February is coming to a close…

February 23rd, 2011

Mohegan Sun Wine Fest 2011 was interesting this year.  It was not as it was in years past but it was well received by everyone.

Mohegan Sun Wine Fest 2011 Mohegan Sun Wine Fest 2011

Well there, I have some very big news….my right hand man, Van Hurd, just tied the knot in Vegas to his long time fiancé, Stephanie.  Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Van Hurd!!!!  They had a very memorable service, followed up by a wonderful reception at Bouchon at the Venetian Las Vegas.

Old man winter sure has its grip on us this year. I know I have visions of warm summer days and I can’t wait for them to come!! I have some very cool and interesting news coming soon, so hang tight and keep checking into my web site.

New Job and New Adventures for 2011

January 28th, 2011

Jordan Caterers

Wow how time does fly by. It was two years ago this week, when Dave and I were locked up in a warehouse taping the finale of Hell’s Kitchen season 6…..

Well it’s a whole new year with new adventures to go on, new people to meet, and new challenges to conquer, with many more new beginnings just around the corner… 2011 has me and my great team off to a new location.

That’s right.  I, along with my partner in crime, Van Hurd (yes from hell’s kitchen season 6), and my super talented team have moved on. It was time to get back in the game and out of the laid back country club business. The team and I jumped to the fast and crazy world of “off premise” catering and venue management. Yep. Jordan Caterers and Venue Management is the new home for me, Van and the team. www.jordancatereers.com  We are the MacGyver’s of the sterno and hot box cooking world. For those of you too young to know MacGyver, sorry you don’t get that analogy.

We are doing events for 2 to 2000 people. They’re all fun and have very different and unique challenges. I will be telling you about these new adventures, and posting fun photos and video all year long. I would, however, like you to comment and ask questions along the way. So buckle up and get ready for this ride, its sure going to be fun. Oh and if you have some photos and adventures of your own, please share them with me and I will post them on the blog. Just go to the contact page for now and send me what you have thanks and let the fun ride begin!!!

Happy Cooking!!!

Chef Kevin Cottle

Hells Kitchen is coming back!! Season 7 what do I think about the show… hummmm

May 31st, 2010

 

Well it’s back. 16 new poor souls who get humiliated, screamed at, food thrown on them and oh sometime complete a service. Ahhh that’s why we watch.

Who is the villain?? Who is the hero?? Who is the comic relief??? And who are just the idiots that we are drawn to watch!!

Hell’s Kitchen Season 7 starts June 1st 2010 I would like to say its back and better but who could possibly be better than season 6? Yahh I agree no one!!

I am looking forward to watching and seeing who I think will win and who I think should win. I do have a unique perception as the runner-up and one who knows what really is going on behind the edits. So tune in to my blog and see what I think is happening!!

Mohegan Sun Wine Fest 2010

February 2nd, 2010

Kevin and Tyler

Mohegan Sun Wine Fest 2010 what an event!! I am still trying to recover from such a wonderful and exciting weekend.In this picture is Tyler Anderson from Copper Beech Inn and Gina Scarpa from www.realitywanted.com

When I was approached and asked to be a guest chef at this year’s event I felt honored to be involved. There are a few chefs that I truly look up to and was happy to cook with them. Such as Chef Noel Jones of ON20 www.ontwenty.com  Chef Billy Grant of www.billygrant.com   and my new friend Tyler Anderson of www.copperbeechinn.com

Being a part of such a wonderful event was truly a blast. I have to say that great food, great wine and chefs can equal trouble, in a very good way!

Friday night started with me and Tyler warming up the crowd of, oh about 1100people, yes 1100 people with some amuse from each side of the grand entrance. It was like watching a swarm of coach roaches fall from the top of the convention center and race toward us. First Tyler gets the hit then me!! It was awesome. Hey being a chef is being ready for the onslaught of customers at any time. That was one of the fastest hour and a half I ever had. When I had a chance to look up the doors were opened and I look over at Tyler and we were now ready to enjoy ourselves!!

