12.19.2014

Cold December Pain...

In the food and bev industry like restaurants, hotels, clubs, and the like, especially in the kitchen or the front of the house service teams, December is usually and probably always will be for most total hell, in some way or another. And yet, it is what we do and we love what we do right? It is what pays the bills for both us and our employer. When an average work day is about a minimum of 14-18 hours, or more, and one never really sees the light of day, or their family, it starts to wear on you. And a social life...what the hell is that? Sure, maybe catching a bite at a late night hang out at 2am works, or for those that take part in the party scene...drinking till wee hours, only to come in half drunk to do it all over again is what you are after...it still gets old. Now I have had my share of wild times back in the day, but in the last 26 years...it has amounted to just sheer hard work, long, long hours, the drive to succeed and make it happen, stamina and focus, studying and researching new ideas until 3am, hugging my boys, losing a marriage and getting through the shit! People who don't work in this industry will never really understand the commitment and the need to get the job done, and why we do what we do and what it takes to do it. Perhaps they don't really care and probably shouldn't. Why should they? They just want to be a part of your life and have a part of you and not have to take second fiddle to your job. They shouldn't have to. I met someone very special and wonderful who understands what it is about, for she has worked in this crazy business in the past. She gets it. We had a great time working together. I miss those times. I miss her. I don't know if I will ever see her again, but that is another sad story for some other damn day. One has to be knee deep in it to experience it, live it, walk it, talk it and realize what it is all about...it's about supporting the team and your fellow co-worker. It is about not letting someone down, mainly yourself and about your dedication to not failing. During these long trying days and endless nights, it is difficult to get good photos of the work being accomplished as we are just barely able to keep our heads above water and stay afloat. Getting through one service and right into the next. Putting out fires, figuring out solutions to staffing nightmares, handling misunderstood directions, employees calling in sick, botched deliveries and tasks, equipment failures and the stress and frustration of a guest who sends back their steak because they ordered it medium rare, and ordered it under because they feel it always comes out more done than they like and now complains because it is too rare! Shit! Gotta love it. Anyway...the food shots are lean, and the patience is as well. Here are just a couple of dishes that I felt barely worthy of mention. I think this post is more about the rant than the rave.
tasting for 4 single malt scotches...clockwise from top left;
caramelized apple bisque, rye chips, bourbon butter, hazelnut-malt crumble, sherry pearls
pear-crepe terrine, mascarpone, duck confit-pear salad, arugula, candied walnuts
citrus glazed sturgeon, bacon jam, charred lemon aioli
scotch glazed 12 hour pork belly, butternut puree, persimmons, cacao nib crumble

north dakota bison loin, red wine farro, cassis onions, chanterelles
sous vide fennel, shaved alba white truffles, cassis sauce

marinated, slow braised pork belly, smoked popcorn, pedro ximenez glaze

rolled spanish omelette, lobster, smoked paprika, potatoes, olive oil, manchego

12.14.2014

Before The Dawn...

Before the dawn...I think...I dream...I contemplate...I create...I write...I plan and I imagine all things good in my life and the amazing experiences, love, good times and emotions that have been presented to me and that I have been so gratefully blessed with along the way. I have a special person that I was so fortunate to have met and who changed my life for the better forever. I am blessed to have been given the ability to be a parent and a father to two wonderful boys and I am so grateful for the passion and ability to cook in which god gave me. I also think about the pain and sadness that my life has encompassed and that I have experienced in it. It helps me in a strange, sick way. It keeps me balanced and helps me to dig deep for the thoughts and ideas that are created from within. I have a dark side, no denying it. But it is that dark side that makes me who I am. Good, bad or indifferent. I like to believe I am a happy person with passions and ambitions to have a great life, have fun, keep a sense of humor and continue to strive to make people happy through my cooking and provide for them the many wonderful experiences that I believe that I have. Folks will ask me when I am cooking for them "how long did that take to think of that"? or... "How long have you been planning this meal, dish etc"?...Usually, my answer is the same~ I plan things as I cook, as I drive to work, as I listen to the crazy music that I do, as I think about the one I love and as I am staying up late into the wee hours of the morning..."before the dawn". This is for you d...Cheers!
compressed apples, curry steeped celery, cranberry gelee, celery leaves, smoked pecans
spiced pumpkin seeds, cider pudding, gingerbread streusel, maple-bourbon dressing

