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Ask The Chef!

Looking Ahead

by Bruce Hopkins on 03/06/12

When we start looking ahead one could easily ask, "Looking ahead at what?"  Well, we could be talking about the future, our "to do" list, a vacation or many other subjects.  This time however I am looking ahead to a cooking class I will be teaching this coming June, 2012.  This class is a private class for six people who bid on the opportunity to spend a day with me in the kitchen and learn new recipes, get lots of information about knife skills, food trivia, wine pairings and eat (party) their way through the day.  We will start at 9:00 AM and finish up about 6:00 PM.  We will cook a couple of breakfast items, some lunch dsihes, appetizers, two or three dinner entrees and of course dessert.  The participants get gifts, lots to eat, some beverages along the way and generally have a great time.  They take home a cook book, all their "goodies" and lots of information and education about cooking.

Each of the participants have already paid a fair sum of money that has all been donated to Diabetes Research through an organization known as The Order of the Amaranth, an international organization whose main focus is to raise money to help fight this terrible desease.  I am proud to paticipate and donate my time and money to help support this endeavor.

If you wnat to know what we are cooking this year then write to me and ask.  To be honest, at this point the menu is not yet finalized, so suggestions are welcome.

The Chef


by Bruce Hopkins on 11/15/11

Hello!  Thank you for visiting our site.  We hope you have found something of interest and will be trying our products.  Though we really have not had the time to post new, nor regular updates here we are now energized to add something new for your consideration.

We would like to start by asking those who read this please respond.  Dialogue is the best way to dissenentate ideas and information.  If you noticed The Chef tweeked the previous blogs only to clean them up a little bit.  The pricing, information of knives and cooking tools is still appropriate and hopefully helpful to many.

What we would really like to have you, the reader, get from this blog is information, a venue from which to gather ideas, a place to pose your questions as well as post your ideas and comments.  The Chef's Table belongs to several "closed groups" on Facebook where we daily exchange comments, ask questions, pose ideas and generally discuss food related topics.  We would like to see this site evolve into something very similar.

If you have visted this site and looked at everything contained here you will notice there is a "Like" button for Facebook on the home page.  If, in truth, you do like this site then please click on the "Like" button, it will be greatly appreciated.  Further, The Chef's Table does have a Facebook page.  You can also go there and "discuss" any food related topic you wish to address, or leave any comment you desire.

Again, thank you for visiting, and we hope to hear from you!

Chef Bruce


by Bruce Hopkins on 05/03/11

Well, since I have had several emails asking why the cost of my products have risen so much I guess I had better let you know.  The actual cost of the product has remained the same.  So far we have been able to absorb any increase in the ingredient factor.  And, the cost of the ingredients for our products has risen and we do expect further increases.  We will, of course try and not pass this along until such time as our finances dictate we must.

What you are seeing in our rather sudden price hike is the cost of shipping.  Since the "store front" we are using does not have an aplication for adding in freight at the point of check out we were forced to add the shipping cost into the product cost.  Freight has become a very major factor in everything we all do.  With the rapidly rising price of gasoline and desiel fuel shipping has become a real nightmare for everyone who ships product.  I am unaware of any company that has been able to absorb these costs, even those who say they ship for free have hidden their cost in their product pricing in some manner.

We are sorry we must work in this way, but with a hand crafted product such as ours, and being a very small company we felt we had no choice.  We are, in an attempt to soften this blow to our product, looking at moving to another "store front" that will allow our customers to pay for the freight according to the total weight of the items sold.

We encourage you to continue shopping with us and please let us know what  you think either through direct emails to our sales department, the chef himself or through this blog site with your comments.

Which knife?

by Bruce Hopkins on 02/15/11

I recently read some comments by people about which knife was the best.  Well, there are so many variables involved that recommending which knife to buy creates a real dilema.

Before you buy a knife I recommend you understand the various steps, metals and processes of producing a high quality knife.  You can go on line and search knives and you will find many sites that explain how a "a high quality knife" is made.  Probably the best video I ever saw was done by Alton Brown on Food TV Network in one of his "Good Eats" episodes.  I am sure one can find the episode on their website......take a look.

Which brand is best?  In reality it is very personal.  What works best for me, feels the best in my hand and allows me to work well may not be true for you.  Look out there and you will see Henkles, Wusthoff, Victronix, Mercer, Global, etc., etc., etc.  You really have to try different knives from different manufacturers to know which one  will work best for you and fit your skills and skill level best.

Whether you should use an eight, ten or twelve inch chefs knife, a santuko style, a paring or utility knife is another story.  Perhaps another installment?

In the meantime cook on and your comments are always welcome

I need a what?

by Bruce Hopkins on 02/03/11

I have often been asked what pots and pans are the best?  Which knives do I need?

Well, the answer is not as simple as it seems, so I will answer these a little at a time.  Lets start with the pots and pans.  They are more technically called in the industry skillets, saute pans, sauciers and stock pots.  Regardless, of the name you use the concern is the quality of the tool.  There are cast iron, 18/10 stainless steel and non-stick with 18/10 as well as aluminum and a mirid of other materials used......even enamel.

In my humble opinion you are best served by using 18/10 stainless steel, non-stick 18/10 stainless steel and cast iron for your top-of-stove work.  These tools will do just about anything you want without compelling you to be a millionaire.  True you can spend a small fortune buying the big name brand stuff like All-Clad, Calphalon and the like, but there are lesser known brands which cost less since they do not have the name-recognition nor the Madison Avenue drive to ratchet up the price.  One of those happens to be Macy's "Tools of the Trade" line, also know as Belgique.  Very reasonably priced and often on sale Belgique is a great buy.

Your inventory for minimal use most likely would include 8", 10" and 12" skillets (both stainless and non-stick), three different sized sauciers, about two different stock pot sizes (depending upon the size meals you need to prepare) and a small selection (3 different sizes) of cast iron skillets.  You may even want to add a dutch oven to your collection.

Your comments are always welcome.

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