Articles from jim berman

  1. Pesto v3.0

    Pesto v3.0

    Jim Berman CCI

    Back in February, 2010, I came out with a couple of pieces on Pesto, that beloved amalgam of green, summer goodness. Since then, through many iterations, revisions and interpretations, I have changed my ways. Below is the original recipe, with a few changes in latitude and longitude. And there are some pictures thrown in, as well. My reflections are duly noted will make for more fodder when I circle back after even more recapitulations. No verbose history, origins...
  2. Work the line. Or not.

    Cooks aren’t heroes. A chef is no celebrity. The crew of a kitchen is a gaggle of socially awkward miscreants and hooligans. The only revelry is in our own heads and from the sideways glance of other cooks with culinary envy. We are in the spotlight of our own minds. To be perfectly clear, when you walk down the street wearing chefs’ whites, you are not being mistaken for wearing a bright blue cape and the paparazzi will not stalk you. Get over it. I cook for sustenance and to provide a...
  3. Keeping Great Employees

    Keeping the best people on the team is critically important. Take a bit to think about the gravity of having good kitchen kin at the most vital times. When the printer is vomiting tickets onto the cutting board and the GM is freaking out about the gluten-free demands of table 21, who is best to be standing by? Does loyalty want to be questioned at that time? Or does the discussion about a pay raise make for a jagged moment? What about not getting the schedule just right for the line cook...
  4. No Apologies

    Apologies have no place in the kitchen. Every movement is intentional, each gesture purposefully calculated. Every stroke, thrust and exploit have been prescribed as part of the cooking ritual. So, if Server Cody carelessly walks to the aft of a cook without the requisite “Behind!” bellow and gets burned, then Cody has, well, a scar to share with his friends at the next barbecue, and he has learned that cooks do not alter their paths for the sake of Cody’s peachy-white arm flesh. If Catering...
  5. How To Make Fresh Ricotta

    by: Chef Jim Berman
    The best thing about making your own ricotta is the cost. It is less expensive, ounce for ounce, than the commercial stuff. Even with the ups and down of the milk market, you really can not beat the economics of making your own. Perhaps, though, even better is the flavor of the finished product. You are in complete control of that signature ricotta 'twang.' From mellow and luscious to grapey and tangy, the impact is your own design. The texture varies from the plastic...
  6. Mentoring New Cooks

    Mentoring the Food Truck Generation

    Building a successful kitchen includes shining the light for the minions that have shed the stuffy chef coat for the short-sleeved dishwasher shirt and black tee. Opening the restaurant door for the newer denizen of eager cooks that have kicked off Doc Martens for Mozo and Chuck Taylors is the mission. These are excited, quality-driven, foodistas that aren’t necessarily looking to work 80 hours this week and are probably not about to give up seeing the...
  7. I Met a Guy Named Jim, Just in Time

     
    I met a guy named Jim. I was sitting at the bar at the restaurant and I met a guy named Jim. The snow was that grayish, murky slush that is neither pleasant nor entertaining. Late February and nothing is fun. The flurries have lost their appeal. Now the weather is an annoyance and warmth seems so very far off. There is that bone-chilling cold that riddles everything with a nervous anxiousness that simply can not be warmed or comforted even with tequila. It just keeps coming back, that...
  8. How To Make Pesto Part Ii

    by: Chef Jim Berman
    At our last meeting, we began a discussion on the allure of Pesto. The basil, garlic, oil, cheese and nuts were all lined up awaiting orders to assemble. With some careful scouring, good basil can be had. Fresh garlic is a staple, as are quality oil and premium Parmigiano. We can do much with these components alone, but we can make sweet music when congregated.

    Here's the best with measures I can do-

    1 Cup, minimally packed fresh basil leaves torn from their stem and...
  9. Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker

    Lello Musso Pola 5030 Dessert Maker
    The third in a series on ice creams, custards and sorbets

    Jim Berman CCI
    About two-hundred years’ ago, I was a garde manger at fantastic trattoria in Santa Fe, New Mexico. While the humor of a French titled-cook in an Italian restaurant in the middle of the desert southwest isn’t lost on me, I had a great experience working for an often tyrannical chef/owner. At Julian’s, the chef was fanatical about quality and serving only the best food he could...
  10. Discovering The Deli How To Make Corned Beef

    Discovering the Deli: Corned Beef
    Some time ago, I decided my long-term goal would be to open my deli. I grew up on deli food and miss it so - the soft, seeded-rye; stinky chopped chicken livers; the dew on the windows from the corned beefs… corning; the grease-glazed knishes; mountains of yellow potato salad. Delaware is not a haven for such gastronomical delights beyond chicken ‘n dumplings and steamed crabs. My very indiscriminate love of good food was born of my experience with really...
  11. How to Make Gnocchi

    How to Make GnocchiJames Berman CCI
    Gnocchi (naw’kee, if you are from the city; nyo’kee if you are from Italy; yawn’kee if you are Italo-American) are dumplings most commonly of potato construct, served much like pasta and dubious, at best, to make without practice. The technique to create fool-proof gnocchi is not terribly thorny; rather these little puffs are just a trying bunch. Once the formula is refined, the light shines through and gnocchi success can be had.

                I have made...
  12. How To Make Bagels

    Holy, Wholly bagel
    by: Chef Jim Berman

    My earliest memory comes from sharing bagels with my grandmother. It always seemed liked a Sunday morning when we would sit at her foil-speckled topped diner table with a tub of margarine and a brown bag on its side with the warm bagels spilling out. And the bag was always the stiff, cardboard-like paper bag. The piping hot bagels were never packed in plastic, as the just-baked bagels would surely melt flimsy packaging. The bagels came from the back...
  13. How To Make Marinara Sauce And Tomato Concasse

    by: Chef Jim Berman
    Mar- latin, sea, pool. "Marinara (noun): sauce for pasta; contains tomatoes, garlic and herbs (http://define.com/marinara)."

    So, where does the sea fit into the picture? In discovering the land of tomato sauce invention, marinara takes us to Naples, on the west coast of Italy. Coast. Sea. Tomatoes do not grow in the sea. Rather, the fishermen whom were fed pasta with marinara made their living on the sea. Marinaro, sailor. Or so goes the tale. Makes sense, though. Sure,...
  14. On the Road with Dega Catering and the Dave Matthews Band

    When the kitchen is always in motion, how do you feed one of the biggest bands in the world? Dega Catering is the long-running food crew charged with fueling the Dave Matthews Band as the group snakes its way across the country during their nearly annual summer concert tours. Feeding the band members, riggers, drivers, stagehands, sound technicians and guests with restaurant quality food can be daunting. Executing the food that is befitting the demands of a rigorous tour schedule is a feat...
  15. How To Make Green Tea Frozen Custard

    How to Make Green Tea Frozen Custard

    The second in a series on ice creams, custards and sorbets

    Jim Berman CCI
    Frozen custard is not ice cream. While the terms are often used interchangeably, they are not the same dish. Custard has to have eggs by definition and I am not the one writing the book. The book also says that ice cream, however, is egg-less. The end result is that custard produces a different mouth feel and a richer dessert. There is a bit more time invested in custard, but is...
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