Friday, November 30, 2007

A peek inside Thomas Keller's Kitchen

Devin Knell, executive sous chef of the French Laundry, sent me a gallery of Thomas Keller's staff working on our pigs.

You can see the pictures here (including Mangalitsa preparations) and more here. You can get some sense of how big the Berkshire hogs were here. You can see how the Mangalitsa is a bit dark here. Older Mangalitsa are darker yet.

Thanks very much, Devin, for showing us what you did with those pigs!


boberica said...

Real respect for the whole hog

Kevin Kossowan said...

Really cool to see all the pics from the French Laundry - glad they shared that!

Heath said...

It is really something to see it.

There are many chefs who can work with a whole hog - alone. Just like a butcher - that's what he does.

E.g. Kevin Gillespie of Luna got two hogs within a month - and I don't think he's got a staff that can really help him much.

In Yountville, Thomas Keller has 3 restaurants, with lots of chefs - if they weren't having the old chefs teach the new chefs, they'd probably be able to process the hogs very quickly.

Sitka and Spruce's Matt Dillon (in Seattle) has a very small restaurant - 22 seats, I think - but he says he can use a hog every two weeks. Even if he only used a hog a month, I'd be very impressed.

You've got 80-100 seat restaurants where they won't even buy a single hog.

And then you've got farmers like Christoph Wiesner who kill and put up tens of hogs a year, with just a wife and family to help.

Everyone I've talked to says it is like learning to work with chickens. The first few chickens you process take a lot of time. With some practice, you get really good and fast at it.

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