Received some whole ducks today from Dartagnan. Not very interesting at first I'll admit, I've probably broken down hundreds if not a thousand or so ducks in my career.
But something was telling me to NOT "delegate" the job to one of the sous chefs or cooks, just do it. So I got right into it, necks, gizzards, heart, liver. Broke the legs & wings down to cure for confit, breasts were trimmed for schnitzel, bones for stock and the extra skin was intended for duck cracklings( a few minutes on expo and the duck cracklings went from almost done to burnt, oh well! it happens sometimes) But I didn't stop, like a sous who was given free reign on a tasting menu or something...point is I was in a happy place!
The gizzards were trimmed and cryovaced with the hearts. I'm thinking a sous vide application for a play on duck heart & toast.
I made a pate...a bad ass pate if you ask me. Brown butter, local shallots, summer granny smith apples (Hill Orchard in Rhode Island) apple brandy and a touch of cream from Lil' Rhody Dairy. Also made a porto gelee using agar agar, lemon zest, water & sugar to go with the pate.
I get caught up in the day to day grind sometimes. Invoices, food cost, labor cost, inventory management, business development and you forget why you chose to become a chef....the love of creating, using the whole animal from head to toe, nothing going to waste and ultimately enjoying and watching your guests enjoy what you made.
Oh,And to top it off today.....a call from Izabela Wojcik, Director of House Programming at the James Beard House in NYC....a formal invitation to return to NYC in 2010 and cook again at the home of the father of American gastronomy. It was an experience Ill never forget, and to get to do it again, well... that will be another post.