Monthly Archives: February 2017

New England Food Show

So…I went to the New England Food Show again this year. I attend every year. As with all the other years, my biggest complaint is not enough food.The main reason I go is to see new and exciting food ideas and trends. I attend to get inspiration. I don’t go to stuff myself into a food coma. Samples are nice but I am looking to try something new to stir my taste buds. I’m a Chef; I don’t want to just sample ice cream and fried stuff. Get me excited!

The majority of the floor space is taken by kitchen equipment and services. I have no issue with these exhibitors being there. I’m sure many restaurant peeps are looking for these. However, the name of the show is the New England Food Show. Maybe they should change it to New England Restaurant Show? If you go to the car show, you want to see cool and new cars. If you go to the home show, you hope to see new stuff for your house. So why not new and exciting foods at the food show?

I did find a few new ideas. I’ve been looking for more gluten free options. Bob’s Red Mill was at the show. They gave me a sample of a new gluten free flour to try. If this works, I can make our own gluten free desserts. The produce company I use was also at the show. They have partnered with Moody’s of Waltham MA. Moody’s makes the best in-house charcuterie in MA! We offer charcuterie on the banquet menu and want to add it to the regular menu. Now I can get it delivered with my produce.

I was impressed with this year’s push on technology and social media. This is very crucial to marketing in the 21st Century.

The main stage was for speakers and cooking demos. I went on Sunday and Chef Geoffrey Zakarian was the keynote speaker. He was interesting to listen about cooking and he has real personality. This can’t be said about every Chef. The show has local Chef’s doing demos. Just because you make amazing food doesn’t mean you can entertain on the stage. Let’s face it, some Chef’s like to stay in the kitchen for a reason. To get on the stage, you need great personality. This needs to be equal with the food. It’s all about the total experience! I sent the food show a tweet offering to do a cooking demo next year. Anyone who knows me, knows I can put on a show!

The show moved to February this year and that’s the plan for next year. In previous years it was held in March and shared the convention center with the New England Seafood Show. That worked well for me because the seafood show had tons of seafood and ideas for seafood. This is why it’s called the New England Seafood Show.

You want more attendees? Bring more food to the food show. More attendees will bring more exhibitors. It will be a win-win!


The Burger 

Well, I’m back from my long sabbatical of blog writing. I’ve been busy with my Executive Chef position at Showcase Live. I was thinking about what would be a good return topic? I went with my favorite food subject; the burger.

The original hamburger was called the hamburger sandwich. It was created at the beginning of the 20th century when Americans went to work in the large factories and needed quick and easy food. No one is exactly sure who created it. Louis Lunch in New Haven CT has put in the claim as the first. I have been there and it’s a very small cool place. They cook their burgers vertically in the original cast iron grill and serve it between two pieces of toast. They only allow cheese, tomato, and onion on their sandwiches. No ketchup or mustard is allowed!

In the Boston area where I live, the best high-end burger is at Craigie On Main. This French inspired restaurant makes a VERY limited amount each day. When they are gone, that’s it! It’s a secret what goes into Chef Tony Maws burgers, but they are fucking awesome!

In the fast casual category, my favorite is Shake Shack. They make amazing burgers, crinkle fries, and shakes. Next on my list is Five Guys. The burgers are always juicy and you can get tons of condiments on them.

The West Coast has In-N-Out. They are what McDonalds and Burger King wish they could be. When I go out to visit my brother in L.A., I always drive thru In-N-Out for a Double-Double.

My least favorite is Smashburger. I have tried so hard to like them. We have one right around the corner from my house and my wife likes their burgers. They smash their meat onto the griddle, hence the name. This goes against everything I was taught about making a good burger. Smashing them makes the meat tough and they lose the juice. It also doesn’t help their cause when they screw up my order every single time I’ve been there. On the positive side, they have good chocolate shakes!

Of course making burgers at home is always a good choice. Make sure you use nothing higher than 80% lean. Use 75% lean if you can get it. If the ground beef is too lean, it will not be as juicy and will taste different. Fat has flavor! Don’t mess with it too much. Just form it into the desired size patty and leave it alone. Don’t mix seasoning into the meat. Put all the seasonings on the outside of the burger. Try not to mess with it during the cooking process. Flip it over only once. Don’t press down or smash it! Keep the burger simple. I like mine on grilled bread (not buns) with cheese, onion, and ketchup.