Wednesday, December 23, 2009

OK, now adding feedback as well as listings.

The list continues to grow. (bold are the new additions).

They include (in not particular order):

So if you see listings for these places, and unless you hate your life, don't go to:
1. Mother Earth (Queen St.) learing to speak english is optional.
2. Lily Resto-Louge (College St.)
3. Coco Lezzone(College St.)
4. Caplansky's Deli (College St.) (sorry spelled it wrong on the last post).
5. Nota Bene (Queen St.) I wonder if the guy who's paying $10 for soup knows the cooks are only making $10/hr.?
6. Watermark Irish Pub (Harbourfront), ok this place seems to seat over six hundred people at capacity, with only 4 cooks, and seeminly lost wait staff, charging premium prices for substandard pub fare. DEAR WATERMARK: Say Hi to the Edmund Fitzgerald when you end up in the bottom of another Great Lake.
7. Bravi (Wellington St.)
8. Magic Oven (Multiple Locations)
9. Sandwich Box (Multiple Locations)
10. Funnel L. Fun (Avenue Road)
11. W Burger Bar (College St.)
It's not the best place to work, but atleast they pay you for the hours you do work.. Seems like the owner is a nice guy, but as far as what his wants/doesn't want.. he's all over the board.
P.S. He thinks he's the hottest thing in Toronto, but the Star Food critic rated his the lowest of all the gourmet burger joints.

Wow, are there any decent places to work?

Screw Turkey

Here is my alternative to a Turkey Dinner for x-mas:

2 x Salmon Fillets, skin on or off, your choice. (6-8 oz. each) - (250grams) for us Canadians using Metric.
2 tablespoons of melted butter – (30ml)
2 x Parchment paper
4 ounces of sliced mushrooms (oyster mushrooms are particularly good here) – (125ml)
2 fresh tarragon sprigs - tops reserved and leaves finely cut
1 medium sliced zucchini
1 egg white
- add a sprinkle of paprika for a bit of zest.

... and of course S and P for seasoning.


take your parchment paper(s), fold it in half, and starting from the folded edge cut out a heart shape from top to bottom.

Open each paper and brush one half with some of the melted butter, leaving a 1-inch border unbuttered.

Combine chopped mushrooms, chopped tarragon, the lemon juice, salt & pepper in a bowl. Stir thoroughly to coat the mushrooms

Bring the mushroom blend and spread over the buttered portion of the parchment, then set a salmon fillet on top of each. Season the salmon with salt & pepper and arrange zucchini slices, slightly overlapping, lengthwise along the center of the salmon. Chop up a bit more Tarragon and sprinkle it on top if you've got it, and add a dash of paprika if so inclined.

Brush the edges of the parchment paper with egg white and fold in half (length wise so that you have a half-heart shape). Now, crimp the edges of the open side. (THIS IS IMPORTANT) make sure you make Lot's of overlapping crimps, you are trying to steam the salmon inside the parchment). Transfer your little demi-hearts parchment paper packages to a baking sheet. These packages can be made up a few hours in advance... it's not always easy to get nice shapes.

Bring the sheet to the heated oven (375 or so, mines fucked so I go to around 390)
and bake until puffed and light browned, for about 12-15 min. Relocate to dinner plates and serve. Now serve, still sealed, and rip open using a sharp edge of a knife, releasing a beautiful aromatic steam.

Personally, I like to serve this with Jasmin rice infused with Saffron and steamed snowpeas.

Let the Turkey's Live :-P

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


ok, today I'm getting into the Christmas spirt. Could be because everything I'm wearing smells like Turkey and dressing... but I digress.

Let's lighten this up, give me your best holiday recipe.


Holiday Treats

So, for today, I'm not going to bitch about anything, but pass on a really great site that I came across.

Becky is a Pastry Chef in San Fran.

I'm a Chef, not a Pastry Chef, so deserts are my weak-side. but she has some great ideas... and besides, she lives in a cool city, with great seafood cusine.

Have a great day all.

Monday, December 21, 2009

OK, here is a new one.

OK folks,

The list continues to grow.

They include:

So if you see listings for these places, and unless you hate your life, don't go to:

1. W Burger Bar (College St.)
2. Lily Resto-Louge (College St.)
3. Coco Lezzone(College St.)
4. Caplansky's Deli (College St.) (sorry spelled it wrong on the last post).
5. Nota Bene (Queen St.)
6. Watermark Irish Pub (Harbourfront)
7. Bravi (Wellington St.)