Now it was time have a few cocktails with my wife, Tyler Anderson and crew, as well as my good friend Andy Husbands of www.tremont647.com  who had his good friend Ed Doyle of www.realfoodconsulting.com . It was a late night!!!

Saturday was great as well. During the day I had time to sample and get ready for the grand tasting. Again I and Tyler are the opening act (which is perfect because, when we are done we get to eat and drink while the other chefs have to work). We get hit hard then it is over and time to enjoy the night. Oh what a night

Kevin and AndyKevin and Andy

Had a little fun with Robert Irvine of Dinner Impossible then tried to get serious with Bobby Flay. Very hard to get serious after the fun we all had in the Chef’s Private party room but I tried!

Kevin and Robert

 Well until next time Happy Cooking Chef Kevin!!

Antigua-Barbuda Food and Music Festival

December 22nd, 2009

Antigua and Barbuda (Spanish for “Ancient” and “Bearded”)

I was recently invited to the wonderful island of Antigua and Barbuda, to learn more about their culture and cuisine for an event called “The Food and Rhythms Experience Tour”. We will be guest along with many notable Journalists and a team from the Travel Channel www.travelchannel.com  which will be doing a show about the wonders of Antigua-Barbuda.

Upon our arrival we were greeted by our gracious hosts Derede Samuel-Whitlock, Director of Tourism and Dean Fenton, Senior Marketing/sales Representative, with warm smiles and excited anticipation.

The weather was exceptional, eighty-five and sunny, which was perfect as we just left Connecticut in a rain and sleet storm. We check into our hotel www.bluewaters.net which is spectacular. We are greeted again with warm smiles but this time that smile has a rum punch!!  I was a bit turned off by the food offerings, it is an inclusive resort and I do not like those, any way with plenty of local spots I am not worried.

Our fist day included a seminar by the US Beef Export Federation, check them out at www.usmef.org .

This seminar was put together to introduce different cuts of beef, ones that are generally found in the United States. The purpose is to further educate local Island Chefs on US Beef. The island is British and there cuts are a bit different than ours, so the US Beef Export Federation put together this BBQ cook off to introduce some “low and slow” cuts. This BBQ cook-off will be one of the many events taking place at the final party.

After meeting with the chefs it was time for me to venture over to “Elvies Pottery”. Hyacinth Hillhouse continues in the tradition begun by her mother of making coal pots and other items from the local clay, which is a very big part of island history. It was amazing to see how quickly Hyacinth can make these gorgeous pots with such ease. I highly recommend a visit, oh and quick tidbit, call and order something ahead of time. She is booked out and it takes two weeks for the pot to be completed Monday –Saturday 7am-6pm 463-1888.This is, unfortunately a dying art and may not be around for future generations. For only a very few make this traditional style of pottery. The government is however working on a program that would teach this cultural art to students as part of their course work.

After the pottery history and demonstration off to a local hot spot for lunch!! We arrive at Affi -Amani, located on Nevis Street, to a wonderful table set up family style for our dinner (I am with a few journalists the travel channel host and film crew). We have stewed goat, fish in Creole sauce, stewed pork, rice and peas, cod fish, red herring, curried goat, sautéed Caribbean vegetables, and to drink we have sorrel, morby and ginger beer all three are local drinks. Wow what a feast!! The chef did not disappoint. What an introduction to Antiguan cuisine. If this is the start of our trip then we have a very nice time ahead of us.

After such a feast I am in need of relaxing at the beach. So back to the hotel to rest up a bit and soak in the sun. We have a big night ahead which includes a wine bar and a legendary restaurant.

Time to go to “C and C Wine Bar” to sample some wine and a few treats. We are met by

Claudine Vierstrate, the wine bars owner. Claudine explains that her love of wine is South African wine so off we go on our South African Journey. This is the part where I am supposed to tell you about the wines. Unfortunately In my “happy” state of mind I forgot to write down the wines. Although you can see in the pictures we had a great time. I do suggest when you’re in town to stop by and say hi to Cutie and Claudine, and of course have a glass of wine or three. Thank you Claudine and Cutie!!

