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December 01, 2007


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Dear Chef Symon,

Today, Anthony Bourdain graced our fair city (Philadelphia) on his new book tour. He really is as twisted in real life as he is on television. A scream!

That said, I would love a recipe for pig's trotters or roasted veal bone marrow with toasts or any of the "offal foods" I grew up with but bumped up a bit with a chef's touch.

Your Brussel Sprouts were wicked!

Thank you again.

Red Beans and Ricely Yours,



"stories, recipes, life in the biz"
all that sounds good to me! stories about what it's really like to be a chef and then to transition to television would be cool to read.


everything you mentioned sounds great. how about some general technique thoughts. love food & 'live to cook' but haven't been to culinary school. hope to see you at the lolita classes in 08. any secret tips would be great. go brownies. fear the elf!



You should check out Fergus Henderson's "The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating". I know it has a couple of recipes (if not more) using trotters. His famous recipe for veal marrow and toast with parsley salad is in the book as well (it's very simple).

That said, I too would like to see some offal recipes and/or techniques here, as those tend to be somewhat challenging to find in conventional cookbooks, and even on the Web.


Chef -- frankly, if you don't enjoy blogging you won't keep on doing it. So please -- write what YOU want to write! If you want to talk about the restaurants, or share recipes, or talk technique, hey -- it's your blog. It's all good.

Except sorry to say, my Patriots are going to run rampant over the entire NFL. Including your sorry Browns. Mwahahahah!


Chef -- I agree with lux...tell us what interests you. Technique, recipes...all good!

Also...what do you read, watch, listen to, etc. that gives you inspiration? Not that you have a lot of spare time, but where does the creativity come from? I can follow a recipe with the best of them, but couldn't be original if my life depended on it. So creativity fascinates me. ( I thought your twist on Turduckin was brilliant!)


Chef, you write it, we'll read it!
And definitely let us know if you do any speaking engagements or classes that take you on the road (although I have a feeling that my boyfriend will be getting a cooking class reservation and ticket to Cleveland for Christmas).


Dear Chef Symon,

I would like to see some family recipes from BOTH sides of the family--you've mentioned that the majority of your cooking is Mediterranean, but what about the Eastern European side? I'd love to know how to take the hearty food of my Polish and Hungarian ancestors and make it more flavorful, exciting, maybe creative. I LOVE homemade pierogi, but reinventing Eastern European cuisine might be an interesting challenge. :)


Dear Chef Symon,

I am not so sure others would think same, but I would like to see the posting of yours, whatever it is, as I will appreciate you doing this while you are really busy to take care of other things. It is just fun to see the chef like you blogging.

So just keep going; it is more important to post whatever you want to post, that is the first rule of blogging, as far as I know.


Hi there!

I'm shameless so here is my wish list for your blog.

1) A recipe box would be fantastic.

2) Any great info you can share about techniques along with some recipes. For example, while I wish I had $2K lying around to buy a circulating waterbath, I have had a rotten time attempting to Macguyer a method for cooking sous vide with a foodsaver, a digital thermometer and the lowest setting on my stove. Bad scene..

3) Anything involving pie.

4) Interesting stories about your adventures in the glamourous world of restauranteurship, Iron Chefing, Travel, and tasting.

5) Whatever floats your boat...as an old friend always says, "It's your world, dog, and we're just the squirrels." Naturally I'm not calling you a dog. That would be rude. I hope you get my point. Please don't hate me.

6) Your observations on anything bizarre (eg: the old whale recipes from older editions of "Joy of Cooking") No I don't advocate eating whale. Whales are cute. I'd have one as a pet, but my bathtub is not big enough.

Thanks kindly, Chef! Happy Holidays

PS The Brussels Sprouts were the bomb.

michelle v

Hi Michael,

Everything you mentioned above sounds like a must-read blog. I am glad you're taking the time to do this.



Michael --

All your ideas sound great, and you have a knack for understanding what will be interesting to people.

That said, I suspect that many of your readers are from Cleveland (including me), and would love to hear about some of the local sources you have found for great ingredients and ideas.



Thanks for the tip Michael!

On your advice, I just visited his web site for St. John's at Smithfield and looked at his menus.

I readily that admit I shied at some of the dishes on the menu although I would probably try some of them. (Prunes made with "Unctuous Potential"?) That might be a bit of a stretch for me right now, though I'd not rule it out for the future.

Who knows... a lot of these things probably taste better than they sound.

Besides, after hearing Anthony Bourdain rant and rave yesterday about people refusing to try dishes offered when traveling in other places, (as well as some of the things HE ate), properly chastened me enough to at least TRY things beyond my culinary ken.

