Sunday, December 27, 2009

H-U-G-E Chef Kevin Announcement

For those of you arriving here via a link from an e-mail or some networking site (or both) or those of you who check my blog frequently....


About seven years ago I walked away from the restaurant/food service business after being involved with it in one form or another for 25+ years. There were a lot of reasons for my exodus and most contributed to me being burnt out. For almost the last seven years, I’ve been working for a major food service distributor. Over the last 6 months or so, I have slowly concluded it just wasn’t the right gig for me anymore. Besides, I was really starting to miss cooking at a professional level. I still hated the thought of “every night, every weekend” yet nothing came up that really excited me which met the criteria that I wanted. Recently, I was approached with an offer that was hard to refuse, so now I’m back in the kitchen.

As some of you may be aware, I have been involved with various culinary functions with Willett’s Winery & Cellar in Manito. In the past, The Willetts have always hired out different food service providers, like me, to cater their many various events. It was their vision to someday be able to have their own in-house food service. The Willetts have taken a huge step towards this vision by acquiring additional space and will re-design current space to make this happen. It means installing a commercial kitchen and having a larger, enclosed year round facility to host more sizable indoor events. And this is where I come in: I am thrilled and honored to announce that they have hired me to run a small cafĂ© and to cater all in-house events and festivals in which they are involved. The “Chef Kevin” moniker that John Valentine bestowed upon me many years ago now holds true once more. The Executive Chef at a winery…how cool is that?

The first "official" event will be the Valentine's Day Wine and Dine Experience. This will be our fourth year doing this event. It is ALWAYS a sold out event. And without even mentioning it, advertising, or having a menu done, it is over half sold out for 2010. If you want to treat your sweetie to a fabulous 4 course meal paired with four of Willett's award winning wines (and they have the medals to prove it) and be entertained by Joe Metzka during dinner, you better call the winery (309-968-7070) soon to reserve your space for this February 13 event.

See you around a table in Manito (starting sometime in February)…..

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Is This On???

Yeah, yeah, it has been awhile since I blogged about anything. So, if there is still anyone out there reading...

I decided that chasing all my pond fish around with a net to scoop them out and put them in an aquarium over the winter would be a huge pain in the ass. So, I bought a pond heater. Supposedly, my pond is deep enough (below the frost line) to leave the fish in and with the heater should a. keep them from freezing into fish cubes b. keep a hole in the ice to let oxygen in. Well, I couldn't get the darn thing placed exactly where I wanted it in the deepest part, so I had to reach in, armpit deep and set it. Let me tell you this: In the movies when people fall through the ice or jump into a Siberian river and live to tell about it, it is fake. My arms weren't in there 30 seconds and I thought I was going to shake myself to death. I still don't think my fingers are typing well. But easier than trying to catch 10 goldfish in 700 gallons of water. Hmmm...there is a reality show in the making...catch all 10 goldfish in 700 gallons of water in 30 seconds or get thrown into a Siberian river in January.

Somewhere in Peoria, there is a really good buy on Sam Adams, my beer of choice. I'm not telling where, but I think I should rent a Ryder truck.

Earlier this fall, I was going to put up some Christmas lights. Then I thought no. Today, before it started raining, I did. They all worked. I put them on, they all worked. I re-routed the extension cord and WTF? After jacking around with them for another 15 minutes, all but one strand worked. Now I'm feeling it was a waste of time. 17 days to Christmas. And of course, the day after Christmas my parents will probably be over taking them down because "what will the neighbors think?" They are probably thinking "Hey, lets try out that new espresso machine we got for Christmas by making some lattes and see if any of the neighbors are out in -20 wind chill taking down their Christmas lights". Taking down Christmas lights is a "first warm day in March" project. I shouldn't poke fun of my parents like that. I'm sure God is leaving them/has left them on this planet this long for a reason and it isn't so I can blog about them and their necessity to remove lights post Christmas, post haste.

I'm a big boxing fan. Speculation is that Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao and Floyd "Money" Mayweather, Jr. will slug it out on March 13, 2010. Not since Hagler-Leonard has there been a boxing match of such magnitude. The slick defense (that leads to offense) of Mayweather vs. arguably the fastest hands with power of Pacquiao. Even though I respect the boxing prowess of Mayweather, I hate his pompous arrogant mouth and hope in ends up with his ass on the canvas as a result of a Pacquiao left hook.

It is that time of year again. Many people shopping, patience wears thin, both customers and sales people reach their wits end with each other. Please be good to each other this year. One of my gripes is P.C. Christmas music. Blech. One can only listen to Rudolph and Oh, Christmas tree and Blue Christmas so many times until you wanna toss your Christmas cookies. This year, I've noticed a few songs that mention "the unmentionables". I'm sure there will be e-mails sent, letters written, Congressmen called that they had to hear Mary, Jesus and manger.

And I'm still trying to figure out 2212 N. Prospect. This is one of the properties that District 150 bought to tear down and build a school (which didn't happen). First, they housed some of the teachers from China there (which I found funny as supposedly these houses weren't worth living in). Now, there seems to be someone living there who owns a home improvement business and the place is glowing with Christmas lights. Just curious to what is going on. Is D150 in the landlord business now or what?

Well, until I find something else to rant about....