Writing The Menu

Posted on July 09, 2013 by admin
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  Writing a menu is an art form. I’ve been writing them for over 25 years and poetic license is key. They are meant to invoke vivid imagery and have an edginess, if appropriate, and personality. You want people to be struck by what they’re reading and remember it. Finally, you want it to initiate a conversation with your server to ask questions. Locally grown food is important to us here at Tiki’s and we want to get that message across to our guests. We don’t expect our guests to know what Hau’ula tomatoes are and where they are grown but our servers do. We take them to the farms and they see first hand the products we put into our food and are able to relay these things to our guests. Sparking a conversation with a competent staff is the experience we aim for. In a place where the staff can’t adequately talk up the menu, it would need to be dumbed down. Another common practice in menu descriptions is to steer guests to or away from certain dishes. In one of my previous kitchens our filet mignon prices were skyrocketing through the roof ... Read more

Island Fusion

Posted on June 12, 2013 by admin
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Fusion cuisine is a joining of multiple cultures. There’s schoolable techniques to all of this and you can’t learn every little technique and such but lucky for us we live on this tiny little island that is such a big melting pot. Like Tony Lui said, “What’s fusion cuisine? In Hawaii it happens every time somebody gets married.” It’s a melding of culture and foods and it’s boundless. There are universal truths to cooking that make for easier synergy.  If you cook a premium piece of meat like a steak, you wouldn’t cook it more then 110˚-130˚; You wouldn’t cook it all the way through for hours and hours. Even if you slow cooked it, the inside temp wouldn’t be much more then body temperature (like a great rib roast). This would be the same in Russia or Japan or England. If its a secondary cut of meat, that requires being braised then you would braise it for hours and hours in a small amount of liquid. In France it would be wine, leeks, mirepoix and peppercorns and in China it would be star anise and mushroom or dark soy sauce and stock i... Read more

Repairing A Disposable World

Posted on May 30, 2013 by admin
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[caption id="attachment_147" align="alignright" width="584"] Repairing a Refrigerator door with a creme brulee torch.[/caption] Tiki’s has been around for over ten years, so things around the restaurant need maintenance.  I’ve fixed blenders, drains, ovens and burners. In the above image I’m repairing a refrigerator door by getting a little unconventional and heating up the tempered metal hinge with a crème brûlée torch. I recently changed the turn buckle and chain operating mechanism on the convection oven and I have the mechanism for the second oven when that one breaks. I could pay someone $85 an hour to do these repairs or I can just do it myself. We fixed our tilt skillet. Ed, my assistant in a lot of these projects and FOH manager at Tiki’s, and I took the whole thing apart. The mechanism was so frozen it actually broke the aluminum plating and the crank. We re-greased and cleaned the whole thing up. Ed took the crank to get welded and we put it all back together. It was a lot of effort, it took a long time but we salvaged an expensive compone... Read more

In the Kitchen for St. Francis Wine Dinner Party

Posted on May 21, 2013 by admin
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[imagebrowser id=8] We successfully wrapped up 5 courses of delicious, customized plates to go along with the wonderful St. Francis fleet of wines. This was our 4th of its kind here at Tiki's, each time selling out earlier and earlier! Our timing was terrific, which is so important in these types of events. The entire staff was on-top of it and working as one.  I'll let the picture gallery and video do most of the talking here. ... Read more

Delicious Vegetarian

Posted on May 14, 2013 by admin
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[imagebrowser id=7] This week I spoke at the Association of Nutrition and Food Service Professionals conference for about a hundred CDM’s who were there for continuing education credits.  There were many speakers covering different professions, HFM Food Service solicited me to be speak about vegetarian options for seniors in care facilities. I did a cooking demonstration called raw essentials at the Pacific Beach Hotel. I was asked to give better vegetarian options to cook up for their care facilities. I wanted to incorporate Turmeric (Hawaiians call it Olena) containing anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, and Maggis, an anti-oxidant amino acid. I mixed up a Wellness Shot and a Hot Shot. The Wellness shot had these two ingredients plus ginger, lime juice, honey and garlic. The Hot Shot had all this plus Ni’oi (Hawaiian Chile’).  Each ingredient added its own rich health benefits. Curcumin is the active ingredient in Turmeric which makes it very strong and astringent. The lime gave it acidity and the honey balanced it out so it’s palatabl... Read more

My Twist on Panna Cotta

Posted on May 05, 2013 by admin
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[imagebrowser id=3] Penne Cotta is traditionally a sweet summer dessert, cream and raspberries and such. If you can take cream and gel flavors and gelatinize it, penne cotta can be anything. I've seen Hiroshi do Uni Penne Cotta. I came up with Hau'ula Tomato Penne Cotta! So I had to make tomato paste, I took sixty pounds of tomatoes and I blended them, I strained the seeds and the skin out of the raw excess tomato bitters. Then I reduced it down, I separated the yellow ones and put some turmeric in with it. Then I cooled and hardened them in the refrigerator at an angle to for an interesting look. The candied maple smoked bacon was baked in simple syrup, removed it from the syrup and continued to bake it on parchment paper until crisp and candied. We have all the tastes covered. Acids from the balsamic and the tomatoes, peppery flavor from crab pepper and arugula, sweetness from the candied sugar and the reduced gastric out of the balsamic syrup, spiciness, tart, salty, bitter from the arugula and even uname from the tomatoes. It's a very complete sensory ... Read more

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