Red, Red Wine...

This was all about the "vin rouge". A bountiful and boastful bunch produced by DeLille Cellars in Woodinville, Washington. It was a chance to produce a few dishes to match and pair, taste and savor, the true and fabulous flavors of the local fare. The guys at DeLille are no strangers to great wines and great foods. Their wines go really, really well with robust ingredients and a solid hand at cooking. Here are the few dishes we did. Enjoy the idea of consuming tasty fall degustations and sipping on the following:
Chaleur Estate Blanc 2011
Doyenne Syrah 2003
DeLille D2 2008
Chaleur Estate Red 2001, 2002
sous vide duck breast, quince, crispy duck tongue, pumpkin croustillant
smoked ice cream, black currant gastric
snake river farms wagyu beef rib loin, crosnes, glazed thumbelina carrots, apple butter
king trumpet mushrooms, red wine apples, fig-balsamic essence
valrhona jivara-foie gras dome, persimmons, caramel, pear sorbet, caramel wafer
almond macaron crumble

Transition In Thought...

brined & smoked salmon, citrus, celery, hearts of palm, peppercress, togarashi
sriracha aioli, crispy potato, melon vinaigrette
seared foie gras, scallop, roasted banana, candied pecan, coffee sugar brulee
saba-vadouvan vinaigrette
carrot butter poached canadian whitefish, thumbelina carrots, apples, onions
matsutake mushrooms, verjus-golden raisin sauce

hawaiian honey gel, kaffir lime, fennel pollen frozen yogurt lozenge, buddah's hand 
braised beef short ribs sous vide, fairy tale eggplant, chanterelles, quinoa-corn salad
brussel sprouts-crosnes-walnut, black currant essence
grilled lamb tenderloin, cous cous, lobster mushrooms, scarlet turnips, black garlic
brisket spice oil, douglas fir essence
spice cake pudding, banana chip, apricot kernel ice cream
chocolate-espresso dome, figs, cinnamon ice cream
pumpkin brulee, pumpkin, pear sorbet, gingerbread
poached pear, praline, chocolate sauce, smoked ice cream
walnut-macaron sandwiches, balsamic chocolates, salted caramels, persimmons pates de fruits
A moment in time. A change of pace and direction. A new path based on emotions and thoughts, in essence the force and inertia of the drive is changed by the powerful energy and happenings around us. This has been a very tough and trying time for me personally as two friends, colleagues and team mates have been dealt some tough set of cards. I will not go into it other than there must be a reason for it all. As Kid Rock sings...Only God Knows Why! I cook for the moment as many of you know and now is not any different. Emotion runs and cuts deep as the world unravels around us. It surrounds us and takes hold as we embrace or shun the inevitable. I try to use this emotion and turn it into some sort of positive being in the form of my cooking for others, and then as a tribute to those that have made a significant impact on and in my life for the better. It certainly isn't the first time and it sure as hell ain't the last! Without them, I would not be who and where I am today. I only hope that as life goes on and the people around me that are close will enjoy what I have to offer in this world and the people that matter the most will know how much I care about them. Through my cooking however, is merely one way to show it and express my emotion as I preform my craft. As humble as it is. Cooking is life. Life is fragile. Fragility warrants comfort. Comfort is brought on by slow heartfelt cooking. Life can be good. As I think of my two friends, and those closest to me, I am reminded of that. Deep.


The Creative Process...

scallop-chanterelle terrine, sunchoke puree, artichoke chips, micro arugula, pear-bacon salad
roasted grape-rhubarb vinaigrette(top)
moularde duck, pumpkin croustillant, smoked ice cream, tongue confit,
black currant-syrah gastric, quince (bottom)

snake river farms wagyu rib eye, crosnes, thumbelina carrots, apple butter
french horn mushrooms, red wine apples, fig-balsamic essence

