Archive for the Personal Category

Catching up

Posted in Inked Rogue Chefs: The Book, New Product, Personal, Podcast, Sommelier with tags , , , , , , on June 27, 2010 by winechef

Lots of catching up to do. I can see by the numbers that you’re still reading, so I feel like an ass for not posting for so long and for neglecting my original readers, I am so sorry. But maybe some of you have been following me and my more current endeavors: the SF WineChef podcast, getting the Inked Rogue Chefs proposal out there, the iPhone App for wine pronunciation Enotria Guide, and working full time as a Wine and Spirits Consultant for the most kick ass wine and spirits store in existence, K&L Wine Merchants. One other thing, I passed my Certified Sake Professional exam. But that’s no excuse. Well, maybe it’s a reason…
Ether way! I’m back! Or at least I’m going to try to throw in a few more posts about some of the more esoteric wine topics that I’m into. First ones that come to mind are Blaufrankish, Spatsburgunder, Zweigelt, and Gruner Veltliner. My position at K&L also includes liaison to the buyer for Germany, Alsace, Austria, Loire, and Eastern Europe. It was kind of a perfect match for someone into the esoteric. I have continued to hod my title of Turley Girl and into all things Cult. Dunn being my latest love. Then there’s the urban wineries, and of course the ridiculously complicated world of sake.

Update on my life, such that it is…

Posted in Cooking at Home, Distillery Review, Inked Rogue Chefs: The Book, Personal on April 20, 2009 by winechef

So it’s been a long time since I’ve posted, I’ll give you a quick synopsis then fill in at a later date.

The time line went something like this: Ocean Seasoning and I parted ways, the realizations of the unfounded accusations “I was aware of my poor performance” confounded by the possibility of immediately finding a job in this economy, mounting debt, first year of marriage, a new dog, and trying to get my shiz together for the book…pushed me just about over the edge. I had to fight for unemployment ( I didn’t know that was even an option), we had to move, and I was quickly running out of gas money to get to interviews. I had already been interviewing for months before my stint at Ocean Seasoning had ended (more often than not I was miserable, and in the 15 plus years of working in some of the most stress filled kitchens in the country, I never cried or let it affect me at work. While at OC, the chef drove me to hysterical bouts of tears on several occasions) but I was too comfortable to really leave. Problem was solved for me, so thanks.

Now that the unemployment checks are finally coming in (thanks for truly F ing that one up EDD), I’m not in a horrible state of crippling depression and I’ve become nigga rich and have been having crazy meals and spending my days having as much fun in the Bay Area as possible, reconecting with friends and eating truly wonderful food (on most occasions). Activities include but are not limited to: SCD dinner (10 courses of Beef in an undisclosed location in San Francisco), a private tour of the gin distillery No. 209 (thanks Arnie!), lunch at Waterbar, Lavende East, Bakesale Betty’s, beer at Jupiter and Triple Rock in Berkeley (stay tuned for that update!) $45 massages, walks in amazing locations with said dog (and husband), and last but not least, a gym membership…

And I’ve been cooking! Not usually for money, actually seldom for money, but stints have included cooking for an exclusive Sufi Retreat (No Booze, No Bacon, how does she do it?!), family and friend dinners (Carnitas with homemade tortillas , thanks to Steve, and oatmeal horchata), a 4 course for my granny and her group of sassy octogenarian frends, and random potlucks.

The book…querying agents. I didn’t get the one that I specifically was hoping for, but we’ll see. I’m still hoping for some interst from agents in the upcoming weeks, then I go straight to Chronicle and 10 Speed. I have gotten more awesome chefs, there does seem to be a lot of buzz about the book, I just need to sell it! Anyway, look me up on Facebook, there is also an Inked Rogue Chef group that you can join and follow. I am much better about updating Facebook with at least pictures of what I’m doing since I got a new crackberry with my refund.

Until next time, let me know what you want to see, hear, feedback, etc. Late.

