Spring Has Sprung...

Seared Diver Scallop Slider, sriracha aioli, arugula, white asparagus, peas, white asparagus gelato, olive oil powder
roasted corn tea mezzo~granite, melon, grapes & soda with pomegranate gelee
grilled alaskan halibut, chorizo, green garbanzo, ramps, chorizo hollandaise, octopus
seared foie gras, rhubarb, fig paste, walnuts, saba, crisp potato
a few dishes, visions, ideas, thoughts, emotions, and moments in time in our kitchen of late. Spring...a new frontier in the year. A time when all is becoming new again. Life is breathed into earth and birth is given to ingredients in which to display our craft. So lucky a chef...and a diner!
moularde duck, fava bean puree, black trumpets, kumquats, porcini nettles, blackberry sauce
"PB & J" spoons for mignardises

Pastry Princess...

Cake that is. This sweet thing of royalty proportion was made by our own pastry princesses. A cake I had learned from way back in cooking school when I attended the CCA. We embellished the center with a rose-raspberry gelee and used an lemon-olive oil sponge instead. I was proud of the cake and their execution of it. Great job team!


How Sweet It Is...

Pastry...how sweet it is! It is my love...A passion. A desire. An obsession. A quest for nirvana! I really love pastry. I used to spend so much time in the pastry area in my earlier years as a cuisinier...from kitchen to kitchen. From chef to chef...learning, growing, pushing, feeling the pain of the search for perfection, harboring that desire to be the best. When I dine, I try to order as much pastry as I can to just bliss out so-to-speak! Well, I learned. I enjoyed. I refined my craft. I pushed myself and those around me to strive for perfection. I stumbled. I got back up. I have developed and cultivated a cool thing here at where i live(work). The crew changes from time to time of course...some for the better, some for the not so much. Either way, it is good. It is good to move people through there who may not even think of being in the pastry department. Some should never be in the pastry area mind you. To bring a savory cook into the pastry and have them stage there for a good stint of time...a tour of duty if you will, is a wonderful thing. It is seeing and watching a savory entity and transform into a delicate, patient, disciplined butterfly. It is a discipline they will carry with them throughout their career for the better! As said...we have had some cool pastry folks. We have done some great things, no denying that. But currently, for some odd reason, yet not hardly odd at all, we have a chemistry and uniqueness in our pastry shop today that is truly amazing and wonderful. I am blessed with two awesome girls who literally kick some ass! Do we have issues at times? Sure. We are human, we are cooks and we are crazy (at least I am). Do we make mistakes?...absolutely! There is probably not a day that goes by that we do not. If we didn't make mistakes, we shouldn't be here. We are learning and constantly aiming to perfect our craft and our work. Refine our palates and get better at our efficiencies. This is a learning kitchen. We do not always hit the mark but we sure do work hard to do so. We are serious. But what I have always felt, is that if we set our sights and standards higher than we can actually and knowingly obtain, then our shortfalls will be or should be higher than what may be expected from others. Maybe not. Anyway, the point is, is that I work with two great women in the pastry area and I am proud to have them working with me. I become more and more amazed at their drive, desire and passion to be perfect. I learn from them each day. So it is with this post that I salute, raise a glass and share a toast to you Rosann...and you Liz to a job well done, each and every day, week after week, month after month, through good times and bad...even if we did let the expediter fire the mezzo directly with you! :) You guys are my savior in my own search for happiness in the pastry department. Thank you both...


Knife Skills Refinement...

If it is one thing I continuously say to our cooks is that they must always keep working on their knife skills. One must have as sharp a knife skill as their knives. The knives must be sharp in order to achieve such a skill, but it also takes patience, commitment, dedication, perseverance, vision and a keen eye for sharpness and precision. If they are not sharp, you can not reach that level of perfection in your cuts. A cook's sharp knife skills says something loud and clear and very important about a craftsman in a professional kitchen. It says they are serious and not messing around. It shows the level of quality in an establishment and in a chefs expectations. There is one such cuisinier in our kitchen that has great knife skills and sets the bar very high for others to strive towards...that cook is Andy. He rocks the knife. Time after time, he shows up to play hardball and follows through every time. He takes it seriously, just like everyone should. Some do not know, some do not have the eye yet, some do not have the ability to and some, unfortunately, do not have the drive to and discipline to push themselves to do it. As with anything in life...commit to it completely. Be dedicated to excellence. Refine, refine, refine! Strive towards perfection, even knowing that it is impossible to achieve in this lifetime. I catch myself at times and hate it when I use the term "perfect". It is not possible in this sense as it can always be better. It is never perfect. I hate it when that term is used as it is naive to believe that it is. A ripe peach on the tree can be and is perfect. A marriage of ingredients can be and is sometimes perfect. Man simply is not. Man's functions and fruits of his labor are not...they can always be better. Don't stop that persistence towards bettering yourself and your craft. Push yourself always as Andy does. Set the example. Set the bar...


