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Culinary Artistry

Culinary Artistry

R elpe \11 en

1enu- \1\
Re't.1urant Menus Xt'
Acknowledgments Xt'll
Preface XIX
The Chef as Artist 1
Meet Your Medium 23

Compoing Flavors 37
Compo~ing a Dish 61

Why Food Matches? 87
Food ~1atche~ Made in Heaven

~ea'ioning Matche.. Made m Heaven 196
Composing a Menu 223

Common Accompaniment' to Entrees 260

Evolvmg a Cuisine 289
The Evolution of Leading Chef' CUismes 307
De~ert Island lists 323

Culinary Art as Communion 391
Re (lurec, 399
BIOgraphies of Chefs 403
Index 409
Ahour the Authors 425

B\ krm and heauty, we're not referring strictly to Food IS very much theater
[he IDL.leasmdv popular, and in some cases misguided, - Jam. Be" c;
emphals that Sl'me chefs have placed on the visual presentation of food. In
jetermll1U1g what form a dish will take, chefs have the opportunity to con-
ve\ their own sense of beauty with every decision they make about a dish,
from the selection of ingredients and their pairing with other ingredients, to
Its cookmg techniques, to its presentation on a plate, to its order of presen-
tation on a menu.

Just as philosophers have suggested that art is "about" something, and
conveys feelings toward that subject matter, so does Alice Waters tell us that
"Being a really good cook has to do with having a point of view."

Throughout history, great culinarians have likened the culinary arts
to arts ranging from architecture to painting to theatre. The press has even
used artistic analogies when describing particular chefs. For example, Los
Angeles Times food writer Charles Perry once likened chef Joachim

Splichal to the late rock musician Jimi Hendrix, who was known for his

artistic daring.

What Leading Chefs Think "Cooking is indeed an artistry,"
says Bradley Ogden. "It's a form

of creativity and expression, especially the more defined you become with
your cuisine. The direction you decide to take It In-your per~onal style-

usually depends on your background and your education. I grew up in

Michigan, and my cuisine i more traightforward Amencan. Unheknownst

to me, I wa developing a palate back when I wa five or IX year old, helng

reared on organic blackberrie and wall-eyed pike"
"We are certainly associated With the art," Gray Curnonsky's belief that "La cuisine! Thats when

Kunz agrees. "There's no question ahout that. But the thmgs taste /Ike themselves· IS none other than
affiltatlon hide~ an enormou am unt of hard work. the artist's precept. "Respect your medium

This work I very stressful-hoth phy ically and on the transposed Into the world of food.

mind. What helps the chef is the 'Imph: de~lre to cre- -RrchCi'd 0 ey

ate di he that are con tandy on a very hlf~h le\'el. It' a ,hame you c, n't put

me of them on canvas!"

Wayne 1 1i.h, who once tudled architecture, POint- out that
"Architecture In the Middle Age wa~ the mother of the art. In or,ler to he
<I practltloner, you had to he a ~culptor, cI p. mter, and a mll Icwn. It \\,h (l

fI.:4Ulrement that you needed to m.hter the e three enJeav r., hef, re you
could bUild. And I've always thou~ht th.n the culm 1) arr \\ ere .10 cxtcntton

o two of th c. Careme y, a frustrated rchlrcct who con [rueted edible

pI ce m nt~ . I e [ha the relatl n hIp eXI t -<: kme (or th publtc I

1CI) VI U dl clpime "

by customers, food critics, and the culinary community . How hd edch of th
three considerations played a role m the perception of the Culmary art! e

Chefs and Professional Cooking ile
WIhd . thhe fmaJOrity of
ea mg c e s we Inter_

viewed agree on the potential for artistry within the culinary expenence, a

few express hesitations about the use of the term. This is perhaps not Surpris_

ing, given that chefs have evolved from a profeSSion historically viewed as

domestic labor into one that now boasts celebrity chef-restaurateurs.
Throughout this transformation, they have largely maintained a professional

spirit of modesty and service to the customer, and some chefs still feel uncom_

fortable with the elitist connotations of calling their profession an art.

Michael Romano is one leading chef who has expressed some discom-

fort With the comparison of food to art. "I think there's a danger of getting too

much into the idea that 'I am an artist.' For myself, I like to be in touch with

Cooking is an art that needs to evolve and what I enjoy cooking, and what my customers enjoy

change on the basis of its methods and materi- eating," he says. "It's not just 'This is my artistic cre-

als. its organization-and even of the whole ation-take It or leave it.' A restau rant is about nur.

concept of the role of the chef turmg, about saying, 'Welcome to my home.' It's an

-Pierre TWlsgros mteractive proces~ m which you provide your guests

with something they're gomg to mgest, going to put in their bodies. It's a very
intimate thinu, and they ~hould have a ilY in it. Chefs shou ld be flexible."