He survived but is probably made of sturdier stock than I!

Chef Symon, whatever you want to write about is cool. Vamp 'til ready!

Red Beans and Ricely Yours,



Please write about anything interesting. I would enjoy hearing your thoughts on you favorite Cleveland area restaurants. Also, any cooking tips to help us improve in the kitchen would be great. Thanks for creating and contributing to this blog. You're a great Cleveland ambassador.



Everything you mentioned sounds great. That said, I agree with Lux. Write whatever inspires you at the moment. Otherwise you'll give it up, and then we'll all be sad. :)

The turkey was amazingly good, with the exception of gravy that tasted like motor oil. You'd think with all the attention to fresh ingredients I would have bothered to make sure the flour was ok.


Chef Symon:

I'd really love if you could write about the behind the scenes stuff. Everything looks so pretty on tv, but there has to be so much hard work that goes into it to make it look that easy.




Ditto what lux says! Blog about what you love. You'll know you're hooked when your brain occasionally tells you, "Hey, I should BLOG about that!"

I don't think anyone expects you to post here every day like Ruhlman does on his blog. We all know your hands are full.



Sounds like you already have a list of things you want to write about. Do them all, and make them separate categories; then down the road when you have a large collection of posts, a new visitor could click on the "recipes" category and find all of your recipe postings.

Just one thing. Don't feel like you have to "fill the air with words". When you post, do it because you want to, not because you feel pressured to.


Hello Chef Symon. It all sounds great--and thanks for asking.:)

Re: blogging itself. ITA with advice above that the most important thing is to post regularly enough to build a readership (once or twice a week can do it, but--this is not as easy as people often think.)

Along those lines, a Q/A is great--as long as people understand you may only answer one person's question, from time to time--i.e. not everyone's. (I learned this the hard way).

Links are helpful and interesting, and are an easy way to help a blog look good.

So...main suggestion is to think about (and avoid) blogger's burnout because I know we all appreciate the opportunity to read your thoughts on any aspect of the world of food.



I think just about anything you post will be of interest to the readers. Personally, I'd like to know how you are notified of and handle external assignments such as ICA gigs while continuing to oversee your CLE restaurants. What's on your mind during your travels to/from taping. Do you check in with the restaurants to see how things are going? How do you get focused on cooking and being present here in Cleveland again after the excitement and exhaustion of the travel and participation in an ICA battle?


Hi Chef Symon-

As an aspiring chef, I would really be interesting in reading about your personal experiences. I heard on your CIA "Insight from the Inside" podcast that you've been working in restaurants since you were 13 years old (my age). What really attracted you to cooking? Did you ever feel underestimated when you were a young chef, or did everybody always hold you in high esteem? Do you think that chefs would still be willing to take on serious chef-wannabe teenagers for summer jobs, etc.? I really enjoyed watching you on The Next Iron Chef. I was cheering for you from day one, because I had really enjoyed seeing you on Iron Chef vs. Morimoto. Battle asparagus aired on Food Network in February or March or so, and I found your cooking style really captivating. Yeah, so I'd really like to know about your personal experiences and I want some words of wisdom & encouragement. I'll take all that I can get! Your Insight from the Inside podcast was great, I'm still considering the CIA. The interview is very well-listened-to on my iPod!

Good luck & God bless,

Catherine :) your biggest teen fan!


You love pork so much why not talk about a favorite recipe or two from that. I know that one would be hard (so many).


Hey Chef Symon,

I liked all the ideas you had and will read anything you want to write!

How about a recipe for those corn crepes at Lola that I kept reading about in Ruhlman's book?


Chef Symon,

Everything you mentioned sounds great. What I'd like to add is, don't be afraid to go technical with us. Most that are reading this blog probably love to cook and do it often. I want to learn everything I can from you, so please, give us detailed instructions on how to make dishes you've made on the Iron Chef. We can't get those recipes on FN, so if you'd post some of them, that would be such a gift. Thanks for being the coolest chef ever and representing our great city the way you do!

Tara, Cleveland Foodie


Chef Symon - I forgot to mention, I'd love to hear about what it was like being on The Next Iron Chef. What was it like behind the scenes? And you always say how (John, Chris, Aaron, Gavin, Morou, Jill, Traci) were eight of the greatest chefs imaginable, but what was it like cooking with them? Did you have a lot of fun shooting the show, or was the kitchen always so tense! As a girl who's collected tons of photos of the NIC competitors to decorate her room, and has read pretty much everything she can, I'd love to know what it was like firsthand! May be a weird request, but that's what I want! :) i live to cook too, Catherine :)

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