Well we are not done yet off to Russell’s Restaurant, www.russellsfortjames.com . We arrive at Russell’s Restaurant and Bar to a smiling staff and a rum punch drink. What a way to wash down the wine and start in on a feast of Island style food. We had conch fritters, island style shrimps, cockles, curried fish, and curried chicken. The restaurant is an old fort set on a cliff. We did not have a chance to see the view but I can imagine it is spectacular. After an eventful night I am in need of some rest; as we have a big day at the market and then I will cook with a local chef. 

Today is the day I am looking forward to. We wake very early and off to the market we go. I am greeted by a local chef and restaurant owner Dennis of “Dennis Bar and Restaurant”   www.dennis.ipage.ag   Dennis walks us through the market talking about the local vegetables and fruits, which we are sampling along the way. This market is very lively and people are everywhere. Dennis explains that this is a very social day. Saturday at the market is not only for shopping but a day in which people just catch up on current events or just plain gossip. I am noticing that there are quite a few ladies stirring something in pots. I notice these are the same pots I saw Hyacinth make. Dennis explains they are making an Antiguan staple food called Fungie. It is a type of corn meal made with a stock and is usually eaten for breakfast (but really any time is good). I buy some and try my first fungie. I had some chop-chop and red herring with my fungie. I am impressed this is really good. Dennis then explains he will teach me to make fungie, chop-chop and several other local treats I can’t wait.

We travel back to Dennis’s Restaurant and man what an incredible view! His restaurant sits atop a cliff and over looks Ffryes Beach. Wow just look at the pictures and you can see the beauty. We get in the kitchen and start cooking right away. As we are cooking the Travel Channel crew arrives and the host starts helping with our dinner prep. We are making chop-chop, fungie, red herring, cake fruit, and ducana what a great day. We have all the travel writers and the Travel channel ready to eat our cooking. I had such a great time with Dennis and enjoyed learning about Antiguan cuisine. If you have a chance stop by grab a bit to eat and tell Dennis I sent you!!

Well tonight is a big night time to go to the “Food and drink Industry Party”. The host hotel is the newly opened Sugar Ridge Hotel www.sugarridgeantigua.com . Magnificent, truly a luxury get away destination. Just go to the web site I cannot explain as good as the site can. This party is a culmination of Antigua’s best chefs and local artists featuring some great samples of their craft. There was this one chef demo that I found quite interesting. He is called the Rhyming Chef www.therhymingchef.com  He was very entertaining just check out his web site. The night was great, a lot of food and drink as well as an interesting body paint fashion show. I was only looking at the art work really!! The night was capped off with a very special guest band. The “Sister Sledge” ladies were in town and ready to sing some of their hits, like “we are family” and “he’s the greatest dancer”. What a great night and a great trip. Thank you Derede, Dean and Shermain for a great trip, it is cold and snowy here in Connecticut I think it’s time to go back!!

As always until next time Happy Cooking! Chef Kevin

 All photos on this trip were taken by this man Ted Martin, of www.photofantasyantigua.com . Please look up Ted for your Island memories of a life time.  Great job  Ted thanks you for the beautiful memories!!

Van and Kevin Team up in Connecticut

November 13th, 2009

 

The show is over but things are just heating up in Farmington Connecticut!!

Hell’s Kitchen was an interesting adventure, which I am glad I did, but opened my eyes a little bit to fact and fiction. The one solid fact is that Van Hurd can cook.

Me and Van were roommates on the show and had a very quick bond. We both have a young family and we both we there to win. We sat out on a lot of the extra activities that when on during the show and tried to keep focus as best we could.

Van is very aggressive and self motivated, which to me, are great qualities. He showed speed in prep and a willingness to help out at any time. He also has a very nice base for fine dining.

 Vans tenure at the luxurious Adolphus Hotel in Dallas played a very important part of defining his fine dining make up. He was taught by some of the best and brightest chefs in the country.

