Chefs Sound Off on Health Department Woes

Chefs Sound Off on Health Department Woes

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Yesterday, the New York Post reported that most fines levied against restaurants by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene were primarily due to problems unrelated to food, and today, Bloomberg reports that 40 Bronx restaurants are suing the city over "excessive fines" from health inspectors.

While the DOH maintains that their rules and regulations have led to an improvement in food safety over the years (more than 80 percent of restaurants now earn A grades, a spokeswoman told Bloomberg), it seems like recent reports find the DOH a bit too stringent.

The Post's reports found that 65.7 percent of mark-offs in this fiscal year were related primarily to walls, ceilings, and equipment being "poorly maintained." The Bronx restaurateurs' complaint accuses the inspectors of being improperly trained, calling the system "intrinsically unfair" thanks to hefty fines that they claim have put multiple restuarants out of business.

We chatted with three chefs about their views on the Department of Health last night at the filming of upcoming series Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking; read on below for their views.

Anita Lo, Annisa: "One of the biggest problems is that you have so many different people [inspecting]; you don’t have consistency. You can be marked off for one thing and the next one will say something completely different. It’s totally subjective, which I think is a big problem... We have a three-pot sink. One of them pointed to one sink and said, this must be the hand sink, so we changed it. The next one said no, no this other one must be the hand sink. We’re a very highly rated restaurant, we’re not making people sick. Am I really making someone sick because, like, the hand sink is there, or the hand sink is over there? Is that really that important?"

Matt Lighter, Atera: "Regulation should be regulated but it should be consistent; it should be there to help benefit the restaurant to be better, to be clean. There are rules out there that don’t quite make sense but it’s a process, It’s a buearucratic process, there has to be information, it has to be passed down. Maybe as a whole, some of the rules are a little crazy, but you can’t really blame any individual health inspector because they just have their job to do. At the end of the day, they’re just doing their jobs; these are the rules and the guidelines. But imagine a world where every restaurant doesn't have any rules... it might be a little scary."

Andy Ricker, Pok Pok: "I don’t have any beef with the letter grade system, I don’t have any beef with inspectors showing up whenever they show up. What I do have beef with is them attaching a monetary fine to a violation because all that does is incentivize the people who work for the DOH to fine people, to find problems. They look for problems, they manufacture problems, they will go for the jugular because this generates a huge amount of money for the city and that’s why it’s not going to change."

While all the chefs acknowledged the purpose of the Department of Health, it seems like they primarily want more consistency in checkups. Ricker, for one, suggested the Portland model, where everyone in the restaurant industry is required to obtain a health card (in New York, only one person is required, but the process is much more laborious), and monetary fines are not tacked onto violations.

There are other things that the chefs which would change; "They might wish it was a ltitle more lenient on things like the meats and cheese and the things we can get because we want to give our customers the best produt we can," Lightner said last night. Lo agreed, noting that after working in France, she thinks cheese should be left out.

And even though most well-regarded restaurants follow the DOH guidebook to a T, "I don't know anyone who’s gotten 100 percent," Ricker said. "You can get an A, but it’s still going to cost you."

The Secrets of a Perfect Burger From Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, and Other Top Chefs

The quest to cook the perfect burger is something that preoccupies any self-respecting BBQ-er come summertime.

Whether you like crispy bacon on top or love-loathe pickles is all a matter of preference, of course. But blue cheese and brioche bun aside, how can you experiment with the basic components of a classic beef burger to find exactly what you like?

There's always room for improvement, and who better to help you than some of the world's top chefs.

Mark Hix on championing meat

Former E squire columnist Mark Hix has made a name for himself running some of London's best restaurants, where a hallmark has always been using the best quality meat. As such it's no surprise that his perfect burger recipe focuses on an excellent standard of beef. He recommends "1.4-kg good-quality minced rib or chuck steak, with 20 to 30 percent fat." That way you really taste the quality of the meat while the fat content keeps the burger succulent rather than dry.

Gordon Ramsay says raid your condiments cupboard.

The sweariest chef on TV surprised Kitchen Nightmares contestants when he revealed the stars of perfect burger recipe were condiments you've probably already got lying around. To make the patty mixture, add 1 tablespoon ketchup and 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, tabasco, and Worcester sauce to the beef mince and seasoning. A simple way to add spice and depth of flavor to your meat without complicated ingredients.

Richard Turner dials up the extras.

As the executive chef behind meaty marvels like Meatopia, Hawksmoor, Blacklock, and Pitt Cue Co, Richard turner knows a thing or to about meat. We all fell for his Hawksmoor burger back in 2009 and have been eating it since. The secret to it? "At Hawksmoor we use 40g to 90g of bone marrow , which helps to create a rich, unctuous texture" he says. "If you can't bear using bone marrow, then you need to select cuts that naturally have about 20 percent fat, such as chuck or short rib."

Jamie Oliver keeps it together.

The naked chef is a stickler when it comes to practical recipes that work every time. His classic burger recipe is no exception, and as such he advises you to add one beaten raw egg to the patty mixture. The egg binds the mixture together nicely when cooking so your burgers retain a good shape. Easy to eat, and the yolk gives a nice rich flavor.

Heston Blumenthal gets scientific.

