Tribute to a Friend...

Today I received some very sad news...a friend of mine has passed away. At 34~years young, it was way too soon. Very untimely to say the least, she will surely be missed and her passing mourned by many. I knew her as "the shroom chick", Christina Choi proper. Christina was always cheerful, smiling, upbeat, pleasant, soft spoken and positive. She was the type of person that seemingly could lift a room just by being present. Although I did not know her well, I know she will be sadly missed as she was a common presence in the culinary community here in town and one that many chefs enjoyed her company and perspective. As a face behind Foraged & Found; a specialty wild mushroom and everything wild and gathered company, she became a prominent figure in our culinary world. So it is with this humble post, that I dedicate it to her and her family. May she rest in peace and enjoy all that the afterlife has to offer. May she enjoy the new experiences of nirvana with all the magical, wonderful and carefree never-ending spirituality that accompanies that...or so I would think. God bless and know you are missed, gone but never forgotten.


Last in Line...

syrah braised painted hills short ribs sous vide

horseradish pancake, thumbelina carrots glace, winter spinach

crosnes, huckleberry braisage

pistachio dusted grilled swordfish salad
shellfish, citrus, hearts of palm, tangerine reduction, meyer lemon oil

Just found a couple of the last stragglers of shots hiding out in my phone. These were snapped at the last chefs table of the year. A wonderful couple and their close friends...there to enjoy anything and everything we care to dish up and out. They are two of the kindest souls I know. They truly enjoy what we do for them and what we cook. What I cook comes from my heart and soul and it shows. When that creativity is stifled, it also shows...it lacks passion, lacks imagination... it starts to lose it's flame...therefore, it dwindles. It is a fact. Fortunately, these folks always get me inspired to cook and create the new. We were a bit preoccupied so not many shots were taken, but a closing view of 2011...cant wait till next year!


Carnival of Thoughts...

sunchoke "cappuccino", truffle foam, potato chip

albacore tuna pave, lobster fritter, fennel-radish salad, verjus
bacon mayo, chervil

seared foie gras "slider", perimmons, scallop, hazelnuts
pumpkin puree, saba

pan roasted diver scallop, lentils, pancetta, quince, honshimejii
braised shortrib & it's jus

steamed wild sea bass, truffle potato puree, truffles
oca, crosnes, micro greens, sherry jus

muscovy duck & organic chicken breast sous vide
hedgehog mushroom ragout, squash cake, thumbelina carrots
caramelized garlic, smoked pecan-bacon crackling "rappe"

a tasting of artisan and fermier cheeses..
tumalo farms "jewel", bloomy soft rind sheep/cows milk, oregon
jasper hill farms "moses sleeper", soft ripened cows milk, vermont
pave de l'averyon, double cream washed rind sheeps milk, france
queso de vare, dry, aged nutty goat's milk, spain
cashel bleu, buttery, sweet cows milk, ireland
various garnishes

pumpkin brulee, chocolate stix, pumpkin roulade, roasted grapes
chocolate pave, evoo gelato, frangipane cakepop,

NW berry cobbler, bacon ice cream


As this year quickly comes to an end, we tend to reflect back on all the good times and bad ones too and remember, cherish and forget about the times we have shared and enjoyed as well as those we did not before continuing headstrong into the new year! In the kitchen and as a chef, it is not any different. I think about all the great times we had as a team, the challenging times as an organization, the wonderful days and nights cooking truly wonderful awesome food, the dishes we created, the moments we shared with the guests who enjoyed them and the looks on their faces as they ate in bliss. Of course, we recall the emails to our GM stating that the meat was overcooked...the paraphrase from the server or dining room manager saying that somebody was not happy with the service time or the meetings that take place to discuss performance of various staff members which ultimately has a negative affect on us as leaders...or perhaps it is when we develop a dish, an idea, a concept, spend numerous hours refining it, creating the passion and then teaching that to others, only to have them not pay attention and f' it up because they are not serious about their cooking. What a disaster. All the emotions and stresses rolled into one...the tensions, the mood swings...the anxieties and preoccupied state of mind from everyone at times...creates for this carnival of collective experiences..some good, some not so much. All in all, in the end, we had a great time I believe this year. And although I had my own world of challenges, starting this year in a very bad place and now feeling much better about life...I think we conquered some real obstacles and created some real awesome food, experiences and memories for people and achieved some respectable goals while going amongst the waves of what was presumed to be very difficult. While you may see a new year's post, I will leave you with some parting shots of food that was the final days of life in the kitchen before coming to a close...wishing you all a great holiday season and new year!


Team of Troopers...

This post is dedicated to all the great peeps I have working for me in the kitchen. In short...they rock! I wanted to put up a post before the month slipped by me...as it has happened before. This month although not as crazy and as busy(reads lucrative) as some years, is still a good month and one that is filled with guests that are having their special holiday party, a special Christmas dinner for the family or just a gathering of folks who want to and find the need to celebrate! It is a special time to most. They come expecting something grand, even if they do not all have the big unlimited budgets like others in a corporate glass house. It is still special to them nonetheless. We aim to please in either case. It always seems to get tough and hectic no matter the business levels. Back in the day, I recall days that flowed into nights and back into days without even going home. Many all nighters. Up till 3am just cutting salmon for the next day...like 500 orders worth, and those were just the salmon parties...not to mention the beef, the chicken, the lamb, pasta, vegetarian, and on and on. It does get more stressful and challenging when the financial end is not there as it puts severe strain on the leadership who in turn drives that challenge onto the team. A cycle of life in the kitchen. We gear up for the busy holidays slowly in august and September, then much more aggressive in October and then rapidly in November and we enter full on assault in December...only to crash in January...lay off, cut back, reduce, streamline, which always means more hours and time for the sous chefs and I,...all in all...it is a crazy time and one that keeps our livelihood alive. It is a madhouse. Controlled chaos. Havoc waiting to happen. It is kitchen life. It is cooking. It is consuming and hostile. Unforgiving and uncaring. Personal life? Forget it! Family time..."in January honey"..."sorry kids...dad has to work late"...you get the idea. Fortunately, the time is coming to a close. The end is near. To all of you in our kitchen...thank you, as I(we) could never have done it without you all. Thanks for pulling through and doing it with such positive attitude and willingness to be a part of the team. Thank you for making it a great season. Here's to the New Year in good food and cooking...Cheers!