Michelin Stars Madness – What are Michelin Stars ?

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The term “Michelin Star” is a hallmark of fine dining quality and restaurants around the world which tout their Michelin Star status.   Of course, the hilarious part of all this is that this prestigious restaurant rating is from a tire company.  Yes, the same Michelin that sells tires also doles out restaurant ratings.

Michelin’s Anonymous Reviewers

Michelin has a long history of reviewing restaurants, actually.  In 1900, the Michelin tire company launched its first guidebook to encourage road tripping in France.  In 1926, it started sending out anonymous restaurant reviewers to try restaurants.

To this day, Michelin relies entirely on its full-time staff of anonymous restaurant reviewers.  The anonymous reviewers generally are very passionate about food, have a good eye for detail, and have a great taste memory to recall and compare types of foods.   Each time a reviewer goes to a restaurant, they write a thorough memorandum about their experience and then all of the reviewers come together to discuss and decide on which restaurants will be awarded the stars. Michelin does not use any consumer reviews in making its restaurant determinations.

Michelin Stars Defined

Michelin awards 0 to 3 stars on the basis of the anonymous reviews.  The reviewers concentrate on the quality, mastery of technique, personality and consistency of the food, in making the reviews.  They do not look at interior decor, table setting, or service quality in awarding stars, though the guide shows forks and spoons which describes how fancy or casual a restaurant may be.

The stars are awarded as follows:

One star:  A good place to stop on your journey, indicating a very good restaurant in its category, offering cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard.

Two stars: A restaurant worth a detour, indicating excellent cuisine and skillfully and carefully crafted dishes of outstanding quality

Three stars: A restaurant worth a special journey, indicating exceptional cuisine where diners eat extremely well, often superbly. Distinctive dishes are precisely executed, using superlative ingredients.

Top five Chefs with maximum Michelin Stars

JOEL ROBUCHON

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While Robuchon is currently decorated with 25 stars, his record number bought him up to 28 at one point. A dip he may be experiencing, but the chef’s empire is set to expand, while he, a year shy of his 70th birthday, is eyeing up a bigger tally for the future. Robuchon, widely known as the ‘Chef of the Century’, is one of the pioneers of molecular gastronomy, though during his later career he focused on more traditional cooking techniques.

ALAIN DUCASSE

In 1998, Alain Ducasse was the first chef to ever collect 6 Michelin stars. 15 years later, that record is a distant memory, with Ducasse’s current number up to 21. Michelin star chefs didn’t get to where they are without having an unerring attention to detail. Ducasse is particularly well known for his, possessing an obsession with the finer points in just about anything, whether it’s in the kitchen or not.

GORDON RAMSAY

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If Robuchon has been, technically speaking, Chef of the Century, Ramsay has been the most famous, blaspheming his way onto television screens in just about every part of the English-speaking world. The restaurants under his name have amassed a total of 16 Michelin stars, but the current total stands at 7. Perhaps it’s a shame Ramsay receives more attention for his short fuse than he does his food, especially when he’s achieved so much his fellow chefs can’t – remarkably, his flagship restaurant in Chelsea has held three Michelin stars for almost 15 years.

THOMAS KELLER

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The Michelin guide might not be the ultimate honour in the US, but Keller has gone about setting a fine example, as he’s the only American chef to hold all six out of his total seven stars simultaneously. Keller’s three star establishment French Laundry celebrated its 20-year anniversary last year, and was on two occasions deemed the best restaurant on the planet. He’s a chef who’s widely celebrated in America, and has made a good name for himself in France.

HESTON BLUMENTHAL

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Heston has been one of the UK’s most popular chefs, though some might even go as far as calling him a national treasure. He currently holds six Michelin stars while the restaurant that claims three of them, The Fat Duck, was briefly thought the best restaurant in the world. Blumenthal’s successful career is for the large part thanks to his unique (bizarre, some say) techniques in the kitchen. Despite his inventive ways often questioned by the more conservative chefs, it would be unfair to say his efforts have not contributed to the refinement of British cuisine.

