Archive for March, 2011

So You Want to Be a Chef

It’s a profession that has been glamorized by reality cooking shows on television that pit aspiring chefs against each other to determine the best of them; however, if you want to become a chef, you’re going to have to do it the hard way. The first and foremost requirement to be a chef and a successful one at that is to display a passion for the art. Yes, being a chef is a creative art and not just a job, so if you’re not in agreement, now is the time to look for another career. But if you’re determined to break into the culinary profession, then here’s what you need to know:

  • Being a chef (at any level) is a highly stressful, high pressure job. The glamour quotient, if it exists at all, is very low and restricted to the topmost tiers of the profession.
  • You must be prepared to spend long hours on your feet.
  • You must be prepared to keep erratic work hours.
  • You must be strong enough to lift heavy pots and pans and crates of food when the need arises.
  • If you want to move up in this profession, you must possess/learn both managerial and culinary skills.
  • You must be adept at juggling many tasks, including menu planning, planning and preparing meals, arranging and garnishing food, supervising kitchen staff, determining portion size, effecting cost control, determining food purchase in the right quantities, selection and storage of food, monitoring supplies, and utilizing leftovers to minimize waste.
  • You will also be responsible for restaurant sanitation issues and the observance of health rules for handling food.
  • You must have the required attitude and temperament for the job – the ability to be patient and composed even in high pressure situations and during times of disaster and chaos is an essential quality if you want to be a successful chef.
  • You must also be willing and able to be part of a team – a kitchen comprises many people working together and unless you’re willing to follow instructions and work in tandem with them, you cannot succeed in this profession.
  • Kitchens are hot and noisy and always filled with activity. So if you’re looking for peace and quiet on the job, you can forget becoming a chef.
  • You’re likely to get burned, cut, scraped and bruised, but these are a normal part of a chef’s day.

So now you’ve seen how hard it is to be a chef; and if you’re still committed to becoming one, read on to see what you need to do and what job descriptions and designations you’re likely to hold.

  • You need to start with taking culinary courses at schools that are accredited and which offer reputable courses. Begin your search at the website of the American Culinary Federation where you will find links to schools and courses, job postings, apprenticeship offers, and much more about the profession.
  • Once you complete your course, it’s best to find a position as an apprentice so you can gain more experience and decide what kind of chef you want to be. Many restaurants and hotel chains are looking for skilled chefs, so ask around for positions that suit you.
  • You’re most likely to start at the bottom of the chain and have to work your way up to the top.
  • The topmost position is the chef de cuisine or executive chef, something you can aspire to become and strive hard to achieve.
  • Most people become sous chefs in a few years if they’re skilled and hard-working – they are direct assistants to the executive chef.
  • If you’re interested in a particular aspect of cooking, you could choose to become a chef de partie or station chef or line cook (in charge of a particular area of production), sauce chef or saucier (prepares sauces, stews and hors d’oeuvres and sautés foods), fish cook or poissonier (prepares fish dishes), vegetable cook or entremetier (prepares vegetables, soups, starches and eggs), roast cook or rotisseur (prepares roasted and braised meats and broils meat and other items), or pastry chef or patissier (prepares pastries and desserts).

If you love the entire cooking experience, if you thrive on the hustle and bustle of a busy kitchen, and if food is your passion, then becoming a chef is an extremely lucrative profession, not just in terms of money, but also in terms of satisfaction.

Posted on 24 March '11 by , under Featured.

Voilà! The Top 40 French Cooking Blogs

Have you ever left a bistro wondering what it would be like to whip up a French gourmet meal on your own? While the task may seem daunting, have no fear, as the sights and smells of France’s most coveted delicacies can now be found in your own kitchen. After searching through hundreds of blogs, these 40 bloggers stood out and proved that they know their stuff when it comes to French cooking. The blogs are separated into the following categories: health, pastries, imagery use, instructional value, and celebrity status. Remember, anyone is capable of being his or her own master chef. Bon Appétit!

Celebrity Blogs: These eight bloggers have been in the business for a while, and they all know what it means to be a French chef. Some are old, some are new, but all have a track record of proven success.

