Back on track for '09. I've been working the holiday seasonal shift at Williams-Sonoma Ala Moana doing food and equipment demos. It's been a hectic time but also rewarding in terms of what I've learned. Below is an email that I sent to friends and family.
Having breaks with the Williams-Sonoma associates who are all avid foodies or food professionals can be very interesting. Plus, bonus!, the treats are always especially yummy in the break room. Here are some great tips I've found so far.
W-S sells a commercial nonstick spray called Baklene that is terrific for all those Nordicware specialty pans, like their bugs and roses. The Nordicware rep told the crew that to make your cakes shiny as well, brush the pans with melted Crisco and then spray with the Baklene. Baklene costs more, 8., than Pam or Baker's Joy but it doesn't leave a sticky residue, it works better and the can weighs about twice as much as Pam in the regular markets. As far as I know, no one else in Hawaii carries this.
Breville makes the best pannini press. It can open wide for thicker sandwiches. You can also grill asparagus, chicken, etc. on it. One associate rhapsodized about it to the rest of us. Oprah had it on her O list this month so we have a little card advertising that next to the product.
Villaware makes the best Belgian waffle maker. The gal I work the most with, who's been there 14 years, says that she has 3 Villawares and you just need to butter the waffle iron once and it's good for the whole session. I've been demo-ing the All Clad Belgian Waffle Maker using the Baklene on the cold waffle iron. The All Clad faithfully churns out perfectly crisp waffles.
Just FYI. Oh, and if you do like to shop at WS anyway you should sign up at the counter for their email list which will tell you about most of their sales and samplings. I also think it's worth it to be on Borders and Barnes and Nobles' email lists for their monthly coupons!
My wonderful church, Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay, serves serious food several times a week at services and meetings. I volunteer at our Courtyard Cafe every other Sunday. So far, I'm aware of 3 professional chefs-church members who help out at events.
Steve, one of HCKB's chefs on staff, was the head chef at Longhi's Ala Moana for three years. I'd read Alton Brown's suggestions re: nonstick pans in his book "Gear" and wanted Steve's opinion. Alton says to forget buying an expensive and heavy nonstick pan and just get an inexpensive and lighter pan which you will have to resign yourself to replacing every so often. Steve agreed. He said that the double pack of 8" nonstick pans at Sam's Club for just 20. is better than what you can buy at restaurant supply stores. I got a set and am happy to report that they ARE a great weight and are easy to handle. It's a breeze to do a one hand flip of the egg for over easy eggs. Problem solved!
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