From all of us at Quality Cambridge Hotel, thanks so much for joining us this year. Have a wonderful holiday season and do check back to find out more about the exciting things that are coming up in 2010.
Archive for December, 2009
Working in a kitchen is like fighting in a battle field.
Imagine the Diggers, back in World War I and World War II, running in the battle zone, dodging bullets, avoiding mines in the ground. Protecting their brothers-in-arms lives by putting them self in the front. Against the heat, the dirt, sweating, yelling, shouting charge >> and quickly as possible, before the enemy will catch them.
Well of course the kitchen is not the Gallipoli battle zone, and yes, our guests are not the enemy, but the kitchen is a dangerous place that involves extreme heat, very dangerous equipment, knives, hot oil, and a lot of pressure!!!
Imagine trying to prepare, cook and serve 100 people in 1.5 hrs, at the same time you have 50 guests up in their function room waiting for their fabulous canapés, and if you’re really ‘lucky’, then you have another function dinner for 30 guests in a different function room, and all you got is your brothers-in-arms, your colleagues, your mates in the kitchen, that are helping each other and defending our kingdom, The Kitchen.
Every move that you make will be judged by the guests, is it salty enough, is cooked enough, would he like the flavours of the dish, cooking temperature for steaks, Rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, well done and for some of our clients, even VERY well done >> and it keeps going…
Imagine that you’re seated in front of 100 people and every single one of them got something to say about you. And you, you have to impress every single one of them and make sure they get the best of the best of your abilities.
If your platoon is well trained, and set up for the upcoming battle, then it’s 99.9% chance that you’ll win the battle. But unfortunately it’s not always the case.
And then it happens, busy service, the restaurant is FULL!! Most of the orders already came through the docket machine. The kitchen hand is running around between the two washing sections, scrubbing pots, and loading the dishwasher. Your feet are screaming at you to sit down and unload that weight off them for 5 minutes. But the team is working as one. Depending on each other, coordinating like a school of sardines in the ocean.
The door opens and one of the waiters is coming with a plate half full and carefully approaches you…The head chef.
Excuse me chef?! You hear a soft voice in the background. You turn around towards them and ask what the problem is? “The guest asked for a medium steak and we served him a medium well. He is not happy”… the waiter answers while he take a few steps backwards, afraid that you might shout at him, or yell like some other chefs that they bumped into through their career as waiters.
BOOM!!!!!!! Your heart is crushed. You feel embarrassed. How did that happen? What are you going to do now? In one second, your whole service is over. No more joking, turning the music off, putting your tail between your legs, like a wounded dog. And if the floor was made out of sand, you’ll become an ostrich and stick your head way down in it.
You lost your fortress, your kingdom. You have lost the battle.
So after taking all that pressure, the heat in the kitchen, especially in these summer days, while everybody is in their offices cooling down with their brand new air conditioners looking at their computer screens, and making jokes on what they have watched last night on the television, mind you that as a chef you don’t get to see all of these shows, cause by the time you get home all there is on the telly is the horrible adult commercials that we all are sick of already. But don’t forget it is for unlimited time only… as they like to say.
So what if sometimes we yell or release some pressure on a poor waitress that by mistake came across your way. DEAL WITH IT.
We deal with it every day.
I leave you with a great recipe for Chimichurri sauce, which will go great on your steaks, no matter if it’s rare, medium or even well done.
1/2 cup olive oil
1-2 green chilies depend how spicy you like it. Make sure you deseeded it.
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 bunch coriander
1/3 bunch basil
¼ bunch mint
3 clove garlic
1 tomato deseeded and small diced. (The professional term is Concase.
Salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor bled oil, herbs, garlic, onion, chili and lemon juice, until it forms a paste.
Then add the tomato and season to taste.
Chill for at list 2 hrs before using.
With school holidays upon us, families will be looking to get away for some much needed rest and relaxation. However, planning a trip as a family, especially if you have small children can be particularly challenging as not all establishments are particularly kid friendly. Here are some ideas on how to plan a great hassle-free trip for your brood.
When travelling with young kids, getting to your destination in one piece seems like more than half the battle! If you’re flying, arrive at the airport extra early to allow for check in procedure and finding your gate. If driving, take plenty of breaks and make lots of pit stops to give children the chance to work off any excess energy. Be sure to take along toys and games to keep kids occupied through the duration of the trip. Once you arrive, most families will find it more convenient to hire a car than to try and navigate public transport with small children.
