In the Male Chef kitchen, I’m always looking for new ways to manipulate, play with, and eventually ingest my meals. After running a food blog for some time, me and the rest of my Male Sous Chefs have been invited over to VICE for a chance to explore the rear-end of food culture even further.
I wanted to kick things off by exploring the idea of “food hacking,” or finding the fastest and easiest ways to change your cooking habits so you can maximize your life’s efficiency. Bearing this goal in mind, I turned to one of the most efficient environments I could think of: the corporate office.
The common provenance of qartaand chitterlings from within the intestinal tract does lead to similar problems with fecal smell or taste. Chitterlings often solve this problem through judicious rounds of blanching, followed more often than not by deep-frying (which, as This American Life recently proved, is a great way of hiding the stubborn flavors of pig anus). But in the case of qarta, one simply washes the rectum without removing the fat, turning it inside out to scrub down the interior. Although the chef has the option of smoking the rectum for 24 hours and/or drying it for 48 more, many have turned to simply boiling the tissue on a slow fire for two hours, cutting it into rounds, simmering it in meat bullion for half an hour, and serving it garnished with salt, green pepper, and dill. Believe me when I say that this short cleaning and cooking process hardly dulls the taste issues inherent in a lot of intestinal cooking. But Alma Kunanbaeva, a Kazakh nomadic food anthropologist at Stanford University, expressly cautions against over-stewing the rectum.
In part one of Fresh Off the Boat - Moscow, Eddie takes his first shot of Russian vodka, chows down on some “communist dogs” with one of the few black Muscovites, and discusses the country’s diverse generation of millennials and their evolving ideologies.
VICE Japan correspondents Kentaro and Masakazu travel to Beijing, China to check out Guo Li Zhuang, the local go-to penis restaurant in the city. First on the menu is raw donkey penis, followed by “Golden Pike of Iron Horse” (horse penis), “Dragon Moving Through Fire” (Yak penis), “Digging in Sand” (goat testicle and snail penis), and last but not least, a soup made up of some more penises. Watch and learn more about the healthy medical effects these dishes can have.
The Restaurant World Is (Still) Sexist
Time magazine has pissed off the international restaurant world. They’ve alienated female chefs. Oh wait—they forgot them altogether. The recently released November issue is titled “Gods of Food: Meet the People Who Influence What (and How) You Eat.” A bro-centric series of culinary stories about key influencers in food, the content includes a list of 13 “Gods of Food” (no female chefs made the cut) and a visual “food family tree” of heavy hitters who have pioneered the current restaurant scene. You won’t find ladies in there, either.
Like a bad train wreck, Time issue editor Howard Chua-Eoan—the dude who edited this entire package—recently engaged in an offensively revealing interview with Eater’s Hillary Dixler to explain the sausage-heavy content. When asked about including groundbreaking female chefs to the “family tree” flow chart, Chua-Eoan responded, “the chart came about because men still take care of themselves. The women really need someone—if not men, themselves actually—to sort of take care of each other.” The chart failed to include key influencers like Alice Waters, Barbara Lynch, Anita Lo, Elena Arzak, April Bloomfield, Clare Smyth, and Dominique Crenn, for starters. And when it couldn’t get any worse, he added that the Time editors, “did not want to fill a quota of a woman chef just because she’s a woman. We wanted to go with reputation and influence.”
The issue and Howard Chua-Eoan’s recent interview are revealing by-products of the pervasive sexism that continues to exist throughout all aspects of the culinary world. Or in the words of New York chef Sarah Jenkins, “the relentless circle jerk between the media, PR agents, and the chefs or countries who employ them than any kind of reflection on what’s truly happening out there in the real world.”
London chef Margot Henderson—chef and co-owner of Rochelle Canteen, and wife of chefFergus Henderson—decided to call bullshit. Here’s her response to Time, the reality of women in the kitchen, and why she believes media will continue to promote men before women.
David Chang, René Redzepi, and Alex Atala look quite charming on the cover of Time, don’t they? I think that most of these chefs set out to become famous, putting themselves in front of newspapers. I think that women are getting on creating great restaurants, but men feel that they have to change the world. Australian chef Stephanie Alexander has one of the top restaurants in the world. She has now—admittedly—stopped cooking, but the people that she has taught are incredible. Her cookbooks are incredible. That’s the thing: women are better food writers than men, aren’t they [laughs]? And they often stop because they’re so successful and brilliant at writing books when the men aren’t [laughs]. That Time editor… what a wanker? To not even include Alice Waters in this piece? It’s pretty shocking.
If you think about it, women didn’t really start working in kitchens in the culinary world until about fifty years ago. We’ve got women like Angela Hartnett and Joyce Molyneux, one of the first female chefs to win a Michelin star. Angela is one of the chefs that influenced a whole generation of young men who went on to have great careers. Maybe men are better at taking? They recognize the good things that they’re doing and go with it. In all of these media focused articles, they’re often based on geography. Ferran Adrià is an amazing chef who has undoubtedly influenced food in this generation. David Chang is great, and so is René Redzepi, but it’s just that the hard hitting punch line of tacking the name “Gods” on the cover of Time, and the Time editor’s recent interview where he alludes to not including women—on purpose—is offensive.
We went to the restaurant where you’re not allowed to talk. (Yes it’s in Brooklyn.)
The Pad Thai You’re Eating Is Garbage
Andy Ricker is obsessed with northern-Thai cuisine. The James Beard Award-winning chefstrives for accuracy, recreating dishes from northern Thailand—once considered the underdog of Thai cooking for its lack of representation in the Western food scene—in his five restaurants: Whiskey Soda Lounge, Pok Pok Noi, and Sen Yai in Portland, Oregon, and Pok Pok NY and Whiskey Soda Lounge in New York City. As he writes in his forthcoming cookbook, Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand, “People often praise the food that we serve at Pok Pok and my other restaurants as ‘authentic.’ I’m flattered, but that word and its cousin in compliment, ‘traditional,’ are banished from my restaurants. The words imply that there is one true Thai food out there, somewhere.”
Like the revolutionary moment in the 60s when Julia Child revamped the cold meatloaf palettes of American cooks with her debut French cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Pok Pok is the first indubitably comprehensive collection of essays and recipes to capture northern-Thai cuisine for Western readers. The book features 70 of Ricker’s most popular recipes, and calls for a span of ingredients foreign to the Western palette like leuat(raw blood), phak chii farang (sawtooth herb), and Pandan leaf.
Dealer’s Choice: Pawpaw, the Weirdest American Fruit You Never Knew About
Five years ago Ian Purkayastha, then 16, took out his life savings ($100) to buy Burgundy truffles on eBay, only to turn around and sell them at sky high prices to chefs in his home state of Arkansas. One year later he opted out of college to become the US president of the Italian truffle company P.A.Q., importing fresh truffles into the American market.
Now Ian is 21 and living in Brooklyn, where he works as a full-time food salesman, making fat stacks hustling fresh (and expensive) food products through the back doors of Michelin-starred restaurants around NYC. He’s got an impressive client list of over 300 restaurants nationwide that includes well known chefs like Sean Brock, Daniel Boulud and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. On any given day, you can find Ian b-lining straight through the back door of fancy kitchens, toting a chilled down backpack filled with $60,000 worth of white truffles, Moscow millionaire-quality caviar, and nondescript packages stuffed with a gamble of strange items—trout placenta, anyone? He almost always has legal seasonal shrooms on hand, like blue chanterelles and bears tooth, that can be hard to find beyond the floors of his delivery van, unless you’re tight with a mushroom forager in the Pacific Northwest.