Too Easy to Get Information?

by Jamie Bissonnette

As a young cook, I didn't have e-mail or the Internet. It was harder to get information. It required constant talking with other cooks about what was going on in our cities, and around the world.

I loved it. I remember calling Gotham Bar & Grill and pretending that I was an admin for someone coming to town on business so they would fax a copy of their menu to me.  And I remember how mad my boss was that I was getting a fax at work…as a line cook. Taking a bus to NYC from Hartford for the day, eating at four restaurants and then walking in to get menus at ten others, was the only way I could get to see what was happening.

Flash forward 20 years and I am on my computer, e-mailing this blog post to Matt Starr, with five tabs open on my browser of restaurant websites, blogs, and Instagram, still looking for that information and knowledge. I love how much more I can access it and how quickly I can.  But sometimes I wish that the younger generation had to work for it, had to forage a city for a copy of a menu.  

I am jealous, for sure, but also impressed at how many cooks know more about food than we did that early in our careers.  I think this is why food trends happen so quickly and why chefs aren't keeping as many secrets anymore.  Now, where do we go from here?


About Jamie

Jamie Bissonnette is the James Beard Award—winning chef and partner of Boston favorites Coppa, an Italian enoteca, Toro, the Barcelona-style tapas bar, and Little Donkey, Cambridge's beloved neighborhood restaurant. Visit his website here

New website!

by Andy Starr

If you're reading this, you're on the new Boston Showcase Company website! It's a long overdue refresh and we're excited to finally share it with you. Over the coming months, we'll be adding new features that will make your customer experience even better and we'll share details as they emerge. 

Some of the new features of the site include forms to directly reach us about new projects, beautiful images showcasing our customers, links to industry videos, spotlights on some of our vendors and their latest products and links to nearly all of our vendors. 

We encourage you to share your feedback with us as we want to make the site the premier destination for foodservice and restaurant professionals!

The Starr Family

Top Chef - Episode 12 Recap

by Andy Starr

The finals have begun and Brooke, fresh off of winning Last Chance Kitchen, asserted herself as the front-runner by not only winning the Quickfire Challenge, but also the main competition. Brooke continues to take risks with her vegetarian-inspired dishes (who think to use coconut in ceviche in place of tuna?!) that are so different from her competitors that she needs to nail the flavors and always does. I realize she is stoked about getting to the finals and having early success, but she could have been slightly more humble after winning each round. However, it's entertaining to see her fire back at judges when they question her, like Richard Blais did when asking about her cold soup. Also, she and Casey should probably open a restaurant together as their strong chemistry is apparent. 

It was disappointing to see Katsuji unable to bury the hatchet with John and it may have doomed him. He was finally shown the door just as he reached new levels of sweating. When he presented to the judges, he was sweating so profusely that his glasses were completely fogged up and beads of sweat were rushing down his face. Although he was undoubtedly the least talented chef there, despite having worked in no less than 37 restaurants, that had to play a role in how the judges perceived the food. And I'm sorry, John, but "keeping it simple" with your margarita by not doing anything is probably not the best move in the finals. Even Sheldon's muddied cocktail that looked like a swamp seemed more appealing. John grew me throughout the season though. He kept talking about his temper as a younger man and how he changed and despite numerous opportunities to blow up, he kept his cool and lasted until the penultimate episode. Even on his way out, he held his head high 

Sheldon and Shirley were consistent but far from perfect. I actually thought Sheldon was going to win the first round based on how excited and familiar he was with goa. In the end, both of them made a few too many mistakes - Sheldon with his cocktail and overcooked octopus and Shirley with her vanilla flavored beef - to win. 

I've never been to Mexico but touring the Patron factory seems like a good place to start! 

Top Chef - Episode 11 Recap

By Andy Starr

The last episode before the season finale wrapped up last night and my first reaction was, "wow, I can't believe John made it to the finals!" Remember the first episode when he was in a fight-for-your-life duel to stay on and despite sweating profusely all over his shrimp, he survived. Shirley reaching the finals is no surprise at all as she has consistently performed well and arguably should have won the first time she was on.

My money is on Sheldon though as he continues to prove that he is the most innovative chef on the show. I also love the guy. The fact that he was the only one attentive enough to figure out that his wife was on the other side of that partition during the initial challenge just goes to show the type of person that he is. The others were so stressed out that they didn't even notice their loved ones on the other side. Aside from that, he takes risks, dazzles the judges with his combination of flavors and technique and most importantly, he's humble about it. Watching on television, you don't really have any idea how the food tastes but Sheldon and Shirley always produce dishes that look extremely appetizing. 

My wife and I checked out Last Chance Kitchen for the first time after the show. I don't know why we haven't been watching it all season as it's 10 more minutes of uninterrupted Top Chef that we could have been enjoying. Brooke battled Casey in a challenge of consistency and went in completely different directions. Brooke made two first courses with her soup and salad dishes while Casey went for the home runs in steamed fish and steak. Casey's steak on a bed of potatoes, which she wasn't judged on, looked ridiculously good. Unfortunately, because they didn't want to spoil the first finale episode, they didn't reveal the winner. I would lean toward Casey winning based on the reaction to the dishes, but Brooke and Tom Colicchio seemed a bit flirtatious so that could work in her favor. Excited for the finale!