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    1. Paris by Mouth - Paris by Mouth is an amalgamation of “celebrity” French foodies getting together to celebrate their unique thoughts and recipes from France. They know all the right places, a must go-to for all things Paris related.

    2. Francois Simon - A Famous food critic, Francois Simon, in Simon Says, pays special attention to particular Parisian delicacies and restaurants that can’t be missed. While he has picked out various cities across the globe and critiqued their cuisine, it is the French capital that shines in this blog.

    3. La Tartine Gourmande – La Tartine Gourmande is a beautiful site that been recognized by multiple news outlets and was named 2010’s “Special Interest Blog” on LTG not only offers French recipes for beginners to experts, but it also offers the “life stories” behind such recipes. For those with special dietary requests, there is an extensive section of gluten-free and vegetarian recipes.

    4. Dorie Greenspan - In the Kitchen and on the Road with Dorie is a blog written by the one and only Dorie Greenspan. Dorie has a massive following not only on the web, but also with her array of successful cookbooks. Her French side comes out once a week, via her online supper club, “French Fridays with Dorie.” It’s easy to sign up and become a member with two requirements: you must have an email address and affinity for the tastiest of French foods.

    5. Patricia Wells – Esteemed chef, Patricia Wells, offers classes and her own books, but really thrives in this lively blog. She maintains a collection of books, cookware, and even provides a glossary for the Franco-challenged aspiring chefs. A natural teacher, she is able to instruct online, which is easier said than done.

    6. Seven Spoons - While this blog could be categorized for it’s imagery (and therefore ability to make anyone become a chef), Tara, of Ontario, has already been recognized by the greats. She feeds off everyone’s everyday items to the fanciest of foie gras.

    7. Orangette – Orangette is an inspiring story of Molly Wizenberg, who went from quitting her Ph.D. program to becoming a successful blogger, writer, and restaurateur. Their site explores the art and pleasure of cooking, rather than a multitude of recipes. Worth a look for those who are inspired to open their own restaurant some day.

    8. Alexander Lobrano – Hungry in Paris chronicles an American in Paris, Alexander Lobrano, as he dishes about Paris’ latest and greatest. A well-known restaurant critic around the world, he shares his experiences from the best restaurants, rather than giving us his own recipes. He has traveled to many cities studying all types of food, but it continually drawn back to Paris.

Healthy: These eight blogs are here to show you that French food does not have to contribute to your waste line. Check out these blogs for the lighter side of French fare.

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    1. Rosa Jackson – Rosa Jackson’s edible adventures describes a teacher’s methods of eating the best while looking your best. While most recipes are said to be healthy, all are sure to be tasty as well.

    2. My French Cuisine – My French Cuisine is a California-based blog that pays extra attention to “going green” while cooking up the best of French fare. While there are many regular full-meal recipes, MFC has a long list of a la carte items for the side.

    3. The Sabbatical Chef – The Sabbatical Chef’s journey takes us on a 6 month vacation in Provence. Sticking with fresh fruits and vegetables, this blogs stays up to date with any and everything seasonal. The bright images convey the food’s freshness, imaginable through the computer screen.

    4. Chocolate and Zucchini - Chocolate and Zucchini is an authentic French blog written by a Parisian woman who fell in love with food in, oddly enough, California. While she emphasizes that chocolate is important to the mind, body, and soul, there is a strong focus on health, and how to create lighter versions of traditionally heavy French recipes.

    5. A World in a Pan - A World in a Pan, authored by Laura, a culinary instructor, takes you on a journey of her foreign travels and healthy eating around the world. A self-proclaimed Foodie-Nomad, Laura uses other cultural influences to whip up some flavorful French dishes.

    6. Joie de Vivre - Joie de vivre: An Amateur gourmet’s guide is exactly what it sounds like, a gourmet guide for the amateurs. This French chef is an American woman who has lost 34 pounds after reading the book French Women Don’t Fat, using the book as her guide to a healthy lifestyle.

    7. My French Cuisine – My French Cuisine provides healthy recipes for everyone under the sun. If you’ve got an allergy, there’s an alternative recipe that will still cater to your needs. Besides providing a number of options, the pictures on this site provide vivid images of the delicious foods to be cooked.

