Monday, September 28, 2009

It's a Wrap

Taping of the "AthleticFoodie" segments for Wisconsin Foodie TV is officially finished. It took a total of about four days to capture 13 segments which range from one minute to a minute and a half. I'm sure it sounds crazy to you how much time it took to shoot such short me I was surprised too. Throughout this experience I learned the following:

1. In production expect things to take much longer than you originally planned.
2. You can always do one more take.
3. Don't rush nor put a time limit on want it to look good!
4. Working as an spokesman is much harder than I thought.

I'm really excited and satisfied with the work we did and can't wait to see everything after the edits are all done! Look for my segments on the TV show Wisconsin Foodie, which will air on CBS 58, Sunday mornings at 10:30am starting October 11.

Friday, September 25, 2009

"Morning Blend" TV Cooking Demo

Who: Me
What: Live cooking demo on "The Morning Blend"
Where: Milwaukee
When: 09/25/09
Today I officially did my first LIVE cooking demo for a morning show that plays in Wisconsin. I was really excited for the opportunity to cook something in 'real' time! I've done several cooking demonstrations which were taped and edited but nothing thus far that was live. Yesterday I prepared the dish a couple times to work on the timing and make sure I knew exactly what I was doing. I'd be making a classic Italian dish of garden tomato and herb sauce. Some of you might be thinking, "wow that sounds a bit simple and/or boring to do on TV." However, I picked this recipe precisely because of its simplicity. Many times I've seen people cook something on a short demo that was way too complicated for the viewing public to make. Plus, the freshness of the recipe is incredibly tasty. The demo went great and I had a ton of fun. Doing live TV was a lot easier too...just go with the flow and have fun:) Hopefully there will be more of these to come...

Check out my cooking demo here!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

From Pools to Pans--Great Article

Garrett is on a train heading back from Chicago after a quick visit with friends. So until he updates, here's a link to a really great feature article about him in this morning's Milwaukee JournalSentinel.

Today he'll be in the kitchen at Milwaukee's Lake Park Bistro for lunch, off to practice with the college team at UWM and then in the kitchen at Bacchus for the dinner service. So much cooking to little time. Long day. Thanks so much to Adam Siegel and John Wise from the Bartolotta Restaurant Group.

Garrett's dad--Mark

PS. This just in, pre-service lunch with the kitchen staff at Lake Park Bistro.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Give Me Some Insight...Please

Last summer in Beijing I was fortunate enough to meet Daniel Boulud. Daniel is one of the most famous French chefs in the world. He has restaurants in Beijing, Vancouver, Las Vegas, Palm Beach and five restaurants in NYC. I've kept in touch with him throughout the year. Now I've organized to spend time working, learning and observing in his NYC flagship restaurant, Daniel, in the beginning of October. This past January restaurant Daniel was awarded the New York Times highest honor of four stars!

Why am I telling you this? I want some advice from you guys! I will be purchasing some new knives before I go to Daniel and am not really sure yet what brand I want to buy??? Global, Shun etc.??? What have you had the best experience with? I'd appreciate your insight. Thanks

Friday, September 18, 2009

13 Segments of "AthleticFoodie"

The "AthleticFoodie" segments I shot, which will air on the TV show "Wisconsin Foodie" this fall, were a mix of topics. Some of my favorite segments included tips on how to choose healthy items in the grocery store. Although choosing healthy can be tips included some precise info as to why you should make certain choices. In the shot shown above I am describing the health benefits of sweet potatoes such as the high levels of fiber, Vitamin A & C. You might also be interested to know that they have more than 100% greater nutritional value than that of a standard potato. So go out and get that YAM!!!