Am,try abo carne_ With it the connotation of originality. However, it

took years before chef. dared defy cla"ical tradition to begin experimenting

with their own dt-he. The French chef~ who pioneered nou~'elle cuisine in the

1960" repre emed a ~Iant ,tep wwarJ bringing the culinary wl)r1d into its

own. Once creativity \\'a unlea~hed m French and, subsequently and espe-
Cially, American kitchen~ m the la,t few decade, there was no turning back.

"Before nOlH'elle cuisine hit

America, there was not th is 'interpre-
ti\'e' ,pirit. What we learned in ~chool,

and what all great restaurant Jid, wa

dlshe like duck a l'oranRt' and \"eal

o car. You made the clas~ic saUl.:e'-Y~'U

wouldn't ever have made an or.lOge hoi-
landai e sauce," say~ Chri ~ chle lO!!er

"But nouvelle cuisine openeJ cooking up

to interpretation. A I ng a yOll ru k to

the fundamental prinCIple ofgood food,

then y u "ere allowed to expenment

And (ha('s what I think pened c Ion


/I y A , I t

up til thl ountry, because it allowed young people to come to it and we
Jldn't h.·we to do the same junk that went on before us.

"I 'owelle cUIsine was a movement in France that was a rededication to
the b.l I": fundamentals of good food. The chefs said, 'No more sloppiness-
we're not going to thicken sauces so much because what the thickening does
IS cover up lack of flavor with texture. We're going to really be careful with
our vegetables.' There was a little bit of Japanese aesthetic in there, too--
smaller portions, clearer flavors. They said, 'We're not going to be so con-
cerned about following the classics. We're going to take all the best cooking
fundamentals out of the classics, and as long as we stick to those, that's what's
Important. ,n

Chefs have since embraced the opportunity to be creative with, and
expressive through, food, and American chefs-widely considered to be the
most innovative in the world-are now viewed as world class. Just as the
artistic community has over time shifted its center from Paris to New York
City, so has the culinary community.

Lydia Shire cites the intense "seriousness among American chefs" as evi-
dence that the profession is moving to new levels of respectability and accom-
plishment. "American chefs have really Jumped ahead in the food world," notes


Trade Craft AT(

Category "Burger- "Accomph hed "Culinary
Flippers" Chcf .. Ani.,t,"
Customer Goal Survival
Chef's Intention Enjoyment Entertainment
FiliI Tran cenJ/
Price of Lunch Feed -:an,f'iI Tranport
Who Detennines Cu,wmer BroaJ\\IlY
Meal ("Have It Off- BroaJway
Your Wa\") Theatre Ticket Orehe tTO Ticker
Cbef' Primary Hamburger5 Chef
Repertoire Cu tomer/Chef (Ta ring Menu)
Number of
Chef'. own 01 he
ens Affected
u tomer )6
Lea~e a 'ng
""m full." "That wa dehclou." "Llft I wonderful."

ShIre, "and are conking some of
the most exciting food in the
world todav."

Yet not all American chefs
are culmary artists. We envision
chefs as falling into one of three
categories along a continuum
(see chart on page 7). For the
vast majority of America's three
million-plus chefs and cooks,
this is a trade, typically defined
as "skilled work." We'd place the majority of (but perhaps not all) "burger-
flippers" into thi· category. \Vhile all professional cher by definition con-
icier cooking to be their trade, there are some who also consider it a craft.
As "ktll is developed with care and experience, and the talent for preparing
deliclou food on a consistent basis is honed, "ome chefs elevate cooking to

a craft. typically defined a, "an occupatil1n requinng special skill or art."

And still other chef may emhrace both definitions while alSl) seeing the

potential for arti trvat the hlghe t pr ctlce l t their pfllfesinn. At this level,

in rare but unfor!!ett ble In-tance , YOLI c. n iind chef" whose culinary ~kill.

combmed with unu uallma0tndtlOn an I cre,lt!vtty, truly elevates their pro-
fe "ion to an art. One' level Lompct n e .111 I intention ,h d chef lar~d\'

de term me \\ h re n fall on the continuum.

Cooking as a Trade chet~\Vhethcr or not they thern~e1\'es are viewed
that \\ely I) other, certain leading

preter to \'le\\ c km a tr de.
"In tf) m to un er mnd what .In I , and wh, t a craft is, and what ,j

trade is, I've ah\a argued that I don't thmk co kmg houll be col1'llJereJ

an art, for argument' . ke," ay Chn chle mger. "The rea,,( n I ay th,I[ I

becau e I thmk It' a kill that gro\\ out f cwal human need-everyboll~

need to cook. Pe pIe don't need to create art; it' a choice that people m.tke.

