i wanted to start off with a more flattering picture of my dish from NY. this was taken from my camera before i sent it out for judging.
it's been about two years since i worked at the French Laundry. many things have stuck with me from working there. i still cut the tape for labeling products with scissors, i clean all mixer bowls, blenders, and silpats myself, and i always say hello to everyone upon entering the kitchen. there are so many things that Thomas Keller and his team do daily that raise the bar of what a restaurant (and any business for that matter) can be. the one thing that holds the highest level of excellence for me is the way they create their menu. at the end of every service after cleaning all the cooks sit down to discuss and make the next days' menu. Chef Corey Lee is spearheading the task but everyone has input. every service there are up to 15 new dishes including VIP courses not on the menu. these dishes will not be used tomorrow or have not been used the day before. all are new. this happens for every service. maybe these dishes will not change the face of modern cuisine, but they do say something about it. how does a restaurant at that level maintain that level while constantly making new food? there are some Keller classics like oysters & pearls and coffee & donuts, but everything else is made spontaneously. i hold the highest amount of respect for restaurants like elbulli and the Fat Duck for conceptualizing a dish that will more than likely change the way all other restaurants make food. i find these restaurants are based on technique. but i am also enamored by the French Laundry for what they do everyday...they cook. they have a list of ingredients from their farmer, from their purveyors and they come up with a new menu. not to mention that not one ingredient is repeated within that menu. to do something like that takes amazing products and technique to create something wonderful with them. at the end of the night i loved watching everybody sitting around making the menu. my only gripe was that pastry was never involved. why does pastry have to live by different rules? i am tired of pastry not being a part of the kitchen, having to pre-plan dishes as concepts, meticulously envisioning a plate. if you have have great produce and have some well tested techniques can't new dishes be made everyday? let's try to be more spontaneous shall we?


Jacquie said...

I agree!!!

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