Posts Tagged ‘International Culinary Center’

So I have retreated to my home town of Olean to mend my financial fences after three years of globe trotting, business and personal misadventures all of which is chronicled in this blog. And the best thing is I am really feeling good about it.

Kate Sager at the Olean Times Herald wrote a really nice article OLEAN TIMES HERALD ARTICLE and I have been landing several new law and mediation clients each week. All good right?

knivesTomorrow I am teaching my first culinary class at Cutco Cutlery Company. Knife skills, because they make some hot ass sharp knives and Intro to Italian Cuisine because that is what I know. And, I am actually getting paid.

I must admit that I am still more excited about Italian cuisine than legal affairs but I have to pay the bills and I get to have some fun cooking at the same time.

I hope to get some good photo’s to use in my next post.

Stay tuned.







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Well readers it finally happened. I finally opened a restaurant after 2 years of career changing, mind bending, relationship destroying, life altering activities that took me from Olean NY to Hells Kitchen to Soho, to Alma, to Baltimore and finally to Calle’s Cucina in the Heart of Charles Village.

So much has occurred recently that I have to say it would take several days to write in detail about it all.

I am now the owner/chef of Calle’s Cucina at 2431-2433 St. Paul St. Baltimore Maryland.

From the time I took  possession to opening took 60 days, quite quick actually in the world of restaurant openings.

Cleaning, painting, remodeling, equipment purchases, furniture purchases, staff recruitment and hiring, menu development, HAACP plan writing, vendor research and selection, to creating the first dishes.

Calle’s Cucina is about 2000 square feet located on the first floor of two adjoining townhouses. We are BYOB and have an art gallery. We serve lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch.Check out our website for all the details.


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So much to talk about but so little time. Below is a chronology of the past two months. I will now be updating this blog frequently. Thanks for following this adventure of a lifetime.

Let me start with a chronology of the past 2 months.

October 9, 2011. Sign lease for my restaurant in Baltimore. Two empty rooms painted hideous colors.

October 15, 2011. Take possession and begin cleaning and renovations.

October 20, 2011. Meet Deon Brown who has since become my right hand.

October 24, 2011. Paint exterior.

October 27, 2011. Initial health department inspection.

October 28, 2011. Begin remedying health department identified issues.

November 1, 2011. Begin painting interior.

November 7, 2011. Begin floor cleaning.

November 9, 2011. Begin researching kitchen equipment and food vendors.

November 13, 2011. Begin purchase of kitchen equipment and furniture.

November 14, 2011. Apply for Fire Prevention Permit.

November 15, 2011. Rent U-Haul and begin picking up equipment and furniture.

November 16, 2011. Fire Prevention Permit obtained.

November 17, 2011. HAACP Plan approved.

November 18, 2011. Health department final approval. Begin work on menu and HAACP plan.

November 19, 2011. Fire Department initial inspection. Begin remedying FD issues.

November 22, 2011. Obtain Food License.

November 24, 2011. Initial Building Inspector inspection.


November 26, 2011. Begin remedy of Building Inspector issues.

November 27, 2011. Purchase of dishes, silverware, pots, pans and smallwares.

November 28, 2011. Obtain Building Permit for removal of 23 recessed lights which pose fire hazard.

November 30, 2011. Obtain Building Permit for replacement of stairway. Begin interviewing vendors.

December 1, 2011. Begin interviews for servers and kitchen staff.

December 8, 2011. Receive approval for lighting modifications.

December 9, 2011. Complete 30 inch deep concrete footer and reassembly of steps.

December 10, 2011. Purchase sound system for dining room and make meatballs for freezing.

So, I have been very busy in a very good way for the past two months.

The Building Inspector should, higher power willing, give final approval tomorrow or Wednesday and we should be open by Wednesday or Thursday.


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Salmon Crudo with Strawberry, caper and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia.


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This was just one course of a nine course Chef Calle dinner. I guess my time in culinary school wasn’t in vain!!!!!

Two dishes not on the menu were gifts from the chef.  #1 Seasonal soup duo. Maryland asparagus and leek potato. #2 Tuna crudo seasoned with fresh orange.

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2 large cans of imported Italian peeled, whole tomatoes.
One large cooking onion, finely diced.
5 or more cloves of garlic
¾ cup dry white wine.
Fresh basil, thyme, rosemary and parsley.
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes.
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil.
Salt and pepper to taste.

