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Restaurant Takeover: Chef Derek Minkensky Takes Us Behind the Scenes at Frankie's

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Posted by : Derek Minkensky, Fri, Nov 16 2012

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Blogtastic Minkensky here! What a week for The Blue Jays? Calm down Miami Marlins’ fans! We are only stealing all your best players. No big thing. Writing to you fine food lovers from Kingston, Ontario this week. I’m here for the annual Kingston Food and Wine Show and feeling incredibly inspired by the fantastic people and beautiful surroundings! Come down to the show and see a demo if you can. I can’t tell you what I’m going to make, but I promise you it will be epic! Then we can share a glass of the red stuff while you tell me how great my food is. I kid, I kid!

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Okay, lets get down to business… Frankie’s! This is the first time I felt like I was taking over a doughnut shop. It had those awful glass counters, the burgundy wall menus from the 70s, and the Parkdale locals crushing early morning beers at the bar in the back. Wait… is that Toronto’s top chef pounding a Stock Ale? By the way, why is it that I always get the restaurants with picture menus? Do the producers think I can’t read? I guess they missed the PhD. on my business card. The burger I tried at the bar was like a hockey puck: chewy, dry, and it stuck in my throat. No wonder I needed that 10am beer to wash it down! That was medicinal.
When Billy made me the burger on kitchen day, I understood exactly why it was so terrible: BURGER BINDER!!!! In all my years of cooking, I had never even heard of “burger binder.” Is it that the sawdust they swept from the bar floor last night? Billy then proceeded to overwork the meat and add WATER to the mix. Let me school you boy!

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When I started cooking for Billy, I felt skeptical. He seemed like a tough nut to crack. As I prepared the first dish, I couldn’t tell if I was getting through to him. My plan was to inspire some appreciation for simple, clean dishes using quality ingredients. I couldn’t tell if it was sinking in… but then he started making those crazy moaning noises as he devoured my food. I had to pry the burger out of his hands so he could tell me what he thought. By the end of the day, Billy completely understood what I was going for. It was great!
Reveal day was a blast! I could barely believe the incredible transformation Monty and Igor had pulled off. I just loved the subway tiles, marble bar, and those white-washed booths (sorry George). I was also proud to show off some of the great new equipment I scored through some clever trade-ins. I’m not just a pretty face you know! There wasn’t a dry eye on the floor that day. It felt so good to know I had been a part of helping this family reinvent themselves.

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Don’t forget to tune in for the season finale next week. You’re going to be watching Chef Adam. It’s his first time on RTO and I’m pumped to see him in action. Very talented chef and great guy all around. 

 

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Posted: by Derek Minkensky
Filed under: restaurant takeover

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