How many of us know that Indian chefs have also been awarded Michelin stars. Can you name five Indian chefs to be awarded this honour ?

STAY INSPIRED…!!!

Vibhor

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Chicken Burger Recipe

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The kids love it. The patties can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. This makes it quick and easy to assemble and hence a perfect option when you are expecting friends over. Simple yet delicious.

INGREDIENTS

  1. Chicken mince – 800 g
  2. Eggs – 1 no.
  3. Processed cheese (grated) – 50 g
  4. Onion (finely chopped) – 50 g
  5. Carrot (finely chopped) – 50 g
  6. Celery (finely chopped) – 25 g
  7. Leeks (finely chopped) – 25 g
  8. Coriander (chopped) – 20 g
  9. Mint (chopped) – 10 g
  10. Salt – to taste
  11. Crushed black pepper – 5 g
  12. Chilli flakes – 5 g
  13. Oil – to cook
  14. Tomato (sliced) – 4 large tomatoes
  15. Cheese slices (cheddar / processed) – 10 slices
  16. Iceberg lettuce – 10 large leaves
  17. Mayonnaise – 150 ml
  18. Mustard sauce – 50 ml
  19. Burger bun – 10 nos.

METHOD

PATTIES

  1. Heat some oil in a pan. Saute carrots, onion, celery and leeks.
  2. Add them to the chicken mince along with cheese, herbs, spices and seasoning.
  3. Add egg to this mixture and mix well. Shape into 10 patties of ½” thickness (approximately 100 g each).
  4. Wrap in cling film and keep in refrigerator.
  5. These patties may be cooked on a grill, shallow fried, deep fried as it is or egg-washed-bread-crumbed and then deep fried.

ASSEMBLY

  1. Cut the burger bun horizontally and toast lightly on a hot pan.
  2. Apply mayonnaise on one side and mustard on the other.
  3. Layer the lettuce leaves and tomato slices.
  4. Place the cooked burger patty on top.
  5. The grated cheese added to the chicken mice helps to keep the patties moist.
  6. The cheese slice may be put on top of the hot patty immediately after it is cooked or alternatively, it may be added just before the patty is to be put in the burger. In the latter case, it needs to be gratinated under a grill or in an oven.

CHECKS

  1. Make sure the mince is absolutely dry (no moisture).
  2. The mince should not be lean (should have enough natural or added fat) otherwise the final product would be dry and crumbly.
  3. The patties would cook better if they are cold.
  4. The cheese added to the mince meat helps in keeping the patties moist when they are cooked.

Please share the pictures of the burgers you have tried making at home. We would choose the best out of them and the winner would receive a surprise gift.

HAPPY COOKING…!!!

Vibhor

Nawabi Tarkari Biryani

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All three years of Catering College, Saturday and Biryani were synonymous to each other. Day was planned so that we are back in hostel for lunch or we leave after lunch. Saturday was the Biryani Day. I am sharing a recipe for Vegetable Dum Biryani. It is simple to make and with little practice it is easy to get it right.

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INGREDIENTS

  1. Long grained Basmati rice – 300 g
  2. Onion – 125 g
  3. Curd – 125 g
  4. Ginger paste – 20 g
  5. Garlic paste – 10 g
  6. Green chillies – 2 nos.
  7. Ginger – 15 g
  8. Cauliflower – 250 g
  9. Carrot – 100 g
  10. French beans – 50 g
  11. Green Peas – 50 g
  12. Cottage cheese – 75 g
  13. Saffron – few strands
  14. Milk – 50 ml
  15. Desi ghee – 50 g
  16. Red chilli powder – 5 g
  17. Yellow chilli powder – 2.5 g (1/2 tsp)
  18. Coriander powder – 10 g
  19. Roasted cumin powder – 5 g
  20. Rosewater (gulabjal) – 15 ml
  21. Fresh mint leaves – 15 g
  22. Green cardamom powder – 2.5 g (1/2 tsp)
  23. Mace powder (javitri) – 2.5 g (1/2 tsp)
  24. Salt – to taste
  25. Cloves – 5 nos.
  26. Black cardamom – 1 no.
  27. Cinnamon stick – 2”
  28. Bayleaf – 2 nos.
  29. Lemon – 1 no.
  30. Meetha Ittr – 1 drop