    8. French Fork – In French Fork, Laetitia Bertrand, a native of France, explores her move to Texas, while maintaining her French culinary background in her new home. She shares many fresh and easy recipes that will appease anyone looking for lighter fare.

Imagery: These five blogs shine when it comes to using imagery to display their gorgeous recipes. The captivating photos on each site will have you checking out the archives.

    1. Whisk – Whisk: A food blog specializes in French comfort foods, and has a portfolio of vivid images that will immediately get any eager cook behind the stove. Throughout the blog there are inspirational foodie poems, as well as occasional interviews of renowned French chefs.

    2. Gherkins and Tomatoes – Gherkins and Tomatoes/ Cornichons and Tomatoes focuses on the France’s influence over worldwide palettes. This blog covers Franco-inspired recipes from The Republic of Congo to Shanghai, and each recipe is centered around a fresh fruit or vegetable.

    3. Kitchen at Camont - Camont: Kate Hill’s Culinary Retreat in Gascony is a French foodie’s dream blog, set on an 18th Century farm in the heart of Gascony. This site provides breathtaking images of the freshest of delicacies, from start to finish. The farm is home to an artisan butchery and charcuterie, to name a couple of the picturesque features. This is the real deal when it comes to meals made from scratch, and if you’re lucky, you can take cooking classes on site at the farm.

    4. Kitchen-Notebook – My Kitchen notebook is a beautiful display of the initial components that make a French feast. From the orchards to the harvest, Lucy Vanel covers each step of the way. Each photo will have you singing up for French cooking classes– or running to the nearest bistro.

    5. Croque Camille – Croque Camille is an expat that has up and left for France, making her friends from home green with envy. She uses great images to display all of the delicious new recipes she has learned living in France. While she has a background in pastries, there are many comforting savory recipes to fill you up and keep you warm during the winter months.

Pastry: Some might say pastries are the cornerstones to the French kitchen. These eight blogs specialize in patisserie, and will please any sweet-tooth.

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    1. David Lebovitz - David Lebovitz is another celebrity blogger who has served as Master Pastry Chef at a multitude of French restaurants around the US. Author of The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious – and Perplexing – City, David has been around the block a few times and knows his stuff.

    2. Bake in Paris – Bake in Paris is a pristine site with beautiful images that will have any reader salivating instantly. The blogger is a graphic designer whose artistic instincts play a pivotal role in the construction of each pastry. Undoubtedly, these pastries taste as good as they look.

    3. Paris Pastry -
    Paris Pastry is a sweet blog out of Holland that is up to date with anything seasonal. The blogger adds a French twist to different cultures’ cuisines while staying within the realm of each culture’s traditional foods. An added bonus is the occasional poll for the blogger’s next recipe, which engages the followers, and shows that the author uses feedback.

    4. Paris Patisseries - The Pastry Shops of Paris – Paris Patisseries is a lovely depiction of the true Parisian pastries. Not that they are impossible to replicate elsewhere, but there’s just something about seeing them gently placed in a Parisian pastry shop. Great imagery allows for time well-spent browsing, and the urge to book your flight to Paris.

    5. Poires au Chocolat – Poires au chocolat is a pastry blog that maintains a hefty list of French pastries and sweets. Author, Emma, an aspiring English pastry chef, shares some of her favorite sweet treats, while giving a detailed how-to every step of the way.

    6. Dessert First – Dessert First is a lively blog that mixes some American and French pastries, but primarily focuses on classic French patisserie. The Author, Anita, is passionate about her sweets, and also about her photography. Check out this site for some of the best images of French pastries out there.

    7. The Pastry Case – The Pastry Case is an extensive blog that has endless pastry and dessert recipes. Megan, the author, focuses on French cuisine, and talks about her recent days at Pastry School. A timely blogger that posts often, Megan will have you checking back daily to see the latest sweets.

    8. FoodBeam – Fanny, author of The Foodbeam, invites you on her journey of bringing opening up her own cupcake shop. As a former Parisian, she fuses cupcake recipes and other pastry alternatives with French flair.

Instructional: While some things are easier in person, these 11 instructive blogs have made it easy to learn in your own kitchen. Clear and specific, these bloggers want to spread their joy with those willing to learn.

