Jam Session at the Chef's Table...

~foie gras fondant/hazelnuts/pistachio/mostarda/blackberries/hyssop~

~plating foie gras fondant~

cooking each night at the chef's table is like a jam session for me and hopefully the crew as well. It is a place where although we are serious and focused about the food, it sort of just happens and evolves before us. We plan the menu only a few hours prior to the guests arrival, purposely to avoid being over-rehearsed and thought out, to weed out predictable pairings, and to be in the moment in terms of the mind and vision. This way (although I am sure at times the cooks hate me for it) the food and ideas rolling out are new and fresh, and pertaining to the here and the now and reflecting the state of mind of our team and I. This can and does have somewhat of a negative effect at times however...in that, when I am rushed, overtaxed on administrative duties, overly pressed for time for even planning the menu due to other priorities, or when situations dictate, that I am not able to be there for the table at all that night, this is when things can be frustrating for me. Most all of the time though, it is very satisfying for us and the guests based on their faces, comments and clean plates. This is when the dinner seems to be more like a jam session. Things are rolling. A nice buzz is strumming about the air. The cooks and I are on fire. People are stoked. The vibe is cool. Maybe I wrote on the hand-written menu placed before us that we were going to pair foie gras with caramelized bananas, glazed onions and a vadouvan pate brisee, and yet in the blink of an eye, I decide to go with truffled apricot conserve, black berry gastrique and savory squash galette with crispy potatoes and salted caramel powder. Shit happens and that is ok with me. Who is to say that I made the wrong choice? Who is to say that the original was the best choice? Does it matter? The show is on, and this is real. I changed my damn mind ok!!! This is how I feel at the time. Go with it. Let's taste it. Does it taste good? If not, throw it out and start over! Be a cook already! The guests see the emotion, the intensity, the pressure of something perhaps not quite as I want it to be, and we make alterations right in the middle of it all. That is cooking! Here are some shots during one of our latest jam sessions with some wonderful people having a great time just as we were. It was harmonious to say the very least.

~daurade/heirloom tomato pickle/bacon mash/crab/opal basil~
~frozen intermezzo~
~rabbit saddle/gold beets/truffles/lentils/arugula~
~the board~
~plating fish~

syrah braised short ribs/grits/corn/matsutake/cuisson~


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