Other

Train Chef Fired for Excessive Honesty About Food


A train chef was allegedly fired for telling customers about the food

A British train chef says he was fired for being too honest about the train's terrible food.

Honesty is not necessarily the best policy at one’s place of employment, as one British train chef found out recently when he was allegedly fired for telling customers the food was not going to be good.

According to The Metro, Mike Doughty had been working as a chef on East Coast Trains for 14 years when the catering manager told a train’s first-class passengers on an early morning train from Edinburgh to London that they would not be getting their breakfast. Doughty allegedly told the passengers that it did not actually matter if he showed up to work that day or not, because the boiler was broken, so they wouldn’t be getting the cooked food that normally would have accompanied their trip.

One of the customers was reportedly served a panini instead, and he said the sandwich “tasted and looked disgusting” and described it as “disgraceful.” Doughty reportedly told the customer he was in complete agreement.

Doughty was reportedly fired for his comments, and he and his union representatives say he is being used as “a scapegoat” by the company to cover up the fact that it had let equipment failures and staffing problems lead it to serve substandard food.


Under the Grill: Stuart Ralston Head chef and owner of Aizle at The Kimpton Charlotte Square and Noto

Stuart Ralston has travelled the globe working in some of the world's best restaurants and kitchens but he admits that he has always had a small chip on his shoulder about being successful in Scotland, which is the reason he returned to Edinburgh to open his restaurant, Aizle, in April 2014

He said: "Scotland was the only place I'd never been successful. I felt like I did a lot in New York, had worked in London and then Barbados, but here no one really knew who I was and I was Scottish. I just wanted to rectify that by coming back to Edinburgh."

Stuart grew up in Glenrothes and attended Glenwood high school, although he explains: "my dad was a chef so we moved a lot."

But he readily admits school was not for him, "I just hated being there. I wasn't particularly academic, pretty much average in every subject, and I left as soon as I could."

Chef Stuart Ralston at the pass at Noto.


On the show, Glick comes off as a humorous person, cracking jokes and generally having a cool dude attitude. Something that may astound you with this cool dude is that he is well learned. For his tertiary education, he attended the University of California. He, however, did not graduate at the institution as he dropped out after two years when the culinary bug bit him. He went down south to attend The Art Institute of California in San Diego to pursue a career in culinary arts. He later on graduated with a bachelor’s degree in culinary management.

For most people, they have a touch with what they love as kids. The exposure sets the stage for them to explore their love and develop it into their hobby as they show how talented they are in handling their object of affection. The same rings true for Chef Adam Glick as he got his inspiration to venture into culinary when he was young. It came courtesy of his frequent travels with his family and the subsequent exposure to different cultures, of which food is a crucial component. Looking at his skills, we can see he is living his dream.


Chef Jackson Boxer on hedonism, fatherhood and falling in love

Or Tabasco. Or radishes. Or any gastronomic topic for that matter. So filled with enthusiasm is the man currently being lauded as London’s hottest chef that even a casual mention of a foodstuff can trigger a soliloquy about foraging for molluscs or lead to a back-of-your-hand tasting of a special-edition hot sauce. It might even lead to a Proustian reverie about the ‘fiery, intense excitement’ of the first radish he grew himself on his granny’s farm.

Strutting around the poured concrete floors of his rhapsodised-about new restaurant, St Leonards, in Shoreditch, in brown leather workmen’s boots, turned-up Uniqlo jeans and a white T-shirt, whistling along to Prince ‘sex jams’, 33-year-old Boxer seems in his element. He’s all double entendres, jovial winks for the make-up artist and jokes about when the naked part of the photo shoot will begin. Were it not for his grey oilcloth apron, he could be the lead singer of an indie band: Alex Turner with an Aga. But when we sit down to chat at one of the putty-coloured suede banquettes, there’s a real sense of shyness to this award-winning chef.

Boxer says that the idea for the restaurant, a collaboration with Andrew Clarke, his friend and former chef at Brunswick House, came about, like all the best ideas, over a ‘very drunken lunch’ at his artist mother, Kate’s, farmhouse in West Sussex. ‘Andrew and I were both incredibly run-down and feeling like we needed to find the joy again,’ he recalls. ‘We were very hungover thanks to bottles and bottles of tequila after dinner service the night before. We dragged a sirloin of beef we’d aged for 60 days and a four-kilo brill and turbot down on the train to my mum’s for lunch. My brother [Frank, owner of Frank’s rooftop bar in Peckham] also turned up rather worse for wear, along with my godfather and dear friend, Jeremy Lee [the chef-patron of Quo Vadis]. We fired up my mum’s 13th-century bread oven and got a fire going outside and roasted everything with some herbs we picked from the garden and we just felt so inspired again.’

Boxer is quite the raconteur. Despite the initial reticence, his stories are all seasoned with wild gesticulation, a filthy laugh and a sprinkling of famous names. Given his family tree, that’s hardly surprising. His grandmother is the legendary food writer Arabella Boxer who, having written more than a dozen books, still lives in London aged 84, while his grandfather was Mark Boxer, editor of Tatler, who founded The Sunday Times Magazine in 1962. His father, Charlie, owns the much-loved Bonnington Square deli, Italo (former employees include Tom Adams and Jamie Berger, who went on to set up Pitt Cue).

‘Growing up, my parents were formidable cooks,’ he says. ‘We were raised vegetarian and an amazing feast would materialise from nowhere, effortlessly. One of the greatest things I learned from them was to not take food too seriously.’ His upbringing in Stockwell sounds the epitome of bourgeois bohemia. ‘We lived quite communally in a big house with lots of my parents’ friends, so my brother and I had a very carefree existence,’ he tells me. ‘There was always an adult around to read to us or talk to us or play with us.’

After a stint at his local primary school in Stockwell, he was a boarder at Christ’s Hospital in West Sussex. ‘I was quite badly bullied there but it was intensely character-building,’ he says. ‘I learned what I’d let people knock out of me and what I’d hold on to.’ At 16 he came back to London and joined the sixth-form at Camden School for Girls. ‘It was exceptionally good fun,’ he says with a smirk. ‘That’s also why I’ve really forced a mixed gender environment in my kitchens. Boys and girls are good for each other.’

It was around this time that Boxer started babysitting for the children of influential chefs Margot and Fergus Henderson (as you do). ‘Margot would wake me up at 2am and drag me into the kitchen for a whisky and round the table you’d have Sarah Lucas and Michael Clark and Mark Hix. It was just this wonderful blend of art and fashion and dance and food. I’m not very creative but I’m very turned on by other people’s creativity.’

It’s an ethos he cultivates among his own social circle, which includes Florence Welch and Benedict Cumberbatch (he cooked for the actor’s 40th birthday feast), gallerist Jay Jopling and fashion designers Simone Rocha and Molly Goddard. McMafia star James Norton is an old friend from Cambridge — Boxer studied English and philosophy — and he was one of the first through the doors at St Leonards.

Given that Boxer wrote his first cookbook aged six — ‘I had a recipe for half a strawberry stuffed with edible flowers and chives’— starting his own restaurant, Brunswick House, at 23, in an ‘insane antiques shop’ on a Vauxhall roundabout, probably didn’t seem that precocious. ‘I had no idea what I was doing,’ he admits. ‘Loads of people told me I was bonkers. You kind of have this audacity of f*** it. I was basically the only member of staff at first, but we only had about 20 people coming through the doors every day.’ Ten years later they regularly do more than 200 covers. In 2012 he set up Rita’s, the Hackney cocktail bar and diner that was madly popular for a time but has now closed, and before St Leonards he was devising the menu for Mayfair members’ joint Chess Club.

Boxer says that his relationship with his brother, who initially ran the bar at Brunswick House, has always been close but competitive. ‘Frank is 18 months younger and at school he was athletic and good looking and popular, whereas I was introverted and bookish. He started his Campari bar at 22 and financially it’s exponentially more successful than Brunswick House will ever be. He’s much better at splitting his work and personal life than I am.’ As ‘lapsed Gunners fans’ they regularly get together to watch a match or have dinner together. Current favourites include Bright in Hackney and 40 Maltby Street. ‘Frank is the first person who’ll tell me when I’m being an a***hole and expecting too much from people,’ he says.

The notoriously rock ’n’ roll chef lifestyle meant that Jackson’s 20s were ‘pretty excessive’. ‘This is an industry notorious for its self-abuse and obviously a small amount of that can be very good fun. In your 20s you thrive off that repetitive adrenaline, but then you think, “Do I want to do this for ever?” Andrew and I, like many of our peers, have struggled through some very dark bouts of depression. There was a lot of reckless hedonism and it was about ego and I wasn’t looking after myself.’ He won’t be drawn on the details — ‘I’ll leave it to your imagination!’ — but reveals, after a bit of prodding, that he would ‘quite frequently get girls sending phone numbers to me over the pass and things like that’. He also admits that ‘cooking for someone and being cooked for is very sexy’.

It was at Brunswick House that he first met his partner, Melissa Thompson, then a stylist working with industry legends Alister Mackie and Katy England and now a designer who co-founded the shoes and accessories brand Atelier Bâba. He refers to her as his ‘wife’ even though ‘we’re not married, but only because we haven’t had time’. The story of their first weekend together is typically long and fantastically romantic, and involves a screening of the ‘psychotically violent’ film King of New York under the Hungerford Bridge, ‘getting kicked out of the Savoy for being basically barefoot’, ‘drinking expensive brandy at Racine in Knightsbridge’ and ‘screaming and crying at each other in the street’. ‘I thought if this is what life is going to be like with you — it’s crazy but I’m all in.’