flat iron of beef sous vide, pepper crusted, brussels-walnut-potato hash
juniper roasted carrots, chanterelle-quince-parsnip pastie, micro arugula
pomegranate sauce

12.03.2014

Luxurious White Heat...

Several things might come to one's mind when thinking about fresh white truffles from Italy~descriptors that tantalize and tease...provoke and stir thought...excite and exhilarate...I will let your mind wander and dream
. We have been getting in a couple small shipments of these prized Alba beauties lately...still developing ideas of what to do next...



shaved alba truffles with pappardelle and chanterelles
*
warm salad with porcini and alba truffles, saba-hazelnut dressing
*
seared scallops, alba truffles, farro risotto, shaved lomo
*
veal loin sous vide, pumpkin gnocchi, alba truffles, quince essence
*
silky celery root-alba truffle "cappuccino"
*
warm toasted brioche, alba truffles, truffle honey, soft robiola
*
alba truffle-white chocolate ice cream
*
potato-alba truffle-duck tongue ragout with caramelized garlic
*
hubbard squash-escarole agnolotti, oca, alba truffles, veal-crème fraiche lacing
*
alba truffle butter poached lobster fricassee with carrots and salsify
*
what's next???

11.29.2014

Carpe Diem Baby...

When all is said and done, one must feel good about what they have accomplished, or they must keep pushing forward towards perfection, satisfaction and completion in all that they are and all that they do. Redemption of self worth is so important. One must feel like they have a purpose and a meaning, a sense of fulfillment in their journey. Along that path, we must go after what we desire, whether it be our career, our craft, our passions or our hearts. To seize the day, the circumstance, the moment...is what we should always aim for in life, for if we don't, we risk stumbling and fumbling our way through our existence without that sense of fulfillment...only to become a bleeding soul crying out for that redemption. I try hard to seize the day in all that I am and all that I do...thank you d for all your inspiration and for showing me this importance! I will always do my best to make the most out of life.
smoked rabbit roulade, slow roasted cepes, smoked pecans, saba,
apple salad, red ribbon sorrel, mustard dressing

spiced foie gras torchon, gingerbread streusel dust, beet paint, persimmons chutney
pomegranate gel, duck spice powder cassis reduction,
toasted brioche rubbed with hazelnut-cacao nib honey

grilled cobia belly, sautéed oca, roasted monkfish, bucatini pasta
roasted maitake mushrooms, white truffle-oxtail dashi

american wagyu beef loin sous vide, pumpkin, matsutake mushrooms
brussels sprout-walnut-onion hash, date puree, arugula
braised quince-cognac essence

11.27.2014

Breakin The Law...


As a tribute to the Gods of Heavy Metal and my life-long passion for food, obsession for cooking and hard rock n roll, I offer you up this set of shots to tempt your taste buds…enter Judas Priest and the Taste of Bordeaux! How do the two go together one might ask? They don’t, they exist only in my head.

Enter Breakin the Law…breaking the laws of the normalcy, the mundane, or the routine, and certainly not traditional but with respect to tradition yet aimed at the modern, new and creative…

Livin After Midnight…enjoying all that is good and/or mischievous…in all that we do...in and out of the kitchen…for it is typically after midnight that I find myself delving into the realm of new ideas, long after most have faded into darkness and submitted to slumber.

