Author: macgillb2

“Sometimes me think, what is friend? And then me say: a friend is someone to share last cookie with.” – Cookie Monster.

“Sometimes me think, what is friend? And then me say: a friend is someone to share last cookie with.” – Cookie Monster.

Yep, you guessed it, a blog about cookies. I love cookies, a bit of a connoisseur you might say. Of course homemade is #1. I’ve discussed making cookies from scratch a while back…have a look in the archives. Today, lets look at the short cut 

Fake Food, Real Food…The Truth!

Fake Food, Real Food…The Truth!

This isn’t a blog about truth in menu, covered that one a few months ago. As a recap to that topic, I encourage you to question your favorite restaurants sources. Everybody is on the “farm to table” bandwagon, but very few are actually delivering this 

Chinese New Year, Who wants to get Lucky!

Chinese New Year, Who wants to get Lucky!

I’m a little early with this topic, Chinese New Years falls on February 1st (Year of the tiger). However the Chinese take this celebration pretty seriously, and often begin preparations weeks in advance…food is a big thing! Lets begin with a little history, some highlights and of course the food!

Chinese New YearSpring Festival or the Lunar New Year, is the festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. In Chinese culture and East Asian countries, the festival is commonly referred to as Spring Festival, as the spring season in the lunisolar calendar traditionally starts with lichun, the first of the twenty-four solar terms which the festival celebrates around the time of the Lunar New Year. Marking the end of winter and the beginning of the spring season, observances traditionally take place from New Year’s Eve, the evening preceding the first day of the year to the Lantern Festival, held on the 15th day of the year. The first day of Chinese New Year begins on the new moon that appears between 21 January and 20 February.

The Chinese New Year is associated with several myths and customs. The festival was traditionally a time to honor deities as well as ancestors. Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the New Year vary widely, and the evening preceding the New Year’s Day is frequently regarded as an occasion for Chinese families to gather for the annual reunion dinner. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly clean their house, in order to sweep away any ill fortune and to make way for incoming good luck. Another custom is the decoration of windows and doors with red paper-cuts and couplets. Popular themes among these paper-cuts and couplets include good fortune or happiness, wealth, and longevity. Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes. And of course the mythology has a big part, not unlike the western zodiac.


2022
1 FebTigerTuesday
202322 JanRabbitSunday
202410 FebDragonSaturday
202529 JanSnakeWednesday
202617 FebHorseTuesday
20276 FebGoatSaturday
202826 JanMonkeyWednesday
202913 FebRoosterTuesday
20303 FebDogSunday
203123 JanPigThursday
203211 FebRatWednesday
203331 JanOxMonday

This year is the year of the Tiger, seems appropriate. I’m a Snake, how about you?

What does the Tiger mean?

The Chinese Zodiac dates back to the Qin Dynasty over 2000 years ago and is rooted in a system of zoolatry (or animal worship). As the legend goes, the Jade Emperor challenged all the animals in the Kingdom to a “Great Race.” Whoever arrived at his palace first would win his favor. The Tiger was sure that he had the race in the bag, but ended up placing third after the cunning Rat and workhorse Ox snuck in ahead of him. Thus, Tigers are extremely competitive people, known for their courage and ambition. Tigers are ambitious, but they’re also extremely generous with a drive to help others. Tigers want to win but they’re also always seeking justice.

TOP 9 FOODS OF THE CHINESE NEW YEAR

  • Dumplings; a staple of Chinese cuisine, are associated with the wealthiness: according to tradition, the more dumplings you eat during the New Year celebrations, the more money you can make in the New Year
  • Spring rolls; refers specifically to eating this dish during the Lunar Year (also called the Spring Festival). There are no specific rules to follow when it comes to spring rolls, but it’s common to say the phrase “A ton of gold, referring to this dish as a carrier of prosperity.
  • Nian gao; a traditional glutinous rice cake made of sticky rice, sugar, chestnuts, dates, and lotus leaves. Eating Nian Gao is accompanied by the phrase “Getting higher year-after-year by year,” meaning a general improvement in life.
  • Sweet Rice Balls;  a staple of the Chinese celebrations: their rounded shape is associated with reunion and being together.
  • Longevity Noodles;  symbolize longevity: in fact, they are longer than normal noodles and uncut. The longer, the better.
  • Fish; it’s usually steamed. Different types of fishes can be served, based on the family’s wishes.
  • Steamed Chicken; another symbol of the family; that’s why, once cooked, Chinese people first offer the chicken to the ancestors asking for blessings and protection.
  • Fruit and Vegetables; Vegetables play an important role in a Chinese dinner table, and each of them symbolizes something specific.
  • Fa Gao;  a typical Chinese dessert made with soaked rice that is then ground into a paste and steamed. Exactly like the Nin Gao, it is a wish for success.

Love all of these things, New Year or not! Without further hesitation, here is a recipe for Basic Chinese Dumplings.

Happy Chinese New Year in advance, I wish prosperity, love and happiness as this year unfolds! Check in with me on Friday for my next installment!

Essentials of Pastry & Baking, Formulas and Ratios.

Essentials of Pastry & Baking, Formulas and Ratios.

Formulas and Ratios play a key role in just about everything we do, wether we realize it or not. Even within the hospitality industry we have them in every aspect of operations, for example cost control, accounting and forecasting. However we are here today to 

Pate A Choux, Pardon Moi?

Pate A Choux, Pardon Moi?

