Mike Staib

Classic Corned Beef and Cabbage

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If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, you’ll remember our post a few weeks ago on basic knife skills – (how has everyone been doing)?! This week, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we decided to put these skills to the test with another recipe. Of course, we had to pick Corned Beef and Cabbage.

Corned Beef and Cabbage is the Irish variation of an American dish – bacon and cabbage. Corned Beef was actually used by Irish immigrants in the 19th century in the place of bacon. Since then, it has been a traditional Irish-American dish eaten around the time of St Patrick’s Day.

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Libby, McNeill & Libby Corned Beef, 1898

        While most Corned Beef and Cabbage fans likely have a traditional recipe they use every year, we decided to find one to try ourselves. We decided to give this recipe from Genius Kitchen a try, because of the review, ““Here’s how to make corned beef and cabbage the right way. My thanks to my great-grandmother Delia O’Dowd and other NYC Irish Catholics who invented it. It is not normally eaten in Ireland, folks!”” It seemed pretty legit.

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Classic Corned Beef and Cabbage. 




  1. Use a large Dutch oven or stock pot that will hold everything all at once.
  2. Place the brisket (best side up) in the bottom of the pot.
  3. There’s no need to rinse it because nothing bad will survive what you are about to do to it and you will remove the outer marinate.
  4. Add the spice packet or a teaspoonful of peppercorns and two bay leaves.
  5. Cover the brisket generously with water and a bottle of beer (optional – adds flavor and is a tenderizer).
  6. Bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours.
  8. During the 2 hours
  9. Scrub and rinse the new red potatoes.
  10. Remove any eyes and bad spots.
  11. Leave as much of the peel as you can.
  12. Quarter them (halve or whole if tiny).
  13. Cover with water until ready for them.
  14. Remove the outer leaves from the cabbage until the leaves are entirely light green, rinse and cut it into quarters through the spine so they stay together. Set aside.
  15. Peel one carrot and cut it into quarters. Set aside.
  16. Peel the onion and cut it into eighths. Set aside.
  17. Rinse the bunch of fresh parsley and chop up just the tops into very tiny pieces.
  18. I find that kitchen scissors do just fine.
  19. After the 2 hours
  20. Add the potatoes on top of the brisket.
  21. Add water to cover everything.
  22. Bring to a boil.
  23. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  24. Add the cabbage on top of the potatoes and add onion and carrot on top of the cabbage.
  25. Add water to cover everything.
  26. Bring to a boil.
  27. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  28. Check the cabbage to see if it is tender.
  29. If not, simmer another 5 minutes. You shouldn’t undercook it and it’s hard to overcook it. When done
  30. In a large serving bowl where you can stir the potatoes, crush the garlic clove and rub the inside of the bowl with it.
  31. Place the potatoes in the bowl while still piping hot and add (at least) a quarter pound of butter and add a handful (more is better than less) of chopped fresh parsley
  32. Gently stir until butter is melted, it coats all the potato pieces and the parsley is evenly distributed.
  33. Put the rest of the parsley into a tiny serving bowl for those who want to add more to their potatoes.

And there you have it – a classic Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe to give a try this weekend! Although there is a decent amount of chopping in this recipe, luckily for you, hand strain won’t be an issue.

We will be attempting this recipe with one of our knives’ with a patented ergonomic design. The ergonomic handle changes the way you hold the knife, which reduces the strain on your wrist. For this recipe, we suggest our Crimson Series 8″ Chef Knife. A good chef’s knife is the backbone of any kitchen, and our Crimson series is as beautiful as it is functional. Alternatively, if you’re thinking of a house-warming present to purchase for a St. Patrick’s Day party – this is it.

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CRIMSON G10 8″ Chef Knife

Features of the 8″ Crimson Chef Knife: 

  • Precision Cutting Blade
  • Handle Material: G10 (Fiberglass Resin) known as one of the world’s strongest handle materials, it doesn’t absorb moisture and its innate characteristics give it extreme stability and lifelong durability. Finished with 3 Stainless Steel Rivets and High Polished for a luxurious shine.
  • Patented Ergonomic Design: Our design makes this knife a natural extension of your hand for less fatigue and exceptional control and comfort allowing you to make more accurate precise cuts.
  • Tapered Bolster: The new taper bolster design flows from the blade to the handle for increased comfort for a smooth more comfortable pinch grip for solid control and less callus.
  • Lifetime Limited Warranty
  • 30 Day Satisfaction Money Back Guarantee

Unlike a wooden handle, the fiberglass resin won’t warp in the presence of heat or when soaked in water. You’ll be able to enjoy this beautiful addition to your kitchen without the stress of damage or breakage. The knife tip has a special design angle to increase strength and blade durability, while the smooth tapered bolster provides a comfort pinch grip – you’ll be able to easily cut through any foods.

   Now – who’s been practicing their knife skills?!

Shop the link below to view all of our Crimson Series products.


Share your cooking journey with us! Tag #ergochef on Instagram and follow @ergochefknives for a chance to be featured on our page.

Save the Date – for our next food fight! Food Fight II will be taking place on March 24th. 


Mike StaibClassic Corned Beef and Cabbage
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Restaurant Road Trip and Chef Plum Fun

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If you’re a Restaurant Road Trip fan, you’ve probably seen our posts about teaming up with them to check out some of Connecticut’s best restaurants (the Pepe’s Pizza episode still has our mouths watering). Part of what we love about our company is that we get the chance to work with real chefs in the kitchen, and see our products at work.

Check out the video below to get a glimpse of some delicious Mediterranean food at Zohara, and to see our tongs in action:

Why are our tongs the best to use for industrial kitchens? Not only can you use them to gently simmer Shashuka, but they can also hold up to 10 lbs of food, which makes them functional for pretty much any task at hand. Use the Ergonomic angled head to pick up delicate foods with the silicone side, and the stainless steel side for extra grip and use on aluminum or steel pans!Screen Shot 2018-03-08 at 7.44.03 PM

9″ Locking DUO Tongs


          Of course, our knives are also up to the task. Check out the video below to see our knives slice through some serious BBQ at The Cook and The Bear:

If you’re craving BBQ – our Pro Series will have you on your way to mastering the cut of any meat. The classic 8″ Chef knife is the work horse in the kitchen, and has our patented ergonomic handle to make all types of cutting comfortable and effortless.

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Some features of the Chef Knife:

  • Blade: Fully Forged German Made Carbon Stainless Steel (X50CrMoV15) with full tang & abbreviated bolster
  • Blade Length: 8″ of Cut
  • Blade Height: Nice Wide 2.3″
  • Handle Length: 5.2″ Long
  • Handle Material: Durable POM
  • Knife Weight: 9.3 Ounces
  • Precision Balanced
  • Heat Treated for long edge life (HRC 56-58)
  • Lifetime Warranty & 30 Day Money Back Guarantee

We hope these clips leave you feeling a little more inspired on your way back to the kitchen. We recently held a contest (did you enter?) calling all chefs to submit a video showcasing their knife skills. The winner of our Food Fight contest will receive: a knife set, cash prize, and a seat at the next judging table. Stay tuned for more info on that, and make sure you check out some of the awesome submissions via our Facebook page.

If you’re a chef, and you love using our products, we’d love for you to tell us about it! If you’re not a professional, but you still feel inspired, tell us why! The Ergo Chef family is so special because we get the chance to share our stories about the kitchen via the power of social media.