    1. French Cooking for Dummies – French cooking for Dummies is an instructive site that makes whipping up a crème brulee seem like a cinch. Whether or not that is the case, the site provides detailed instructions for not only the novice, but for the professionals as well. The photos of each end-recipe make it hard for anyone to hesitate to become a French chef.

    2. Foodie Froggy - A bilingual blog for both French and English readers. While there are many recipes for readers to try, her extensive collection of Parisian restaurant reviews stands out and supports her title of a true “Foodie Froggy.” For those looking to reach outside the box when trying new restaurants, view her section entitled: My ‘Off the Beaten Path’ Paris.

    3. 18th C Cuisine – 18thC Cuisine is a blog that focuses on the spices, herbs, and preliminary preparations that make French Foods fabulous, stemming from 18th Century. Author Carolyn Smith-Kizer educates us about how French foods have evolved over time, giving us a cooking and history lesson in one.

    4. Playing with Fire and Water – Playing with Fire and Water, written by a freelance chef in Connecticut, invites you to her “playground” where she is learning as she goes. Her recipes range in difficulty, but consistently are written with clear and precise instructions for everyone.

    5. Easy French Food – A cutesy blog that demonstrates the simplicities of the French foods that the least refined palettes are still comfortable with- Madeleines, casseroles, parfaits. Author, Kim, demonstrates the fun and stress-free way of becoming a French chef.

    6. Chez Megane - Chez Megane is an American blogger returned from Paris, with a basic blog highlighting simple, yet delicious recipes. Each recipe is backed up with an enticing picture, proving that French recipes are possible for any eager cook.

    7. Made in Cantal – Made in Cantal is a culinary blog focusing more on specific classes and routines for standard French cooking, rather than just a multitude of recipes. The site highlights the best institutes for culinary studies, as well as locations (outside of France) to study the art of French cooking.

    8. Cestbon - Gourmet French Cuisine Blog is a simplistic way of providing recipes with the occasional video for demonstration. The blogger is able to take the reader on his/her many travels throughout foreign lands, making French food in various locations.

    9. Cooking Issues - Cooking Issues is the French Culinary Institute’s blog concerning technology’s role in cooking. While many photos contain people instead of recipes, the role of the blog is important for those looking to learn about food preparation.

    10. My French Cooking – My French Cooking is a straight-shooting blog: Affordable Sophistication. French Cuisine at Home. This blog shows the average Joe how to eat a sophisticated French meal, while staying within their budget.

    11. Chez Richard – Richard, of Chez Richard, shares his 3rd generation French-Family recipes with the world on this instructional site. While listing his favorite recipes to follow, he also suggests proper wine pairings that are sure to spice up any meal.

Posted on 14 March '11 by , under Featured.

Dionysus Lives On: Top 50 Sommelier and Master of Wine Blogs and Posts

Everyone loves a good glass of wine, but it is sometimes hard to figure out when you are drinking quality wine. In order to ensure that fine wine is being served, many restaurants across the world put faith in their chosen sommelier for the wine selection process. Sommeliers are world-class, highly educated wine connoisseurs. They are an elite group whose training and credentials merit the utmost respect. These top 50 Sommelier and Master of Wine Blogs and Posts stand out amongst the rest, and provide an abundance of information on how to choose a great wine. Also included are a few Master of Wine blogs and posts that give superb recommendations.

Teams: The Team category is comprised of various bloggers contributing to a site or organization devoted to wine. These respected wine writers and sommeliers collaborate with their peers and fellow wine lovers to learn and teach simultaneously.

1. Secret Sommelier – Secret Sommelier is an interactive community for wine lovers around the world. Written by an entire team, this blog has anything and everything about the best wines. Introducing wines both old and new, these seasoned sommeliers do an excellent job of pairing wine with the appropriate delicacies.

2. Decanter – is a wine-lover’s site with an excellent blog written by a team of editors. While the site offers anything from courses to event planning, the blog features specific wines that should be tasted ASAP!

3. Savvy Company – The Savvy Company is a team of sommeliers who are also creative marketers. The Savvy Team will help you from anything to picking wines for a party to the best wine vineyards to tour.

