Chef Otto's Blog

A Deep and Meaningful Christmas

Being raised on the subzero shores of Lake Erie I was virtually guaranteed a white Christmas. Old Man Winter would wallop lake effect snow gripping the Heartland with a slashing chill dissecting your marrow. Drifts as high as the tractor trailers that were stopped dead in their tracks on the Ohio Turnpike. Do you recall the Blizzard of 78? Some called it a white hurricane. I get frostbite just thinking about it. In 1980 I was a young gun, gung ho US Navy Sailor, the pride of the fleet. So imagine the thrill when I received my orders to the

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Holy Mole, Happy Thanksgiving!

Mole, that wonderful, deep, rich, multi layered intense sauce from south of the border is a complex, intoxicating potion. Its origin is mysterious as it’s spellbinding flavor. There are 32 states in Mexico, two of them lay claim to mole, Puebla, and Oaxaca. There is no absolute documented factual evidence how, when and where mole was created. Unlike other famous dishes, Peach Melba for example. That was created by Auguste Escoffier. He conceived it in 1892 or 1893 at the Savoy Hotel in London in honor of famed Australian soprano, Nellie Melba. Relatively recent history in the gastronomic timeline, Peach

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For Those Who Rock, I Salute You

I love music, and the military. I grew up in a home listening to the Andrew Sisters, Glen Miller, & Tommy Dorsey. Music has always been intertwined with the military. Even just a simple cadence when troops are marching is music. Who can forget Bill Murray in Stripes. This cat is a modern day Groucho Marx. With a company of pea shoot green boot campers he sets the tempo with Do Wah Diddy Diddy. The soldiers respond grooving along strapped with duffle bags, marching to the obscure tune by Manfred Mann. You recall them, they went on to cover Spirit

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Charitable Charlie

November 5, 2013 is one of those days etched in my memory. I was in Texas, at work, my phoned pinged. An incoming text arrived from my friend Tim Wasylko, a Canadian chef, eh. It was just three words. Charlie Trotter died. Stunned, I called Tim, “What do you mean Charlie Trotter died?” “How?” “What?” “When?” Tim had few answers, only telling me he just saw it on the internet. Tim knew I worked at Trotter’s and was relaying the information as soon as he read it. Then, like a leaky faucet, texts were dripping in. Each text, another tear.

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A Texas Size Paella

Whether you are from Texas, or not, have lived or visited the Lone Star State. One thing for sure, Everything is bigger in Texas. Texas is not a state, it’s a state of mind, credit to John Steinbeck. I lived there for nearly a decade and have formed incredible friendships with Texans. The hard core Texans, Like my friend Billy Bob, refer to it as the Republic of Texas. It’s a storied history of mavericks, rebels, bank robbers, billionaires, conspiracy theories, oil, longhorns, musicians, and of course Cowboys. Be they wearing a 10 gallon hat, or a helmet, their tales

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