Livin' After Midnight...

it is no mystery or secret that I am a metal head and that most of my work and play is inspired by the music that is made up from that genre. My posts are typically after the close of the day and so it is with this tune in my head, ringing from the Judas Priest-Black Label Society-Thin Lizzy concert tonight...Living After Midnight, that I am inspired to post this picture...really nothing about cooking, other than it is a tribute to my late mother, of whom has taught me, inspired me, guided me and provided me the opportunity to cook. I see this sunset and it reminds me of her...the beautiful, amazing, inspiring woman that she was. I hope that I always make her proud...today, tomorrow and always, both in myself, and in the two precious boys that I have raised. May I always be to them, what she was and is to me. May this photo help to inspire you and may it bring good thoughts to you and remind you of someone special.


Still Life, Alive...

~amuse 1~

sous vide scallop, golden caviar, grapefruit,togarashi,olive oil

~amuse 2~
sea urchin "cappuccinos", lemon foam

steamed walleye pike, red zebra tomato, yellow tomato pave
tomato water, hearts of palm, watermelon radish, scallion coulis

seared foie gras, ground cherry conserve, cacao nibs
ras el hanout, chocolate macaron crumbs, 30 year balsamic

carrot butter poached alaskan spot prawns
carrot agnolotti, braised romaine, chanterelles, apples and roe butter
micro celery

muscovy duck breast, roasted porcini, turnips
brown butter potatoes, walnuts, crispy beets

coffee crusted lamb loin, lobster mushrooms, sous vide fennel
artichoke-bacon pancake, salsify, argan oil

chocolate tasting, pumpkin brulee, peach-lemon shortcake
nibbles and bites of goodness...

Not so still, yet awaken with passion. The ingredients very full of motion and emotion. The dishes radiating the commitment to flavor from the cooks and myself...the guests overflowing with celebration. What a night of cool cooking and cool food! Still life represents to me a shot in the dark, a photo stopped in time to portray something silent, beautiful, stunning and self-exposed, simply stating its beauty in the quiet nature of its being and surroundings...this still life was actually just the opposite. Full or energy, drive and forward force of flavor...an explosion of taste for all the senses! In a word...ALIVE!


Smells Like Fall...

walleye pike, seared diver scallop, truffles, corn, creamy potatoes
indian summer heirloom tomatoes, carrot butter-noble vinegar vinaigrette

north african inspired salad
curry roasted apples, fennel sous vide, celery, celery leaves
marcona almonds, ras el hanout dressing

seared foie gras, skate wing, bacon studded quinoa
caramelized onions, chanterelles, corn coulis, jus de poulet

lamb loin sous vide, artichoke-garlic pancake
honshimejii, mustard glazed beets, savory lamb jus, carrot oil

In Seattle...you now certainly know it is autumn! Fall and October are definitely in the air. You can literally smell it...providing that you know how it smells and given that you have been here for any length of time as I have. It is a very distinct aroma that tells you to stay warm, cook slow foods, build a fire, watch movies, eat and enjoy good ingredients with those that you care about. Harness the goodness of a great braise, a savory roast, a slowly simmered stew or soup. Hell, I have spent my whole life here practically. I love it. Cant get enough of it. Don't want to leave it. Hopefully...will never have to. Here are just a couple shots of things that have transpired in the last 48 hours or so that have reminded me of the season and it of the dishes before you. They feed off of each other. Hopefully, it can inspire those of you who cook to do so with heart and soul... those of you who do not, to eat with your heart and be full of content by those who cook for you...and to those of you who enjoy both, to do so with intense commitment to nurturing the body and mind both and to get inspired by feeding those you love and to those you may not. Smell that? It's talking to you...