4. Wine Couch – Full Circle Wine Solutions is a wine and spirits educational firm based in San Francisco. Each client’s tastes and needs are put into consideration when their program is customized. Each program is lead by sommeliers, and all programs are directed by Master Sommelier, Evan Goldstein.

5. The Blend Blog – The Blend is written by a team of writers, one being a Master Sommelier from Texas. This blog emphasizes the love of wine with some southern charm. Getting many opinions from all of the different writers, this blog is always up to date with the latest trends in wine.

Restaurants: The Restaurant sommelier category is made up of restaurant sommeliers and wine masters who contribute to their restaurant’s blog. These experts know their wine lists front and back.

1. The Cliff House – The Cliff House’s blog, Wine Flights of Fancy, is written by the restaurant’s sommelier and gives superb recommendations for wine pairings. Focused on restaurant wines, the sommelier teaches readers how to order wine at restaurants.

2. The Blue Collar Sommelier - The Blue Collar Sommelier is a blog written by a self-taught sommelier (technically not certified, but definitely knows his stuff) who focuses on the “noteworthy and usually under-valued” details of wines.

3. Jonathan Charnay – Jonathan Charnay is a Chilean-born New York City resident who now directs three NYC restaurant wine-programs. This year he has begun his Master of wine program, in order to become s Master Sommelier!

4. Wine Cheap – Wine Chap: Restaurant Wine Lists Unraveled is a media-based blog that explains wine lists in further detail. While many people see daunting wine lists and choose a wine at random, this blog shows the average person to go about ordering wine at a restaurant.

5. Eatocracy – Eatocracy, of CNN, features anything food/drink related, but has a special post on sommelier, Paul Grieco. Grieco runs a restaurant (Hearth) and 2 wine bars (Terroir and Tribeca) in New York City, and has a knack for picking out great wines from the lesser-known parts of the world.

Female: The Female sommelier category consists of a small group of women who have ventured into a previously male dominated industry.

1. Sharron Peterson - Sharron Peterson is both a sommelier and a future graduate of the UC Davis Winemaking/Enology program. Her ultimate goal is to educate wine lovers in a “snob-free zone” throughout the country,” emphasizing fun and positivity to those willing to learn.

2. Wine By Alia - Alia Personal Sommelier is a blog written by Alia, who fell in love with wine in Paris while on sabbatical. As she has now dedicated her life to wine, she has a “services” section where she will organize tastings, food pairings, and consultations for interested customers.

3. The Savvy Sommelier - A self-proclaimed “Wine appreciation teacher,” Jennifer Ayre is a certified sommelier in Mountain View, CA. She is the owner of Savvy Cellar Wines, and Savvy Cellar Bar and Wine Shop.

4. Red Carnations - Being both a French and a female sommelier, Lia Povedo has found her job to be challenging, yet exciting. In an industry dominated by men, Lia blogs about her career at the Red Incarnation Hotel, from the female sommelier’s point of view.

5. Sarita the Wine Gal – Serta Moreno, author of The Wine Gal, is a certified sommelier here to teach wine lovers at all levels. “What’s in my glass?” is a section dedicated to the rankings of various wines where she provides the “smooth rank,” personal rating, and ultimately, the price of each bottle she tries.

6. Business Week – This Business Week article shares the story of an unlikely girl turned Wine Master. As Korean woman, she shares her uphill battle of overcoming stereotypes in order to become a top masters.

INTERNATIONAL: These international sommeliers have a worldly background and have traveled far and wide to taste and critique the best wines.

1. Robert Giorgione – Robert Giogione is a Wine Consultant and Social Media Resource for any and all wine lovers. Based in London, he has worked for many high-profile restaurants, as well as served as an award-winning consultant with fine diners in other major.

2. Magan – Magan, from Just Magan, is a sommelier and blogger who blogs about many aspects wine, life and the universe. He is from India, and gives the perspective of a unique, Indian sommelier.

3. Dermot’s Wine Blog - Dermot Nolan’s Wine Blog is a simple and tasteful blog from one of Ireland’s most esteemed Wine Masters. Nolan has worked in wine retail and consultancy, but enjoys teaching, and hopes to encourage interested students to take a wine course!

