First, the announcement.
A week ago today, I gave my notice at work. (You may already have seen this if you’re a friend of mine on Facebook, or if you read Lindsey’s blog, Lost in Cheeseland, where I’m the subject of her Franco File Friday interview this week. And if you’re new here from Lindsey’s place, welcome! Make yourself comfortable.)
You may remember, back in June, I mentioned a career dilemma I was having. It was mostly resolved by July, which was a relief, but it’s been hard keeping it under my hat this long. I’m so excited that I can finally tell you all what I’ve been up to.
Starting in November, I will be the executive pastry chef for a brand new gourmet hamburger restaurant called Blend. We’re hoping to open in late November or early December, so I get to spend most of the month of November working on getting the place up and running, testing recipes, and finalizing the menu. I don’t think I need to tell you how awesome that is. You can keep up to date on our progress by liking Blend’s Facebook page, if you’re so inclined.
“Why does a hamburger restaurant need a pastry chef, anyway?” you may be wondering. Well, I’ll be keeping busy baking handmade buns and signature desserts, as well as developing new recipes for weekly specials that highlight seasonal changes. Any extra time and energy I have will be funneled into salads, condiments, and best of all, developing the beer list! The way I see it, this job is nothing short of defending the best parts of the American culinary tradition in France. I can’t wait to get started.
And now, the book. Lent to me by my soon-to-be boss, Burger Bar is something of a mirror image of what we’re doing. Hubert Keller, a French chef, opened a now-iconic burger restaurant in Las Vegas, and the book shares some of his best recipes, from burgers to shakes.
There’s a very clever dessert burger, with a doughnut bun, strawberry tomatoes, kiwi lettuce, and so on. I’ll probably never make it, but it delights me that it exists. What I will be making are the condiments (piquillo pepper ketchup? don’t mind if I do.) and the deceptively simple sides. I can’t wait to try the panisse recipe – they’re a specialty of Southeastern France, like fried polenta sticks, only made with chickpea flour. And I can tell you from experience that the oven fries, featuring unpeeled red potatoes and duck fat, are as delicious as they are easy to make.
All that, and then there’s the burgers themselves. The flavor combinations range from classic to eclectic, with influences from cuisines all over the globe. There’s even a little section about beverage pairings, and the photos are gorgeous, too. My only complaint is that there aren’t any recipes for buns. (Hey, a girl’s gotta do her research, you know?)
On this day in 2010: Luxury Leftovers – includes a recipe for Smoky Herbed Bread Pudding, which you should definitely try.
Originally published on Croque-Camille.