5.16.2009

More questions than answers - The future starts now.

Why do you cook?  Who do you cook for?  What's the ideal in cooking?  Does a 'Dream Kitchen' exist?  What's next for restaurants?  How do we take the next step forward?  How can you make your impact?  What is it that you contribute?  Is it possible to create a kitchen environment like the one Thomas Keller talks about in Soul of a Chef?  A place where there are no chefs;  just equal peers, collaborating and sharing all of the day to day responsibilities?

# soparker@linecook a.k.a. someone always pulls more of the weight and most people sit back and reap the benefits of cooperative labor
# Sarahsoparker@linecook people working together inevitably look to satisfy their own immediate interests even to the detriment of the common interest...
# Manny Arcerandomplacement@linecook don't know how well that would work, too many chefs spoil the pot? I think all could have input, but someone needs to lead
# Manny Arcerandomplacement@linecook I cook for myself and hoping that I can please people, which in turn pleases me, quid pro quo... Hummmm
# Matthew WilcoxsonChefMatthew1@linecook yea, probably for a good reason. My restaurant is owned by 4 siblings but one of them is prez for a reason. He breaks a tie.
# Robert FaucetteRFaucette@linecook yes. As long comunication was amazing and everyone understands the idea and shares the work evenly.
# Jonas M Lusterwildhunt@linecook It's been done. But a chef's job is doing the job no one else wants (fishtags, stocking, complaints, expo, etc.). Who'd do that?
# radicand@linecook PS if you start one, sign me up (for anything but cooking). Long hours and hard work for such an idea sounds right up my alley.
# Colleen McGarryradicand@linecook makes me think about rainbow coop & others - they take a lot of work and commitment, but CAN happen and be great for all!
# Colleen McGarryradicand@linecook sounds like a coop restaurant/a restaurant coop. I love this idea.
# Sarahsoparker@linecook ever hear of tragedy of the commons?
# Meagan Holstrommeagancooks@linecook I cook for friends & customers: I delight in food, find energy & inspiration in the creative process, & love to create community.
# Meagan Holstrommeagancooks@linecook YES, it would be totally possible and I would work there in a flat minute. Respect for each other's ideas & ability is the key.
# hyperlinghyperling@linecook i cook bec. I really enjoy making people happy. Bec. a bowl of soup can turn a cold day warm & a donut can put a smile on 1's face
# Mike Toddmtlicious@linecook Cook to feed those I care about. Cook to feed my mind: challenge myself to learn & to explore new/new-to-me flavors & ideas
# Mike Toddmtlicious@linecook A la Keller's musings in @ruhlman's Soul of a Chef? Head-less kitchen sounds nice, but can the group maintain a coherent vision?8:03 AM May 11th from web in reply to linecook
# Leonard Shekleonardstinks@linecook whycook? 1. pleasure principle, immediate reward 2. keep learning for personal business growth 3. share with people | who? family.
# Matthew WilcoxsonChefMatthew1@linecook no why... Egos...what happens when you disagree? Who makes the final call?
# Armando Cascomando66@linecook I went to the CCSF Hotel/Restaurant Program. I cook for my family so we can be together and enjoy what we made and the SMILES!
# Matt Wangm_twang@linecook Yes if they are co-owners and equal partners with a clear understanding of eachothers strengths and the shared goal.
# Jonas M Lusterwildhunt@linecook might be "possible", but why'd you want to?

"A leader always emerges."  -Connie Desousa, chef.
"So, not to sound too cynical but I don't think the chef-less kitchen could work."  -Michael Black, chef.


It's been bouncing around in my head lately.  This vision of a tiny kitchen, filled with chefs that I respect, our combined years of experience coming together to create the ideal kitchen.  A place that feeds all the reasons why we cook:  to please the guest, for personal fullfillment, to be a part of something that's more than the sum of it's parts.  A place where everyone gets say.  A line made up of chefs instead of cooks.  Something new.  A risk.  An attempt to push things in a different direction, that has nothing to do with ingredient, or technique, or even money.

Is it possible?  I dont know.  Probably not.  But just think about it for a second.  Close your eyes, and put yourself there.  Imagine the possibilities.  Who would be in your crew?  Where would you be strong?  What are the weaknesses?  Could you see yourself working pantry a couple of nights a week to share the load?  How much would ego play into it?

I believe that we are reaching a remarkable place in culinary history.  Things are changing--every day.  As the world becomes smaller, eaters become more informed, and chefs more connected.  Are there secret recipes anymore?  Has there ever been a point where cooking was progressing so much?  And i'm not just talking about molecular/new/gastro cooking--rustic cuisine has seen such a burst as of late that it seems like finding an unknown region, or heirloom recipe is the new black.

Something is going to happen in the next five years.  As this new generation of cooks comes of age, how could it not?  But what will it be?  How does our generation contribute?  Is it through maintaining the status quo?  Is our grand contribution going to be the next version of foam or encapsulation?  Or will it be something bigger?  The kind of thing that carves out it's own niche--surpassing passing trend to eventually become a shared tradition.

