Cooking is an Expression...

Sometimes an expression of happiness, of love, of hospitality or sometimes an expression of mood and state of mind. Cooking is art. Cooking is personality. Cooking is life. Sustenance and survival. One can express themselves through various means and manner and at times, it is amazing to see how one is doing internally. Take a painter...he or she paints what they feel inside. A musician plays or sings about how they feel and a writer does the same. It is easy to really get in touch with the message. In cooking however, the recipient doesn't always see that since the food takes on a life of it's own. In my cooking, I always try to make things the best I can. To strive beyond perfection, knowing I will never come close. It is what keeps me going and moving ahead in my craft. If a chef is feeling great and the dish is rustic and rough looking(although great tasting), it is not really that evident. If the chef is challenged and troubled inside yet he or she presents a super cool kick ass dish, then it all looks like the creator is doing great and living life. No matter the case, the mind set or the
rabbit and foie gras "two ways"
rabbit-foie gras terrine, bucatini pasta, chanterelles, beet paint, mustard
seared loin, figs, chanterelles, charred corn cob-leek ice cream, px vinaigrette

seared sea scallop & truffles
hand-cut tagliatelle, truffles, guanciale, truffled pigs feet sauce

grilled opah cheeks, donut peaches, heirloom tomatoes, smoked olive oil, micro basil
tomato water, cucamelon

grilled Hawaiian monchong, heirloom tomato, cucamelon, heart of palm
tomato water-bergamot "tea", micro lemon basil

diver scallop, tomato tagliatelle, truffles, guanciale, fava beans, corn, lemon essence

hibiscus & anise braised bison short rib, lobster mushroom-pancetta roulade, beet greens
green garbanzo-artichoke tapenade, scarlet turnips, elderberry sauce and beautyberries

alternate shot with black garlic puree and caramelized heirloom garlic

pickled beets, pickled raspberries, plum sorbet, plum soda

lemon posset, strawberries, lemon verbena, blueberry short cake
lemon verbena ice cream, jasmine pot de crème, chocolate fondant, blackberry gelee, figs
blackberry gelato
 internal state of the chef, food is an expression in all of it's glory and the food will come out how it does...the good, the bad and the ugly. Hopefully for the team, the chef and the guest...the guest is pleased with what was served. In the end...nothing else matters.


Quest For Fire...part 2

hangin out with some of the locals

And so it continues...the ever changing chapter of my life...the need to take hold of the flame...the search for flavor, taste, perfection. The primitive quest for fire! Fire is a way of cooking that some will never have the opportunity to explore in a professional sense. I am so fortunate and lucky to have at my disposal and to be honored to include in my arsenal; a fireplace that allows for ample room to present my craft. Enter the grand fireplace. This limited and candid shot explores a Memphis rubbed free range local chicken... slow roasted, basted with fat, spice crusted, slow nurtured and seasoned to a mouth watering goodness for a wedding reception last week. As our new team member and I hovered over the hanging birds, we contemplated and discussed technique, style, refinement, methodry and tools necessary to explore further. Looking forward to where the great time and conversation will lead us.


Appetite for Obsession...

Obsession can be powerful, breathtaking, overwhelming, intimidating, intoxicating, arousing, sensual, abusive, addictive and simply compulsive. In any or all of the descriptors, if used properly and wisely, it can fuel your fire and passion for perfection of your craft. Used poorly and without respect and restraint, it can be harmful, damaging and devastating to ones career, relationships and life. I try to keep it in check with the positive things in my life to fuel my craft, my art and my cooking. I haven't always won that battle. Another story, another time, another day. On the brighter side though, here is a glimpse of the food that stems from it all...
grilled Louisiana shrimp salad, smoked cantaloupe, heirloom tomatoes, basil
smoked olive oil powder, lemon verbena yogurt, tomatocello-viognier gelee

seared pleasant view farms foie gras, elderberry gastric, pluot relish
grains of paradise, lime, banana cake, pecan salt

grilled diver scallop, seared rabbit loin, corn, rabbit-chanterelle salad
creamy potatoes, truffled pigs feet sauce

spice crusted moularde duck, popcorn "grits", peppered nectarines, blackberries,
caramelized heirloom garlic, walnuts, beets, lobster mushroom hushpuppies
blackberry-syrah sauce

warm rabbit salad, figs, chanterelles, arugula, mustard seeds, green apple mustard dressing
seared foie gras, yellow pluot-lime-jalapeno relish, banana toffee cake
elderberry essence

tasting of plums...
pickled red plum salad, shaved fennel, plum-ginger sorbet, plum-hibiscus soda

moularde duck breast- alternate plating

sous vide lamb tenderloin, lentils, potato puree, artichokes, baby turnips
green garbanzo bean-almond-olive tapenade, salsify


High on the Hog...

a few up close and personal shots on one said chef's birthday festivities...playing with pigs. A birthday pig if you will. What a treat and a wonderful present to my team and to myself. Showing a bit of butchery. What is to become of it all one might ask...lots of salumi, sausages, roasts, head cheese, terrine en gelee, braised trotters for pigs feet sauce, cured guanciale, culatello, braised belly, pancetta, bacon, sous vide knuckles for sliders, slow boiled tongue for soup, coppa, ribs...and many more.
a slice of heaven...hog heaven!

breaking down the head...removing the cheeks and brain

removing the tenderloin

brain and kidneys

separating the leg for roasts and culatello...

the chef and his birthday pig!

taking off the ribs for braising and exposing the belly, loin, shoulder for coppa and everything else that is great!

removing the rib and vertebrae chine plates to obtain the loin

when all is said and done...


See, Smell, Taste...

Striped Bass, Artisan Pork Cheek, Truffles...need I say more? Hell no. This was a fish course played out with the Beecher's Whey Fed Pork Cheek that we procured a few days ago. Striped sea bass, seared in brown butter...slow sous vide cooked pork cheek, then glazed with jus d'amour...toasty sautéed local chanterelle mushrooms...a sauce made of cooked pigs feet, pig feet stock, madeira, truffle, vermouth, butter and herbs...peppery nasturtium leaves...braised leeks and baby turnips...everything in harmony together as it was meant to be. Nothing short of sublime. The best part about it was that there are only two cheeks to the hog,. and now they are gone. Next!