Up with a Twist...

A fun play on a classic...accomplishing just about all the favorite elements of a good time...smoothness, flavor, balance, mouth feel, excitement, conversation and taste! For me, I enjoy taking an idea and spinning it into something memorable and fun...exhilarating and exciting...tasty and unique. This "martini" was crafted with the creation of spring in mind...

fava beans

honshimejii mushrooms


green almonds

spring vegetable stock

diver scallop

early potatoes
to serve~

creamy potato mousseline in bottom, fava bean tapenade layer next, fill with sauteed fresh baby fava beans, honshimejii mushrooms, shallots and scant garlic, chopped tarragon and chervil, spooned into glass. heat vegetable stock with shallots, grated truffle, butter, olive oil, truffle oil, salt and white pepper. Whisk to froth. Ladle gently over fava beans. Sear scallop on both sides. Skewer with pick and serve up, neat or dirty...you decide!

Visions of Taste...

foie gras torchon, saba, compressed apples, fried challah, walnut oil

seared foie gras, rhubarb, pedro ximenez, hazelnuts, cacao nibs

white asparagus salad, white asparagus gelato, olive oil powder

bacon, scallop, fennel vinegar

a couple shots of taste centered around and derived from passion, ambition, devotion, imagination, consumption, commitment, excitement, flavor(in search of), love, obsession, arousal, sensation, celebration and the like. Enjoy!


25 Courses to Go...

1.) roasted beet salad, candied walnuts, chevre, compressed pears
walnut-saba dressing, blood orange-champagne sabayon
2.) seared scallop, jicama"mojito" salad, mint, cilantro, mango coulis
3.) caramelized carrot soup, herb dressed dungeness crab skewer
4.) foie gras torchon, poached apple, pecan, arugula, verjus dressing,
mosto cotto
5.) seared foie gras, poached rhubarb sous vide, hazelnuts,
cacao nibs, fleur de sel
6.) licorice & gewurztraminer poached foie gras, grape confit,
sweet onion puree
7.) pan roasted monkfish, pea pancake, honshimejii, peas, lobster
creamed nettles
8.) scottish salmon belly "torched crudo", heart of palm-papaya salad
black sesame, ginger
9.) grilled albacore loin, chick peas, chorizo, radishes, parsley
and smoked paprika
10.) poached rhubarb-papaya "ravioli", pine nut-honey farce
rhubarb coulis, black salt
11.) peppered strawberries, rose gelee, grains of paradise
toasted coconut
12.) verjus laced grapes, pink peppercorn-champagne granite
13.) grilled marinated quail, green lentils, fava beans, spinach
bacon, maple-bourbon jus, mustard
14.) spice rubbed moularde duck breast, baby turnips, fava bean tapenade
blackberry jus
15.) chicken breast sous vide, white asparagus, shiitake chips
green asparagus ribbons, herbed nage
16.) grilled lamb tenderloin, black trumpet mushroom-robiola grilled
cheese sandwich, thumbelina carrots
17.) syrah braised bison short ribs, hedgehog mushrooms, cauliflower puree
black peppercorn sauce
18.) pan roasted painted hills beef tenderloin, grilled oyster mushrooms,
apple confit and crispy polenta
red velvet celebration cake"
19.) caramelized mango, banana bread pudding, macadamia nuts
20.) ice pineapple smoothie, honey essence
21.) "la vache de chalais" cows milk cheese, truffle honey
cherries, salted potato croustillant"

22.) espresso-chocolate chip chiffon, gianduja mousse
cassis pears, anglaise
23.) dark chocolate-caramel-praline indulgence, banana brulee
blackberry & chocolate sorbets
24.) rosemary-olive oil chocolate dome, raspberry macaron crumble,
olive oil powder

25.) mignardise
salted caramels, rhubarb-prosecco gelee, "PB&J spoons
warm chocolate madelines
A spin and a riff on an old Johnny Cash tune...a tribute to the man in black! Some say I wear a lot of black. Black is good. Black is mysterious. Black rocks! This menu however was not about black. It was about flavor...technique...imagination and surprise...ingredients...celebration and laughter...flavors of the moment and most of all...25 years of marriage! A couple, a wonderful, marvelous couple who I love dearly asked me yet again to cook for their special day. Each year they tend to celebrate two anniversaries~ one from the marriage and one representing the day they met. Is that awesome or what?!? And each year they indulge in our culinary craft. What an honor. And each year, we try to cook a dish representing each year of their unity. To save on a little bit of time and to not drag things out so long where they are still celebrating the years come breakfast time, we plate three courses(years) at a time on one plate. Here is what unfolded this year...R & L...thank you, congratulations and god bless!