Megafactories – Illy Coffee

One of my favorite brands is Illy caffè! I love the promotion of their quality and sustainability, it was a big inspiration for me when I was working  as QESH-engineer for a local coffeeroaster. In this interesting documentary you see the fascinating world of Illy Caffè

And if you understand Italian or just want to see some nice images of Florence, Illy has made this movie to promote their ‘artists of taste’ with the beautiful barista Paula of Odeon Bistro

Blogpost NOT endorsed by Illy

60 seconds to taste the wine

I read this in a book and I wanted to share it with you!

The 60-Second Wine Expert

Over the last few years I have insisted that my students spend one minute in silence after they swallow the wine. I use a “60-second wine expert” tasting sheet in my classes for students to record their impressions. The minute is divided into four sections: 0 to 15 seconds, 15 to 30 seconds, 30 to 45 seconds, and the final 45 to 60 seconds. Try this with your next glass of wine.Please note that the first taste of wine is a shock to your taste buds. This is due to the alcohol content and acidity of wine. The higher the alcohol or acidity, the more of a shock. For the first wine in any tasting, it is probably best to take a sip and swirl it around in your mouth, but dont evaluate it. Wait another thirty seconds, try it again and then begin the sixty-second wine expert

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CrazyWaiters Drinks Calculator

This weekend the CrazyWaiter spent his time spending assisting a friend who threw a party. Of course I concentrated myself on the food and beverage with serving his guests and friends. When J. asked some weeks ago for help to plan how many drinks he should buy for his party, I made a calculator. I’m happy to share it with you. You enter the values in the yellow and the blue cells, and the list to buy will be visible in the pink cells.

As always with calculatingmodels, the quality of the output depends strongly on the input. If you enter 40 guests during 6 hours, don’t be surprised that you can bring back 75% of the stock to the shop when there are only 25 guests during 3 hours. Luckily we could get the money back, but what a pity that we had to spent this money on a parking fine – never felt so stupid 🙁 BTW, when I entered the right data, the shopping list was very close to what the people had consumed in reality :proud:

The party was nice, but it is over now, so here it is…

CrazyWaiters Drinks Calculator

(Disclaimer: use it  wisely and at own risk. CrazyWaiter is not responsible etc. etc. etc.)

Olive oil, the green liquid gold

Once I was a food technologist with specialisation quality management. I’m still fascinated by the term quality: what is quality really. And what distinguishes top quality (the best of the best) from good quality and bad quality. And how to see, feel or taste those differences.

Not only of services, but also of products and food. Now I’m into olive oil. It’s triggered by an episode about Ollive Oil from a Dutch Television programme ‘Keuringsdienst van Waarde’ (it’s in Dutch, from 13:50 they are going to taste in an Italian sensory lab where things are explained by a very cute Italian lady – maybe she was the real trigger;)).

It’s a huge business and there’s a lot of marketing involved and also real scam. They show beautiful Italian pictures in the publicity while the oil is relative cheap Spanish oil. (in fact the marketing-‘lies’ is what the program tries to uncover)

The first info to start with is Wikipedia. Good portals are, and Here you find tips and tricks how to taste and how to set up a test. It continues with a description of the tastes and flavors in olive oil. I’ve put some other intersting links about this topic at delicious (and it will grow the following days)

The best way is of course to go to a shop where they sell a lot of olive oils like I did yesterday (without the knowledge I found today). You’ll find a lot of things in common in the different oils but also a lot of differences which makes it cool and really nice to discover. I’m going to Sicily in 4 weeks (yes!) and of course I try to do a olive oil tasting under the Sicilian sun!

Flavour styles

Romanée-Conti 2003 & 2005 for only €10.000 !

Normally you’d describe a wine by his taste or terms on a flavour wheel. Peter Klose, a luxury restaurant owner and founder of the Academy for Gastronomy has desscribed a new flavour theory to describe wines and match them with food. In this blogpost I describe this system very briefly. Maybe too briefly, so when you’re interested, I advice you to read the extensive English summary which can be found here or even better the original thesis (which can’t be found online, but maybe in the university library nearby).

The central part is mouthfeel. There are three parameters to describe food and beverages in this system

  • Contracting mouthfeel
    Acidity and saltiness trigger a contracting response in the mouth. Also drying (roughing, puckering) effect in the mouth caused by tannins (red wine) and other bitter tasting elements (as in coffee, tea or unsweetened chocolate) is also characteristic of contracting mouthfeel.
  • Coating mouthfeel
    Creamy, fatty substances and those containing a significant amount of dissolved sugars coat the mouth. In other words, they leave a layer of fat or sugar behind. In beverages, alcohol and sugars are viscous, coating elements. They coat the mouth, and this coating may influence the way in which the mouth perceives the next mouthful of food it encounters. Proteins also produce a coating mouthfeel, especially amino acids and some chemical substitutions like gelatin.
  • Flavour richness
    How more taste, how higher the flavour richness

Flavour profile

Foods and drinks can be classified with the three above-mentioned parameters. Contracting mouthfeel, coating mouthfeel and flavour richness can all be scaled from low to high.  Combining these parameters give 8 combinations, which is visualized in the three-dimensional model below: the flavour styles cube

flavour style primary flavour factors
contracting mouthfeel coating mouthfeel flavour richness
1. neutral Low Low Low
2. round Low High Low
3. balance fresh High High Low
4. fresh High Low Low
5. powerful/dry Low Low High
6. rich Low High High
7. balance ripe High High High
8. pungent High Low High

Practical use
Flavour is what wines and food have in common. Thus, the same descriptors can be used. This leads to new guidelines for the paring of food and wine. Basically, good combinations are found if the flavour profile of wines and foods resemble one another. In other words:

  • Contracting wines go well with contracting foods
  • Coating wines go well with coating foods
  • The flavour richness of wines and foods should be about the same
  • The rule of thumb when composing a menu is to progress from contracting to coating foods and wines, and from lower levels of flavour richness to higher levels.