Now that I was able to pry him from his beloved south (maybe just for a little while) I am looking forward to our creations. We are a private club, The Country Club of Farmington, but we have a very captive and influential clientele. Our goals are to be the best club dining facility in Connecticut as well as New England. We have a great alliance with the department of Agriculture “farm to chef” program and work closely with Linda Piotrowicz, the fearless leader of the program, to make certain we practice what everyone else just preaches. That would be to actually use local products and support all causes of the farm-chef program.

With support of our members and the farmers there is no limit to what we can accomplish!! Van is now settling into Connecticut however, he has never seen a real snow storm or icy New England roads.

I will keep everyone posted on my blog, as to our appearances and progress on our mission to transform ALL CLUB dinning in New England!! Be well and as always,

Happy Cooking, Chef Kevin

Finale Kevin and Dave

November 4th, 2009

 

Well Dave wins; yes everyone knows this by now. I would like to congratulate Dave and wish him success in his future endeavors.

This show taught me a lot! I must say I do look at “reality TV” a bit differently now. I thought I knew the show and what it was about but in “Hell’s Kitchen” you never know. Yes I get it. It is TV and entertainment after all.

I thought for a very long time about what to post. Such as things that happened, things you the viewer did not see, and decided just let it go. As I said before everything happens for a reason so no use trying to mess with fate.

 I really would have liked an explanation or anything after the show. What I got was nothing, oh well life will go on!!

I have a great job at the country club and a life that many chefs would enjoy so in the end I am going to do just fine. I have come to like Connecticut quite a bit and I think there is a few new adventures soon to come!!!

If you are ever in Connecticut, come on over and say hi to me and Van. Yes I found one hell of a good chef while on that show; Van is now part of the team at the Country Club. Now the real fun begins!!

Happy Cooking to all, Chef Kevin

Top Three Hell’s Kitchen Season 6

October 22nd, 2009

 

Well it has been a while since my last post I am sorry and will not let that happen too often. As you can imagine the last few weeks were a bit crazy.

Let’s just dive right into it shall we. I will start with Ariel. The show seemed to depict a feud being started with myself and Ariel. I would have to disagree on my part. I do not know Ariel’s full point of view but I will tell you mine.

FOX made it seem that Ariel was bringing me several Lambs that were all wrong. I would like to say yes there was a few but not to the extreme you saw. Ariel did not do to bad but was a bit less consistent than Dave. That is not what bothers me the most. The “scallop incident” is where I get a bit uneasy. I wish you all were there to see what was happening; I will tell you in my own words. Ariel was not a strong communicator.  Both I and Dave kept asking each other, “what did she just say” and  “what is it that she wants”.  We had a hard time together, understanding where she was and what she was picking up. I do want to stress, it was only for one brief time that we were confused and after that she was ok. But during this time I wanted to get the food out so I started to ask Scott and Heather if they knew what she said, and of course they had nothing. At this point I just looked the tickets and started to tell everyone where we were and to pick up in that order. Chef Ramsay did not like this and well you saw his reaction.

So the scallops fall right in the middle of what I was just saying. Yes I have been very good on the fish side so for the subpar scallops, it happens!! I did have more but again she confused both me and Dave as to pick up and orders. Sabotage, I think not. I will not cheat to gain an edge. If you saw a lot of the behind the scenes and reflect back to some scenes you did see. You will find I was always helping and organizing our team. Not always solo but the blue team knows what was what. The end of the day you work as a team but need to show individual strengths. Just to clarify a bit more, chef has many cameras and people telling him everything he cannot see, and he does get information and uses it. So remember it is not just Ramsey’s eyes there are ALOT of eyes.

So of course Ariel wants me on the block and I wanted Ariel. Dave was the deciding factor. As Dave said the communication was the issue. No one said anything about the lamb or scallops and in the end Chef Ramsay made the choice of me and Dave in the finals.

I think Ariel has a very bright future and I hope we stay in touch. I hope this clears a bit up but in the end there was six of us in the Kitchen and we are the ones who saw it all!! Until next time,

Happy cooking!!!! Chef Kevin

Fantastic 4

October 2nd, 2009

Well Suzanne is finally gone!!

I would like to say one nice thing about Suzanne. She had the perfect risotto in the back from something else and really helped save me and Tennille.

