I like commercials. I don’t fast-forward through them, because I know I’ll miss the new, cool stuff. I don’t want to miss the new cool stuff, because I want to be cool. Really. I want to be fresh and not stale. I want to be a big thinker not a small one. It matters to me, and I think it’s my job.
I want to give you food feelings. Feelings about how delicious something was are just the surface. I want you to remember how you felt, who you were with and what you were wearing. What the bite reminded you of, where it took you in your head. I want to be a memory maker, and food is very memorable.
Part of being a craftsman is tweaking, fine-tuning and elevating your craft. Learning new lessons. Taking on new challenges. Experimenting with new equipment. Focusing on restraint and having respect for the ingredients. The last one is huge in my book.
Being respectful to a tomato means not turning it into a caprese salad in December. Remember how that ripe tomato tasted maybe still warm from the vine with just a sprinkling of salt…in July? Now, it’s cardboard, firm, mealy and tasteless.
What is the new thing? What is everyone interested in right now, today? What’s coming to us in the next few months? What are they doing on the West Coast? In Europe? What are the trends? How do people want to eat?
As a chef, it is my job to have those answers, do the research, play with the food, source the ingredients and learn the new technique… even if that means teaching it to myself via trial and error (sometimes, a lot of error.)
A craftsman has integrity and respect for their craft, always. Being ahead, means working harder when others rest. It means wanting to be the best so much so that nothing and no one can stop you.
It means starting the spring/summer menu now.
I should actually go now and get started.