Leave it to food forensic Heston to get uptight about the science of how you cook a burger. The British gastronomist even dedicated an entire show to searching America for the perfect patty. His conclusion? Grinding cubes of sirloin steak, refrigerating and grinding again while "trying to keep the grain of the individual strands running lengthwise in the same direction without getting tangled together." The full guide is here , if you're up to the challenge.

How Do You Create An Original Recipe?

My opinion would lie somewhere in the middle, while I may not necessarily agree that adapting a recipe by swapping out a few ingredients makes it totally 'brand new', I also understand that it's hard to make a dish 100% original. If creating original recipes in your kitchen is something you're interested in, but afraid to do, the most important thing, as with anything in this great culinary world, is to START SIMPLE. I wouldn't recommend popping by your local grocery store and picking up, oh, say some pork hock, an orange, eggplant, cayenne pepper and some ranch dressing, then getting home and thinking to yourself: 'Now, what should I do with this?' That probably won't end very well.

In my opinion, there are five fundamental things that really help a chef-at-home get a great start creating original recipes.

Jamie Oliver: What you should have in your kitchen

In case you've been trapped under a truckload of frozen chicken nuggets for the past few weeks, here's the recap:

Celebrity chef and self-proclaimed "professional s***-stirrer" Jamie Oliver came to Huntington, West Virginia - considered by various metrics (obesity, toothlessness and heart disease rates, among others) to be the unhealthiest city in America - with co-producer Ryan Seacrest and a camera crew in tow. His goal: recreate his successful U.K. campaign to overhaul school lunch menus, teach families how to cook healthier (or even just cook) at home and make the residents keenly aware that many of them just might be paving the way to an early grave with processed, overly fatty food.

Did he succeed? You'll have to tune in to the season finale on Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution on Friday night, but we caught up with the erstwhile Naked Chef to get the inside dish on the aftermath of his Huntington visit, the element of balance and what every home cook should have stashed in the cupboard. The following is an edited version of that interview:

What was the moment in Huntington where you first truly believed, "Oh yes, this is actually going to work?"

Has that moment happened yet? It's still a work in progress. I was in Huntington last week and saw lots of improvement in the schools. Kids from the community and in the schools were stopping to tell me about all of the recipes that they were asking their parents to cook for them - so I am hopeful - but change takes a long time. In the UK, we had planned for the school food campaign to be a 10-year project and so Huntington is still in very early days. But it's made a good start.

What is the single biggest change you saw one person make?

I wasn't really looking for one big change. I was hoping for and looking for lots of little changes. Kids willing to try new things and choose white milk over sugar-loaded flavored milk parents and folks in the community trying to cook at least one meal a week at home using fresh food residents of Huntington just showing up and taking a cooking class at the Huntington Kitchen. Big change comes from a willingness to make small changes. Small changes turn into better habits, and then you string better habits together, and at some point you've made big change.

Any plans to follow up to see if they're keeping up with good habits in Huntington?

Lots of plans actually. The Huntington Kitchen is up and running giving cooking classes almost every day now and we're rolled out into 24 of 26 schools in Cabell County. We're in the process of securing the funding to continue the program next year in all of the schools and my gang checks in with the Kitchen and Rhonda regularly, and we will continue training both the cooks in the school and the cooks in the Huntington Kitchen. I also have huge support from the Governor as well as others in the community including DJ Rod, Pastor Steve and recently, Alice, who are continuing the programs we started together.

If there is one food you could abolish from this earth, what would it be?

I am not against any particular foods, really. I'm all for people having a treat from time to time just so long as they balance that with good food, cooked using fresh ingredients and full of nutritious stuff. So I wouldn't abolish anything but instead I would increase people's knowledge about food so they can make good food choices more often than not.

If there is one food you wish everyone would eat more of, what would that be?

Salads. They are so easy to make and so many varieties. Kids love them.

What food items would you recommend that people have stocked at all times, so they can always whip up a fresh, healthy, delicious meal?

There's a huge list at the front of the Food Revolution book but if you just want to get a basic basketful of store cupboard ingredients so that you can always make a meal, even when you're out of fresh stuff, I'd go for: cooking oil – groundnut or sunflower, dried pasta, dried noodles, rice, couscous, tinned tomatoes, various tinned beans like kidney or cannellini, tinned tuna, sea salt, black pepper and dried chilies.

And also learn to love your freezer because there's nothing wrong with frozen veg - peas, French beans, sweet corn.

Avishar Barua’s unlikely journey from Ohio State pre-med student to ‘Top Chef’

Avishar Barua always anticipated his career would one day require him to wear a white coat.

But for most of his life, he envisioned working as a doctor rather than a chef, since as a child he was almost pathologically indifferent to food. Barua, who currently serves as the executive chef and general manager of Service Bar, recalled how he would draw the ire of his parents on those rare times the family went to McDonald&rsquos, ordering the Happy Meal solely as a means to get the included toy and ignoring the burger and fries boxed alongside it.

Growing up in Delaware and later in Gahanna, Barua said he had to be &ldquotricked&rdquo into eating the food cooked by his homemaker mother, who emigrated with his anesthesiologist father from Bangladesh to the United States, first landing in Detroit, Michigan, and later settling in Columbus, where Barua was born.

