mental radio post

so at work like i have said many times before, i spend a lot of time singing the same songs, but this week a special song was stuck in my head from the saints row videogame, see the video below!

 

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Memphis Flyer

 

so this week has been all of crazy.i was featured in the Memphis Flyer. i was featured on Vegan Crunk. I had a gig, doing a mashtini bar. all in all it has been a week full of events. So instead of reading my blog today, check out those links and read more about me there!


The end of the beginning

well as i get to know all of you, i feel that we must get to know each other. i have three mentors who have made me who i am. here i will interview them and then tell you a little bit about what i have learned from each of them.

first i will begin with my interview of Marisa Baggett. a starkville, mississippi native. now marisa is a black female sushi chef but that is skipping ahead a bit. marisa came to tsunami early in my tsunami career i will guesstimate about 2003. she was the only female in the kitchen but she still had the fellas’ respect.in tsunami the pantry station and the dish station is kinda partitioned off from the hot line and because of this there is a bond between those behind the partition as well as those in front of it. marisa was like the big sister i never had and she must know that the advice she gave me about life was invaluable to me. marisa was my window into the mind of women and so we always atleast in my mind had a very open and trusting relationship. after awhile marisa left to venture out to california and enroll in sushi school. i thought that was the last i would see of ms baggett but was i ever wrong. marisa returned and like a sitcom she would have a recurring role visiting tsunami and laughing about old times until a few years later marisa makes a return to tsunami. now i had heard of sushi but it was tales of fish so raw you could still smell the sea on them. for me this was not an appetizing thought. but marisa ,still in that big sister role in my mind, informed me that sushi meant rice and not raw fish. so over time sushi began to intrigue me, and then out of service to my employer and then out of my own interest i informed marisa that i would love to learn to make sushi. so she took me in as her apprenticed and so it began. our official mentor and mentee relationship. but aside from the food knowledge which i must give her credit for having it has been marisa’s fearlessness that has truly had an impact.  with a formal resturant or without, with dietary restrictions or not, against all odds marisa has survived and had success. her campaign to build her own brand is what inspired me to venture out and give this blog as well as catering a real go.

marisa is where my public relations savvy is borne from.

First what do you call yourself and why? A lot of preofessional chefs are against the word “chef” in their title, because of the arrogance that can be associated with the title.

I like to be called Marisa. It used to be that I avoided the title chef because of the arrogance and lack of skill some people considering themselves chef display. But now it really is more about accessibility. When I’m in the kitchen sharing tips, I don’t people to feel like “Well of course she can do it! She’s a chef.” Rather, I like to strip away the title (and often the chef’s coat!) so that I’m just Marisa, a woman who loves to cook, sharing my passion with others.

Where did you get you start cooking?

I’m from Mississippi and everyone in my family cooks. I think I was about 11 or when I began dabbling in food. Naturally, I was expected to contribute dishes for family gatherings, but I remember being experimental even back then. It wasn’t until I had an after school job a few years later working as a dishwasher in a home style Chinese restaurant that food really grabbed my deepest attention.

What are a few of your accomplishments?

After years of practice, I can make a caramel icing like my Grandma Pearl made. She was an excellent baker and unfortunately she became very ill and passed away before she had the chance to teach us young girls her secrets. It was one of her plans, but alas it was not meant to be. Being able to make her caramel icing and being transported back to a time when she would offer up thick slices of cake made with love means so much more than the professional accolades I have received. Next in line would finally being able to make a decent loaf of bread. If I’m not mistaken, I may have actually gone out and got a bottle of champagne to toast….yes, pun intended.

Besides good food what would you say is your mission in your field?

I want everyone to get back in their kitchens and cook! I like to imagine a world where between the hours of 5pm and 8pm, the stove goes on at some point and fills the house with some intoxicating smell. And dinner hits the table with perhaps something that has never been tried before, some palate stretching, made from scratch dish that was simple yet absolutely delicious.

What food trend are you happy to see?

I am happy to see lard. It is incredibly versatile especially for baking.

What trend do you hope or know is on its way out?

6. I’m hoping to see the last days of molecular gastronomy. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the creativity and thought that goes into it. It is beautiful. But I’ve never been really wanted to eat it.

What old trend will be making an resurgence soon?

Thanks to the growing popularity of Southern food, I think we’re going to see a rise in old fashioned church picnic style food. Jello-o mold salads, skillet fried chicken, fried fruit pies, chocolate pies. Reinvented versions of these things are likely to appear in restaurants and perhaps even as creative, two bite appetizers for weddings and other events. Food like this is fun but it’s so decadent that the smaller “I’ll just have a bite” portions will be too hard for anyone to pass up.

Memphis is known for barbeque, is that an accurate depiction of the best memphis has to offer?