This will be our third installment in our basic pastry series. I’m basically following the format of my online 1 year Culinary & Baking Program. Free to join as always, just email me for details; macgillb2@gmail.com Todays topic is Pate A Choux, or if you 

Isle flottante, Oeuf a la Neige, WTF?

Isle flottante, Oeuf a la Neige, WTF?

ESSENTIALS OF PASTRY & BAKING PART DEUX.

Leave it to the French to come up with bizarre terminologies for desserts. Literally the above translates to eggs in the snow, and floating island…poor eggs! Undoubtedly, these like many pastry recipes or creations were founded out of the need to use stuff up! In some cases, like in science, they were discovered by mistake. None the less, they are part of gastronomy now. I’ll be honest, meringue is not my favorite thing. I don’t like making it or eating it to be honest. Stay with me here, as I explain the simplest, yet most complex pastry skill you might acquire. I won’t be going into any great detail, if you want more shoot me an email; macgillb2@gmail.com, and I will add you to my basic culinary program. It’s free, and has lots of excellent content and recipes.

MERINGUE

There are three types of meringue; French, Swiss & Italian. I use Swiss the most, as it is the most versatile, and easiest to make. I will include a recipe towards the end, but honestly, you don’t need one. Today i will introduce you to your first ratio. 2:1, sugar:egg whites. That’s it, two parts sugar to one part egg whites. It’s the same for all three types, only the procedure changes.

Meringue based desserts are likely the most cost effective item you can have on a menu. 500 grams of sugar, and 250 ml of egg whites, will produce a large amount of meringue! If there is one item that always seems to be hanging around waiting to be used, it’s egg whites. Other than egg white omelet’s, consomme and mousseline…there really isn’t much more you can do with them. MERINGUE BASED DESSERTS.

So, without further ado, follow along with my recipe and I’ll provide some plating tips at the end!

If you find this recipe to large, just half everything. I’d also like to mention that as a subscribed student in my basic culinary and pastry program you can get a copy of mastercook for $30, as apposed to the retail price of $200.

To finish things up with the plated dessert, I have a few classical and modern garnish suggestions…you will have to research these on your own.

  • Caramel sauce
  • Spun sugar or sugar decor
  • Fruit coulis (sauce)
  • Fresh seasonal berries, citrus and tropical fruits. Something acidic to contrast the sweetness.
  • Toasted almonds, hazelnuts or coconut
  • Natural reductions like beet, pomegranate or again citrus. Adds color and flavor contrast

Like all plated desserts, there needs to be a good balance of flavor, texture and visual appeal. This is a very simple recipe, that requires some practice due to the fickleness of meringue production. Simple in the sense that there are less than 6 ingredients for the whole recipe. The type of meringue used above is French, or basic meringue that requires no initial heat, unlike Swiss and Italian. Cheers, enjoy your first week of 2022. Check back later this week for the next installment!

How to Care for your Professional Chefs Knives.

How to Care for your Professional Chefs Knives.

Christmas has come and passed, and you find yourself with a beautiful set of NEW Chef Knives. Nice! I’m often surprised at the poor care people take of there new stuff, this is a bit of generalization of course. However if you are a serious 

6 Reasons to avoid Fast Food.

6 Reasons to avoid Fast Food.

Sorry to be picking on McDonalds again, you can pretty much include any American Multinational Food Chain in this expose. Of course McDonalds will always get our attention, because they are everywhere, in the media, on every corner and fittingly enough Walmart…lol. It goes without 

So, your on Probation?

So, your on Probation?

Do you ever wonder where you stand with your employer in terms of employment standards? It’s surprising how few people understand the laws in this regard. To be honest many employers don’t understand the law, and often operate outside the legal limits. Those companies that do know the law, often use it against employees. So, what are your rights?

A probationary period refers to the period that employers utilize to evaluate whether a new employee is a proper fit for a job. Employers can terminate the employee during this period without proving any notice or pay in lieu. It generally runs for three months, but could be longer.

“the status of a probationary employee has acquired a clear meaning at common law. Unless the employment contract specifies otherwise, probationary status enables an employee to be terminated without notice during the probationary period if the employer makes a good faith determination that the employee is unsuitable for permanent employment, and provided the probationary employee was given a fair and reasonable opportunity to demonstrate their suitability.”

Under the common law, employers must act in good faith throughout the employment relationship. The employer’s conclusion must be a reasonable one and properly motivated. They may take into consideration factors such as character, compatibility and an ability to meet the present and future production standards expected by the employer.

It is improper for employers to reach its conclusion to dismiss an employee before the employee has been given a fair opportunity to demonstrate his or her ability.

That last bit is the caveat. This is basically an employees failsafe. If you feel you have not been given “A fair opportunity to demonstrate your abilities…call a lawyer, or better yet, the Labour Board.

To conclude, I would also offer this advice to you as an employee. Pick your jobs carefully, do the research. Make sure they have a good record of employee/employer relations. There are many companies out there operating on the fringes of the law, perhaps within the legislation, but barely. Typically these are huge multinationals that don’t give a rip about you, and are more concerned with maintaining a facade of good will. Avoid these EVIL EMPIRES at all costs. Cheers, and have a great weekend!

How to retain employees in the coming labor crisis.

How to retain employees in the coming labor crisis.

Prior to the pandemic, Canada’s foodservice sector employed over a million people, and according to Statistics Canada, it currently needs to fill over 150,000 positions to reach pre-pandemic levels. That said, the Canadian restaurant industry has been struggling with hiring and retention for many years. As many or more than