I must apologize for the lack of posting this week, work has kept me rather busy as my schedule is jumping around a little bit. There has also been a visitor in the house which has kept me from cooking my recipe test this week, but later this week looks very promising.
On the way out the door today I saw someone getting ready to throw away a copy of the Winter ’08 issue of Flavor & The Menu, which I rescued. I was just poking through and found an article on Thomas Keller and the French Laundry, written by Steve Schimoler.
I make no secret of my respect and admiration for Chef Keller and his staff, both at the French Laundry and at Per Se, so I generally eat up every article I can find like a gitty school girl oogling her favorite boy band.
This article, like so many others, gave raving accolades and respect to Chef Keller and his staff for the work they do in and for the restaurant. Time and time again I read of the one thing that sets Chef Kellers work apart from all the rest, consistency.
The word is thrown around the restaurant industry as frequently as a sailor cusses, but few can manage the level and focus on consistency that Chef Keller and his staff have accomplished time after time again. Its not just within his establishments either. He has a long history of direct contact with specialty purveyors, small farms, you name it.. if it comes in his back door chances are he knows who sent it, when it left, what the growing/harvest was like.. there are few who can say that.
The other big topic in the article was the focus Chef Keller and his staff commit to not causing “palate fatigue” whilst offering such a large and diverse tasting menu, 14 courses. When asked about it Chef Keller responded that they focus heavily on what types of Fats are in each course, something I had never given a whole lot of thought to but makes perfect sense.
This just goes to show how much attention to detail is placed in each and every dish. Consistency, care, passion, and thought are the greatest tools in Chef Kellers kitchen.
Im not one for having heroes, I think every person needs to have the strength inside themselves to push them through without having to constantly look up at something to check yourself, but I do believe in having goals. We should focus less on how to get famous, or get on tv, or get our cookbooks published and more on attempting to conduct our restaurants, hotels, and businesses in a fashion not unlike Chef Keller and his staff.
But don’t mis-read what Im saying here, individualism is the most important thing in all of us, but if he and his staff can create, produce, and be consistent in the quality and execution of it, there is no reason we cant all do the same within our level of experience, desire, and motivation.
But hey… that’s just one cooks opinion.
You can download a copy of the article “Flavor on the Road” in PDF format HERE