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Q & A With The Rhymin Chef, Philman George.

A few weeks back I mentioned to you guys that I was meeting with The Rhyming Chef for coffee and after that meeting I was excited when I announced to you guys on FaceBook that the chef agreed to answer any kitchen related questions you guys may have. This was an amazing opportunity to get tips and advice and many of you submitted your challenges. I’ll first introduce you to Philman George who is the Rhyming Chef and then we’ll get to the questions…

rhyming chef“Life is rhythm! Just put your hand on the left side of your chest and tell me if I’m wrong!”  For The Rhyming Chef a kitchen without rhythm is a kitchen without life.   “I’m sure at some point we have all whistled, hummed, or even sang a few lyrics while cooking food,” explains The Rhyming Chef.  “This is the absolute minimum. What I do is take rhythm and food to the extreme!”

Philman George, aka The Rhyming Chef who is of Barbudan heritage, is proud to have grown up in the inner city of Toronto Canada.  The passion for cooking started at a very young age. Philman would accompany his mother to the grocery store and watch closely as she selected the ingredients for her culinary creations.  “I never saw my mother read a recipe book.  She cooked from the soul, using a bit of this and a bit of that.”  Philman started experimenting in the kitchen as soon as he could reach the stove, and at the age of 16 he landed his first job in an English style pub as a dishwasher.  A few years later he would enroll in Culinary Management at George Brown College in Toronto Canada.

“As a young cook I always dreamed of being an Executive Chef, but the road to the top was full of obstacles. When I was frustrated with the industry I would pick up a pen and write a song.”  Eventually Philman would start writing lyrics that were centered around his cuisine.  “My food is a reflection of my surroundings and experience.  I was trained in classical French, but living in a multi-cultural city like Toronto and by traveling overseas, I have expanded my repertoire.   I love Italian, Caribbean, Asian and East Indian cuisine and I pull from all of these resources to create food that is approachable and flavourful.  Every now and then I like to show off, but I believe that “fine food” does not have to consist of ingredients that are expensive and extremely rare.”  Once his skills in the kitchen were at par with his skills on the mic, The Rhyming Chef was born!

Read the full bio @ http://www.therhymingchef.com/bio

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The Questions….

I’ve got a super simple question but it is very relevant to me. I do not use a rice cooker to cook rice and normally I boil the rice and strain off the liquid when it’s done. I saw once a chef boiled rice and did not have to strain it, it was done just right in the pot with no sogginess, no extra liquid to drain. My question is : How do I go about boiling rice like that?

You have been cooking rice using the pasta method.  What you want to learn is the absorption method.  All rice can be cooked using both methods, however certain types of rice do exceptionally well using the absorption method.  These are Parboiled, Basmati, Jasmine & Sushi rice.  I would recommend that while you are still learning to use parboiled rice, as it is the most affordable.

Equipment is always key.  You will need a heavy bottom saucepot, with a lid that has an air hole.  Heavy bottom will ensure that the heat distributes evenly, so the rice doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom.  The perfect saucepot for cooking rice for a small family should be 6inches in diameter.

Cooking rice in a pot this size requires you to use a minimum of 3 cups of rice.   Add the rice to the pot and then add in 4.5 cups of cold water.  Basically for every cup of rice you need a cup and a half of water.  Another way to measure the water is to place your middle finger at the top of the rice – the water should come just below the first joint line of your middle finger.

Bring the rice to a boil, stirring once or twice to make sure no grains are sticking to the bottom.  Never bring to a boil on maximum heat.  If using an electric stove and max heat is 10 – try bringing it to a boil on 8.5.  If using gas bring the flame to just below the bottom of the pot.

After the rice has come to a boil turn down the heat to about medium high.  There is no need to stir anymore.  Wait for a few minutes until you can start seeing tunnel effect in the rice.  These tunnels are caused by the boiling water evaporating/escaping through the rice.  There should still be a thin layer of water on top of the rice at this point.  Turn the heat to a low setting (2-3 on electric), and cover the pot.  Do not remove the lid for at least 10minutes.  Glass lids with a air hole work best, so you can see the rice as it is steaming.  The air hole will prevent any spill over.  I can’t stress the importance of not removing the lid, and making sure the heat is low.  Let the steam do its job and make your rice fluffy and soft!  Good luck!

What’s your favorite island meal chef?

Fried fish (in particular Parrot Fish) with a simple side of roasted dumplin’s and some sautéed callaloo and I’m in heaven.

What’s the one cooking utensil you can’t live without?