Oui Chef!...

wild mushroom "cappuccino", porcini milk foam

brigade awaiting the plate up of the entree

"salade compose"
wild harvest greens, compressed pears, fresh chevre, hazelnuts

lamb loin sous vide, butternut squash-brown butter puree
chanterelles, slow cooked artichokes, parsnip jam, wild huckleberry sauce

valrhona manjari-praline "pave"
house preserved cherries, caramelized hazelnuts, creme fraiche
hazelnut ice cream, caramel anglaise and macaron

Reminiscent of old times in french kitchens and good times with the chefs that commanded them. This dinner brought back a lot of cool memories. It was a dinner in honor of a French Ambassador and their cohorts to be held at our place. A large group for about a buck-90, it was a soiree full of emotion, "verbaige francaise", laughter and comotion, flowing wine and flavorful food. Kitchens...they seem to bring about their own emotion and french lingo like~"oui chef" , which was one that was prevalent daily in the kitchens I worked in and even the one I am in now, yet unfortunately with the current vibe today, the younger kids dont have a clue as to what that is about and with the lack of me not being french(no worries) it has slipped further from the forefront. I still blare out at times a myriad of terms..."la merde", "putain", " ca va", "soigne", "salut", "la vaches" and of course..."oui chef" when appropriate. It is weird for me during this painful time in my life how so much pain can bring so much beauty in my work. Who knows though...maybe my work really is shit and I am just in utter denial. I let others be the judge and just keep pushing forward with the same intensity, passion, devotion, commitment, and attention to the craft and pursuit of excellence that I always have. Au Revoir...


Amazing Fall Feast...

heirloom tomatoes, tomato water, john dory crudo, heart of palm

opal basil, peaches, citrus olive oil

seared foie gras, cherries, compressed nectarines, hazelnuts
cacao nibs, truffled apricot conserve, savory chocolate caramel
diver sea scallops, fava beans, pumpkin gnocchi, pancetta
riesling tapioca, sea urchin nage

baked wild golden snapper, baby lima puree, bacon, corn, truffles

compressed asian pears, late harvest vinegar gelee
grains of paradise, fleur de sel

spice crusted muscovy duck breast, baby turnips
sous vide fennel, wild blackberry sauce

48 hour beef short rib, porcini, chanterelles
golden beets, horseradish potatoes, cinnamon-cabernet sauce

tasting of dessert...
chocolate-caramel shooter, praline chocolate silk, apples
dove bar stix, roasted strawberries, pistachio brittle, parsnip ice cream

olive oil chocolates, almond-bacon macaroon sandwiches
hazelnut biscotti

~not pictured~
lobster amuse
house cured salumi

for a lucky table of 10 and a few wonderful hosts, in a truly remarkable house by a handful of awesome cooks...we rocked it! The flava of the meal was to take on that of a fall harvest, complete with salumi, little fun bites ~caramelized carrot "cappuccinos"

toasted carrot cake "biscotti, chevre-pistachio skewers

and other savory snacks to round out the degustatory experience that was the extraordinary culinary result of an auction donation for Woodland Park Zoo. Quite the cool kitchen stocked with a total arsenal of battery in which to execute our craft. The hosts had asked weeks in advance as to what the menu would be, but as my standard M.O. tends to be...I wait purposely until the day or so prior. Not because I am behind or unorganized, but because I want to the inspiration to be the best it can be and to be "of the moment"! I want the cooks to feel the pressure, the need to create, the sense of what is here and now, not the typical rehearsed corporate type menu that we all know weeks in advance...where is the inspiration and adventure in that? Hell, let me tell ya... there isn't any. The ingredients and menu compositions have definitely taken on that sense, flavor, nuance and personality of fall and autumn. Here is what went down. Thank you to all who made this possible. You guys made it happen. You made it what it was. You enabled it to come together. You are the reason I do what I do and am who I am. Couldn't do it without you...


Burning Beast 10.2011...

And yet, another taming of the lamb...over the element of fire & heat, fueled by the burning coals of passion and the need to create. This burning beast environment made possible by this gigantic fireplace in a place I call home. I never get tired of cooking in this primitive fashion, for it does not come often and where else around can one create food for guests over the coals of a roaring blazing fire in this fashion? This has got to be one of the most coolest ways to present your craft as a cook. It was freakin tasty to say the very least! Long live the burning beast...or at least, until it is done...then it it is gone!


