The Gentleman Gourmand

sharing the best food around

Month: October 2006

Something I’d like to share

So I finally broke open my copy of Best Food Writing 2006, and came across a great article The Egg Men, by Burkhard Bilger (from The New Yorker).  This segment absolutely fascinated me, and I thought you might find it interesting as well:

Whenever a cook sets a pan on a griddle, Meck says, a burst of dopamine is released in the brain’s frontal cortex.  The cortex is full of oscillatory neurons that vibrate at different tempos.  The dopamine forces a group of these neurons to fall into synch, which sends a chemical signal to the corpus striatum, at the base of the brain.  "We call that the start gun," Meck says. 

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Mary Chung’s Magical Land

The location that I was on-screen for was the segment filmed at Mary
Chung’s. Now, let me tell you an interesting tidbit about Mary Chung’s:
it seems that it was the very first restaurant in the world to be on
the internet. If this is accurate:’s
"A major hangout for MIT geeks, and thus the first restaurant with a
Usenet newsgroup,," then Mary Chung’s was most
likely the first dining establishment in cyberspace.


Mary Chung,
the proprietor (not pictured) is an amazing woman. In one of my recent visits, I was
so overcome with elation by the food, I stopped her as she was walking
by. I told her, "Mary, your food is so good…" (I was at a loss for
words, and looked her right in the eyes). "…so good." She stopped and
gave me her full attention (something a restaurant
owner/server/hostess/chef rarely gives), and said softly and almost
bashfully, "I know… I know. Thank you." She gave me one last look,
and whisked off to take care of a ringing phone.

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The Hungry Detective

This summer I worked as a production assistant (PA) for O’Malley Productions on the new FoodNetwork show, The Hungry Detective with Chris Cognac.  I met Chris on eGullet, and knew him as the Culinary Detective.  I found out about the show and the schedule, and asked if I could show up and observe.  They ended up asking me to help them out, and I was delighted to do so.  I worked with them in Boston, and hope to do more work with them in the future.  After they left town,  I went to Denver and while relaxing in the mountains, had a chance to ponder long and hard about what I had just gone through.


much deliberation, I came to the conclusion that the best thing I can compare to
filming a TV show would be to a catered gala with chefs from different
restaurants. Each chef comes into a kitchen they’ve probably never seen
before, using equipment they are generally, but not specifically
familiar with. This parallel was evident from the first day at JP
Licks. While the cameramen certainly had used the same type (and
perhaps even the same model) cameras before, one of them had a bad
audio input — potentially as disastrous as an oven without a pilot
light.  An easy problem to fix, but one that unaddressed could lead to catastrophic failure.

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