Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Sous Chef Intereview w/ Chef Zoo!

The Sous Chef Intereview w/ Chef Zoo!

Last year I stumbled across a book for my youngest brother after he read The Hoops Whisperer by Idan Ravin titled The Sous Chef, 24 Hours on the Line by Michael Gibney.  We call my youngest brother Chef Zoo.  He's had an interest in cooking since childhood.  When he was around 11 years old, he started making his own breakfast when our mom taught him how to scramble eggs.  Before that, I would assign him to "Kool-Aid" duty while I prepared dinner.  We use to down a pitcher of that liquid candy almost every night.  Zoo got the flavor perfect every single time (no more Kool-Aid these days)... While we all know how to cook something, my brother was the source for breakfast, or baking cakes, preparing pancakes, and he got French Toast down perfect.  Everything he made always tasted better, even crap like Ramen.  Anything my brother made after he learned how to do it tasted better than anyone elses.

In my family everyone can cook different things.  On my mother's side, there's a lot of dishes inspired by our Mexican culture... tacos, enchiladas, mole, chile colorado, chile verde, menudo, caldo (chicken or beef aka de res), and all kinds of other dishes... even corn dogs that were more like flautas that our mother would prepare for us using tortillas de maiz, sliced hot dog, and mozzarella.  When I was around 16 years of age, my mother fell ill and had to have emergency brain surgery to remove a tumor.  She was pregnant at the time and what could've been a fatal procedure for both her and our youngest brother...she survived... She was left with a paralysis to the right side of her body (her strong side).  After a lot of rehab, post surgery procedures, giving birth to our youngest brother, Chef Zoo, all with the use of only the left side of her body, she stayed strong and positive.  Even once she was able to stand and walk again unassisted with a cane, she would still cook for us what she could using one hand.  Like arroz con tomate... balancing her strength on the left side she'd prepare food just as good as before and taught us what she knows. 

Before my mother's illness when I was a child I remember she would prepare homeade flour tortillas (de harina).  The aroma from this memory is like a dream when I think back...My mom who we call Queen Luz, use to also prepare the best cakes, including a favorite of mine...a turn over cake which included lemon and pineapple.  Other people I knew use to bug out when I mentioned that one of my favorite cake flavors was lemon.  My Dad also told me about my mom's famous homeade pizza which she mastered while stationed with my father in Germany during the first few years of my life.  I can't remember anything about this time since I was too young, but I can imagine.  On one of my birthdays I was told we celebrated with my mom's homeade pizza.  During that time my mother also sold burritos from the homeade tortillas she made... soon a few other military wives started doing the same after she showed some of them how to make the tortillas.

Growing up, I also recall mom making homeade chile rellenos.  I wasn't a fan of chile rellenos but was always tempted to try because of the great smell that filled up the house.  Everything our mother prepared I enjoyed, including pot roast, hamurguesas con papas fritas, fried chicken...everything. 

My father also is a master family chef in his own right... from his best of the best barbecue (I've yet to have barbecue from anywhere else that I enjoy more than his) to just about any dish he's prepared, be it pasta, steaks, everything Thanksgiving, Soul food style dishes, even asparagus!  We picked up a lot from Dad just like we picked up from Mom... both of them with their own back stories of great family dinner memories.

Fast forward today with my youngest brother Chef Zoo and he's finishing up his senior year of high school ... he's also two years deep into the culinary program at the Center for Career Technology & Education in El Paso.  I encouraged my brother to get into the program because of his natural interest cooking at home and also after reviewing a school assessment report a few years ago...As I read the report, I got kind of upset that it didn't include any notes about the lively, kind, humorous kid I knew back at home who loved to read, play hoop, and cook.  After discussing this with the family, in the next meeting the ARD & school counselors helped identify an opportunity for my brother to get into the culinary program at CCTE... the opportunity allowed him to balance his time with school and basketball and the transportation he needed to get out to the CCTE site.  My brother was diagnosed with autism during his early childhood years which created a number of challenges as he advanced from one grade to the next.  However, those challenges also opened opportunities for my brother to connect with some great students and incredible faculty... some who would become mentors such as his culinary arts teacher, Mrs. Thomas. 

