Passion, Expression, Impression...

I always hope I never lose my passion for what I love. I don't think that is possible. When I cook for others, I always cook with passion. When I cook, I inevitably am gifting to those I am cooking for my expression of my thoughts...an expression of taste, of style, of artistry, or flavor, of a culture and so on. An expression is important to have identity, otherwise you are merely a speck of sand in a sea of shit, wandering aimlessly looking identical to everyone else. Why? What's the point? One needs identity and the ability to express as an artist and chef. It is vital to the success. Lastly, I always hope I leave a long lasting wonderful impression for our guests. Leaving one with that feeling of excitement, love, amazement, memories of past and childhood, euphoria, sex, astonishment, overwhelming goodness and crazy great vibe is something that not many things in life can accomplish. Cooking from the soul and the heart is one of them. It is personal, giving, wonderful and special. This sequence of transformation is what takes place in my world of food...or so I trust...
diver scallop tartare, nectarplums, tomatocello pearls, togarashi
sriracha aioli, citrus-nigella vinaigrette, micro arugula

seared foie gras, smoked vanilla, maple, walnut, pear
port gastric

grilled hawaiian opah, bergamot poached shigoku oyster sous vide
radish-heart of palm-pineapple salad, foie gras sauce
crispy pork trotter-black rice-macadamia nut pancake

pluot intermezzo
gold pluot-lime confit, ice wine granite, frozen fennel yogurt
grains of paradise

gingerbread venison loin, corn-chanterelle "risotto"
pine bud sweetbreads, hazelnuts, roasted golden beets
gingerbread dust, bittersweet chocolate essence

syrah beef short ribs, smoked cous cous, golden raisins, squab
caramelized cauliflower, zucchini carbonara
banyuls sauce


Long Day Gone...

As a sequel to all night thing... where did the day go? And so it is written...we continue on as the day turns to night. Long day gone...but not forgotten.
oyster, nectarplum, sturgeon caviar, tomato, yuzu, sriracha

seared foie, smoked vanilla, pear-walnut relish, walnut powder
ras el hanout, tawny port sauce, maple gel

grilled hawaiian opah, crispy pork belly, caramelized pineapple, black rice
heart of palm, coconut emulsion

sous vide venison loin, chanterelles, corn, veal cheeks, peppered nectarines
baby turnips, tayberry essence

glazed beef short rib, white beans, zucchini carbonara, mugolio drizzle

olive oil cake, raspberries, white chocolate-lavender ribbon, peach sorbet
apple terrine, currants, mascarpone, apple jam, porcini caramel, parmesan ice cream
chocolate-peanut butter bar, bananas, banana ice cream
beggars pouch- apricot, almond, conserve, noyaux ice cream

slow braised beef short ribs, smoked barley, zucchini, pancetta, tomatoes,
balsamic-foie gras sauce

grilled venison loin sous vide, corn-veal cheek risotto, chanterelles
cassis pearl onions, shallot roasted turnips, tayberry-banyuls sauce


All Night Thing...

It seems that for several weeks now, the days and nights have just blended continuously without regret or remorse and without break to reflect on what has happened. The abundance of the ever-popular chefs tables have definitely kept the ball rolling. Where did the summer go? Albeit, it has been a great summer. I miss it already. However, that said...I look forward to fall. The nights lately have been late with the cooking moving ahead and the ideas flowing into the wee hours of the early morn. I have a special inspiration that keeps me going...it is that of the thought of something wonderful in life happening. I have always been a night person and staying up until birds are awaking is no strange concept. Here is what has transpired since my last set of dishes. It's an all night thing.
scrambled eggs, scallops, truffles, crème fraiche, crispy potato

shigoku oyster, nectarplum-peach salad, sturgeon caviar, yuzu, sriracha
tomato water gelee, tomato-nigella dressing
(revisited dish)

corn-lobster "risotto", chanterelles, garden beans, house cured lomo
rainbow chard, chive oil

slow braised beef short ribs, king trumpet mushroom, quinoa, fava beans
banyuls-maple-foie gras sauce

nectarplum-lobster salad, cilantro, golden caviar, togarashi, arugula
citrus vinaigrette, lemon-herb veil

smoked vanilla basted foie gras, apple jam, pecans, pecan-ras el hanout powder
sauternes-late harvest gelee, maple-madeira gastric

spice grilled cervena venison loin, chanterelles, smoked barley, golden raisins
cassis pearl onions, coffee roasted carrots, chanterelle puree, huckleberry essence


Looks That Kill...

