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Index to ChefAl's Articles & Contributions       

We decided to put in a page for ChefAl, since he is contributing so frequently to our Sneaky Kitchen.    Let me introduce him.  First the pictures:

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Chef Al

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Chef Al in a human suit....

Wait a minute... it's possible I have that backwards!

Chef Al was a contributor and one of the mainstays of the Bites of Asia recipe site, a very successful, beautiful and comprehensive website until it mysteriously disappeared one day.  I contributed to that site also and that's how we met.

He was part owner and producer of the Great World Chefs site, a colorful, delicious, and even moving experience, unfortunately no longer online.

Let me warn you that ChefAl is liberal, often sarcastic, irreverent, even adolescent (maybe it's a guy thing) and I can only print about half of what he sends me, this being a family site and all.  He also knows bunches more about cooking than I will ever hope to know.   So when you read his recipes and instructions for doing things, pay attention.   

He's truly an expert on sushi (yeech!), and things like gravlax and tapas and all sorts of complicated foodstuffs I'll probably never attempt.  He also makes food into art forms, and finds really great photography to jazz up his site.   Beside him, I'm more of a plain (but healthy, never-the-less) family cook (and definitely not a photographer! See Snapshots...)  This is a professional at work, readers.   A wiseacre professional, true, but an expert through and through, even if he does think that zucchinis are only good for fodder (just try my Zucchini Delight Muffins and retain that opinion, Chef Al.  I double dare you!).

Here's some history from the horse's mouth:

"First job I ever had was cutting up thousands of chickens at TastyBird Farms (I  was 16).  I started tending bar at my family's tavern upon leaving the Army in '74 (82nd Airborne /Cav), got the bug to travel and moved to Santa Barbara, CA in '76.  Got a job cooking at a UC college dorm, and got lucky to study weekends with a genuine Master Chef from Mexico, a Chef Agustin.  I spent many summers in San Francisco, and got to study the great Alice Waters, with her love of fresh food and simplicity. 

(Note from Bess:  No wonder you're good!  Alice Waters???  Unbelievably great move and fantastic luck.)

"Opened my first place in '83, a 42-seat, 'West Coast Bistro'- well, that's what I thought it was.  I have operated/ owned/ co-owned: a really big steak and chop house (350 seats- much more trouble than it was worth, but I loved it.... for about 5 years).  Then a 'genuine' (from scratch) Mexican Lunch Stand.  Don't let the name fool 'ya- open kitchen with set-in counter, seated 75, and tables for about 50 more!  This was my favorite.   And in the mid 90's, a bunch of 'neighborhood taverns', a pool hall , 9 tables, with 'world-class soup and sandwiches'.  We had a tapas nite!  And we sold as much wine as beer!   

(Note #2 from Bess:  Play pool too?  I haven't for about nine years but give me 3 or 4 weeks of practice and I'll take you on and beat the stuffing out of you.  Betcha!)

"Been semi-retired for a few years due to health (or lack of it) , so now I play on  this machine (the computer), roll sushi everyday, smoke and BBQ on weekends.  I have a local fishmonger, my brother-in-law (A MUST!), and a small kitchen to make my own gravlax, stuff my own sausage, cure and smoke beef and pork, and live on hot chicken wings, in between --- and beer.

Note #3 from Bess:  What, no zucchini?  Veggies, Chef Al, veggies!!!

"PS - I don't take those pics, I just got a knack for finding 'em (and I always give credit, if its possible)."

Note:  I have lost touch with ChefAl.  He had severe health problems and I hope for the best.

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