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Too Many Cooks

Archive for January 2012

Talk about too many cooks…

Last week, @epicurious posted a great list of reknowned and/or celebrity chefs who are on Twitter. I went one further and created a Twitter list to collate their tweets in one spot. Click here to follow this list. Lots of good stuff.

I know this list can and should be longer. Post other tweet-worthy chefs in the comments. (Spokane/CdA ones too)

Spocasual? Or, Spokasual?

A colleague told me this morning that she heard a local restaurant is advertising “SpoCasual” dining. (Or, is that SpoKasual?)

I'm a little worried about what diners might show up wearing, considering how casual we are with casual dress these days.

What do you think?


Is this SpoCasual?

I fear it looks a little more like this:

SAVORx launches Kickstarter campaign

Pete Taylor is serious about spice - a passion he'd like to share with a new business called SAVORx.

Taylor, a Coeur d'Alene chef who trained at the Inland Northwest Culinary Academy, and I met last summer to talk about his plans to launch the business. But he later put the idea on the back burner as he considered a tantalizing job offer.

Now, he's ready to get his spice and recipe business rolling. Taylor launched a Kickstarter campaign this week, hoping to raise $12,000 for SAVORx. Kickstarter is a crowd-source funding website that allows innovators to post a video detailing their business idea and solicit start-up money from people who like the idea.

The would-be entrepreneurs usually promise a little something in return for pledges. Taylor is offering serious stunts and swag for pledges to help get the business off the ground. He's up to tattooing someone's name or business name on his body and a trip to India with him and his film crew as they sniff out the world's best sources for spice.

“It’s the least I can do for someone that is helping me achieve my dream”, Taylor says in a news release. “This is a win/win for both of us, the viral aspect of this is HUGE, and the person/company would get some amazing publicity.”

The idea behind SAVORx is to sell high-quality spices, along with recipes and videos of Taylor making the dishes. Taylor hopes to convince home cooks to toss the tired spices that have been kicking around cupboards since 1988 for whole, fresh spices that they toast and grind themselves.

Check out the video above for all the details. It might be worth pledging a little something just to see more of Taylor's reaction to the ghost pepper he eats in the video.

Here are some other places to get more details. The SAVORx website, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Sante kitchen back in business Thursday

Sante Restaurant and Charcuterie will fire up the kitchen tomorrow to serve a full menu for the first time since a Dec. 11 kitchen fire.

The grease fire caused $35,000 in damage and forced the restaurant to trim breakfast and lunch service, and eliminate dinner service while repairs were made. The reduced menu featured cold sandwiches, charcuterie, salads and soups made with temporary equipment.

The fire spared the historic Liberty Building, which the restaurant shares with Auntie's Bookstore.

On Thursday, Sante returns to full service starting at 9 a.m.

“We're thrilled to get back to our full menu,” says owner and executive chef Jeremy Hansen in a news release. “These past several weeks have been tough for us, but to be honest, they've also been extremely eye-opening to the level of community support we've received.”

The menu includes a return of Sante's Brasserie Menu, a Parisian bistro-themed menu featuring dishes that are $20 or less. Other options include the Grass Fed 50/50 Burger, made from Rocky Ridge Ranch's specially-bred Wagyu-Angus cross, the American version of Kobe beef ($16). House-made gnocchi served with sherry glaze, guanciale and mushroom duxelle ($10) is also on the dinner menu.

Breakfast options include honey wheat French toast ($8) and duck hash, made from duck confit, house-made cranberry sauce, duck egg, kale, potatoes and onions ($15).

Hansen and his wife Kate are on a culinary tour of Southeast Asia for the rest of the month. While they're gone, the cooks will be offering two special entrees each evening - including a fish du jour and beef du jour.

The restaurant, 404 W. Main Ave., will be open Sunday through Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. through January 29.

Then, the restaurant closes temporarily to install new, upgraded kitchen equipment and additional counter space to help speed production.

When Sante reopens in time for Valentine's Day, they'll present a new menu and revamped wine list.

Reach the restaurant at (509) 315-4613.

There are more details on the restaurant's website or on Facebook.

It’s all in the packaging

What do you do when you have hot dogs, leftover chili and … no hot dog buns? Channel iCarly, the popular tween TV show on Nickelodeon and improvise. (For those unfamiliar with the show, Big Brother Spencer has cooked spaghetti tacos on numerous occasion. I've made these, and they are surprisingly good.)

Sub in corn tortillas and you have downright tasty chili dog tacos for a couple of hungry kids.

Needless to say, they were a hit. And I have shells left in the box for another night.

What's your strangest edible concoction that still manages to be a crowd-pleaser? Tell me in the comments section. I might want to give it a try.

Sawyer’s Update

Last Wednesday, Jennifer and Matt Sawyer were preparing to close their bakery.

