It continues to amaze me the extent of how much emotion and state of mind can and will affect your cooking in a professional kitchen, and even at home for that matter. Tense days can bring tense moments in the kitchen for sure. Somber feelings can bring low energy levels and less than inspired dishes or it can bring light, new approaches to existing ones by means of letting go with no regard for structure. Anger shows it's head in a variety of ways, usually to no benefit at all and happiness and excitement can make the worst of moments become actually enjoyable. Our kitchen and myself are by no way immune to these natural ways of life and challenges. I am one who tries to bury all my shit inside and not let my personal stuff get in the way of my work...yea right! I can be holding in the worst and allow it to manifest itself into beautiful art that is full of life and emotion on the plate however. The shit does come out though. I am after all...only human. I try to always think of my team first and hold them in the highest regard and put myself on the back burner for a while...just to make it through the week...the shift...the service and this one last dish! My emotion and inner chaos or happiness(depending on who's up to bat) exudes itself into flavors. I pair this of course with whatever metal I may be listening to in my head, which is stemming from the 30~minute drive in to work each day, all the while being riveted with decibels of destruction from my car stereo. The reason to this post is simple...it clearly states that we as chefs are human and all of life's obstacles that are thrown at us affect what we do and it is reflected in our food. The pain, heartache, lust, loss, glory, fear, stress, happiness, sickness, passion, despair, anger, love and hate, excitement, depression and joy all make their way onto the plate in some form or fashion. Some good...some bad...some so-so and some get filed for another day, only to reveal itself in some potentially unexpected way. Tonight, I was fortunate in that, although I have been dealing with some very deep personal baggage, we were able to pull off a very successful 5~course dinner that really rocked! Our team did very well and frankly impressed the hell out of me. We have not had a dinner of this type in a while and with everybody's personal state of mind being what they were(god bless) we executed very smoothly. My own emotions brought my focus to a plane equal to that of a calm body of water with lots of ripples on either side surrounded by high ocean swells. What it did was allow me to stay focused on the objective, keep a smooth clean perspective and have the fire and intensity from my inner demons to drive it where it needed to be and keep it sharp. This is just a glimpse of the dishes that were crafted tonight for about 75 special peeps based upon that inertia of chaos...
fresh shucked penn cove oyster, "shiro's" marinade, fennel-rhubarb mignonette
spicy calamari cones, chipotle aioli/heirloom tomato-basil gazpachos
halibut ceviche rolls, yuzu, togarashi, daikon, preserved ginger
veal sweetbread-morel terrine, arugula, fig relish, 30-year old balsamic
"corn three ways"
warm corn-honshimejii salad, corn-herb pancake, silky corn bisque
truffles and truffle oil
seared diver scallops, chive potato mousseline, caramelized garlic
bacon-hazelnut confetti, peas and blis maple-bacon fat dressing
local citrus basted grilled albacore tuna
tunisian cous cous, grilled abalone mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes, olives, sriracha aioli
green apple mustard rubbed american bison
anson mills polenta "fries", farmer's onion marmalade, charred peach-hyssop relish
artichoke-pine nut sous vide, pineapple sage-huckleberry essence
"flavors of summer" anniversary cake...
raspberry, litchi, lemon verbena, white chocolate, elderflower, olive oil