Thursday, October 27, 2011

New Orleans: Chefs Collaborative National Summit 2011

Something happened to me in New Orleans during the Chefs Collaborative National Summit. Problem is I don’t know what it is just yet. What I can tell you is that I fell in love with the city more than any other place I have ever been. Some might say that’s because of the “Bourbon Street Buzz” but although that was fun, its not the reason. The architecture and history remind me of walking through the streets of Logrono, Spain the capital city of Rioja. Every time the wind would change direction you would get a new aroma drifting by that you just want to follow as if you were in a cartoon looking for that apple pie in the window. I can close my eyes right now and smell the distinct aroma of the French Market, the coffee shops and even the smoke filled Jazz bars had a distinct aroma that fit the venue. The sounds of music, all types of music from every type of bar you can imagine filled the streets well into the nights.

The group of people from all over the country assembled for the 2011 Chefs Collaborative National Summit was amazing. Chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, ranchers, fisherman, conservation and sustainability experts all gathered to learn, share and have fun in a city with so much to offer the rest of the country. What was very humbling to me was the sense of pride that I sensed from every local chef that cooked for us during the 3 day non stop feast of some of the most unique and delicious food I have had in a long time. No foams, sous vide or multi-level presentations, just local chefs cooking the food they love to eat. It was if they each told a story about themselves with every bite of every meal. These chefs all want you to feel the pride they feel when they cook. When they speak they speak from the soul. They make you feel the passion they have for their culture, their food traditions and each other. It was such an emotional experience for me personally to hear every chef, and I mean every chef talk about the other chefs in the city and not themselves. No competition, no egos, just so real that I will forever strive to emulate these amazing people who cook because they just plain love to cook.

Another almost surreal experience was being able to walk up to some chefs that I have looked up to for years and just say thank you for their inspiration. Chefs like Michael Leviton and Sam Hayward, Susan Spicer and many more are so humble yet have a presence that will always inspire me when I put my chef jacket on.

The Chefs Collaborative team did such an amazing job putting this together, the discussions, demos and networking opportunities were all very informative and I feel much more prepared to work on some of the projects I have been wanting to start but haven’t had the proper knowledge to get the ball rolling.

The thing Ill remember most about this trip though…….the company I had with me. A small group of us that just thought alike to the point of being somewhat creepy. We had remarkable conversations about each others kitchens, projects and lives. The interest in every little conversation was too a little daunting but fascinating at the same time. A connection between people who understand each other’s labors in this profession and can work through solutions with each other all while having such a great experience.

When you first log onto the Chefs Collaborative web site the first thing you read is... Chefs Collaborative is a national chef network that's changing the sustainable food landscape using the power of connections, education and responsible buying decisions. but in reality its so much more...By reading and thinking about each of the guiding principles (which you can read by clicking here) Chefs Collaborative is a way of life...a way of doing business...and most importantly its a family of people from around the country who are all working towards the same goals.

As I finish this up I guess I do know what happened to me in New Orleans, I became a better cook and a better chef and I hope that you will consider becoming a part of this great organization and share your experiences and best practices to achieve the vision.

Our vision: As a result of our work, sustainable practices will be second nature for every chef in the United States

Friday, October 14, 2011

Head To "Tail FIN" Dinner Pictures

What a great night last night! Our partners Chefs Collaborative, Slow Food Boston and really made this dinner possible with their outreach and enthusiasm for the event. The wine of course was phenomenal, I always expect nothing less from Jack "The Man" & Jorge Ordonez Wines. And the biggest thanks to our guests who really came ready to ask questions and enjoy a great culinary & wine experience. Here are some shots of lasts nights dinner.

Squid taking at 59C bath

Local Mass Conch Ceviche

Simply Sea Urchin

The entire team killed it last night!

Yellowfin Tuna Marrow Tartare
whipped tofu, nori cracker,"pacotized" wasabi,  purple ninja radish

Monkfish Carpaccio & Crispy Monkfish Gillls & Skin
cherry tomato, red shiso, monkfish liver pate, truffle, ponzu

Roasted Cod Tongue & Fried Cod Cheek
cod tongue relish, smoked cod roe, paprika, baby mustard green

Rice Wrapped Gulf White Shrimp
tempura shrimp heads, Hudson Valley foie gras "mayonnaise"

Point Judith Squid Sous Vide
Hill Farms Pork Belly, Black P-Nut Milk

Maple & Anise French Toast
Lavender Bud Custard, Lemon Sorbet, Blue Berry Textures

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Yes we do have more than Seafood!

I've been slacking on the pictures of food lately, our world has started to get busy again at the hotel and everyone is back in the groove. Banquets is off to a strong start of the "busy" season and our restaurant is starting to develop an identity for having some of the best seafood in Boston. I looked at my posts and was overwhelmed by the amount of seafood focused posts in the last few months...nothing wrong with that but we do serve more than seafood! Pictured is our American Wagyu Short Ribs. We purchase our short ribs from the family owned and operated Strube Ranch located in Eastern Texas and these ribs are by far some of the best I have ever had! 48 hours in a sous vide bath then quickly seared and sliced, these ribs are still medium rare and the most tender short ribs ever.
We finish the dish with a simple locally sourced winter squash cooked sous vide with butter for 1 hour at 85C then pureed in a vita prep, pickled mustard seeds and roasted Rhode Island grown cipollini onions accompany the dish and a light dusting of organic black lava salt which comes from Hawaii and is a blend of sea salt  and purified volcanic charcoal. This salt is evaporated in above ground pools that formed naturally from lava flows.
By far my favorite non-seafood dish on the current menu!

Monday, October 3, 2011

WIN 2 Tickets to the Head to "Tail FIN" Dinner!

follow the link to get a chance to win 2 tickets to our Head To "Tail FIN" Dinner from