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3.3.15

Chef Ewald Scholz: Meeting a Legend




Meeting a Legend 
 by J.B. Blocker
  Ewald Scholz has brought elegance to the madness of perfection. Ask anyone. Perfectionist is always mentioned. 

  He is energized and driven by the soul of hospitality. The great chef is 'Front of House', 'Back of House', and all points in between. He proved to be a mentor and guide from a young age. No detail escaped him. He lived his historic culinary carrier with a whip and a rose. I have seen it in the many ways. 
  He has traveled the world of cuisine like Marco Polo and then presented what he has learned with thoughtful elegance. He has influenced thousands and charmed thousands more.
 
  I was visiting chef a few weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon. Chef and I were standing on his back patio when the doorbell rings. His story is so big that an inadvertent team has formed. Dotty Griffith and Gay Prewitt have joined Pete and myself to revel in the names and places that have been woven into his tapestry.
 Chef Pete Nolasco and his video recorder have arrived. Without hesitation he virtually sprints across his living room, kitchen, and foyer to get to the front. He doesn’t want the guest at his front door to have to wait to be greeted.
  “This man is ’83, undergoing chemo, and he has been waiting on my every thought since I had parked.”  50 yards away, he had walked to me in a hurry to open the gate for me.  He minds our seating and comfort. He allows me to make coffee but still provides iced water and searches for other possible needs.
  Much later, Chef Pete attempts to clear the table after a snack of perfectly chopped onions, thinly sliced salmon, a serving of mixed crackers and cheeses and a very nice wine. He curses, “Damn it! Leave that alone!” I mentioned this to one of his longtime friends a few days later who’s response is, “That probably offended him! He is the consummate host don’t you know!” 

  We had met a few other times but having only lived in Dallas for the past 24 years, I wasn’t part of his glory days. Actually, I was. I didn’t realize it until only recently.

  My 1st fine dining experience wasn’t until 1986 at the restaurant at the Stoneleigh. It was Ewald’s!



Dining at Ewald's

  One of my best friends (crazy wealthy) was celebrating his SMU Doctorate and flew me in from Amarillo. The special diner was being prepared by a famous chef and Richard had a room for me at the Stoneleigh. (my 1st stay in a motel with elevators)
  The tables were set for a movie scene. All the glasses, utensils, choreographed like a piece of art.
  I grew up in the panhandle. My big city was Lubbock and Amarillo. I have worked at the lumber yard, drove a tractor, and even worked a summer at the stockyard. Before that, my idea of fine dining was the Red Lobster and the Hoffbrau. I did not like Mogen David or Mellow Days and Gentle Nights or some such so I wasn’t a fan of wine.
  But on that night, we had a Keyser Leibframilch Glockenspiel that was a revelation and then a Pine Ridge Cab that demanded smaller and smaller sips.
  I tasted my 1st caviar, sliced meat and assorted cheese plate with fancy breads, my 1st Caesar Salad prepared table side. Escargot, Lamb Ribs, Lobster Bisque, Lobster Thermidor ( I knew I would have to have more),  A FlambĂ©ed Dessert, and Dom Perigion. All first.
  By then, I had become a successful professional and had begun to add adventure to my dining. I was ready to taste the world. Since that evening I began to take in the experience of dining.  I especially ordered the Thermidor on multiple company cruises and a few other times in New York and Boston. It was never what I remembered. Of course, how could any dish stand on its own when you have to compare to a total dining experience?
  Several years ago, I gave up on ordering that dish. But now, I will again order Lobster Thermidor just to toast the man who will always have been responsible for a dozen memorable first for me.
  All of these culinary 1st that still resonate. Because my wealthy friend’s mother wanted a special diner of some of her son’s favorites and she wanted Chef Ewald to prepare it. And his restaurant was at a hotel. The Stoneleigh of Dallas.

Always keep in mind. Every day, one or more people will sit at your table and experience several 1st. Whether it is a chicken-fried steak, bbq, or the top of the food chain.
Can you accept the challenge that each opportunity to give someone a memorable experience should not be missed? 
Will someone like me be talking about it nearly 30 years later? This spirit of Pride for Hospitality is what drives the chefs it possesses. It fuels Chef Ewald Scholtz.

