Wednesday, December 7, 2011

sounds of the mazano

11/23/2011 El Manzano, Andalucia

the symphony of the farm is a omnipresent pleasant present to the eager ear
sounds of leaves on a walnut tree dancing in the wind
the whimper and scratch of the goat herding dogs
mud being knocked off boots
a distant tractor’s whir in high gear
pigs snorting with excitement
foul-mouth frenchmen responding to pigs
rustling mice in the attic above at night
an angry kitten’s hiss
a whistling cuban troubadour
the deafening roar of the life-giving electric generator
roosters greeting the morning
tapping hammers strengthening something weak
grinding hinges desperate for oil
the bumblebee’s ode to a blooming flower
rumblings of an old andalucian and a romanian marveling the beauty of the day
the clang of a forgotten empty liter of beer rolling along the stony yard
chiming rhythm to a bell hung on a goat’s neck
the wind’s reassuring whisper that he is indeed master of all
unseen birds deep in dialog
as I listen I remember I am so far from home so close to heaven

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

ode to edelman

two weeks gone from marblehead, still bittersweet. thinking of memories made, lessons learned and friendships solidified. i already miss my 5 corners family. who knew that the perfect storm was hidden some forty five minutes from cambridge. this little bistro that garnered 3 stars from the boston globe, made the best new restaurant list and a whopping twenty six food rating from zagat.

when i toasted my colleagues on my last night, i noted that the greatest lesson i learned in their midst was that, great food isn't about little dots of sauce, of foams, gelees or what funky technique has emerged from the avant-garde kitchens in spain; it is about having a team that is dedicated to the proposition that a restaurants' primary function is creating happiness among its guests and staff. i was the first one to grumble upon hearing about a 10:45 walk-in. but i made sure their food was served the same as that what was served to the guests at six thirty. when a vegetarian blessed us with the challenge of cooking for them, our first response was, "what do they want?".

i also feel like the menu at 5ck is product driven, not technique or ego driven. i think that simple expressions of humble ingredients make for really tasty food, that is consistent day in and day out. we have guests return week after week for the chicken. a prime example of something simple where success, relies on good butchery, a little marinade, and a black steel pan.

i know mikey's wise words will continue to inspire me for years to come, "you've gotta give them what they want"; Again this speaks to the lack of ego in the menu. realizing that in menu writing, putting the guest’s desires above what the chef may think is really cool, is paramount.

we in hospitality are in the guest satisfaction business, and those who forget that will fail.

i am forever grateful to Barry for the skills, confidence and friends i acquired while serving behind his kickass jade range. he left a permanent mark in my heart, and changed my mind on many things, and here is a short list of those i remember today.

*soda water with lime
*yo debas
*dirty cooking (next time i deglaze with high life i'll think of 5ck)
*fish butchery
*braised lettuces
*what really matters
*creme fraiche
*brown butta
*anodized saute pans
*the cure
*the smiths
*mazy star
*social d