4. Emmanuel Delmas - Emmanuel Delmas is a sommelier from Paris whose goal (and other blog’s title) is to “make wine accessible to all.” He is currently in the process of launching the first TV channel solely dedicated to wine, ENDONYS, set for 2011.

5. Pino Bruno – Pino Bruno is an Italian sommelier with a scientific background. He has studied everything about wine, from its tiniest components to its best food pairings.

EDUCATIONAL: The educational category is composed of blogs whose main purpose is to teach anyone, amateurs to professionals, to love and appreciate wine.

1. Andreas Larsson – Winner of many awards, including Best Sommelier of 2007, Andreas Larsson is worth a visit to get the expert’s opinion. Constantly traveling, touring, and speaking, Andreas Larsson is always contributing useful wino-information his blog.

2. Doug Frost – Doug Frost is one of three people in the world to hold the title of both Master Sommelier and Master of Wines. Frost is an esteemed writer and lecturer, who has won many prestigious awards, and is still on a quest to learn more.

3. Dr. Vino – Dr. Vino, Tyler Colman, has studied wines for most of his life, and now teaches classes at NYU and in Chicago. He has written many acclaimed books, and wrote his PhD’s dissertation on the political economy of wine in France and the United States. Well-read and well taught, he is certainly an expert.

4. Elevage Wine – Elevage, the French term for the process of nurturing and guiding wine from the vineyard to the bottle, is an educational site for all wine enthusiasts written by two sommeliers from Seattle. While they give professional advice to restaurants and businesses they also provide informative to civilians for choosing great wines to all patrons.

5. James the Wine Guy – James the Wine Guy, written by James Melendez is an avid poster, who also has blogs about food, spirits, restaurants, and travel (all titled James the _____ Guy). Informative and educational, James contributes many “Best-of” lists of wines that are not to be missed.

6. Fermentation - Fermentation The Daily Wine Blog is a blog written by Tom Wark that has a unique spin on wine and public relations. While his topics are all focused on wines, he is able to bring the media’s perspective to the blog, making this blog stand apart from the other wine-recommendation blogs.

7. Uncorked Love – Uncorked Love: a wino’s journey to sommelier is a blog written by a university graduate who has enrolled in a Sommelier Program. Michelle, the author, has chronicled her journey from start to finish, and has done a great job “uncorking” her love affair with wine.

Master of Wine:While different from the Sommeliers, the Masters of Wine are also experts when it comes to wine. This group of Master of Wine bloggers provides insightful and helpful advice for anyone looking to enhance their wine knowledge.

1. Debra Master of Wine – Debra Master of Wine is a blogger (and Wine Master, obviously) who left her wine-country home in Sonoma County to be a wine expert in Hong Kong. As a respected professor and master, she has earned her title by doing everything from the harvest, to writing a weekly column for the South China Morning Post.

2. Tim Atkin – Tim Atkin, Master of Wine, is an award winning wine writer who regularly gives a review of a particular wine each week. While he has a sophisticated palette and great recommendations, his outstanding writing skills make this blog shine.

3. Jancis Robinson - Jancis Robinson is a daily blogger (who also has a team of writers) that gives her up-to-date recommendations and tips for any curious wine lover. This interactive site has videos, articles, and a forum for anyone to inquire about Jancis’ daily posts.

4. Wine Styles – The Masters Wine Panel at WineStyles (a boutique wine retailer) provides excellent guidance by providing wines from boutique wineries around the globe. Their system of rating each wine in the store lets the customers know exactly what they are purchasing.

Sommelier Guest Posts: These guest posts specialized in sommelier-related issues and stood out within their own blogospheres.

1. SF Gate - Based out of the wino-central San Francisco, the Wine Blog of the San Francisco Chronicle has daily features of the West Coast’s and Napa’s greatest picks. With a multitude of wine bars to choose from, this blog’s recommendations are always a must for places to get wine.

2. Diner’s Journal – The NYT Food and Drink Blog researches the role of the sommelier at restaurants. Are they there to pressure you and take advantage of your amateur taste buds?