It’s hard finding family accommodation, as many popular destinations tend to cater to couples and business travellers. When picking a good kid friendly hotel, you’ll want to find one that has facilities like a swimming pool or children’s arcade. If you’re looking to plan a night on the town away from the kids, try and make a hotel reservation at a place that will also offer baby-sitting services for a small fee. Ensure that there are lifts available if you find you have a lot more luggage.
Things to Do
Cities are great places to explore and most will offer a number of outings that both kids and adults can enjoy. Zoos, aquariums and parks are always popular destinations of choice. At night, try and see if you can book tickets to see a show or take in some local theatre. Find out if there are any free local events on when you’re in the area – it gives you a great taste of the local culture.
Family focused restaurants are hard to come by and it’s that much harder when you’re in unfamiliar territory. When dining out, keep an eye out for restaurants with other families already there, preferably with kids your age. Be cautious about introducing new foods as your child may have allergies that you are not yet aware of. Try and see if you can arrange for someone to care for the kids for a night and treat yourselves to night on the town.
The most important tip for successful family holiday is to plan ahead, expect things to take longer and be extra courteous to staff members. If you look to enjoy yourselves as a family, you’ll gather some delightful memories to share.
We all know the saying that All chefs are using drugs, and later on, having sex with the waitresses in the cool room. Even in the book/TV series ‘Kitchen Confidential’ it’s mention. Actually if I’m not mistaking, it was mention more then once.
Anyway, let me tell you a story about sex, drugs, and cooking.
I was working as a Sous chef for a big hotel. At the same time I broke up with my girlfriend, and moved in with a flat mate that likes to ***Par-tAy***
Even though I had nothing against people that consume light drugs, and even tried it a few times, still I wasn’t ready for that.
It was one month after we moved in and immediately we talked about having a house warming party/ my flat mate b-day party. We invite almost everyone we knew, and notify the neighbors about upcoming party.
Everybody was invited for Friday after noon.
On that day I was trying to finish my shift as early as possible.
8pm. And we’re heading to my place with my convertible sports car that I loved so much. Summer night, with the roof top down, surrounded by beautiful women.
Living the dream.
As we got home, the party was already started. From educational reasons I can not mention who did what and what did who… but what I can tell you that during early Sunday morning, I met my future, and now current girlfriend and the love of my life.
At first I wasn’t very impress by her performance, but the more I looked at her, the more I wanted… and as I told you guys before, with my motivation and irresistible smile there is nothing I can’t have.
It took me one month to get her and her friend. (For dinner I mean you cheeky buggers)
Her friend was celebrating her birthday and nothing is more tempting then a 3 course dinner at my penthouse, that over looking at the airplanes right towards the landing strip.
I polished the whole house, shmiked the kitchen and designed the perfect menu to impress her with my culinary skills. Hopefully, she would come for seconds… hahaha.
Sneaky but perfect.
I went to the butchery that I was very familiar with from my previous work place, and knew exactly what the quality of the meat was. Remember, it is VERY important to get really good ingredients when you are cooking. Especially when you are trying to impress. Like what one of my teachers at the Le Cordon Blue used to say, ‘’it is always about the quality of your fresh produce.’’
Ok, Messieurs et Mesdames (Ladies and Gentlemen), the menu:
Rack of lamb, stuffed with goat cheese, accompanied by dried fruit and nuts spring roll, topped with bean sprouts and pistachio dressing.
Beef fillet wrapped in crispy prosciutto, on a bed of polenta cake, topped with wild mushroom sauce.
And for dessert I let my flat mate buy a birthday cake for her friend.
She loved it, and could not stop raving about the lamb.
Anyway from here to there, and a little bit of this and little bit of that; it’s been almost 2 wonderful years with Zoe, and plenty more to come.
So yes, I did not mention any sweaty cool room sex, or a drug consumption that would encourage you to call the cops on me, but for now, this is my story about sex, drugs and cooking.
(Or is it?) hahaha.
Now to make you lucky with the ladies/ men, ill give you the winner recipe for the dried fruits and nuts spring roll. Try it, and you would not regret. Sweet sensation.
Ingredients for 4 spring rolls:
50 g Hazelnuts
50 g Sunflower seeds
50 g Macadamia
20 g Dried apricot
20 g Dried cranberry
20 g Dried apple
20 g Dates.
50 g Butter
1 packet of frozen spring roll pastry (can be found in all supermarkets)
Roughly chop all nuts and fruits in a food processor. Add butter.
Place in a deep pot and feel up with water until it covers the mix.
