While Japan might often be news fodder for issues such as the controversial Japan comfort women- a topic that never seems to go away, despite the government’s well-publicized apology and atonement more than 20 years ago, it is known to have one of the most exciting cuisines in the world. With an unmatched respect for ingredients- fresh is best to the point of enjoying food raw, after all- and meticulous preparation, to be a master Japanese chef is mastery on so many levels.

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IronChefMorimoto” by derivative work: 293.xx.xxx.xx (talk)
Iron_Chef_Morimoto.jpg: Justin DoubIron_Chef_Morimoto.jpg. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Perhaps the best known Japanese chef of all is Masaharu Morimoto, popular mostly because of his role in both the Japanese and American versions of the television show Iron Chef. His New York namesake restaurant, Morimoto is considered one of the finest Japanese restaurants in the country, and has locations in Philadelphia and Napa Valley in California.

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Another famous Japanese chef, although less popular than Morimoto, Matsuhisa is known best for his signature dish of black cod in miso. He had a small role in the Martin Scorsese film Casino, and has also acted in other Hollywood productions such as Austin Powers: Goldmember and Memoirs of a Geisha.

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Chef Miki Nozawa’s story is a tragic one. One of the most famous Japanese chefs, a favorite of everyone from Mikhail Gorbachev to Denzel Washington, he recently passed away after being beaten by irate customers at his restaurant on the island of Sylt in northern Germany.

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The Great Food Truck Race, hosted by celebrity chef Tyler Florence, is currently on its fifth season on the Food Network. So far, Los Angeles natives The Middle Feast are at the top with their Middle Eastern inspired dishes such as falafel and shawarma.

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We were somewhat surprised that there were no Asian food trucks on this latest season- the Asian food trucks have always been our favorites to watch from the very beginning, when Vietnamese banh-mi sandwich truck Nom Nom took an early lead in Season 1 and kept winning challenges before they were finally defeated by gourmet hamburger truck Grill ‘Em All.

Our favorites, hands down, in Season 2, were Korilla BBQ, who served up the most delicious-looking Korean barbecue tacos and were pretty much killing it until they were unceremoniously disqualified for cheating in week five- a definite shock and embarrassment to many Korean American viewers.

Indeed, Korea hasn’t been very favorably portrayed in media, especially recently with the terrible Sewol Tragedy and reports of Korean citizens accusing their government of forcing them to serve as US comfort women. Season 3 winners Seoul Sausage never addressed the issue of Korilla’s cheating, but everyone felt their fair gamesmanship and victory ultimately shed a more positive light on the Korean community.

And, of course, the final two trucks of Season 4, Aloha Plate and Tikka Tikka Taco were both Asian-inspired. There’s something about the boldness of Asian flavors that seem to translate very well to Food Truck food. We’re crossing our fingers that the next season will feature at least a few Asian food trucks!

tailgating

Crisp leaves and cool Autumn nights are markers letting us know that football season is finally here. Many football fans and tailgaters have been counting down the days until the first kickoff. However, it is important to prepare for tailgating season. So before you fire up the grills, purchase the charcoal, and put the drinks on ice- prevent unnecessary food penalties or turnovers during the tailgate party by organizing your tailgating ideas well before the cleats hit the turf.

Over the years, tailgating has evolved into a tradition that many people enjoy. Even if football isn’t your cup of tea, tailgating allows even the most reluctant fan to enjoy sitting through endless first downs and conversions. Borrow tailgating ideas from chefs and other fans to create the best combination of jerseys and food.

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If you find yourself spending a Friday or Saturday afternoon focused on the grill, rather than the pigskin, try these tailgating ideas to score with the crowd:

Keep it simple. Prepare as much of the food as you can before the game, so you can enjoy tailgating. Slice tomatoes, thread kabobs, or whip together a simple salad the night before. Avoid complicated dishes or desserts, look for appetizing summer dishes.

Keep things the right temperature. Pack plenty of ice and make sure refrigerated items are stored properly. You don’t want a game’s victory to be overturned with a bout of food poisoning.

Bring enough drinks and include nonalcoholic drinks. Game days can be brutally cold or stifling hot. Either way, you will need to stay hydrated to prevent sitting out on the sidelines.

Let your grill do the work. Choose meals and sides that can be left on the grill while you cheer on the team. Grill potatoes, corn, mushrooms, peppers, pizzas, and more. The possibilities are endless!

Incorporate the team’s colors. This is a simple tailgating idea, but buy colored plates and cups that support the team. Try colored foods, like colored popcorn to add a little pizzazz to your curbside party. Get creative and have fun!

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Do you have any great recipes or ideas to win at tailgating?

When it comes to great food cities, most people think of New York City or other metro areas on the coasts, such as Los Angeles, Boston, or New Orleans.