Two years later their daughter, Roma, now five, was born and 18 months ago they welcomed their son, Ruscha, to the Boxer brood. ‘It did seem young [to settle down] as we were in our mid-20s, but I didn’t want to keep falling in love,’ he says. ‘It was like, “I love you, let’s see if we can make this work.” It’s been challenging but I feel so lucky to have this extraordinary, clever, beautiful person to share parenting with. They went on holiday for a few days without me last month and the feeling of emptiness was profound.’ He says he can imagine having a large brood like fellow chefs Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey. ‘I love having children, I could go on having children for ever,’ he says. ‘But I’m intensely aware that I’m not around for a lot of the heavy lifting because of work. I’m very hands-on when I’m around, but I’m not always around.’

Home is a ‘beautiful if somewhat ramshackle house’ in Stockwell with his dad, Charlie, living in the attic. He says that being away from his children has been the hardest thing about opening St Leonards. ‘For the last year I’ve been able to get up in the mornings with them, take my daughter to school, sleep-train my son, but since opening this place I’ve been working six days a week and on Sundays I just sleep, so it’s been a real wrench. Even in the last few months I’ve noticed my son’s not as close to me, which is painful.’

Although Boxer admits he still likes a drink to wind down after a busy service, today he claims the extent of his social life is the swings in his local park. ‘We hang out with the kids with a cold bottle of white wine, some cheese and some crackers,’ he says. ‘Or we get the paddling pool out in the garden — heaven!’ He’s writing a book — ‘recipes and long-form essays about food and the way it entwines with the rich experience of being human’ — and it sounds like only a matter of time before he has his own TV show. ‘I’ve shot a few pilots but it hasn’t happened yet,’ he says. ‘I think TV is a great medium for food.’

By now St Leonards is in full swing for lunch and I can tell Boxer is eager to throw himself back into the kitchen. The cool, tranquil dining room is a buzzy mix of couples, colleagues and David Waddington, the incredible talent behind Bistrotheque, dining solo with the newspaper and to whom Boxer blows a kiss. As he gets up to leave I ask Boxer what his last supper would be. He thinks for a minute, downs the last of his double espresso with a dash of hot milk, and gives an answer that seems to sum up his approach to cooking, and life: simple pleasures, elevated. ‘The Outer Hebrides at sunset with Melissa and the children. And loads of caviar.’


The Quarterback of the Kitchen? It’s Not Always the Chef

You’re most likely to notice it in the abstract, if you notice it at all. The work of a good expediter is in the pacing of your dinner. It’s in the steadiness of the room. It’s in the sense that everyone in the restaurant is moving to a single, unbreakable rhythm.

The expediter sets that rhythm, managing the workflow of the kitchen like an air traffic controller. Though they may be unknown outside their restaurants, expediters are vital to smooth service. They fire dishes — signaling cooks exactly when to push ahead and finish a dish — and they keep time, continuously planning the next move.

“There’s an exhilaration factor,” said Tony Kim, the executive chef of Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York, who got his start by expediting at a high-volume kitchen in Southern California. “It’s a quarterback kind of position — you’ve got a whole team and you don’t want to let them down.”

Image

The role may be played by the chef or the sous-chef, or a dedicated expediter fixed at the pass, the counter where dishes are picked up and hurried out to the dining room. Exact responsibilities may vary, but the most valued traits are universal.

Chefs say expediters should be precise, strategic and terrifically organized, with an uncanny, up-to-the-minute knowledge of all of the restaurant’s moving parts, and an ability to communicate with ease, clarity and speed.

Most important, they should possess a sense of total unflappability and persistent sang-froid in the face of chaos.

“It was the first thing one of our sous-chefs told me,” said Rebecca Raben, 26, who works as an expediter at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, N.Y. “Things are going to get crazy, but no matter what, stay calm. Because if you lose it, then it translates everywhere — to the cooks, to the front of house, everywhere.”

Mr. Kim, 40, described expediters as conduits between the front and back of the house, pulling the teams closer to work as one. If an expediter panics and breaks down, so does that harmony.

“Everything could be crumbling around you, but the expediter has to be able to stay calm under pressure,” he said. “No matter what’s happening, you’ve got to be the exact same temperature: very cool.”

In practice, every kitchen has its own idiosyncratic system, and the expediter fits into it differently.

At Noodle Bar, the chef and expediter both review the printed tickets bearing each diner’s orders. Meanwhile, the manager roams the floor, talks with diners and relays where various tables are in their meal — say, a party of six has almost finished their small plates and are now in a hurry to get to a show three parties of four with various food allergies are all about to order entrees.

The expediter processes all the information coming from the chef and the manager and fires sequences of dishes accordingly, keeping in mind exactly how long each dish will take to finish, and how much each cook is already juggling.

Some kitchens have multiple ticket machines, so cooks can see the orders as they come in. But Noodle Bar’s cooks, who don’t have tickets to reference, listen for the expediter’s spoken cues. They cook blindly, as Mr. Kim put it, on trust.

The pass has no heat lamps, and since the kitchen is open, diners can often see if food is waiting. “Our margin of error for time is so thin,” he said.

At Stone Barns, the fine-dining restaurant where Ms. Raben works, every table has an almost completely different tasting menu based on the diners’ interests, as well as on the quantities of what’s available that day.

“We might just have three fish heads in, but if we find the right table of three that night that will appreciate it, then it’s game on,” Ms. Raben said.

The lack of a standard menu makes the role of expediting especially complex. The executive chef, Dan Barber, writes out each table’s ticket by hand, with a thin Sharpie, on a long strip of paper. As Ms. Raben expedites and helps with plating, she uses colored pens to mark the ticket with the time each course is fired, and the time it leaves the kitchen.

What to Cook This Weekend

Sam Sifton has menu suggestions for the weekend. There are thousands of ideas for what to cook waiting for you on New York Times Cooking.

    • In this slow-cooker recipe for shrimp in purgatory, the spicy red pepper and tomato sauce develops its deep flavors over hours.
    • Deploy some store-bought green chutney in this quick, saucy green masala chicken. could be good for dinner, and some blueberry muffins for breakfast.
    • For dessert, watermelon granita? Or a poundcake with macerated strawberries and whipped cream?
    • And for Memorial Day itself? You know we have many, many recipes for that.

    In some cases, Mr. Barber puts a question mark on the ticket — for a dish to be determined spontaneously, later in the evening. This can make it difficult for the expediter to plan ahead.

    “We have no idea what could happen next. It’s madness, to be honest, it’s absolute madness,” said Ms. Raben, with clear delight. “My job is to organize that madness, so it all goes out seamlessly.”

    Some expediters speak of recurring dreams in which time compresses, and they race against it. The machine jams, or prints out endless streams of paper. They walk into a familiar kitchen, but it’s full of unreadable tickets.

    The work of an expediter can be a thrill, but it’s also high-pressure, competitive and comes with major responsibilities. “If one guest is sitting at their table without food, that’s not on the cooks,” Ms. Raben said. “That’s on you.”

    If an expediter at Noodle Bar misses a shift, Mr. Kim said the team finds ways to fill in, but it’s a challenge. “There’s this very funny, comical dance that happens between manager and chef because we’re both doing two halves of the job,” he said. “We’re a step behind, we’re just not as on it as we should be.”

    In some cases, no expediter may be preferable to a disorganized expediter, unfamiliar with the kitchen and its systems, who relays incorrect notes to servers about table positions, or forgets about an allergy.

    “They don’t just lag, they screw things up,” said Erik Ramirez, the chef and owner of Llama Inn, a Peruvian restaurant in Brooklyn. During a busy brunch service years ago, one of his line cooks walked out and the expediter had to fill in and cook while a manager expedited.

    “It’s a pretty big hiccup” anytime someone new jumps into the role, he said. “Tables will lag, people will complain about the food taking a long time. It can be rough.”

    But in a restaurant they know inside and out, great expediters can peek into the dining room, peer across a full board of tickets, then organize the data in their heads and see directly into the future.

    Cecily Kimura, 27, expedites as a sous-chef at Joule in Seattle, where she makes notes on all of her tickets so she always knows what to fire next.

    “I like to stay really organized, but also work with a kind of intuition,” she said. “When you see the restaurant is starting to turn over, or you just sent out a lot of main courses, then you know the pantry station is about to be hit with desserts and appetizers, so you can start doing things to help them move faster.”

    A good expediter doesn’t rush customers through their dinners, but a sluggish meal is no good, either. Ms. Kimura observes, checks in with the host and adapts.

    “Everything is really circumstantial,” she said. “We usually strive to fit into a two-hour dining window and to have the appetizers out in 15 minutes and the protein course on the table by 45 minutes. But the line can get pushed to its limit, especially when we do 200 covers.”

    While she’s expediting, Ms. Kimura also provides an extra pair of hands for plating or grabbing ingredients from the walk-in refrigerator.

    There are few structured ways to learn an expediter’s skills, other than on the job. And though some restaurants train all their cooks in the basics of expediting, chefs say it’s a particularly hard role to teach because it requires such a deep understanding of every facet of the restaurant.

    Many expediters were thrown into the work by chance, when staff was short, or picked up on it instinctively while cooking, or taking food to tables, simply by observing. If they were lucky, they got to practice during slower, low-pressure shifts before the rush of a big night.

    Ms. Kimura learned to expedite as a cook by paying attention to the sous-chefs, as well as to Joule’s executive chef, Rachel Yang.

    “It doesn’t matter if it’s 200 or more covers, it feels so smooth and calm the whole time when Rachel’s expediting,” Ms. Kimura said. “She has this intrinsic knowledge of how to fire things, how to pace things. And it’s her energy, too — she’s one of the calmest people in the kitchen.”