Recently, my brother wrapped up his read of Michael Gibney's The Sous Chef.  Being involved with the culinary program at CCTE has opened our eyes to cool resources like this, including a great film our friend David recommended starring Jon Favreau titled The Chef

What also tripped me out was how my brother's interest resulted in him being responsible for bringing back the homeade pizza recipe my mom use to make back in Germany.  With the knowledge he picked up in school about measurements/baking and with our mother's detailed guidance, my brother created his own unique style for the dough and sauce.  From flat to deep dish, he's got total control of the dough.  With some pretty good baking pans, we've designated every single one of my b-days for homeade pizza parties, courtesty of Chef Zoo. 

To switch up our approach to how we review books, I went ahead and created an interview with my brother, Chef Zoo, about his reading of the Sous Chef which we checked out from the El Paso Public Library.  Included below are my questions and Chef Zoo's responses as well as links for info on the text.  

On a final note, if you got kids, or young siblings cook for them, cook with them, and turn your kitchen into a learning space, a place that will serve their memory.  I hope our schools do more to promote nutrition and offer more classes and opportunities for children to either learn about food or even get involved with preparing or providing input.  I've heard of a few projects that students have done in other parts of the country that allowed them the chance to get involved with preparing healthy alternatives to what was coming out of the school cafeteria. 

Food is fun, and preparing food plays a big part in bringing family and community together.  It's also connected to a lot of social issues and education.  It creates opportunities for every1 to share stories about family, relationships, community, culture, and things that are going on out there related to health, hunger, & advocacy.

With that said... here's an inteREview with Chef Zoo about The Sous Chef.

An inteREview, or as shown in the title "intereview" is a combination of an interview with the reader reviewing the book they read.  

A 13 Question Intereview w/Chef Zoo about Sous Chef
By Michael Gibney

BB.Lee - When you first saw the cover, what did you think about the book Sous Chef?

Chef Zoo - When I saw the cover of this book that said Sous Chef, I thought of which position this chef was in. During my first year at tech, I was introduced to different chefs with different positions such as a pastry chef, line cook chef, butcher chef, and other chefs that cook foods categorized for their position. As I read the first few pages of this book, I found out that a Sous Chef is an assistant to their Executive Chefs that are responsible for managing the kitchen and its cooks by assisting them while being tasked by the Executive Chef.

BB.Lee - As a high school culinary student, what stood out to you the most that you remember from the beginning of the book?

Chef Zoo - What stood out to me from the beginning of this book as a high school chef was how a chef goes in the kitchen in the morning and prepares himself for the day. I thought of how I prepare myself for class. The similarities a Sous Chef and student chef  has is setting the kitchen up by making sure you have all the food that’s needed, cleaning the tables and directing your co-workers to certain areas, and staying on the task at hand which is cooking food.

BB. Lee - Describe your reading experience of Sous Chef.  What do you give this book on a scale of 1 to 10?

Chef Zoo - My reading experience on Sous Chef gave me a bigger mind set in the kitchen to excel at my skills as a cook and baker. My skills such as cutting certain foods while listening and following what my recipe says gives me success in preparing what I want to cook. I rate this book high, I give it about a 7 out of 10 but I would say it wasn't as exciting a read, but it was important to learn. 

BB.Lee -Name three people in your life you would recommend this this book to and why...

