A Tribute to the Master...

In honor of "le Maitre de la Cuisine Francaise" himself...Georges Auguste Escoffier, we had the extremely unique opportunity to cook for his great grandson; Michel Escoffier, who himself runs the Escoffier Foundation and oversees the Escoffier Culinary Museum in the south of France on the Cotes d'Azur. Michel had agreed to come and spend an evening with us in Seattle, dubbed as a "conversation with" along with a dinner and exploration of his life as the great grandson of the late, great Auguste E., known mainly as "Escoffier". To most professional chef's and cooks, and even some serious food enthusiasts, Escoffier was the master. The God. The Shit! He defined, redefined, documented and formalized the entirety of classic French cooking and it's foundation of recipes as we know it today. He revolutionized the brigade system in a kitchen and developed the "ala carte" format we see today in almost any and every eatery the world over. Although today my dishes do not take on his style of classical recipe and ingredient usage, many techniques, fundamentals and skills are rooted from his teachings. I was taught in the art of Escoffier during each professional school I attended...South Seattle Community College, The California Culinary Academy and the Culinary Institute of America, and so much of his classic French structure is ingrained inside of me still, even though the food today is so much more evolved. I believe it is this classic structure that Auguste had documented and so cleverly orchestrated throughout his career and life that has provided me with the fabric in which my disciplined cooking is such a part of. When charged with the fortunateness of Michel's presence, hell, the closest living thing to the master, I wanted to pay homage and a tribute to him as well as show him who I was...aka "facon du chef". I think he(A.Escoffier) would have been proud, or at the very least...I hope.

Boisson "St. Germaine" et Cuillere "Pastorelle"
chilled pea soup, a spoon of leek, mushroom and potato, pea tapioca
Terrine de Fletan "Duglere"
Asperge "Polonaise", Celeriac et Endives, Vinaigrette "Dieppoise"
halibut and heirloom tomato terrine, asparagus with duck egg, brioche and parsley
celery root and belgian endive salad, mussel & shrimp dressing
white anchovy-black olive butter

Selle d'Agneau a' la "Forestiere" Soubise d'Oignon, Fenouil "Sous Vide", Petit Navet "Glace"
et "Garniture Moderne"
loin of lamb(cooked sous vide), caramelized fennel sous vide, baby turnips glace
creamed cepes, chanterelles, morels, bacon, potatoes

"Peche Melba"
peaches, raspberries, anise hyssop ice cream
in various forms and fashions...

in closing, I wanted to again thank our great team of cooks and chefs,
for this dinner could not have been pulled off without their
extreme efforts, dedication and enthusiasm.
And to Jim for having my back during a tough and emotional period during my time in jury duty...
you guys rock!


Tracy's King Crab Shack...

On one of our ports of call on our tour to Alaska, we stopped in Juneau to experience the local vibe and picturesque scenery. We walked around the town amongst the plethora of gem stores and tourist shops only to thankfully stumble upon this wonderful little "gem" find of a culinary kind. What a treat! It is just slightly off the main drag and a hop from the boat dock. Tracy, the owner, operates this little "shack" called Tracy's King Crab Shack~ literally a shack. It is a street food dream in this little fishery town serving up a haul of fresh crab cakes with spicy dipping sauce, crab bisque, sweet with that fresh shellfish essence and a touch of heat, whole freshly cooked(although they were previously cooked/frozen at sea) crab legs, either king crab or dungeness, piping hot and served with drawn butter. Amongst other little tasty treats, we opted to taste these. The meat was so sweet and plump, it was hard to even get a word out as my posse(the 2-live-crew seated with gangsta hoods) and I were talking. I didn't want to stop eating...even to answer them. The crab is caught(think deadliest catch) and then cooked at sea, or at least right when they dock, then shipped directly to Tracy. She has had much media and press about her shack and crab cookery. In one of the last Food and Wine Magazine articles, Jose Andres was interviewed about his experience here. He spoke highly of her and her street food hut. Unfortunately, she was not there when he was there that day only to hear a staff member rave about the attention it generated. When we walked up to the shack, I was reading the article posted outside the window and remembered reading it back then and feeling excited about the crustacean. Then it was like...wow, here it is and here I am. Very cool. So, we ordered up a handful of her offerings and was pleasantly surprised and impressed. Tracy is doing a good thing. If you are ever in Juneau, you must try this roadside temple as it screams out the true essence of the food scene in Alaska short of catching a king salmon and grilling it at your campsite.

check out her web on the link above.

Slow Cooked Brisket part 3...

Well, this has certainly been a tasty experience of determined documentary work. I have come to the conclusion that the combination of the processes and bringing the two principals together as a whole was the best of both worlds. By brining the brisket for 24 hours(cider, cider vinegar, salt, sugar, honey, spices, aromats, chilies, evoo) and then marinating for 24 hours(chili powder, coffee, chipotle, garlic, savory herbs, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika) we were able to achieve a much broader spectrum of flavors and one that holds up well in the long and slow cooking process. Although I was intrigued by the concept of a 24-hour roast, as one might do with a braise in low temperatures, I found that the meat tended to lose a bit of goodness and flavor. It lacked that luscious mouthfeel. Perhaps I was trying to push something a bit too hard through a hole that was not meant to be. By toning down the cooking time and limiting that to 16 hours, I found that we were able to maximize the flavor, the tenderness was out of control and that "melt-in-your-mouth" experience was phenomenal. The crust on the exterior was intoxicating. And this was even when tasted cold! When just placed on the plancha for a spell, the flavors and textures as well as moisture came alive. What a rush this was to experience. As you can see by the photos, the meat still maintains the wonderful rosy color due to the low temperature to lock in the juices since the cell walls were not subjected to harmful heat elements. We are serving this as a summer sandwich layered with crispy buttermilk onion rings, onion jam, chipotle aioli and stacked on a ciabatta bun. A cool crisp slaw of carrots, pears, cabbage, mint mayo and we are good to go. What's next....who knows?