Fire, Butter & Salt
I will be changing over my blog platform soon to SquareSpace. Many of you have brought to my attention that you would like to comment on my posts, but are not interested in joining an app to make that happen and I don't blame you. Hence the chance. It will afford me a greater control of the posts as well. I will try to tag it as a blog called: Fire, Butter & Salt
Now for today's thoughts-
Umami, salty, sweet, sour, and bitter all function as the cook's palate of flavor profile. I was never one for following recipes. I could generally eat something and deconstruct it and do a pretty good job reproducing it in my kitchen. Over the years with the expansion of world cooking, its been increasingly more difficult to deconstruct. So many spice combinations are mind boggling. What's the new thing? The new "it" chef? The new "it" food? It always come down to how she/he plays with the palate in front of them. Are they going to use 15 of the exotics or do a chemistry project à la Alinea or will they only use less than 5 ingredients to marvel us? No matter what, we all search for our voice in the kitchen. I'm no different.
I love to explore. My "voice" tends to be focused on mouth textures and layering of flavors. How can I achieve a single mouthful of WOW? It doesn't happen every time but when it does I cant be happier. I first experienced the wow, after eating at Pierre Gagnaire's restaurant in Paris many years ago. It was a mind blowing education in textures and flavors that I had never experienced before and since never have forgotten. It was, without a question in my mind, the best meal of my life! The freshest produce, the best prep, minimal manipulation and the perfect application of flavor profile! Thomas Keller's Per Se came close, but as much as I loved it when it first opened up, its waned a bit over the years with the lack of Thomas' oversight as reported in the NYT article after the dramatic lost stars. Gagnaire was years ahead of him and even with Per Se's insane theatrical service and signature dishes it never could compete.
When it comes to potential food destinations I need to have in my life, I always revert back to Le Bernardin in Manhattan. Eric Ripert is my kinda of chef. He strives to get the best fish, the best prep, minimal manipulation and attention to flavor profiles that have a zen like quality. I do envy him and his philosophy. I will be eating at his location this summer as I had promised my wife we would, but unfortunately that was not in the cards we were dealt with. It will be a bitter sweet dinner but one I know she would want me to have. Eric's Baked Red Snapper in Rosemary-Salt Crust stuffed w Citrus, Garlic, Herbes de Provence is legend. I can't wait..