Gratuity Included: If it were up to me…

Posted in Personal on December 31, 2008 by winechef

Getting ready for one of the biggest restaurant nights of the year (with a massively sprained ankle by the way) I started to reflect on how much money I will make, versus how much money I should make serving throughout the year.

Kid gratuity. Your kid is growling, barking, playing with their food, and being an over all nuisance. You are causing the people around you to be uncomfortable and irritable (not to mention me) and thus the people in my section are going to want to leave versus spending a longer time relaxing and ordering more cocktails, thus fattening my bottom line. This and the fact that my busser is going to have to take extra time out of servicing other patrons to thoroughly clean the area which was left undoubtedly soiled by your skin baby. Please compensate.

Excessive Perfume. I have mentioned this topic before, but the other night I actually had to run out of “Ocean Seasoning” and dry heave because someones cologne made me so nauseous. This should lead to more of a fine than an added gratuity.

Foreign Visitors: I’m pretty sure I am going to go out of my way to chum it up with you and make sure that you get the best that the restaurant has to offer, and there’s a good chance you aren’t going to know how to leave a tip. Auto grat!

Booze counts!: Why is it that so many people think that the cost of drinks does not count towards the total that you should be tipping on? I admit I was under this impression for a long time, but why is that? Tip on the whole amount! Same if you use a gift certificate, tip on the original amount!

Time Limit: Please be considerate of a reasonable amount of time spent at your table, or at least pay the bill and sign the credit card slip; don’t walk into a restaurant moments before they close and fail to recognize that if it weren’t for you your server, the manager, and the entire kitchen staff wouldn’t still be in the clock, costing the restaurant more money than you’ve spent and wasting their time for a 15% tip. And don’t stay long after the restaurant has emptied and the manager and server are clearly twiddling their thumbs waiting for you to leave. It’s late and we inevitably had a long day and have someplace better to be. If you don’t want the night to end go to a coffee shop, a bar, a car, back to his or her place. But be respectful of everyone that you are affecting by staying past your “allowed” time. Note: This doesn’t apply to the lone diner that is thoughtfully taking his or her time to read a book, contemplate the restaurant or life, and continues to order glass after glass of wine. After all, he or she could be evaluating the restaurant or become a devout regular.

And off to ring in 2009 with people that I wouldn’t want to be further from.

Favorite things of 2008

Posted in Book Review, Chocolate, Cooking at Home, Food News, Personal, Podcast, Pork, Product Review, Sommelier, Wine Review on December 29, 2008 by winechef

Sure it’s a random list, but it’s been a random year. Who knew I’d still be serving at the same restaurant after a year? Add getting married, a trip to Thailand, adopting a Teacup Dane, and pursuing Rogue Chefs full time has made for some amazing experiences. Here is a list of the little things that have contributed to making life just that much better.

M. Chevallier Carte Noir Brut Cava cava

A wedding on a budget. I tasted 6 methode traditional bubblys under $10 to serve at our wedding (the difference? no headache being at the top of the list) and was beyond pleased with this one. At about $60 for a case I made sure to stock up, so the wedding was just the beginning of the experiences with this awesome cava. It served for everything from last minute gifts to Hibiscus tangerine mimosas to an excuse to practice sabreing. Available at Trader Joe’s for $4.99

Metrokane Champagne Sealermetrokane

And on the off chance that you haven’t removed the top of your champagne (or beer) bottle with your trusty 12 inch chef knife and have some champagne left over, this easy to use sealer works better than anything I’ve used. You can store your opened bottles on their sides and never lose a drop. They remove with hardly a flinch and apply with little to no effort. Available online and in stores at Bed Bath and Beyond (I covet the 20% off coupons).

