And, another fine week it has been. Albeit, a little on the quiet side in the Bistro as so many families are traveling for spring break and the empty nesters have headed to a warmer climate as a reprise from our Michigan weather. Which, has been here, there and everywhere. Last week I was riding outside in shirtsleeves, this week bundled in the in-door arena with the wind howling and chilled to the bone until I am on Z or Kos. Then, within 10 minutes peeling off the layers as we, the “team” of 2, depending on which steady stead I’m on, get going and warm up. Pups are raring to go but I have to be sure that I’ve got an extra hour after their walk to wash them down as the road is a mud pit and sidewalks in town not much better. Both Maddie and Sophia would love to just roam the woods and chase squirrels or chipmunks. I’m not opposed to it but both of them become “deaf” to my calls of “home.” They’re having too much fun running off their energy. Yesterday, they roused a huge red-tail hawk and totally freaked me out that one or the other would get carried away. I worry too much… so just follow them around and make sure that I have some good treats in my pocket to entice them back home. What joy and delight I get from my four legged buds. They are my daily dose of stress remedy.
Many of you tell me how much fun it is to watch the kitchen as you enjoy the fruits of their labor, your meals. Sharon and I are the “head honcho” chefs. The buck stops with us. Ultimately, good or bad, we’re responsible for it. So we work closely together on menus and operations. She and sous chef, Max Schornack , handle the day-to-day running of a very busy kitchen. Then there are the grill, sauté and pantry cooks who work the “line.” With an open kitchen, such as ours, they become actors. The stage, their stations, must be stocked to the max before the curtain is raised. The line takes hours to get ready for business and is continually re-stocked during the course of a day.
The pantry is where all the cold food, salads, appetizers and sandwiches come from. Oh, don’t forget the desserts too. This station is tiny and organization is imperative. Next to pantry is the sauté section. Hot entrees are prepared here. The word sauté means to cook quickly in a handled shallow pan with the appropriate cooking medium, which may be clarified butter, olive or other oil. Sauté has always been my favorite because it requires precise plate presentation which I love. You can’t just plop food on a plate. There is a bit of artist in all of my cooks. From the grill area come burgers, hot sandwiches, and fried items. This is not an easy spot to work. The grill is big enough for 30 burgers and buns. It is always full and, since we cook our burgers “to order” the person in this spot may have five or six different temperatures to determine at any given time. I.e. well, medium well, medium, medium rare, etc. And, then there are the two fryers that are full of fries, wings, calamari and fish and chips and a char-grill for the steaks and chops that he or she is also responsible for.
Before any stations can be stocked the food must be prepped. Each item has its beginnings in the “back” kitchen. Just for an example the Caesar salad requires the following: order all ingredients, wash and cut romaine, grate fresh parmesan, make the Caesar dressing (an original recipe from 7 mile), cut and bake croutons, and finally, stock the pantry station with all of the above. This process is followed for everything on our menu including the Chalk Board Features every day.
On top of all this preparatory work are all the pots, pans, dishes and utensils that come with it. Our dishwashers are the best and an important part of the operation.
The next time you’re watching the line cooks know that each of them is adept at every station. They are all “rounds people” meaning that their trained to work anywhere they are needed that particular shift. Their job requires that they’re agile, can “dance” around each other and are able to keep their cool during some very intense times. What a great profession! Sharon and I count our blessing to have such a great staff – front and back. Thanks for making us look good one and all!
Enjoy the show!
Speaking of the kitchen, Sharon and the team have some great Weekend Features starting tonight.
BISTRO PLATES INCLUDE-
GRILLED WAHOO: A Pacific Ocean Fish, Firm and Buttery, Grilled and Brushed with Jerk Spices. Presented with Green Coconut Rice, Pineapple Orange Salsa and Crispy Carrot Ribbons;
CHICKEN POT PIE: Pulled-From-The-Bone All-Natural White and Dark Chicken Stewed with Onions, Carrots, Potato and Corn in a Rosemary and Thyme Gravy Topped with a Puff Pastry Lid;
VEGETARIAN GALETTE: A Rustic Open Faced “Pie” Filled with Chevre Cheese, Roasted Forest Mushrooms, Leeks and Peas.
Finished with a Toss of Watercress, Tomato Confit and Basil Oil; ARTIC CHAR: A Cross Between Salmon and Trout, Oven Roasted with Citrus Aioli and Accompanied with a Brussels Sprout Potato Gratin and Butternut Squash Puree and Last,
Not Least STRAWBERRY BUNDT CAKE: Drizzled with Lemon Glaze, a Flurry of Candied Basil Crystals and Homemade Coconut Basil Gelato. YUM!!!
WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU AT THE BISTRO
WISH YOU MANY MILLION DOLLAR DAYS…
PEACE TO THE WORLD,
MARY, MADDIE, SOPHIA, Z AND KOS
Certified Executive Chef and Owner of Diamond Jim Brady's Bistro