Memphis has so much more to offer than BBQ. However, Ive kind of changed my position about media exposure of it. I used to be so against the local papers touting BBQ this, BBQ that. But I think it’s important to keep that tradition going, especially for tourism. Let’s face it, lots of people come here to get our famous BBQ. Heck, I like eat our BBQ. But what I would love to see happen, and I think it is beginning, is the alternative media promote and guide locals to the other side. With national award winning chefs, good food blogging, the allowance of food trucks, and a host of great ethnic cuisine eateries I think the Memphis beyond BBQ is coming to light

What are the latest developments in your career?

I am so pleased to have my first cookbook Sushi Secrets hitting bookshelves this fall.

Where can people follow you?

My website www.marisabaggett.com can get you plugged in. It’s where I keep the latest news and recipes. From there you can follow me on twitter and find my Facebook fan page. For the latest on Sushi Secrets check out my amazon author page amazon.com/author/marisabaggett

in between time

So in my mentor series this is the in between time. ben smith has opened a new restaurant and laid the groundwork for me to continue in the culinary field and his sous chef Donny  needed a hand.Donny. this is my second mentor. this guy is my brother from another mother. i dont think there is a harder worker out there. one day i was in dish world washing, and scrubbing and complaining. and i hear out of no where, HEY! so i’m like what? and donny hits me with, “when you get done complaining you still gotta finish working, so just do the work.” that touched me deeply. and so work i have been doing ever since. Ben Smith planted the seed and Donny  had the water. and over the years donny has been there with either encouragement or constructive criticism all along the way. pushing me to be more and do more. although he began before and has been doing the work twice as long our responsibilities at Tsunami grew together. I like to call myself the hands of the outfit but Donny has definitely groomed my casual knowledge of food into something more. So the mind is there but there is a great deal of satisfaction i get from reading between the lines and donny’s mind to get that small plate special just right. i would definitely say that the mentor/ mentee relationship between me and donny is the most like peer mentoring. it’s that growth the we both get from the relationship that makes it worth while.

Donny you taught me how to combine flavors and you instilled a work ethic in me that puts many to shame, this is an official thanks!

And while donny did not have time to complete an interview i would describe him as a flavor first cook. Technique is very important but the end flavor and presentation is what all the work is for. Donny does not sacrifice flavor. Donny hasnt met a challenge he would back down from, a wall he couldn’t clean, or a rush he couldn’t put out. hard but fair. never over the top but with plenty of flair. never insulting but instead uplifting. and seldom heard of, but Donny  whether he will accept the title or not is a chef!

coworkers part 2

gabe as he hates to be called is my lil guy. Otouto. thats japanese for little brother and in a lot of aspects that describes our relationship. gabe started when he was 17. the same age as when i started. gabe is a hard worker… like me. and he had his eyes set on something more… like me. the parallels between me and gabe forged our bond. i saw and still see a lot of myself in gabe and so i try my best to watch out for him. i congradulate him on his successes and i chastise him for his mistakes. and i have watched him grow. but i dont wanna tote my own horn. this is about gabe. who has chosen to hone his culinary skills at making cakes.

 

but the lessons i have learned from gabe is that i do have marketable skills. gabe’s trust in me to show him what to do kind of proved to me that i had knowledge that was worth something. gabe is my sounding board and my good friend. he motivates me and asks me for help when he needs it. gabe one of the few people who holds me accountable. as i do for him. thats our relationship.

Grouper and sun dried tomato pesto with wilted spinach and sauteed shrimp

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my coworkers and the chaos that ensues

each and every one of my coworkers have touched me in some round about way. a new series on the blog will be my posts about crew members at tsunami and our most memorable shenanigans.

i have to start with the kitchen staff since we are the closest proximity wise and since donny is the subject of one of my mentor blogs i will skip him and post about Chris P. i am sure P is cool with this although i dont think i expressly asked his permission but i will be open about our shenanigans but i wont post his entire name for fear that he has stalkers. ok. so what has p taught me… first he has taught me patience. chris will be the first to speak up and say that in a pinch, words are not my forte. so i have patience because my “pass the orange shit” , “the other orange shit” , “it goes with the calamari” must drive him nuts and he bears with me and works together with me to get things done. chris p has had to tell me to settle down on more than one occassion but the funny thing is it usually riles me up more. communication is something me and p have been working on. he has learned to not anticipate my words and listen and i have learned to pile up the details. but aside from work we have fun. you can count on chris p to take it one step too far. like the time he text my wife on facebook and told her to tell me fap fap fap… an inside joke about masterbation which my wife did not find so funny… ps. yes we have childish boy humor. but the impressions are the best. we can go entire shifts with our made up russians which in my case sound african, lol, cause i suck at impressions. tales of ivan and hiding the bodies of our enemies in barrels as we engage in the rough and rugged cocaine trafficking business. or our horrible spanish accents in which our only replies are si senior and muey mal or muey bien. its horrible but its what gets me through the day. chris p… my frustration and my relief, most times in the same shift!