“I would rather you beg for forgiveness than ask for permission”-Chef Erik Wicklund

So, I thought I would re-do the look of my blog. I wanted to make it easier to read and a little more professional. What do you think?

Today was a pretty slow paced, easygoing day. As I awaited Dan making my prep list for the morning, I moseyed my way around the spice rack to see what we had. I came across a few very interesting products that I have never seen before:

I absolutely love the smell of lavender, but I have never seen it being used in food before! According to What’s Cooking America, “The key to cooking with lavender is to experiment; start out with a small amount of flowers, and add more as you go. NOTE: Adding too much lavender to your recipe can be like eating perfume and will make your dish bitter. Because of the strong flavor of lavender, the secret is that a little goes a long way.” The leaves add color to salads and can also be substituted for rosemary in breads!

Grains of Paradise. Usually the spices have recommendations on how to use them, but all it said was “ingredients: grains of paradise.” Great. They are basically tiny peppercorns that also have a coriander and cardamom flavor to them. It sounds, to me, like a lot of African foods would be involved with this spice.

Beet Powder. I have had my eye on this container since day 1 of my internship and I refused to go another day without knowing what it is used for! On the back of the container it read, “Beet powder is traditionally used in the making of colorful and flavorful homemade pastas. The coloring and nutritional factors of Beet Powder makes it a natural choice for many applications.” So cool! I have to see this being used.

Fun ingredient hunting time was over for me. Dan handed me the list of tasks I had to do and asked what I wanted to start with and this was my thought process:

  1. This warm Nordstrom coffee in my hand is delicious.
  2. This warm delicious Nordstrom coffee is not going to last long.
  3. I should do the least pleasing task first so I can take sips of my delicious Nordstom coffee throughout the task to make it more pleasing.
  4. I’ll clean the mushrooms.

I went into the walk-in to grab the mushrooms……..

That third box was like a stab in the heart. I certainly had my morning set for me.

Look what Sammy DIDN’T throw away this time. 🙂 I think I made Dan proud.

A couple hours later, I was finally finished, and it was now time to roast garlic. 72 heads of garlic, to be exact. Napa Valley Grille roasts their garlic in a very appealing way. They take a hotel pan, generously cover the bottom in olive oil, salt, and pepper, cut the tops off the garlic, place the heads face down into the oil, cover in foil, and finally let them roast for about an hour. And GUESS WHAT? All of that remaining oil at the bottom of the pan? That’s right, perfectly delicious, already seasoned, garlic oil. Go ahead, brush it on your baguette. It won’t bite. This, my friends, is an absolute win-win situation.


After. Seriously, just spread this on bread. There is nothing better.

Dan then introduced me to slicing carpaccio. I asked him how they make it because it looks almost completely raw. Which it is! First they take the beef tenderloin and very heavily season it with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Then, they sear it very quickly on VERY high heat and throw it right into the freezer. It is a great product because the customers love it, and it is, obviously, frozen. Which means whenever they need it they can just go into the freezer, grab it, use it, wrap it, put it right back. It looks very cool too! Here is the plate I made:

Kinda looks like flower petals doesn’t it? The completed dish has a beautiful salad towered high in the center. Yay!

It was narrowing down to the end of my shift, when Dan asked me to grill all of those lovely portobellos that I cleaned and “de-gilled”. They were sitting in a container covered in balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper and it was MY job to grill them! I certainly needed a little more practice on my grill marks, but by the end I think I really had it down.

That was my favorite one :D. Alphonso was teaching it to me as if I were trying to make a V shape. As in, if I layed down the product at an angle like this: / , I would turn it so that it would be at this angle: \. Make sense? Alphonso let me practice on a steak he was SERVING. I was so nervous, but it turned out looking pretty nice!

Overall, a great day! And I even got to the gym and had a great workout! Time to seriously get back into running now that my terrible shin splints are almost all the way healed. Goodnight!



Filed under Napa Valley Grille Internship

5 responses to ““I would rather you beg for forgiveness than ask for permission”-Chef Erik Wicklund

  1. mama b

    me likey the new layout sam

  2. I’m with mama b! I love it!!!!

  3. P.S. In Bora Bora the chef put some lavender on top of a salad with all thinly sliced veggies in a sesame dressing… he sprinkled just a few bits on top and the flavor was amazing. It almost opened up the flavors of all the other ingredients in the salad.

  4. We use beet powder to create beet ravioli tops (where the bottom is spinach, so we have a double sided ravioli). We also use it as garnish. For example, when presenting roasted beats, we thinly slice the beets. Lay them appropriately, and on the side of the beets (not touching the rim), we take a mold or tiny plate and lay it on the beet plate. We then proceed to dust that mold and then remove the mold, leaving a plain white circle with a beet powder shadow to span the beets off.

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