OK, I will tell you that some restaurants will ask you to work a 'stage'. It's basically a bullshit french term for "try out"... and means you'll be working in their kitchen during a service to see how you fit in. This is NOT an uncommon practice... and you shouldn't expect to receive compensation for this, but hey a free meal and a beer isn't too much to ask for... if you fit in or not... and really if you don't like the place, especially the kitchen and it's food or cleanliness, just have the beer. :-P.

Don't work beyond the initial day without some sort of paperwork being done, i.e. tax forms, payroll info, etc... you know the drill.

If you work for a place for days, or weeks, or even longer and don't get paid for it, please don't bitch about it here, because obviously you are an IDIOT.

As for a tip pool or tip sharing or tipping out to the kitchen... realistically, unless its a major company with computer printouts of server sales and percentages to be distributed to the kitchen, any thing you get is a blessing. I know that sucks, but that really is reality.

And so the list grows.

I've personally gotten some really good stories on STAY THE F*CK AWAY FROM.

They include:

So if you see listings for these places, and unless you hate your life, don't go to:

1. W Burger Bar (College St.)
2. Lily Resto-Louge (College St.)
3. Coco Lazone(College St.)
4. Cakpliskis Deli (College St.)
5. Nota Bene (Queen St.)
6. Watermark Irish Pub (Harbourfront)

I don't have the addresses, I'm not mapquest, so look'em up yourself. :-P

... and if you are a poor starving chef/cook, remember my friends pigeons are squab... and there are enough of them around to make a hearty meal. :-P

...and a happy Hanukkah too

So, Michael wrote about his bad and life threatening experiences at Caplinski's on College Street. What is it with College Street, is this where good cooks go to die or go broke?

PLEASE NOTE: That the Jewish comments in Michael's thread are HIS not mine, and he say's He himself is Jewish. So NO, I'm not some anti semitic, racist, neo-nazi bastard. Infact, I highly value peoples right to express themselves, and have served this country to protect this (and other) rights both here and abroad. and no, while I was there I wasn't cooking, and fortunately for my own moral being, I didn't have to kill anybody. Although, I do have quite a few more uses for a knife than most Chefs I know. ;-P

Anyhow, I actually went to Caplinki's. I was supposed to interview there, but I wanted to checkout the scene first. I saw, well first heard, the owner yelling at people, then come out of the kitchen with a big smile on his face acting like nothing was wrong... Now having read Michael's comments, he was probably high. LOL

Then I decided that this would be one interview I'd skip, besides, it wasn't a restaurant, it was more of a deli/diner atmosphere. I didn't bother going to Chef School to work at a glorified Druxy's.

Is there anyplace on College Street worth working at?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

'Tis the season

Well, yet again, I can see that there are more "avoid" postings on Craigslist. Does anybody have any GOOD NEWS for this Holiday season?

I've personally gotten some really good stories on STAY THE F*CK AWAY FROM.

They include:

W Burger Bar
Lily Resto-Louge
and Coco Lazone.

Ironically all three are on College Street within a klick of each other.

Please let's have some good news before the New Year.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Toronto, The Good the Bad and the UGLY

I've been seeing all these 'bad vibe' postings on Craigslist, specifically in Toronto, so here is a forum to vent, warn, avoid, etc... etc... you get the point.

Toronto seems to have a very large influx of restaurateurs who feel that paying just slightly above the minimum wage is perfectly acceptable, and then when it comes time to even receive your meek pay, you get stiffed, or screwed on hours, or worse.

So I've decided to post this blog as a forum to share your and our horror stories. Remember, we can put these places out of business if they don't provide decent wages and working conditions.

For those of us who HAVE gone through culinary school, or even those who've simply put in the years as line-cooks, cooks, etc. Why isn't that worth anything to these employers??

A recent example is Toronto's own "Nota Bene". They are looking for cooks, with a minimum 2 years experience and are offering up the princely sum of $10/hr. Now this is a restaurant that charges $10 for a soup at lunch, with a lunch time entree averaging around $20. McDonald's will start you at $9.50/hr. regular shifts, benefits, no crazy close down times at 4 a.m. Oh, and if you have any skills, you'll get raises at a regular interval.

Well, there is my starting off rant... please feel free to join in the fun. I will be adding more, believe me!