Chef Zoo - The three people I recommend this book to is my best friend Lucien, my girlfriend Bryana, and my other friend Richard. For Lucien, reading this book will make him understand that working in the kitchen is not as easy or simple as others think it would be. When me and him talk on the bus in the mornings and after tech, he tells me how hard it is to keep up with his work on prepping food and wondering why he doesn’t do some of the other tasks that require more skill. I told him that you have to pay attention and ask the teacher questions on how to get better on his skills as a prep cook. I told him I use to struggle last year at prepping food but learned and asked questions on how to cut, smash, boil, and set food. For my girlfriend, this book would show her how a real kitchen is like outside of our high school when you’re learning how to manage and work with different people with different personalities. She has a nutrition class at Andress where she and her classmates work on basic foods. For Richard, this book would make him become a better chef as it makes me better. When I had Richard for class last year, he was one of those students that never gave up in when he had to cook foods from scratch. He was always a hard worker in the kitchen and took everything serious which made him earn Student of the Year in the cooking class.

BB. Lee - What is a Sous?

Chef Zoo - A Sous is an assistant where the name is used mainly in titles.  I think it originated as a French word.

BB.Lee - When you think of food, what is the first food you think of when you think of this book?

Chef Zoo - When I think of this book, the food I think about is Soul food because the title “Sous”.  It  sounds like the word soul, like a Soul Chef.  I think of my Dad's barbeque ribs or some of the flavored pies he said his mom use to make.  I'd like to learn how to grill food.

BB.Lee - How long did it take for you to read this book?

Chef Zoo -  Due to time in school, basketball, and doing other activities at home, it took me a few months to finish this book. But every time I took out his book whether I was on the bus or at home, I would always learn something about a chef’s life or the food and equipment that the writer talks about. This book gave me lessons about performing at a level that I don't know anything about.

BB.Lee - Is this the first chef book you've ever read?

Chef Zoo - By far in terms of looking at books that had food in it, this was not the first chef book I read. During my last twelve years in school I came past some books that was chef related and showed us how they put different types of foods together to make it look good. There was one story my mother and I read about two bunnies making a big pot of soup. When the two added all the veggies, they added one more veggie which was the golden onion. When the one bunny got so caught up with the smell of the soup due to the onions flavor, he went to get one spoon of it and fell into the soup and got cooked. The story was in a big children’s book that we had around the house.

BB.Lee - If you were to write a book about what you like to cook what would it be titled?

Chef Zoo -  If I was to write a book about what I like to cook it would be called “Zoos Pizzas” because not only do me and my family like pizzas but I am good at making pizzas.

BB.Lee - If you could, what would you ask Michael Gibney?

Chef Zoo - The question I would ask Michael Gibney is how are you able to maintain yourself in terms of patience, focus, and commitment to doing what you do as a Sous Chef?

BB.Lee - In the title it says "24 Hours on the Line" what's this about?

Chef Zoo - “24 hours on the line” means that you’re in constant work for 24 hours in a kitchen day and night taking customers’ orders and cooking food.

BB.Lee - What's your favorite part of the book?

Chef Zoo - My favorite part of this book is when all the chefs are at work in the kitchen. At tech when we have productions and bake sales, me and my classmates are always moving around in the kitchen grabbing our ingredients, cooking and prepping food, and having fun. In this book, there are all kinds of personalities and moods going all around the kitchen where people get frustrated at what they do and tensions rising when it comes to delivering food. But I like being in the atmosphere where everyone is handling food.

BB.Lee - Look up something about this book on Google, share what you find.

For more information on The Sous Chef, 24 Hours on the Line by Michael Gibney visit the following links:

Michael Gibney on Twitter:

Michael Gibney on Facebook:

Purchase the Book on Amazon: click here

 Ballantine Books:

Keywords + Tag= Ballantine Books | The Sous Chef | Michael Gibney | Chef Zoo | every1reads | literature | books | El Paso Public Library | food | chef | Sous | Soul Food | El Paso Independent School District | Mexican food | pizza | homeade | kitchen | cooking | vegetables | nutrition | health | wellness | Random House | 24 Hours on the Line | CCTE | restaurant | The Chef | food truck | family | intereview

#every1watch Review Doin' It In the Park

Doin' It In the Park Documentary

What's up world, check out our #every1watch review about Doin' It in the Park at  #every1watch is what we'll be referring to film reviews on our site!  Peace.