Chasing History
   
photo by D-Magazine
We began talking more often around September last year before and after the Reunion at Reunion. Executive Chef Herman Heimeyer of the Dallas Hyatt gave me the reigns to organize a gathering of many of Dallas great chefs and mentors. Over 25 culinary giants who fueled the growing phenomenon of classically trained chefs and the culture of dining were being treated to dining elegance. Many had migrated to DFW from hotels, resorts, via Europe and made Dallas their home.
  With the help of Dotty Griffith and Gay Prewitt, the gathering was a culinary and historical success. Each of the guest was given time to share memories as it was videotaped.  Ewald could barely speak when the microphone was handed to him. Laryngitis!
(I have the tapes!)

  On the evening of the EWMCS Team U.S. A. farewell mixer not long after, Ewald is dressed impeccably and comes to me smiling as he warmly grasp my hands with those long fingers of an artist. They are strong and firm, yet gentle. They wrap around my hands like a hug. He leans toward me to apologize for his voice and tells me that the laryngitis that had hampered his moment to speak at The Reunion and has prevented us from meeting to work on his biography turns out to be cancer. He is apologizing?
  I see his paleness as he explains that he has just undergone chemo that afternoon but would not have missed this. I watch him through the evening, I am seeing his grace, his elegance, and his stamina that come only from his heart. As we move around the 200+ gathering he is being treated like a favorite by all. 
  He has not slowed down. His spirit now fuels his treatment and recovery.
  Biographies are the true taste of History. The more I know about this man, the more I need to know.
Part 2: Recklinghausen and beyond (1931-1955)
 
The family bakery/cafe and home.
 
- J.B. Blocker is a media consultant based in Collin County in North Texas. Advertise with J.B. by calling 469-334-9962.

24.2.15

Signs, Signs, let your Signs Shine!


What’s Your Sign?


There are real people behind those signs! Do you get to know them before you vote? In today's electronic era, it is not that hard to study up on them and find out when they will be locally available.
  My job is to help you know that person behind the sign. Yours as a concerned citizen is to take the time to know the candidates and then speak up for the ones you believe can be a dedicated voice you trust.
jb
  They come in all sizes. They are on hats and shirts and pins. On the highways and byways, private property, personal property,and automobiles.
  They are about to be everywhere. Again! There are going to be soooooo many of them! 
  Some say that they are distracting, or that they are a nuisance, or even a driving hazard.
 
Are they necessary? I say YES!
 
And if you don't eventually have any signs in your yard, on your vehicles, or even worn on your shirts, hats, or luggage then I say 'You haven't become passionate about your leadership! And let me add, you have no right to complain!'
  You know how they say, “Can’t see the forest for the trees!” Well, very soon, we won’t be able see anything but the signs!
  Does the number of auto accidents go up during a heavy primary period? That’s when there are 4, 6, or more candidates in several races. Those signs are popping up again.
  In Texas, there is a lot of campaigning. The primary surge is underway!

Do those signs influence you?

18.1.15

The Bucket List Coffee



Sumatran Kopi Luwak
By the Caffeine Cowboy

  I had an entertaining few days with some plantation owners from Indonesia last summer at the Seattle Specialty Coffee Association Convention. I made friends with several gentlemen who produced Kopi Luwak along with their traditional coffee crop.
  Their plantations are large and secluded. Their crops are highly graded coffees even without the help of the wild civet cats that raid their fruit.
  They gather enough from their own surrounding forest to be considered a significant amount. Because of this, they can guarantee the coffee from the cherry to sell able beans.


 This is not the same all over. There are thousands of small batch growers who only gather enough to sell to a cooperative buyer.  In this case, the seeds are not uniform, they come from innumerable varieties of coffee, and all ranges of ripeness or even rot.
  These co-ops make up the largest suppliers for this coffee processed by a nocturnal Raccoon like, Lemur related fruit eating machine.
  I would not call this a bad product but it’s certainly second tier to the purist. 




Sumatran Batak Kopi Luwak  will take you to my direct source.
  The purist would like to know where the bean was grown, what altitude it grew at, what was the seed stock, how does the base crop rate out and who is accountable. 
  