Follow us on Instagram: @ergochefknives

Find us on Facebook: Ergo Chef Cutlery

Mike StaibRestaurant Road Trip and Chef Plum Fun
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Simple Knife Skills to Change the Way You Cook

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It might seem simple, but the easiest way to impress a guest could actually be your knife skills. Before we get to cutting – let’s make sure you’re comfortable handling a knife. Watch the video below for a quick refresher on proper knife handling techniques!

Knife skills are important, but why? Not only will you create beautiful meals, but your food will actually taste better, for a few reasons.

First, uniformity. Instead of just slicing through tomato and onion, use a specific technique to get the same size piece every time. This way all vegetables will be cooked all the way through, and no one will be munching on huge pieces of onion or garlic!

Secondly, your food will look better. Instead of serving up chunky soup with large pieces of celery, ladle up something that looks fresh, tasty, and aesthetically pleasing. Now its your turn. Chop like a chef using the tips below.

1. Rough Chop: The rough chop might have been your usual technique! A basic way to cut veggies, simply chop them roughly into the size of a large dice. Onions, bell peppers, and squash are vegetables commonly rough chopped.

2. Dice: Slice your vegetables vertically and horizontally to achieve a checkered pattern – slightly smaller than the rough chop, this technique is great for adding vegetables to soups and stews, as well as cooking  potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers.

3. Mince: The fine chop. Great for broths and sauces, commonly minced vegetables include garlic.

4. Slice: Flat, round cut. Commonly, what you would see when slicing a tomato, a sweet potato that you plan to roast, or an onion. This technique is great for layering or stacking vegetables and you can vary the thickness of each slice for different recipes.

5. Julienne: The “matchstick cut.” Commonly, you will see carrots sliced this way. A julienne cut produces pieces measuring about 1/8 inch x 1/8 inch x 2 inches. This cut is great for vegetables that you plan on eating raw, or that you don’t need to cook very much. Sandwiches, spring rolls, and wraps are all great to add Julienne vegetables to.

6. Brunoise: The next step after you Julienne your vegetable, simply cut it into cubes!

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                 How will you chop next? Share your photos with us! 

Now that you have some basic vegetable prep techniques under your belt, try the recipe below and put your skills to the test!

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  • 2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion (1 medium)
  • 2 cups peeled and burnoised carrots (about 4)
  • 1 1/4 cups diced celery (about 3)
  • 4 cloves garlic , minced
  • 4 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 3 cups peeled and 1/2-inch thick diced potatoes (from about 3 medium)
  • 1/3 cup rough chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups rough chopped frozen or fresh green beans
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen or fresh corn
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh peas


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute 4 minutes then add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer.

  3. Add in broth tomatoes, potatoes, parsley, bay leaves, thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste (for more flavor add in more dried herbs as desired).

  4. Bring to a boil, then add green beans.

  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 – 30 minutes, then add corn and peas and cook 5 minutes longer.

  6. Serve warm.
                               Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

A good knife is key in any kitchen and will make your life so much easier. Try an Ergo Chef knife, and chop your vegetables using our patented ergonomic design! You will eliminate your hand strain, speed up your prep process, and enjoy a comfortable grip.

shinzui 8 LHS

The Chef knife is a multi-purpose tool and a great place to start. The new SHINZUI Series Chef knife was designed for precise slicing through all types of food product with our newly developed Japanese Super Steel blade. A Precision 15 degree cutting edge per side provides easy Samurai Sword like cuts through the toughest of vegetables, fruit, red meat, poultry, pork and fish. Check out the link below for more.



shinzui 8 pepper

Alternatively, try a set of knives and you’ll be ready to face any challenge. The 15pc Pro Series Forged Knife Kit includes most essential fully forged Professional Series knives the discerning chef or student will need. They fit into the 9 pocket tri-fold soft bag with shoulder strap & business card window.

It has 8 pockets for knives, & one mesh pocket for small tools/gadgets! Click the link below for more.


Make sure you follow us on social media and share your photos with us!

                        Instagram: @ergochefcutlery

For more knife inspiration head to our website: www.ergochef.com

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Mike StaibSimple Knife Skills to Change the Way You Cook
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Take Control of Your Health with the Power of Juice

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    You’ve seen it all over social media – beautifully photographed, fresh squeezed, colorful juice. At health food stores, it can cost anywhere from $11-15 for 8 ounces of juice. Bloggers are taking photos with it, influential people are drinking it, and everyone seems to need to have it. Why?

      As trendy as it is these days, the health benefits of drinking juice are nothing new. With this second wave of juicing and popularity in the media, we decided to take a step back and look at why we even started juicing in the first place. Check out the list below.Screen Shot 2018-02-22 at 9.10.44 PM

  • Absorb more nutrients – your gut doesn’t have to go through all the work to digest fiber, so you can actively absorb more nutrients directly.
  • Consume a wider range of fruits and vegetables – quite simply, you will drink more than you can eat.
  • Fight cancer – fruit is full of antioxidants, and juicing allows you to get so many in one cup!
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Improve your skin
  • Increase your mental alertness
  • Improve your mood

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      To get started, we suggest the My Juicer II. This product is affordable and user-friendly, making it the perfect gift for anyone, from the person who is interested in juicing but doesn’t know where to begin, to the friend that buys $11 juices daily. With this product you can:

  • cut the cost of juicing
  • enjoy making a healthy, delicious beverage for your family in under a minute
  • be creative with your recipes
  • take back control of your health

     Another great feature of this product is the BPA-free sports container that it comes with. It’ll fit right in your cup holder, making breakfast-in-transit a breeze.It’s also easy to wash and the bottle top has a compression fit cap – no more spills in the car.

     If you’re intimidated by juicing, don’t be. The great thing about the My Juicer II is its extremely powerful motor – you can easily crush ice, frozen veggies, and fruit all in one go. All you have to do is add your ingredients and fill to the line marked on the side of the container. Push one button and you’re good to go. Now, who knew being healthy could be that simple.

At a loss for recipes? Don’t sweat it. The My Juicer II comes with a full page of them to get you started. If this deal wasn’t sweet enough, you can snag 15% off your juicer for a limited time with the code: GotJuice15off

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 Use the link below to grab yours today.


Did you know the My Juicer II is an Amazon Choice Product? Click the link below to find out why this item is so popular.


Tag us in your juice pics for a chance to be reposted!

Instagram: @ergochefknives

Mike StaibTake Control of Your Health with the Power of Juice
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Spring to Health This Chinese New Year

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As much fun as the New Year is, many of the celebration treats are loaded with sugar and fat. Try balancing all the riches of the New Year by having treats in moderation and adding some healthy options to your reunion dinner, like freshly made smoothies or juices. Use the My Juicer II to quickly whip up delicious beverages for the whole family – blending takes under a minute!

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Looking for the perfect gift? Give the My Juicer II to spread the health in the New Year to your most loved family and friends. Practical, user friendly, and realistic – give a gift that can be used all year long.

The My Juicer II has:

    • Powerful Heavy Duty Motor for Crushing Ice, Frozen Veggies & Fruit 300+ WATT (320 Watt Max Power)
    • Motor Base has suction feet for stable operation & Handle for easy storing and taking with you to the office
    • Sport Bottle is BPA Free for a healthier lifestyle – Fits in most car cup holders
    • Bottle top has compression fit cap for no accidental spills
    • Bottle has measurement Marks on side so you fill it just right
    • Easy to use, convenient size and easy cleanup!
    • 1 Year Limited Warranty

The My Juicer II also comes with recipes for simple, easy to make healthy drinks. Plus, you’ll also get 15% off your juicer for a limited time with the code: GotJuice15offShop the link below https://www.ergochef.com/MyJuicer.php

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                                                              We hope you have a happy, healthy New Year! 