Shooting 13 segments for TV was tiring and a lot of fun but the real satisfaction for me comes in knowing I am helping people learn more about living a better life through better nutrition. The older I get and the more experience I have, the stronger my desire is to really help people and make a difference any way I can. My passion grows all the time for food and nutrition and my energies, when not training, lie in building my business in the food world. My goal is to produce products, cookbooks, TV segments and the like to help people become more knowledgeable about nutrition and help them live a healthier life! My journey is well on it's way

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Quick Update Post Taping

The past two days have been spent standing in front of cameras. The content has been cooking demonstrations and talking about living a healthy lifestyle through better nutrition. The first day I was literally on my feet for about eight hours, with only about 40 minutes break for lunch. By the end of the first day my voice was fading and my knees were killing me. In addition I busted my butt both mornings in the weight-room, running and swimming. I just wanted to give y'all a quick update on what's been going on. Soon I will receive pictures from the taping and will post a more detailed blog.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Shooting Begins for Wisconsin Foodie

Today was filled with preparation and brainstorming. Tomorrow and Tuesday I will be filming 13 segments of the AthleticFoodie minute which will air on the regional show "Wisconsin Foodie". My segments will have great tips on how to shop for the right foods, how to live a healthy lifestyle, easy recipe ideas, cooking demos etc. If you don't live near by stay'll be able to check it out online!

Here are the two episodes I was featured on last season...
"Feature: Garrett Weber-Gale"
"Recipe: NY Bison Strip Steak"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How to Turn Disappointment into Positive Outlook

For the first time in my life I am a bit...hmmm I'm not really sure of the right word to use here...maybe apprehensive, maybe uneasy, maybe a little timid to start an entire new season of swimming. Why you may ask? It's simple, because the previous season was a very difficult one for me, one that ended with great disappointment and in the end, some self-doubt.

I know I worked hard this past year and prepared better than I ever had before. My coaches knew I worked really hard this past season and had a lot of confidence in me. I was so confident in the fact that I was going to go faster than the previous summer and was looking forward to doing better at the International stage than I did in Beijing. Throughout my entire life I've always been a very confident person and truly believe I could and can accomplish anything I set out to do. This is great, except for the rare times I haven't done as well as I worked for and planned on and I feel crushed with defeat.

I felt crushed with defeat after this summer. Two third place finishes at Nationals was not what I had planned. However, I am not a quitter and will not accept bad endings like this. Here are the steps I am already going through to turn myself around.
1. Be sad about it for a little bit. Do whatever needs to be done in order to try and get over that feeling of initial disappointment i.e. go on a vacation, cry, talk to friends, write about it to get it out of your mind etc.
2. Objectively look at what may have gone wrong whether they are big things and/or little things. Figure out how you may be able to fix them for the future.
3. Look for the bright shimmers of light. Even when it feels like everything is wrong there are ALWAYS positives. Find them. Some bright lights for me this summer were my parents being there for a bit after Worlds, eating good food, experiencing a new culture, meeting new people etc.
4. Keep your feet moving. Although we may not want to keep at it, although we may want to give up, although our face seems like it is shoved down into a pile of poop, we must go on. In my eyes there is really no choice. I always remind myself, "Garrett, you can do absolutely anything you decide to set your mind to." I truly believe should too. If you don't believe it just take a look at all the Tycoons and successful people in America who came from absolutely nothing, who were down in the dumps, who got fired from their jobs and said, "Screw you guys, I will rise up again and show you how strong my will and desire really is!"
5. Try to surround yourself with others who can support you and help you make your dreams possible. None of us can do it alone. We need motivation, coaching, nurturing, love and so much more from so many people in order to get where we want to go. Try sharing your dreams and aspirations with others...I've found people really gravitate towards it and want to help you:)

I'm working hard to go through these steps...It's not always easy...not always easy at all. The truth is that I know what I want...I want to be successful and have a better swim season next year. In order for me to do this I must go through these steps.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fresh From Italy...Via Wisconsin

The first morning I was back home in Wisconsin I woke up, after 26 hours of long travel from Italy, and I had an urge to make fresh pasta. What was it that prompted me to do this? Was I just nostalgic about not being in Italy anymore? Did I want to impress my parents with my new found skills? Was I simply craving the beautiful cuisine of Italia? Whatever it was I was on a mission. My mouth watered for some delicious fare on my first morning back in the cool and misty air of my native state.

