Love Me Some...

anything and everything au chocolat...those that know me, know that chocolate is my favorite food, and specifically, dark, bittersweet chocolate. Valrhona, to be exact, but I also love me some Scharffenberger, Pralus and Claudio Corallo as well. I can not get enough of it at times. And like those other addictions in my life~ both new and old...I indulge in proper fashion. That's my Leo behavior. When I go out to dine, I will most always order the chocolate dessert, even if I am too full and/or not hungry enough to eat it. I just want to see it...smell it...touch it...taste it! At the end of a uber cool, awesome intimate dining experience, the chocolate sets the tone...it is the climax to a special meal...it is nirvana. Here is a chocolate dish that came to be at the end of such an experience...one that I was cooking, rather than eating...at least I was able to taste it at the end...like sex on a plate!

coffee-chocolate cremeux, chocolate sablee, chocolate paint, pears, coffee soil,
chocolate-malt crumble, caramel, cinnamon-coffee buenelos, smoked wood ice cream
espresso anglaise and emulsion

Piece of Mind...

Yes, another journey of taste, flavor and expression. An inspiration. A state and piece of mind. It goes without saying that it is the reason this blog was started. To document, record, convey and leave behind, long after I'm gone, an addictive path of progression and philosophy for others to read, contemplate, ponder, question and ultimately use or toss away in an attempt to forward the craft of cooking and good life. I use this platform to get shit off my chest. To express and share. To provoke thought and inspire. To dedicate and pay tribute. To share my heart and art with the one I love. These photos are representing a piece of my mind from earlier this week...So take it as you may...use it as you see fit, or not at all...let it stir up the ideas in your own mind...let the ideas fly like Icarus~ fly as high as the sun!
chilled spring pea boisson, radishes, orange oil
sautéed rabbit loin-king trumpet mushroom skewer

shellfish salad, grapefruit, avocado, minted celery, peppered strawberries
rhubarb, watermelon, chervil, bergamot dressing

grilled new zealand sea bass, compressed cantaloupe, apples
yuzu pudding, fennel, micro arugula, togarashi, honeydew vinegar vinaigrette

braised veal cheek, smoked quinoa, fava beans, morels, garlic scapes
shallot-elderberry sauce

tasting chocolate...
salted caramel ganache tart, coffee-chocolate cremeux, chocolate soufflé cake
praline-chocolate flake ice cream linzer sandwich, pears, espresso, caramel

copper river salmon belly torched "crudo", beet paint, morels
asparagus, walnut powder, arugula, grated grilled walnuts, walnut vinaigrette

seared foie gras, cacao nib pancake, long pepper, cherries, lemon balm
pecans, macaron-nib-pecan crumble, cassis-banyuls gastric


Simple But Tasty...

Rustic, simple and good. Sometimes it is nice and refreshing to decompress and just cook, and not get sucked into the realms of modernist, contemporary, high end food and cooking...yet just preparing a dish(es) for the sake of simple taste, flavor, and enjoyment. A different enjoyment mind you. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy cooking in an uber high end manner. It is what I have built most of my career on. It drives me. It pushes me. It stimulates my intellectual side, passion and challenging mindset. But, there are times when I just want to not think about it, like when at home, playing around in the kitchen putting things together to eat and for sustenance. These are a couple shots of dishes that were crafted for a simpler style of fare in a slightly more approachable atmosphere. Most any chef who cooks high end fine dining has a yearning for something simple. Here are but a few of mine. Enjoy...
36 hour brisket sandwich...slow low temperature roasted with goodness
cider brined, spice rubbed, slow roasted.
with corn relish, crispy spicy onion rings, wicked mojo ancho sauce, charred rosemary aioli
radish-citrus slaw

slow cooked grilled chicken breast, fennel puree, caramelized pearl onions
goat cheese polenta gratin, mushrooms, asparagus and poultry jus

pan roasted halibut, green garbanzo hummus, peas, radishes, lemon
fennel, raviolis(carrot here), carrot coulis

roasted beet salad, asian pears, aged bleu cheese, endive, greens
walnut vinaigrette and honeyed yogurt


Visions of Goodness...