Mike StaibSpring to Health This Chinese New Year
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Ergo Chef Must Have Juice Recipes

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With cold temperatures and that “February plateau” eating the right amount of fruits and vegetables can be harder than ever, especially on the go. Don’t overthink it. Follow these easy recipes using your Ergo Chef Juicer and you’ll be out the door with a beverage in hand every morning!

Added benefits of our juicer: 

  • Retains more nutrients and enzymes than other juicers
  • Amazing ice crushing capacity – 300 watts
  • Dishwasher safe (no more individually washing each tiny piece by hand!)
  • Extremely stable with suction feet
  • 1 year Limited Warranty and 30 day Satisfaction Money Back Guarantee


BPA free and includes to go bottle!

BPA free and includes to go bottle!











These recipes are beginner-friendly, but extremely tasty – start here and soon you’ll be creating your own! All you need is the ingredients below and the My Juicer II!



Green Dream 

  • 3  stalks celery
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 green apple
  • Handful broccoli

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Monday Morning Detox 

  • 1/2 cup Papaya
  • 1 small green apple
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/2 cup wheatgrass

Tropical Paradise 

  • 1/2 mango
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1/2 cup papaya
  • 1 orange




Randy’s Special 
1/4 c Kale
1/4 c Spin
1 peeled Carrot
1 Banana
1/2 c Blueberry
½ Apple
8 oz. Almond milk

Breakfast Blend
Coco almond milk
1 ban, 1/2 c straw, 1/4 c blue 8oz almond milk


Directions (for all recipes): 

Simply place ingredients up to the fill line and enjoy a quickly blended juice or smoothie in under one minute!



Why juice? Juicing allows you to pack all the nutrient content of multiple fruits and vegetables into one easily digestible beverage while retaining essential vitamins and minerals! Juicing can also make it easier to hit your fruit and vegetable goals for the day by simply making veggies taste better, which is great for small children and adults who have trouble hitting their daily goals.

The My Juicer II is a great gift for anyone from the health nut on the go to the person who doesn’t quite know where to start. Durable and user friendly, plus with a one year warranty, there’s no reason not to give it a go in 2018!

Make sure you follow us on social media and tag us in your juicing pics for a chance to be reposted!

Facebook: Ergo Chef Cutlery

Instagram: @ergochefknives

Purchase our juicer here with a 15% off coupon code! : https://www.ergochef.com/MyJuicer.php

15% off coupon code:  GotJuice15off


Click the link below for the USDA guidelines on fruit and vegetable consumption … are you meeting yours?


Mike StaibErgo Chef Must Have Juice Recipes
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The Do’s and Dont’s of Knife Handling

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At Ergo Chef, we are all about creating a better knife experience for you.  Whether you are a professional cook who spends their day slicing and dicing, or an enthusiastic home chef who just wants to have the best tools, we are here to help you with a selection of blades that are designed to handle better and bring less stress and the dreaded carpal tunnel or Tendonitis that comes with it.  So we are setting you up to succeed, and now we want to recap some quick tips to ensure that you are getting the most out of your blades.



DO make sure your knife is sharp!  Dull blades will slow down even the most seasoned of chefs, and they are less safe to boot.  Keep your blade in top shape with regular maintenance.  Shop our line of blade accessories here and give your knife the TLC it deserves.

DO hand wash and towel dry your knives.  Putting your knife in the dishwasher can cause the blade to dull faster, your handle to lose its shine & possibly crack.  Dry cycles can also cause stains on the blade from water drops as they attack the carbon in good knives causing rust (stain) circles. Not to mention – forget where you put it and you’re in for a nasty surprise when you unload the dishwasher!  Hand washing & drying a knife takes mere seconds and will prolong the longevity of your blade.

DON’T use one knife for every chore in your kitchen!  A bread knife will be clumsy and hard on your veggies, and a sharp chefs knife will ruin hard crusted bread.  Paring knives are specifically designed for small tasks, and a heavy duty chefs knife will make prep a breeze.  One size does NOT fit all when it comes to kitchen tasks, and one knife alone won’t be nearly as effective as a range of tools.  Get a set and make sure you’re handling prep like a pro.

DON’T use your index finger to balance the knife.  This is an easy mistake to make and we address is further in the video below.  Proper knife safety involves using your second and middle fingers to gently grip the blade on both sides, instead of using your index finger to balance along the spine of the knife.  Improper knife handling can lead to a wobbly knife – which can lead to cuts.  So practice safe knife skills, and to make yourself even safer, pick up a pair of our knife proof gloves here.


Mike StaibThe Do’s and Dont’s of Knife Handling
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Ringing in the New Year with Shinzui…

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Hello to everyone and Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe we’re into 2018 already as time keeps marching along…

13239289_10209196514054663_8535084697776038394_nWe had a really wonderful 2017 starting with Gourmet Housewares Gift Show in Atlanta .We had a great show with Myron Mixon demoing his Ribs and Famous Chicken Recipe on culinary stage at Atlanta Mart using his popular 3~in~1 Pitmaster Grill Tool. Then we were off to the International Housewares Show chicago where we introduced our new Chef Gear 5 pocket 18033881_10158571092030261_1161127618261878954_nRoll bag.and we moved into a new showroom in Danbury, CT. We also began Cooking Classes at Ergo Chef showroom with Chef Plum as well as becoming sponsor of his excellent new WTNH CT series, Restaurant Road Trip which continues this year. Kicked off a New Yearly June Father’s Day Sale 2017 – in our showroom store with great success! Through the year Ergo Chef had the opportunity to offer up & sponsor hundreds of knives/kits for great charity events to help those in need both in and outside the culinary field. We sponsored Hava Nagrilla ciaBBQ Event & Competition in Philly in August 2017 to a crowd of 8,000+ people.

September was a record year for The C.I.A., Run for Your Knives in Hyde Park NY, where Ergo Chef sponsored winners with many roll bags and pieces of cutlery along with other great prizes. Awards totaled over $60,000 for student scholarships in the culinary field. December came quick & we hit the road to DC for the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show, where over 10,000 attendees flocked in to taste great BBQ, Food, Wine, Beer and of course fill there bags with Ergo Chef gear while watching Guy Fieri demo on stage along with José Andrés, Carla Hall, Victor Albisu, & Amy Brandwein to name a few.

Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips

How to sharpen & hone your knives the quick way…

Ergo Chef’s New SHINZUI 8 Inch 67 Layer Damascus Chef Knife. 

shinzui-bannerSo what’s makes Ergo’s New Shinzui such a special knife?

If you are looking for high quality kitchen knives, Damascus knife with VG10 steel core is the best choice. VG10 is the name of the steel made by Takefu Steel. By global standards, Takefu Special Steel Company is small — it counts its employees by the dozen rather than by hundreds or thousands. But it enjoys a growing worldwide reputation for producing steel of legendary sharpness, the coveted VG-10. VG-10 stands for V Gold 10, a truly fitting designation for what is widely recognized as the gold standard of superior-quality clad stainless steel. Cladding is the bonding of dissimilar metals, utilizing the strengths of each one to craft a stronger final product. In this case, chromium (15.0 percent), cobalt (1.5 percent), carbon (1.0 percent), molybdenum (1.0 percent), manganese (0.5 percent) and vanadium (0.2 percent) are used.