&ldquoI didn&rsquot really care for Bengali food,&rdquo said Barua, 34, who will appear as a contestant on the 18th season of &ldquoTop Chef,&rdquo which was filmed last year in Portland, Oregon, and begins airing at 8 p.m. tonight (Thursday, April 1) on Bravo. &ldquoSo my mom would take the rice, and she would mix it with some ghee and with potatoes or meat to make these rice balls, and that was the only way to get me to eat, because I didn&rsquot want to eat anything ever.&rdquo

Additionally, Barua had the attendant pressure that came with being raised by a father in the medical profession &mdash a pressure that only increased when Barua&rsquos older brother and lone sibling opted not to become a doctor.

&ldquoAt that point, all eyes were on me, like, &lsquoWell, you&rsquore gonna do it. You have to be a doctor,&rsquo&rdquo Barua said. &ldquoSo when I went to Ohio State, I went pre-med, which isn&rsquot something I chose. It was automatic. It was something I had to do.&rdquo

Midway through college, amid what he described as academic struggles, Barua added a second major in psychology, reasoning that if he flamed out of medical school he would have a fallback, and besides, he was a good listener and enjoyed hearing people&rsquos problems. &ldquoI just thought I couldn&rsquot learn,&rdquo said Barua, who stressed that he would have to read passages &ldquo20 or 30 times&rdquo to retain the knowledge that some classmates appeared to absorb on the first pass. (This particular bit of self-analysis falls far outside of the picture offered by everyone else interviewed for this story, with chef Silas Caeton describing Barua as &ldquowicked smart&rdquo and chef Josh Dalton calling him &ldquoinsanely intelligent,&rdquo adding, &ldquoWhen it comes to reading and learning, it&rsquos almost like he&rsquos in overdrive, and it didn&rsquot matter if it was firearms, knives, modern cooking, Asian cooking. If he was into it, he&rsquod go overboard and read and read and read.&rdquo)

Around this time, Barua, who was living off-campus with his best friend, decided on a lark to try his hand at cooking Chinese food, which was an inseparable part of his upbringing in a Bengali home. (&ldquoI&rsquom not sure why it was culturally in, but getting [Chinese food] was the thing to do,&rdquo he said.) So Barua checked out Chinese Cooking for Dummies by Martin Yan from the library and started to experiment with recipes, almost burning his apartment down on two different occasions owing to his initial cluelessness in the kitchen. Gradually, though, Barua started to produce dishes that resembled the intended recipes, taking increased satisfaction in his ability to craft something from scratch on his own. &ldquoIt was nice to see I could do something, and it resulted in something that people liked,&rdquo he said. &ldquoBecause with everything else in my life, I was not doing that so well.&rdquo

This growing self-satisfaction did little to alleviate the parental pressures that first compelled Barua to enroll in pre-med, not to mention that within Bengali culture, according to Barua, kitchen work was less a career path than a job where one landed once all other options had fallen through. &ldquoCulturally speaking, it was the worst thing I could do,&rdquo Barua said. &ldquoBack then, cooking was not cool, and in our culture it was the worst of the worst, the lowest of the low. If you were going to cook it was like you might as well not do anything.&rdquo

For a time at Ohio State, Barua followed a dual career path, working toward a pair of bachelor degrees while also operating as a line cook at the long-defunct Short North restaurant 8, owned in part by his brother and located in what is now Bakersfield.

Following graduation from Ohio State, Barua took the MCAT, a standardized test for prospective med school students, which he described as a final breaking point with what had long been his predestined career path. &ldquoI was just so dispassionate about [medicine],&rdquo he said. &ldquoI couldn&rsquot see spending every day of my life invested in this when it wasn&rsquot something I wanted to do.&rsquo&rdquo

After some bargaining, Barua&rsquos parents agreed to let him pursue a culinary path provided he enrolled in school. First, Barua applied for and was accepted into the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, but on trusted advice he opted to forgo that route. Instead, he enrolled at Columbus State Community College, which offered a Culinary Apprenticeship major in cooperation with the American Culinary Federation, meaning that a bulk of his education took place on the job in working kitchens.

Through this program, Barua started working for chef Josh Dalton at 1808 American Bistro, later helping him launch his acclaimed Delaware restaurant Veritas in 2012. (The restaurant has since moved to upgraded Downtown digs.)

&ldquoAt Columbus State, you get the real world. You get the kitchen, which is not glamorous, and it&rsquos not fun a lot of the time,&rdquo Dalton said. &ldquoThere are a lot of hours on your feet, and it&rsquos really hard, and some culinary schools give kids this false impression they&rsquore going to come right out of school and be the next TV network star, and that&rsquos not the case. You have to put in your time. And [Barua] put in his time.&rdquo

This time included a year-plus stint in New York, where Barua cooked in trend-setting restaurants, one of which was Michelin-starred. Eventually Barua returned home, landing in 2017 at Service Bar, the deservedly lauded Short North gem that he has continued to shepherd from its compressed opening through this last pandemic-marred year, all while establishing himself as such a culinary force within the city that &ldquoTop Chef&rdquo producers took notice, inviting Barua to apply for a spot on the latest season of the long-running cooking competition, which filmed in Oregon amid COVID-19 restrictions in the fall of 2020. Barua said when he received the initial email from producers he laughed, believing it to be a joke.

While the spotlight might be considerably brighter, this will actually be Barua&rsquos second appearance in front of a national television audience, with the chef having previously competed on an episode of &ldquoGuy&rsquos Grocery Games.&rdquo On the episode, which aired in 2020, Barua lost in the final round when the judges, including &ldquoTop Chef&rdquo alum Richard Blais, were turned off by the bitterness in his dish, traced to Barua&rsquos decision to deglaze the pan with gin and vermouth in an effort to capture the floral qualities of the drinks &mdash a last-second addition that worked better in theory than it did in practice.