Monday, April 6, 2015

E-Man's 1st NBA Live Victory

E-Man's 1st NBA Live Victory

Growing up in the 80s playing sports since a child... we were probably the first generation of kids to really respond to sport video games.  I'm talking about video games like Tecmo Bowl, Double Dribble, Pro Wrestling, Bad News Baseball, Mike Tyson's Punchout, Blades of Steel, Jordan vs. Bird One-on-One, All-Pro Basketball, the Track & Field with the Nintendo Power Pad, Nintendo Volleyball, Skate or Die, Excite Bike, RBI Baseball ... the list goes on and on, especially when Sega Genesis dropped...I mean the Sega console just TOOK OVER in so far as what we'd balance our time with between ruining front lawns playing hoop, hitting tennis balls from bats or sticks over someone's fence, or running down the edge of avenue pavement towards the stop sign for a touch down.  Besides the sweat & fun of outdoor sports under the El Paso sun, as kids we balanced the Sandlot life with the indoors of whomever could afford the consoles, controls, and video games we'd try to destroy each others egos like NBA Jam or Coach K's College Basketball or Bill Walsh College Football or Evander Holyfield Real Deal Boxing and on into the legacies of games like NBA Live and Madden...  as adolescents we grew up at the same time video games were growing up.

Fast forward more than two decades and that energy is still there through my younger siblings.  Long gone are the childhood friends from up the block who's TVs we'd crowd around to talk trash while pressing directional buttons, like A's, B's, or the C buttons on Sega and later the shapes of square, triangle, circle, and X that controlled the Playstation moves.

To make a long story short, fast forward to this Sunday and I get beat by a kid in elementary school.  I just turned 34 and he's barely going to turn 9 this month.  He's my nephew and we call him E-Man.  Amongst my two brothers, me being the oldest, the rule has always been to be cool, whether you win or lose. That comes with age though as I can't say I was always like that when I lost... but it's a simple lesson that never fails to play itself out whether young or old in our own lives (at a pick up game, a city league game, a school event) or even in the sports world.  Most recently, we saw this manifest itself in the way a Kentucky Wildcat star responded during a press conference to a question about the Wisconsin Badger athlete that was a major factor in their loss and quite possibly the biggest March Madness upset of our time.  

On April 5th, E-Man legitimately beat me down in a video game I've prided myself as being pretty good at... NBA Live.  For the record, I don't give chances.  If we're going to learn, we'll do a practice run, but as E-Man got older, we went ahead and put his name up on the NBA Live records board.  He started showing an understanding of the game and proved he could run a few quarters during his early initiation to be able to say he had "next".  Since we started playing NBA Live 15 this past winter, E-Man was taking hella loses, often giving up what would've been close games by the third quarter.  But today was different.  By the second half I found myself down by double digits and was able to inch my way back closing in the lead by two.  But it wasn't enough and I took my first L to E-Man, who is officially on the board with his first big win for NBA Live.  Knowing he was given 0 chances, he definitely let me and the whole cook out hear it.  

It was a really cool moment, because of how much it reminded me of when I was a kid.  Especially since I never got the chance as a kid to beat someone that's nearly three times older than me.  I can't even comprehend those kind of props at 9 years old.  So today, we send this shout out to E-Man's first big win against Lee95', now 11-9.  And if you into numerology, ain't that a trip?  I get my 9th defeat to a 9 year old.  Props to E-Man.

Keywords + Tag =Nintendo | NES | Double Dribble | Tecmo Bowl  | Sega Genesis | Playstation | Andrew Harrison | Kentucky Wildcats | Frank Kaminsky | NBA Jam | Sandlot | RBI Baseball | Bad News Baseball | Jordan vs. Bird | All-Pro Basketball | Blades of Steel | power pad | NBA Live | NBA Live 15 | Portland Trailblazers | Cleveland Cavaliers | Evander Holyfield |Mike Tyson's Punchout | Skate or Die | E-Man | Lee95' | Big Man | BB.Josh | RBros