Relatively small in terms of production, Takefu Special Steel Company’s VG-10 steel is used in between 60 and 70 percent of the kitchen knives (hôtcho) produced in Japan. Its ability to hold an exceptionally sharp edge and withstand oxidation have made VG-10 a top choice among knife enthusiasts. Value is another selling point.



This 8 inch Chef (Gyuto) knife is appropriately named “SHINZUI™” to encompass it’s total composition. It’s the Japanese meaning for core, strength and essence. From the blade it highlights the super strong and durable VG10 “core” having super “strength” and to the look and “essence” in the form and functional design of this 8” Japanese chef knife to give you ultimate performance in your kitchen!

This new SHINZUI Series Chef knife was designed for precise slicing through all types of food product with our newly developed Japanese Super Steel blade.  Crafted with our Patented design providing ultimate comfort and grip, abbreviated bolster blend into the VG10 Japanese Super Steel Core blade for durability. The Japanese VG10 Steel is known for long lasting sharpness & extreme durability in the kitchen. The Japanese VG10 steel blade has 33 layers of softer Damascus steel per side for a beautiful one of a kind pattern with each knife & a hard center core of VG10 Super Steel hardened to 60 HRC for long edge life. A Precision 15 degree cutting edge per side provides easy Samurai Sword like cuts through the toughest of vegetables, fruit, red meat, poultry, pork and fish. Add the SHINZUI Chef knife to your kitchen collection and start enjoying your meal preparation today.


  • Damascus Blade Made in Japan: VG10 Japanese Super Steel Core with Our Custom Damascus Layer Patterns – Each knife pattern will be slightly different.  VG10 is a high carbon Japanese steel known for its samurai sharp edges and tough long lasting sharpness.
  • Edge: Double beveled 15 Degree’s per side for incredible strength and smoothest cuts through toughest foods.
  • Heat Treat: 60 HRC for superior long lasting sharpness and durability.  Tempered to perfection.
  • Handle: Black G10 fiberglass resin composite with red G10 stripes down both sides of the full tang.  A Mosaic center rivet and 2 stainless steel rivets complete the look and are polished for beauty. The G10 handle is one of the world’s strongest materials for lifetime of worry free use.
  • shinzui 8 LHSBlade Length: 8″
  • Blade Height: 2.25″
  • Blade Thickness: .090″
  • Handle Length: 4.9″
  • Handle Width: .880″
  • Handle Belly Height: 1.120″
  • Weight: 9.5 Oz.
  • Lifetime Warranty & 30 Day Money Back Guarantee

Order yours today: SHINZUI 8 Inch 67 Layer Damascus Chef Knife

Til Next Time,

Happy Cooking from Ergo Chef

Mike StaibRinging in the New Year with Shinzui…
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It’s The Ergo Chef #BlackFriday-#CyberMonday Sale & Holiday Gift Guide!

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Hello everyone and welcome to a special edition of the Chop Talk Blog!. We’ve got a special event announcement first and a Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips on how to to help you make the Perfect Holiday Turkey, along with a recipe for Traditional Rustic Cranberry Sauce! But, the BIG DEAL is we’ve cooked up HUGE savings and discounts for you, our chefs, cooks and foodies, with our #BlackFriday-#CyberMonday Sale Holiday Gift Guide! Lots of products, Lots of savings! Only at Ergo Chef!


Ergo Chef will be demoing at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show in DC – Dec. 9th & 10th – info here: https://www.metrocookingdc.com/ Join us for the 12th annual MetroCooking DC Show! The ultimate food lover’s weekend returns to the Washington Convention Center December 9-10, 2017. Whether you’re an aspiring home cook or expert entertainer, the two-day culinary extravaganza provides a one-of-a-kind experience for all food and entertaining enthusiasts.

Enjoy cooking demos and book signings with top Celebrity Chefs. Sample from over 50 local restaurants in the Grand Tasting Pavilion. Wash down your fare with a local brew from the Beer, Wine and Spirits Garden. Learn new techniques and tips in the Taste Talk Workshops. Sharpen your skills in the pop-up cooking school. Meet your favorite James Beard award-winning chef and see them whip up delicious dishes live on the James Beard Stage.

Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips

“Making The Perfect Holiday Turkey” by Louis S. Luzzo, Sr

Roasting a turkey during the Holidays can either make or break a successful meal. Like many at home cooks, we have a few horror stories of the days before I became the self proclaimed, “Gourmet Guy.” I have also heard stories from others, both friends and family, about such things as leaving the plastic ‘chitlins’ bag’ in the bird, raw and underdone turkeys, to piles of charcoal on a plate. In this installment, I am going to give you some fool proof rules-of-thumb and methods to insure that your Thanksgiving meal comes off as a complete success that will wow your guests. From the Menu Planning, to Proper Seasoning , to how to pick the right turkey, we’ll take a look at all the basics.

How big of a turkey should I roast? 
Most importantly, we need to count the amount of guests we will be serving. A good rule of thumb to go by would be:

  • One (1) pound of raw turkey per person which includes a moderate amount for leftovers.
  • 1 1/2 pounds per person, if you have hearty eaters or want ample leftovers.
  • 3/4 pound of whole turkey per person for no leftovers.

To properly thaw the turkey (if frozen), I recommend leaving it in a refrigerator for 4-5 days to slow thaw under a cool temperature. If you are pressed for time, you may place it in a sink or a container in the sink and run cold water over it for a few hours. Once the bird is thawed, you are ready to prepare it for cooking.

Brining (optional)
Not every home cook will go the extra mile at home, but I’ve found that brining your turkey can incorporate a great level of flavor and make your turkey extremely moist. I typically brine most poultry and pork before cooking, and have made several different types of flavored brines. A brine by definition is; a strong solution of water and salt used for pickling or preserving foods. A sweetener such as sugar or molasses is sometimes added. I really enjoy molasses and brown sugar and balance it out with some savory herbs, bay leaves, peppercorns and garlic. Depending on the size of the bird, you can brine a turkey for a few hours, or even let it go overnight. But, it is very important to remember that the brining solution is high in salt and you must adjust and lessen the amount of salt you use in your seasoning when you prepare your turkey for roasting.

Seasoning & Prepping the Bird
The next step can be a lot of fun, as you get to be very creative with seasoning and preparing your turkey. Seasonings offer a great deal of flavor and can be as simple as salt and black pepper, or as elaborate as Cajun spice or a rub consisting of garlic, chilies and dried herbs. Be sure to rub the entire cavity with your seasoning blend of choice, and always lubricate the outside of the skin with oil or butter so the seasonings will adhere and cook into the bird.

*Tip For Crispier Skin
Crisp skin and a moist center is what we all desire when roasting the perfect turkey and I have learned a little trick to enhance the outer skin. Carefully lift the skin up around the bird and slide a few pats of softened butter underneath. Generously rub the outer skin with butter and your seasonings, and let them sink in for about an hour before roasting. Many family recipes include stuffing the bird with all kinds of aromatics or even a traditional bread stuffing. It is totally up to you to decide which way you want to go, but stuffing a turkey’s cavity can really enhance the flavor of the meat.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to stuffing; In the Bird (stuffing) and & Out of the Bird (dressing). In my house we make both, or sometimes do a cornbread Oyster dressing (recipe below) as well. In some households, the turkey is stuffed with other birds; a boned chicken is stuffed into a boned duck, which is then stuffed into the turkey. Called a Tur-duck-en, this is actually not a new concept. In ancient Rome, as well as in medieval times, cooks stuffed animals with other animals. A 13th century Andalusian cookbook includes a recipe for a ram stuffed with small birds. A similar recipe for a camel stuffed with sheep stuffed with bustards stuffed with carp stuffed with eggs is also mentioned in T.C. Boyle’s book Water Music. British celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall makes an incredible ten-bird roast, calling it “one of the most spectacular and delicious roasts you can lay before your loved ones.” A large turkey is stuffed with a goose, duck, mallard, guinea fowl, chicken, pheasant, partridge, pigeon and woodcock. The roast feeds around 30 people and also includes stuffing made from two pounds of sausage meat and half a pound of streaky bacon along with sage, port and red wine. Wow, now that truly is a mouthful!