menu thoughts...
valrhona manjari-foie gras dome, persimmons, caramel, pear sorbet, almond macaron (at bottom)
We have heard that phrase so many times before. "The creative process". Where does it transcend from? Where does it manifest itself from there? How does it affect our work and our drive? Our passion? Our success and failures? Our psyche? Our confidence and moxy as a human? Without it, we are dead...lifeless...stagnant...robotic and dumbed down. Stale and sterile we become. With too much of it, we can have the tendency to become self centered, selfish and overconfident, unrealistic, difficult to work with and "out there". I believe we need to keep it in check, yet at the same time let it run free. Without it, our work becomes quite dull and boring. It is what can separate one from the corporate monotony and offer something truly unique and personal...uplifting...wild and intimate for both recipient and artist. A handbag made from the purest of materials with a very personal pattern to it. An ornate home made for only one person in mind and of a certain style and look like no other. A painting that perhaps only the artist themselves could truly see. And in this case...a dish and menu that takes on the personality of the chef. Nobody else may really gets it as the artist does. The vision is usually embedded deep within the minds, hearts, soul of the creator. It is truly more of a feeling and one that is extremely difficult to try to explain. But one thing is for sure...it better taste soigne! Nobody buys a second crappy painting. Don't be afraid to go out on a limb. Break out of the four-walled world you live in and put yourself into your work. Do it today! These are just a few renderings of a recent wine dinner we did. The creative process was in the works far before the food hit the plate, and yet still...the food took on a slightly different look and feel the moment it did.


Vegan Energy Revisited...

silky parsnip 'cappuccino", apple pave, yuzu glaze, onion soubise, maple, crispy beets
micro greens
roasted potato napoleon, leeks, lobster mushrooms, fairy tale eggplant, brussel sprouts
crosnes, candied walnuts, carrot emulsion
"banana split"
coconut chocolate stuffed bananas wrapped with dates and peanuts
pear butter, roasted pineapple, cashew cream, banana chip
stuffed indigo rose tomatoes, quinoa, corn, chanterelles, vadouvan, black garlic,
persimmons salad, tropical micro spinach, saba dressing
pumpkin risotto, farro, shallot confit, matsutake, truffle oil, micro celery
Releasing the demons again...the vegan demons! Every now and again, we get a request, an urge or an inspiration to cook vegan cuisine. Not vegan cuisine really, yet an inspiring and exciting representation of my own cooking lacking animal proteins and products or derivatives. In simplistic terms...local, seasonal, experimental, modern, flavor-forward, technique-driven and taste primary vegetables! Whether served in the dining room, lounge, private rooms or in this case...at the chefs table for 6 folks who all but one were NOT vegan. Always fun to showcase this unique and very vibrantly flavorful way of preparing and combining foodstuffs to those especially who are not of that genre. I myself am not vegan or vegetarian, nor would I want to, and yet...this way of cooking is so exciting. (reads- "am I contradicting myself"?). I have always enjoyed and loved vegetables in most any form ever since I was a young shit. Chefs and guests alike ask me "isn't that difficult to do" or "why do you want to do that, that's boring" or "how in the hell do you get creative with such restrictions"? Well, to me, it is not a restriction, yet an opportunity to explore an ambition. A reason to challenge yourself creatively and technically. I embrace it with every cut and slice of vegetable that lay before me. I can cook vegan just as as well as I can any other ingredient...with care, dedication, professionalism, commitment, passion, desire and skill. Bring it on. Here is what we ended up serving. Hoping they all enjoyed it as much as we did cooking it. My advice for fellow chefs...don't reject it or shun it...embrace it. Have fun with it. Get inspired and make it tasty! Food is food people.



wild rabbit salad, micro arugula, pears, cassis vinaigrette, shiitake chips
scallop & foie gras, figs, fig jam, honey gel, hazelnuts, px, amaranth
corn agnolotti, chanterelles, corn, aussie truffles, truffle-vermouth nage
fennel seared fluke, matsutake, carrot puree, scarlet turnips, purple basil essence
summer melon, lemon curd, cucumber sorbet, anise hyssop, verjus
1982 la tour
chan rockin the latour service
wild hare ragout, lobster mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, farmer onions, syrah
braised veal cheek, red kuri squash puree, shallot confit, fairy tale eggplant
vadouvan apples, huckleberry-chocolate essence
anniversary symphony of dessert

Enter this date... The date of a recent special dinner. The date of yet another personal occasion and anniversary at the chef's table. We have done quite a few so far. 710 to be exact and counting. From 24-courses representing 24 years of marriage, to 9-course special birthdays on 09.09.09 to insane countless menus for various foodies, chefs and aficionados of taste to 27-course tomato menus to all out slug-fest of offal, potatoes, truffles and goodness. This was for a very dear couple who support me regularly. Thank you guys for giving me the privilege of cooking for your special date. God bless, congratulations and raise a glass! Cheers...