Victims of Changes…victims of good taste, flavor, and style… for it was a select handful, subjected to an extraordinary meal and gathering of ingredients prepared with love, passion and desire… handcrafted with care, focused on the dedication towards excellence and total immersion of taste, and some great wines from the infamous region that is aforementioned.
hors...
silky pumpkin "cappuccino", chives, apples, pumpkin seed oil
gougeres with lobster, tarragon and avocado
smoked rabbit roulade, apricot mostarda, pistachios
 
raw shigoku oyster, hibiscus gelee, micro celery, licorice poached celery
bergamot, crème fraiche, lillet sorbet, crispy potato wafer
 
duck and chanterelle "pithivier", sunchoke puree, banyuls shallots, salsify
red ribbon sorrel, blackberry-laurel sauce
 
pan roasted monkfish, white truffled celery root puree
braised oxtails, glazed cepes, beet blush shoot, truffle essence
 
pepper crusted venison loin, savory hubbard squash cake, cassis mustard seeds
matsutake mushrooms, juniper carrots, persimmons compote
wild huckleberry "sauce rounenaise"
 
american wagyu beef loin, quince-foie gras "tart", whipped cranberry
crosnes, baby turnips, maitake mushrooms, quince-cognac sauce
 
taste of bordeaux...
chocolate-coffee cremeux cone, chocolate-espresso cannel, cherries, pears
hazelnut macaron, prune-armagnac ice cream, coffee, caramel and cherry jus


d...this is for you
 

11.16.2014

Footsteps in my Mind...

I trace them constantly and ask what is my purpose? The answer lurks somewhere, this I'm sure. No matter the outcome, the search will continue...continue on for a better dish, a better way of doing things, a better representation of myself as a person and as a father and a better life. A few gathering of ingredients here presented and crafted in various ways. The busy season is definitely well upon us and not leaving much time to craft the new, yet just get through the shit ahead..s.o.s.

duck breast salad, sautéed matsutake mushrooms, pistachios,
 pine bud syrup, argan oil, micro arugula

silky celery root "cappuccino", white truffles, chestnut biscotti, spice-pistachio butter

spicy coconut panna cotta, hibiscus gelee, pickled pineapple, kaffir sorbet

warm rabbit salad, crispy duck tongues, pear puree, sweet cicely, maple
king trumpet-white truffle cappuccino, savory biscotti

seared foie gras, beets, persimmons, hazelnuts, beet blush, noble sherry reduction

pan roasted monkfish, red wine farro, caramelized brussels sprouts, walnuts
pumpkin, lobster mushrooms, amaranth, jus de poisson

11.13.2014

Sympathy for the Devil...

Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste!~ If gluttony and over-indulgence are one of the seven deadly sins, then this would surely be considered taking part! Gluttony in taste and over indulgence in the luxury of flavor. Divine, sinful and sensual as it were. These few dishes were part of a celebration of the season and the taking part of a triumphant juxtaposition of amazing ingredients. Cooking from the heart. This off the cuff ensemble was for a good friend who is all about food. One that I have had the great, great pleasure of cooking for many times. Enter Foie Gras and White Truffles...mmm, hard to go wrong. These are some of the things that do not come along every day, for if they did, it wouldn't be special. I wish everyone could taste and enjoy the dishes that were crafted that afternoon, yet for now, you will all have to enjoy them vicariously through this blog. For those that know where to obtain this humble cooking...I look forward to seeing you soon. For those that do not...if you meet me, have some courtesy, have some sympathy, and some taste~ enjoy!
foie gras torchon, pumpkin-pepper sponge, apples, apple jam, arugula
pistachios, huckleberry pearls, root beer pudding, spiced duck powder

braised rabbit pappardelle, white alba truffles, pumpkin, chanterelles
grana padano parmesan, mostarda, balsamic rabbit jus

slow braised veal cheeks, silky parsnip puree, matsutake mushrooms
thumbelina carrots, douglas fir sauce, pine bud essence
&
white truffle-celery root soup

alternate shot