It was a long road to open Sawyer's Artisan Bakery in Davenport, Wash but dwindling sales had made it clear to the couple that they weren't going to make it.

Jen says she had to swallow her pride to post a note on Facebook last week saying they would have to close by the end of the week if things didn't turn around. She says they had stopped paying their home mortgage to keep the bakery afloat and they simply ran out of money.

“I'm really great at helping others, but I suck at letting people do things for me,” she says.

When Jen posted the Facebook update at about noon, they had done about $40 in sales. Over the next four hours, customers streamed in to help. They finished the day with almost $260 in sales.

By the time virtual notes had been shared among Facebook friends and beyond, the bakery sales on Thursday and Friday were up again. On Saturday, they sold out. By the time the week was over, Sawyer's had doubled sales from the week before.

Jen says they were so grateful for the help. One woman has pledged the $20 she used to spend on her nails every other week to the bakery. People drove from Spokane and Waterville to buy breads, cakes and goodies. Other local businesses pledged support. Another customer stopped by their house to check on them and get an update on the bakery.

The support has continued this week. On Tuesday, a day they would typically sell about eight sandwiches at lunch, they had orders for 25.

Jen says they are hanging on… and with all of the community support they're hopeful that they can keep going.

Here's our story about how the bakery started.

Sawyer's Artisan Bakery is located at 508 Sixth Ave., just off the main highway through Davenport, Wash. Reach the bakery at (509) 725-1230. The bakery's website is here and the Facebook page is here.

The bakery is open 7 a.m.-4 p.m. on weekdays and Saturday 8 a.m.- 2 p.m.

Sawyer’s Artisan Bakery in danger of closing

Opening a new business is never easy.

And Jennifer and Matt Sawyer stared down some serious challenges as they struggled to open their artisan bakery in Davenport, Wash. When I talked to them in August for this food section story, the bakery had been open for a little more than half the year and they were feeling like their longtime dream had finally come true.

However, Sawyer's Artisan Bakery may not celebrate its first anniversary.

“We are to the point where we haven't been paying our own mortgage,” says Jennifer Sawyer.

They announced on Facebook today that unless something dramatic happens, they'll close the bakery at the end of the week.

Jennifer Saywer says sales started to decline in September. They surveyed customers and got a lot of great feedback on their goodies, but some said prices were too high. They lowered prices, added lunch with free delivery in Davenport and tried some other fun offerings, such as decorate-at-home cookie trays at Christmas.

Matt Sawyer, who attended the Inland Northwest Culinary Academy at Spokane Community College, bakes the breads and pastries from scratch each day. They hired Belle Petty to bake and decorate the whimsical cupcakes and cakes.

Jennifer Sawyer delivers orders to people in Spokane everyday when she drives here for her job at a local real estate office.

Nothing is working.

After payroll and other expenses this week, they won't have the money to buy more supplies for the bakery. Matt Sawyer has never been paid for his work.

“I think what has been going on is basically people just forget that we're here,” Jennifer Sawyer says.

Sawyer's Artisan Bakery is located at 508 Sixth Ave., just off the main highway through Davenport, Wash. Reach the bakery at (509) 725-1230. The bakery's website is here and the Facebook page is here.

The bakery is open 7 a.m.-4 p.m. on weekdays and Saturday 8 a.m.- 2 p.m. They'll stay open this week to honor gift cards and hoping against hope that they would get enough business to continue.

Jennifer Sawyer says they'd also like to hear from anyone interested in taking over the bakery at (509) 280-7142.

My reluctant resolution

I'm not one for resolutions.

Especially those that pertain to food. I have found that outlawing anything gives me a sudden severe craving for the very food I intended to avoid. And that saying I'd like to drop a few pounds is a recipe for the face-stuffing episodes that keep my padded physique, well, padded.

However, I do have a food-related good intention for the New Year to share. (Notice I didn't say resolution?)

I hereby vow that I will stop hoarding food magazines both at work and at home in 2012.

I will not stack them up in corners, next to my bed, under my desk or in big plastic bins. I will not shuffle them around for years with the intention of looking through them again someday. I will not covet the pictures and recipes for more than a month. I will copy the recipes and stories that sound wonderful and I will recycle the remaining pages.

And I will cook those recipes.

What's your new year's food, uh, resolution?

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We never really believed that old cliché anyway. We're collaborating to share our cooking inspirations, favorite recipes, restaurant finds and other musings from the local food world and beyond.

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Read all the posts from recent conversations on Too Many Cooks.


Adriana Janovich writes for and edits the Wednesday food section.

Carolyn Lamberson Features Editor for The Spokesman-Review. She's a foodie who has no time to cook. Still, a girl can dream ...

Ruth Reynolds is a copy editor at the SR. "I would bake and cook more than I do if I didn't have to keep cleaning off my kitchen counters. My favorite kitchen appliance is my rice cooker. No. My immersion blender."

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