3. BBC Good Food – An interesting and thought-provoking blog post about talking wine with a sommelier. While the sommelier’s job is to remain wise on the topic, there is the suggested notion that they are also there to intimidate the customer.

4. Gender Across Borders – This gender feminist blog highlights the fact that most sommeliers are men, members of the “old boys club.” While it is becoming more frequent that women are joining the club, author Emily Heroy gives many historical examples of as to why this is the case.

5. Nudges – This interesting article on the iPad apps for wine suggests that the digital age’s recommendations may trump your local sommelier’s choices. Whether or not that is true, the article provides many apps for seasoned winos or for those interested in the topic.

6. Curious Wines – The Sommelier Wine Awards 2010 are not big deal for anyone who enjoys the occasional glass of wine. For those who know wine, study wine, and love wine, these are the biggest awards of the year. This article gives all the details of the wino’s Oscars.

7. Le Sommelier – Le Sommelier, Inc. is a Canadian wine agency dedicated to bringing the finest of wines to the Canadian market. While they suggest wines from all ranges, they have a nice section for superior wines from independent, boutique wineries.

8. Notable Wine – For those that are confused about the differences between the Master of Wines and Master Sommeliers, have no fear; this blogger goes into thorough detail. Whether you are a MW or a MS, you certainly know your wines!

9. Sommeliers International – A great site for all things sommelier-related, this article talks about the first component of wine, the vineyard. While most sommeliers are not actually growing grapes, this instructs any gardener on how to maintain a top-notch vineyard.

10. Chron – David Stout, Master Sommelier to the Texas winos, directs beverage education for the Dallas-based Glazer’s wholesale distributors. This particular article focuses on Stout’s ever-curious palette as he tries an array of restaurants ranging from a “hole-in the wall” to the city’s best.

11. SF GateOnce again the debate of Sommelier v. Master comes to the surface, and is hashed out by two long-time friends. The co-authors of “Secrets of the Sommeliers: How to Think and Drink Like the World’s Top Wine Professionals,” was published in October 2010, and takes a deeper look into the issue.

12. Tasting-Wine - This article carefully scrutinizes the difficulties in become a sommelier and/or master of wine. After understanding the tests, trials, and necessary experience involved in obtaining such titles, you will likely pay more attention next time you are ordering wine.

Sommelier Groups: These are groups of sommeliers who get together to discover the wonders of wines. Tune in!

1. Sommelier Society – The Sommelier Society of America is the nation’s oldest wine-teaching institution. While they offer higher-level courses, they hope to make the art of teaching and studying wine available and easy to anyone willing to learn.

2. US Sommelier - The United States Sommelier Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching the wine culture to wine lovers and industry professionals. They also are trying to promote the art of drinking wines, to any and everyone.

3. Guild – The Guild of Sommeliers hopes to network wine connoisseurs all over the world. Their interactive, online community is a great place for members to get involved regardless of where they might live.

4. Food and Wine - This short article gives a nice description of the seven featured sommeliers from Food and Wine this year. From seven separate parts of the country, each sommelier did an outstanding job bringing a new, innovative, and profitable wine list to their respective restaurants.

5. Master of Wine - The Institute of Masters of Wine currently has 289 members, and ranges from anyone that is a winemaker to senior executives. While this is a prestigious and elite group, there is always room to join if you are qualified.

6. International Wine Guild – The International Wine Guild’s blog focuses on wine education, wine schools, and wine classes/tastings. While novices are encouraged to learn about wines, this blog is dedicated to those who want to pursue a wine-related career.

Posted on 6 March '11 by , under Featured.

25 Soup Blogs That Will Bowl You Over

There’s nothing like a good soup when you’re tired of eating fast food and at random restaurants. While cooking at home is always easy on the wallet, soups are often packed with a myriad of beans, which means you’re getting even more bang for your buck (and a full tummy too!). These soup blogs show you how to whip up a fabulous pot of soup anytime of year. And remember that many soups freeze well, so feel free to outdo yourself.

Top Soup Blogs

These blogs will show you how to chop and simmer to your heart’s delight for the perfect soup.

    1. What’s the Soup This site offers a mix of recipes, soup reviews and tips on where to find the most amazing soups in your immediate area.