These types of well-reasoned, sometimes academic culinary experiments shaped the early stages of Barua&rsquos career, particularly in the years he worked side by side with Silas Caeton at Veritas, where both chefs were given the creative leeway to fail.

&ldquoWhen I started working with him, he definitely took a very studious approach, almost analytical,&rdquo said Caeton, now managing partner at the Lox Bagel Shop. &ldquoHe was almost like a scholar in how he looked at a dish, and sometimes that did not work out well. He would have a great idea, and the theory would be sound, but it wouldn&rsquot transition well to something you could sell in an actual restaurant. But he was always trying something, and he could never settle with something that someone else had already done. &mldr Working with Avishar, it was constant exploration, constant discovery.&rdquo

Barua recalled one kitchen experiment &mdash intended as a play on shrimp scampi &mdash where the initial idea was to puree the shrimp and then employ a bonding agent to make a sheet of &ldquopasta&rdquo that could then be cut and used to compose the dish. In the end, though, Barua couldn&rsquot get the shrimp sheets to wrap properly around the filling. &ldquoSo I was like, &lsquoScrew it, let&rsquos just call it shrimp cocktail and serve it in a square on a plate,&rsquo&rdquo he said, and laughed. To complete the accidental dish, the crew whipped up garnishes of homemade cocktail sauce and powdered lemon oil.

&ldquoVeritas was meant to be a playground for us. It was where we could really push our creativity, push ourselves,&rdquo Dalton said of the original Delaware location. &ldquoWe just threw the equipment we could afford in there and, looking back, we had the shittiest oven in the world, this 1974 Blodgett that either got 500 degrees or nothing. We had a four-burner and a little, itty-bitty, 24-inch grill. But the food we were popping out of that kitchen and under those circumstances was, I thought, really good.&rdquo

&ldquoIt was a lot of, &lsquoWhat the hell are we doing? Is this good or is this bad?&rsquo&rdquo said Barua, who still has photographs of every dish he created during his time at Veritas, which he described as a high school yearbook filled solely with photos of awkward first kisses. &ldquoI guess what I&rsquom learning about being a chef is &mldr it&rsquos really about your experiences, right? And your failures.&rdquo

Just weeks after moving to New York City in a rare moment of spontaneity, Barua found himself in the basement of a trendy restaurant, positioned to experience one of the biggest failures in his career. Barua had relocated to take a stage (essentially an unpaid internship) at Danny Bowien&rsquos lauded Mission Chinese, which eventually resulted in a full-time position and an accompanying sense of terror.

These feelings only intensified when, during his first night on the job, he found himself seated in the aforementioned basement, tasked with folding dumplings but having no idea how to go about it. &ldquoI asked seven people, and they tried to show me, but, like I told you, I can&rsquot learn things very fast, so I was just scrunching them together going, &lsquoPlease, God, help me,&rsquo&rdquo Barua said. &ldquoAnd then the Department of Health came in and said, &lsquoYou&rsquore shut down,&rsquo and it was such a relief, because I had no idea what I&rsquom doing.&rdquo

The business would eventually reopen, and Barua worked off and on at Mission Chinese for around six weeks before the location closed for good, this time due to a structural issue with the building. &ldquoI was probably at the lowest point of my cooking career,&rdquo he said. &ldquoI was like, &lsquoI can&rsquot make it here. I can&rsquot keep a job. And I&rsquom such bad luck that every place I walk into shuts down.&rsquo&rdquo

Not long after, walking on Clinton Street and down to the last $100 in his bank account, Barua spotted the small, unassuming sign for wd-50, a Michelin-starred landmark of modernist cooking founded by chef Wylie Dufresne in 2003.

Believing his time in New York was coming to an abrupt end, Barua decided to splurge on one last meal, taking a seat at the bar and ordering the tasting menu. At the end of the dinner, Barua asked the bar manager if he could venture to the kitchen to thank the chef for the meal, which in turn led to Barua asking if the restaurant offered a stage. Then, with little more than a month left on his apartment lease, Barua took on a month-long stage at wd-50, spending two weeks on savory and two weeks on pastry, a stint during which he said he learned more than he had in his entire career to that point. &ldquoIt&rsquos very, very difficult to even describe some of what we did,&rdquo he said. &ldquoLike turning an apple puree into a fluid gel, which you then turn into a clear tube that you fill with sorbet to make this apple swirl thing, which is all a part of this insane, five-day process.&rdquo

At the end of his month, Barua inquired about a full-time position and was told there were no openings. But days later, he was approached by Dufresne, who was in the middle of catering an off-site event for which he was wildly understaffed. &ldquoSo he grabbed me, and we went to this random building where we were catering, and there weren&rsquot any burners and it was very strange,&rdquo Barua said. &ldquoBut I was in charge of people all of a sudden, which I had never done, and we got through the night even though I thought I was going to die. The ice cream freezer was broken, so it turned into sludge. It was like anything that could go wrong did.&rdquo

When the night ended, Dufresne joined Barua and several others for food, wine and conversation, during which he asked Barua about his plans for the future. &ldquoAnd I was like, &lsquoWell, I&rsquom going to figure something else out or go home,&rsquo&rdquo Barua said. &ldquoAnd [Dufresne] said, &lsquoNo, you&rsquore not. You&rsquore going to work for us.&rsquo&rdquo

A week later, wd-50 offered Barua a full-time position.