    At Llama Inn, Mr. Ramirez knows that a few orders in a row of lomo saltado, the restaurant’s popular dish of stir-fried beef with French fries, will throw a wrench into the kitchen’s timing: The meat station will be slammed, cooking six thin pancakes for each dish to order.

    “It’s our takedown dish,” he said. He plans accordingly.

    Mr. Ramirez, 37, learned to expedite while cooking at Nuela and Raymi in Manhattan, and he and his sous-chefs now use a similar, somewhat standard system, firing in blocks, a few tables at a time, then sliding the tickets from a top rail to a second rail.

    “But when it’s really busy, you’ve got to go, go, go, and the tables just have to turn,” said Mr. Ramirez, who serves up to 200 people on a Friday night (and almost 300 when the outdoor seating is open).

    Servers are supposed to help time orders at Llama Inn, letting the kitchen know when their tables are ready for the next course. But when they get in the weeds, Mr. Ramirez says, they may forget.

    So the expediters, like any others, just have to stay on their toes, keep an eye on the ticket board, and be aware, at every moment, of just how much time is flying.


    Get our free newsletter

    Some clients who come to UPO have been unemployed or underemployed because they’ve experienced homelessness, incarceration, or addiction. Others are single parents entering the workforce for the first time or individuals looking for a later-in-life career change. “This is the industry of forgiveness,” Thomas says. “As long as you put the work in and strive to continue growing, you should be fine. I use a lot of my experience with the students while I’m teaching.”

    Thomas, a D.C. native, has lived many lives since graduating from Ballou Senior High School in 1978. He joined the military, serving three years in the Marine Corps and another six and a half years in the U.S. Navy. While he’s grateful the Navy gave him his first taste of food service, he struggled.

    “I was an alcoholic and an addict,” Thomas says, noting that he’s been in recovery for 24 years. “I thought when I went into the service it would help, but everyone was doing it. I dealt with so much. I went in after the Vietnam War. It was crazy. That and dealing with discrimination in the military, which a lot of people don’t talk about. It was very prevalent. I’m not making excuses, but it contributed to it more.”

    After he left the military, Thomas worked at Town & Country Deli, later known as the Sandwich Society, in Chevy Chase in the late ’80s and early ’90s. “At that time the subway was just coming up there,” he says. “Most of the nannies were people of color going out to Montgomery County to take care of wealthy people’s kids. Our shop was right there across from the subway. They wanted coffee, home fries, and bacon-and-egg sandwiches. Boom, boom, boom. We’d always have a line.”

    Thomas took the job to improve his speed and accuracy reading tickets in a fast-paced kitchen. “But at the time, I was in my addiction and the restaurant sold beer,” he says. “I got what I needed and should have moved on maybe two or three years earlier than I did … I thought I would just drink, but it escalated. I was still [functional] and worked every day until it took its toll. I was homeless for maybe a year or two. Eventually I got sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

    While in recovery, Thomas enrolled in D.C. Central Kitchen’s culinary job training program to hone his skills and get back on track. The 14-week intensive course that includes culinary instruction, job readiness training, and life skills development serves adults who face employment barriers and prepares them for jobs in the food industry. Upon graduating, Thomas found work at the sprawling cafeteria inside the Central Intelligence Agency. But it wasn’t long until DCCK lured him back for what evolved to be a long career with the revered nonprofit.

    Thomas started as the sous chef of DCCK’s Fresh Start Catering while attending school full time at Stratford University in Falls Church. He was promoted to executive chef of the catering operation before holding a number of other leadership positions, including kitchen director and culinary instructor.

    “He brought an amazing crystal clear sense of honesty and values and I’d say they were a byproduct of his belief in what DCCK can do,” says the organization’s CEO, Michael F. Curtin Jr. “Jerald was a product of DCCK. He understood the program and the value of liberation and opportunity and change. He saw what it did for him and he had this incredible desire to make sure other people saw what was possible for them.”

    Curtin was sad to see Thomas move on from DCCK. He thought he was retiring, but that didn’t last long. “Jerald just has this incredible desire to share his journey with others and share that through food, which is what the kitchen is all about,” he says. “I’m really happy for him that he found a way to do that in a way that suited where he was at that point in his life.”

    Thomas first connected with UPO around 2013 when they brought him on to manage a program with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He jokes that when the federal government and nonprofits partner, their missions don’t always emulsify. “Oil and vinegar—two entities that don’t mix,” he jokes.

    But UPO was impressed with his curriculum and brought him on to lead its culinary arts course. Since 2015, Thomas estimates that 17 cohorts have come through his program that bounces back and forth between the classroom and a kitchen inside the facility at 3240 Stanton Road SE. Class runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week. Thomas says the course is free to UPO clients as long as they “bring their open minds and leave their attitudes at the door.”

    The leap from cooking at home to cooking in a commercial kitchen is significant. Students learn about safety and sanitation before moving on to knife skills and cooking techniques. Thomas knows he’s tough, but he builds students back up after knocking them down. “If you don’t want to stand for seven hours, get out,” he says, even though City Paper can sense a smile on the other side of his mask. “You don’t want to taste anything? Get out. You can’t pick and choose what you learn.”

    It can be tricky convincing students to sample dishes they don’t like even though they need to do so to make sure they’re up to standard. “There are things I prepare that I don’t care for, like tzatziki,” Thomas says. “I’m not a fan, but I can eat it. I can taste it to make sure. That’s what they have to develop.”

    He provides an example of a cook who doesn’t eat beef. “In that case, you have to find a person, a confidant, who will tell you the honest truth,” he instructs. “Because if you start your own business and you refuse to put beef on the menu, you’re leaving money on the table. … I teach in this manner. It’s not about you. It’s about the customer.”

    The most rewarding moments for Thomas are when his students successfully execute a dish they haven’t seen before or were previously afraid to try. “Being African American, when I interview them I say, ‘You’re not going to see fried food or soul food or however you want to call it. You’re going to see diverse different cultures. We’re going to different countries.’”

    During one of the later weeks in the course, Thomas taught them how to make gravlax—salmon cured in a mix of salt and sugar. The students were hesitant to try it at first because the salmon never sees a heat source. “Guess why I don’t have none for you?” Thomas tells City Paper. “I wish I saved you some but they were like, ‘Oh my god this is good.’”

    Thomas is serious about time constraints and doesn’t coddle his pupils when it comes time for them to present their plates after a cooking challenge. He’s looking for precise knife cuts and proper protein temperatures. Don’t dare bring him a dry chicken breast.

    “They had an hour time limit,” Thomas says, describing a recent assignment. “When I say stop, it’s not Top Chef, where you’re going to miss out on money, but you fail. If you had this project on your second or third job interview, you fail. You don’t get the job and that’s on you.” He likes to work in dishes that trip contestants up on shows like Hell’s Kitchen: risotto, seared scallops, and beef Wellington.

    UPO clients meet with job placement specialists three times throughout the course. They can help place students in cooking jobs everywhere from airports, ballparks, and daycares to schools, convention centers, and restaurants. But Thomas tries to encourage them to strike out on their own with a practice exercise.

    He sends students out into the community to seek out restaurants with a good vibe. “If your eyes light up when you go in there, introduce yourself and say you’re such and such in a culinary training program due to complete soon.” He encourages them to ask for a job and expects them to bring back at least two business cards from hiring managers to demonstrate that they made the effort. “If they do it on their own, they get a confidence boost. That’s part of the self-empowerment I slide in there without them knowing I’m doing it.”

    One of his tips for students is to pursue employment within D.C. proper where the minimum wage is $15. He also cautions that commutes to Maryland and Virginia are time-consuming, pricey, and could ultimately lead to enough frustration that they’ll be back on the job hunt too quickly. He tracks their progress by staying in touch after they graduate.

    “I want to know the good, the bad, the indifferent,” Thomas says. “Don’t call me after you’ve told your boss off. Call me before so I can talk you off of that. I’ve talked them through a recipe or keeping their job.” He’s advised students to become more indispensable by learning new skills, like how to butcher meat and fish.

    “One of my other sayings is that I’m going to live rent free in your mind,” Thomas continues. “There’s going to be something you’re doing 10 years from now and you’ll think, ‘Chef Jerald told me not to do this.’”

    Thomas has some advice for all Washingtonians in the workforce: “Do a five-year plan and say, ‘Is this working or is it time to move on?’” He evaluates whether he’s still passionate and having fun on an ongoing basis. “What’s going to wake you up in the morning to feel genuinely happy about going in? If you’re taking your time getting there like you’re going to a funeral, eventually you’re going to quit in the wrong manner or you’re going to get fired.”

    For now, Thomas is feeling fulfilled at UPO. “I still love what I do,” he says. “I get up at 5:30 every morning raring to go.”


    Clubs

    • Local Cuisine RS - Megumi has stated that she is a part of the Local Cuisine Research Society. However, details regarding the club have not been stated aside from the fact that they occasionally take trips to sample food from various places. The club was initially in danger during the Survivors' Purge being conducted by Central, but Megumi's efforts in her Shokugeki ultimately won them immunity from disbanding.
    • Elite Ten Council - Megumi became a member of the Elite Ten after the Rebels won the Régiment de Cuisine against Central. It is most likely that she held a higher seat at the time before becoming the current 10th Seat.

    Normal to feel discouraged?

    started a new job on tuesday and the chef asks me what station i feel more comfortable at and i told him prep since i took like a 3-4 month hiatus from the field and knew i had to readjust to my setting. then he throws me on the pizza station and after my first shift asks me if i am okay on their and i tell him yea as my first day didn't seem to bad.