    2. The Stone Soup This blogger is dedicated to helping you trim your waistline and keep your bank account full by switching to soups for dinner a few nights a week.

    3. Savory Soup Recipes Learn how to roast up your veggies before throwing them into the pot and get recipes for everything from potato to broth-based soups.

    4. Within the Kitchen This is a cooking blog where the writer has plenty to say about soup, including interesting mixes like a pumpkin apple recipe.

    5. Molly’s Soup Blog This blogger shows you the beauty of soups from various cultures, including the scoop on pho and gumbo.

    6. Soup Swap At this site, members share and swap soup recipes. Expect classic recipes and new takes on traditional combinations.

    7. Cook Like Your Grandmother This site is committed to sharing fresh recipes from scratch (like grandma used to make) and has soup recipes galore, including tips on making your own broth.

    8. Food 52 At this blog, foodies chat about new soup ideas and staple recipes that you can cook year round.

    9. Soup ‘n Bread If you’re a fan of this meal combination, you’ll love this blog for ideas on how to take your soup ‘n bread to the next level.

    10. Tasty Kitchen If you’re new to cooking up soups, this site has easy recipes that anyone can follow and get right the first time around.

    11. Simply Soups This site focuses on fresh ingredients and features a different recipe every day. There are simple recipes, but there are also more gourmet-savvy recipes for those who want to push the boundaries of soup (wild!).

    12. Simply Recipes At this site you’ll find a mix of soups and stews, along with other simple recipes. We love the black bean soup and dad’s fish stew, which are both fabulous no matter what time of the year it is.

    13. Sandy and Sue Here real people share their favorite soup recipes and others offer ideas for tweaking the recipe, in case you don’t have all of the ingredients on hand.

    14. Cook Recipes – Soup If you’re looking for something light and simple or a hearty soup that can stand up to seriously cold weather, this food blog has recipes for them all.

    15. CopyKat Have you ever noticed that soups from a restaurant are so darn tasty compared to the bland recipes you might be making at home? Now you can re-create those recipes with the help of this site that has loads of soup and stew recipes from your favorite national restaurants.

Top Gumbo Blogs

Gumbo is one soup that every cook wants to perfect. If you’re from the South, you may already be familiar with this soup and if not, learn all about the spicy concoction you’re been missing out on.

    16. Gumbo Cooking Blog This blog has everything you need to know about making the perfect gumbo with just enough kick to it.

    17. Gumbo City If you’re already well acquainted with gumbo, check out this gumbo blog for new spins on the classic Cajun dish.

    18. About Southern Food – Gumbo Get the gumbo recipes that will wow a crowd from this About food blog.

Top Chili Blogs

Making up a pot of chili is always a winner, no matter who you’re entertaining. Here are the blogs that will teach you how to simmer to perfection.

    19. Chili Cooks If you’re looking for an ultra spicy recipe or a veggie recipe you can serve for the big game, this site has plenty of chili recipes to choose from.

    20. Good Chili Recipe This site has chili recipes from all over the globe, so no matter what your taste is, there’s a little something for everyone.

    21. Pepper Fool If you’re in the mood for major flavor in your chili, this site shows you how to maneuver spices and peppers so your chili comes out loaded with zing.

    22. Chili Every Way Vegetarians will love this blog that has plenty of veggie chili recipes for you to try every day of the week.

More Soup Blogs

Here are a few more soup blogs to help you with ideas to make your favorite soups a little more interesting.

    23. The Soup Recipe Site This site is packed with easy recipes, including a variety of tomato and cabbage soup recipes.

    24. Healthy Soup Recipe Learn how to reduce the salt in your soups without forgoing major flavor.

    25. A Crock Cook If you’re just starting to get familiar with the kitchen, the crock pot is the way to go. Check out this site for plenty of soup recipes that will practically cook themselves.

Soups are a great way to watch your weight and have something pre-prepared for those long work days when you get home and want a meal that’s easy to warm up. Cook soup, gumbo or chili in bulk and freeze them in single serving containers or a large plastic bowl so you always have a healthy, accessible meal ready to go.

Posted on 1 March '11 by , under Featured.