The challenge we all faced this week was pretty cool. I mean really Bon Appétit is a really cool magazine. It has been around for some time and well six million readers a month that is a lot of eyes.

I am a bit nervous going into this challenge, as it’s an opportunity to be in a widely respected magazine. I immediately go to my strength; and well if you have not noticed by now, it is fish. I quickly think colors (as it’s an appearance then taste challenge) and center of the plate dish. I do cook with fruit and vegetables a lot and so far that has worked for me so, here I go. I want all elements to work but stay light and true to the ingredients integrity. Citrus, beans, tomato, papaya, fennel and parsnips, yeah this will work!!

 Off I go to make this crazy concoction. As I am prepping Chef Ramsay is flying around the kitchen asking us what we are doing and giving his criticism/critiques, who knows the difference at this point, and of course he immediately does not seem thrilled by my fruit and fish idea. I stay true to what I want and dismiss his comments!!

As the editors are asking us all about our dishes I feel very confident that I have a really great looking dish. I am looking at everyone’s plates and I think Dave and Ariel have nice Bon Appétit style plates and they may give me a run.

Well here it is. I received a large number of first place votes which puts me in and now one more. Ariel and Dave had an extremely close second place race with Ariel squeezing out the victor, so me and Ariel up to the front and lets now taste and name a champion.

Well I know my dish looks good but will it pass the Chefs immediate disapproval of all that fruit. Barbra Fairchild names me the winner!! Oh but wait, this is Hell’s Kitchen so Chef Ramsay is not finished he has one more thing to say. He really likes the way I made the fruit work but he is equally impressed with Ariel’s dish so BOTH of you win. Hey cool as long as I am part of the victory. I better enjoy this win because dinner is another story…..

RISOTTO: Italian rice specially made by stirring hot stock into a mixture of rice (and often chopped onions) that has been sautéed in butter. The stock is added ½ cup at a time and the mixture is stirred continually while it cooks until all the liquid is absorbed before more stock is added. This labor-intensive technique results in rice that is delectably creamy while the grains remain separate and firm. This is the “Food Lover’s Companion” version, verbatim.

I have cooked this many times and cooked it well; today was not one of those days. I guess I disappointed Chef because he just would not let it go. Oh well it was my time. But after that dismal start I was back cooking at the garnish station, which also is the team expo person. Suzanne and Ariel put up raw food and well you saw the show Suzanne was sent packing.

Well Kevin, Dave, Ariel and Tennille  are the Fantastic 4.

I am however disappointed to learn I and Ariel will NOT be in a Bon Appétit magazine. I was told it will be online only. Hell’s Kitchen strikes again!!!! What a disappointment!!

Well until next week!!

 Happy Cooking Chef Kevin

Final Five

September 25th, 2009

chef01_0916

That was a couple of very interesting episodes. I would like to point out that you are only seeing the entertainment side of the show and almost everyone can cook and can cook well. Yes even Joseph with the crazy attitude was, I’m sure still is, a good cook.

It’s a funny thing reading the message boards, and wow people are crazy!! The internet can be used wisely as well as being a sounding board for the very intellectually challenged person. I hope you the viewer understand this is a show after all!!

Enough of that, on with the show!!  I get to see the show just as everyone else see it and find myself laughing at the episodes. I only know what happens on the team I am cooking with and view the other team just like you. So when I saw Sabrina not letting the other girls in on the Venison I just had to laugh. They were after all pushing her aside so I cannot blame her for having some spite. But in the end Sabrina was cast aside. Not even her quirky personality could save her as Chef Ramsay eliminated her.

 Man I was not happy to see Van go!! However Chef Ramsay had his radar set on lock and he was more than willing to unload on Van. You could sense the relentless fire being put on Van and he finally just lost it. Van is a very talented chef with a very bright future; I think he will do just fine.

I know what I am seeing on the show. I would like to know what are your thoughts, what is it that you see. I have caught some things that are suspect on the show have you!!

Until next week!

Happy Cooking!!!!

Chef Kevin