1.     Finely dice the onion. Clean and chop the herbs accept the basil. By hand, tear  the Basil leafs into three or four pieces.
2.    Peel garlic and flatten with palm of hand or dice finely.
3.    Remove tomatoes from cans and crush with your hand.
4.    Heat skillet with oil until quite hot. Add garlic and onion, sauté 5 minutes.
5.    Add wine to hot skillet, allow alcohol to evaporate, 1-2 minutes.
6.    Add tomatoes, cook 10 – 15 minutes.
7.    Add red pepper flakes, ½ the basil and all the remaining herbs. Cook 10 minutes or so.
8.    Adjust the seasoning, add the ¾ cooked pasta to the skillet and cook together for 5 minutes add pasta water if necessary for sauce.
9.    Remove from heat, add the remaining basil, mix and serve immediately with a drizzle of olive oil.


1 pound dry Italian pasta.

Large pot of boiling water.

Salt water liberally.

Cook pasta to about ¾ of time on package.

When cooked add immediately to sauce and cook together.

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If you want to know for sure if you are the first person to ever do or make something there is only one way to find out for sure. “Google it”.

So, after I spent an entire Saturday afternoon making “Spicy White Bean Chili” with Rabbit” I Googled it and learned that NO ONE made it before me. I found rabbit in chili sauce, white bean and turkey chili, white bean chicken chili, fried rabbit heads with chilies, and even a Mario Batali recipe from 200o entitled Coniglio All’ Ischitana, or Rabbit in the Style of Ischia. which came up apparently because he used rabbit and some sort of chili pepper in the recipe.

So, here is my original recipe for Spicy White Bean and Rabbit Chili.

Time; 2 hours.

Difficulty: 6.5 out of 10.


#1 One whole rabbit, cleaned, skinned and deboned, reserving the bones.

#2 4 cans white beans.

#3  1 red and 1 reg. onion, medium.

#4 3 stalks celery

#5 4 large carrots, 3 1/4 in pieces

#6 2 red bell peppers, cut into large pieces.

#7 1 cup frozen peas

Debone the rabbit, reserve the meat. Lightly oil the bones with evoo and roast in 350 degree oven for 1 hour.

In a medium stock pot saute onion, carrot and garlic 5 minutes, add roasted bones, 2 cups chicken stock and two cups water, simmer 45 mins.

Dice rabbit meat, brown in hot olive oil, degrease and set aside.

Saute onion until lightly caramelized, add carrot, celery, red bell pepper and rabbit about 2 minutes apart.

Deglase pan with 1 cup dry white wine, when alcohol is totally evaporated add to pot.

Strain the rabbit stock, add the vegetables and browned rabbit meat.

Wrap about 4 tablespoons of red pepper flakes in cheese cloth, tie and add to pot. Taste broth frequently to check spiciness. Remove when happy with the heat level. The recipe is intended to be spicy hot.

Rinse 2 cans white beans and add to pot. Add peas.

Rinse 3rd can of beans, add one cup of the stock to beans and puree the beans and stock then add back to the pot.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Cook together about 1 hour. Tasting frequently. Remove the red pepper bag when satisfied with the heat level.

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You start by flavoring the extra virgin olive oil with garlic. Once the garlic is golden brown remove from the oil.

Select the best ingredients. Shallots are more expensive than onion but a bit sweeter. Only use “imported” Italian tomatoes. Not “Italian style” or any other marketing ploy to disguise inferior products.

Fresh peppers add flavor and color.

Golden Garlic.

Beans are very important as well. So I always buy the best I can find. Rich, dark kidney and small black beans are my favorites for chili.

I like to add fennel to a lot of dishes and chili is no exception. I know some would say why add a liquorish flavor to chili. Well, fennel, frequently and mistakenly labeled anise does not taste like liquorish when cooked.

I sauteed it in a couple of tablespoons of the garlic flavored extra virgin olive oil until golden.

I also add fresh carrot and in the winter months frozen corn. Both add natural sweetness to offset some of the acidity of the tomatoes.  I never add sugar to chili. Get the sweetness you need by natural ingredients and caramelization of sugars in them.

Chef Calle serving the Ultimate Chili!


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