I see the visions all the time, and I think about the good times I've had, the good others do in this world and the good that life has brought me. It goes without saying that I have seen the other side as well. As I cook for people though and see the smiles on their faces, it makes me smile and reminds me of something positive. I think about cooking I have done for my family and all the previous guests and how that brings happiness to me to be able to do that and be gifted to help to create memories for others...To cook for people is one of the best pleasures we have in life. I think about the inspiration it brings. Life can change on a dime and be taken away. There is sometimes not any warning and for no reason at all, so I encourage you to pay attention to what matters, do what your heart tells you and seek out the good in this world. Go after what you see to be good. Food and cooking is good. Good food = good memories = good life.
silky foie gras terrine, cacao nibs, apricot conserve, pickled green strawberries
rhubarb pearls, arugula, aged balsamic, walnut dressing

warm rabbit tart, savory garlic shortdough, morels, asparagus, chervil
chevre, pistachios, maple-sherry vinaigrette

carrot-mascarpone ravioli, truffled squab, sugar snap peas
pea vines, crab essence

ramp pesto brushed cod, grilled baby octopus, duck fat braised potatoes
preserved lemons, fennel, radishes, honshimejii, romesco dust

seared foie gras, rhubarb caviar, poached rhubarb, pine bud reduction
walnuts, walnut powder, micro greens, muscovado profiteroles

pan roasted rabbit loin, truffles, corn, morels, corn ravioli
truffled corn nage

olive oil poached cod, garbanzo stuffed zucchini blossoms, peas
pea vines, baby tomatoes, oranges, basil, spanish olive oil

chamomile blossom crème brulee, local strawberries, strawberry-lime sorbet
black cap raspberries, lemon verbena foam, spruce tip ice cream, evoo streusel
mark's raspberries, posset, rhubarb sorbet, citrus poppyseed sponge
chocolate cremeux, soufflé cake, tayberries, smoked cherry wood ice cream


When Hope & Promise Fades...

...there will still be the food and the cooking...won't here? I pray I never lose the passion and the drive for it, for it is what I love to do. It is what enables me to pass the time and ease the pain as well. Food will forever be a part of me...from the early childhood years of eating, cooking and learning from my mother, to the early cooking school days to the professional formative years during decadence, addiction and abuse... to the focused, intent and serious hell-bent-for-leather badass I became to the mature(go ahead...laugh) mentoring and passionate chef that I am today, or at least forever hope to be...I hope I can always make a difference to those that I cook with, those that I cook for and those that are close to me! Food is who I am. I hope and pray I can always share my special gift with those who care. Here are but a few dishes that were shared with some good guests...good times!
local asparagus and morel salad, rabbit loin, pistachio dust, goat cheese
chervil, pistachio pesto, maple-sherry vinaigrette

carrot-mascarpone ravioli, crab legs, soft shell crab essence, peas, pea vines

herb seared atlantic fluke, radishes, celery, lemon, heart of palm
fennel-citrus salad, pea jus dressing

rhubarb salad, rhubarb foam, peppered raspberry, hibiscus gel, frozen yogurt lollipop

sous vide painted hills beef loin, garlic-parsley crust, fava bean tapenade
roasted porcini, polenta, garlic scapes, pearl onions, red wine jus

a savory concoction...
braised short rib, truffles, truffle potatoes, spice roasted carrots
carrot creamed nettles, coral mushrooms, elderberry sauce

silky foie gras terrine, poached rhubarb, rhubarb pearls, pecans, apricot conserve
cacao nibs,  12 year balsamic condiment, crispy potato
syrah braised veal cheek, porcini, fava bean tapenade, carrot ravioli
truffled nettles, garlic scapes, sherry reduction


Inertia of Chaos 6.07.14...

Enter another chapter in the never ending story and saga of the drive, momentum, propellant, fuel, fire, energy and progressive movement forward that is the lifeblood of the business and passion in the kitchen...at least this one...it is my inertia of chaos. Controlled chaos mind you. It is also the alter ego of my heavy metal band name, but that is another story...a dream actually! These are simply some random shots of the moment during the dinner...not a ton, since during the heat, I couldn't take the time to shoot cool shots...needed a photographer...shoulda, woulda, coulda!

unwrapping the torchon of foie gras...mmm, can hardly wait!

ready to slice...

almost ready to plate...service starts in about an hour

cool ass fish knives...these are vintage pieces...old euro school!  These things were severely tarnished...
shined them like brand new!

my son...talk about a proud dad to watch his son do this in front of him

plating foie torchon

the makings of an awesome dessert

staging the mezzo...or the bouche revigorant as I call it

pastry team killing it..AGAIN!


Cooking for the Chaine...

