Follow Cookwork on Twitter
Follow Cookwork on Facebook

LindaHall's Blog

I can't get this out of my mind


During the run of my restaurant, I spoke with a lot of customers but for some reason, this one exchange has stuck with me. Table 31. 2 people. A little bit more uptight than our usual customers but nothing too remarkable. They ordered the vegetarian entree. My server, Missy, told me that they had a complaint about the food. The portion was too small. She couldn't get them to stop complaining so I went over...


The joys of customer service


It wouldn't be right if I didn't crab about at least one difficult customer. The one who complained about our portion sizes but didn't finish their meal? The drunk(s)? Let's start with the drunks. It taught me a lot about how to deal with difficult situations.

So, a guy comes into a bar... Actually, it was a guy who came into our restaurant alone. He seemed fine. Asked for a table and ordered a drink....


Choosing An Accountant for you Restaurant


It's me again. I promised to write about how important it is to find a good accountant for your restaurant. Let me start by saying that there are people who will be invaluable to you when you open. You probably just won't realize it.

When I opened my restaurant, my husband received a small loan from someone he knew. While the money helped get us going, the contacts our investor provided to us were invaluable....


More on the Restaurant


The time I owned my restaurant is a blur. I do remember the opening. We weren't ready but there comes a point where you have to pull the trigger and hope for the best.

Opening night was interesting. It was the night of the big realization. The restaurant that had been in the space before us had a completely grilled and sauteed menu. We figured out why when we turned on the ovens at service...


Taste Everything, Eat Nothing


I have worked in the food industry for a long time. Right before I started my studies at CIA, I was very concerned that I'd put on a lot of weight. It was at that point that a friend gave me some advice that's stuck with me ever since: "Taste Everything, Eat Nothing". Basically, when you prepare a recipe or are introduced to a new food, taste it then move on. That means, a tablespoon,...


Carnaroli is the best rice for risotto...


...who knew?

I was at work recently when one of my fellow chefs started going on and on about how great Carnaroli rice was for risotto and how he never uses Arborio anymore if he can help it. I did a little research and it looks like he's right.

Even Wikipedia has an article on it: Carnaroli is a medium-grained rice native to the Novara and Vercelli regions of northern Italy. Carnaroli is traditionally used for making risotto, differing from the more common arborio rice due...


What its like to own a restaurant - pre opening


I know that a lot of chefs would like to own their own restaurant. My husband and I did so from 1997 to 2001. As they say: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. This will probably take more than 1 blog entry but I thought it was worth sharing.

Let me start by saying that owning a restaurant was something that was a long time dream for my husband....


Yet another restaurant..


When I decided to start blogging, I really didn't intend to do a string of restaurant focused entries but I ended up at yet another new restaurant last night. I went to Smokey Bears BBQ House at 3314 W. Foster in Chicago, just east of Kimball. It was very, very good and really reasonably priced.

I went with a group from Kraft. We all worked together in the kitchens and Toni, my former technician, is...


LM, an experience that transcended the restaurant


LM was to be my 3rd in my series of new restaurants. I made plans with friends to go there for brunch. On the way down to the restaurant I considered calling them just to check in as they'd been out of town but decided not to. Well, I made it to the restaurant, was seated and waited...and waited...and waited...and finally called my friends. They had completely forgotten we were meeting. So here I am...


The Portage, a neighborhood gastropub


So many restaurants, so little time. Tonight I dined at yet another new restaurant in Chicago. This evening I went to the Portage gastropub in Portage Park (3938 N. Central Ave). It was quite a change from the obvious hipness of Duchamp. To begin, it was packed on a hot Thursday evening. The space is not that large but they have a lovely outdoor garden behind the restaurant. It's wood sided and lined with topiary...


Duchamp Restaurant, definitely worth a try


Last night I visited the first of three "new" restaurants I'll be visiting this week. "New" because they're new to me, but probably not to the rest of the world. Duchamp is located at 2118 N. Damen Avenue in Chicago in the space that was occupied by Meritage.

Duchamp is a restaurant that in some ways had me scratching my head. The food was excellent -- good preparation, nicely plated, good blending of flavors....


Culinary Heaven without being on Vacation


For the past few months I've been feeling like a pretty worthless foodie. People are always asking me for recommendations for the latest and greatest restaurants. Truth is, I just don't get out all that much and when I do, I often find myself going to my old standbys. Not this week. This week I'm going to 3 restaurants I haven't been to before: The Portage, LM and Duchamp. This never happens unless I'm on...


The Four C’s of Food Safety

In the fight against bacteria in the food preparation area, there are 4 Steps to...

The All-Important Restaurant Pass? Is it all that Important?

The Pass   When we say “the pass”, many might misconstrue it for some sort...

Pork siomai w/ chili garlic sauce

My version of pork siomai paired with chili garlic sauce. cooking is really my passion,...

Yong Tau Foo : The Fish Fabulous

My house is next to the Doi Suthep, so I have a great view of...

Wagyu: In Search of the Best Steak

Since returning to Mckendricks Steak House in October of 2007 I knew I had a...
Spinner Loading