    2nd day yesterday and it goes down hill. one of my orders comes back with a complaint that the pizza was too oily so i apologize and he tells me put less cheese so from their on out thats what i did. then another order gets sent back before it even goes out because the pizza was too small. after that one they had to bring in the sous chef to come over and help me and i already had 1-2 helpers to teach me. all of this going on during the rush.

    to top it off as well i feel pressured because i went to culinary school and graduated and have prior experience ( not with making pizza's or the fryer some but i mostly worked the flat top ).

    at this point i just feel extremely discouraged. they also had a new hire who has 1 day experience over me on another station but he seems to have his things down where im basically struggling. not so much with the appetizers but the pizza's. i know it was only my 2nd day but that is how pressured i feel that i should be doing a lot better then i am actually doing.

    Does anyone have any experience like this and or tips? im sure they don't expect me to be amazing on my 2nd day but honestly i have higher expectations of myself. i come in slightly early to maybe make a few orders on my own, leave later to help with clean up, offer to do things. i simply just don't want to rely on others all the time especially not my partners. can't relly prep ahead of time either as the dough dries out usually before we even get 1 order but everything else is usually done as usual such as plating when i have down time inbetween cooking or cooking things that might be low for other stations.


    Train Chef Fired for Excessive Honesty About Food - Recipes

    Jeff Varasano's Famous New York Pizza Recipe

    One of the 'Elite 8' Pizzerias in the US by Every Day with Rachael Ray
    One of America's Perfect Pizzeria's: Zagat
    And Many Other Awards

    Main Restaurant Website

    Last Updates (color coded so you can see new edits):
    10/18/06 (Text changed in Purple)
    11/6/2007 A few new Pizzeria Rankings - Some of the best pizza in NY is also the newest
    03/13/08 Lots of new Pizzeria Rankings
    04/10/08 - Minor edits to big table of pizzerias
    6/24/08 Added a Google Map of the world's best pizzerias
    5/2/12 Videos explaining the various styles of pizza
    3/29/18 I'm releasing a huge Library of Video, These were recorded in 2011, but I've only release for staff training, until now!

    Pizza is the most sensuous of foods. I get emails from around the world and one of the most common goes something like this: "Jeff, I had this one perfect pizza at a corner shop in Brooklyn in 1972 and I've been thinking about it ever since." I love that!. That's passion. Do you know how many forgettable meals have come and gone since then. What kind of pizza leaves a 35 year impression? Let me describe it to you. The crust is slightly charred. It has a crisp outer layer, but inside it's airy and light. The ingredients are not piled high, but instead are perfectly balanced. It's sweet, salty, full flavored but not greasy. The tomatoes burst with flavor. Each bite makes you hungrier for the next. If this is what you want, you've come to the right place.

    This pizza is modeled after Patsy's on 117th street in NYC. I have been working on this for SIX years, but FINALLY I can report that I have achieved my goal. Many people have tried my pie and swear it is not only the best pizza they've ever had, but a clone of the original Patsy's recipe. This margarita pie is incredibly light and perfectly charred. It took just 2 minutes and 10 seconds to bake at 825F.

    Reproducing this was no easy feat, but since moving to Atlanta what choice did I have? Dominos? It's been a bit of an obsession. I've had a lot of failed experiments. However now I can honestly say that the recipe is fully accurate and reproducible. The final breakthrough came in Jan 2005 when I finally got a handle on the proper mixing equipment and procedure. But do not think that following this will be easy. It's not. It will still take practice. Many others have confirmed that by following these steps they too have come to near perfection. This may be the most detailed, accurate and complete recipe on the net for making a true Pizza Napoletana. Pizza inspires passion. I've gotten about a thousand emails representing every continent. If you'd like to contact me, feel free to write at [email protected] . It may take a little time for me to respond, but I try to answer all emails personally. I'm going to start a photo gallery, so if you have some success, send me a photo and I'll add it for others to see!

    At the bottom of this page, I have a List of the Best Pizzerias in the World which I've also places on this Google Map of The World's Best Pizzas. In addition I've created a second Google Map of Fan Favorites - places that have been recommended by fans of this site. I can't really vouch for these but if your in the area check them out and let me know your opinion.

    This dough was hand kneaded and baked in just 1 minute 40 seconds

    Me - Do I look happy or what?

    Check out this perfect char

    Even blurry pizzas are Tasty!. This pie baked in just 1 minute 40 seconds

    What's better than a light springy crust with a perfect char

    One of my best tasting pies ever:

    Check out many more photos at the bottom.

    I am going to add a lot more instructions and photos over the next couple of months, including specifics on how to culture the dough, so check back here occasionally. I may even do a few seconds of video here and there.

    Let me start off by saying a few things. First, this is about a certain style of pizza. This site is about the kind of pizza that you can get at the oldest and best places in the U.S. or in Naples. This is not about Chicago style or California Style or trying to reproduce Papa John's garlic sauce. This is about making a pie that's as close to Patsy's or Luzzo's or Pepe's or some of the top Brick Oven places. Not that these pies are all identical - but they share certain basics in common.

    Second, I want to say that there is a LOT of misinformation out there. Take a tour of the World's top pizza places (there's a list at the bottom of this page). None of these places publish their recipes. They don't write books. You are not going to see any of these places represented at the "U.S. pizza championship" where they compete at dough tossing or who makes the best smoke pork mango pizza.. The real pizza places are not at some trade show out in Vegas where they hawk automatic sauce dispensers and conveyor belt ovens. But somehow though, all the attendees of these shows declare themselves experts and write books and spread the same false ideas. There are about a hundred books and internet recipes that claim to give an authentic or secret pizza dough recipe. Oddly, while many claim to be secret or special, they are practically all the same. Here it is in summary. If you see this recipe, run screaming:

    Sprinkle a yeast packet into warm water between 105-115 F and put in a teaspoon of sugar to feed it. Wait for it to foam up or 'proof'. Add all your flour to a Kitchen Aid heavy duty mixer, then add the yeast and salt. Now mix until it pulls away from the side of the bowl. Coat with oil and leave in a warm place until it doubles in bulk, about 1-2 hours. Punch down, spread on a peel with some cornmeal to keep it from sticking and put it on the magical pizza stone that will make this taste just like Sally's in your 500F oven.

    I assure you, this will not make anything like a real pizza. It's weird - even chefs whose other recipes all come out pretty good, like Emeril, simply pass around more or less this same terrible recipe.

    Pizza is a true specialty item and a real art. It takes passion to make it right. I wasn't a restaurateur when I started out. But I did have a passion for doing this right. I'm not going to give you the 'easy home version'. I'm going to give you the version that makes the best pie I know how to make, even if it takes a bit more effort (ok, more than just a bit)

    There are a lot of variables for such a simple food. But these 3 FAR outweigh the others:

    The kind of yeast culture or "starter" used along with proper fermentation technique

    All other factors pale in comparison to these 3. I know that people fuss over the brand of flour, the kind of sauce, etc. I discuss all of these things, but if you don't have the 3 fundamentals above handled, you will be limited.

    1- It's all in the crust. My dough is just water, salt, flour and yeast. I use no dough conditioners, sugars, oils, malts, corn meal, flavorings or anything else. These violate the "Vera Pizza Napoletana" rules and I doubt that Patsy's or any great brick oven place uses these things. I've only recently begun to measure the actual "baker's percents" of the ingredients. Use this awesome spreadsheet to help you. The sheet allows you to track your experiments. Here's a basic set of ratios. The truth is that a lot of these recipes look the same and that you can vary these ingredients by several percentage points and it's not going to make a huge difference. You really have to learn the technique, which I'm going to explain in as much detail as I can, and then go by feel. Really, I just measure the water and salt and the rest is pretty flexible. The amount of flour is really, "add until it feels right." The amount of Sourdough starter can range from 3% to 20% and not affect the end product all that much. Weights are in grams. I also show this as both "Baker's Percents" (This has flour as 100% by definition and then all the other ingredients as their proportionate weight against of the flour) and using the Italian method which actually makes more sense to me, of showing the base as 1000 grams of water and all the other ingredients in proportion to that. Both methods are attempts to make the recipes scalable. Note that the addition of the poolish, which is half water, half flour, actually makes this a bit wetter, around 65% hydration . Note that this table had an error on it which was corrected on 11/30/06:

    Ingredient 1 Pie 3 Pies 5 Pies Baker's % Grams Per Liter of Water
    Filtered Water 110.00 330.00 550.00 65.50% 1,000
    King Arthur Bread flour, or Caputo Pizzeria flour 168.00 510.00 850.00 100.00% 1,527
    Kosher or Sea Salt 6.00 18.00 30.00 3.50% 55
    Sourdough yeast culture (as a battery poolish) 15.00 45.00 60.00 9.00% 136
    Instant Dry yeast - Optional 0.50 1.50 2.50 0.25% 4.50
    Total 299.50

    If you use Caputo or any 00 flour, you may find that it takes a lot more flour for the given amount of water. Probably a baker's % of 60% or so. One reason I like to feel the dough rather than strictly measure the percent hydration is that with feel you don't have to worry about the type of flour so much. A Caputo and a Bread will feel the same when they are done, even though one might have 60% water and the other 65%. It's the feel that I shoot for, not the number. I vary wetness based on my heat - higher the oven temp, the wetter I want the dough.

    I've heard it said that NY has the best pizza because of the water. This is a myth. Get over it. It's not the water. The water is one of a hundred factors. I filter my whole house with a huge 5 stage system, so I use that. If I didn't have that I'd spring for a $1 bottle of Dasani. That will do it too.

