The things that annoy us

image Or to put it bluntly, what pisses the hell out of hospitality professionals

  1. Announcing they’re bloggers or critics the moment they get in the door. Especially when don’t know jack-shit and act all Amuse-Douche like.
  2. Attention grabbing fake allergies. One customer came in and said they were allergic to garlic. I say ‘then don’t go to an Italian restaurant’
  3. Nursing their solitary beer or cup of joe for hours on end, mooching off the free wifi
  4. Getting boisterously drunk
  5. Treats waiters like 3rd class citizens, acting like they are about to be married to Prince William
  6. Splitting a bowl of soup, salad or sandwich for two
  7. In Manila, it’s the bodyguards they bring. Occupying other tables and not ordering anything
  8. Asks for non fat, decaf, artificially sweetened cappuccino to go with her slice of Black Forest cake
  9. Asks to speak to the chef in the midst of dinner service. On a Friday night. When the kitchen is deep in the weeds
  10. Showing up 30 minutes late for a reservation. On a Friday night. Expecting a table ready
  11. Leaving their valuables such as a DSLR camera displayed on the table, then blames the wait staff when it gets nicked
  12. Utters the words “Do you know who I am?!”. Obviously not, buddy. You are given the same VIP treatment as everybody else
  13. Finishing two thirds of the meal before complaining, then wanting it written off the check.


Man in the mirror

Photo0741We look at ourselves in the mirror during our alone time every morning before heading off to work. And these are the moments when we are at our most introspective. Have you asked yourself any of these questions?

How old would you be if you did not know how hold you are?

If you had the opportunity to spread the word to a large group of people, what would your message be?

If not now, then when?

What would you differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

Are you holding on to something that you need to let go of?

Have you done anything lately worth remembering?

Do you think crying is a sign of weakness, or strength?

Would you break the law to save someone?

Do you celebrate the things you do have?

When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

When the last time you tried something new?

Which activities make you lose track of time?

If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?

If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way you sometimes speak to yourself, how long will that person be your friend?

If you had to teach something, what would you teach?

Are you aware that someone has it worse than you?

What makes you smile?

What would you regret not fully doing, being, or having in your life?

Do you ask enough questions? Or do you settle for what you know?


38 ways to chill

The heat is bearing down on the pavement and bouncing up to our sanity. Yes. It is summer in the metro. It is ludicrous that we could not run the airconditioning at full blast during the hot summer months, owing to the fact that the Philippines has the 3rd highest electricity rate in the world (crazy, isn't it?) and it is not entirely safe for the environment. So what can we do to stay cool? Here are some suggestions. Some are obvious, of course.

  1. Wear loose clothing, or as little as possible, if not none at all
  2. Go commando
  3. Drink mint iced tea
  4. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, they are natural diuretics
  5. Get up before the sun rises
  6. Go out more often at night
  7. Walk slowly
  8. Cut your hair, or tie it up into a pony tail
  9. Go to the mall and soak up
  10. Sleep beneath the stars
  11. Put you favorite pillow in a freezer bag and chill for a couple of hours
  12. Keep a spritzer within reach
  13. Take a cold shower before and after work
  14. Chill your pulse points for a few minutes
  15. Place iced water in your hot water bottle before calling it a night
  16. Soak your feet in a bucket of cold water
  17. Go downstairs, because heat rises
  18. Eat spicy food
  19. Schedule errands for when the sun goes down
  20. Stay in the shade, if not indoors
  21. Drink lots of water
  22. Stock up on Popsicles
  23. Plant a tree
  24. Go cool-pooling. Like car-pooling, you share an airconditioned environment with friends
  25. Do the wet t-shirt
  26. Keep condensers clean and free of dust
  27. Park your car in the shade
  28. Be sensible when exercising. Cool down with these tips
  29. Go fly a kite
  30. Spend a few hours in an inflatable pool
  31. Go to work with a cold lunch
  32. Turn on heat generating appliances only when needed
  33. Hang an ice towel in front of the fan
  34. Sleep in a 'spread-eagled' position
  35. Freeze water bottles to rub over your neck with during the day
  36. Think cool. Rent movies that deals with ice, winter, cold hard rain
  37. Stay out of the kitchen as much as possible
  38. Take the airconditioned public transport instead of the car to work