&ldquoHe started in the basement, working in the prep kitchen, and then once I realized he had an academic approach that would work, we put him on a lot of [research and development] projects, and he was very helpful in terms of taking charge of some of those,&rdquo Dufresne said recently by phone. &ldquoWe were unusual in that sense at wd-50, because while we were working on feeding customers, we were also always working on developing new techniques, new ideas.&rdquo

When Barua returned to Columbus, eventually helping to open Service Bar in October 2017, he arrived armed with these techniques, further honed by his work experiences, but also with a developing sensibility that played more on the idea of memory, including whimsical riffs on college-era fast food favorites (the Cheesy Brisket Crunch), dishes inspired by his various travels (Not Pad Thai) and numerous nods to his Bengali heritage, particularly present in offerings such as the Whole Chicken Family Meal.

&ldquoI think I&rsquove seen him evolve as a chef and a person,&rdquo said Kate Djupe, who until recently worked alongside Barua as the baker at Service Bar, a job she started prior to the restaurant&rsquos 2017 opening. &ldquoAs a chef, he is able to tap into a lot more of his memories, but he&rsquos also surrounded himself with people who are willing to play with that idea. &mldr I see how he&rsquos trying to take them along the same path, encouraging them and giving them room to grow and to play and to fail and succeed, which isn&rsquot easy to do when your name is on the menu.&rdquo

This isn&rsquot to say that Barua simplified anything about his process, however. The restaurant famously employs a labor-intensive, three-day process to make its french fries, and a recent Filet of Fish special, which riffs on the McDonald&rsquos classic, is created, in part, by pureeing sea bass, mixing in a bonding agent and shaping the fish into perfect squares. These squares are then chamber sealed and cooked sous vide for 30 minutes, or just long enough for the fish to set, after which the patties are panko breaded in a three-stage process (fine, medium and coarse) before being deep fried and offered up on a bun with iceberg lettuce and a slice of American cheese.

The melding of various cuisines, as well as the techniques in play, can make it a challenge to summarize Barua&rsquos cuisine in a few pithy sentences. Djupe, for one, recalled the time shortly after Service Bar opened, when Experience Columbus brought in food writers from around the country to dine at the restaurant and to speak with Barua, who at some point in the conversation would inevitably ask the writer how they would define his food. &ldquoWe&rsquove joked about it and had manager meetings where all we did was talk about what we could call it,&rdquo she said. &ldquoOne of my favorites was &lsquoa culinary roller coaster ride through Flavortown.&rsquo But the amount of energy that&rsquos been spent trying to describe his style is ridiculous. It&rsquos playful. It&rsquos fully accessible. It has a wild amount of flavor. And it&rsquos absolutely a pain in the ass to make, even though you shouldn&rsquot feel any of that while you&rsquore eating it.&rdquo

&ldquoPeople ask what kind of food I make, and it&rsquos like, &lsquoI couldn&rsquot tell you,&rsquo&rdquo Barua said. &ldquoHonestly, I&rsquove never been very confident saying, &lsquoHey, this is what I make.&rsquo I just try to do the best I can, and hopefully that, combined with some of the experiences in my life, contributes to the voice we&rsquore developing collectively, because part of it is also who you work with and your staff.&rdquo

It&rsquos this caring, attentive, less-publicized side of Barua that those interviewed hailed as much as his food, with Djupe saying that she was convinced she was done working in kitchens prior to meeting Barua.

&ldquoWhen I left the last kitchen I worked in [prior to Service Bar], I stayed away for a long time because kitchens can be incredibly toxic places. &mldr Kitchens can be wild and fun, but they can also be hedonistic and wild and crazy-authoritarian,&rdquo she said. &ldquoBut he helped create this environment where it was safe, where it was comfortable, and where it didn&rsquot encourage our vices, and where we got to be the people we wanted to be without losing ourselves, which I didn&rsquot think was possible.&rdquo

Djupe&rsquos experiences working alongside Barua confirmed the initial impression she received upon first meeting him during a pop-up the chef hosted at her former business, the Commissary, a now-closed commercial kitchen and small-business incubator. At the time, Djupe said she was struck by the familiarity with which Barua moved through the kitchen, but more than that, she recalled being impressed by how, when the dinner ended, Barua retreated to the back to begin doing dishes rather than making the audience rounds.

&ldquoI&rsquove never seen him take a victory lap. He would much rather be the person making it happen behind the scenes, without being seen, and I connected with that,&rdquo Djupe said before pivoting to Barua&rsquos more recent televised turn. &ldquoWhen he first told me he was appearing on &lsquoGuy&rsquos Grocery Games,&rsquo I could not stop laughing. The idea of him being a TV personality just seemed so different from the guy I worked with on a daily basis. But maybe it shouldn&rsquot have been that crazy, because I saw the way he lit up teaching classes at the Commissary, and the way he connects with people and hears their questions, and how he has the answers.

