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(Eater)   Anthony Bourdain recruits chef pals to recreate "Ocean Liner Dinner," a grand, decadent multicourse French-Continental meal no longer offered by hip modern joints. "Much of this stuff was taught in school early in our lives, but seldom seen since"   ( eater.com) divider line
    More: Cool, Anthony Bourdain, Ocean Liner Dinner, Parts Unknown, Eric Ripert, Daniel Boulud, chefs, meals, schools  
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4015 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 19 Nov 2013 at 9:45 AM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2013-11-19 09:08:12 AM  
5 votes:

WTF Indeed: You mean spending 15 years promoting locally sourced food might have killed the "the best of the world on my plate" meals?

No, it means that restaurant styles, and the palate of the public has changed dramatically. Between moves towards healthier cuisine, lighter cuisine, away from the primarily Eurocentric menus that predominated haute cuisine for generations. "The best of the world" meant primarily French based cuisine, interpreted by those trained within the French brigade tradition, and in very much in the Continental style, which has fallen to the wayside as Asian and African, and Caribbean and other cuisines have made inroads into what "haute cuisine" means. Continental style is abbreviated today, because tastes have changed, costs are astronomical for such styles, and the profit line is simply not there to continue such traditions--economics, simply put, has ended this style as it was practiced 40 years ago. There are hold outs, but the style is abbreviated to reflect the changing tastes of the public.

I can see chefs wanting to return to those days, for a bit, to remember their early days and training, to remember the chefs who inspired them, the food that they trained to produce, the menus that they aspired to bring to life. The tradition is strong in the profession, and the halcyon days of the great chefs of Europe defined what haute cuisine was, and how it was executed, not just in Europe, but in America, and across the globe. If anything, Asia and the Middle East and parts of Africa are some of the last holdouts for traditional "Continental" cuisine, as specialized niche markets, looking to service high end clients who want tastes of "home" far from home, and give the movers and shakers in their lands "authentic" Continental cuisine as a mark of status. In the rest of the world, there is far too much competition to allow restaurants to continue with those traditional senses, save in only the most rarefied of conditions--and most of those hold outs are within specific catering and personal chef situations, as opposed to straight up restaurants.
2013-11-19 10:08:28 AM  
4 votes:
Spent my entire life studying old school cooking.
Know what?
It's not gone out of style.
It's just that people lack style now.
2013-11-19 10:34:33 AM  
3 votes:

vudukungfu: Spent my entire life studying old school cooking.
Know what?
It's not gone out of style.
It's just that people lack style now.

It's not so much a lack of style, it's that the underlying traditions have fallen. In part, because immigrants both in Europe and in America demand that their own cuisines get some attention. And that chefs are coming up coming from different traditions. And that traditions of cuisine that are JUST as traditional, and with JUST as long a history are coming to the public's attention.

Consider the rise in Southern cuisine. I'm not talking about just Po' Boys and fried chicken, but rather a loosening of the spirit to accept OTHER traditional cuisines. Middle Eastern, Indian, Caribbean--which is firmly anchored in the French traditional, but with some stylistic changes thanks to the cultural exchange with the locals, and the richness of the seafood throughout the region--Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and more, are all making inroads. North African cuisine is impacting American and European restaurants, as chefs explore and play, and with a public that isn't as fearful, and even sees the exploration as status--which is exactly what haute cuisine is about: a declaration of status and willingness to pay through the nose for food that is exactingly prepared, with quality ingredients, and unavailable to the "normal" restaurant patron.

PsyLord: I'm a bit torn on Bourdain.  On one hand, his shows are mildly entertaining.  On the other, he comes across as a pompous elitist d-bag.

He is a chef, and in a class, where yes, chefs ARE the elite. It is an elitist profession, at that level. I'm not talking about the "celebrity chefs"--who get some air time, grab what they can, make a splash, and then disappear back into mediocrity--but chefs at a level where they are recognized by their peers, as well as their patrons. I have a great deal of respect for the guy, because he came up in the trenches. He didn't get a contract because he won a contest, or was plucked up by some show when he tested well for a certain demographic alone, but he's done the work. Not just the work to get recognized, but the work to make restaurants successful. He does so with an understanding of how the business works, and understands the folks who work within those trenches he came from. Elitist is exactly what haute cuisine is about, and at the same time, it's often prepared by folks who have no business being anywhere near those lily whites that they are surrounded with. It's a weird profession.
2013-11-19 05:51:20 PM  
1 vote:

Bareefer Obonghit: vudukungfu: Bareefer Obonghit: I can't even make a blonde roux, let alone pink.

Just put paprika in the flour before you begin.
Ordinary, unflavored paprika.
Not that Viet Namese junk.

And use equal parts powder to butter.
like 1/2 Cup of each to start.
Stir continuously, non stop, even.
Use less heat until you get good at it.

As a rule, add hot roux to a cold sauce or a cold roux to a hot sauce to thicken it.
Stirring constantly.

The only time you do not stir a roux is when you store it.
Stir it or store it.

Thanks for the tips, I've tried in the past, and for the most part I'm a great cook but I f*ck this up every time. I'm now also imagining myself stirring roux while doing every day tasks like going to the post office in fear of ruining it.

here's a farked up way to make a dark roux on the quick...  and, this guy refers to it as cajun napalm (in the event that something goes wrong), so consider that a warning.


/ from luizza's by the track.  they make pretty good food, so, you shouldn't think of this as a shortcut.  more like a highly volatile, much more likely way to fail a roux.... but, takes 1/4 of the time.  so, a failure is much less depressing.
// but, if you're just trying to make a blonde roux?  those are pretty easy, the only thing that really matters, don't stop stirring.  dark rouxes are pretty easy too, they just take so damn long.  or you can try he cajun napalm method above.  i know all too well what boiling hot oily flour feels like on flesh, so i stick to the old fashioned method.
/// if you ever wondered the goal roux (and by goal, i don't mean purpose), it's to cook off all the flour taste
2013-11-19 10:56:37 AM  
1 vote:

WTF Indeed: You mean spending 15 years promoting locally sourced food might have killed the "the best of the world on my plate" meals?

Nope.  The type of cooking they're trying to recreate went out of fashion with the First World War and more or less ceased to exist with the Second.  Back in the day, the great liner companies believed that one of the ways to keep people happy during the five or so days the Atlantic crossing took was to feed them well and frequently.  Even the food in steerage was good, and many ships even had a kosher kitchen (and two sets of kosher serving ware) to cater to all the Jewish immigrants headed to America.

In First Class, they took the best of French haute cuisine and put it on steroids.  We're talking five courses of heavy, intensely-prepared French food.  The only menus bigger more complex and more frightening (in terms of fat consumption and sheer food intake) that I've seen are from special dinners given at Delmonico's in the 1890s, which often run to 15 courses!

I can't find a good dinner menu online, but here's a 1st Class lunch menu from the Titanic to give you an idea of what we're talking about:

i.huffpost.comView Full Size

Like Bourdain said, this was stuff that was still taught in culinary school 40 years ago, but even then you weren't ever going to work in a restaurant which offered these dishes.  It's Escoffier-based cooking.
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