METHOD

  1. Wash and soak rice. Good quality basmati rice should be soaked for a minimum of 15 minutes but usually not more than 30 minutes. Boil rice till 90% done and keep aside.
  2. Cut cauliflower into small florets, carrots and French beans into losange (diamonds) and cottage cheese into small dices.
  3. Finely chop green chillies, cut lemon into roundels and ginger into juliennes (thin matchsticks).
  4. Warm milk and add saffron to it. Leave it to infuse.
  5. Slice onion thinly. Deep fry 50 g thinly sliced onion until golden and crisp. Keep aside.
  6. Blanch the vegetables till the colour is bright and the vegetables are al dente (have a bite to them).
  7. Heat little ghee in a fry pan and add whole spices. Fry till they start to leave aroma.
  8. Add remaining onion, ginger paste, garlic paste, chopped green chillies and powdered spices, except green cardamom and mace powder (javitri-elaichi powder). Add salt. Fry till the onion is golden brown.
  9. Add curd, blanched vegetables and cottage cheese and continue to cook till the oil leaves the side.
  10. In a heavy-bottom pan put the remaining ghee. Add half the boiled rice. Add the vegetable and cottage cheese curry. Then add the remaining rice on top.
  11. Add saffron milk, mint leaves, javitri-elaichi powder, ginger juliennes, fried onion, roundels of lemon, rosewater and mitha Ittr on top.
  12. Put the lid on top and seal it with dough. Put the pan on hot tawa and put on dum.
  13. When the dough starts to break and steam starts coming out from cracks, the biryani is done. It normally takes around 10-15 minutes for this quantity. For better results put few pieces of burning charcoal on top of the lid while the biryani is on dum.

Good food is all about sharing. If you like this recipe please share it with your friends so that they may enjoy making and eating it too.

HAPPY COOKING…!!!

Vibhor

Do you have a “Suspended Coffee” ?

CHARITY…!!!…It’s a small word but it has a huge impact. Charity for me has always been giving away what I can use myself, to a less privileged person. Therefore, giving away almost spoiled food or tattered clothes to maids don’t count for me. OK…OK…OK…This is not a moral science lecture…

I just wanted to share a very beautiful concept I came across recently. It’s called “SUSPENDED COFFEE”. Many of you might already be aware of it, but I feel it’s still a virgin idea as far as our country is concerned.

Please watch the video to know what a “Suspended Coffee” is. How lovely it would be if something on similar lines could be started around here as well. However, it can only be done when Outlet Owners and the Customers are in sync.

That ways we won’t have to wait for special occasions like birthdays to go to Orphanages or wait for auspicious days to organize Bhandaras. Everyone would be able to become a part of this drive as we would be deciding whether we want to do it or not, what amount we would like to spare and how often we would like to do it.

If this concept touched your heart please share it with people you know.

– Vibhor

Recipe for Chaat Masala

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Chaat masala is used extensively in Indian Cuisine, especially to add taste to the Chaat items and Kebabs. It instantly elevates the taste and provides a tangy twist to the food to which it is added. It need not be cooked. Although a lot of proprietary products are available in the market but they are no match to a freshly ground spice mixture. Here is a simple yet flavoursome and aromatic mix. Not too difficult to make yourself at home. The result is worth the effort.

  1. Shahi jeera – 10 parts
  2. Amchoor powder (raw mango powder) – 10 parts
  3. Saunth powder (dry ginger powder) – 10 parts
  4. Whole black peppercorns – 5 parts
  5. Pudina (mint) (sundried) – 5 parts
  6. Whole red chillies – 5 parts.
  7. Black salt – 5 parts
  8. Salt – 1 part
  9. Hing (asafetida) – 1 part

Dry roast all the ingredients, except black salt, salt and pudina. Put all the ingredients in a grinder jar and grind to a powder. Store in an airtight container.