Zester

Rhyming Chef- I’m a great cook (not to toot my own horn lol)but I can’t handle flour recipes ah tall! Bread comes out heavy and uncooked in the middle, fry bake come out heavy and hard like rocks, even dumplings come out looking like flour paridge! Any tips to fix my handicap?

Heavy breads / uncooked usually means that your leavening agent was insufficient.  Try increasing the amount of baking powder/yeast by 25%.  A lot of the time, bread/dumpling recipes rely heavily on the flour.  Most recipe books do not take into consideration the type of flour you have in your region.  I find most flours in the Caribbean to be very dense.  Increase the leavening agent and hopefully this helps.  Also try sifting your dry ingredients!

I would love to know how to make a savory pumpkin soup. I had it at a restaurant on Beef Island about 30 years ago……Can you help?

WOW YOU HAD IT 30 YEARS AGO AND YOU STILL REMEMBER…… THIS IS THE POWER OF GOOD FOOD!

Caribbean Pumpkin & Ginger Fish Soup:

4lbs Caribbean Pumpkin
2oz (1/4 cup) Ginger
3.5 oz Onion Chopped
4 cloves Garlic
6oz Carrot Chopped ( 1 cup)
5 seasoning peppers
Thyme
Cinammon
Fresh nutmeg
12 cups fish stock

Round off with honey

This is a simple recipe that you can play with.  Seasoning peppers can be found at your local West Indian grocer, as well as the pumpkin.   Try also adding a bit of bay leaf and curry leaves to the soup as it is cooking.  If you know what your doing this should be enough info for you.  If not, please wait until the fall, as I often prepare this recipe in the fall season.  I’ll take you through it step by step at that point!

How can I get sweet potato fries crispy (without frying)?

Hummm. Can’t help you out here.  I don’t know any other way to cook fries other than to fry.  Cutting them into strips and then baking them would be my next guess!

I make my own burgers but they always come out dry. How can my burgers be moist and juicy?

Do not add breadcrumbs or eggs to your recipe.  Add a touch of BBQ sauce, or maybe some Lea Perkins.  Follow the techniques that I’ve laid out in my Carib burger recipe and you should be fine.  Moist burgers every time! http://www.therhymingchef.com/carib-burger

How can I make a good pull pork Thanks awaiting your reply.

Sorry, for personal reasons I gave up eating pork over 12 years ago.  I don’t really have much advise on this subject. NOTE from Chris… I’m working on a good pulled pork recipe with a Caribbean twist which I’ll be sharing soon. Stay tuned.

My knife skills are not bad. How can I improve them?

I have a few videos on youtube that are essential to watch to help you with your knife skillz!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lcpEGnl7CI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3C4L-pK-Cw

If you make rice n’ peas…how do I get it to not come out soft and mushy?

Use less water and make sure you are using the right rice and the right techniques.  Chris maybe you could share my response to your question with this person.

Should fresh parsley only be used as a garnish or can it be added to a dish in progress?

Parsley is a great herb to use as a part of your cooking process. Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai who is a master of French cuisine often used parsley in his winning dishes and he has a kitchen stadium record of 70-15-1. Parsley has a very delicate, gentle flavour and gives a garden fresh taste to a dish.  I use chopped parsley as a finishing touch to a pasta dish or I combine it with other herbs and olive oil as a marinade for meats.

Friends we can show our appreciation to Philman aka The Rhyming Chef by leaving a comment below to say thanks and I encourage you to visit his website at http://www.therhymingchef.com where you’ll not only get to know the chef much better, but you’ll benefit from the loads of content he provide… including some of the best produced videos I’ve seen online. While there, be sure to check out his Facebook fan page and leave him a message on the wall saying that Chris sent you over! Maybe you guys can convince him to share his secret jerk marinade recipe. Check this – my guy even perfected one that’s gluten free!

Thanks Chef – mucho appreciated!

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6 Responses to “Q & A With The Rhymin Chef, Philman George.”

  1. Dalia says:

    Crispy baked fries can also be achieved by coating the potatoes with a "wash" of eggwhite and water.

  2. vedette says:

    Tips are very helpful I like the ouestions and answers
    Gran Gran

  3. Golden Eagle says:

    Thanks for the tips, the recipes, and the links guys. You are highly appreciated, and yes Chris, I speak about you and I have shared your link with my family and a few friends.

  4. Oldst Owns says:

    Thanks for the tips on the rice cooking.
    Jake

  5. Jacqui says:

    Someone asked a question about getting sweet potato fries crispy without frying.
    Spray with olive or vegetable oil and place on a rack in the baking pan. This allows the flow of heat around the potato. I also use this method for getting crispy 'fried' chicken.

  6. Brenda Royer says:

    I will saure be trying the Pumpkin soup recipe! Thanks so much!

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