Sunday, October 9, 2011

Rose Hills 2011 International Rose Trials

What a wonderful time we all had at the 10th International Rose Hills Trials in Whittier, CA.   I was honored with an official badge and title of "International Rose Judge" representing the USA by W.F.R.S. Judge's Chair, Ed Griffith of The World Federation of Rose Societies.

Here are the award winning results of this year's Rose Trials.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chef Joel Robuchon's Le Grand Livre de Cuisine

A memoir, an epic cookbook with documentary DVD from "The Chef of the Century",  Joel Robuchon, definitely an incredible volume of one man's culinary passion.    I was invited to a special luncheon at Restaurant Joel Robuchon, Las Vegas and to my surprise I received this incredible gift.   The inscription translates "To my dear Alice, for her passion to fine cuisine for whom it is not just in the eyes".    Shocked and almost in tears, I graciously accepted.

This padded-cover book comes in slip jacket box, text in French, recipes in metric, 504 pages, gorgeous photos, published by chef and colleague Alain Ducasse.  Price tag 250 Euros/ $325 US.  Sold at his Las Vegas Restaurants (Joel Robuchon and L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon @MGM Grand Hotel).   If you don't read or understand French, culinary terms, metric measuring, mis en place, or classic French  cooking techniques you could just be looking at the pictures and drooling in your wine!   

A bonus DVD (in French) is a lovely documentary revealing JR's journey from young man of modest means dreaming a success story not most of us could comprehend.   The son of a Poitiers brick-layer, young Joel was first called to serve in the priesthood.  However fate directed him to help out in the nun's  kitchen.   He was hooked for another calling.   His journey from cook to chef de cuisine to Jamin Restaurant chef- owner proves his earned success and world recognition.   I love this book.   I love the story, I love the man, I love his integrity, creative passion and overwhelming generosity to share his love of food with the entire world.   Oh yes, the recipes are very detailed and work as written.

I predict this elegant culinary tome will be a cherished, collectible treasure in anyone's culinary library. 

Chef Joel Robuchon and Alice

This brings me to an earlier and more practical work by Chef Robuchon which is.........

The Complete Robuchon (in English, U.S. measurements) is affordable, understandable, doable and delicious!    A U.S rollout in Las Vegas, October 2009 to a first class party with panache, French pomp and circumstance fit for royalty!    I received an early review copy, read it cover to cover, tested recipes and am surprised how good it is coming from a French chef (so much information can be lost in translation).   I highly reccommend this book to anyone with some basic food knowledge and a passion to learn from Chef Joel Robuchon.   700 pages, no photos, $35.

Chef Joel, Alice, Bobby & Stephanie at book soiree

Friday, May 13, 2011

Old Bike = New Bike.

1976 Schwinn Las Tour 10-Speed
My 1976 Schwinn La Tour 10-speed bike has been sitting in the garage with original tires flattened for many, many years.  I remember buying it at a cool bike shop in Marina Del Rey while house sitting a friend's condo a block from the beach.

Two weeks ago my friend Helen ask me if I wanted her 2004 one-speed KHS Manhattan Beach Cruiser as it was sitting under her patio with cracked white walls and starting to rust.  I said "absolutely"!  That got me thinking about my old Schwinn sitting alone rotting in the garage.  Each year I would pledge to restore my bike, however something else took it's place.

After just returning from another fabulous Joel Robuchon dining adventure in Vegas, and being a bit timid riding The Cruiser with cracked sidewalls, I decided to do something with these bikes.   So one by one I took them to my neighborhood bike shop for new tires, a tune-up and here's the result.   Two new "old" bikes ready for me to ride off all those Robuchon calories!   Maybe someone will come join me as I've got new"old" bikes to ride and it does make you feel young, hip and oh so cool......!!!