"d"What' at the heart of cooking for me i that it' a profe IOn. It

never omethmg that I chose in order to expre m} elf creatively. I c,m ee
other people argumg that it i , but to me it' more vi ccral and immcJI,lte,
and it importance and mean109 Ite in area other than ani tic exprtS Ion.
The art or the magic that' involved 10 food I not 0 much 10 it rrepar I-
tlOn, but 10 eating WIth the people you eat It with, The rna IC I the meal-

"In the begmntng of Escoffler' Ma CUISIne h write that If the rn m

pnnclple 10 cook109, the maIO one I to make the per n Whl m ~ )IJ r n


logh'lPP". I alway' read that to mean that, whatever we are, we're profes-

.tOnal.,-and If we serve food and someone doesn't like it, whether we or the

c.'c'.- think it's the grandest creation, if we don't please the customer, then
we\'e faded. I don't think artists can fail like that."

C ft Some leading chefs admit that cooking could

Cooking as a ra arguably be called either an art or a craft.

Jimmy Schmidt says, "I think it's safer to call it a craft. To capture the

impreSSion or the dynamics of a certain mood or feeling is a lot tougher in

food than it is in other media. But that doesn't mean that it's not creative."

Other chefs believe that it starts out as a craft. "Cooking is a craft first,"

says Terrance Brennan. "Like a carpenter, we learn our trade through hands-
00 apprentl.c'mg. "

From its start as a craft, it can evolve into artistry. "The first few years

(cooking] aren't a matter of style," says Jasper White. "I tell all my cooks when

they come to work for me that it's really a matter of learning how to cook.

The techniques and skills are universal, I think, to a certain extent. If I tell

my cooks to make lobster bisque and how I want it to taste, the skill that it

take for them to recreate my dish is the same skill that they would need to

create their own food. So I really feel that before you reach the point of art,

it' a craft. And without being really highly killed in the craft, I don't believe

you can ever attain artistry---even if you get a few write-up in the maga-

zlne ."

Joyce Gold tein i al 0 careful to di tingUi h between tho e who prac-

tice thi prafe ion as a craft ver u an art. he agree that" me chef are

arti t . And then there are lots of craft people. A craftsperson i someone

who rna ter technique and can do a lot of dazzling tuff with technique. And

that comes from practice, which i where school really helps a lot.

"Arti try can come from people with virtually no kill with a knife at

all. That' cookmg in the soul-and some people have that and some people

don't. That you don't learn-that either you have, or don't have. It' like

being a painter-you can be a very competent painter. You can learn how to

grind your pigment and prepare your canvas. You can learn all thi tuff-

but it' not going to give you soul. There are some people who have hitty

technique, but they paint fabulously. The artistic i intuitive-and that

comes from God know where. I couldn't begin to tell you."

How should chef evaluate their impact? "When you cook, do you

reach others with your message?" ask Goldstein. "With lots of technical tuff,

dinm go, 'Ooooh!' But only the culinary artist wants to make food that pea--

pi,e III remember With their mouths, not only with their ey that when

0d1-. taste It, they want to taste It again and again.

• cT • f • • A t

o t f t la "I don 't thtnk you have t be remvcntm' th

d Ih objectlv wheel to be creative or a rti~ tlL. metllne the m t

d sec nd out of the If S artistic people play with a very \tm lted palclte. Y, U pKk

a'1d olher human bemgs your palate, you pICk your ran ge, you pick what lOter-

Howa d Ga'dn r ests you-and then you cook your h eart out.

"How do you measure success as a chef? Well. did you get them m the

gut? Did you get them in the heart? And, most importantly. diJ you get th m

in the mouth? These should be your goals."

Cooking as an Art What does it take to make the leap into the
realm of artistry? "How do you learn to

become a great piamst? Where does that come from? It' not ju~t learnmg

how to punch the keyboard." says Bradley Ogden. "It's omething mure than

that. A lot of it is natural ability-it' prohably 75 percent natural ability.

Either you have it or you don't have It. orne of it can be tramed, but a lot of

I.t can't."

Gary Danko says, "Cookmg i-, for me, the perfect halance of art and

Clence. There' that creative endeavor within you that can think out the sea-

son~ and the tlavor pr fde . Then there', the cientlfic part-what is actual-

I) gam!.! n with the whl.k. It I'm blanchmg hroccolt, why IS it turnmg brown

10 the pan? A y u tlId) th t, you Ie rn that \lmetime it you conk a lot (t

vegetable, 10 the ,line wat r" n aCI I wlil devt:\op. And If you cnok a green

vegetable 10 th ( odie wJ[cr, It' g 10 to turn ,mny brown. l) these .Ire

thmg you tart to Ie rn throu 'h clenee."

