A Personal Perspective on Cooking...

As I put my last Gypsy soiree to bed, filing my notes, prep lists, staging thoughts and various contemplations of ideas, I came across an email thread of some questions that the coordinator for Gypsy had asked me to respond to prior to the meal so they could perhaps use as an example of inspiration when marketing the dinner, as well as during the dinner to create the sense of where things originated from and to provoke thought amongst the diners. As I read over the content of my reply, I realized that I didn't really think about it much, but just "fired off" some things that were on my mind at the time. What my point is, is that at that moment, that was what was the mood and vibe was. That was the drive of the moment. Today...another story altogether. What I also realized(and confirmed), although I have known this throughout my career, is that there are many different things that inspire us, and at many different times which do so. All of this can and will affect what you are doing and determine how the outcome is to take place, for better or for worse...till death do you cook! Had I been feeling differently at that moment, and of course during the whole process going into it, and during the meal, the outcome would have been totally altered. Would it have been better? The same? Not as sharp? Not sure. What is fascinating however is how well it did play out (I thought) and thinking about how if someone else was doing the dinner, what they would have been thinking about and what drives and inspires them and how their outcomes take place. Profound for certain. Here is the email and questions, thoughts and responses that prompted this post...

1.) What is your favorite sound?...a cross between the loud crash of the cymbals in combination of a heavy amplified strum of Metallica's guitars; the very "zenestic" and feng shui of the waves rolling in in front of our house on Puget Sound; and the sound of my two boys' voices go into high gear as I walk into our home each night after work. I guess in all fairness to my craft, the sound of a saute pan sizzling with a piece of foie gras cooking almost brings tears to my eyes.
2.) What smells or scent makes you feel~ Energized? Sentimental? Relaxed?...smell...wow! there are few~ (energized)-Fresh truffles, fresh roasted coffee, dark chocolate, fresh ripe tomatoes just off the vine and foie gras being seared or roasted. (sentimental)-Roasted lamb, spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove, wild blackberry pies baking and fresh garlic. (relaxed)-My wife's cooking.
3.) What do you do/say/think to put yourself in a creative mode as a chef?...Dine out whenever and wherever I can. Read my cookbooks, or try to get to them anyway. Staying up late into wee hours of the morning, watching mindless movies while writing menus, ideas and thoughts, and writing my blog. Listening to other great chefs' thoughts, perspectives and ideas.
4.) If you had the opportunity to invite anyone(living or dead) to have dinner with you tonight, who would it be, and why?...Dinner guest...easy~ my late mother. Because she was my biggest inspiration and support person early on who enabled me to get into cooking professionally and was the one who fostered my desire and passion for food to be what it is through her own love of food.
I closed with this excerpt from my mind...All of our past as people have an impact on who we are and who we are to become. I am no different. Through my wasted youth and single child, yet very supportive upbringing, I was taught early on that the way we speak, write and behave in the presence of others can and will have a consequence, whether good or bad. It is during those years, having spent most of my time in the Northwest and having been given a true gift of passion to cook, the ability to "see" that style of life for me and the mind to go after what I want, is what enabled me to be as successful as I am. I have been very blessed as an individual for my good fortune- my wonderful wife, kids, and for the professional experiences and situations that have been bestowed upon me. For that, I am truly grateful. In the end...we are only as good as our last accomplishment or failure. I can only hope that I have had a positive and long lasting impression on my family and colleagues, to point them in the right direction. If that happens, then I can live or die with that!


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