Turkey stuffing usually consists of bread crumbs or cubes, dried bread, with onion, celery, salt, pepper, and other spices and herbs such as sage, or a mixture like poultry seasoning. In some cases, sausage or oysters are added as well. The term stuffing usually applies to the mixture when it is placed into the bird, while dressing is usually used when cooked outside. If you want to add a little sweetness to the turkey, stuff the cavity with some apples and raisins. If you are looking for something more savory and herbaceous, try adding rosemary and thyme with a little garlic and onion. For our purposes here, and since I am the Gourmet Guy, we’ll just stick to a traditional Oyster Stuffing.

Makes 14 cups
1 3/4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup salted butter
5 cups crumbled cornbread
1 pound bulk pork sausage, rendered and drained of fat (optional)
Turkey giblets, cooked and chopped (optional)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3 stalks celery, diced (if you do not like cooked celery, as I do not, you can substitute a teaspoon of celery salt, but adjust your salt amount accordingly)
2 eggs
1 pint shucked oysters, drained, or more if desired (reserve the oyster liquor, should be about a 1/4 of a cup)
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon paprika
Ground black pepper to taste

In a skillet, saute the celery & onions in butter until translucent.Remove. In the same pan, saute the sausage until just about done, but don’t overcook. Drain. 

In a large bowl combine the crumbled cornbread, cooked celery, cooked onions, cooked giblets, cooked sausage, oysters, parsley, salt, pepper, paprika, dried sage. Mix well.
Beat the 2 eggs. Add the eggs and chicken stock and oyster liquor to the stuffing mixture and thoroughly incorporate. 
In the bird: 
Stuff the bird’s cavity. Remove stuffing promptly once bird is cooked. 
Out of the bird: 
Bake the stuffing in a large casserole dish in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes. 

Roasting Your Turkey
So, now that we are ready to roast, how do I know how long it should cook for, and how high the temperature should be? USDA says that a turkey should not roast under 325 degrees Fahrenheit, so that’s a fair starting point. Approximate cooking times for an unstuffed turkey are as follows: (it is around 20 to 30 minutes per pound) 

  • 10 – 18 lb bird 3 to 3 ½ hrs
  • 19 – 22 lb bird 3 ½ to 4 hrs
  • 22 – 24 lb bird 4 to 4 ½ hrs
  • 24 – 29 lb bird 4 ½ to 5 hrs

One helpful hint to achieving a nice golden skin, is to start the “searing” process by cooking it in a 400 – 425 degree oven for 10-15 minutes (depending on the size) to start the browning process (sugars begin to caramelize), then lower the temperature to 325 degrees and slow roast for the appropriate time.Basting is another way to impart even browning and to distribute some of those great flavorful juices. You may baste with the juices found in the bottom of the pan, or use some type of fat. Also popular, is to baste with another flavorful liquid, for example a brown stock fortified with apple cider vinegar and herbs. If the bird begins to brown too much, you may cover it with aluminum foil until it has reached doneness, and then finish for the last few minutes uncovered. Be careful not to cover the bird entirely, as you don’t want to steam the turkey.

How do I know if my bird is done? The USDA recommends that the turkey be cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees as measured in the innermost part of the thigh. If the thigh is 165 degrees, the breast meat is likely to be 10 degrees hotter. Many cooks would tell you that a turkey roasted to those temperatures is overdone and would taste unacceptably dry. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness, try not to rely on those “pop up timers” that come with most turkeys. You can also prick the leg joint with a fork, and if the juices run just slightly pink or clear, the turkey is done.

To test the accuracy of your instant read thermometer, insert the tip about 2 inches deep into boiling water. At sea level it should register 212 degrees F. If it does not, replace it; or if it has a calibration device, reset it for accuracy. Nobody wants an overcooked bird, so start checking your bird about 3/4’s of the way through the total recommended cooking time.

Time to make the gravy!  On the stove top, use the same pan that you roasted this delicious turkey in. The drippings and leftover fat and liquid are going to make this gravy a very tasty one. I like to use a ratio of 1 Tablespoon of fat to 1 Tablespoon of flour to create a “roux” that will thicken my gravy. You can use chicken or turkey stock, or even just deglaze with sherry or white wine and add water. Just be sure to cook out the flour so it doesn’t leave a raw taste to the gravy. Season with salt pepper to taste.

Bon Appetit

tbpo11-lgErgo Chef Holiday Gift Guide Part 1

Welcome to the first installment of our Holiday Gift Guide. We have put together a list of some of the most popular and economical products available for you cooks and chefs out there. We are bringing you huge discounts of 10%-25% OFF* on every item on our website for our #BlackFriday #CyberMonday Sale this year. Sale starts at 12:01 AM Friday 11/24/17 through Midnight Monday, 11/27/17. We hope you enjoy the guide and of course we wish you all happy shopping and a very Happy Thanksgiving!

*25% discount will be applied to your cart at checkout. Does not include Services or Factory Seconds. We will have 10% Extra off for those items.

SHINZUI 8 Inch 67 Layer Damascus Chef Knife

This 8 inch Chef (Gyuto) knife is appropriately named “SHINZUI™” to encompass it’s total composition. It’s the Japanese meaning for core, strength and essence.  From the blade it highlights the super strong and durable VG10 “core” having super “strength” and to the look and “essence” in the form and functional design of this 8” Japanese chef knife to give you ultimate performance in your kitchen!
List Price: $250.00

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Crimson Steak Knife Set


The Ergo Chef CRIMSON Series 4 piece Kitchen steak knife set features polished precision sharp blades and a tapered pinch grip bolster for comfort and control. The beautiful wood grain design of the G10 fiberglass composite handles make these a great addition to any table setting while impressing guests with their great weight and feel through every cut. From the steak knives full bolster and contoured comfort handle to the blade these give you great control when slicing through all beef, poultry and vegetables. Order yours today and discover the beauty and precision of Ergo Chef Crimson Series steak knives in your kitchen.

List: $200.00
Price: $144.99
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Pro Series Carving Set

This Ergo Chef Pro-Series 2 Piece carving set includes a One Piece 8″ Solid Carving Fork and a fully forged one piece 9″ Carving knife with Hollow grounds. The precision sharp beveled edge & polished blade alows for smooth precise slicing of all your proteins. Comes in a black gift box with magnet front flap for safe storage when not in use. Perfect for slicing & serving up all your roasts, chicken, ham, and steaks with ease.  Let this highly rated cutlery line help you cut better in your kitchen.
List Price: $130.00
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3 DUO tongs XLAward Winning Pro Series locking DUO Tongs!

