Saturday, October 25, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
[photo cred: Larry Fink, via the NY Times]
So it's no secret I've been hyping up Kenny Shopsin for a while now, and as so I've been a bit more alert to his publicity. The NY Times had a pretty sweet piece on him (The Way We Eat: Flipping the Bird) and his quaint little shop and the modest menu that comes with it.
I have yet to experience Shopsin's, and I hope I get to at some point, considering his reputation for client refusal, but I'd have to say that although I'm unfamiliar with his cuisine, much like the case with Bourdain, I admire these two solely based on their personalities and attitudes towards the culinary world and society (and women, heh). They do what they do with passion and don't very much care about what people have to say. Maybe it's the egotistical, arrogant bastard in me, but I slightly identify with these two, and until I learn otherwise, they will continue to be on my list of top chefs.
“I dedicate myself to consuming all sorts of ideas,” says Shopsin, an avid reader and Internet crawler. “Eventually something inside me, probably skewed by my erotic feelings about breasts and things like that, assembles a product and just shoots it up.” [NY Times]There's such a level of romanticism in his story. The fact that he's estalished himself and provided for his family, for almost 30 years, the work that he's put into his career, and the love he expresses for all elements that sustain him. His clients (the valuable ones, not the shitty ones), his establishment, his trade, and of course, his family. And he's been able to do all this without selling out his principles and just letting any asshole come into his realm demanding to be served. He asks that patrons prove themselves worthy of being served by him and not the other way around. After all, his food has been around long enough to understand that it's quality and he's busting his ass behind the burners to feed you. He owes you nothing and you shouldn't expect him to serve you hand and foot. Good business practice, ethic, and personal integrity and principles in my opinion.
Unlike other restaurateurs, Shopsin has refused publicity. (Whenever I tried to write about him, he would tell the fact checkers that Shopsin’s was a shoe store or out of business or insist that they do something uncheckable to themselves.) But two regulars, a Knopf editor and a literary agent, persuaded him to write a cookbook. “Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin” blends recipes with his uncensored thoughts on cooking (“The only explanation I can give for . . . how I came to this method of cooking is that it’s a product of a lot of psychotherapy, drugs and making chicken potpies”) and running a restaurant (“My approach . . . is the exact opposite of ‘the customer is always right’ ”). Like the restaurant, where three of his four children work, the book is a family affair, designed by his daughter Tamara and photographed by his son-in-law, Jason Fulford. [NY Times]He does what he does because he loves it and not for the fame and riches and now, inadvertently all of that has come to him because he was himself. Thousands shoot for the stars and crash and burn severely. Not him. Self-awareness and a solid foundation of personal values go a long way.
He is full of deep (or shallow, depending on which side of the fence you're standing on) little excerpts on life and food full of a degree of sentiment and heart one can only hope to achieve at one point.
[photo cred: stgrmh]
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Should you need a crash-course into who and what Kenny Shopsin is, you should definitely take some time out of your day and check out "I Like Killing Flies". A chronicle and documentary of Shopsin's coming-of-age story, featuring his family and friends who have over time helped this establishment be everything it is today.
Aside from being one of the greatest people ever invented, he is no also an author and has come out with a grand cook book full of insight into his cuisine and recipes for the hungry-hearted.
Serious Eats did a great write-up on it back in August (just now getting around to reading it and writing about it) and they've been posting random one-off recipes from the book, which are interesting enough to make even the worst grilled cheese maker want to throw down on the burners.
Ostensibly, Eat Me is a cookbook, but it's also equal parts memoir and philosophical tome. [via Serious Eats]'My Sliders'- makes one set of 3 sliders -
Adapted from Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin by Kenny Shopsin.
1 big yellow Spanish onion, thinly sliced
5 ounces chopped meat (20 to 30 percent fat)
Salt Butter for the rolls
3 Martin's dinner rolls, or any soft rolls about the size of Parker House rolls, cut in half but leaving them attached to one another if possible
3 slices American cheese
1. Fry the onion slices until they're brown and crispy (Kenny slices them very thin and throws them in a pot of hot oil until they are charred).
2. Divide the meat into three equal-sized balls. Preheat a griddle or large cast-iron skillet over high heat until it is searing hot. Place the balls of meat on the griddle or in the pan and press them down with a heavy spatula or bacon weight to form patties about 1/2 inch thick. Season them with salt. Place a bacon weight or heavy lid on top of the patties to keep them smashed down and cook about 2 minutes per side, until they are cooked through.
3. Meanwhile, butter the insides of the rolls and toast them in whatever way is most convenient for you. Place the patties so they are all in a row, butting up against one another. Put the fried onions on the patties, and then top each patty with one slice of the cheese. On top of the cheese, place the tops of the buns and on top of the tops, the toasted bottoms. Then, on top of everything, place your bacon weight or a lid and cook for 1 minute to melt the cheese and steam the bun.
4. To serve, place the bun bottoms on a plate. Carefully slide your spatula under the three patties to lift them up in one piece and place them on top of the bottom buns. Serve at once.
It's no secret that Ted Turner has had his bite of restaurant industry experience, and now he's also trekking cross-country preaching the green to restauranteurs everywhere. [via: TreeHugger]
Click here to watch video
Well, not like animals, but by animals. The Japanese are hilarious. We all know that servers have a bit of an arch-nemesis label when it comes to us in the kitchen. About time they got replace. (jk!)
So they're all done up in Japanese serving gear and walk around with your food. I wonder how the Health Department would feel about letting me implement something like his here. Heh.