    Salt only the final dough, never your permanent sourdough culture. For that matter, your culture is fed only water (filtered or Dasani) and flour. Never add any other kind of yeast, salt, sugar or anything else to your permanent culture.

    I use a sourdough culture that I got from what is probably the best pizza in the USA - Patsy's Pizza on 117th street in NYC. The place has been there for 80 years. The 'battery poolish' is about 50/50 water and flour.

    Buy the book "Classic Sourdoughs" by Ed Wood from www.sourdo.com to learn how to use a sourdough starter. The term sourdough does not necessarily mean that this has a San Francisco Sourdough flavor. The term sourdough just means any yeast other than "baker's yeast" which is what comes in the dry or cake form. There are 1000's of types of yeast. But the commercial products are all the same strain ( Saccharomyces cerevisiae) regardless of the brand you buy or whether it's dry or cake form. Commercial or "baker's yeast" gives a fast, predictable rise, but is lacking in flavor. All other yeasts are called sourdough. San Francisco sourdough is one strain. But there are 1000's of others. I doesn't have to taste sour, like San Francisco, to be called sourdough. It's just a term. You can "create your own" culture by leaving some flour water out on the counter. There are lots of kinds of yeast in the air in your kitchen right now and one of them will set up shop eventually in your flour water and begin growing. What will it taste like? Well, it's like setting a trap for an animal and waiting for dinner. It could be a pheasant. It could be a rat. You have no way of knowing. Do yourself a favor and skip this part and just buy or obtain a known high quality starter. www.sourdo.com sells strains from the world's best bakeries. I've seen many bogus things about the use of starters. A classic is that you can start a wild culture by setting out some flour, water and baker's yeast and the baker's yeast will 'attract' other yeasts. This is alchemy. It's like saying I put out dandelions and they attracted peaches. It makes no sense. Another myth is that you can get the same flavor out of packaged yeast as you can out of a sourdough culture if you handle it right. This is also alchemy. Can you get parsley to taste like thyme if you handle it right? These are distinct organism, like spices, that all have a different flavor. If you use a starter, and you should, then learn from Ed Wood.

    A sourdough starter actually consists of 2 separate organisms which exist in a symbiotic relationship. There is the yeast and the lactobacilli. Here's the cliff notes version of what's happening: All flavor really comes from the lactobacilli, all the puff from yeast. The yeast operate well at high temp. The lactobacilli at any temp. Therefore, to develop highly flavored dough put it in the fridge. The yeast will be mostly dormant, giving time for the lactobacilli to produce flavor. The flavor takes a day or more. So you have to keep the yeast on ice that long. Then you take it out of the fridge and let the yeast take over and produce gas. The yeast only needs an hour or two to do this part. This can happen very quickly in a warmer. There is no need for a gradual rise, because at this point the flavor is there. You can smell the alcohol in the dough. The yeast are just adding the bubbles at this point. This technique of refrigeration is called a "cold rise". There are warm rise methods that work too, but I have not gotten the best results with them after numerous attempts. In Naples they virtually all use a warm rise, so I don't doubt the technique can be made to work well. I may revisit this section later.

    The lactobacilli and yeast exist in pairs. Not every flavorful lactobacilli has a competent yeast partner. You may find that you've got a culture that has a great flavor, but the puff is not there. No problem. Give it a boost with plain old Baker's yeast, which has little taste but plenty of puff. I use 1/8 teaspoon of instant dry yeast for each batch of 3-5 pies, to give it an extra rise, but 100% of the flavor is from the Patsy's culture.

    There are 2 ways to ferment the dough: you can use a 'warm rise' or a 'cold rise'. The warm rise is harder. You simply leave it out at room temp and wait for it to rise. This is hard to control because it could take 10 hours or 24 hours. Tiny, tiny variations in room temp and the amount of yeast you started with will make all the difference. And if it's not risen optimally when you use it, the dough may end up flat and lacking in oven spring. So timing a pizza party this way is hard. By far the easier way to ferment the dough is the cold rise. And the results are just as good if not better. I prefer to age my dough at least 2-3 days in the fridge. I've aged it up to 6 days with good results. However, my culture is very mild. With some cultures 24 hours is the right amount of time and 2 days would be too much.. You have to get to know your culture. They are all different.. 24 hours is the minimum with a cold rise. There's more on this technique down below.

    2- Flour: There is a lot of emphasis put on using the right type of flour. Personally, I think this focus is misplaced. Of course, it's important to use high quality ingredients. But improving your dough making technique is much, much more important than hunting down the exact right type of flour. The truth is that almost all flours sold are pretty high quality especially compared to what was available 60 years ago when Patsy Lancieri was making amazing pizza. That alone should tell you something. I currently use either using King Arthur Bread Flour or a blend of this with Caputo Pizzeria flour. I actually think that you can buy any bread flour available at your local supermarket and you'll be ok.

    Let me give you a quick flour primer. You can do a lot more internet research if you want, but here's the basics. There are two variables I want to focus on, the Percentage of Protein or 'gluten' and the type of mill. This chart will give you some typical ranges. However, there are no governing standards, so some vendors may call their flour High Gluten, for example, even though the product would fit into another category in this chart:

    Giusto, King Arthur, Gold Medal, White Lily

    Giusto, King Arthur, Gold Medal, White Lily

    Giusto, King Arthur Sir Lancelot, Gold Medal All Trumps

    Lately I've gone back to using King Arthur Bread Flour. I've used AP successfully as well. The kneading seems to be more critical. Most pizza places in NYC use Hi Gluten Flour and many internet sources insist that Hi Gluten Flour is necessary to make real NY pizza. This information sent a lot of people off ordering expensive mail order flours. However, according to pizza guru Evelyn Solomon, the old timers used flour in the 12% range, which would be a bread flour. This confirmed what my own tests had shown me all along. Bread flour from the supermarket is just fine for making pizza. It has certainly been proven that you don't need high gluten flour to make highly structured bread. Ed Wood from sourdo.com makes great artisan bread using AP. In Naples they use 00 flour which has less gluten than AP. I've had great and horrible pies with all kinds of flours from all kinds of pizzerias. And I've made great and d horrible pies with all kinds of flours myself. Kneading and overall technique is more important than the flour in my opinion.

    Since putting up this site I've been urged to try other flours. I've made pies with at least 20 flours including these:

    King Arthur All Purpose (KA AP) - 11.7% Protein

    King Arthur Bread (KA Bread) - 12.7% protein

    King Arthur Sir Lancelot (KASL) aka Hi Gluten - 14.2% Protein

    Gold Medal Bread Flour (formerly labeled Harvest King) - 12.5% protein

    Caputo Pizzeria 00 (11.5%, but also a finer mill)

    Giusto's Artisan Unbleached - 11-11.5% protein

    White Lily Bread Flour - 12.5 % protein

    I can make a nearly identical pie with any of these except for the Italian 00 flour. It's mostly technique. I'm not saying that the type of flour makes no difference, but I am saying that it's a small difference and I've had great pies from restaurants with varying types of flour. Don't get too hung up on it. One is not 'better' than the other, it depends on the style you want. Currently I use a 50/50 blend of Caputo and KA Bread. Caputo gives bigger bubbles and a lighter spring. But I prefer to mix it with Bread flour to give it more strength. In Naples, the dough is very soft and hard to hold and often eaten with a knife and fork. NY street pizza is easily folded and held. They typically use a strong Hi Gluten Flour. My pies are closer to the Neapolitan, but not quite. You can still hold it, but sometimes it flops a bit at the tip.

    The 00 has a finer mill and also it will absorb much less water than the other flours. The 00 flour really is quite different than the others. If you are baking at under 750F, you should really not use 00. It will never brown and you'll have much more luck with another flour.

    The ratio of Flour and water can dramatically change the characteristics of the dough. Having said that though, I don't measure my "% hydration". I do it strictly by feel. Lately my dough has been much much wetter than ever before. Wetter dough stretches easier with less pull back. It seems to develop faster in the fridge. And it provides more steam for more puff in the final baked crust. The higher the temperature of the oven, the wetter the dough should be. At super high heats needed to make a pie in 2 minutes or less, you need a lot of moisture to keep it from burning and sticking to the baking surface.

    3- Kneading - This is one of the most important steps. Follow along carefully. There are 100 recipes on the net that say you dump all the ingredients together, turn the machine on and you will have a great dough. It's not true. But once you understand these steps your dough will transform into something smooth and amazing.

    Kitchen Aid Mixer vs. Electrolux DLX mixer:

    I started a little revolution on PizzaMaking.com when I dumped by Kitchen Aid Mixer and bought an Electrolux DLX mixer. The DLX is a MUCH better machine. However, if you follow ALL the techniques here, you can get a good dough out of a Kitchen Aid. The DLX is easier to use. You can make a dozen pies or more in it at a clip, no problem. And you can really just let it do it's work alone. With the KA you sometimes have to stop it and pull the dough off the hook and continue. So I like the DLX. But I know many of you have already bought Kitchen Aids. As long as you follow the process carefully, you should be OK. The DLX takes a while to get used to, but now I'm really rocking with it. See Dough.htm for early experiments. Join groups.yahoo.com/group/Mixer-Owners for info on the DLX and how to use it. I use a DLX with the Roller and Scrapper attachments. I will put up photos of this process at some point. Some one else has posted a video of a DLX

    The Wet-Kneading Technique with Autolyse

    I call this process Wet-Kneading. It's the key to great dough:

    Autolyse - Autolyse is a fancy word that just means one simple thing. The flour and water should sit together for at least 20 minutes before kneading begins. It's a CRITICAL step. Some say that you should mix just the flour and water together, then after 20 minutes add the salt and yeast, then mix. Others say you can add all the ingredients at the beginning. I have found very little difference.