HAPPY COOKING…!!!

Vibhor

Chocolate Cake Recipe for Microwave Oven

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Many people ask me whether we can bake a cake in microwave oven. Now, it’s a bit tricky, because actually microwaves are meant to cook and not bake in the real sense of the word. However, there has been a lot of innovations in recent times and now microwave ovens are available with grills, convection option and what not. All this is aimed at making these ovens more adaptable for baking. Personally, i would not prefer a microwave oven over a conventional oven for baking. But, this does not mean we can’t bake cakes in a microwave oven. If the recipes and cooking methods are tweaked a bit, delicious cakes can be made using a microwave oven. Here is one such recipe…call it whatever you want…Rich Chocolate Cake…Chocolate Truffle Cake…Death By Chocolate Cake…It’s a yummy cake but a weight-watcher’s nightmare…!

CHOCOLATE CAKE FOR MICROWAVE

INGREDIENTS

1. Cooking Chocolate (dark) – 225 g
2. Butter – 125 g
3. Powdered sugar – 210 g
4. Eggs – 4 nos.
5. Refined flour – 75 g
6. Cocoa powder – 75 g
7. Baking powder / Baking soda – 1.5 tsp / 1 tsp
8. Cream – 50 ml

METHOD

1. Melt together chocolate and butter.
2. Whip the sugar and eggs together till light and creamy.
3. Sieve the remaining dry ingredients together.
4. Mix together, the chocolate-butter mixture and egg-sugar mixture and add cream to it.
5. Gently fold-in the dry mix.
6. Bake in a lined microwave-safe dish in a microwave for 7-8 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remember, it’s quite a rich cake, so don’t wait for the skewer to be absolutely clean. Moreover, microwaves cooks food from inside to outside as opposed to the oven which cooks from outside to inside. Therefore, there would be some carry-over cooking in the cake even after it is taken out of the microwave oven.
7. The oven may or may not have a grill and convection setting. Put the microwave at the highest temperature or power setting.

VARIATIONS

> The cake is moist as it is and may be served warm with whipped cream / vanilla ice cream along with a proprietary chocolate sauce.
> The cake may be sliced in half horizontally and layered with truffle icing (two parts of chocolate and one part of cream melted together) or ganache (equal parts of chocolate and cream melted together) or whipped cream (heavy cream whipped along with powdered sugar till stiff peak stage).
> Alternatively, the cake may be covered with any of the above three icings.
> A simple design may be made by dredging powdered sugar over something placed over the cake (as in the picture).

Please try it at home and let us know your feedback.

HAPPY COOKING…!!!

Vibhor

Can Businesses review their Customers ?

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A dissatisfied customer is a nightmare for all Businesses, more so for Hospitality related businesses. But I feel that a dissatisfied customer is a huge opportunity rather than a problem, because a well handled dispute resolution means a loyal customer for a very long time and lots of positive reviews. However, at this time I am not writing for a customer dissatisfied with a business, but the other way round. SURPRISED…!!!…NEVER HEARD OF CONCEPT…??? My point is that if customers get so many opportunities to review a business and use the hyperactive social media to spread the word (Read Negative Feedback) shouldn’t Businesses get at least one platform to review Customers who are a perpetual nuisance or who use I-WILL-POST-BAD-REVIEWS-ABOUT-YOU-ON-SOCIAL-MEDIA kind of arm twisting to try and get their way. After all almost all businesses put their heart and soul into what they do. I feel all hoteliers would have encountered at least one such guest in their lifetime who would have made life hell for them. But, what could they do about such guests? Absolutely nothing at all. At the most few Hotels would have a policy to black list such guests but then those guests choose some other hotel and continue with their tantrums there. The trend on social media nowadays is that we become very judgmental as soon as a complaint against a business is posted. No one bothers to hear the other side of the story. I understand that it is a far-fetched idea and maybe quite difficult to implement but I still feel that there should be a platform which Businesses can use to post reviews about their customers too – whether good or bad.

We would love to know your opinion on this.

Thanks and Regards,

Vibhor Rastogi