Hodge Part 3...

lobster, mango, daikon roll, american sturgeon caviar, spicy aioli
yuzu kosho dressing
scrambled eggs, italian truffles, creme fraiche (not pictured)
sliced bresaola, micro arugula, sous vide egg yolk, pecorino, olive oil
honey bunches of oats foie gras, milk gel, bananas, caramel, banyuls vinaigrette
seared diver scallop, corn agnolotti, roasted corn, truffles, chanterelles, squab breast
tale of three soups...(not pictured)
seared hawaiian opah, chard, carrot puree, macadamia nuts, baby farmer tomatoes, 
coconut emulsion, peach relish, chili threads
heirloom tomato jam, skin chip, green zebra pave, yellow taxi sorbet
chilled yellow tomato water "boisson"
mustard marinated grilled partridge, barley, matsutake mushroom, anardana broth
wild brown rabbit "salad"...
pan roasted leg, kuri squash puree, truffles, chanterelles, caramelized apples, thyme
loin roulade, chanterelles, hazelnuts, compressed apples

wild wood pigeon, whipped blackberry, blackberry-honey gel, figs, root beer foam
fennel, juniper-foie gras sauce
scottish red grouse sous vide, spicy thumbelina carrot-asian pear salad
confit cous cous, almonds, cassis-brown butter essence
wild blue hare two ways...
slow braised leg "hasenpfeffer", walnut-cacao nib waffle, celery root puree
grilled loin, garlic, eggplant, lobster mushrooms, cabbage-bacon, valrhona chocolate sauce
dark chocolate "coulant", verbena raspberries, pumpkin seed brittle, smoked ice cream
And so it was...the last of the three part series of taste, texture, flavor and pleasure for a special guest whilst dining at noneother than; the Chef's Table! This was a culmination of fun & flavor, technique and taste, principle and passion, exploration and experience. I embarked on this journey of cooking as an inspiration of the season and a prelude into the game festival we were featuring. Hodge; being a lover of game and most things exciting and exotic, partook in this culinary adventure with a "no holds barred" attitude and said nothing more than "bring it on"! Here is what took place and how we rolled. Enjoy...


In Honor of One...

beet & smoked duck salad, beet-heart of palm "ravioli", carrot-beet tapenade, pickled gold beet
persimmons-fennel salad, orange-fennel vinaigrette, micro greens
lobster-avocado-mango salad, yuzu-champagne-elderflower sabayon
(not pictured)
pan roasted pleasant view farms foie gras, caramelized bananas, maple apples
pecans, vadouvan-saba dressing, coffee sugar brulee, burgundy amaranth
seared hawaiian opakapaka, indigo rose tomato, quinoa-corn-chanterelle composure
black garlic, baby tropical spinach, carrot emulsion, orange jus de poisson
bouche revigorant
hawaiian lehua honey gel, finger lime-buddah's hand salad,
fennel pollen frozen yogurt lozenge
(not pictured)
beef & veal "shortstack"...
braised short rib and cheek, artisan polenta, fairy tale eggplant, matsutake mushrooms
brussel sprouts, crosnes, walnuts, truffle essence, cassis-peppercorn sauce
spice cake pudding, noyeaux ice cream, crisp banana
pumpkin custard, gingerbread crumble, pears, pear sorbet, molasses cookie
espresso-chocolate mousse, caramel, figs
tiramisu, smoked cinnamon ice cream
salted caramels, persimmons pates de fruits, balsamic chocolates
walnut-nutella macaron sandwiches
(not pictured)
My posts are always attributed to or a tribute to one thing or another that I hold close and dear. A memory or remembrance of something or someone significant or deeply rooted within me. This post is really the epitome of that concept. Matt my friend...this one is and was totally for you. I cooked at the chefs table last night kicking ass with you in my mind recalling all the great times we cooked together in the past. The foods we enjoyed, the dishes we are passionate about and the inspiration you have always been to me as a chef. From the excitement about cooking foie gras, to the many times dining at Crush, to my surprise birthday party there to discussions about our travels, different chefs and restaurants. As I plated the dishes last night, especially the foie gras, I could see the times in the past cooking them together. Laughing, focused, serious, passionate and having fun doing what we love to do. Good times! I need you to fight the good fight amigo. I was kicking ass cooking knowing you will be kicking ass with the right and the fight to live! A will to survive. A will to have strength, the passion and the desire to experience more on this earth. To remind us all that we need to be positive and set the great examples such as you have in the past. I can not wait to cook together again and create yet another awesome memory. This one's for you bud...