodka pills 8 October 2007
I was excited when Fabian played around with this technique from Paco Torreblanca. Alchohol spiked syrup poured into stamped out cornstarch molds to create a thin shell around the sweet liquid interior... this I thought would interest culinary minds everywhere. But... maybe leading my post with the 2 words 'vodka' and 'pill' brought on a whole mess of web traffic that I had not intended. It remains as one of the only posts ever I had to block comments on. Can you believe that people actually thought they could get a buzz from consuming one of these. I mean, come on, there's only like a drop's worth of vodka in each shell.
A Post I Feel Didn't Get The Attention It Deserved
egg-sperimentation 8 September 2008
Although a seemingly simple test, we cooked blended eggs at various temperatures and recorded their state afterwards. There are (or were) references for eggs cooked whole with coagulation temps for the whites and the yolks, but once blended the proteins coagulate at an entirely different rate. By cracking a few eggs, we were able to create a visual reference for perfect scrambled eggs... and this was before chefs started putting eggs into thermal iSi's which makes them even more perfect. So, maybe this is outdated a little, but still useful. I only had 2 comments on this post which surprised me a bit.
The Post That I Am Most Proud Of
paradigm 091108 12 September 2008
The reason for the selection of this post for this category is a selfish one. We were walking through the Star Chefs ICC during the first year it was staged in the old Armory (year 3 of the ICC), and noticed Wylie Dufresne standing off to the side. We decided to walk over and introduce ourselves, and were blown away when he responded by saying that he knew who we were. That was a true star-struck rock star moment for us. To be recognized for our efforts by someone whom we have the utmost admiration for. Wylie mentioned this oyster method in our conversation stating that they had tried to glue oysters many times before, but had not thought of partially cooking them and then stating that he was probably not that smart... imagine the irony on top of the elation of the moment. This is when we truly felt as though we were part of a much larger community of chefs trying to push the envelope a little and not just working in some tucked away kitchen in a hotel north of Miami. This was also the recap of our 2nd paradigm dinner which went on to run for about a year. The result was tons of information and the chance to push ourselves with new challenges everyday.
Now... to fulfill my final obligation, I must select 5 blogs which I have admiration for to do the same. I have not approached these bloggers/chefs/writers, so this sort of makes it a wish list of reading. They are as follows...
Playing With Fire & Water (amazing and amazingly intelligent... I'm thankful for knowing someone who seems to have infinite storage for information)
Michael Ruhlman (of course... Mr. Ruhlman may have been approached to participate in this before, but his posts are so well written and the photography is beautiful. Ruhlman somehow maintains himself as a true food writer, not as a critic but someone who stands for the cause of good food and cooking.)
Michael Laiskonis (increasingly becoming one of the most well-known pastry chefs, Laiskonis manages to work also blogging into his crazy schedule... actually it's been dormant for almost a year now, but if you follow his travels you understand why. The recipes and techniques are solid, and the culinary world is better off because he is willing to share his knowledge on this database. It doesn't even matter if he hasn't posted in a year, because he is so far ahead of everyone else he can take the hiatus.)
Philip Foss (following Chef Foss' blog through the last few years has been inspirational. This is a story about a chef in the corporate world who dropped it all and literally went 'balls out' into the culinary scene... first by selling pre-made sandwiches from a truck and now by supporting his family while putting out the innovative cuisine he was meant to create. It's been an adventure in reading alone. How many chefs start their bio by stating "Phillip Foss smoked a lot of pot during high school...")
Offal Good (Chris Cosentino just comes across as a genuine guy. I like his style, his humility, and his conviction to his philosophy. The culinary world is better because of him. A man with guts.)