&ldquoStill, it makes me laugh, the idea of someone who prides themselves on finding not only the best way of making something, but perhaps the most complicated, pain-in-the-ass way of doing it, being on &lsquoTop Chef,&rsquo where you might get 10 minutes or 30 minutes to cook.&rdquo


'ɺ snowball's chance in hell.'' The homey phrase applies quite literally to the fate of a stereo cassette left in the glove compartment of a parked car in midsummer. Unshaded in the noonday sun, a car certainly qualifies as a vestibule to Hades. Dashboard temperatures up to 220 degrees Fahrenheit have been measured under such conditions so when you get back to your car your music may have twisted into a pretzel.

Complete cassette meltdown is not the main risk. More common forms of heat damage are less dramatic but more insidious. Even at lower temperatures of about 185 degrees - frequently reached inside parked and locked cars - ordinary cassettes soften and lose their proper shape. Deformation may be slight and not apparent to the eye. Yet the dimensions of a cassette shell are crucial to the proper alignment of the tape, and even the smallest twisting caused by the heat can play hob with the tape's performance. Highs are lost as a result of poor contact between tape and playback head, and in more serious cases, the tape tracks don't line up properly and the music wobbles and fades erratically. At worst, the tape may jam altogether.

The glove compartment, where tapes are usually kept, is the worst of all places, being exposed to direct sunlight through the windshield. Putting the tapes under the seat will give greater protection. However, it is only temporary because the entire passenger compartment of the car will reach damaging temperatures if left parked and locked over a period of hours. Lately the tape industry has come up with better answers to the problem, although the best possible solution is still not to leave cassettes in a car during the warm season.

To cope with the quasi-infernal conditions encountered by cassettes in a hot climate, Fuji Corporation has introduced a new cassette designed specifically for use in cars. The shell is made of heat-resistant material which keeps its shape up to 230 degrees, which - according to Fuji engineers - is good enough for Arizona in August.

Fuji hasn't forgotten Juneau in January either. Noting that cassettes become brittle in a deep freeze and the magnetic coating peels off the tape base, Fuji formulated both the cassette and the tape to withstand the cold as well as the heat. That way, Alaskans can turn on the heater without cooking their freezing cassettes.

The ups and downs of temperature are not the only hazards met on the road. Potholes, ruts and cobblestones often shake ordinary cassettes to the point where the music begins to stutter. To minimize the effect of bumps and vibration, Fuji has equipped its car cassettes with a dual-spring pressure pad that keeps the tape in steady contact with the playback head even when the car jumps and jiggles.

There are other thoughtful touches. You don't have to take your eyes off the road to distinguish Side A from Side B. The A is embossed on a bump, the B in a hollow. That way you can tell by feel which side is up.

Fuji car cassettes come in two versions. GT-1 is a standard ferric (Type I) formulation intended to operate at a ''normal'' bias setting on the tape deck. GT-II is a chrome-equivalent high-bias formulation. Both tape types are tailored to compensate for acoustic conditions typically found in moving vehicles. Specifically, this means a hefty boost in the highs which might otherwise be drowned out by road and engine noise or muffled by the car's upholstery.

This tailoring of the frequency response is no doubt an advantage if the tape is to be used exclusively on the road. But it turns into a drawback if the tape is to do double duty both at home and in the car. The same built-in treble boost that makes these tapes sound crisp in a car makes the sound a bit too bright in home surroundings, and particularly the timbre of string instruments takes on a hard edge. Of course, a deft downward touch of the treble control more or less rectifies the situation. But the principle remains in question. Should the tape itself impose a particular frequency balance, or should should adjustments always be made in playback by means of the tone controls? Or, putting it another way, should such subtle and subjective matters as tonal coloration and timbre be decided a priori by the tape maker? This listener, being rather conservative by temperament, feels that the tape should remain a neutral carrier of the musical material, leaving it 'ɺs is'' by providing an essentially flat response. Deviance from this norm should be left to individual preference. After all, that's what tone controls are for.

Of course, given the practicalities of the trade, it is not uncommon for tape makers to fiddle with the frequency response of their product to achieve a distinctive sound that, the sales department hopes, will snare the majority of buyers. Besides, Fuji's GT-Series tapes are clearly marked 'ɿor car stereo,'' alerting the buyer that the sound has been doctored to fit the automotive environment. By contrast, Fuji's standard cassettes, intended for home use, are exemplary in the evenness of their response.

Listeners who want a normal frequency response in a heat-resistant cassette can obtain such a product from Loran, a company whose cassettes have also proved that they will not warp under repeated cycles of heating and cooling, as might be experienced in air-conditioned cars.

Sound Bites

Welcome to the new Sound Bites, a ThirdCoast Digest/VITAL blog about excellent eating and great values here on the Third Coast. As in my previous columns for Vital Source Magazine, “Chow, Baby!” and “Eat This,” these will be informative blogs about local troughing, from the humblest hot dog to the most luxurious fois gras.

We’ll hear from outstanding home cooks to some of the best chefs in the nation who are cooking here in Milwaukee. Here, you’ll find (hopefully) interesting tips and entertaining stories on:

Sound eating
Sound nutrition
Sound recipes
Sound kitchen tools and equipment
Sound restaurants
Sound values
Sound tips on great values
Sound chefs
Sound inside track on local culinary trends
Sound consumer opinions on eating in Milwaukee

Get a free Marcus Rewards Card for discounts and freebies at Marcus Hotels & Resorts. Stop in at any of the following destinations to get your free card or sign up online at www.MarcusRewards.com. I’ve used the card and it’s great. It got me an invitation to a terrific free cheese, lamb chop and wine tasting at the Milwaukee Chop House. The weather outside was frightful, but inside it was delightful with great food and wine and a full house to downtown notables.