A tribute to one kick ass song by my all time fav metal band...the crue. Our culinary crue kicked ass on yet another taste of umami for a special couple. Umami has become something that I have been searching to interject in our cooking to help build that sense of excitement, taste, flavor euphoria that becomes so ever present in umami laden ingredients. Other than these couple dinners we have done of late, I am not trying to narrow my cooking with full on umami mind you, just include it in the many different tastes and textures and flavors of ingredients that we do utilize for our guests in search of perhaps a new experience for them and us. Some of these combinations are similar to the ultimate taste of umami posted last month as they were simply too amazing to pass up. Enjoy it for what it's worth...

peach-nectarplum tartare, raw shigoku oyster, sturgeon caviar, cilantro, mint
togarashi, lemonade-bourbon vinegar dressing, tomato veil

heart of purple Cherokee tomato, baby sun gold, butter poached lobster
gazpacho, tomato water, tomato-nigella vinaigrette, tomatocello pearls

crispy buttermilk fried duck tongues, saba aioli, black pepper, sherry reduction

sweet corn-truffle "risotto", roasted chanterelles, banyuls glazed veal sweetbreads
truffle crème fraiche, parmesan wafer
umami marinated pork belly, seared scallop, fermented black garlic, lobster mushrooms
soy-mirin glazed thumbelina carrots, spicy pork belly dashi broth

Fall To Pieces...

If I have said it once, I have said it hundreds...Fall is my favorite time to cook. The transition of summer to fall probably more specific as we are still in the thralls of the dwindling wonderful summer produce and entering into the venture of something more hearty and substantial...sublime and amazing!. The dishes of late have been all about this transition. There are many transitions throughout the year and in life. I am coming out of a big transition personally and with that comes change in focus, direction, perspective and thought. It is a change in what I seek out of life, my relationship and in my cooking. I hope and trust that god will guide me through it and my visions and desires will prove to be worthy. As I walk forward, I cook from my heart and here is what is unraveling as I type. It will surely pave the way for the heartier fare that follows and the happiness I seek.
pacific shigoku oyster, peaches, radishes, tomato gelee, micro mustard mix
sriracha, lemon pearls

grilled atlantic bluefish, nectarplums, fennel, sun gold tomatoes, mint
tomato-nigella vinaigrette

spice crusted venison loin, spice cake potatoes, coffee roasted carrots
ground cherries, valrhona sauce

slow braised veal cheeks, zucchini "carbonara", caramelized garlic, chanterelles
pine bud glazed sweetbreads, chard, fennel mustard caisson, walnut powder

shigoku oyster salad, nectarplums, yuzu, sriracha, micro greens, tomatoes, sturgeon caviar
smokey jal hot sauce

grilled alaskan sockeye salmon, chanterelles, corn-truffle "risotto"
caramelized cauliflower, arugula, jus de poisson

taste of fall...
apples, currants, cider, cinnamon marshmallow
milk chocolate, hazelnuts, pears
indian summer strawberries, walnuts, smoked wood ice cream


American Bad Ass...

This here's the shit! As kid rock sings...It's not braggin' mf if you back it up! We just pulled yet another bad ass brisket out of the slow cooker....and what a tasty guy this was. I have never traveled much to the deep south or experienced the barbecue circuit, but it is on my list...here's a version of the pacific northwest style...throwin down in seattle...how we roll!

Chocolate Death Magnetic...

Two different chocolate cakes in all of their glory and all of the sense of the term. The first one, a special token of our pastry chef to me, in recognition of this old man's birthday last month. A big thank you to you and the whole team. Death by Chocolate as Marcel Desaulniers penned years ago. Death Magnetic as Metallica has done as well. Chocolate Death Magnetic as I now call it. It died a good death. It fought a good fight. It tasted wicked killer as hell.

The second one below, labeled merely as a Stairway to Heaven...as it surely left you there once you ate it. It was for a fundraiser dinner in which we were asked to donate a special cake for the auction. One word and that is all it took. Bring it on I say. Our pastry gal did a great job on it. It is the Peanut Butter & Jelly Dark Chocolate Stairway to Heaven. Dark chocolate flourless sponge, peanut butter-chocolate mousse, peanut joconde sponge, dark chocolate ganache, and garnished with peanut macarons, peanut butter mousse, huckleberry gelee, chocolate pearls, dove bar stix and sauces of raspberry and vanilla...it sold like there was no tomorrow and for all we know, there might not be. Live for today!

To Russia with Love...

Never been there. Might never go...who knows? Maybe someday, I will. I have a lot of thoughts, dreams and plans to fulfill in the rest of my life with those I love. As I think about the dishes I have eaten, cooked and contemplated, the places I have been, read about or dreamed about...it typically always boils down to food and the locale. The food of it's heritage...the food of the season...the food of the region and the food of it's life, all of which when I draw upon them for my own dishes, it is always about an interpretation. Perhaps merely a nuance of what it truly is about, but I am ok with that, as it is my own vision. I don't want to be authentic or traditional, yet my own. I want to be me and speak as to the vision I see and feel. It is my personality. After all, as Jimi sings..."I'm the one who's got to die, when it's time for me to die...so let me live my life, the way I want to". What does that have to do with anything you ask? Well, what it means, is that when asked to come up with a certain style of menu, or dish, or flavor component, it is from my thoughts as a chef and through my eyes, and just maybe, I have not been to that place, but I will put my heart and soul into it and let you know how that sings to my heart in terms of taste and flavor. Don't get me wrong, I want and aim to please my guests. Always. Here is a little tribute to a Russian singer and musician that I was asked to put a little sumptn sumptn together for...it was a dessert for a Russian music night that was really quite amazing in taste, albeit, not one damn iota of authentic-ness! Damn good times.
Apple & Currant "Blintze"
Terrine~Brown Butter Crepes, Slow Cooked Gravenstein Apple, Spice Cake
Brandy Soaked Currants, Mascarpone
Spice Cake Crumble, Nutmeg Crème Fraiche, Cider Sorbet, Apple Jam
Brandy Caramel