I slowly moved around the kitchen, still lagging a bit from the travel the day before. My dad has a beautiful garden out back and I picked some fresh tomatoes, sage, basil and rosemary. I diced the tomatoes and made the herbs into a refreshing sauce using some home-squeezed olive oil my friend gave me from her farm in Sicily. Within thirty minutes we were sitting in delight at our morning meal.Pasta can be a difficult little bugger to master. I haven't mastered my recipe yet and have worked to improve it. If you have any tips or recipes you've used that 'really' work please let me know!!! Thanks

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Casa Vissani

Many of my experiences in Italy were made possible by my good friend, and as he calls himself, my Italian manager...Giusseppe Bombara. Giusseppe has made my trip to Italy a dream come true. To name a few things, he took me to his home in Sicily, organized my trip to Norcia to visit the Prosciutto makers, took me to many dinners with famous chefs, wine-makers and friends, organized horseback riding, set me up to make pizzas at one of my favorite restaurants (the chef and owner is his friend) and essentially gave me a glimpse of what it is really like to live like an Italian. Without Bombara, my trip would have been nothing compared to what it has really been.Gianfranco Vissani is regarded as one of the most if not the most famous chef in Italy. Now this would be an honor to be of this stature anywhere in the world, but to have such a reputation in the country that is maybe more known for its cuisine than anywhere in the world is truly incredible. I'd already had really good food in Italy but I was looking to spring to an even higher level. I wanted Casa Vissani...the platform where Vissani showcases his sensory tantalizing fare in the most serene and luxurious atmosphere imaginable.
(Different flavored butters and salts from all over the world)
Throughout my stay here I have found it very difficult to show my thanks to Giusseppe because he won't accept anything nor let me pay for anything. I tell him all the time what a difference he has made for me, how good of a friend he is and that I appreciate everything. I told him without debate I was taking him to Casa Vissani to show my argument...and we were getting everything!!!
I was totally excited about this night. I love good food, good service and more than anything, being around people who are in love and passionate about what they do...if you are in love with what you do...get in my life...I gravitate to passion/s...I have so many of them:)
As we approached the door a woman opened it and to my great surprise Gianfranco was waiting at the door for us. Hold up, the most famous chef in Italy is at the door of his restaurant waiting to see and talk with me?...SWEET! Gianfranco speaks only a little English but we had a nice time conversing. He took us to our table and pulled my chair out for me...I think this is a real rarity as everyone in the entire restaurant looked at me in complete awe and shock haha.
We were getting everything...the full tasting menu, the wine pairings, of course the cheeses and all the desserts our little hearts could desire. I absolutely love not having to worry or think about what comes to me. Although I love eating good food I hate ordering food. My dream is to always have food that I'll enjoy simply placed in front of me without the hassle of searching through the entire menu haha:) At Casa Vissani I was in luck!
Honestly I wasn't sure what to expect from fine-dining in Italy. At this level each chef really has their own personality and style that comes out through their cuisine. I wondered how complex things would be, how things would be presented to us, would there be traditional classics elevated to a new level...who knows? I am by no means a food expert nor a chef but I have had some darn good food in my young little life. I think I have a pretty decent idea what things should taste like, what the consistencies should be feel like, and maybe to a little lesser degree, what smells should arise from different products. The food at Vissani, just as I'd expected, was beautifully prepared and absolutely delicious...touching all my senses.
(Chianina beef which is very famous in Italy)
(The very extensive and impressive cheese cart. When they opened the drawers to create our cheese plates the aroma of old, smelly, perfectly ripened cheese poured out and traveled deep into my senses...ahh it was so amazing. One of the cheeses we had only supplies Casa Vissani with one form every four years because the cheese is so rare and high quality, mmmm)