 Third tier Luwak would be that coffee produced by feeding caged Luwaks with only cherries during harvest and forcing out as much product as they can for a month or two each year. 
  This is a prominent and growing practice in some countries and Robusta cherries are often used to turn a coffee that is the cheapest on the market in to the most expensive! The coffee is infinitely inferior.
  How many other crops if any, can you feed to birds or beast and make a fortune off the by-product!  They should at least put those animals up in luxury digs! Consider this: that Robusta might have normally have sold for $1 per lb! However, as much as can be eaten by Luwaks and discharged now might bring from $50 to $100 to unsuspecting buyers.
  The final and lowest tiers are those that only use a small amount of the true Luwak coffee and blend it with whatever they want to create a profile.

As I bring you great coffees from around the world, I don’t know which ones you will love, not care for, or truly enjoy for specific parings or occasions. Try Flor de Colombia, or Pearls of Sheba, or Mystical Blue Maui.  Who am I to know what flavors, character, and content rings your bells. 
What I can do is purchase clean distinguished coffees that can be compared and enjoyed like fine wines.
You might absolutely love Kopi Luwak. It is truly special. I can promise that if you are a coffee lover, you will appreciate the depth and range of delicate flavors. I know that our Kopi will be a distinguishing and adventurous taste of coffee at its best.
Check this culinary treat off your personal Bucket List. Sharing it with your coffee loving friends will send them off with a singularly memorable experience.
One of my great pleasures has become sharing this coffee and it's story!
Good Luwak, Bad Luwak? 
Very few places sell Luwak in the U.S. But because of social media culinarians and many world travelers, the experience is demanding attention. Selling for averages of $30-$50 per cup, it is truly a Bucket List item for coffee/wine enthusiast. If you are going to pay for the most expensive, exotic, and exclusive coffee in the world you really want to know where it was grown, when it was roasted, who roasted it, packed it, and delivered it to you.

23.12.14

My First Time


My First……
Romancing the bean series by Caffeine Cowboy

  A lot of chefs know I’m the coffee guy. My friends certainly do. A regular son of a preacher man, “the only one who could ever please you!”
  I have tasted many satisfying coffees over the years. In all other cultures, making a personal cup for friends, guest, or even themselves was not wasted on making a bad cup of coffee.
  They might add sugars and spices or any number of creative/available additives to make the drink worth the time.  But virtually every coffee drinking culture really still takes their coffee time seriously.
  Except in America! Even the best restaurants are brewing coffee by the pot. Starbucks, Royal, and Community Coffee heavy weights supply all the equipment and then funnel their bulk coffees into 4 Star venues. America isn’t choosing their coffee like wine. Coffee service is rarely personal any more.
  Do you wonder why Starbucks types are doing so well? I think it is a psychological reason. The beverage is being made especially for the customer! It is as simple as that! Why else would many thousands of people spend their car payment each month for not so great coffee?
  I am not so certain they are even really satisfied!
  And there lies my mission. To satisfy you!
  I am truly driven by my depth of exposure to the world of food and beverage and its relationship with coffee!
  So how did this passion ignite? What ‘got me in to coffee’?

CAMPFIRE COFFEE
By J.B. Blocker

  Over a small camp fire, Old Tom began by heating the well-cured little skillet he had once carried with him on the open trail. It was just breaking dark as others were showing up to the rodeo arena on the edge of town.
 He would often arrive before anyone else and be drinking his coffee when his sons and grandsons pulled up with their trailers. Others would show up on most Saturday mornings.
 This was the ‘60’s. I was a teenager in love with western lore. Tom was born in the ‘1870’s and had lived his youth in the time of the last great cattle drives. He was a real cowboy!