Milwaukee Marcus Restaurants:

  • [email protected] Restaurant, 139 E. Kilbourn Ave
  • Mason Street Grill, 425 E. Mason St
  • Milwaukee ChopHouse, 509 W. Wisconsin Ave
  • Miller Time Pub, 509 W. Wisconsin Ave
  • CLEAR, 139 E. Kilbourn Ave
  • Café at the Pfister, 424 E. Wisconsin Ave
  • The Café at the Hilton, 509 W. Wisconsin Ave
  • The Rouge, Sunday brunch, 424 E. Wisconsin Ave
  • Starbucks at the Hilton, 509 W. Wisconsin Ave

Marcus Entertainment & Nightlife spots:

  • Blu Lounge at The Pfister, 424 E. Wisconsin Ave
  • Lobby Lounge at The Pfister, 424 E. Wisconsin Ave
  • zenden at InterContinental Milwaukee, 139 E. Kilbourn Ave

Upon enrollment, you get 200 bonus points. Additional points are added any time you frequent any of the above locations. Get double points on Sundays from 4 to midnight at locations open during those hours. These points will get you discounts at all of these venues.

Also enjoy free member events such as:

NCAA tournament Kick-off, Miller Time Pub
Mar 19, 5:30-7:30pm. Show off your b-ball skills and win prizes, or just come to watch.

The New Blu – Blu at the Pfitser
May 7, 5:30-7:00pm. Blu Martinis and a sampling of Executive Chef Weber’s culinary creations,while enjoying the atmosphere and view from the 23rd floor of the Pfister in the newly renovated lounge.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Meet The TikTok Therapists Helping Teens Understand Their Mental Health & Feel Prepared To Ask For Help

Humans are wired to connect, and the importance of building and maintaining these social connections can be seen from an early age. When that connection is broken, or fails to occur at all, the immediate and long-term effects can have disastrous consequences for a child&rsquos overall emotional and physical health.

Dr. David Puder, a psychiatrist and faculty member at Loma Linda University, knows this firsthand from his experience working with teens and young adults in his practice. He recently posted a viral TikTok video that explains just how important the connection between a parent and child is in developing a healthy attachment style.

Dr. Puder&rsquos most viewed TikTok is a breakdown of the popular &ldquoStill Face&rdquo experiment, developed by Dr. Ed Tronick in the 1970s, which shows a baby emotionally and physically withdrawing after three minutes of interacting with a non-responsive mother displaying a &ldquostill face,&rdquo all while the baby is desperately trying and failing to get her attention. This experiment demonstrates how serious cases of child abuse and neglect damages the way a developing child&rsquos brain functions, but also how parents who aren&rsquot fully present when they&rsquore with their with their children&mdashwhether that&rsquos because they&rsquore on their phone, or because they&rsquore suffering from depression or struggling with substance abuse &mdash can have a profound effect on a child&rsquos development.

Dr. Puder&rsquos breakdown of the experiment received over 5.4 million views on TikTok. The comments are filled with people empathizing with the parent and the child and relating it back to their own parental relationships.

“This study is so relevant to what many kids are dealing with nowadays with parents so glued to their phones,&rdquo says Dr. Puder. &ldquoThis is the first generation of kids that have been raised by parents that have been very distracted by screens.&rdquo

Social media isn&rsquot a replacement for human connection, but mental health professionals like Dr. Puder are using apps like TikTok (much like how women’s health professionals have taken to instagram) to spread mental health awareness to an audience that has been the most impacted, both positively and negatively, by social media: teenagers and members of Generation Z.

Dr. Puder joined TikTok in January of this year and has since gained over 100,000 followers on the app by posting fascinating breakdowns of popular psychology ideas and experiments, mental health tips, and a behind-the-scenes look at what it&rsquos like to be a practicing psychiatrist. His videos belong to a subset of TikTok known as TikTok therapy, and it&rsquos quickly gaining popularity with both parents and teenagers who use the app. He&rsquos one of many mental healthcare professionals using TikTok to normalize talking about mental health issues and expose his audience to the benefits of therapy without having to experience it firsthand.

&ldquoTikTok is adding a lot of value to a lot of people, especially parents. If someone watches my videos and it encourages them to put their phone down and interact with their kids more, or engages their kids in more play, maybe that kid won&rsquot have as many mental health issues down the line,&rdquo says Puder.

Mental health professionals operate behind closed doors, as client confidentiality laws require. Confidentiality is a respected part of psychology’s code of ethics, but it&rsquos also allowed for many therapists to get comfortable hiding behind those closed doors. Mental health professionals aren&rsquot seen or talked about often in traditional media, and TikTok offers them a platform to share important ideas that can drastically improve the way people think about themselves and their relationships to others.

&ldquoI think people are curious about their own mental health and I don&rsquot think we do a good job as mental healthcare professionals educating the public,&rdquo says Puder. &ldquoThere aren’t a lot of mental health care professionals in the public sphere at all. I think people have a lot of questions, and there&rsquos a lot of misinformation going around, so I&rsquom happy to put out some real science that people find interesting.&rdquo

It&rsquos important to note that TikTok is not a replacement for therapy. Individual and in-person therapy is important for getting to the root of mental health issues, but as anyone who&rsquos ever been to therapy knows, it&rsquos a big, scary first step. Therapists on TikTok aim to lessen that gap by educating the public on basic practices to help improve their mental health and help people feel more comfortable seeking the care they need.