Then cover with baking paper, and cook on low heat for about 35 minutes. Be careful for not burning the bottom. The sugar from the fruits can be burn very quickly. Make sure you stir every 5-10 minutes.
Then pot the spring roll paper on an angel so one corner is pointing you. Take 2 spoons of the mix and lire in the bottom center of it. Brush all corners with egg wash
First you fold the side to the same line of you nuts mix. Make sure you fold it in straight line. Then hold from the pointy corner and roll tight.
That it…easy as. But delicious as delicious meant to be.
Good luck and hope it will bring some love to you too. And most important,
Stay off the Drugs.
Love and a wink,
Maintaining a true “village” vibe, Paddington is a quiet and trendy suburb that is home to some of the most important fashion stores in the city of Sydney. From designer labels like Gorman, Charlie Brown and Alannah Hill, to some of the more eclectic side streets and treasure troves, treat yourself to the perfect pleasures of Paddington.
Established by ex-convict Robert Cooper, the suburb of Paddington has always had a pronounced presence. On the main street stands Paddington Town Hall and Cooper’s original massive estate, Juniper Hall, a physical representation of big things to come. Outside of the historical sites, Paddington is home to some of the most recognised fashion labels in the world. It also has a great sampling of boutiques, cafes and some of the best local artisans showcasing their pieces at the weekly Paddington markets.
“Paddo” is Sydney’s fashion capital and the place to head to find some of the city’s trendiest frocks. As you amble down the main strip, you’ll be sure to spot some of the big label flagship stores, including Alannah Hill, Gorman, Ginger and Smart – just to name a few. Meanwhile, younger hipsters can find their favourite pieces at G-Star, Puma and American Apparel or totter along in fashion forward footwear from Peep Toe Shoes. On Saturdays, locals flock to the Paddington markets for some great finds that have been crafted by local artists.
There are a number of select dining options along the main strip of Paddington, including great Italian at Lucio’s or tasty tapas and samplers from Tapenade. There are, of course, a medley of cute cafes and coffee spots. Meanwhile, the locals tend to burrow themselves away at Ampersand, a delightful second hand bookstore that whips up a mean espresso.
During the day, you’ll want to catch some rays with a leisurely stroll or picnic in nearby Centennial Park. Paddington is home to some of the most unique cinematic experiences in Sydney with both the Verona and the Palace Cinemas showcasing some of the best independent films. For a great night on the town, there’s always something on at the Grand Pacific Blue Room and Ruby Rabbit, or head to The Fringe Bar where the locals are out on the prowl.
Paddington’s main strip is located on Oxford Street just past Centennial Park. It’s about a 20 minute walk from Kings Cross station. Buses running from the city towards the Eastern suburbs are a great option when it comes to public transport.
12th of January 2005, the time is 6:45 in the morning.
I have just landed in Sydney airport. I remember the fresh air, and the warm sun, that would soon be considered hot and dangerous, hitting my face. All I had is a backpack full of clothes and a business card of a local hostel in Glebe, which I had no idea where it was.
My friend Mark (who had joined me on my new Australian adventure) and I jumped in a taxi and handed the driver the business card with the hostel address, hoping that they could accommodate us.
Guess what?? They couldn’t.
So here I am, 3 hours in Sydney, mid January, 35 degrees in the shade, with a 30 kg backpack, lost in Glebe, and the only shoulder I could cry on is my mate Mark, who by the way suffers from diabetes, which means that he needs to eat a balanced, healthy meal soon, and cannot be walking around searching for a hotel that could spare our lives and give us a room.
I left Mark in a ‘safe zone’ under a tree with all the luggage and proceeded on my adventure.
I remember walking in the streets thinking to myself, OH MY GOD!!! What have I done?? How did I copy paste my whole life in to this foreign country with these MASSIVE ugly mo@#$$ F#@#$$ spiders?? (Yes, that was the first time I was introduced to your unusual wildlife that you have here in Australia). Don’t get me wrong; we also have some weird animals in Israel, but spiders like that, and in the middle of the streets, in their massive webs, I have never seen.
I found a room, and we are “safe” now.
A week after, me and Mark rented our first place in Sydney. A two bedroom apartment in Pyrmont, partly furnished. We did not know that Pyrmont is considered one of the “good” suburbs in Sydney, but was just luck, and the 501 bus that will take us to college for the next 9 months is passing just under our front door.
Days go by, and so a couple of months, and I’m running out of money very quickly.
