Last week was Valentine's Day and we managed to host what we feel was a successful event (check out photos here!) and it got me thinking about cooking, eating and their relationship with love, and NO, this will not be a soppy post...
Picture a group of students growing up together and learning about life (while somehow gaining a degree at the same time)...this is how I'd best describe my life upon getting to uni and realising how many others were in a similar boat to myself. It turns out that my wife was one of that group, although I was not to know it just yet. Eventually I figured out that a life in food was for me and one of my more “redeeming skills”, apparently, was the ability to get her to love me by cooking her lamb meatballs with blue cheese & avocado (I haven't cooked them again since!).
Fast-forward 4 years and the restaurant industry became an additional love in my life. Being a part of the team at Deauxave I really learned the meaning of what it's like to have a true “kitchen family”. The hardest thing, though, is the fact that people come and people go, sometimes leaving you wanting just a little bit more and worrying whether the new kitchen family that you are a part of is going to be as good as the previous one. This is no small matter because between 60/70/80 hour work weeks, countless post-dinner service beers, stupid arguments during a particularly stressful work week, amazing dinners at some of the most simple food-establishments out there, talking about food all day (I'm not even joking about this) and just working hard to see how much food you can prepare in a short period of time, there is a lot of deep-rooted love between you and your teams. No kitchen family is better than the other but the most important part is the dynamic and how well you communicate with each other – sound similar to some “home-discussions” you may have had?!
Working in a kitchen, you learn a lot about the people around you very quickly. From day 1 you, as a new cook, are eyed up as to how good you are or how far you'll push yourself and whether you're going to be a person who can manage their own workload without pulling you down from where you are. This is what love & food is really about- loving what you do and who you do it with. The food is merely an additional factor which brings the “kitchen family” together and gives them their raison d'être. A & I are working hard to start our own kitchen family and we're looking forward to getting the Smoke & Salt team ready and started. I'm still missing my teams back in Boston and am looking forward to a big catch up soon! R.
All these photos come from food conceived and plated by line cooks at various stages of their training. Pasta, as you can see, plays a massive role as a technique to master and a way to present some of the "lesser" ingredients. Food by: