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The Cooks Palate Blog

Entries in chefs (2)

Sunday
Oct212012

Peer to peer cooking

Just when I think I know what’s going on in the food industry, something new pops up.  Gobble is a marketplace for home-cooked meals from neighborhood chefs.  Chefs prepare meals for one person.  The meals are not prepared days in advance.  You can order up until midnight on the night before the meal is delivered to you, and the meals are not particularly expensive.  The day I looked at the Gobble web site, the meals ranged from $9.95 for Chef Julie’s Kid’s Dutch Apple Pancakes to $21.95 for Chef Alisa’s Chicken Himmaphan Over Rice.  Most of the entrée’s were in the $15.99 range.

Gobble takes pride in working with the best home chefs in every neighborhood. Chefs apply to work with Gobble, and are selected based on their character, cooking knowledge, and of course, talent. Gobble's chefs are moms, dads, sisters, brothers, uncles, grandmothers - you name it. Each chef specializes in one or more cuisines, and each has his or her own style.  Some chefs grew up cooking in a foreign country, and make authentic meals from their native cuisine.

"Our chefs are people in your community who have a passion for cooking and are ready to share their unique meals with the world.”  They deliver anywhere, including home, work or a friend’s house.  Delivery costs $3.95 and it includes a tip.  If you are not home, they will leave it at your door.  They also have a program called 'Gobble Up' which allows unlimited delivery for $18.99 a month.  You can order from any combination of chefs, and they will coordinate delivery, so all of the meals arrive at the same time.  It is unclear to me how delivery would be charged in that scenario.

Today, Gobble is currently available in about 7 towns on the San Francisco Bay peninsula.  Gobble is planning to expand to cover the entire Bay area and beyond.  They are also encouraging customers to vote on cities for their expansion across the country.  What a unique idea.  How long do you think it will take for this concept to expand to a neighborhood near you?

Monday
Jan162012

The Big Waste

The other night on Food TV I watched a cooking contest between Anne Burrell and Alex Guarnaschelli against Bobby Flay and Michael Symon.  They were challenged to cook a three course meal in 48 hours for 100 people.  What made the challenge unique was that they had to use food that was being thrown away, waste food.  I guess I knew we wasted a lot of food in the US, but I had no idea.  The food they collected was inspected by New York City food inspectors and it all passed without any problems, yet it was still being thrown away.

We followed the two teams as they went first to vendors that supplied their restaurants and asked for the good food they were throwing away that day.  Bobby and Michael first went to the Manhatten Food Exchange.  They found that any food with the slightest blemish was discarded.  They found peas that had blemishes on the pods, but when shelled the peas were perfect.  They found other things like mangos with a tiny bruise, one day old cheese, and one day old short bread, all being thrown away.  The food exchange throws away hundreds of pounds of perfectly good food every day.

Meanwhile, the ladies went to the Ferrara Bakery.  There they were given Prosciutto ends, espresso, chocolate and flour.  The prosciutto ends had too much fat to sell.  The others were excess from recipes that could not be re-mixed with fresh.  A typical day’s waste was about $40 worth of food.

Anne and Alex then went to F. Rozzo & Son, a fish monger.  There they got a half halibut that had been slightly bruised when filleted.  They also got redfish from a cancelled order and oysters from an order that was too large.  F. Rozzo & Sons throws away about 80 pounds of fish every day.

Probably the most interesting person associated with the waste program was "the Freegan".  That’s right, the Freegan.  This seemingly normal guy, with a normal job, gets all of his food free.  Even though he can afford to buy his food, he goes to supermarket dumpsters and collects the waste that is still edible.  He gave Anne swiss chard, quinoa salad, bagels, avocados and much more. And all of that was just from one supermarket.

Probably the worst example of waste was several U-Pick Farms they went to.  In every case they say that 40-50% of their produce and fruit is wasted.  People will pick a tomato, then see another tomato that looks better, riper or larger and just discard the first tomato, or peach, or cabbage, etc.  These U-Pick farms have the largest compost piles imaginable.

America throws away 27 million tons of food every year that is unwanted, rejected or deemed unsuitable for sale.  That is about 200 pounds for every man, woman, and child in the US.   How much do you  waste and what do you think about all this?  Let us hear from you.