This week I, along with a few of my colleges, had a chance to think about our culinary careers.
I reevaluated years of working in kitchens in different countries and innumerable life changing experiences in order to accomplish one goal: a single dish that would represent me as a chef.
One dish?! How about a whole meal?! Maybe six to eight courses…maybe twenty tapa dishes? Nope, one dish!
My mind went blank for two days, and the next two days I felt like one of those old computers rebooting. Hundreds of old menus were scrolling in my mind’s eye while I stared into the wall.
When I finally gave up thinking, the ocean and the mountains–a large part of my life growing up–were a constant, so it had to be a Mediterranean “surf and turf” of sorts.
Salt pork became my base, because pork is the king of tasty, as many would agree. The next layer had to be something that would scream Spain–an almond, garlic and olive oil mousse then–and the perfect fish selection: sardines. I used a raspberry vinaigrette to help cut the fattiness of the dish, and to bring one more wild, sustainable element to my dish.
This was a great exercise.
Dishes from the other chefs included pork belly, a tough menu item, but a favorite.
Simple but well executed dishes with gnocchi and a side of cold butternut squash soup topped with sage cream.
Raw, lightly seasoned, organic grass-fed beef made for delightful “cannibal burgers.”
Local deer meat was also featured in a tasty venison chili.
Basil lemonade served as a palate cleanser was a nice addition to the varied menu.
It was a great culinary peek into the souls of a few great local chefs.