This 3pc. Locking Kitchen Tong set has a 9″ pair for serving and small stove top cooking. A 12″ Pair (Tested & Recommended by Cooking Club of America) when you need a bit more reach and a 15″ Pair for the grill & professional kitchen. They feature 500 degree silicone heads on one side for non-stick pan use, and steel teeth on other side for picking up anything you need a real firm grip on. Will pick up anything, from Ice, pasta, vegetables, to shredded lettuce, salads, chicken, steak, & pork. Anything! You can even stick them in a deep fryer and let the slot in one head drains the oil before plating.  Or use the other solid head side for scooping sauce while plating. The non-slip grip handle keep you in control & locking slide ring keeps them closed when storing & opened when in use. Order yours today!

3PC Set
List Price: $75.00
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My Juicer II Personal Blender with Grinder & Extra Sport Bottle

My Juicer II Extra bottle & grinder set

The perfect gift this holiday season for the ‘juicer’ in your life! My Juicer II Personal Blender Smoothie Maker with Grinder Assembly & Extra 20oz. Sport Bottle!

Blend Well – Live Better! This new My Juicer II has an updated stylish design with a powerful heavy duty 300+ Watt motor for crushing ice, blending juice drinks and smoothies for a healthy lifestyle.

List Price: $150.00
Price: $74.95

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roll bagChef Gear Roll Bags

Part of the new trademarked “Chef Gear” by Ergo Chef, LLC, The Chef Gear Pocket Knife Roll bag carry cases are made from durable nylon to securely & safely transport your valuable knives & tools. Elastic top pockets keep the knives secure and the heavy duty double zipper keeps the bag closed for safe transporting. Features a Card holders for identification and a padded handle for comfortable carrying. Get your Chef Gear roll bag today!

5 Pkt
List Price: $30.00
Price: $16.99

9 Pkt
List Price: $45.00
Price: $22.99

13 Pkt
List Price:$65.00
Price: $33.99

 NoCutGloves_KnifeCHEF GEAR(TM) Cut Resistant Gloves 

The must have gloves for safe food preparation and protein breakdown. High Performance Level 5 Protection, Food Grade by Ergo Chef. These gloves give you piece of mind when prepping slippery foods and help you avoid cuts without sacrificing comfort and feel. They are designed to be light and thin so you can feel the items you are cutting, our CHEF GEAR(TM) Cut Resistant gloves weigh less than an ounce and feel surprisingly soft given how much protection they provide. Available in four sizes-small, medium and large & XL to ensure they fit snugly when you wear them. See size chart picture to be sure you get the right fit. Sold in Pairs.

List Price: $20.00
Price: $9.99

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pro-series-bannerThe ergonomic design incorporates a full radius on the blade for smooth and efficient cutting. The abbreviated bolster makes it easy to hone & sharpen the knife edge which comes precision sharp out of the box. The cutlery has hollow grounds in the blade which help reduce friction and provide less sticking for quicker and smoother cuts. Take the Pro-Series cutlery challenge! Put the engineered, proven and tested design of these knives to work in your kitchen and enjoy what 10s of thousands of chefs and home cooks enjoy every day…comfort, precision, & less strain when making a meal.

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1082-S-chef-knifeSpecial Pro Series Spotlight: Patented Ergonomic 8” Pro-Series Hollow Ground Chef Knife

The Ergo Chef Pro-Series 8″ Chef with hollow ground blade has a knife bolster area that is rounded for comfort and excellent control. The ergonomic design incorporates a full radius on the blade for smooth and efficient cutting. The abbreviated bolster makes it easy to hone & sharpen the knife edge which comes precision sharp out of the box. The cutlery has hollow grounds in the blade which help reduce friction and provide less sticking for quicker and smoother cuts. Take the Pro-Series cutlery challenge! Put the engineered, proven and tested design of this knife to work in your kitchen and enjoy what 10’s of thousands of chefs and home cooks enjoy every day…comfort, precision, & less strain when making a meal.

List Price:$140.00
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crimson-banner (1)Crimson Series

CRIMSON G10 Cutlery Set is crafted from high carbon German steel with special ground precision sharp edges for light work of any kitchen prep task. The handles are made with the world’s strongest G10 (Fiberglass Resin Material) in a reddish brown wood grain look & no maintenance needed. The polished blades are stain resistant for easy to cleaning and maintenance. Enjoy the beauty of these fine precision cutting blades in your kitchen and discover the quality, passion and ergonomics behind Ergo Chef.

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myron-bannerGrill Tool SMyron Mixon 3-in-1 Grill Tool

Flip it, Slice it, Pop it!
The Myron Mixon Pitmaster Grill Tool is the first tool to deliver a style and functionality that says “Game On”! Coming from the world’s winningest man in BBQ he knows what works. The 3 in one design was specifically developed & tested for easily flipping all your proteins & large veggies on the grill with the patented flipper hook, a good sharp knife & a bottle opener, built into the blade to keep you cool, sipping your beverage of choice.  Now get grilling your favorite foods, and be the boss of your grilling domain with the ultimate “Myron Mixon Pitmaster Grill Tool.”
List Price: $50.00

erg047_19.5x19.5_DISPLAYheadersPersonalized Laser Engraving

Tired of trying to figure out what to get that chef, cook or foodie in your life? This could be THE perfect solution. Personalize your knives or gifts with a permanent black Laser Engraving of a Name (5 to 20 Characters) or Initials (up to 3 Characters) on the knife blade. Great Corporate Gift Idea as well. Please allow up to 7 working days (Monday – Friday) for this service and allow for 3 to 8 days before you receive it. Get your Knives and orders in now so you have them back in time for Christmas!

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Look for the second installment of our Holiday Gift Guide Mid December! Til then, Happy Cooking and have a great and Happy Thanksgiving!

Ergo Chef

Mike StaibIt’s The Ergo Chef #BlackFriday-#CyberMonday Sale & Holiday Gift Guide!
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Ergo Chef Spooktacular….

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Hello everyone and welcome to the beginning of the Fall season.

Things really get ramped up here at Ergo Chef, as I’m sure it does for all of you with Halloween, Thanksgiving & Christmas just over the horizon. We have some great info and October fun for you this month, starting with a recap of Chef Plum and Restaurant Road Trip on WTNH. We were proud to sponsor this terrific show and can’t wait until season two!

Coming up at the end of the month we are kicking off “Octember to Dismember, a Halloween themed FOOD FIGHT event to benefit *Your Exceptional Sidekick”. We then take a look in FOOD TRICKS & KITCHEN TIPSHow To Properly Hold & Use Your Knife & Types Of Knife Cuts, and we explore Halloween food traditions around the globe. We’ve also thrown in a few fall recipes for you as well. Last but not least is the first of our HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS which we’ll feature over the next 3 months; Our New CHEF GEAR Designer Roll Bags are perfect for you or the chefs in your life.



Re-Cap of Chef Plum and his Restaurant Road Trip on WTNH – Check out the last 1/2hr special with VP of Ergo Chef demoing with Plum in the Studio’s at WTNH.  Our Season 1 Recap Show with Chef Plum & Ryan Kristafer. We want to thank all of the spectacular #Connecticut restaurants that allowed us to shine the local spotlight on them. And most importantly… we want to thank you – the viewer for making Season 1 of Restaurant Road Trip at hit on WTNH News 8!


https-cdn.evbuc.comimages35910619519885561621originalOctember to Dismember, a Halloween themed event to benefit *Your Exceptional Sidekick”.

Don’t miss this fun night! Ergo Chef and Chef Plum present “Food Fight” Octember to Dismember. A Halloween themed event to benefit *Your Exceptional Sidekick”. This is the first of its kind event in the area all to benefit a amazing cause, and is sure to be a night to remember.