2004 KHS Manhattan Beach Cruiser  

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Byte Out: LA Food Blogger Bake Sale May 14

Hey Los Angeles!! Save the date – May 14th is the Second Annual Food Blogger Bake Sale! It’s going on all across the country – and we’ve got a great line up for you here in LA!
What: More than 40 Food Bloggers across Los Angeles come together to bake their favorite treats from their blogs to raise money for Share Our Strength in the 2nd Annual Food Blogger Bake Sale, to help the fight against childhood hunger in America! Some tasty treats this year include: Bacon Brownies with Bourbon Sauce, Cake Pops, Shortbread Cookies, Cheesecake, Pies, Ice Box Cookies, Crack Baby Pies and so much more!

When: May 14th from 11:30 – 2:00pm
Where: BLD Restaurant (7450 Beverly Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90036)
Why: Because we want to raise a TON of money for Share Our Strength and help END childhood hunger in America! Don’t you want to help?? Did you know that nearly one in four—children in America face hunger, that’s more than 17 million kids!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Iconic French Chef Paul Bocuse Tribute in Las Vegas

Chef Paul Bocuse
Vegas Uncork’d by Bon AppĂ©tit announced the addition of an extraordinary culinary experience, “Toques Off to Paul Bocuse,” to its fifth annual weekend of events, May 5-8. On Saturday, May 7, an unprecedented lineup of the world’s greatest chefs will gather at MGM Grand to pay tribute to the 20th century’s most influential and revered culinary icon, Paul Bocuse. Creator of the Bocuse d’Or—the world’s most prestigious international culinary competition held annually in Lyon, France—Chef Bocuse has influenced generations of chefs from around the world and multitudes of food lovers they serve.

Guest of honor will be Jerome Bocuse, Paul's son.   Chef's Joel Robuchon, Alain Ducasse, Pierre Gagnaire, Hubert Keller, Guy Savoy and Julian Serrano will each be responsible for creating and preparing signature dishes in a multi-course dinner inspired by Chef Bocuse's
nouvelle cuisine method.

In addition to the meticulous prepared and lavish dinner, the evening will begin with a reception where guest can mingle with these culinary stars, followed by a Champagne toast to Chef Bocuse, and ending with a video retrospective of his life, legend and lasting influence, not only in the realm of French gastronomy, but also in the finest restaurants throughout the world. -Press release-

My comments:  I remember meeting Chef Bocuse in Paris when I was a culinary student at Le Cordon Bleu in 1974.   His restaurant in Lyon, France was known for haute cuisine with rich sauces, fine service and a sky-high price tag.    Doesn't sound like Mr. Bocuse (85) will show up in person for this Vegas $395 soiree!   Maybe I'll be surprised.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Showing Old Time Camillias

Here are my results from yesterday's Southern California Camillia Society show.  I've now completed the Intermediate class ready to show with everyone else.  Really excited to get on the table with variety "Drama Girl" / Tray of 3.  It's hard enough to show one camillia (judges want perfection, symmetry, form, color, fresh stamens, typical of the variety, etc, all somewhat the same criteria to rose judging).   However to show a tray of 3 is really, really hard.   The variety Drama Girl is one so very close to my heart, now growing in the backyard.  I won't go into the the similarity of the name "Drama Girl" to me personally (ha-ha).  With very large showy blooms, 6-8 inches in diameter (depending on our weather), striking salmon pink color with bright yellow stamens, delicate in substance was one of my parent's favorite camillia varieties.

Drama Girl
Drama Girl / Tray of 3
Both my parents and my Mom's parents (The Bernharts) were crazy about camillias, probably more so than roses as all 80 + bushes (some now trees over 25 feet tall) were planted around the property between 1950-1960.    These Old-Timers are not really shown much and it's fun to bring them back to a show for others to enjoy.    

Camillia blooming season is short ( Nov-March) and each variety blooms differently either early, mid or late in their season.   Camillias are super easy to grow, they like shade or sun, in pots or in the ground.   They fill the gap when rose blooms are slowing down Nov/Dec.   Then in January, rose pruning and planting awaiting first rose blooms in late March, early April.   Great to live in Sunny Southern California with flowers blooming all-year around!