Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Chef Spotlight: Greg Biggers of Cafe des Architectes in Chicago

Chef Biggers
I'm super excited to share our first Chef Spotlight - and equally so because we are featuring culinary genius, Chef Greg Biggers, of Cafe des Architectes in Chicago.

Chef Greg Biggers
Theron and I fell in love with this restaurant a couple years ago - and met the chef not long after discovering it.  How that came about?  We ordered many appetizers and small plates and the chef wanted to know who was doing this crazy ordering - because, he said, that's the same way he likes to order!

For this article, my notes will be written to help explain people and phrases.

Without further adieu, let's meet Chef Biggers!

V: Can you tell us a little about your educational and working background in the food industry?

CG: I started washing dishes in Alabama where I was born and raised at 15. I have been in the kitchen ever since. I started my first cooking job at 18 and met my first real chef, Matthew Wood, who encouraged me to get out of Alabama and go to culinary school.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The History of Foie Gras

The History of foie gras, if you can believe it, and you probably can, is about as old and intriguing as that of caviar.

Sliced Foie Gras

The difference, however, comes with the fact that foie gras is a far more controversial delicacy than caviar.  It is something you either love or hate - and not just because of taste and texture, but because of animal right's groups citing animal cruelty. The common French method of gavage (the force-feeding of ducks to fatten their livers) has galvanized activists in very recent history to the point of getting foie gras sales banned in Chicago in 2006. Foie gras, however, is not a delicacy which fans could give up lightly, so it only took two years, and some very passionate chefs, for that ban to be repealed.  Even the mayor of Chicago at the time, Richard Daley, thought the ban was 'the silliest law' ever passed by the city council. That being said, there is a current ban in California on the sale of any foie gras made using the force-feeding method, and many other such laws around the world. Love it or hate it, it has been around for a long, long time, and I highly doubt it's going anywhere anytime soon. So let's dig in to the rich history of this very rich delicacy.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Home Cooking Heroes Spotlight: Georgette & Tommaso's Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Fig Appetizer

Hi There!
For our second installment of Home Cooking Heroes I am very happy to introduce to you my cousin Georgette Jupe, and her long-time boyfriend, Tommaso.  Georgette grew up in the Southern US but has, since 2007, called Florence, Italy home.

Georgette & Tommaso

A few weeks ago, Georgette mentioned on her Facebook page that she and Tommaso were going to be making bacon-wrapped figs. That sounded really exciting to me - as anything bacon-wrapped has a high chance of being darn good, and figs are, in my mind, rather exotic.