Viva la Chaine! What another amazing experience. Cooking for the Chaine des Rotisseurs has been a part of my repertoire since the early 80's, when decadence, excess and substance flowed like the wine they stored, coveted and consumed. We have been fortunate to have a great long standing relationship with them here so it is often we are blessed with the opportunity to prepare and present our craft to this distinguished group of foodies and connoisseurs of the grape juice. This was to be a special gathering as it was the induction dinner in which it was to be the last as Baille of Seattle for a fellow chef, friend and member Bertrand de Boutray. Seemed as though everyone had a phenomenal time to say the least. It was quite fun and inspiring for the kitchen team, and myself as well. So honored and fortunate when that happens. Cooking and giving of myself brings me to a state of happiness. It reminds me of who I am, where I came from, what was handed down from my late mother, and instilled in me to help others. It brings back memories of my cooking past and why I got into this craziness of a business and ultimately...why I have stayed the course. It also conjures up memories of sharing and giving from my heart to another...when someone plans a meal, cooks and puts their heart and soul into it, it is not work, nor business, nor a hassle...it is pure enjoyment and gratitude. Gratitude for having the opportunity to express and share...here is what the aficionado's of food, wine and lore were presented on the early night of summer this month...
scallop mousseline, compressed cucumbers, golden caviar, crisp potato

chilled spring pea boissons, meyer lemon crème fraiche, radishes, shiitake chips

sous vide escargot chablisienne, pickled shallot marmalade, celery leaves
rabbit confit, truffled thyme custard, cipolline onions and truffle oil

kona kampachi crudo, poached rhubarb, apple, minted celery, micro cilantro
rhubarb pearls, yuzu pudding, citrus oil

pleasant view farms duck foie gras torchon, savory truffled apricot conserve
honey-gewürztraminer gel, pistachios, cacao nib-pepper cannel
banyuls gastric

herb seared copper river sockeye salmon, morels, ramps, peas
pea pancake, pea vines, frog leg "bordelaise" sauce

lime foam, navarro late harvest granite
hibiscus gel, grains of paradise dressed raspberry & fennel

slow cooked charred cinnamon laced rib loin eye
sweetbread-garlic flan, fava bean tapenade, roasted porcini, glazed shallots
and a silky valrhona manjari-blackberry "grand veneur" sauce

bittersweet chocolate & salted caramel marjolaine
layered with hazelnut dacquoise, ganache..house preserved cherries, cherry jam
caramel, hazelnut crumble, macaron and smoked cherry wood ice cream


Make A Memory...

It is always an amazing thing when you can help make wonderful memories for others simply by giving of yourself. And when that part of you is cooking, music, song, words, or art etc...it becomes so very personal and even more special. I'd like to think I have done so here and there for a small few along the way in my career and life. Maybe I'm just blowing my own horn. Maybe that's wishful thinking. I really would like to believe that my gifts of my craft and of my heart have meant something to those who I have cooked for. Maybe it doesn't matter, and at the end of the day, it's just food. Whatever the case...I try and give my best performance each and every day and night. Here is a set that was laid out for some folks who were pretty excited to dine with us. Here are some new thoughts and different ideas, some new ingredients, techniques and philosophies on taste, flavor and presentation. I think I can look back and at least say that perhaps the memories that became special that night were of my own and those of my team. Maybe they've already forgotten about it? No matter the way it goes...I enjoy what I do and with whom I do it with and for who I do it for...here's to the memories of our lives, the special people we encounter that are a part of them, the new friends we meet along the way and the memories that are yet to be that we help create...
quail and rabbit roulade, asparagus, morels, arugula, hazelnuts, mustard
garlic tuile, black garlic aioli, maple-mustard-sherry vinaigrette

seared foie gras, cocoa waffle, pickled green strawberries, pistachio dust
rhubarb gel & pearls, whipped citrus honey, caramel drizzle

seared atlantic fluke, potatoes, peas, pea vines, heart of palm, truffles
coral mushrooms, truffle-bacon nage

pepper dressed raspberries, hibiscus gel, fennel, lime foam, navarro pinot granite

porcini seared venison loin, porcini mushrooms, carrot creamed nettles
coffee roasted Thumbelina carrots, elderberry essence

ras el hanout duck breast, parsnip puree, apricot-onion relish
braised baby turnips, walnuts, beets, banyuls sauce

tasting of sweets...
salted caramel ganache tart, chocolate-coffee cremeux, pears, peanut butter foam
jasmine pot de crème, oranges, pistachio marjolaine
rhubarb sorbet, strawberries, mascarpone sorbet, spruce tip ice cream