Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Is There School Today?

I just got back from running some errands. During this trek, I noticed, what appeared to my "bad child age guessing" eye, about 6 school aged kids in various locations in the aforementioned travels.

Why aren't they in school? If they are in stores, along the street, etc., they could have been driven, walked, etc. to school. Are they sick? They should be home.

So, I saw about 6 in a 45 minute stretch in a rather small vicinity. What does this translate into for the whole city on one day? Week? Month?

Don't blame the teachers, school district, principals, school board, etc. if you are dragging your kids shopping or leaving them to their own accord and they aren't doing well in school. If you are doing this, I wonder how much homework, after school projects, etc. are getting adult supervision.

That Time of Year

Yes, folks, mark your calendar for Saturday, May 26 for the Fourth Annual Wine, Art, Balloon & Jazz Festival. And if that isn't enough, I, Chef Kevin, will personally be on site, live, in person, cooking.

Hmmm...Restauranteurs Know Something We Don't?

Do the successful restauranteurs of Peoria (and maybe other places) know something we don't?

With summer coming and the "save the Peoria economy" museum slated for a fall opening, one would think the big name, successful restauranteurs would be beating down the doors to open either of the restaurants in the River Station building or now trying to get into the newly closed American Retro Tap/Old Chicago building. With the summer season and then a (projected) 1000 people a day in their immediate location, you'd think they would be dueling with submersion mixers out in the parking lot.

Yet three restaurants sit empty on the Waterfront within spitting distance of the new museum and a fourth if you want to count the old ICONS bar/restaurant.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Still, Maybe, Someday....

It doesn't seem like a month or two goes by where someone asks me if/when I'm going to put out my own cookbook. Lord knows, I've created enough recipes to publish one. And if I would have everything I've created written down, it probably would be the War & Peace of all cookbooks. So how do all these big name, highly publicized, well known chefs with TV shows, multiple restaurants, public appearances, hawking their cookware, spices, clothing, etc. keep pumping out the cookbooks (besides the fact that they probably don't cook in their restaurants anymore unless they know some big shot of some sort is going to be there)? As I pretty much expected:


Yep, chefs, test kitchens, etc. create recipes that resemble their style for them, they may (or may not) put their personal touch on them and off to the presses it goes.

Ok, I'm not saying they ALL do this, but, do you think they are testing and creating all these recipes themselves?

This is why there isn't a Chef Kevin cookbook. I guess I could pay someone to organize, re-type and re-format all of my recipes that are in about 3 different programs, which, won't work/talk/translate into each other. Really, until/if I retire, I don't have time for this. Heck, I can't even keep this blog going.

And if I did, I'm guessing a vanity publisher would cost me more than I'd make selling it.


Monday, March 05, 2012


Many moons ago, I ran a poll asking what the best pizza was in Peoria. Well, the responses were varied which basically meant not one pizza fit all. People love or hate the cracker thin crust like Agatucci's and Monicals, so not a clear winner there, and deeper styles such as Peoria Pizza Works Chicago Style, aren't enjoyed by the masses either.

Now, there is a poll on PJStar.com on the best burger in Peoria. As stated somewhere on the web, it gives you a few choices and other, but I can't find where you can add a write-in candidate.

Rewind many years ago...well, about 19. Even though a budding culinarian/chef, I never gave much thought to burgers. However, while attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, there was much fanfare about a place called the Raccoon Salon, in nearby Marlboro, NY, regarding its burger. Eventually I had to try one. It was (and still is) a behemoth weighing in at 12 ounces. All I remember is how awesome it was.

Back to present day and the poll. First off, two of the places mentioned aren't in Peoria...one in Kickapoo (Ludy's) and one in East Peoria (The Burger Barge). One is the highly touted national chain, Five Guys, Kaydee Kats (which is actually the Heights) and a downtown bar named Ulrich's Rebellion Room.

Ok, I've never had the burger at Ulrich's. If it is what Sully used to serve when it was Sullivan's then it is about an 8 ounce Black Angus Ground Chuck Burger. Maybe it still is, maybe not. Out of the rest of them, my favorite goes to the Barge. Can't say Ludy's has overly wow'ed me from the two I've had from there. Five Guys and Kaydee Kats isn't why/how I think of burgers. Here is what I mean. The first game of the new NFL season is on. You fire up your grill. You chill the beers. The guys come over. Now do you make some big meaty burgers or do you make a lot of smaller burgers with lots of different toppings? I don't know about you, but I want to eat a big, meaty burger to sink my teeth into, not a lot of toppings to make it a big burger. If it takes 2-3 burgers to make a 1/3 or 1/2 pound weight burger, why not just make one 1/3 or 1/2 pound burger? To each their own I guess.

After "The Barge", I'm a fan of the Gebby Burger at Schooners on War Memorial Drive. I've never had a bad one. After that, I don't really eat too many burgers while dining out as I know from being in the food service industry so long, the myriad of pre-formed, frozen burgers available in various shapes, sizes, etc. that Lord knows what you would end up getting and besides that, I always look for the most unique thing on the menu.

So, leave a comment on what/where you think is the best burger (no limited choices here) and why. Once again, as with the pizza, Bob's Burgers somewhere in Utah doesn't count...we can't go there if we haven't tried them. Local, ya know....30 mile radius or so.