19644Here is the catch…by secret we really mean secret; our food fighters will see the secret ingredient at the same time our audience does…2 minutes before Food Fight! The dishes will then be judged by 19645our judging panel of experts and celebrities, oh yeah and you, as one raffle will be for a seat at the judges table!

Ticket includes pizza from Planet Pizza wine and beer from our friends over at Bottle Stop and more. We will have some great raffle prizes as well as a 50/50 “betting” raffle for your favorite chef!

Tickets are limited and will sell out. get yours here: Octember to Dismember

***21 and over only*** PASSWORD REQUIRED AT THE DOOR!! -“Food Fight” ***Proper Cocktail Attire Required*** No Tee’s :)

Connecticut, please come out and support this wonderful cause. Founded in 2016, the mission of Exceptional Sidekick Service Dogs in Newtown, CT is to transform lives by identifying, raising, and training exceptional Psychiatric Service Dogs to match — at no cost — with children and adults suffering from psychiatric disabilities, while engaging and educating the community in the process. The two-year Exceptional Sidekick psychiatric service dog training method involves Newtown schools, teachers and students who are an integral part of raising and socializing the dogs as a community, and educating their peers about mental illness.


How To Properly Hold & Use Your Knife
For more precise control, adopt a grip on the blade itself, with the thumb and the index finger grasping the blade just to the front of the finger guard and the middle finger placed just opposite, on the handle side of the finger guard below the bolster.
When slicing or chopping, keep your fingertips curled inward. Use your fingernails in what is called a “claw grip,” to help grip the food. The knife blade should rest against the foremost knuckle, helping keep the blade perpendicular to the board.


Types Of Knife Cuts Basic+Knife+Cuts+Slice+Coarse+chop+Dice+Diagonal+Batonnet+Brunoise

Large dice: ¾ inch × ¾ inch × ¾ inch.
Medium dice: ½ inch × ½ inch × ½ inch.
Small dice: ¼ inch × ¼ inch × ¼ inch
Batonnet:  ½ inch × ½ inch × 2½-3 inches.
Allumette: (al-yoo-MET) ¼ inch × ¼ inch × 2½ inches.
Julienne: (joo-lee-ENN) 1/8inch × 1/8 inch × 2½ inches.
Brunoise: (BROON-wahz) 1/8 inch × 1/8 inch × 1/8 inch.
Fine Julienne: 1/16 inch × 1/16 inch × 2 inches.
Fine Brunoise: 1/16 inch × 1/16 inch × 1/16 inch.
Paysanne: ½ inch x ½ inch x 1/8 inch
Tourne (turned) 7 Sides: ¾ inch (width) x 2 inches (length)


I like to think I look at things from a different perspective than most, at least when it comes to food. It is, I hope, one of the reasons you read me. I’m a why guy and with that question, usually comes good information. Usually. I have found that when I know the why of something, or someone, I understand that person or thing a bit better. Sometimes for good…sometimes for bad. But hey, life’s a crap shoot right? You don’t gain if you don’t risk. What does this have to do with Halloween? Actually, not much, but thanks for listening.

Except maybe to say that I’m going to take a completely different look at Halloween. Culturally, through food. What a surprise. See when I was an Italian kid, in North Jersey, we would go trick or treating in the neighborhoods we grew up in. Neighborhoods with the same neighbors, usually aunts, or cousins or cousin of a cousin. In the same houses, for years upon end. People we trusted and in some cases loved. At Halloween, that meant we used to get home baked pies, fresh from the oven cookies, and treats made by the people from scratch. Real food items from neighbors, friends and family. I always thought that was cool. Even then I was a foodie in training.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved all the candy as well, eating it until I was tooth-achingly nauseous. But, the home-made ‘treats’ we received usually meant sitting down at the table with a glass of milk and questions about your mom and dad and family. You then wiped your face on the back of your hand, kissed Aunt Josephine and raced off to the Aunt Rosina’s for the next visit and course. By the time you got home, you were stuffed! I loved stopping by 10 relatives houses, ‘making the rounds,’ seeing my aunts, uncles, cousins, family and friends on our little three hour tour. It got me thinking about all those treats and I decided to take look at some of the food traditions of Halloween.

Admittedly there are many beliefs, misconceptions and traditions which surround this holiday. I say holiday with an asterisk, like they use in the Baseball Hall of Fame, in Cooperstown, when there is a disputed record. Halloween is that kind of day. It’s Pagen, it’s Christian, It’s evil,  it’s innocent. It’s harmless, it’s Mischief Night…it’s…well whatever! Trick or Treat! BOO!


Halloween or Hallowe’en as we refer to it now, is also known as All Hallows’ Eve, observed around the world on October 31 on the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows. Most scholars believe that All Hallows’ Eve was originally influenced by western European harvest festivals and festivals of the dead, with pagan roots, particularly the Celtic Samhain. Many ancient and unconnected cultures (the Egyptians and pre-Spanish Mexicans, for example) celebrated this as a festival of the dead. Others maintain that it originated independently of Samhain. I was actually amazed when I started to do the research, that what I thought was a very American holiday, is in fact an ancient ritual dating back centuries. Now we have definitely made it a national pastime here in America, but I was more interested in a look at the traditions around the world.

The majority of our modern traditions can be traced to the British Isles. People took steps to allay or ward-off these harmful spirits/fairies, which is thought to have influenced today’s Halloween customs. In parts of Ireland, Mann, the Scottish Highlands and Islands, and Wales, wearing costumes at Samhain was done before the 20th century originating as a means of disguising oneself from these harmful spirits/fairies. In Ireland, people went about before nightfall collecting for Samhain feasts and sometimes wore costumes while doing so.

In the 19th century on Ireland’s southern coast, a man dressed as a white mare would lead youths door-to-door collecting food; by giving them food, the household could expect good fortune from the ‘Muck Olla’. In Moray, during the 18th century, boys called at each house in their village asking for fuel for the Samhain bonfire. So it’s easy to see where Trick-or-treating may have come from. But wait, it also may come from the Christian custom of souling; Groups of poor people, often children, would go door-to-door on All Saints/All Souls collecting soul cakes, originally as a means of praying for souls in purgatory. Making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween came from Samhain and Celtic beliefs as well. Turnip lanterns, sometimes with faces carved into them are recorded in Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. One custom that persists in modern-day Ireland is the baking of a barmbrack (Irish: báirín breac), which is a light fruitcake, into which a plain ring, a coin and other charms are placed before baking. It is said that those who get a ring will find their true love in the ensuing year. Though the origin of the word Halloween is Christian, the holiday is commonly thought to have pagan roots.

North American almanacs of the late 18th and early 19th century give no indication that Halloween was recognized as a holiday there. The traditions and importance of the Halloween celebration vary significantly among countries that observe it. In Scotland and Ireland, traditional Halloween customs include children dressing up in costume going “guising”, holding parties, while other practices in Ireland include lighting bonfires, and having firework displays. The influence of the American iconic and commercial components of the holiday now extended to places such as South America, Australia, New Zealand, (most) continental Europe, Japan, and other parts of East Asia.

