About

Contact Me:
Brian L Lichorowic
brian@pullmyfingergourmet.com

 

I grew up and worked in the latter, the family’s flagship property called “Dibble’s Inn” outside of Syracuse, NY. My childhood consisted of child slave labor with a mixture of hands on learning and helping people regain composure after doing a face plants in one of our fountains after four hours of open bar. My earliest memory is of scooping ice cream on Saturdays at the ripe old age of seven on a stepping stool my grandfather made so I could reach into the freezers.  From then on, it was a pretty strange childhood, my Dad “fast tracked” my brothers and I.  I thought every kid had to clean and debone 400 whole roasters (chickens) every Tuesday afternoon after school.  Wednesdays we’d break down all the sides of beef that come in for the weekend.  Thursdays we’d load into a 1969 International Scout and go collect the local produce needed for the week from the local farmers.  Fridays, we’d prep it all.  In between all of this madness we’d have to service the scheduled banquets, business meetings and buses and buses of tourist groups (filled with blue hairs).

For a couple of years, for 2 weeks of the summer I would get sent off to a CIA (Culinary Institute of America) sponsored summer camp titled “Camp for Kid Cooks”.  While other kids were camping and canoeing, I’m learning Béarnaise and how to make a sour dough starter. How messed up is that?

Our trade was large banquets but our specialty was weddings. Huge weddings. 500+ people, 3 or 4 of them at once. Many at $3.99 for a 40-piece buffet and $4.99 for a 4 hour open bar. Then, we’d tear it all down and prepare for 1100 inebriated Shriners to come in for surf and turf with bananna fosters for dessert followed by an evening of dancing and debauchery.

I’d always check the fountains before heading home.

The entire time we’d have a 3 diamond formal dining room open to the public that seated 75 (coat and tie required) under the watchful eye of my mother, “Mrs. L.” that was booked months in advance.  I worked as a line cook’s helper from the age of 11 until 16, and then my brothers and I would rotate working as head expediter for the formal dining room.  I worked with CIA trained chefs and well as off the street 30-year line cooks who were alcoholics.

My Dad used to salt the cooking sherry to cut down consumption and improve performance.

Some had a better sense of taste and palate then most of the CIA graduates.  Nothing beats experience. So I watched and learned. If Chef passed out in the beer cooler, I’d take over the line.

My Dad was a perfectionist (stickler) about many things. The biggest was that everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) was made from scratch. Figure that out; you’re cooking for the better part of 3500 people every weekend and the stock, the gravy, the bread, each and every garnish was made from square one.  I don’t think you see that around much these days.  I was shipped around to different family restaurants for short periods. (This was to help the family decipher better what type of restaurant you would best fit into upon gradation from college.)

I cooked my way through college and continued to take courses. I was the first (in 4 generations !)  to leave the family business.  Needless to say I’m the outcast. But my life took a much better road than having to deal weekly with brides worried about the quality of my tomato sauce for the ziti and if a six tier cherry cheesecake will feed 500.

 

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