Sunday, November 30, 2008

Yes, my shining moment!

My favorite quote to date:

"You have no idea what you're doing, do you?"

A good question posed to me by my chef-de-cuisine last week when he caught me trying to "wing it" by putting together a sauce I had never made before. It was so beautiful in its truthfulness. Not just for that particular moment, but in general, for how it is for me every day. No, I don't know diddlysquat and I'm trying to figure it out, figure it out, figure it out. And sometimes I wonder if and how I ever will.

The funny thing is, when you're having a relatively good day, you forget just how little you know and a tiny little seed of hubris sneaks in. That's why, despite all the humility a kitchen dishes out in a single day, you always need that extra hard kick in the stomach once in a while to remind yourself how little you actually know and how much more there is to learn.

When approaching food, you need to do so with humility and respect. You're in the hands of what nature's doled out to you, and subject to the perfectly imperfect inconsistencies of how they interact with air, water and fire. And then there's the unstoppable element of time. So for each and every one of the cooks at BH, there's a challenge awaiting them every day - how to do things better, faster, even differently. Without humility, there would be no room for improvement or innovation.

So I welcome that swift kick to where it hurts. Bring it. After all, what fun would cooking be if we figured it all out after just a few tries?

Monday, November 24, 2008


You know you've been spending too much time in the kitchen when you find yourself calling out, "Corner!" on street corners and resisting the urge to yell out, "Behind you!" in crowded grocery stores.

Cooks are such freaks.