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34 responses to “On the Line”

  1. Bill Templin


    I’m exhausted just reading about all the work you did! Rest up my friend. You deserve it! … and good luck with the pheasants tomorrow. I hope that you’re not too exhausted to go hunting?


  2. IF

    Very nice report! Unfortunately I could not make it to Sacramento so early during the week. Even with the mishaps, I am sure I would have enjoyed it.

    Which store sells you duck hearts? I check at 99 Ranch each time I shop (for several years now), but never get anything but chicken hearts or duck gizzards (which are nice). Any place on the peninsula that has them reliably?

  3. Joshua

    Wow, it sounds awesome! And I’m sure you are kicking yourself too hard.

    I wish we could have gone… I’m glad you survived. Any duck eggs in those potstickers?

  4. Carri

    Great Job, Hank! Good for you for giving it a go…next time it will be awesome.

  5. Rick

    Hank, we had a blast! Lots of really good stuff!

    Don’t sweat a thing, and expect us next year!

  6. Rachel @ Dog Island Farm

    My friend and co-blog writer, Jessa, and her boyfriend Rick, were there and had an amazing time! Hopefully next year we can make it.

  7. Stephen

    Well done Hank! Congratulations. Quit beating yourself up already. Most of us who follow your blog are inspired more than you can know. In the last month, you’ve inspired me to prepare doves, quail, and cottontail in new ways following many of your ideas and recipes and all were exceptional. Thanks!

  8. robert

    I really love this post. You do a great job capturing the differences between small scale home cooking and the challenges of doing it on a restaurant line. Mistakes or not, the food looks great in the photos!

  9. nathan

    > So you’ll just have to come back again next year.

    You’re on, man 🙂

  10. Beer & Nosh » Blog Archive » Duck Duel Dinner

    […] Update: The official vote tally is in, and you can read about Hank’s experience on the line during service. […]

  11. Buzzie

    Life is not about competition. It’s about the process. Much love you.

  12. Matt Ames

    hey brother! It’s really great to see that you’re having fun and working your craft. Perfection is impossible. If there is a round-about way to become closer to perfection through variety and persistence, then I think you’ve danced on the doorstep with many a fine recipe and the skill to produce and deliver such a treat. Cheers my friend!

  13. Dennis Sydnor

    You rocked Hank.

  14. Dennis Sydnor

    Oh and ” All Day” lets the cooks know how many of a certain Item they need to plate.

  15. Warner (aka ntsc)

    Been a while since I’ve been here. Last night the wife, whose blog my name points to, pointed out an article in food and wine about sausage. ‘I know this guy’.

    Going to start reading you again, once I grind the Thanksgiving sausge, all 20+ pounds of it.

  16. Kristina

    Oh Hank, I almost cried when I read about the undersalted consomme. I would have been devastated too, after all that time, work and energy.
    Sounds like you did a great job regardless. I’m more than a dozen years out of the kitchen myself and don’t know if I could have done it.
    BTW, an “all day” is just that; the total of what you have in the tickets. As in, “order in 2 firsts” then a couple min later, “Order in 5 firsts. You have 7 all day!”

  17. David Shaw

    A heroic effort, you should be proud. I felt crushed turning out the duck roulades for only 12 people; I can’t imagine plating for 150.

  18. Charlotte King

    loved the post, it made me feel like I was on the line with you! I hope you’ll continue with this dinner next year!

  19. Xesla Research Organisation » Blog Archive » Sacramento trip – Day 1

    […] Hank’s account of the night. It’s very well written and gives fantastic insight into just how difficult this […]

  20. Mrs. Q

    Bravo! Looks amazing to me

  21. paul

    is there an original detailed post for the stuffed duck legs?

  22. Janis

    I loved this post. I have always dreamed of being on a line in a restaurant and after your detail of your night I know I am too old and tired to ever do it. Thanks for letting me join you for a moment in time to see what it was like.

  23. E. Nassar

    Wow, great work Hank. This was really a very exciting read. I felt like I was there with you! Now can I please, pretty please have the recipe for the stuffed duck legs cooked sous vide??

  24. Ken Albala

    You know, I’ve always thought, what fun it would be to cook in a professional restaurant. Just once. You’ve just disabused me of that dream.

    Really looked like a lot of fun. But I don’t think I’ve got the guts, literally or figuratively!


  25. Bpaul

    Hair raising reading. Excellent post.

  26. E. Nassar

    Thanks for the recipe Hank! I recently made a venison/wild boar sausage (for a ragu recipe) that I think will work perfectly here maybe with the addition of some more spice.

  27. Sarah

    it was a fantastic dinner Hank! And don’t feel bad about the salt…if it helps any, Tuohy’s was a bit underseasoned as well! That was actually the toughest course to judge at our table of 4.

  28. Nick (Macheesmo)

    Fascinating post Hank. It sounds like an impossible task for someone who isn’t in a professional kitchen everyday. Even thinking about doing something like that makes me want to roll up in a ball and go to bed…

  29. Sacramento Part 1: The Duck Off | Nose To Tail At Home

    […] you haven’t already seen Hank’s post about the event, I suggest hitting his site first.  I’m going to be talking about each dish with the assumption that you already know the […]

  30. Paul C

    Hey Hank,

    I made your ( mine? our ? ) stuffed duck leg recipe last night dumbed down a bit. I stuffed (organic free range!) chicken legs with chorizo and rolled them in saran wrap, then vacuum sealed.

    I sous vide them @ 145f for about 4 hours. I then chilled them still vac packed and panko crumbed them and deep fried until golden and 120f in the center.

    The collagen/fat that extracted from the chicken/sausage was enough when chilled to glue the chicken in shape and then the panko crumb was enough to hold it together during frying.

    I made a chicken gravy with the bones and the end result was fantastic, like a bonless KFC, and a ton more approachable to the home cook ( I bet you could fake the sous vide well in a large pot of hot water enough to not even need a machine ).

  31. Lou


    I know that this is an old post and you probably won’t see this, but here goes:

    1. Brilliant writing!

    2. You made me hungry, dammit–and I have 5 more hours here at the pharmacy. @#$##@@$$#!

    3. I know that you are fried after the book tour, but would you please consider doing a game/fish dinner near Stockton sometime soon? (Maybe non-innards though-please 😀 ) Striper/venison (or antelope)/duck-goose/doves maybe?

  32. Lou

    Holy carp! I forgot mushrooms. 😮

    *hangs head in shame, the weight of 10 generations of fungaioli on his shoulders*

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