My new band, Foie Grock

Thank you to everyone who came out to my new band, Foie Grock’s first show. We had a great time and look forward to playing out again. We were also written up in LA Magazine and you can read the full article below.

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We’ve donated the proceeds from the show to our friend Flower and encourage you to help out if you can. Click here to donate in any amount.

Stay tuned for future dates and click here to see a clip from the show.


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Meet Foie Grock: L.A.’s Self-Proclaimed #1 Chef-Led Alternative Rock Cover Band

Duff Goldman, Bruce Kalman, and a few other culinarians start their journey towards rock stardom

For years we’ve said that chefs are the new rock stars. Now, two high-profile local chefs—Duff Goldman, from Charm City Cakes West and Food Network’s Ace of Cakes, and Bruce Kalman, from Union and soon-to-open Knead and Co Pasta Bar—are putting that theory to the test. They’re trying to be actual rock stars—like, with guitars and bright lights and everything. The two started “LA’s #1 chef-led alternative rock cover band,” and it’s called Foie Grock. Because of course it is.

“We tossed around a lot of names,” Kalman says. “Bread Zeppelin. Meatshop Boys. A Flock of Meatballs. Oreo Speedwagon. Limp Brisket.” The food-music puns are endless.

It makes sense, really. A kitchen crew is like a band on so many levels; words like rhythm, harmony, lead, and backup can be used for both. People need to gel in the kitchen, flavors meld on the plate, and it all has to come out pleasing the general public. “I think the bass is like the salt in any dish. The bass brings all the other sounds together. The bass is bridge between rhythm and harmony. It’s the midway point between the drums and the guitar,” says Goldman, who plays bass in the group. He goes on to equate the drums with the protein, the piece everything else is built upon, and the guitar is the sauce. “The bass and the drums make the meat of the dish taste meaty, the guitar gives it the FLAVOR.”

Foie Grock came together rather, um, organically. Kalman and Goldman were standing next to each other at an event, and someone told them they looked like they were in a band. “Well I do sing and play guitar,” Kalman said. “And I play bass,” Goldman replied. And there you have it—magic.

Along with Kalman on lead guitar and vocals and Goldman on bass, the rest of the band includes a few others in the local food world, even if tangentially. Drummer Francis Castagnetti is general manager at Union in Pasadena, and guitarist Ben Offenberg works for Resy, the reservation app. Only Jeff Liffman, who plays keyboards and sings back up vocals, is the professional musician. But he’s a “serious eater” the others say.

Before, or most likely while, the two chefs were coming up in the ranks, both have played instruments for years, even publicly. “I played in a Jersey rock band for awhile,” Kalman says. “We opened for Meatloaf!” Goldman has a more storied past on stage with several Baltimore bands: Big Mama Cotton Crotch; the “post-rock” soihadto; Danger Ice, a psychobilly Elvis cover band; and Two Day Romance, an Emo band that “almost got signed by Sony,” he says. “Thank God we didn’t or I wouldn’t be cooking today.” Two of Goldman’s bands included other chefs he worked with at the time.

“Kitchens and bands are just groups of talented sociopathic individuals all trying to coexist and work towards a common goal. If one guy isn’t doing their job, then the whole group is affected,” Goldman says. “Also, they’re both jobs that you don’t make a lot of money doing, they both have long hours and require years and years of training, and they are both incredibly difficult to get right. They are both jobs that you have to love with deepest part of your soul in order to succeed.”

The group performs hits from bands like Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Animals, Foo Fighters, and Black Crows. “Covers, so everyone can sing along, and mostly stuff we listened to in high school and college,” Goldman adds. “The band really wants to play “Lighting Crashes” by Live, but I kinda hate that song.”

You can catch Foie Grock’s first public appearance this week, on Thursday, October 1, at Room 5 in West Hollywood. Tickets are $10 (get them here), which is cheaper than anything you’ll eat at either chef’s spots. Proceeds from this performance will help a friend and fellow Union manager recently diagnosed with cancer cover medical costs for her treatment (find more info on their Gofundme page). As for when they’ll play next, Kalman says as much as they can. “It just all depends on our busy schedules.” Rock and roll, people. Rock. And. Roll.

LAM_FoieGrock

 

 

Learn how to make Trofie pasta with me and Tasting Table

I had so much fun shooting this gorgeous video with Tasting Table. Thank you to the production team there for having me. Please enjoy the recipe for my trofie pasta at the Tasting Table link here.

Click the pic below for the full video.
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Trofie Winner

Master hand-rolled pasta with chef Bruce Kalman’s trofie with carrot-top pesto
9/13/15

By Karen Palmer – Executive Editor

Video & Photo: Dave Katz/Tasting Table

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“I’ve been cooking for a long time, and it always comes back to pasta,” Bruce Kalman tells us as he kneads, rolls and shapes trofie pasta (see the recipe).

The chef is a Jersey boy (his first job was at a Paramus pizzeria, no less), but life has taken him to Southern California, where he runs the Italian-flecked Union in Pasadena. This fall, he plans to open Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market in Downtown L.A.’s ever-growing Grand Central Market.

“I’m specifically into Northern Italian cuisine, because it’s soulful and delicious and handcrafted,” Kalman says. “I like working with my hands—I feel there’s a much deeper connection from you to the food and to the guest. It makes the experience very intimate.”
Trofie pasta is, not surprisingly, from Northern Italy, and more specifically from the Ligurian city of Genoa, where it’s traditionally served with pesto. In his updated version of the dish, Kalman makes the pasta with nutty spelt flour, then ingeniously pairs it with sweet roasted carrots and a garlicky carrot-top pesto.

