The ChefSteps Coffee Class

Behind the scenes of the coffee photo shoot (Photo courtesy of ChefSteps)
The chef instructors at ChefSteps are pretty cool guys. I met a few of them in my adventure working as a development chef at the Cooking Lab developing recipes for Modernist Cuisine at Home, the follow up book to the first multi-book series, Modernist Cuisine.

Chefs Chris Young and Grant Crilly and photographer Ryan Matthew Smith partnered and started their own molecular gastronomy research kitchen and technology development lab. They opened their kitchen in the Pike Place Market with windows that gave the culinary team views of the Puget Sound and access to some of the best known artisan vendors in the city. They were joined by other talented culinary and technology folks, and they've quickly become renowned in culinary technique and equipment development.

Already gaining fame for their high quality videos and recipes, they received a James Beard Foundation nomination in 2014, and they're showing no signs of slowing down. In 2015 they won the award in a new category: Visual and Technical Excellence."

In addition, they also launched the Joule immersion circulator, the next step in water bath cooking. Integrated with your smart phone, the Joule can be programmed to start and stop when you want it to. Sleek and small, it is unobtrusive and can be stored conveniently. It's also waterproof all around, so cooks can't drown the device, like the larger, heavier other brands.

They released a coffee class, which I was happy to study. After moving away from Seattle, I've come to realize how precious the coffee was and how expertly brewed and foamed the milk was. We have two privately owned coffee shops, and the experiences have been quite varied.

Latte Art (photo courtesy of ChefSteps)

The latte art that they taught in the class was amazing. Now, I don't have an espresso machine, but that didn't matter in the end. In the "Awesome Espresso Hack" chapter, the chefs suggest using the plunger of a (clean) French Press to froth milk. I knew the trick from my Colorado days, but I had forgotten how efficient it is!

Another interesting lesson I learned was that oil visible on coffee beans suggests that the coffee has been roasted too hot and too much. The experts recommend looking for beans that are visibly dry, and you'll have much more flavorful, rich coffee.
Oily vs Dry beans (photo courtesy of ChefSteps)

Check out the Coffee class, and so many more!


2016: the fittest year

"Have you felt it? There has been an awakening... "

...of the need to improve ourselves. Early January posts on blogs and news stations often center around "New Year, New You!" We're encouraged to get fit, eat less, spend differently, save money, dress better, date more... it's crazy, and I feel like a puppet in the hands of the advertising masters.

Diet ads aired on Boxing Day, and reduced- fat/sugar/calorie/deliciousness food products went on sale on January 2nd. A few authors and podcasters that I follow talked about the goals, resolutions, and other life-altering tasks that they planned to start.

Not to be left behind, I downloaded Hal Elrod's The Miracle Morning, Peter Voogd's Young Entrepreneur Lifestyle, and bought a Kickstarter share of John Lee Dumas' The Freedom Journal.

My ambition so often outweighs my ability to execute, but the Audible edition of the Miracle Morning wakes me up and gets my mindset right, the Young Entrepreneur Lifestyle is a quick listen with great content, and The Freedom Journal is where I plan to write my real 2016 goal.

This new mentality of deliberately, thoughtfully developing myself is something I've gathered from The Mentee, Geoff Woods' podcast that I discovered over the summer. Personal growth is part of becoming more fit (fitter?), and it's vital for my growth as a leader in the industry.

In addition to my personal development, I've chosen to focus on my fitness and my fitness activities with my family. So, this year, 2016 will be my most fit year.

Joshua and I have purchased sport rock climbing rope (60m), helmets, and quick-draws. We plan to climb and improve our climbing skills, and our new Northern California home location gives us quick access to some of the most famous climbs, hikes, and camping trips. I'm in!

I am also on the waiting list to sign up for the November Rock N Roll Marathon in Las Vegas. I am planning to run the Half, but heck, it sounded better.

Well, here's to 2016!

What are you planning to do?


Talking Shop with Chef Jacob Burton from Stella Culinary's Stella Cast

Chef Jacob invited me back to do a follow-up to our Hong Kong trip, and he recently posted the entire 90 minute interview!

We talk about cool restaurants spotted in HK, the famous and memorable pineapple bun (there's no pineapple!), and the recent closures of Le Cordon Bleu for-profit culinary schools across the nation.

In typical food service professional fashion, we use some foul language and exclamations! Don't listen to this around your mom.

Follow the link to the Stella Cast interview. Let me know what you think!

What topics should we discuss next time?


Schedule an interview with Kimberly on the PeasOnMoss Podcast

Well, a few of you are aware that I have been working, slowly, on creating a podcast series that involves interviews with chefs and culinary professionals, most of whom I met during culinary school.

It's a very slow work in progress, as I've been challenged to find the time to interview you busy cooks and even more challenged to find the time to develop the skills needed to edit and post the recordings! (This is a round-about way asking for help, if you have recording skills that you'd like to share with me)

I've also been part of an entrepreneurship mastermind group in which we are starting to reach out to each other and support each others' work. One brilliant member suggested using Calendly to schedule appointments with each other. I also thought it would extra handy in scheduling upcoming interviews!

So, here's the link to the Calendly schedule where you can schedule an hour with me!

Interview Scheduler

You may be thinking, what would we talk about in an interview?

Primarily, I am interested in your professional culinary and foodservice journey and how you got to where you are now.

Some of my curiosity comes from a wondering about what others have done with their culinary training and experience.

Some comes from wanting to document and highlight the accomplishments you've had - whether that's becoming the best grill cook in the restaurant or opening your own business. It's also to discuss the food industry - hospitality, employment, culture - the whole thing from the eyes of the cooks, chefs, servers, sommeliers, and managers who live in it and who have bled for it.

Interested in hearing others' stories? I'm targeting a mid-February launch, so keep your eyes on the blog!

photo by Elaine Cox