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Cuisine

Cuisine - Articles


How I spent my (2010) summer vacation

Posted On: 6/9/16
Written By: Paul Suplee CEC, PCIII

How I spent my (2010) summer vacation In 2010, I was approached to help run the kitchen at the Yacht Club for the summer. I was in between semesters, they were in-between chefs and I was foolish enough to say “yes.” Hadn’t I learned my lesson from my two-and-a-half year stint as the executive chef? Wasn’t I the focus of unwanted attention at the hands of people who would much rather see the place implode into the sea than turn a profit? The papers. The forums. The complainers… Now don’t get too riled; there were many more people who were supporters, and there are still many patrons that I talk to and hug and enjoy a good cocktail with every now and then. There are so many stories, ranging from the harpoons in the attic to the code words for certain regulars and myriad weddings we would execute flawlessly. It wasn’t that we were the best; it was more to the point that we had a good system down. Sometimes, that’s all you need. The halcyon days of being the chef at the “...
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Smarter chefs, better food — start reading

Posted On: 6/2/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Smarter chefs, better food — start reading It seems an eternity since I was a high school teacher. While I still hold many fond memories of teaching at that level, I much prefer being at the college level, where more of my students are further-intrigued about the craft of cooking. Plainly put, I can get some of them to actually read a book. I recommend books as they are invaluable tools in the expansion of our tiny minds, and while we do have the luxury of computer-assisted information gathering, it is much better to develop critical thinking skills that separate us from beast. There are so many exciting things happening in food and I look forward to reading, picking people’s brains and otherwise never stopping my own education. When I was helping with the AGH Gala for Liquid Assets last week, I was fortunate enough to cook with Nino and Toby (LA and Gilbert’s Provisions, respectively). It was refreshing to work with chefs again who most likely have their nose buried in a book at least a few times a month as was ...
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Just say ‘no’ to TV chefs, ‘yes’ to truffle salt

Posted On: 5/26/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Food Television: The nemesis to any good chef, and the bastion of misinformation for two generations of viewers and connoisseurs of fine dining. The sanctimonious airs of hosts on the now-many food channels drives me insane, but we have to live with it as it is now a part of our culture. To be fair, I will give accolades to one cooking show and that is “Master Chef Jr.,” where young (and sometimes very young) kids try their hand in the kitchen while getting mentored by world-class chefs. I like this show because the hosts seem to be a bit more real and personable than in the other shows, but don’t even get me started on the silly shows like “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Chopped,” or any of the other myriad shows that are much more about entertainment than actual cooking. Recently I was flipping through the channels when I came across an “editorial” by one of the main hosts for Food TV who was lecturing us, the lowly viewers, on using t...
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Coffee, cheese, more coffee essential

Posted On: 5/19/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Coffee, cheese, more coffee essential For the love of all that’s holy, someone get me a cup of coffee. Nay, bring me a tankard – a thermos of joe. Just load me up with one of those one-gallon carafes and I’ll be on my way. My body is buzzing, and I can’t figure out why I’m coming unraveled. I’m supposed to be catching up on rest and relaxation now that the semester is over, but somehow it’s getting worse. My elbows ache, I blew out my bicep muscle and somehow I managed to crease my little toe yesterday at work to a point where it hurts to walk. What in Hades is happening to me? It’s almost as though this aging thing is real, but I refuse to accept that. It must be something else. I remember as a teenager telling my parents that I would never grow old, and they would laugh. My invincibility was a silly notion to them as they were once invincible in their own rights, although when they themselves were invincible, films were still in black and white and World War I was a thi...
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Beware of bombastic ‘Buckeye’ Zealots

Posted On: 5/12/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Beware of bombastic ‘Buckeye’ Zealots To clarify, she was rude to me first. Maybe she saw the Maryland tags, or perhaps it was the forlorn looks on our faces as we were obviously in the middle of a long road trip. Or in hindsight, had the cashier found herself victim to countless miserable drivers who had to pull off of the highway as torrential rains made it impossible to pass the mountain roads safely? Regardless of the reason why, she drew first blood. My kids and I were on our way to the Midwest and stopped at a Cracker Bucket (name changed to protect the innocent) to buy some oversized, Jumbo Smarties – one of my all-time favorites. As the ‘Barrel’ is the only place that I know to procure them, it was a fairly easy decision, especially considering that the ‘frog strangler’ in which we found ourselves made any forward movement treacherous at best. Before we even had a chance to get through the door, the cashier told my kids not to touch anything unless they wanted to buy it. I haven̵...
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Take your chances with unconquerable BBQ