“Spelt flour is lower in gluten and protein. It gives the pasta a softer, sexier bite,” Kalman explains. “As a chef, one of my big beliefs is to use everything. We slow-roast the carrots, then blanch and chop the tops to make the pesto. You want it to be all about the carrots and the pasta. Everything else should be supporting ingredients.”

Making the trofie is easier than you think—the only equipment you’ll need is a rolling pin. After the dough is mixed, kneaded and rolled thin, it’s simply sliced into small strips that you roll between your hands, as if you’re trying to warm them up (watch the video to see the technique). The resulting little squiggles hang on to the carrot-top pesto to give garlicky flavor in every bite.

At Knead & Co., Kalman will be serving old-school favorites like baked ziti and manicotti, as well as house-made cheeses, from-scratch butter and his famous giardiniere pickles. But he’ll also be creating newfangled dishes, like the trofie, starring pastas made with fresh-milled flour.

“When you’re composing a pasta dish, it’s important that the pasta be the star,” he says. “Even if you just eat the noodle itself, it should be fantastic.”

Of the trofie, he says, “It’s like a garden party in your mouth.”

And it’s one party we’d be happy to attend.

Forbes highlights my June Fare Trade basket!

Forbes.com is highlighting The Fare Trade, and my June basket full of goodies from Grist and Toll, Sqirl LA, BK Spice Rubs and more. Please enjoy their full article at this link or read the entire feature below.
 
You can order your Fare Trade basket at this link.
 

Get Chef-Curated Ingredients Delivered Monthly

 
Around 3 a.m. one Los Angeles summer morning in 2012, savoring sips of scotch and exchanges of badinage–as food-driven sensualists are prone to do–friends Max Block and Jake Ahles were brainstorming. Although already working in the food industry–Block, a publicist, and Ahles, a line-cook under Kris Morningstar MORN -1.34% at District–they wanted to share with people their fanboy passions for emerging chefs and small-batch ingredients.
 
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Thus began their membership service The Fare Trade. For $65 per month, members receive a basket of handcrafted ingredients selected by an up-and-coming chef, along with recipes and access to online video tutorials on how to use them.
 
In addition to delivering high-quality products, Fare Trade, which currently serves 2,000 members, promotes a symbiotic relationship between everyone involved.
 
“What better way to promote these small-batch ingredients than by an amazing chef who can take that product and then apply it to their own kitchen skills and create a recipe around it,” Block says.
 

Recipe Bite | Pork Loin | Fingerling Potatoes | Meyer Lemon | Porchetta Rub from The FareTrade on Vimeo.

 
“You can read a cookbook and learn how to cook, but there wasn’t a platform for people to see these chefs and watch them create these recipes from scratch,” Ahles says of integrating the basket with the Fare Trade website, which cultivates a foodie community. The site offers extensive information about each chef and basket ingredient.
 
Block and Ahles avoid food celebrities (“We would obviously never turn down someone down like a Bobby Flay,” Block says, “but Bobby Flay has made it”) but do rely on chefs who have been spotlighted by food magazines and awarded by The James Beard Foundation.
 
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Dakota’s Pop Parlor Curried Pig Popcorn featured in Fare Trade’s June 2015 basket from Chef Bruce Kalman
 
Baskets often feature expectedly “chef-y” ingredients like coarse-ground grits and fruity vinegars, as well as more unusual ones, like Dakota’s Pop Parlor Curried Pig Popcorn, which came with last month’s package. Block says his favorite ingredient since Fare Trade began in March 2014 was the Cuttlefish Spaccatelli from Sfoglini. Ahles liked the Gracious Gourmet Smoked Cherry Onion Spread.
 
“When you have Domino’s Pizza saying ‘artisan’ it detracts from the authenticity from what something artisan can actually be,” Block says of Fare Trade’s dedication to locally-produced or small-batch ingredients.
 
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SQIRL Seascape Strawberry & Rose Geranium Jam featured in Fare Trade’s June 2015 basket from Chef Bruce Kalman
 
June highlighted Los Angeles Chef Bruce Kalman of Union in Pasadena, Calif. For his basket, he selected Grist & Toll Heirloom Polenta, Bianco DiNapoli San Marzano Tomatoes, SQIRL Seascape Strawberry & Rose Geranium Jam, BK Spice Rubs Porchetta Spice (made by Bruce himself), that Dakota’s Popcorn and Dewar’s Peppermint & Pistachio Taffies. He utilizes the Porchetta Spice as a rub in a video tutorial for cooking a pork loin with fingerling potatoes and meyer lemon.
 
July shows off Chef Greg Daniels of Haven Gastropub in Orange, Calif. and features McClure’s Spicy Pickles, Sparrow Lane California Peach Vinegar, Adobe Milling Co. Anasazi Beans, LA Farm Girl Vanilla Bourbon Berry Compote, Hatchup Katchup and Little Flower Candy Co. Cinnamon Sugar Marshmallows. His recipes include Salmon Tartare with Pickled Stone Fruit; Chorizo and Anasazi Bean Dip with Pepper Relish; and Whipped Riccotta and Berry Toast.
 
Block and Ahles hope to expand Fare Trade by partnering with hotels and lodging companies to stock fridges and snack bars with tasteful, regional products. “You’re going upstairs and every room is Pop Chips and Haribo Gummy Bears,” Block says. “What is it that speaks naturally to Brooklyn or Los Angeles or Miami?”
 
“The basket itself is amazing,” Ahles says, “but we want to take what the basket is and apply that to being much more of a lifestyle brand. Today, more so than at any other time, food has transcended and gone into every sphere of daily life. Now it’s part of fashion. It’s part of music. Food really is in itself an experience.”