Fine dining…I have an awesome story about caramelized onions and fine dining. I walk into Hotel Icon in downtown Houston one afternoon to interview with the executive sous chef for a position as a line cook. He told me what night to show up and stage. Staging, in restaurant terms, is working for free for a night/day to show your skills which only thereafter will your future with that restaurant be determined and negotiated. I show up, knife roll in hand and hair pulled back in a long-silky ponytail. I was first told where to find a white chefs jacket in the back room, surrounded by a hamper full of dirty chef’s jackets and aprons. Few towels sat untouched on the wire rack across from me. I nervously slide the white coat over my bare arms and buttoned it to the top. I walked out and entered the immense kitchen, found in the basement, the belly of the historic hotel. I approach the sous chef and ask him what station he would like for me to work that night. He asked the guys on the other stations if they needed any help. One cook said they needed caramelized onions. So, he calmly leads me to the dish-pit, where I could find a clean cutting board, walks with me to the expo side of the grill and sets a huge container of about 70 large uncleaned yellow onions in front of me. “Cut these for caramelized onions.” My eyes focused on this ridiculous task, but you do what you’re asked. So, needless to say, the inside of my thumb was rubbed raw, but I got the job which ultimately led to opening up several restaurants, creating amazing menus and learning oh so much..
Soooooo….that’s my story about fine dining and caramelized onions. I’ll never forget it.
4 large sweet yellow onions, peeled and sliced
3 tbs olive oil
Add oil and onions to a 12″ sauté pan. Bring heat up at medium high until u hear a bit of a sizzle under the onions. Lower heat to medium-low. Move the onions around a bit and allow to cook, stirring periodically as needed. Cook for roughly 3 hours or until the onions have reduced to ⅓ of the original amount and have become tender and a caramel brown color.
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