    Pour all the ingredients into the mixer, except just use 75% of the flour for now. So all of the water, salt, poolish (Video of Poolish), Instant dry Yeast (if used) and 75% of the flour are put into the mixer. Everything should be room temperature or a bit cooler.

    There is no need to dissolve the yeast in warm water or feed it sugar. 'Proofing' the yeast was probably required decades ago, but I've never had yeast that didn't activate. The yeast feeds on the flour so you don't need to put in sugar. The proofing step that you see in many recipes is really an old wives tale at this point.

    Mix on lowest speed for 1-2 minutes or until completely blended. At this stage you should have a mix that is drier than a batter, but wetter than a dough. Closer to batter probably.

    Cover and Let it rest for 20 minutes. One of the most important things I've found is that these rest periods have a huge impact on the final product. I've seen so much arguing online about the proper flour for making pizza. "You need super high protein flour to get the right structure for a pizza dough". People argue endlessly about brands and minor changes in flour blends, types of water, etc. A lot of this is myth and a big waste of time. The autolyse period is FAR more important to creating structured gluten development than is the starting protein percentage. Autolyse and knead properly and AP flour will produce a great pizza with a lot of structure. Do these steps poorly and bread or high gluten flour will not help you at ALL. This step reminds me of mixing pie dough. After you add the water to pie dough, it's crumbly. But after sitting for 20 minutes, it's a dough. The water takes time to soak in, and when it does it transforms the pie dough. It's really a similar thing here with pizza dough

    Start Mixing on Low speed for 8 minutes. 5 minutes into it start adding flour gradually.

    This part is critical and it's something that I did not understand at all until relatively recently: Even if the dough is very sticky - that is it does not have enough flour in it to form a ball and it is still halfway between a batter and a dough - it is still working. This is where MOST of the kneading occurs. The gluten IS working at this point even though it's not a dough yet.

    If you are using a KA, and you lift the hook, the dough should fall off by itself. The hook should look like its going through the dough, and not pushing the dough around. It should be that wet until nearly the end.

    With the DLX you can play with the scrapper and the roller, pressing them together to allow the dough to extrude through the gaps. This really works the dough. The DLX mechanism is totally different than a regular mixer.

    After the first 6-8 minutes increase the speed of the mixer slightly. I never go higher than 1/3 of the dial on my mixer. Keep in mind that in the old days they mixed this by hand (Anthony at Una Pizza Napoletana in NYC still does). You should add most of the remaining flour. But you still want a very wet dough, so don't go crazy.

    At some point during this process the dough should be getting much firmer and should form more of a ball. Mix another minute or so a this stage You may find that the dough is sticking to the roller /hook and not really working too much at this point. This is why it's so important to do most of the mixing at the earlier, wetter stages. Once the dough is at this point, it is done. My recommendation is this: DON'T BE A SLAVE TO RECIPES AND PERCENTAGES . It's fine to use the spreadsheet or other measures as a guideline, but you have to judge how much flour goes into the dough by feeling it. Do NOT force more flour into the mix just to reach a number. If the dough feels good and soft and you still have flour you have not put in, don't sweat it. Leave it out. In the end you need a wet dough. In fact, even the dough has formed more of ball, if you let it sit, it should spread out a little and look a little limp. This is what you want, not a tight ball, but a slack, wet soft dough.

    One of the best ways to see how your dough is doing is to sprinkle a little flour on in and just feel it. It should feel baby bottom soft. If you don't sprinkle flour it will just feel sticky and not look smooth. But sprinkle a tiny bit of flour and now its soft and smooth. This is what you want. This is a much gentler recipe than most and it shows in the final dough.

    With Hi Gluten flours a commercial mixer and a dry dough, you will find that the dough is tough to work and consequently both the machine and the dough will get very hot. Commercial bakers compensate by starting with cool water and by measuring the temperature of the dough as they go. The procedures I'm outlining don't require this. The wet knead technique and the lower protein all but eliminates the friction. You can expect the dough to heat only about 3-4 F while mixing, so it's not an issue.

    Let it rest for 15-20 minutes. If you were to do a window pane test before the rest, you might be disappointed. Afterwards it will test well:

    Much talk on the web says that the dough's extensibility/elasticity will be affected by how long the dough rises and at what temp and the kind of yeast. In my opinion, these are very, very minor factors. The mixing/kneading process and the hydration are 90% of the battle. After the dough has been kneaded and rested for a few minutes, the deed is done. It's either going to spread well or it isn't. You can't fix it that much at this point by adjusting rise times and temps. If you find that your dough is not extensible enough or rips when you stretch it, odds are HIGH that it has not been autolysed long enough, not kneaded well enough and/or it's too dry. If you are using a Kitchen Aid Mixer you may notice that the ball sticks to the hook and kind of just spins around and doesn't seem to be really working. Mixing an extra 20 minutes seems to do nothing because it's just spinning helplessly on the hook. Ugh. Mix at a wetter more pliable stage and you can fix this problem

    Pour out onto a floured surface and portion into balls with a scrapper. I use a digital scale. The dough at this point should be extremely soft and highly elastic. I use 310g per 13" pie. The more elastic the dough, the less you need.

    I store the dough in individual 5 cup Glad plastic containers as you see below. I wipe them with an oiled paper towel - super thin coating. This will help them come out of the container. But I don't want any oil in the dough. The rules for "Vera Pizza Napoletana" say no oil. I probably have literally one or two drops per ball. Oil the container and not the dough. You only need a drop or two of oil cover a whole container - you can kind of polish it with oil using a paper towel. In contrast, you'd need a teaspoon to oil the dough because you can't spread it so thin. Also the ball would probably need oil on both sides, which is bad because by oiling the top of the dough (which will end up being the bottom of the pizza), you are going to get oil on your pizza stone which will burn at high temps in an unpleasant way. Since you want to minimize the amount of oil, oil the container. For similar reasons, I don't use zip loc bags. Use a container.

    How wet should the dough be? I think many will be surprised to see just how wet I have my dough. With each of these, you can click the photo to enlarge. I'm showing these because I want you to get a sense of how that dough should look and feel. This high level of hydration is not necessarily best for low temperature ovens. But if you are cooking at 800F, like Patsy's, this is what you want:

    This dough has rested for 20 minutes in my DLX mixer. You can see how wet it is. This is enough for 6 balls of dough.

    It almost pours out (with a little push from a spatula). But you can see how easily it stretches and how wet it still is. I don't know the %hydration of this dough but it is 65% or higher, I'm sure.

    This is the unshaped mass. Next I sprinkle a little bit of flour on it and knead it by hand for 30 seconds, just to reshape it.


    In just a few seconds it looks totally different. The outside is drier because it has been sprinkled with flour. Inside it is still very wet and as I cut it with a dough scrapper into balls, I have to sprinkle a little more, just to keep it from sticking to my hands.


    I cut it and put it into these easy to find Glad containers. They cost about $1 each at the supermarket..
    I've got like 15 of them. They are perfectly sized for individual dough's. I strongly prefer these to plastic bags. They are sealable and that keeps in the moisture. They stack easily in the fridge, and the dough comes out easily and without deflating the dough in the process. I spread the container with a drop or two of olive oil.

    This is how the final ball looks when it goes into the fridge


    I let them rest another 10 minutes, then put them in the Fridge for 1-6 days. If your dough is very wet it may start out as a nice looking tight ball, but over time in the fridge it looks like it's sinking into a disk. This may appear worrisome. When you see dough sinking there may be several causes. Dough that is 'slack' - overworked and/or old, will sink like this. But if you've followed these instructions this is not the reason your dough is sinking. The sinking is caused by the fact that the dough is very wet. Don't worry about it. It's probably going to be very good.

    This is the dough several days later. It's been sitting out warming up for about an hour. Notice that it has not risen that much. It does have more volume - probably about 50% more than the dough above. But it's also changed shape - it's so wet and soft and when it rises it kind of just spreads out. This is what you want. This dough is ready for baking.

    Most recipes say that the dough should double in size. This is WAY too much. In total the dough should expand by about 50% in volume. It would seem like the more yeast bubbles in the dough, the lighter the pizza will be. This is the intuitive guess. But it's not true. The yeast starts the bubbles, but it's really steam that blows the bubbles up. If the yeast creates bubbles that are too big, they become weak and simply pop when the steam comes resulting in a flat dense, less springy crust. Think of blowing a bubble with bubble gum. How tight is a 2 inch bubble? It depends: As you start with a small bubble and blow it up to 2 inches it's strong and tight. But at 4 inches it's reached it's peak.. Now if it shrinks back to 2 inches, it'll be very weak. So a 2 inch bubble is strong on the way up and weak on the way down. You want bubbles on the way up. If the dough is risen high, the bubbles are big and the dough will have a weaker structure and will collapse when heat creates steam. The lightest crust will come from a wet dough (wet = a lot of steam), with a modest amount of rise (bubbles formed, but small and strong). Some people start with a warm rise for 6 hours or so, and then move the dough to the fridge. I'm not a huge fan of this method. Once the bubbles are formed, I don't want the dough to get cold and have the bubbles shrink. This weakens their structure. What you want is a steady slow rise, with no reversals. Always expanding, just very, very slowly.