&ldquoAs soon as I joined TikTok, I noticed the app was running rampant with teenagers and adolescents that were very confused about how their body and mind works,&rdquo says Dr. Courtney Tracy, a licensed clinical social worker with a doctorate in clinical psychology.

Tracy owns a full-service outpatient drug rehab and mental health treatment center in Santa Barbara, California called Good Heart Recovery. She joined TikTok late last year with the goal of providing mental health information to a younger population to prevent them from suffering from circumstances that might lead to them needing to seek out services like the ones she provides at her treatment center. Her TikTok has over 260,000 followers and 4.4 million likes.

&ldquoTikTok therapy is a gateway to therapy,&rdquo explains Dr. Tracy. &ldquoTeenagers who follow therapists on Tiktok are getting access to therapists without having to share their own information or leave their own home. It&rsquos broadening their view of what working with a therapist might look like.&rdquo

Dr. Tracy believes that TikTok therapy provides valuable psycho-education for children and young adults who might not be able to access that information elsewhere. There are 60-second videos on mindfulness training, videos that talk about the differences between sadness and depression, and even step-by-step videos for kids on how to ask their parents about seeking in-person therapy. Dr. Tracy says her videos are a great introduction for people who might think they&rsquore against therapy, have had bad experiences or for people whose family, culture and/or support system is not pro-therapy.

&ldquoIt’s good to help teenagers normalize having mental health issues and normalize having a therapist,&rdquo explains Dr. Tracy.

Tracy started an online community called The Truth Seekers to provide her TikTok followers with more in depth information on mental health, since Tiktok only allows viewers to post short videos. Membership costs $22 per month, or $225 per year &mdash and includes unlimited access to curated courses, an opportunity to win private individual course sessions and admission to live Q&As and instructional webinars.

&ldquoI’m hoping that people who want more information based on what I share on TikTok can join that community,&rdquo says Dr. Tracy. &ldquoIt&rsquos still not therapy. It&rsquos a self-guided way for people to learn more about themselves.&rdquo

TikTok is a free app, so all of the valuable information that these mental health professionals are posting comes at no cost to the viewer. The app has allowed therapists to become more visible to vulnerable populations, but what do the mental health professionals gain from using the app?

Mental health professionals on TikTok cannot give out personalized therapy to anyone who asks for it in the comments or in private message, but they&rsquove found other ways to give their viewers more generalized mental health information outside of the app. Both Dr. Puder and Dr. Tracy say that their goal with the app isn&rsquot to get more patients into their practice &ndash it

Dr. Puder has a podcast called &ldquoPsychiatry & Psychotherapy Podcast&rdquo where he discusses topics that affect mental health professionals and pop-psychology enthusiasts, which gets support from a Patreon. His sees his TikTok is just another avenue to spread this important information to a wider audience.

&ldquoMy clinic is already pretty full, so that&rsquos not the purpose of what I&rsquom doing,&rdquo says Dr. Puder. &ldquoI hope my videos have a large ripple effect on the people that watch them. &lsquoHow do I help the most people possible?&rsquo is one of the questions I ask myself a lot.&rdquo

A version of this story was published May 2020.

There’s tons of ways to invest in your mental health from your phone &mdash here’s a few of our favorite mental health apps:

Ten year plus campaign

The living wage campaign began at the Ritzy more than 10 years ago and now involves workers at other Picturehouse cinemas – Hackney Picturehouse, Picturehouse Central, Crouch End Picturehouse, and East Dulwich Picturehouse.

In 2007 workers at the Ritzy began to campaign for the living wage with the aim of raising themselves off of the minimum wage.

Seven years later, in 2014, they organised 13 high-profile strikes with BECTU. These won a 26% pay rise and an agreement with Picturehouse to negotiate towards the London Living Wage in June 2016. Even then, management attempted to gain revenge by threatening redundancies at the Ritzy after the agreement.

“The company backtracked on this agreement and have refused to negotiate in any way, disappointing employees, customers and the local communities,” say the Ritzy workers.

Rather than talk to BECTU, which became part of the large professional union Prospect last year, Picturehouse recognised a “staff forum” it had set up and funded.

Picturehouse itself is owned by the massive international cinema conglomerate Cineworld Group that made profits of £82 million profit in 2016 and is planning to spend £2.6 billion to break into the US cinema market with a deal that the Financial Times says is too expensive and will leave the group with too much debt.

Alameda County Public Health Department

We recognize that residents are more than mere consumers of public health services. Many other issues (housing, employment, environment) can impact health. Therefore, our health department is involved in a variety of community-based activities that engage residents and community partners in the planning, evaluation and implementation of health activities. Some of those services and activities are profiled on this site.

Subscribe to AC Alert, Alameda County&rsquos 24/7 notification system, to begin receiving emergency alerts. Learn more »

Updated Orders to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

These practices can reduce the chance of catching or spreading COVID-19:

Shelter in Place - This Order is legally binding and in place until amended, replaced, or rescinded. Find out more here »

Face Covering - This Order is legally binding and in place until amended, replaced, or rescinded. Find out more here »

Social Distancing - In addition to the Orders above, stay at least 6 feet from other people when you leave your home.

Watch the video: Salty Chefs Sound Off (August 2022).