I know there must be other ways to beat the heat this summer. Maybe you know of some. Post it here so everybody can 'chill'

13 things that say you are an AMUSE-DOUCHE

We know or have come across at least one person like this. Hell, we may even have a friend who is exactly like this. Sometimes amusing, most of the time annoying, we put up with them for one reason or another. I hate stereotyping, but there are characteristics that can help anyone spot one a mile away. And here are some of them…

You just graduated from culinary school, and you think you are better than the chef

You appear on TV as a celebrity chef, but never have worked in a professional kitchen

Your professional timeline is that of a precious antique. You go to the highest bidder

You are a chef-whore. Hang around professional chefs and bona fide foodies just so that you can say you are

Vegetarian or carnivore, you impose yourself on the other side of the fence

You show up at functions and events uninvited, hogging all photo-ops

You have a whole line of cooking products under your name, yet you do not know how to fry an egg (K___ A_____?)

You have a steak cooked medium well to well done

The amount of cookbooks you actually have and used are less than amount of mobile phones you’ve owned

You blame ‘Climate change’ on irresponsible companies but haven’t changed your lifestyle to at least help the situation

You own a $100+ chef’s knife but never used it in the kitchen

As a culinary school graduate, you have no respect for cooks who learned it the hard way

You don’t know the difference between a hollandaise, a béarnaise and a maltaise sauce

Do you know any more traits? Let everyone know, for goodness sake!


I have a very soft spot for anything chocolate. In another life, I would have enjoyed chili with chocolate, or ended up as a successful pastry chef. I have not had the opportunity, however. Like most cooks in the hot kitchen, bakery is our Achilles Heel, the one thing that we could not even begin to imagine the precision of the recipes and execution. We do have basic recipes, though. And these recipes come  by once in a while, something so great, something so different, you just can’t let it go. Even rare the proofed recipe. Baking is an exact science, ironically since there are millions of variations to the recipe that follows. I found this recipe at a point when I just felt like nibbling.

if you have the inclination to indulge, forget new year’s resolutions, please have a go at this. I did, and it was snapped up while warm, from the hungry sleep deprived kitchen crew, to the board members of IBM that needed something other than the mass produced bagels, waffles cookies and pastries from the nearby coffee shops. This recipe serves as a guide. Put your heart into it as I did. And like all things that have worth, take your time. Feel every step and put some spirit into it. Only then can you call it the PERFECT BROWNIE.

250g unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate bar
80g Hershey’s cocoa powder
85g all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
360g brown sugar
4 eggs, beaten
Zest or orange

Preheat oven to 180C/350F
Pop in some Bob Marley and raise the volume to just audible.
Line baking tray with butter and grease-proof paper. Smooth out wrinkles with your hands feeling the surface and every corner, taking in the smell from the butter is melting slowly with your fingers.
Over a double boiler, melt butter and chocolate. Stir until smooth. Take your time. Watch how the chocolate crawls down the sides. Be mindful of the patters of dark brown and yellow.
In a separate bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder and sugar. It should form a fluffy mound in the center of the bowl
Remove chocolate from heat and gradually add the sifted dry ingredients.
Stir with a wooden spatula for about 1-2 minutes
Add the eggs and mix until smooth
Pour batter into prepared baking tray. Tap the sides lightly to let loose any air bubbles and to level
Bake 25 minutes
Transfer to a cooling rack and allow the residual heat to slowly cook interior and dissipate
When it has reach room temperature, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight
On the morning after, bite into the soft chewy inside of the brownie, and then tell me…what do you feel?

Post pictures please