Moo Cards

These are inexpensive unique customizable business cards that can be designed and received within 2 weeks. High quality and always sure to leave an impression on the receiver. I’ve used mine to promote the blog, the book, my chef and sommelier services, and photography. Available online 100 for $19.99 plus shipping and handling.

iMac

I did not start out liking this. If it weren’t for my genius techie husband in the adjoining room it probably would have ended up following the sewing machine out the window. The problem? It’s just too easy. It makes too much sense. It practically knows me. And now I can’t imagine life without it. I even love the screen saver. I would however have opted for the bigger screen (24″) if I were to do it over again. And a laptop is on the short list of things to get when I receive that enormous advance for the book I’ve been counting on. Available online and in stores for $1199

Podcasts

My iTunes audio faves of 2008 in order of awesomeness:

goodfoodKCRW’s Good Food, Splendid Table, NPR’s Kitchen Window and NPR Food, and Vinecast.

Audiobooks

I wonder where I would be without my iPod, it’s Podcasts, and Audible.com membership. Needing something to distract from the hour and a half that I spend commuting daily I have become practically addicted to audio distractions. Yes, there is always a print book next to my bed or in my bag, but I have come to rely on audiobooks to help me get through the growing stacks that I have accumulated during the year. There aren’t as many food related audiobooks out there but here are my faves of 08:

Setting the Table by Danny Meyer, Waiter Rant by The Waiter, and Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Molecular Gastronomy by Herve This may have you fall asleep on the road and still not clear on the concept.

Blue Bottle Coffee

blue-bottleAh, legal crack in the morning. Not available in as many places as necessary but you can find it here. Order more than you think you need.

Breville Stainless Steel Electric Kettle

And make it with this awesome, sleek, effective water heater that can allow you to make perfect batches of french presses at home or while catering…Available online and at Bed Bath and Beyond for $79.99 (use the coupon!).breville

Bacon and…

Oh Vosges, only you could get me addicted to a chocolate that I can’t afford on a regular basis. So thanks to a recent podcast I’m making my own version. And thanks to my husband, I can’t stop dipping my bacon in maple syrup. There was also a drink “Bacon and Eggs” at Epic that used bacon dust to rim a martini glass. Oh and the Maple Bacon lollipops from Lollyphile. The bacon lip balm that I have yet to try. Bacon and Cocoa Nib infused whiskey that I’m making. The Bacon, Chestnut, and Brussels Sprout dish that I am still swooning over. And Bacon and Skulls blog where I can stay up to date on everything Bacon.

That’s about it, now on to 2009…

Query Letters

Posted in Inked Rogue Chefs: The Book, Personal on December 9, 2008 by winechef

roguechefs3Dear Potential Literary Agent,

Please pick me.

Best,

Melissa

And here we go! My first round of query letters for Rogue Chefs is being sent out today. Man am I nervous! Has all of the work been worth it? What will I hear next? How long should I wait before sending out more? And how many rejection letters (from agents?!) will I humiliatingly have to post before I even send out the proposal?!

No matter how much encouragement I have received from friends, family, and professionals, I am still terrified that Rogue Chefs will not get picked up.I know! I can’t think that way! Be Positive! Easier said than done…

Thankfully the Rejection Queen will be there to guide me.

Butterfly Wedding Cake

Posted in Cooking at Home, Personal on October 6, 2008 by winechef

The stats:

4 layers

30+ pounds of frosting

100+/- pounds total

2 flavors (Guinness Chocolate with a Guinness Chocolate Mousse and Vanilla Bean with Blackberry filling)

1000+ butterflies

8 pounds of dry ice in an attempt to preserve the cake from the heat and humidity.

6 hours watching Ace of Cakes in preparation.

2 hours of shallow breathing while transporting the cake in the rain to Monterey.

…and a week and a half in labor. Amount of confectioners sugar inhaled unknown.

Having best friends like Sonny and Kristin…priceless.

Sonny and Kristin’s Wedding Cake Nears Completion

Posted in Cooking at Home, Personal on October 3, 2008 by winechef

So if you’re wondering why I haven’t been posting more frequently…

 

The Save the Date

The Save the Date