13.12.14

ICONIC! The hub of Downtown Dallas




  If you see the Eiffel Tower in a photo, you know you are looking at Paris. If you see the Sky Needle, you know it is Seattle.  When the Twin Towers were lost, a skyline photo of New York was not the same!
  As long as the great mirrored multilevel building with the great ball in the sky is in a photo, you know you are looking at downtown Dallas. If the photo doesn’t include the Hyatt Regency Dallas at Reunion most people wouldn’t know you were looking at the Dallas Skyline.
  Fifty Stories in the air, Wolfgang Puck’s 560 now occupies the Reunion Tower (the rotating ball in the sky). It is a must experience if you are visiting Dallas to view the city in all its glory at the Cloud 9 Cafe.
  The Hyatt Regency is perfectly suited to host conventions and perfectly located to easily access everything Dallas. When it opened in 1978, the city of Dallas became recognizable worldwide.
  Hundreds of thousands of guest each year take advantage of the 1120 rooms, 42 suites, 160,000 square feet of convention area, stunning views, and dining experiences to satisfy every whim.
  Just 10 minutes from Dallas Love Field and 15 miles from DFW Airport!
  This AAA Four-Diamond rated luxury hotel has an underground access to Union Station. From there, all the magical places you want to visit in Dallas radiates from this historic central transportation hub built in 1916. The 23 million dollar restoration can take you back in time and into the future.
  Amtrak can bring you directly to the Hyatt from all over America if you have the time to read or write a good book.
  From there you can ride the DART commuter transport system to Plano or Garland. The Cotton Bowl at Fair Park, the Dallas Zoo, the 6th Floor Museum, Gilley’s, the Dallas Convention Center, the West End Entertainment District, the American Airlines Arena and all parts in and around the Dallas Metropolitan Area are on the routes.
  You can take the Trinity Railway Express to DFW or on to Ft.Worth without getting wet!
ICONIC DINING
Featuring Executive Chef Hermann Hiemeyer
 

1.12.14

Great Chefs and Coffee


Romancing the Bean Series
by Caffeine Cowboy

 
Tales from the Old County
  I count among my friends and mentors some venerable and highly respected chefs and hospitality specialist.  These gentlemen are revered in the Dallas culinary community. They are iconic.
  Many learned their craft in the shadows of WWII. Swiss, Austrian, French, and German influences ignited their love of exquisite dining that they eventually brought to a booming Dallas of the 70’s. It was time of great hotels and the explosion of fine dining in downtown Dallas that brought these adventurous young chefs that changed the image of dining and brought European luxury and elegance to the table.
  I always felt that they liked me, but after the research for this story I realized that my charm my have been secondary to my devotion and accessibility to great coffees! 
Chefs Karl Hass and Klaus Curley 
  Many thanks to Chef Karl Hass and to the late great men Chef Werner Vogeli and the consummate G.M. Helmut Frenzen who as a team, made the 69th floor City Club in Dallas a legendary experience. 
  My 1st Dallas account as the Caffeine Cowboy was the City Club. I would tell people, "the closest coffee to heaven in Dallas was mine!"
  They shared pieces of their personal memories of coffee in their post war youth with me.  jb

29.10.14

The Great UnKnowns


isplaying Reunion at Reunion v3.docx.
Photo by Debbie Knowlton and D-Magazine
D-Magazine Article by Nancy Nichols 

  Among us are keepers of the flame!  Who truly understands the spark that ignited that inner fire? That spark which gave way to a young vulnerable flame. The flame that, when properly fostered, ignited into a raging inferno of desire capable of driving a person to a lifetime of the extraordinary?
  Who among us is equipped to predict when that passion, born of a creative young mind growing up in Germany, Austria, Switzerland or France, ultimately decides to settle in the most unlikely place a world away?
  That is exactly what happened in the span of several years stretching from the mid-70s to the mid-80s when a disparate group of chefs, each trained in the art of European cuisine and fine dining inexplicably relocated to Dallas, where they spawned a culinary revolution that reshaped and molded the Dallas food world.


Grant Kauffman is the author of two novels, including Project 14: The Legend of Beelzebub’s Bluff, book one of his middle grade adventure/fantasy series. He is owner of 12 Rounds Media, a video production company. www.12roundsmedia.com.        
Grant can be reached at grantk@12roundsmedia.com.

True Texas Cuisine
“They came into Dallas at a time when fine dining was a big ol’ T-bone, a loaded baked potato and an iceberg lettuce salad,” says Dotty Griffith, former food editor for the Dallas Morning News.
 “I became food editor in 1978 and that was when Dallas was really starting to enter a new age of cuisine. I can’t imagine the culture shock they must have experienced, most of them having come from Germany, Austria, Switzerland or France, and many of them had traveled much of the world in their training."

More than thirty years later,