Yesterday, Shirazi talked about how he relishes the challenge of his job, unless it involves the world's hottest pepper. Tomorrow, he'll explain how you can try the latest products he's whipping up in his test kitchen through Original Juan's retail store.
Chef Ali Shirazi runs the test kitchen for Original Juan, the specialty-foods manufacturer at 111 Southwest Boulevard, where he has developed thousands of products over the past three years.
"I always say, 'Yes, I can do that.' It just sometimes takes a few tries," Shirazi says.
In his defense, it's not that easy to make harvest apple barbecue sauce, salsa that rings in at over 1 million Scoville Units (the scale to determine whether something will incinerate your tongue), and hot sauce from pumpkin seeds.
"Kansas City is just a great town. It's been interesting to be here 30 years. The other night, I was coming home from a meeting and I saw the downtown skyline. It's changed so much since I lived here. It's nice that we're really getting more recognition for our food," Cavalcante says.
On Wednesday, she talked about her dream of becoming a sportscaster and what led her to the bistro space in Prairie Village. Tomorrow, she'll share the story behind the "Paris plates." Today, she's diving into all of the things she loves and hates in the kitchen.
“I’m unashamed to say that we are known as a ladies-that-lunch place. They’re the ones who have kept me in business all these years,” Cavalcante says, drinking a glass of water after the lunch shift in lieu of the standard post-game Gatorade.
What are your culinary inspirations? Right now, I’m really into Mardi Gras fare. I love looking online and in magazines. I’ve also got a great staff that are fun to work with. I can’t do it all myself, and they’ve all got special skills that come together in the kitchen.
“I’m used to people looking at me when they need something, but then the staff would tell me, ‘No, Sheri, they’re looking at you because you were on television.’ I’m used to working hard. I’m not used to just getting noticed,” Parr says.
The gawkers came in the months after Parr and her 13-year-old restaurant appeared on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, to see the rock bar and scratch kitchen that kicks out dishes like the Oklahoma Dog: a Boulevard-beer-battered, deep-fried hot dog wrapped in bacon. They’ve stayed because the Brick isn’t about gimmicks. It’s a soulful representation of a woman, who will be the first to tell you that she’s not a chef; she just happens to have been around great food all her life.
What are your brewing inspirations? I like to draw. I always have my favorite beer discoveries of the year. A couple of years ago, it was Bell's Hopslam. I was amazed by it, the freshness of the hops and the balance. I had this great opportunity to talk to [Bell's production manager] John Mallett when we were hosting a cask of Bell's Two-Hearted Ale. He's the right-hand man to [Bell's founder Larry Bell]. It was out of some of our conversation that the [Calypso] DPA [currently on tap] came about.
I always use the same malt and local honey from Santa Fe Honey. We use the same yeast. The only thing that changes is the hops. It's a great way to grow as a brewer, where you're just changing one thing and seeing what's happening. With the Calypso hops, you get these hints of tropical fruit. The hop bitterness is still there, though. The aroma seems kind of sweet, but it's drier in the finish. If you like hops, you'll absolutely like this beer. Last year, I had a chance to go to Bear Republic and try their Double Rocket. I was blown away by that beer. That's why I came home and brewed the first Double Red that McCoy's has ever produced. The great thing was that they [Bear Republic] were willing to sell me a growler. They just told me it would be $60, and I seriously thought about it.
The wedding ring says no, but the eyes and the drink say yes!
I prefer my creme de violette shaken by muscly arms.
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