Chef Otto's Blog

A Rare T Bone

During my first year as a Chef Instructor at the CIA I was assigned to teach American Regional Cuisine. A fascinating class delving into the history and traditions of American cuisine. It was an hour lecture along with a hands-on 6-hour lab cooking regional specialties. A fun class and one of the students’ favorites. Before flying solo with my own class, I shadowed another Chef Instructor to learn the ropes.    That was Chef Brunet, Terrell Brunet. He was from Louisiana, Mandeville to be exact. Situated on Lake Pontchartrain, due north of NOLA. Of all the chefs at the CIA, there

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Eggnog, Not.

I will go on the record. I am not a fan of eggnog. However, my wife Doti fresh from the Philippines has never had the seasonal lactose treat. By and large dairy is not in the Asian food pyramid. Name one great Asian cheese. Name one great Asian wine. No sour grapes here, It’s just the whey of the world. Doti recently said, “Babe I wanna try eggnog.” I gave her the eye roll. “Babe why that look?” “Oh nothing, I don’t like it, but you need to try it and I will make you some.” “Why don’t you like it Babe?” “It’s

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The Art Of The Card

On December 1, Doti and I received our first Christmas card of the season. The endorphins were firing their joyous pistons upon closing the mailbox. It was from my cousins Cheryl and John. Their mom, Mary, and my mom were sisters. The card took me back. To snowmen, snow angels and snow days, and sledding off course. I remember those days of Christmas past in Brownhelm, OH. The house was decorated to the nines. Mom had a special touch in arranging all the cards we received. Mom was an earnest letter writer and card sender. Just her immediate siblings alone

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Mr. Right Stuff

He was raised in Appalachia. The son of farmers. Enlisted as a Private and became a General without a college degree. Was a Flying Ace, shooting down 5 German planes in a single day. Along the way he became America’s Greatest Pilot. Mr Right Stuff himself broke the speed barrier and remains an inspiration for all to break existing barriers. A badass, a hero, a national treasure. The epitome of American Exceptionalism. Proof of grit, determination, Yankee ingenuity can result in soaring accomplishments. A thankful nation owes a debt of gratitude to this extraordinary man. A phenomenal example of a

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When Black Friday Comes

Donald Fagen and Walter Becker (RIP) genius musicians. Artful, abstract and avant-garde their music stands the test of time. I was fortunate to see them twice. The sound, so crisp, the band, so tight. Recalling Fagen introducing the band he referred to Carolyn Leonart, Cynthia Calhoun, and Victoria Cave, the three ladies behind him as “The flat-out best background singers on the planet.” Indeed, human songbirds, voices kissed by angels filling the sold-out theater with their heavenly harmonies.  The ladies reflect the exacting standards of this progressive band. Fagen & Becker met at Bard College forming their first band The Bad Rock

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