Torch Ginger...

the only thought that could and would come to my mind with this plant species is..."how can something so beautiful taste so damn awful?" I mean it tasted terrible! A native to Malaysia and Indonesia, it is found in many a tropical and sub-tropical countries and regions and which is to no wonder that is grown in Hawaii. We had this shipped in from our friend Rick who grows fresh hearts of palm for us so figured we were just on to the next cool thing. I met him a few weeks ago and he said he would send us some new things to ponder, consider, taste and toy around with. We tried poaching, pickling, steaming and blanching this wonderfully looking flower. Torch ginger right..."must be good" I thought! What immediately came to mind as soon as I tasted it was no mistake...sheer vomit! That grotesque nasal nuance as one gets from hurling last night's dinner either after too much alcohol, or the flu. Distinct, identifiable, clear and concise...vomit! That was the first and general comment and consensus from every cook who tasted it. I could not understand how this ginger plant could be so nasty. So...the jury is still out...verdict skeptical...outlook; hopefully optimistic but not very...hoping anyway. Any thoughts out there on how to make this a better tasting ingredient? Any of you out there cook with this plant and have better results than I? Let me know.

Late Summer Memories...

elk carpaccio ravioli, yellow taxi tomato pave, arugula

tomato jam filling, basil, pecorino and 30 year balsamic

seared hudson valley foie gras, hazelnut-cacao nib waffle, nectarines
jalapeno, mint, crispy shallots, cherry gastric

grilled alaskan halibut, chanterelle-parsley salad, corn
corn pudding, pancetta and truffle jus

grilled arctic char, smoked calamari, chanterelles
lentils, truffle essence, roasted corn

tree ripened plum composure, fennel pollen
lime elderflower drizzle, prosecco ice

spice crusted muscovy duck, potato puree, heirloom garlic
lentils, baby turnips, king trumpet mushrooms
wild blackberry sauce

pepper crusted american bison loin
braised honshimejii, artichoke-chesnok red garlic pancake,
celery root puree, salt roasted beets, black cherry infusion

sweet corn brulee, silk, marshmallow, figs, chocolate mint ice cream

blackberries, cherry-almond bite, dove bar stix

rhubarb-strawberry sorbet, frangipane, noyaux ice cream

The end is near I thought...the end of summer is coming upon us...getting close, becoming a reality, drawing us in as we succumb to the change of the season. The fall is right around the corner and with it comes the great beauty of autumnal ingredients. It is hard to believe but although sad, fall is a welcomed thought. These shots represent the handful of nights and dishes where summer was still on the forefront of our minds and passions whereas we found ourselves surrounded by gifts from the earth via our wonderful farmer; Mark Lovejoy from Garden Treasures. For if not for him and passionate peeps like him, we would be cooking with pure shit. His passion of the earth and all that grows is what stimulates us to create our own desires and present the heart of our own craft. It fuels our passion to cook, thus to serve, thus to please. Hope you can get inspired by what you see to create your own inspirations and perspectives.


Shots of Passion...

grilled alaskan halibut, truffles, fava beans, purple potatoes,

honshimejii mushrooms, truffle-balsamic drizzle

citrus smoked catfish, corn, chanterelles, polenta
heart of palm salad, red pepper juice reduction

orchard picked plums, lemon ice, grains of paradise

pan roasted mediterranean branzino
artichokes sous vide, fennel puree, garden beans, smoked onion
savory summer ragout

Let's do some shots you say? Bring it on..shots of food...shots of ingredients put together with passion, love, care and desire for creating great food. Shots of the moment and of a sense of emotion of the cook who is doing the creating. Still, at the end of the day, one must be able to look at themselves in the mirror, the glass, the bottle or the lens and ask themselves if they are being true to who they are and who they have become...well, have you? Bottoms up~


I Fall Away...

sous vide lamb loin, indian summer tomato fondue

chanterelles, porcini financier, caramelized heirloom garlic

roasted eggplant jus and carrot coulis

WTF!...Where has the summer gone?!? One moment you are enjoying yourself, or the company of others in the vast bright sunlight while lying on a beach somewhere, walking in a park, or sitting at a nice sidewalk bistro and suddenly...it is overcast...gloomy...cold...sadly dark and cloudy and you think to yourself..."what the hell happened?" Welcome to fall. Now mind you, I love the fall! It is one of my, (if not THE) most favorite time of year. It is a time to revel in the heartier autumn ingredients and methodry of cooking. It is(the cooking) soulful, timeless, comforting, soothing and downright sexy and sensual. It conjures up visions of togetherness and family, friends and camaraderie, fulfillment and completion. In a word...bliss. It is this world of food and ingredients that will soon fall away so that it can give birth to a new and vibrant world come next spring. Until then...