    My oven takes about 80 minutes to heat up. The dough finishes rising in about the same time. So I take the dough out and start the oven at the same time. 80 minutes might seem like a fast rise, but the real development is done in the fridge. Here is where experience will make a difference - I look at my dough a few hours before bake time and I make an assessment. If the dough has not risen much in the fridge I will take it out earlier than 80 minutes. If it's risen too much, I leave it in the fridge till a few minutes before bake. It really takes a good eye. You can make a last minute adjustment to speed it up by warming it. Before I turn my bottom oven on the cleaning cycle, I warm up my top oven to about 95F. If I think I need to speed up the dough, I can then place it in the 95F environment for while before baking. It's a little harder to make an adjustment the other way. If I find that it's rising too fast and my oven won't be ready for an hour, I'm kind of out of luck. I could chill it, but it's going to weaken if I do that. So I try to err on the side where I still have some control.

    The softer the dough, the faster the rise. It's simply easier for small amounts of carbon dioxide to push up on a softer dough. If the dough falls a little after rising, you've waited too long and you will find it's past it's prime. Ideally you should use it well before it's at it's peak. This takes experience. You are better off working with a dough that is under risen, than over risen.

    Over risen dough (don't do this).


    When you spread the dough, you will find that it's not great for spinning over your head. It would have been really great at this when you first did the windowpane test. But now that it has risen it's soft like butter and just stretches easily. Don't worry about the spin. If you want to impress everyone with spin, make a drier dough with a hi gluten flour and more salt and let it age for just a few hours and you can spin all you want.

    Never use a rolling pin or knead the dough or man handle it. You are just popping the bubbles and will have a flat dough.

    Build a little rim for yourself with your fingers,. then spread the dough. Can you see how smooth this dough looks?

    Spread the dough on the counter and then move to the peel. Marble is the perfect surface for spreading dough. One goal is to use very little bench flour, especially if you are cooking over 800F. At high temps, the flour will turn bitter, so you are better off shaping on the counter, then moving to the peel, which will result in less bench flour. With a very wet dough this takes some practice. You don't necessarily have to use a lot of bench flour, but it does have to be even. You don't want the dough sticking to the peel, of course. I put flour in a bowl and dunk the dough lightly, getting all sides including the edge, then move it to the granite counter. I put just a tiny amount on the peel, which I spread evenly with my hands. When I move from the counter to the peel, most of the flour on the dough shakes off.. Once on the peel, shake it every once in a while to make sure the dough is not stuck. Always shake it just before placing it in the oven, otherwise you may find that it's stuck to the peel and falling off unevenly onto the stone. At that point you probably can't recover well and you'll make a mess. So always shake just beforehand. When I make the pie, I work quickly, so as not to let the moisture in the dough come out through the tiny dry flour coating. Then, and this is important, I shake the peel prior to putting it in the oven, just to make certain it's loose. In fact, you can shake it at any time during the process. If you are taking too long to put on the toppings or there is some delay, shake again. Make sure it never sticks. Don't resort to using too much flour or any cornmeal or semolina. It just takes practice to use very little flour, yet still keep it from sticking.

    If you've made the dough correctly you should be able to spread it with no problem. If it is pulling back on you and trying to shrink, you have not mixed it enough. If you've done half the steps above, you should not be experiencing this problem at all though.

    You can spread the dough a bit at a time. Do it half way, then wait 10-15 seconds, then spread a little more, then a little more. Be gentle with it.

    This photo is from the same pie as this one. This pie was very interesting for many reasons. Although I have a lot of practice handling wet dough, this is the first time I've tried to hand knead in at least 5 years.

    I started in bowl with 75% of the Flour (KA Bread), the salt, water, poolish and a pinch of IDY. I did a 12 minute autolyse, 6 minute hand mix with a spoon, adding flour along the way and 15 minute post mix rest. Then I hand kneaded for 1 minute. Did another 5 minute rest (It didn't feel smooth, so I wanted to rest it again), then another 30 second hand knead, then shape. I'm guessing it was a 65-66% hydration, same as the dough photos above. I know that is very high for a hand kneaded dough and it takes some practice. But it didn't stick to my hands at all because I've gotten used to how to handle high hydration dough. The trick is to keep the outside dry with just the thinnest coating of flour. Actually, I only keep the side near my hands coated, the other side is wet. Then I pull the dough expanding the dry side and close it in towards the wet side. This is repeated over and over. As the dry side stretches, it gets a little wetter, then your just dip in in flour again and continue. This baked for 1:40. The cheese, unfortunately, was Polly-O dry mozz as I was desperate.

    4- The Oven: I've got my oven cranked up to over 800 F. Use this section with caution: i.e. no lawyers please. I'm just telling you here what I did. I'm not telling you what you should do. You are responsible for whatever you choose to do. In Naples, Italy they have been cooking pizza at very high temperatures for a long time. There are some real physics going on here. The tradition is to cook with a brick oven. I don't have a brick oven. So this is what I do:

    On most ovens the electronics won't let you go above 500F, about 300 degrees short of what is needed. (Try baking cookies at 75 instead of 375 and see how it goes). The heat is needed to quickly char the crust before it has a chance to dry out and turn into a biscuit. At this temp the pizza takes 2 - 3 min to cook (a diff of only 25F can change the cook time by 50%). It is charred, yet soft. At 500F it takes 20 minutes to get only blond in color and any more time in the oven and it will dry out. I've cook good pizzas at temps under 725F, but never a great one. The cabinet of most ovens is obviously designed for serious heat because the cleaning cycle will top out at over 975 which is the max reading on my Raytec digital infrared thermometer. The outside of the cabinet doesn't even get up to 85F when the oven is at 800 inside. So I clipped off the lock using garden shears so I could run it on the cleaning cycle. I pushed a piece of aluminum foil into the door latch (the door light switch) so that electronics don't think I've broken some rule by opening the door when it thinks it's locked. Brick ovens are domed shaped. Heat rises. There is more heat on top than on the bottom. A brick oven with a floor of 800F might have a ceiling of 1200F or more, just a foot above. This is essential. The top of the pizza is wet and not in direct contact with the stone, so it will cook slower. Therefore, to cook evenly, the top of the oven should be hotter than the stone. To achieve this, I cover the pizza stone top and bottom with loose fitting foil. This keeps it cool as the rest of the oven heats up. When I take a digital read of the stone, I point it at the foil and it actually reads the heat reflected from the top of the oven. When it hits 850, I take the foil off the top with tongs and then read the stone. It's about 700-725. Now I make my pizza. As I prep, the oven will get up to 800Floor, 900+ Top. Perfect for pizza. Different ovens have different heat distributions. I experimented extensively with foil to redistribute the heat. I tried using one layer, multiple layers and I adjusted the amount I used on the top and the bottom. I also played with using the shiny side up or down, etc. Eventually, I worked out a simple system for myself. Some have tried to get high heat using a grill. This can produce high heat, but all from the bottom. One could adjust the differential, by playing games with foil. But an oven with heat from above is better.

    The exact temp needed depends on the type of flour and the amount of water. The more protein, the quicker it burns. Hi Gluten flour may burn at these temps. In general, I recommend higher gluten flours for lower temp ovens. This will yield a more NYC style pie. For a more Neapolitan pie I recommend lower protein flours and a hotter oven. I use Bread rather than KASL at these high temps. Caputo Pizzeria 00 flour has even less protein than KA bread. See my report below. Also the drier it is the more it burns. So in general, at high temps you need a very wet dough.

    I make sure that I cover any oven glass loosely with 2 layers of foil because it will shatter if a drop of sauce gets on it. With the foil it's fine. I make sure the foil is loose. If it's fitted to the glass, it will transfer heat too quickly and the glass is still in jeopardy. Another problem is that once the cleaning cycle starts, it just pumps heat into the oven and I can't reduce the temp. If I get a late start (my guests are late or my dough needs another 30 minutes to rise), I can't just shut off the oven and then start it up again in 15 minutes. Once I cancel the cleaning cycle, I can't start it up again until the oven cools below 500F (at least on my Kitchen Aid oven). Therefore I have to wait and cycle back around. It's like an hour ordeal. But I have worked around these issues and I now have enough experience that I can pretty much control my temperature. I can cool the stone, for example, by placing a metal sheet pan on it for a minute or so. It will absorb a tremendous amount of heat very quickly. I never do this with Teflon which releases unseen toxic chemicals over 600F. I Remove this pan with the peel, rather than with oven mitts to prevent burns. Occasionally I also place something in the door jam, like a meat mallet, for a few minutes to let heat out.

    Brick Oven vs. Other Ovens : I have a list of my favorite pizza restaurants at the bottom. All but one of these use coal fired brick ovens. But interestingly, the number 1 place uses a regular old gas fired oven that you see in any pizza store in NYC. This is Johnny's in Mt. Vernon, NY. Worth a pilgrimage for sure. They also use dry sliced Mozzarella instead of fresh. Go figure. That place is an enigma. They are also very secretive. I can tell you they definitely use a sourdough culture because I obtained it from pizza place across the street (yeasts can take over a neighborhood) but it died out. I'm going to get it again someday.

    Mmmmm. You don't need a brick oven to perfectly char a pizza. This was done in an electric.

    Patsy's is #2 on my list. It used to be #1 but my last 3 trips to were disappointing. There is a new guy working the oven and the pies are coming out like dry crispy flatbreads. It was NOT good. And I saw a review in a magazine that had a photo of a Patsy's pie and that one also looked dry and crispy and the article even described it that way. Yuck!. The reviewer at SliceNY.com also mentioned that he might downgrade Patsy's if they slip any more . So this means that Johnny's, which used to be tied with Patsy's, now sits alone at the top of my list. I've got it as Johnny's, Patsy's, Sally's, Luzzo's, Una Pizza Napoletana, me, then Sac's. Frankly, if they don't shoot the new cook, Patsy's could drop from my top 5 because right now it's resting on it's laurels. Lombardi's is just OK in my book. Nods for history, but too thick and gummy. Grimaldi's and John's are not in my top 10 either. But the original Totonno's is up there somewhere.

