Posts tagged ‘chef’

August 17, 2010

Cooking schools- Great fun or Great rip-offs?

In the last 5 or so years cooking and chefs are everywhere! On the cover of magazines, movies, television shows, and Disney cartoons. In the World of ready made supermarket foods, organic markets and gastro shows are rapidly growing like mushrooms. Now everybody wants to cook and have a bite of the industry. New cooking schools are opening up for the ones who are interested, or want to go for a date, or just for the ones who want to impress their guests or want to learn a healthy living. To be honest there’s nothing wrong with that. The wrong part comes when one`s think that they can put together a decent lasagna at home, or like to host dinner parties instantly think they can make it in this business.

On TV and in the magazines it all looks so easy. A well organised chef in a well organised kitchen, cooks a fantastic looking meal within 30 minutes. The restaurant around the corner is packed every night “They sure do an amazing turnover, sure they don’t have money problems”. They don`t realise that the restaurant 2 blocks away closing down and opening again in every 6 months just because people who run it, don’t actually know what they are doing. If you are just about to go to culinary college, and you doing this because of the money, you better turn around and do something else. Yes you can earn, with hard work, and hard work,and hard work, you can also make it big with more hard work and a bit of luck.

Why am I writing this?

I been looking at some local cooking schools. The ones you can attend once a week or a month if you want to. You don’t need to be a chef, can learn some basic cooking ideas, and can spice up your life with some gastro knowledge and some healthy and interesting food. To be honest there are some really great ones Worldwide, not to mention some big city residents are just spoiled with choices. Pastry, japanese, cocktail, italian, butchery you name it. These are made for fun. You not going to be a kick ass chef, but hopefully you not going to burn your water. I`m actually a big fan of these schools, people can actually learn some stuff from basic cuts to complicated dishes. More about fresh produce, and how not to poison themselves with Chez Microwave best offs. Soon I will be working at one of these places in Budapest for a few months and Im very excited, especially about the working with people part. How non chefs see the kitchen and the cooking. It will be interesting.

But I came across some ads saying: “Open your dream restaurant” “Become a celebrity chef in no time” “Cook with the best”  “Learn everything you wanted to know about wines and food”- all these in 2 hours/week for 2 moths.  Before you sign up for any of these and pay at least of the amount of 500 pounds or more ask yourself the question: “Really?”  So really all you have to do is, attend this class and you going to know all about restaurants? cooking?wine? pastry?photography? design? accounting? menu planning? ingredients? So all the people who made it big just attended these classes for about 100 hours? There are really so many idiots in colleges and universities who don’t know about these offers?  No! Well, if you really have so much money to waste and a bit of free time  go for it! You might have fun with the other rich restaurant wannabe virgins. I’m sure it`s going to be fun to visit the cities nice restaurants and bakeries, which, to be honest you may have already done, or can de without parental guidance. It will be nice to cook for 2 nights with the second class celebrity chef who gives his/her name to anything just to get the 15 minutes again. To be honest for this amount of money they would even go to your house and get naked for you if you would ask them. But if you really want a chance in hospitality, You will have to know..its hard work, people are going to screw you as much as they can, you most likely end up living in a kitchen or behind the bar.

I saw people screwing up their lifetime savings, just because they had no idea what they get into. Cafes, restaurants closing down, because the owner thought sweet talking to the costumers is the way to go, and not buying ingredients and equipment for their chefs and kitchen. I saw guys running out crying from a busy kitchen. I’m sure all of these because..they didn`t attend those classes.

You should read Anthony Bourdains “Kitchen Confidential”, buy the “Larousse Gastronomique”  eat out, learn, read cookbooks…COOK AT HOME!  After all this you might get a general idea. Attend a good culinary college for at least 2 years. And if You still think this is for you, well man, Welcome Aboard!

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August 10, 2010

Budapest Restaurant: Vakvarju review.

Vakvarju Restaurant

Budapest, Paulay Ede street 7.

VI. district, http://www.vakvarju.com

(There are 2 other locations in the city, You can find them on the website)


The blind crow funny or weird name for a joint, but it is worth trying it. Especially if you want to taste some good quality Hungarian food while visiting/living here. It`s located close Deak ter/Andrassy street, so very close to popular meeting points and tourist attractions, in Paulay Ede street. Vakvarju is the old slang name for a very simple dish which is like the all time favourite langos (fried dough) but it`s furnace baked little brother, which some people just call “The Hungarian Pizza”. If You out and about in the city and see some fairs or markets, you can easily run in to this dish, it`s pretty much the first time I see it on a restaurants menu.  But of course Vakvarju has lot more to offer!

The place is very casual the staff is very friendly. The design, well it is interesting. You can sit on a vespa at the bar, or punch someone in the male toilet..you know, it`s completely up to you! By the way..the bathroom. The place is trying to get in the Guinness Book of records by collecting toilet signs from all around the world. If you bring them one, trust me it will be rewarding!:)


So, the food:

It was fantastic! Filling, tasty, interesting and the best about it cheap! I mean some places in the city which provide same or oven less service or quality food have this thing to over-prise their dishes. Vakvarju doesn`t do that. It`s very affordable, and nice quality food. They also do lunch deals as well, so for less than 1000Ft you can treat yourself with a 2 course meal.

We had pickle cream soup, with salmon. Oh dear it was fantastic. This cold and sour soup, was a real surprise. My forest mushroom-cappuccino soup was even better. Rich and creamy, it was gone in seconds really.  Also this pickle soup is very much trending among Budapest restaurants at the moment, as well among bloggers. No wonder as its easy and cheap to make, and it sounds interesting enough to attract foodie costumers.


The main dishes were very nice as well. Some of us had pullet in a parmesan jacket with spinach pasta. And it was a massive portion, we had to ask help from the male friends to finish it. Some of us had rose duck breast with cabbage pasta and pears. Or traditional pork hock “pekne style”- garlic and beer overdose. Or steak with liver filled cannelloni pasta. (it`s easy to tell tho that the chef likes his Italian influence). I have to admit there was no room for dessert. To be honest you can`t really go wrong with the orders. Thou none of us has ordered a “vakvarju” but some people confirmed those were delicious as well.

If you are in Budapest, try it, it`s really worth it!