We started at 10:00 am by going to a fabulous speech by Anthony Bourdain. He was funny and insightful. I asked a question “What do you think is the proper etiquette for a poorly cooked meal or poor service. To make a long answer short, h said, “You give the kitchen the opportunity to fix the problem and if they can not you vote with your dollars and not go back and if it was really bad you tell others that it was a really bad restaurant.
After the lecture I went to an education session of menu development that turned out to be boring because it was from the perspective of large chain restaurant s like Popeye’s Fried Chicken, Fried Chicken, which has changed its name to Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchens n which they talked about the chain of actions required to develop new menu dishes. It made me feel that the process was driven by produce access and marketing and made me realize that food ingredient sourcing and availability takes on a whole new meaning when you have 1000 restaurants in your chain and how that is so like working at Pier 1., where it took the concurrence of 30 to 50 people to make a decision and 100s to execute the decision, except for companies like Starbucks it takes over 11,000 managers to execute the strategy.
The other thing it taught me was that the process of developing a menu for a chain of restaurants is a whole different animal than a home or one small restaurant like the Greenhouse Bistro and Bakery or our house, where the menu is decided in a moment based upon availability of ingredients.
Talking about ingredients, after the lecture at 12:30 we went downstairs to the food booths with Anne and Elizabeth to forage. I wanted to try the Japanese Pavilion’s products. There was everything from grilled Satsuma beef on a dab of dry mancha and salt, to lots of types of green to freeze dried mushroom, daikon and burdock to an amazing fresh frozen wasabi, which is a mustard plant. They even made dashi flavored spaghetti and had a cooking demonstration showing the proper method for making ramen noodles: start by heating a flavored oil to 80˚C., then combine the oil with soy and dashi and chicken stock to make the soup. And throw in the noodles.
Finally, after trying all the Japanese foods we went to the organic section and tried a few mussels at a Prince Edward Island mussel company and a few other teas and snacks. At around 2:30 made our way to the basement to try more spirits and ciders and wines. I must have tried at least five different ciders, Dobra chocolate liquor, a wonderful Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao that used the rind of the bitter orange to give an intense orange flavor to the cognac that had won the spirit of the year for 2013 in Berlin and several Italian wines, including a lovey Franciacorta.
At around 3:30 p.m. Suzette ran out of gas and we left for the hotel for a nap.