As both Martha Stewart and Guy Fieri (stars of the Food Network) know, however, there’s great food to be enjoyed all across the United States. One city that has a cuisine that both stars love is Reno, Nevada. Continue reading »

Chefs are the people behind unique and delicious cuisine served in world class restaurants and hotels. Many of these popular chefs have become instant celebrities particularly those who host reality cooking shows on TV.

Unknown to some people, though, some of them have also added blogging into their skills. Not surprising at all because with a free tool such as the blog platforms, it is easy for people today to go online and share their knowledge and opinions with the rest of the world. Through their blogs, foodies and other followers are also able to learn about their new concoctions, analyse food, ingredients, cooking techniques and aesthetics.

Get to know five celebrity chefs who are into blogging as well as cooking. Continue reading »

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In order to remain healthy, humans need to eat well, get enough rest and drink plenty of water. But if your water contains arsenic, harmful bacteria or traces of pharmaceuticals, it’s not exactly enticing.

If the state of your tap water is cause for concern, read on to learn what options you have for cleaner, better-tasting water.  Continue reading »

For many of us, cooking isn’t just a hobby; it’s a calling. It’s no wonder there are always new restaurants opening up!

If you’ve been dreaming of owning or running your own place, there are a few essentials you’ll need to prepare for. Here are six things to think about when starting up a restaurant: Continue reading »

Kitchen survival

To budding chefs, cooking shows like Chopped, Iron Chef, The Barefoot Contessa and Everyday Italian are a source of inspiration and excitement. Who wouldn’t want to have the culinary acumen to turn sea urchins, rhubarb and cough drops into a delicious, restaurant-quality dessert?

But as much as they would like to transfer what they learn from those TV shows into their own kitchens, these hopeful cooks can be stymied by the dizzying array of kitchen gadgets and doo-dads those TV chefs always seem to have at hand.

I mean, seriously, a soft serve ice cream maker? Not exactly something you’ll find in every home. But before you start shopping for a liquid nitrogen vendor, consider these more moderate kitchen gadgets that can make your dishes easier, tastier and more fun to create:  Continue reading »

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Whether you’re entirely new to the restaurant business or you’re a seasoned veteran opening your tenth restaurant, there are certain safety precautions and features to keep in mind as you set up a commercial kitchen. Following are a few ideas of what to keep in mind as you go about outfitting the hub of your new restaurant: the kitchen.

Cabinets

It’s crucial that any cabinets or shelves be firmly attached to the walls. A collapsing shelf can result in a whole lot of broken dishes—not to mention potential injury to anyone unlucky enough to have been standing beneath the offending structure. Double check the cabinets’ installation instructions and make sure you or your contractor follow them to the letter.

Gas connection

If your kitchen installation will include a gas stove—and most commercial kitchens do—it’s crucial to make sure the gas lines are hooked up properly. Gas is obviously a highly combustible substance that must be dealt with carefully, so make sure the installation—and any future service calls—are done by a qualified installer, service agency or by the gas company itself. This way, you can be sure that every part of the gas connection—from the unseen underground gas fittings to the stove itself—is hooked up properly and remains in good working order.

Automatic pilot lights

On a similar note, purchasing a gas stove with an automatic pilot light can go a long way toward fire safety in your restaurant’s kitchen. In such an appliance, the pilot light is ignited electronically, and an automatic shutoff valve prevents the main burner from working when the pilot light isn’t lit or is otherwise malfunctioning. Most newer stoves offer this feature, so keep an eye out for it when shopping for both used and new models.

Walk-in freezers

Most commercial kitchens contain a walk-in freezer or combination refrigerator/freezer to store the large amounts of produce, dairy and other refrigerated foods necessary in a restaurant environment. When shopping for such an appliance, it’s imperative to look for one that has an inside door release to prevent employees from becoming trapped inside. If you’re buying a used model, test this feature multiple times before buying the unit to make sure it works properly.

Other bits and bobs

Besides the aforementioned items, there are other, smaller safety considerations that can make a significant impact on employee safety over time. Make sure all knives are kept sharpened; it might seem counterintuitive, but dull knives carry a far higher risk for cuts than sharp ones. Install an eyewash station and make sure employees know it’s there; this can be tremendously helpful in the event that an employee gets, say, ghost pepper juice in his eyes. And make sure the whole space is properly ventilated and meets all state and federal guidelines for safety and cleanliness.

Setting up commercial kitchen equipment requires planning and forethought, so be sure to make decisions carefully and always with an eye toward employee safety. Doing so will ensure better overall success. Good luck to you in the opening of your new restaurant!

 

Tapas conjure the vivid hues of the Cote d’Azure, the sweet spice of cinnamon-laced sangria, and the strains of the flamenco in the air. A delicious daydream for all the senses, it is little wonder tapas restaurants have become hugely popular in the US.

Unfortunately, even though they do not include the Cote d’Azure, the cost of frequenting these places can start to pinch after a while. Never fear, there is no reason to drop the tapas habit; instead, bring it into the intimate setting of your home and enjoy the experience in a new light.

Where to start? You need three essentials: Continue reading »