Mark, I need to get a job. “But how?” he asks. “We don’t know anyone, we just a fresh basic cuisine student that English is just a faded memory from watching Seinfeld on TV back home. Who is going to give you a job??”
I’ll be ok, I got my motivation and irresistible smile that could get me any job I want. (So I thought…)
I improvised a decent CV and walked off to Darling Harbour, on a mission. Like a hungry lion, that has no choice, in the African savanna, using his survival skills to hunt his prey, I was hunting for a job.
After not long, I got in to Cockle bay Wharf, and met my future Head chef, having his five minutes break, like all chefs, sucking on a cigarette, and trying to forget the long day that just started for him.
“Hey, my name is Ezy, I’m a Le Cordon Blue student and I’m looking for a casual job. Can you help?” Using the irresistible smile of mine. By the way, I named my self Ezy, since my real name is Itzhak, and I assumed that it will be too hard for the English palette to pronounce, and might come against me in my job hunt. So Ezy, can’t get easier than that. And guess what? I got the job. Weekend Casual chef that will work on the cold larder section.
I was pumped!!! Can’t get better then that. Working in a real kitchen, huge restaurant that can seats up to 250 people at once, surrounded by the amazing views of Darling Harbour.
Yap!! I nailed it.
One of the dishes I had to cook in my section was a beautiful, delicious baby squid marinated in lots of herbs and olive oil, topped with a Mediterranean pine nut dressing.
Want to know how it’s done?
Let me tell you.
Ingredients for 4 serves:
4 baby squids cleaned and cut in to rings.
1 bunch of Parsley.
1 bunch of coriander
3 garlic cloves chopped.
One small onion diced.
2 red chilies chopped.
400ml of olive oil.
For the dressing:
100 g of roast pine nuts.
1 Lebanese cucumber deseeded and diced finely.
1 Roma tomato deseeded and diced finely.
1 small spinach onion diced finely.
100 ml of olive oil.
30 ml of balsamic vinegar.
Ok, let’s start.
In a food processor blend all squid marinating ingredients – except the squid, obviously – until it forms a paste.
Mix in the squid and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
In the meantime, mix all dressing condiments and season.
Tick tock, 2 hours passed.
Heat a pan, prefer a non stick, with a bit of oil. Wait until the pan is smoking hot.
Quickly pour the squid in to the pan and toss repeatedly. Be careful not to over cook. The squid will be hard as a shoe soul if you do. It should take you about 3-4 minutes.
Remove from the pan, and dress. I guarantee you that on a sunny day, with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, there will be no competitors on the family BBQ.
Hope you’ll find this recipe helpful in the coming summer.
Dim the lights, tune that piano and crank up the spot, cabaret is officially back! This long lost art form is making a comeback in Australia and audiences are soaking up every minute of it. Sydney, long held to be the central hub of cabaret theatre, is seeing patrons pouring into some of the city’s chicest spots to enjoy dinner with an extra bit of “sauce” – cabaret style. In financially gloomier times, Sydney-siders are looking for new distractions and entertainment. Many are opting for “staycations” as an alternative to domestic or overseas travel. A Sydney cabaret dinner is just one of the many options available for locals and travellers looking for something “a little bit different”.
Christmas is just around the corner and these foxy ladies are celebrating it in style. Kath and Kim: A Christmas Comedy Cabaret features the comic genius of Lesley Hancock, Rose Hancock and Trevor Ashley. Let these classy ladies show you what happy holidays are all about!
Acts like this one are very popular at Café 212 in Surry Hills, located on the street level of the Quality Hotel Cambridge. The home of Sydney’s first five star restaurant, Café 212 is still the “it” spot when it comes to quality dining. (Meanwhile the Quality Hotel Cambridge offers great accommodation in one of the hippest suburbs in Sydney.)
Cabaret is a traditional art form that harks back to the 19th century, originating from the sultry streets of Paris. A thrilling medley of comedy, song, dance and theatre, cabaret offers its patrons the opportunity to enjoy their show with a bit of fine wining and dining. Traditionally, cabaret has always had a “seedy” appeal, confined mostly to the darker recesses of city nightlife, but it has also maintained a glamorous and mysterious allure. Today, cabaret has more or less been replaced with jazz clubs and local concerts, but there are a number of venues, like Café 212 at Quality Hotel Cambridge, that still feature cabaret nights while a number of capital cities have cabaret festivals to showcase some of the nation’s top performers.
Transport yourself back to 19th century Paris and discover the glitz, the glamour and the glorious appeal of a sassy Sydney cabaret, only at Café 212.