Halloween Food around the World
Barmbrack (Ireland)

Barmbrack is the center of an Irish Halloween custom. The Halloween Brack traditionally contained various objects baked into the bread and was used as a sort of fortune-telling game. In the barmbrack were: a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth, a small coin (originally a silver sixpence) and a ring. Each item, when received in the slice, was supposed to carry a meaning to the person concerned: the pea, the person would not marry that year; the stick, would have an unhappy marriage or continually be in disputes; the cloth or rag, would have bad luck or be poor; the coin, would enjoy good fortune or be rich; and the ring, would be wed within the year. Other articles added to the brack include a medallion, usually of the Virgin Mary to symbolise going into the priesthood or to the Nuns, although this tradition is not widely continued in the present day

Bonfire toffee (Great Britain)

Bonfire toffee (also known as treacle toffee, cinder toffee, Plot toffee, or Tom Trot) is a hard, brittle toffee associated with Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night (also known as “Bonfire Night”) in the United Kingdom. The toffee tastes very strongly of molasses (black treacle), and cheap versions can be quite bitter. In Scotland, the treat is known as claggum, with less sweet versions known as clack. In Wales, it is known as loshin du. The flavor is similar to that of butterscotch, although it is a toffee and never a viscous liquid.

Candy apples/toffee apples (Great Britain & Ireland)

Candy apples, also known as toffee apples outside of North America, are whole apples covered in a hard toffee or sugar candy coating, with a stick inserted as a handle. These are a common treat at autumn festivals in Western culture in the Northern Hemisphere, such as Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night because these festivals fall in the wake of the annual apple harvest. Although candy apples and caramel apples may seem similar, they are made using distinctly different processes.

William W. Kolb invented the red candy apple. Kolb, a veteran Newark candy-maker, produced his first batch of candied apples in 1908. While experimenting in his candy shop with red cinnamon candy for the Christmas trade, he dipped some apples into the mixture and put them in the windows for display. He sold the whole first batch for 5 cents each and later sold thousands yearly. Soon candied apples were being sold along the Jersey Shore, at the circus and in candy shops across the country, according to the Newark News in 1948.

Caramel Apples

Caramel apples or taffy apples (not to be confused with candy apples) are created by dipping or rolling apples-on-a-stick in hot caramel, sometimes then rolling them in nuts or other small savories or confections, and allowing them to cool. Generally, they are called caramel apples when only caramel is applied and taffy apples for when there are further ingredients such as peanuts applied.


Caramel Corn

An American confection made of popcorn coated with a sugar or molasses based caramel candy shell. Typically a sugar solution or syrup is made and heated until it browns and becomes thick, producing a caramelized candy syrup. This hot candy is then mixed with popped popcorn, and allowed to cool. Sometimes a candy thermometer is used, as making caramel is time-consuming and requires skill to make well without burning the sugar. The process creates a sweet flavored, crunchy snack food or treat. Some varieties, after coating with the candy syrup, are baked in an oven to crisp the mixture. Mixes of caramel corn sometimes contain nuts, such as peanuts, pecans, almonds, or cashews. The combination of caramel and corn dates back at least as far as the 1890s with the strong molasses flavor of Cracker Jack, an early version of which was introduced at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The lighter, sweet but un-caramelized kettle corn, may be a North American Colonial predecessor to caramel corn.

Candy Corn, (North America)

Candy corn is a confection in the United States and Canada, popular primarily in autumn around Halloween (though available year-round in most places). Candy corn was created in the 1880s by George Renninger of the Wunderlee Candy Company; the three colors of the candy mimic the appearance of kernels of corn. Each piece is approximately three times the size of a whole kernel from a ripe or dried ear. Candy corn is made primarily from sugar, corn syrup, wax, artificial coloring and binders. A serving of Brach’s Candy Corn is nineteen pieces, is 140 calories and has zero grams of fat. Candy corn pieces are traditionally cast in three colors: a broad yellow end, a tapered orange center, and a pointed white tip.

Colcannon (Ireland)

Colcannon is traditionally made from mashed potatoes and kale (or cabbage), with scallions, butter, salt and pepper added. It can contain other ingredients such as milk, cream, leeks, onions and chives. There are many regional variations of this dish. It is often eaten with boiled ham or Irish bacon. At one time it was a cheap, year-round staple food, though nowadays it is usually eaten in autumn/winter, when kale comes into season. An old Irish Halloween tradition is to serve colcannon with a ring and a thimble hidden in the fluffy green-flecked dish. Prizes of small coins such as threepenny or sixpenny bits were also concealed in it.

Soul Cakes

A soul cake is a small round cake which is traditionally made for All Saints Day or All Souls’ Day to celebrate the dead. The cakes, often simply referred to as souls, were given out to soulers (mainly consisting of children and the poor) who would go from door to door on Halloween singing and saying prayers for the dead. Each cake eaten would represent a soul being freed from Purgatory. The practice of giving and eating soul cakes is often seen as the origin of modern trick-or-treating. In Lancashire and in the North-east of England they were also known as Harcakes.

The tradition of giving soul cakes was celebrated in Britain or Ireland during the Middle Ages, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy. The cakes were usually filled with allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger or other sweet spices, raisins or currants, and before baking were topped with the mark of a cross to signify that these were alms. They were traditionally set out with glasses of wine on All Hallows Eve as an offering for the dead, and on All Saints Day and All Soul’s Day children would go “souling,” or ritually begging for cakes door to door.

Soul Cakes
T. Susan Chang for NPR Makes 12 to 15 2-inch soul cakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground fresh if possible
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground fresh if possible
1/2 teaspoon salt
generous pinch of saffron
1/2 cup milk
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup currants

For the Glaze:
1 egg yolk, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degree. Combine the flour, the nutmeg, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Mix well with a fork. Crumble the saffron threads into a small saucepan and heat over low heat just until they become aromatic, taking care not to burn them. Add the milk and heat just until hot to the touch. The milk will have turned a bright yellow. Remove from heat. Cream the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon (or use an electric mixer with the paddle attachment). Add the egg yolks and blend in thoroughly with the back of the spoon. Add the spiced flour and combine as thoroughly as possible; the mixture will be dry and crumbly.

One tablespoon at a time, begin adding in the warm saffron milk, blending vigorously with the spoon. When you have a soft dough, stop adding milk; you probably won’t need the entire half-cup.

Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and knead gently, with floured hands, until the dough is uniform. Roll out gently to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Using a floured 2-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out as many rounds as you can and set on an ungreased baking sheet. You can gather and re-roll the scraps, gently. Decorate the soul cakes with currants and then brush liberally with the beaten egg yolk. Bake for 15 minutes, until just golden and shiny. 


A Taste of Autumn: Butternut Squash & Apple Cider Bisque

Autumn, or Fall, is one of our favorite times of year. Great produce and bounty, unique and special to this harvest season abound and comfort is the goal of many chefs and recipes. One of our favorite foods from the fall harvest is Butternut Squash. It’s versatile and can really lend itself to many applications and recipes. This bisque is rich, robust, hearty and will warm your insides. Autumn is also a great time for heart dishes  stews and stocks. Following the bisque recipe. is another great recipe for Short Ribs using the braising technique.

Butternut Squash & Apple Cider Bisque
Servings: 16, Yield: 1gallon

1yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 oz. garlic cloves, whole
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 oz.brown sugar
12 fluid ounces Vermont apple cider
38 fluid ounces vegetable stock
10 fluid ounces heavy cream
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
2 oz. butter, melted
1 fluid ounce cider vinegar

Saute onion and garlic in melted butter until onions are soft. Add butternut squash, brown sugar, apple cider, vegetable stock, cider vinegar and spices. Bring to a boil and cook until squash is tender. Puree with blender while adding heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


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Mike StaibErgo Chef Spooktacular….
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