It has been a while since I wrote my last culinary post and I thought I would write a catch-up article.
A lot of things have happened within the last few years in my culinary field as a professional chef that:
Within the last four years, I have opened 2 brand new hotel restaurants as an Executive Chef.
Developed a second blog about a sustainable future.
Cultivated and improved my habits, by starting a morning and evening meditation regimen.
I became a vegan.
The Rewards of a Culinary Career
I have never worked a day in my life…hahaha-really funny. However, the last 30 years have been more rewarding than anything else. Working as a chef has given me lots of pleasure. I was able to work in Germany, the Caribbean, and New York City. I owned and operated successfully two restaurants and a bakery. I have worked and still work with awesome culinary colleagues. What else can I ask for?
Working for Hilton hotels has certainly been a blessing. However, after investing so many hours into to the hotel openings I completely lost track of my culinary blog. I couldn’t find the time to maintain it, so I thought…?
Well, I was wrong. I am still busy; hence, I have learned in the past few years how to do more with less time. Talking about personal growth…:)
Opening restaurants are undoubtedly exciting, yet very stressful. From ordering and organizing all supplies and equipment to hiring and training all staff is indeed no cakewalk. The most fabulous rewards of opening the restaurants are seeing happy customers and of course a happy boss.
Improving my life
I have implemented better habits in my life. From meditating in the morning through exercising regularly to reading more often. I think I have read over 20 books last year, which has helped me with my personal growth.
Then I started a second blog, which is about visionaries of sustainable solutions. It’s a community blog where everyone can post and bring ideas on how to solve the problems in the world through eco-friendly solutions and innovations.
The decision to start coolmomentum.com made me start a vegan diet. Which is probably the best thing I could have done for myself. I feel great, and I see other people noticing that too. More on a vegan diet in a later post.
Back on track with a Vegan Lifestyle
So the other day I logged into this blog after ignoring it for so long, yikes! I was shocked to see almost 10000 comments awaiting approval. Shame on me for not checking.
However, after a long break due to work, I decided to continue my Kraemer’s Culinary Blog. Although, as a chef, I am cooking all types of foods, I quickly realized being a vegan has so many more benefits.
To me a vegan lifestyle is not only good for your health, it’s also good for the environment.
So going with a Vegan concept seems just right, but it had to be a niche within the plant-based diet or lifestyle. Since I work every day in a kitchen, what better way for me to blog about the life of a vegan chef. Therefore, I will probably change my blog name to “Life of a Vegan Chef”.
I hope you will join me in pursuit of a vegan culture that reflects health, happiness, fitness, and sustainability all through the eyes of a chef.
I am grateful for any advice on changing a blog name and topic. Feel free to leave your comments or suggestions below.
Thank you for your support!
P.S. I wish all my blogger colleagues a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!
You might have heard about GMOs. I know it’s been widely spoken about, but for those of you who haven’t heard about it recently, here is some info of what’s going on.
Firstly: It is troubling to know “not to know” if our foods are of natural heritage or modified crops from a labor. It should be obvious, but it’s not. These foods are also known as GMOs, Genetic Manipulated Organisms or Genetically Engineered Foods. Up to this date no such foods have to be labeled according to the FDA.
Secondly: I can assure you that everyone living in the USA has eaten these type of foods. However don’t take my word for it, there are plenty of resources to look it up.
On November 6 – anyone living in California – has the opportunity to vote for Prop 37 a regulation that requires the labeling of such foods. If you live in California, please get involved. Many famous chefs have already signed up to support this very important issue. Regardless of where you live anyone can support Prop 37.This is not about politics, it is about a healthy future and having the right to know what type of foods we are eating.
Facts about GMOs:
That’s the problem, no one really knows. Check your local supermarket and ask which type of foods are natural or Genetically Engineered (supermarkets in the USA) The answer might surprise you. People like you and me are kept in the dark. I recently visited Germany and anyone who traveled to Europe can attest to that; all foods are labeled whether its genetically modified or not.
Almost all products, which have been made with corn, sugar and soy, are subject to genetic manipulation. Whether it’s oil, cereal, margarine or sugary products we have all been buying them (US only). Check out the facts by following the link below and decide for yourself if GMOs should be labeld or not.
The Pros and Cons of GMO’s
The Pros GMOs can have an advantage to the industry. For instance in Hawaii there would be no more papaya if it wouldn’t had been genetically modified. Through the process of genetic modification the papaya has been made resistant to a virus that would have otherwise threatened the entire production. More than 75% of Hawaiian papaya is genetically modified. Up to this day there is no known approach to combat this virus. Surprised?
This is only one example where science have helped to sustain threats. More advantages are: the resistance to cold weather, Insects or pest and drought is definitely a breakthrough.
The Cons There have not yet been a concluded long-term study of GMOs!! Although one European study is about to be released. No one really knows if genetically modified foods have side effects to humans, although there are plenty of reports that they do. Check out the facts at the Institute for Responsible Technology.