    Back to the Brick oven thing. I once bought a Patsy's dough and rushed it home to my oven in Atlanta and baked it. The dough itself was incredible. It was the most windowpaning, blistering and elastic dough I've ever seen, by a wide margin. Very impressive. But when I baked it, it was just ok. It tasted a little flat. It had less of a charred flavor even though it had a charred color. It actually tasted exactly like my own pies tasted at that time. By that was a long time ago. My own latest pies have overcome a lot of this. I'm aging my dough longer than Patsy's and I think that is making up for some of the difference. My opinion is that the coal and the fire adds about 10-20% but the rest is the heat distribution. If you can get that right in a regular oven, you are going to be thrilled with the results. Johnny's proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt. My latest pies are nearly perfect too. Some of these pies look & tasted just like a Patsy's pie, I'm not sure you could tell the difference. And believe me, I notice small differences or I wouldn't have come this far. These latest pies are really, really close. The photos above, as well as those below are good examples. I can't get advantages of the brick oven, but I make up for it by aging the dough longer and this imparts extra flavor.

    Of course, if you do have access to brick oven, especially one that uses coal, by all means use it. But LEARN to use it. I've seen too many brick oven places that make terrible pizza. Why? Because they think that having the oven is all they need to do. You still have to have everything else right. And I've even seen brick ovens where the heat is not right. I just saw a place with a Brick oven that had it set to 395F. Such a total waste of time. The oven does not work by magically transmitting brick flavor into the dough. It works by generating more heat than a regular oven. At least that's 90% of it. Yes there is a dryness to the wood burning and a smokiness and these are advantages of a brick oven. But mostly it's the super high heat that is important. Go the extra mile and get yourself the right digital thermometer and work the oven correctly. This will take a lot of practice. Check out Frankie G's cool brick oven and video.

    My first Brick Oven Experience : I just tried a friend's brick oven. We had a lot of trouble holding the temp right and most of the pies were cooked at 500-600F. So I'm not done experimenting yet. But I can say this: a 7 minute pie in a brick oven does taste better than a 7 min pie in an electric. So there definitely is something good going on in that oven. It has to do with the dryness of the bake. I will post more on this as I make progress.

    Dec 2006: I've now made 5 Brick oven batches. I'll fill in more detail later, but here's a photo of a 57 second pie. It looks pretty cool, but it was by no means my favorite pie:

    5- I use a Raytec digital thermometer. I notice that every spot in my oven is a different temperature. I've learned what's going on inside. These brands are much cheaper than the Raytec. I haven't used them, but they look fine to me and are much cheaper, under $60:

    6- Dry mozzarella cheese : This step is totally optional and I don't do this anymore. Early on I was having problems with my mozzarella cheese breaking down due to the high heat. I was also having problems with the sauce sogging up the dough. So I used dry boars head mozzarella, sliced on a machine under the sauce. This protected the dough. But I've since improved both my sauce and wet mozzarella management so I don't use dry cheese anymore. However, I should note that the only pie that I've tasted that might actually be better than Patsy's is Johnny's in Mt. Vernon. They use only dry sliced cheese. I'm not sure of the brand, but it is fantastic. Patsy's does not use this step, nor is it true Neapolitan.

    7- Lay fresh basil right on the dry cheese or sauce. It's important that the leaves get a bit wet or they'll just burn. Just tap the tops with the bottom of the sauce spoon to moisten. Basil is great fresh out of an herb garden. I will post more on this someday. Don't wash your basil. It just kills it.

    You can put the basil on before the pie bakes or after

    8 - Sauce: For years I was so focused on the dough that I let the sauce lapse. I just didn't do much with it. But now I feel that my dough is consistently great, I have focused more on the sauce and it has really transformed into something wonderful. The key step is something I call 'Tomato Rinsing".

    But first let's start with the tomatoes themselves. There is a lot of talk about buying tomatoes grown in the San Marzano Valley which has rich volcanic soil. Others claim the region is now polluted. I don't know. All I know is what I taste. I've not been too impressed with San Marzanos I've tried. These are in rough order with the best at the top.


    Chef Joe Bastianich tells his story in 'Restaurant Man'

    Joe Bastianich has no illusions about the restaurant industry. It's hard work and a bit of compulsiveness. Starting with his family's restaurant, opened when he was just 3 years old, he learned the old-fashioned way.

    No sugar coating or soft selling from Bastianich, who admits he can be brutally honest.

    That straightforward approach has helped this "nice Italian boy from Queens" to partner with Mario Batali and build an empire of more than two dozen restaurants spanning the globe. His reach spans from New York to Los Angeles, Italy and Singapore and includes three vineyards, plus duties as a judge on TV's "MasterChef." His recent memoir, "Restaurant Man," was inspired by the death of his father.

    Around the time of his 40th birthday, Bastianich made a few major life changes. Taking charge of his health, he started running and even contemplated giving up pasta. Last year, he competed in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. Now he doesn't go anywhere without his running shoes.

    A former two-pack-a-day smoker, he is a spokesman for the BluePrint to Quit initiative, sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline.

    He and his wife, Deanna, have three children, ages 11 to 15. Bastianich regularly answers questions from fans on Facebook and Twitter. For more information, go to joebastianich.com.

    Q. You've always been a little more behind the scenes, the partner, but now you're on television, you've written a memoir and you're more high-profile. What appeals about sharing your story now?

    A. I turned 40. My father died. He was the original restaurant man. It was cathartic and therapeutic for me. It worked for me cheaper than going to the $475 an hour therapist. I have an expensive analyst. They're probably not so expensive in Milwaukee.

    Q. Your parents opened their first restaurant when you were 3, and you grew up in the business. How involved are your kids in the restaurant world?

    A. They're involved in eating in restaurants.

    Q. A few years ago, you started training for marathons and Ironman competitions. What pushes you?

    A. Smoking many years ago was the first part of that journey. I was a heavy smoker until about 1999, smoking two packs a day. I kind of had a wake-up call with my daughter 14 years ago. In an industry where smoking is very prevalent - I think statistics are over 30% in the industry smoke, the personalities, late nights - aside from smoking being bad for you, it diminishes your main asset in the food and wine business: your sense of smell and taste. I found out I was able to taste much better, taste food better.

    Q. So, how did that lead you to running marathons?

    A. After I quit smoking, I gained weight. Training, I can make my own schedule. I train to run, bike, swim. I try to get it all in, but quitting smoking was the first and most important part of that journey. I did the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, last year.

    Q. Have you seen a change in restaurants or clientele as smoking laws have changed?

    A. The food and service industry, it hits home with me. They work hard, they're great, there's a certain compulsiveness and OCD that people in restaurants who do well have, and smoking is prevalent in our world. I think less people smoke, hopefully.

    Q. Has it changed the way you drink wine?

    A. The experience of tasting wine is essentially olfactory, and your smell comes alive after you stop smoking. It was like being able to taste like never before.

    People can become better chefs, cooks, food professionals by quitting. I did it on my own with Nicorette patches and a lot of willpower. I threw down the gauntlet with my family and peers, avoiding the social and habitual trigger points. The social part is as hard to break as the nicotine habit.

    Q. How long did it take you to quit?

    A. Many tries. The final try, I made a 100-day commitment to the patch, and it worked.

    Q. When people watch reality shows like "MasterChef," what are they missing?

    A. When you see it on TV it seems kind of glitzy, this media-driven food world. I think sometimes people don't understand just how physical and hard this business is and how hard it is to dedicate your life to it. It can give you an incredible satisfaction. But it may seem more alluring from the outside when you're watching it

    Q. Is there anything you won't eat?

    A. I try to stay away from any kind of saturated fat. That means (I eat) a lot of vegetables, lean proteins. I eat a lot of pasta. People associate pasta with weight gain, but I think that in the proper proportions you can do it.

    Q. As a restaurateur, how do you approach portion sizes?

    A. We do think about it in our restaurants. America has been conditioned to think of pasta as the never-ending pasta bowl and Olive Garden. The Italian thing is pasta, sauce is condiment, dressed like you dress a salad. . . . I'm writing a book right now (featuring) 100 pasta dishes under 500 calories each.

    Q. Explain the concept behind Eataly, which you're bringing to Chicago next year.

    A. Eataly is the emporium of all things great in Italian shopping and eating, the best of what is local. Eat in our restaurants, enjoy a celebration of the culture of the Italian table. . . . It's slated to open in late 2013 a little too early to tell.

    Q. Do you have a favorite food city?

    A. New York is the best food city in the world.

    Q. What's your overall message?

    A. "Restaurant Man" is kind of the story, an unabridged story of what happened in my life, the good bad and ugly. Some people might glean some life lessons. It is honest, not written as a press release. I think if you read the book you can understand what has made me, the son of an immigrant: People who left everything behind and worked hard, a sense of frugality and respect of earning money and how that's changed to this very media-driven entertainment business.

    Q. Do you consider yourself frugal?

    A. Being frugal, conscious of making money, is not a negative thing. That sensibility of creating value and finding value and reinvesting in those customers is what separates great restaurants from the average ones.

    About Kristine M. Kierzek

    Kristine M. Kierzek is a Milwaukee-based freelance writer. She regularly writes Chef Chat and Fork. Spoon. Life. columns for Fresh.


    Watch the video: ΣΥΓΚΛΟΝΙΖΕΙ Νοσηλεύτρια: Από το να χάσω την ελευθερία μου, ας χάσω την δουλειά μου. Rantar (January 2022).