New Tastes of Tradition...

A new hope. A new vision. A new life. Each day that is what transpires as we venture into the unknown. The unknown world of cooking where anything can happen and usually does. Sure, there are the safety zones and the familiar faces of the moment who and what bring you that comfort and sense of security...in essence, all the things we have learned and come to know as our experience levels and background past...past, but not forgotten. The good...the bad and the ugly, all wrapped up into one big ball to be delivered to you any second. Don't blink as it may pass you by, for you wouldn't want that, for this is what you live for as a chef. Hold on and don't look back.
lobster-tomato salad, tomato gazpacho, nectarines, almonds
smoky jalapeno-tomato-nigella dressing

tomato-lobster salad...
up close and personal

seared foie gras, pecans, grilled peaches, brioche, sauternes gel
cacao nib-pecan streusel

grilled halibut, parsley crust, baby zucchini "carbonara", pancetta
yellow finn potatoes, zucchini pistou broth

seared duck breast, corn, chanterelles, corn-quinoa pancake, pistachio pesto
cherry duck jus

sweet corn brulee, nectarines, peach cobbler, chocolate-nut sponge, noyaux ice cream
s'mores, cinnamon marshmallow, apple beignets, salted caramel tart
plums, plum sorbet


Food For Thought...

just a few dishes to contemplate, ideas to ponder and flavors to imagine! These were put together on the fly for a dinner for a small group of folks who were dining at the chefs table. Although only a few of the many dishes we created, they pack a punch. Of the ones we didn't capture in that kodak moment, let me just say they were tasty and fun! Bottom line is we have fun when we cook. Isn't that what it's all about in the end anyway? Enjoying what you do...living the dream?...following your heart and living out your passion? Always remember this little slang for something I saw long ago~LISDIN....life is short, do it now!
seared veal sweetbreads & porcini dusted scallop dashi
truffles, lobster mushrooms, corn, chard, soy pearls, micro intensity blend
(savory pork belly & truffle dashi broth- not pictured)

pepper crusted moularde duck breast, chargrilled savory zucchini bread
baby zucchini "carbonara", caramelized garlic, honshimejii mushrooms
crispy shallots, fennel mustard-rosemary essence

pan roasted beef tenderloin, red wine onion-farro risotto
baby turnips, preserved cherries, fried chickpeas, balsamic jus

strawberry-vanilla crisp, graham cracker streusel, noyaux ice cream
porcini custard, fig jam, citrus wafer, apricot sorbet
salted caramel tart, raspberry salad, praline-chocolate flake ice cream
chili scented churros, brazil nuts, chocolate-chili dipping sauce

mignardise (top to bottom)
hibiscus-ginger chocolates
salted caramels, raspberry dove stix
pink peppercorn-lime macaron with coconut mousse, huckleberry pates de fruits


Curing, Canning, Conserving...

That is the story of the season...the story of the moment. The summer is when all the production happens to put up all the goodness of the warm months so that we can enjoy that bounty long beyond its time runs out on us. The fruits, vegetables, herbs, wines, meats, and many other wonderful foodstuffs picked at the peak of the season are given love, care, nurturing, passion, and a push and a shove into the future to end up becoming something surreal. In essence, the fruits of our labor become the just that. It isn't until fall that the magic begins to take place and things start to transform themselves into something alive, cultivated, evolved and special. And sometimes, it takes as long as a year or more to really develop into greatness. Enter the world and love of meat curing, vinegar making, canning, preserving and conserving, pickling, marinating, and many other amazing old-world traditions passed down from chef to chef, grandmother to granddaughter, father to son and chef to client. And although I don't have pictures of all of our productions, the list is long, the wait even longer and the patience disciplined. But, the reward is more than one can imagine and very well worth the wait. Here is but a glimpse...
canned vans and rainier cherries, put up for the season
with vanilla, port, bay, black pepper, thyme and spice
various batches of vinegars in the making
sexy syrah, rhubarb, lemon, raspberry, huckleberry, apple-fennel, maple-bourbon
and so on

peppered, pork pancetta...
fresh artisan duroc and kurobuta pork belly, lathered with curing spices, salt, and sugar
and hung out to dry

truffled apricot conserve

sweet, spicy coppa...