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Posts Filed Under The ‘Between Courses’ Category

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Plant Milks

Somehow, that does not sound particularly appetizing – plant milks – yet according to Gourmet News magazine there is a growing market for plant-based milks. Per-capita consumption of cow’s milk has been falling. I am okay with that. The article calls almond milk “the new white milk,” while soy milk is still ahead in popularity. According to Packaged Facts publisher David Sprinkle, consumers choose plant-based dairy alternatives for numerous reasons: either they are vegans, vegetarians and people concerned about antibiotics and growth hormones often found in cow’s milk, lactose intolerance, milk allergy, and the genetic disorder phenylketonuria.

Fortunately, phenylketonuria is extremely rare, though serious. Sufferers are advised to severely limit their consumption of several foods including meat, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, cheese, legumes, milk and other dairy products, as well as starchy foods, such as potatoes, bread, pasta, and corn. Limiting one’s consumption of all those foods alone makes the genetic disorder a very serious one. It is important to note that these foods do not cause phenylketonuria, but that these protein-rich foods must be avoided if one is diagnosed with this disorder.

If avoiding milk because you are vegan, there is no point in recommending cheese instead. However, if one is vegetarian, the milk is acceptable (depending on one’s definition of vegetarian) as well as most cheeses. The cheeses that would not be acceptable for vegetarians would be those that are produced with traditional animal rennet – a coagulant that is used less and less often. Avoidance of milk because of lactose intolerance makes sense. That intolerance is not a problem caused by aged cheeses. The younger fresh cheeses have very little lactose themselves, compared to milk. For persons avoiding dairy products due to concerns about the use of antibiotics and growth hormones, the use of those hormones is entirely avoided in milk destined for cheese making, and if an animal is on antibiotics, that animal is not headed to the milking parlor. Milk containing antibiotics does not make successful cheese. If the person’s resistance to dairy products is because of a milk allergy, that person might try skipping cow milk and cow milk cheese (the bulk of dairy products) as the occasional low tolerance to cow milk may be the problem.

In the meantime, while milk consumption falls, the consumption of cheese continues to rise.

Max McCalman

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Finding Great Cheeses for a Great Price

Artisan Cheese shouldn’t just be for those with a “sophisticated palette,” or Fifth Avenue residents, but for anyone who appreciates a well crafted piece of cheese. As a senior in college, I thought I’d have a hard time fitting artisan cheeses into my budget, but after a session with Denis Cottin, Artisanal’s resident affineur, I’ve come to realize that not all Artisan cheeses are out of reach.

strawberry Finding Great Cheeses for a Great Price Many goat cheeses are in season right now, and it’s the perfect time of year for them. These soft, creamy cheeses match the fruits that are also at their peak. Fleur de lis pairs perfectly with summer strawberries, or any other fresh fruit. Since this is the only time of year that some of these cheeses are made, it’s the perfect opportunity to try them with the best of the summer fruits available. Cabecou Feuille, another goat cheese, is perfect with fresh peaches (since it’s marinated with peach schnapps) and at its price, it’s hard to resist.

Not into goat cheese? Banon de Chalais is a soft cow’s milk cheese, or you can try Saint Marcellin, another soft cow cheese that is super creamy. You don’t need to know a lot about cheese to see that these taste good—the pictures say a thousand words.

As a newbie to the world of fine cheeses, I was a little afraid to dive in for fear of never being able to afford what they let me try at work. I’m not worried anymore.

Holly Walker

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Between Courses: Chef Armando Monterroso

Technorati Profile
An interview with Executive Chef Armando Monterroso from the Marriott Marquis. The Marriott Marquis is located at
1535 Broadway, NY, NY 10036.

1. Chef Armando, when did you decide you wanted to be a Chef?
I realized when I failed my engineering school (laugh). At the time I needed to earn my “college money” so I worked in the kitchen. What I really enjoyed first was the camaraderie. When I decided to learn my trade, I went to the Culinary School of Johnson and Wales. There I got a degree in Hospitality and Culinary.
chefarmando Between Courses: Chef Armando Monterroso

2. Do you find some similarities between engineering and culinary?
I do. I enjoy planning and designing a menu so there are definitively similarities. It has to look good, to have a good structure in the dish. It has to be harmonious.

3. Did you have a mentor when you left Johnson & Wales?
I’ve learned from numerous chefs. I did not follow one in particular. I think to be good you have to be a sponge and learn from a lot of other people.

4. How do you apply what you’ve learned at the Marriott Marquis?
You always have to ask yourself what your specialty is and what you excel at. My specialty is to be able to adapt myself to the situation that is happening in front of me.
To take an analogy in sports, I see myself as a football coach. For instance we’ve recently launched 3 new restaurant menus, a new catering menu, and a new concept: a cheese, chocolate and champagne bar every Friday and Saturday.
It takes a lot of adaptation to make this happens. You have your plans but you need to be able to change them a little bit, to tweak them.


Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Between Courses With Chef Gregory Pugin

chefpugin Between Courses With Chef Gregory Pugin
1. How long have you been working in a kitchen and what has been your best experience so far?
I’ve been working for 12 years already. My best experience was my first experience at the Hotel du Palais where I learned my trade at the age of 16. I started touching great products such as truffle and caviar and learned how to select these products. My father was also a chef so I wanted to do like daddy!

2. If you had to make a cheese, what would it taste like?
My cheese would taste like the Pyrennees, the mountains where I grew up. It would have a nice grass flavor and of course would be made of sheep’s milk!

3. What amazes you the most in cheese?
What amazes me the most is the diversity and most importantly the affinage. For instance if we take a Valencay from the same cheese maker it could be very good but also a very bad one if the affinage is not done properly. The affinage is what amazes me the most, the affineur is the one that brings the best flavors out of the cheeses. I can see that when I go to the supermarket versus what I receive from Artisanal!