Posted On: 5/5/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Take your chances with unconquerable BBQ There are times in a man’s life when he must face his biggest challenges head-on, or more to the point, incisors-on. Into the bargain, it is in these great times of conquest that he must prepare himself by having a hefty roll of paper towels at his side. Otherwise, all will be lost. I had such a moment in St. Louis last week as I faced off with a sandwich at Sugarfire that was not only cunningly christened bearing in mind the presence of 40,000 nerds, but would also be the impetus for my inner debate of great food v. health. I am getting old, after all. If you remember as far back as two years ago, I was in Kansas City and I wrote about five days of meat-sweats summoned by steaks and marrow at Anton’s, burgers and fries cooked in lard at Town Topic, and of course the burnt ends and ribs at Oklahoma Joe’s. Above all I’ve missed the Midwest BBQ joints, and as I have been in St. Louis for the past three years with our robotics team at championships, I should ha...
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Feasting on dinner of tasty sirloin filets

Posted On: 4/28/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Feasting on dinner of tasty sirloin filets (Reprinted from March 6, 2014 issue) I love my children so much that I decided to call a snow day on our youngest daughter’s 13th birthday. Not only was it a great snow day, but it was in March. I’ll do what I can to make my kids happy. I’m sure I’ll have to pay the big guy back some day for the snowstorm, but by any means possible… Unfortunately, her birthday also coincided with our annual ‘tax day’, the day on which we knock out a good amount of the dreaded deed of paying the Tax Man. This year, extenuating circumstances forced us to work things out on Gabbie’s birthday, but it was still a day off and that’s pretty amazing, I’d say. The next day, however, it was time to get back to business and end the day with what we believe could have very well been the first meal of 2014 at our own dining room table. It is hard to believe that we are in March already, and shame on us for stepping away from our evening ritual of meetin...
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Oklahoma brisket enough for small army

Posted On: 4/21/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Oklahoma brisket enough for small army It’s funny how writing has lent itself so therapeutically to me in my aging years. There have certainly been times during which I drone as I suffer from inescapable writer’s block, and there are a few occasions on which I’ve had to take a week or two off to gather my thoughts. But one thing has remained constant; my desire to put into words precisely what it is that I get out of food. Whether it’s an epiphany as to when I decided to a chef, or a fleeting moment in which I can literally smell and taste a dinner that I ate in Napa Valley nine years ago, food transports me much in the way that nature intended. I was in the kitchen last week and found myself staring at a beautiful, full brisket. Consciously, I wasn’t thinking about anything, but then I realized that I was reminiscing about a trip made to Kansas City a few years ago. The trip was five days of “meat sweats,” during which we ate steak, crispy duck, bone marrow, burgers cooked in duc...
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Thank Babaar, the elephant in the room

Posted On: 4/14/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

If I had to guess, I was 8 years old, and at the time my father was one of the lead engineers at the National Gallery of Art in D.C. As such, we would find ourselves receiving tickets to a random quartet in the West Wing, or passes to a special event on the Mall or on the occasion in question, a reading of “Babaar the Elephant” at the Kennedy Center. I was excited to hear our weatherman from WTTG read one of my favorite childhood books; I awaited the reading in rapturous anticipation. Alas, I realized that I had to go to the bathroom and that my time of imagination would have to wait. I begged my father to let me go alone, and he acquiesced, believing that I surely wouldn’t be able to get that wrong since it was right down the hallway. Mayhap he was a little too confident in my navigational abilities at the ripe age of 8. I asked the usher, a nice old man, where I would find the restroom, and he pointed and said “Down the hall to the left; by the elevator....
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‘T-Wrecks,’ lobster, both look good on roll

Posted On: 4/7/16
Written By: Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

‘T-Wrecks,’ lobster, both look good on roll A ragtag group of us parents are mentors for Titanium Wrecks, the NASA robotics team for Worcester County. You may know that our kids have been incredibly successful in our three-year history. And now, as a result of doing well again at two district events, our students will be in College Park starting today for district championships. These kids just keep pushing, and while a third trip to the world championships in St. Louis is not in the bag, I can see it happening for one reason alone; we’re broke. On top of being up to my eyeballs in robots and their accompanying financial strain, my spring semester is always heavy. Ergo, it’s not unusual for me to run on about four hours of sleep and copious amounts of coffee and water. Truth be told, this is the time of year that I look forward to teaching my night classes because they give me nonrobotics things to worry about, and these two in particular are near and dear to my heart: foods of the Americas, and French cuisine. I u...
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