Throughout the meal Vissani came by several times to ask us how the food was. At the conclusion of your meal you can either be served dessert at your table or be taken to what is essentially a living room with beautiful decor, couches and chairs. We decided to eat dessert in more comfort, in the other room. However, before we left a waiter approached us with a bottle of wine and said, in Italian, "this bottle of wine is a gift from the table over there to congratulate you for all of your success." I thought to myself, "what the heck? How do these people know who I am?" The bottle turned out to be a 1983 vintage of Sauternes from Chateau Luduiraut...I know very little about wine but Giusseppe who is the wine business, and other wine experts we talked to later, said this wine and this vintage is probably the most famous dessert wine in the world. What? Are you kidding me?! I was amazed. We tasted the wine and I promptly went over to thank the very gracious people. It turns out one of the women at the table recognized me (from the Olympics & World Champs) and confirmed with her waiter that I was who she thought I was. Weird?
Before retiring to the dessert room Vissani took us into the kitchen to meet and take pictures with the chefs. I loved it, I don't think these people understood what an honor it was for me to meet them and see how they work. What a beautiful kitchen too!
The desserts were delicious and very comforting. The Sauternes was literally the most vibrant and mouth dazzling wine I've ever experienced. Thank you to the very generous and kind people who bought it for us!!
Before leaving we toured their very extensive and large wine cellar which is filled with many of the most famous wines of the world. Luca, Gianfranco's son presented me with one of Gianfranco's most famous books and personalized it for me (unfortunately Gianfranco was gone by this time). We were the last to leave the restaurant...1:20am. Ha.
A very successful night. I was definitely sprung to the higher level my palate was longing for.

Il Feudo

At first thought of writing this blog I initially had intentions of posting a quick synopsis of the time since my last update. However, I quickly realized that wouldn’t be fair. The experiences I’ve had here in Italy are all so unique and special to me that I must share them all with you separately. In addition, and probably more importantly, I think it is essential that I give due credit and praise to all the kind, open armed and loving Italians to whom I truly owe the success of this trip.There is a small town near to where I stay called Montoro. My good friend, Giusseppe, who also happens to be my Italian manager (he nicknamed himself this because he sets absolutely everything up for me), lives in this town. There is one restaurant and it is absolutely outstanding (without question one of my top three in all of Italy)…Il Feudo. Since chomping down into the perfectly prepared paper thing crust of my first Pizza at Il Feudo I knew I needed to spend time with the chef and learn how he does it.
This operation is exactly what you’d imagine when thinking about a restaurant located in a small village in the countryside of Italy. It is owned and run by one family. Marco is the chef, his wife Nicoletta runs the front of the house, his mother is his assistant chef, his father is the accountant and cashier, and their friends help out when needed. Before and after every meal service everyone gathers in a little courtyard outside the restaurant to talk and laugh. Although I have no idea what they’re saying, that doesn’t stop any of them from talking to me like I speak Italian haha…seriously. The relaxed and family atmosphere is so unbelievably refreshing and I love literally every minute I spend with these people. Ahhh I’m so thankful to have met them and been taken in by them in such a loving and big way.
At the start of work Marco and I made all the dough for the pizza. We rolled and prepped it all into small dough balls and placed them in a drawer to rise until use. As the others prepared miscellaneous things for service, they did as I thought they’d do…stuffed my face full of food. Vera (Marco’s mother), and her friend (who helps out in the kitchen sometimes) were out of control. No kidding, every time I turned around it seemed like they were holding something in their hands for me to eat. If I stayed with these people for an extended period of time I’d have to exercise more self-discipline and say 'no' occasionally…I didn’t exercise any then…I ate absolutely anything and everything put in front of me and loved every morsel of it.
My interest and enthusiasm for everything I’m doing here is out-of-this-world-fantastic and at times a bit overwhelming. Some of you who have read this blog before or who actually know me understand that I can be an extremely excitable person. I can’t tell you how many times since I’ve been in Italy that I have ‘literally’ gone into a corner, a bathroom, a side street, or wherever I can find that is private and seriously screamed out loud or silently while jumping up and down punching the air. It is impossible to contain myself sometimes. I feel like a high voltage wave of happiness and love is running through my entire soul and I have no idea what to do with it…so unreal!!!
I made a bunch of pizzas throughout the night and helped with other menu items as well. Marco gave me a note pad to write on and take notes with (which I've been doing throughout my entire trip and in every kitchen I visit). I didn't want the night to end. This was one of my favorite nights in Italy. At the conclusion of the dinner service the entire staff (aka the family) and some of their friends gathered outside for dinner. We ate on their beautiful balcony which overlooks the rural countryside. I made the pizzas of course:) There was other food as well but I was so engulfed in my own happiness from making such a delectable pie that my taste buds would not let me deviate from the paper thin crust pizzas I had created, MMMMMMM.
Check back soon...these blogs are going to come quickly so I can catch y'all up on the good stuff!
Just another night in Paradise;)

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