Food brings people together, especially family. This is Super 8 footage of Chef Ellard's family filmed mostly in Brooklyn in the late sixties and early seventies.
The thumbnail is Chef Ellard's mother in front of the Brooklyn Bridge. There is video of Thanksgiving celebrations, family BBQs, Christmas gatherings, and more. Hope you enjoy it!
In recent years it has become normal for people to think of commercial kitchens as war zones and Executive Chefs like dictators who have the right to yell, belittle, and even assault their staff in order to make ‘the perfect’ meal. Reality shows like Hell’s Kitchen, Cutthroat Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares and new movies like Burnt with Bradley Cooper portray commercial kitchens as battlegrounds and places that are run like military operations. But is this the best way to run a kitchen and produce great food? I submit it is another one of those Hollywood created ideas that there always needs to be conflict to keep things interesting.
Certainly there are many fans of those shows and movies. And cooking does have a real sense of urgency. When executing a meal there is pressure to be timely, precise, and consistent which can make for a high stress environment. After all, if you can’t stand the heat… But the implication of these shows - that regular, intense, conflict is part of working in a kitchen - is wrong. I’m sick of it. These forms of entertainment influence the beliefs of chefs, cooks, servers, kitchen managers, and owners in our society and lead to mistreatment of staff, the inflating of egos, creating bad working culture, and in my opinion make for bad food.
I have worked as a chef/cook professionally in many different venues. I have cooked meals with and for celebrities, cooked meals for people living and working in the jungle of Hawaii, and for people who were homeless in San Francisco. I have worked in kitchens that were run like the Third Reich and I have worked in kitchens that functioned with harmony, respect, and I even dare use the L word. I can say unequivocally that the latter is much better than the former and that the food comes out just as good if not better when there is harmony.
So I submit that it is time for us to start a new era in cooking - one where people are respected, happy, learning, loving, joking, challenged and making food that nourishes the body and soul.
Arrrrr. Let me spin you a tale of fishing in the Maldives for the great tuna. A heartbreaking tale from The Culinary Edge TV ..
Bailey and I booked a fishing charter on the isle of Huraa. Our host Shahid Rasheed is like the Maldivian version of Ricardo Montalban- 'Welcome to Fantasy Island'. We really didn't know what we were in for. We have been fishing on a boat 4 times so far in our around the world adventure and each one was full of surprises.
We set out onto the clear blue Maldivian waters in an 18ft speed boat. The fishing gear consisted of empty 3 gallon oil jugs with fishing line wrapped around and trolling lures on the end. Perfect! We were hand-lining tuna in the Indian Ocean.
The Captain drove the boat to some fishing grounds off the the island of Hulhumale. Bailey and I took our places in the stern and let the lines drift out into the rich colbalt blue sea. We held the lines waiting for a fish. Not too long into it Bailey got a hit, she started pulling in her line with this scary and determined look. I told her to make sure the line wasn't wrapped around her hands "I've seen fingers torn out at the knuckles."
As she gained line on the fish, our Captain wound the line around the oil jug. The fish got closer and I asked the crew if they had a gaffe. It doesn't appear they use gaffes in the Maldives. Bailey persistently kept pulling the fish in with her hands and I filmed it with the GoPro. She brought the fish to the side of the boat. Looked like a nice yellowfin (ahi) tuna and I was salivating thinking of the Hawaiian style poke I would prepare from this tasty fish.
At the side of the boat the Captain went to go lift the fish and we watched as the yellowfin tuna seemed to look right at us. And with one flick of his beak it shook the hook out, flopping back into the water and shooting us a stare that read, "You'll be eating salad tonight. HaHaHA". And then he was gone!
We didn't hook another fish that day but we will always remember that stare the fish gave us as he escaped back into the Indian Ocean. Bailey has cuts on her hands from the line and will certainly remember the fight...the question is -- will that fish remember us?
The Culinary Edge TV is about authentic food and culture around the world. We celebrate and spotlight unique, eclectic, non-commercial, communal, and creative activities people are pursuing across the globe.