Daily Chew Richie

Come join me for a chew or two.

Beginning today I'll be hosting a new segment on WFTV-Channel 9 called The Daily Chew with Scott Joseph. Each week I'll invite a chef to join me in the kitchen to prepare one of his or her favorite dishes, with tips and techniques you can use to try the recipe at home. The premiere edition has Greg Richie of Soco Restaurant in Thornton Park demonstating that restaurant's Chicken-fried New York Strip. Upcoming episodes feature Kathleen Blake of the Rusty Spoon, Kevin Fonzo of K, and David Ramirez of David Ramirez Chocolates.

The segments air on Thursdays between 12:45 and 1 p.m. and replay Fridays at 8:20 a.m. on sister station WRDQ-Channel 27. You can also find them online at icFlorida.com, where you can  download the recipes, as well. 

We've already got several episodes "in the can," as we say in this business called show, although I'd prefer fresh to canned. I'm thrilled to be working with the professionals at WFTV -- they don't do things halfway -- and I appreciate the support of sponsors Southeast Steel and Teco People's Gas. And wait until you see the beautiful kitchen facility we're taping in at the Viking showroom in Winter Park. (Though I'm a little concerned that Todd Ulrich might show up for a suprise kitchen inspection in an upcoming segment.)

Daily chew outtakeOuttake: Richie falls for the old "let me just make sure your microphone cord is tucked in" ploy.


Kitchen House Exterior copy

With the announcement of a $250,000 gift from the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, students of Orlando Junior Academy's Edible Education Experience broke ground Wednesday morning on the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House & Culinary Garden on King Street across from the school in the College Park neighborhood.

Brian Kish, president of the New Orleans based organization, was on hand for the Wednesday morning ceremony. "The Emeril Lasse Foundation is very excited to be here to partner with Orlando Junior Academy and the Edible Education Experience to help reconnect students back to the source of their food," Kish said, "to understand where their food comes from and maybe more importantly the nutrition behind it."


Green Day interior

Green Day Cafe, the self-described "eco-friendly fast food restaurant," has opened in downtown Orlando's North Quarter in the former Virgin Olive Market space. And it would appear that the many fans that VOM left behind have immediately taken to GDC.

Rather than turning the whole environmentally friendly scheme into a gimmick and hitting you over the head with it, Green Day Cafe quietly incorporates ecological initiatives into its daily routines. It strives to reduce its carbon footprint and to use less water, serve food in compostable or recycled materials, and to avoid using caustic chemicals.

And it extends to discouraging food waste. For example, on my lunch visit to the new restaurant, I ordered a dish that included a dill pickle spear. After informing me of this, the person who took my order asked, "Do you want it?" That's so much better than automatically plopping the pickle onto a plate of someone who dislikes pickles, only to have it tossed into the trash. It's a small step — the world is not facing a shortage of cucumbers and pickling spices — but every little bit helps.


CorkscrewHow important is a corkage fee to you?

If you're not sure what a corkage fee is, then it probably doesn't matter much at all. Corkage fees are what a restaurant charges a guest who wishes to bring his or her own bottle of wine rather than order one off of the restaurant's wine list. Why would someone want to do that? Usually it's because the guest has a special bottle of wine he'd like to enjoy for, presumably, a special occasion. Sometimes, less frequently, a guest wants to bring a bottle from his own cellar as a way of saving costs.

The better question is why would a restaurant, which is in the business of selling food and drink, allow this?

Some don't. Many years ago I was on the phone with Paul Bocuse and I asked him what he says when guests ask if they can bring their own wines to his famous restaurant near Lyon, France. "I tell them, 'Fine, why don't you bring your own chairs, too,'" he replied through an interpreter.

Many restaurants grudgingly allow guests to bring a bottle of wine from home. And most that do will impose a corkage fee for the service of the wine, the use of the glassware and the cleaning. The fee may run anywhere from $15 to $20 typically, although as this article, which is curiously titled "The Etiquette of Navigating a Corkage Fee," states, some restaurants, such as Thomas Keller's French Laundry and Per Se, charge $150 for each bottle. That's presumably to discourage the practice, but given the price point of those two restaurants a guest might come out ahead with the corkage and a bottle brought from home.

It's possible that a restaurant would charge nothing for guests who bring a bottle with them, but those will usually be establishments without a license to sell alcohol.

If you'd like to take a bottle of wine to a restaurant, be sure to call ahead and ask about the restaurant's corkage policy. Never take a bottle that can be found on the restaurant's own wine list, and it's also bad form to take an inexpensive vintage (or nonvintage) just to save a few bucks.

What do you think? Have you ever taken a bottle of wine to a restaurant? What's the most you've paid for a corkage fee? And restaurateurs: What is your policy about outside wine? Or dining room chairs, for that matter? Leave a comment below.