Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What is Culinary Artistry to me?

Completed Beauty 
and the kind of food that is reminiscent 
of going home for dinner.
 There is a noticeable extra special touch 
of detail and refinement.  
Loving attention and creativity has been 
infused into every part of it.
 It's all original and purposefully composed 
to satisfy and go above and beyond 
all of the senses of the one who will consume it . 
 It's not repetitive.
 It most likely can never truly be duplicated.  
Unique and one of a kind!  

This is what I believe defines 
Culinary Artistry. 

This is just what I do as a Chef.  
This is what I love to do.
This is what I create, the 
kind of food that I always will be creating....  
This is what I want to eat, 
its the 
only kind 
of food I want to eat.
This is how I believe seeds of 
intense food memories are planted. 

I am using what I have learned and 
practiced to share an experience which will remind you to return to my table when you are hungry.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Finding What is in Front of Me-

We start out with this idea that we think we know what we are looking for....

We know what it is supposed to look like and we have a a pretty good idea in our mind that should make finding it easy....

So when it comes time to take hold and start the next big thing we should be able to just do it, right?

What if we all of a sudden can't see the things we thought, that we envisioned so easily would just be there?

What if we arrive at that moment and we can't see what we need at all?

Maybe its time to widen our perspective and be open to the idea that what we really need might not look exactly the way we first thought it would.  It is possible that it may be completely different than anything we could have ever imagined or that we are used to?  Opening up our outlook and pushing completely outside of a narrow focus, this is how we arrive at being open to a change in how we see and do things and ultimatly how we progress.

"We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are. "  ~  Max DePree

Somehow here I am going to make my case in point:

I was making crackers today at the Inn.  This is a simple routine task for me nowadays.  I have made them so many times that I don't measure any of the ingredients anymore and I just put them together in the bowl on auto pilot basically.  The funny thing about this production is when it come time to roll the dough out.  I usually make enough cracker dough to fill 3 to 4 sheet pans.  Within this entire production I roll out the dough, add sea salt, roll it again to lock in the sea salt,  cut the cracker pieces, and arrange it on the pans to be baked.  Its such an automatic process for me now except for one thing, every single time, and sometimes between each batch that gets sent to the oven....

When I return to my station to roll out the next batch I cannot find my rolling pin!!

Now I know I just used that darn thing.

At this point I go through the whole timeline of whatever I was just doing because literally 4 minutes ago I was rolling out dough at this exact place.

I didn't send it to the dish washer...
I didn't carry it over to the oven...
I didn't do anything with it I swear..
So where the heck is my rolling pin???


Its right in front of me...  right where I set it up.... right where I left it... standing UP. (smile)

I expected it... like most rolling pins to be lying down.  I thought I knew what I was looking for, it was supposed to be easy...  Its easy for me to laugh at myself because this happens every single time I make crackers.  I always roll out the dough, cut and set up the first pan and when I return from the oven I have the hardest time finding that rolling pin.  By the way I love that rolling pin that used to have handles.  Its marble and sooooo heavy- its a beautiful tool.  I am glad the handles are gone...

I have learned I can't make crackers that are considered the bomb and a must-have delicious necessity to my customer, if all I ever do is just make crackers.  Thank goodness I am a rule breaking fool as a pastry chef with a chemistry background that allows me to know just how far I can push before regulation and laws of science and nature hold up a stop sign.  My crackers are a product of lots of prototypes.  I'm happy with how they have turned out now... I'm comfortable with the production...


 So now its time to step away from comfort again- I am facing new challenges in my career now and I am excited but also it means I have to find a whole new way to do things, meet expectations and be successful.  I sent this text recently to a friend:

Dearest... I'm stepping out of my comfort zone again. I don't need anyone's permission but my own and I understand it's not going to be easy, I have been here before.... Goodness it's going to require learning a whole new way of doing things.... But I will never get where I want to be if I stay where I've already been.  No fear!!!  Leaving my comfort zone with good shoes and hope... Another challenging climb... :). Love you my friend!!  Today I am taking a big step in my career, my life, and building courage- I'm ready!
I am certain that this next challenge I am faced with is going to require a much larger focus- the tools or guidance I need may be right in front of me sometimes and hard to see but I need to take time to be more aware.  I need to listen better and be unafraid to ask questions.  I need to remember that I have worked in a multiple variety of practices to get to where I am right now. All those things will be a part of my next success too.  I never want to get too comfortable with what I am doing in my career because that will ultimately be my end.  The only way to offer and share the best of my ability is to constantly be pushing to create something even better than what i just did.  Why not??  I have to see and recognize familiar things but in a whole new way.  
I always say we all have to eat to live, so why not make it something good.
Choose what fuels you wisely.  Please.. make it something good!  Its most likely already right in front of you waiting for your attention.  To pick it up and roll out something amazing!!