Things are changing.  And it's up to us, right now, to start pushing them in the right direction.  So ask yourself the hard questions.  Why do you cook?  Who do you cook for?  What's your ideal--whether it be food, kitchen, or crew?  Are you just another cog in the wheel?

I have more questions than answers.  It doesn't matter.  The future starts now--even if only an inch at a time.  Are you in?


notes:
  • one thing you can be sure about:  if our kitchen fucks up one night, we will come back ten times as hard the next night
  • to the woman that writes pentemporary:  no, it's not annoying.  Just hard to get used to.
  • Even Violet gets cuts on her fingers
  • Sebo gets more props
  • Oh John Mariani, you so crazy
  • No biggie, but my mom is Catholic
  • In case you missed my summary of the Lost season finale on twitter, here it is: My review of the Lost season finale: Blahblah Jacob! Blahblah flashbacks! Blahblah Jack and Sawyer fight! Blahblah Magnets! Blahblah boom
  • Speaking of twitter, check this out if you want to make pancetta
  • Tommorrow:  Sunday May 17th in Dolores Park is Amy Brown's Paint That Bitches Bumper Black Bake Sale.  Starts at 1pm.  There will be goodies and beer and snarky talk about spoiled marina chicks


Quotes and Conversations:

Eddie:  Wait, is seat four reading meatpaper?
Me:  I think so.
Eddie:  Cuz that's far more acceptable than the guy with the laptop.
Me:  It's Wallpaper magazine.
Eddie:  Oh.

"Hey, my dick is perfectly fine in size."
-Merrell.  Big junk.

"Her arms are bigger than mine, she's with O.J. Simpson, and she wants Danny to eat her mochachina.  Not that Danny shouldn't eat her mochachina."
-Mongoose.  Can spot a keeper from a mile away.

Me:  Mer-mer, don't get jealous.  You're still my number one.
Merrell: (smiles)
Me:  #1 slut.
Merrell:  What did you say?  Did you say #1 slut?  I knew I hated you.

"Speaking of uncircumcised penises, that's what orecchiette reminds me of."
-Merrell.  Freud would have a field day.

Me:  Fire flatbread, half no bacon.
Goose:  Flatbread, half retarded.

"I don't really like baseball, but I like drinking at the ballpark."
-Justin

Goose:  I just made that up!
Me:  What?
Goose:  A hug a day keeps the doctor away.
Me:  I can't believe you were ever locked up bitch.




from top:  Halibut, Wu-Tang, Engrish, onions, Vi at the bus stop, labels, mini taco, squab, wtf mixer, goose, cider braised osso bucco


4 comments:

Sunday Cook said...

Is "wtf mixer" the mixer AKA Wall-E? I swear when Amy was talking about the mixer humping her leg and following her around like a 2-year old, I laughed so hard I shot coffee out my nose. I have learned that I can't eat or drink while listening to the podcast without risk of choking or "snot-rocketing". Charming, I know.

Can't wait to hear about the bake sale - wish I could come.

Mary (@savorykitchen)

mandi said...

i've been reading for awhile, and decided to weigh in. :)

i think one of the hardest things to do is check your ego and drama at the end of the line. i've seen it over and over again, and i've been that green cook who thinks they know everything. but as you go along i think that it gets easier and easier. sometimes the chef works pantry, or dishes, and no one should be above cleaning their station or peeling a carrot.

as far as the ideal kitchen, i think that would be completely different for everyone. i believe that too many chefs spoil the soup, someone has to be in charge right? and a line of chefs probably wouldn't fulfill me, i like teaching newer cooks, showing them the little tricks. sure the busy nights would be great if everyone was amazing, but we're learning together, we're learning to work together and share the space and share what we know.

i think secret recipes are hard with the internet, but i also have worked with chefs that hide their recipes and won't let you in. it's tough, you try to learn but you can only go so far. i worked with a woman who thought if she taught me the wrong way to make things it would make her look better. why do we need secrets?

i think my ideal kitchen wouldn't have to be all the greatest chefs in the world. i think it would everyone paddling the canoe in the same direction. we all want to be happy, we all want the guest to be happy and we all want to make enough money that we have jobs tomorrow.

i cook for me, i cook for my chef that i represent when i put up that plate and send it out, and i cook for the guest that closes then eyes and can't even find words to describe the flavours.

i love what i do. i'll never be the next top chef, but i'm happy.

and i wanted to thank you for making me step back and look at things lately, it's perspective that i needed.

don't touch my knife said...

write a book motherfucker.
that just inspired the shit outta me. seriously man, im crunk as hell right now because of that.

the idea of a kitchen with chefs working the line in a real restaurant setting, not just as a collaborative experiment type deal kind of scares me. i just forsee a bunch of angry frenchmen and Germans with Sabatiers and Wustofs raised over whether caramel should be light and sweet or smokey and less than.

I feel without the brigade system shit crashes. i put my faith in the line to turn food out and Chefs to lead them. i suppose the expression "too many chefs spoil the broth" was born of that.
i dunno,

Not The Rockefellers said...

Your blog is a book or a movie in the making...that speech...at the end. It needed it's own friggin' soundtrack. It made me want to cook and if you can motivate me to do that... that is some serious Jesus magic, right there.

Peace - Rene