The growing number of food allergies all over the world is one concern, yet they are not linked to gmo’s (yet)? However, State regulations have been few, too. Even though certain foods have been made pest and insects resistant, the amount of pesticides used are still the same! (What is wrong with that picture?!)
Sooner or later it will affect everyone, help is needed now.
Well, on November 6, 2012, California is the first state where citizens can vote for the labeling of GMOs. It is Prop 37 (proposition 37, follow the link to read the entire proposition). This is a step in the right direction, so that hopefully other states will follow. Over 50 countries in the world have GMO labeling in place. Europe is one continent that requires the labeling of gmos even if it’s undetectable. Who knows what happens in 10 or 20 years from now, after digesting plenty of gmos and how it may permanently damages our Eco system. Get informed because sooner or later it will affect everyone globally. To get involved visit Prop 37: http://www.carighttoknow.org/
You can get much more information on this topic following the links I have placed throughout this post. I on my part want to raise awareness of this very important issue. For the sake of our kids, their health and the future of our well-being, you decide for yourself if gmos should be labeled or not.
The NYC Department of health has approved the ban of super sized sodas and sugary drinks. The regulation was approved by an expert panel of the NYC Health Department. The plan was originally proposed by Mayor Bloomberg who beliefs that this regulation will help fight obesity. The ban will go into effect in March of 2013.
According to the regulation all restaurants, delis, cinemas, stadiums and even food trucks won’t be permitted to sell sodas or sugary drinks bigger than 16 oz. However, supermarkets are not affected by the ban.
The regulation did draw an enormous amount of anger from the community as well as beverage and restaurant associations. For a good reason fast food restaurants fear a drop in beverage revenue, certainly that of super sized sodas.
Super Sized Sodas (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
I have to admit, when I use to visit the movie theater with my sons, we had to have some snacks like popcorn. What is better than a combo of popcorn and soda? The value for super sized sodas and popcorn is a so-called no-brainer. A medium soda and popcorn is maybe 20 cents cheaper than super sized sodas. Of course we went for super sized sodas, which we ended up splitting among the three of us. I know it’s sounds cheap, but don’t forget that you have free refills throughout the movie. How much soda can one person drink?
In my opinion it is the Fast Food industry itself that should be blamed for super sizing everything from triple burgers to super sized sodas. Bigger portions yield bigger revenues and maybe bigger people. Are we even capable of eating such big portions or is it just a show off. Now that the ban of super sized sodas will become effective it is up to the industry to accept this regulation and offer healthier drinks; or out smart the system by selling by selling 2 drinks for the price of one or similar.
Restrict or Educate?
The Mayor is concerned about our health, that’s significant. I guess he is also worried about the ever rising medical bills of people with diabetics etc.. The intention to encourage an obese society to live healthier is a good one. However, restricting someone’s right (to order a large drink) will likely have the opposite effect. I think the problem lies rather deeper than just in our super sized sodas. Educating a society that lives on fast food should be a priority, not controlling their lifestyle.
What do you think?
Was the ban of super sized sodas the right thing to do? Or are there other strategies that might work? Let me know.
I’m asking all Food Bloggers on behalf of Share Our Strength’s Dine Out For No Kid Hungry to support this very important campaign. On September 16-22, 2012 Share Our Strength For Dine Out No Kid Hungry has signed up thousands of restaurants across the country to take part in a one week No Kid Hungry campaign. Participating restaurants will donate a certain amount of money from every dining bill to the Share Our Strength Dine Out For No Kid Hungry campaign. Some restaurants even signed up for the whole month.
Share Our Strength (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Here is what YOU can do.
Spread the word to your readers by creating a POST about this campaign. The No Kid Hungry campaign is only in America. However, everyone’s support is appreciated.
Participate in a No Kid Hungry TwEAT OUT:
To start the week strong I ask you on behalf of Share Our Strength’s Dine Out For No Kid Hungry to participate in a national TwEAT OUT:
Monday September 17, 2012 from 9AM -9PM
On Twitter: Retweet messages about the Dine Out For No Kid Hungry from the following Twitter accounts
LIKE “No Kid Hungry“. Share the news about this campaign on your Facebook page.
If you want to help out more there are plenty of ways to do that. Visit Share Our Strength’s For No Kid Hungry to find ways to participate.
Calling all Restaurant Owners
If you own a restaurant or know some one who does, please tell them about this campaign. It is not too late to participate. Here is a link to register your restaurant: Restaurants for NO KID Hungry
Please support me in this very important issue. I couldn’t believe when I saw the numbers of hungry children in America. Most of us never see a hungry child, yet every fifth child in America suffers some type of hunger. Children don’t deserve to be hungry. Lets help Share Our Strength’s Dine Out For No Kid Hungry to end childhood hunger. Restaurants all over America have done their job. Now it’s up to us to make a difference for a hungry child.
Find a Restaurant near you and Dine Out For No Kid Hungry
Thank you for your help!