Culinary success factors

The research of mr. Klosse also showed that there are six characteristics for a successful combination of product characteristics of a restaurant dish. (‘palatability’). When applied to the recipes in a hospital in Danmark, the patient satisfaction with regard to food has risen very much.

  • the name and presentation must fit the expectation
  • the aroma should be appetising and appropriate to the food
  • there should be a good balance of flavour components in relation to the food
  • the savoury, ‘deliciousness’ factor, umami (also called the fifth basic taste), must be present
  • the mouthfeel of the dish should offer a mix of hard and soft textures
  • it must be characterised by high flavour richness

Source and copyright: Peter Klosse: Food and wine matching – a new approach, 15 Oct 2008, retrieved at at 11 March 2011. Outline by the CrazyWaiter

Good Food for Tought

As restaurantworkers we are partly and indirect responsible for what people eat. And although we (especially as waiter) have a little bit influence, I think it’s good to be aware that there’s a new health problem. The next generation (read the kids who are eating in MY restaurant are expected to live 10 years less than me.

Jamie Oliver, an English chef made me aware of this. I don’t know how I’ll put his words in practice, but I’ll keep it in mind. His wish:

I wish for your help to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.

You can support his wish here


One time I finised a night with drinking Mojitos.

A Mojito is traditionally made of five ingredients: white rum, sugar (traditionally sugar cane juice), lime, sparkling water  and mint. The original Cuban recipe uses spearmint or “Yerba buena”, a much lighter mint variety very popular in the island. Its combination of sweetness, refreshing citrus and mint flavors are intended to complement the potent kick of the rum, and have made this clear highball a popular summer drink.

When preparing a Mojito, lime juice is added to sugar (or syrup) and mint leaves. The mixture is then gently mashed with a muddler. The mint leaves should only be bruised to release the essential oils and should not be shredded. Then rum is added and the mixture is briefly stirred to dissolve the sugar and to lift the mint sprigs up from the bottom for better presentation. Finally, the drink is topped with ice cubes and sparkling water. Mint leaves and lime wedges are used to garnish the glass.

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Art in My Coffee

Although I worked for a coffeeroaster, I can’t make a decent cappuccino. (luckily for this we have a full automatic machine at work) Those who are able to do it, can find a new challenge in their life. See this video!

You can also find a lot of inspiration at Art in My Coffee. Here you’ll find hundreds of photos of Latte Art!

(photo: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 by Made2Serve)

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Can I have a jug of water? NO!

Now I’m going to share you my frustration of the day: guests who are eating in your restaurant and when you’re ready to take the drink orders (all the food is on a buffet in ‘my’ restaurant) the *only* thing they are asking is a jug of tapwater. No wine, no sodas, not a bottle of water but only a jug of tapwater. Aarrghh!!! I hate this phrase! Sometimes I feel my eyes rolling and my chest moving of stress and in my mind are always some horrible scenarios uprising I’ll never do with the water but really want to do. (Use your fantasy ;)) Sometimes it has to be visible to the clients but it’s just a reflex, can do nothing about it.

My micros and later the bill shows CARAF D’EAU EUR 0.00 and that hurts because I have to polish the glasses, I have to walk to the bar and back, I have to smile and I have to pour the water in the glasses.. all for nothing! I know, they pay a lot for the food, tapwater is better for the environment and the water quality is average to good (I’m used to Dutch water which is far better than in the place where I live and work, especially in summertime) but it still drives me nuts working for nothing. (read: earning nothing for the boss – yes, I do care about his earnings)

Maybe I shouldn’t put ice in it (the cold masks the bad taste) or ask the clients “you’re really sure you want to take this?” with a face like they are going to be very sick. But I’m afraid it won’t help and hey, it’s just my job. I have to deal with it, frustration or not. And tomorrow it will be:”Can I have a jug of water”? “Yes, of course sir”. But you’ll know better 🙂

How to make a… Margarita

Today I had to make a Margarita cocktail and I have to admit that I didn’t know how to do it. (I said to my colleagues “I’m a stupid crazy waiter, not a smart barman” – but this is nonsense of course I really believe you should have knowledge of everything).

I’m glad to make you part of my learningprocesses so here we go! I use the IBA Standard here found at the Wikipediapage of the cocktail, but there are a lot of variations ofcourse!

The ingredients

Rub the rim of the glass with the lime slice to make the salt stick to it. Shake the other ingredients with ice, then carefully pour into the glass (taking care not to dislodge any salt). Garnish and serve over ice.

Foto: Akke Monasso, CC BY SA3.0