Please spread the word for Dine out No Kid Hungry. Don’t you think it is a worthy cause?
Have you helped out in this campaign before and what did you do to help? I would love to know.
I would like to thank “Strands of my Life” for nominating me for the “Very Inspiring Blogger” award. I’m humbled to receive this award and aim to make a positive contribution to the blogosphere.
Here are the rules to take part, once you are nominated:
1. Link back to the person who nominated you.
2. Post the award image to your page (the first image on the post).
3. Share 7 facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers and let them know they’ve been nominated.
5. Post the rules in your blog post.
Seven Facts About Myself:
I lived 6 years in the Caribbean.
I went to culinary school in Germany.
I like to pair good wine with good food.
I love scuba diving, running and skiing. (cooking is obvious)
I was 13 years old when I baked my first successful cake.
I owned and operated two restaurants and a bakery.
I’m happily married and have two wonderful sons.
My Favorite 15 Nominees for the Inspiring Blogger Award:
To me all these blogs are created by inspiring bloggers who have learned the secret of great blogging. I love every one of them. Some I like because of their delightful stories and recipes and others for their fantastic pictures. Pictures – so incredible – that you have to stop what you are doing and wish you could have that food in this very moment. This is, in my humble opinion, what food blogging is all about. I know I have a long way to go in my blogging career; but if I can learn a bit every day from these inspiring bloggers, maybe one day my blog could be as good as theirs, maybe :-). Every one of these blogs is worth a visit.
I remember I started to write this post while I was in the Virgin islands; to be specific in St. Thomas. I was sitting on my porch enjoying this amazing view over the Caribbean sea, palm trees and beach. Gosh, what a view, I can never get enough of it. This reminds me of my days in Antigua, about 17 years ago where I spend more than half a decade (cooking & jamin) :-).
Beautiful St. Thomas Ocean View
The US Virgin Islands consist of three Islands, St. Thomas, St. Croix and St.John. The Islands are just a 30 minute flight away from Puerto Rico. We stayed at Elysian Beach Resort in the east of the Island and conveniently situated right next to the Ritz Carlton resort, which added to the impressive scenery. The resort nestled between beautiful palm trees directly on the water boasting its own very well maintained beach. The Elysian Beach resort offers 2 excellent restaurants on premises and a beach bar, which is located next to the pool. I also have to mention that I used my Wyndham Time Share to stay at this resort, which was one of my best experiences I ever had in a Wyndham resort.
View from my balcony at the Elysian Beach Resort
Island Time and Dining Options on St. Thomas
St. Thomas has quite a few dining and entertainment options to choose from. There is literally something for everyone here; whether it’s Italian, Irish, Mexican, American and of course Caribbean cuisine. St. Thomas boasts a lot of Texan BBQ style restaurants as well as an annual parade where you can taste Texas style BBQ food. The following establishments I found worth dining at and was very happy with food and service.
The Caribbean Fish Market – My personal favorite for fine dining
Iggie’s Beach Bar & Grill – Visit Wednesdays for Caribbean Buffet
The Fat Turtle – Fridays after 10pm party time, great burgers
Havana Blue Restaurant – For excellent food, atmosphere and views
Sangria Beach-side Bistro – Try the Mahi-Mahi sandwich
There are of course an enormous amount of restaurants and pubs to choose from. To make the best out of your stay combine a visit to the mall, beach or Mountain Top with your dining plans, that way you can capture as much as possible of the islands highlights. I highly suggest a rental car although you can use the local taxi service, too.
Though one thing you have to keep in mind when dining, food is not cheap here although there are a few options. After all it’s an island and almost everything is imported. Talking about Island, everything goes by Island time; meaning there is no rush and that’s great. Even though where ever I dined out I had excellent and relatively quick service. One hopping place here in St. Thomas caught my eyes: The Fat Turtle.
Check this menu cover from the Fat Turtle:
It's all about Island Time
And once you have made up your mind with your menu selection you’ll see the back of the menu cover, which is even more hilarious (shown below). Again it’s all about Island time or is it Turtle time? Regardless we had a great time on St. Thomas and St. John.
Fat Turtle Menu Cover
Isn’t that funny?
Most of us including my self are rushing through life in the fast lane. This menu cover opened my eyes again that we have to stop once in a while and don’t forget to smell the roses. Are you rushing through Life? Have you had any great experiences in the Caribbean that made you feel well and relaxed? Let me know by leaving a comment.
To be continued… (with more from St. John one of the most beautiful Islands I have ever seen, Fine Dining and Caribbean Recipes)
Hello and thanks for visiting Kraemer’s Culinary Blog.
I am in the process of changing my blog name to Life of a Vegan Chef.
I have been a vegan for some time and love it.
I am also convinced that veganism is the most sustainable lifestyle, which will ultimately help the environment.
Please excuse any of the confusion, while I change my theme and concept.
As a chef I am thrilled to write about a fine dining vegan lifestyle.
For more info about superior vegan recipes please sign up.