Hubert ' lIer b ·lle,,1:' that creativity i rooteJ in ma. tering the cla.-

SIC~, ,m argument r Ill, term' the cr,1 t of co Jkin~ hefore attempting arti try.

"If yuh \ e a (oundari n, Y u ere 'Ihle to pl'l)' d little 1m," he ays. "When

you're learntnc [fiU ie at the beUtnlltn " y, u I r..ctlCe calc. Once you Ie, rn,

you tart to play ther pe Ie' ong. An I once you've le.trned th e, If you

get really good. you might ,wn compe II1g, little hir. It' the elme tn co k-
mg. Once ~ou have a lot of tX nence, you might. tart t tnl:lu Ie a c uple

In the hands of a oyal art san cook ng can be of ingrtJient that mIght n t have been mcluded b

very good Indeed In the hands of a great chef [Paul) Roeu e, by [Paull Haeherlm, by fRo' rI Vcr 'C-

ft can be ublme othen....~e. III }be their half W ulJ ~t,m I on en I! But I

R - dO" y you're tn ifferent country, with a different udl n c,

and if you fed It' not JU t being done to hock, meume It can.... rk. Yl)U

have to have a gUideline, though- nd thcn ~ou e n go a little bit n 'ht r

little bit left."

In the proce of hecoming a culm f) ftl t, Or ~ Kunz I th;ll th r

onI a point that you are not, and a pomt th t you ,lrc. Wh n ~ u'r 1.,1 t

your feelmg and mtult! m to a di h-the rtl t I nlln U[ t d I[ nr

li rice ()<:fml n ,md Johanne Killeen are quick Cookmg IS at once onf: of the Simplest and rr:o t

'lint ,-mt, "There are not th,lt many culinary gratlfymg of the art" but to COOK well one muc;'
{I I love and respect food
.n, h .1 ,m.1l1 proportion of chef fall Inta that
aru't'. -\,/a' : ~Ia lJ" p

c lteglJr)'

Part of \\hdt characteri:es culinary artists is their expressiveness and

[heIr dblhn to cook from their gut. "They have their own way of expressing
them,eke,," says Daniel Boulud. "In food, the expression is more phy~ical

and el11l)[[Onal. When creating great food, the taste is always memorable.

Buts sometlme' the best food is not always the result of deep thought.
5ai11etlme~ It Imply falls together."

Killeen and German agree. "We're most influenced-I don't want to

sa\' tntellectually or theoretically, because that's getting a little bit beyond

what It really Is-hy our gut," says Killeen. "It's also very dangerous, when

you ,tart talking In theoretical and philosophIcal terms," adds German. "It

really i, almost like the death of a dIsh." Kdleen continues, "In terms of art

and artl'try and food. it has a lot more to do WIth your gut than your intel-

lect. There are certainly great intellectual artl ts. but there are also artists

who Simply create from their gut. And I think that's more what we do than

an\'thmg ele."

Customers eu'tamer var') greatly In term~ of their knowledgeahility

ahout food and Wine, not to mentlon peronal hl,tPry, !tfe

expenence, :md !tkes and di,ltke', whICh dffect nor only theIr p(ltentlal for

enJOYing a dil11ng expenence but al,o f Ir interpreting \\ hat a chef m.IY he try-
mg to expre,,, in hIS or her food. Food' meanll1!.; lie, a~ mLlch 111 the CLl'>-

tomer's reception as it Joes 111 the chet" II1tentlon. For example, pre,entll1g

four different cu'Swmer, With identical. "perfeC[" trawbern' tart might evoke
four \ery different reactiom: fonJ memone 10 omeone who reLall~ picking
and eatm,! ,trawherrie' as a child, alarm In ,mother who I' allergic to ~traw­
berne", ~ih in a third who may be on a dIet and concerned ahout the Jish\

calone or chole terol count. and e(>t.l'l 10 a fourth who ,pent the pnor

even109 hem'! fed 'trawherrie' hy a 100'er!
Cu,romers' level of knowledge WIll al,o color their percertLon of the

chef' profe~,ion Ibdf. The ~ame popular cookbook and televi Ion ,how
that have ,erved to catapult leaJmg chef. mto hoU',eholJ name~ have per-

hap, 10 turn, done chefs a db,ervlce. In leading chefs' well-meaning enCllur-
3!!emcnt to home Loob that the~, too, (an Look the chef' three- Ilt four- tar
iood at home, the~ have rerhap, omitted any mentIon ot the Ve,lT of train-

In!? md expenence that are behmd the re Ipe ,md mdeed the p~dCtlCe (If pro-

~ lonal cookmo-, leadmo- to the generaI publll:' mt gUided VICW that "an~-

lxxh c n k .!reat food."

"Perhap~ heL,lll e e\ crybody edt, <lnd many r
k f k t55 Y fa nvesf two hours work hk beVI
Ie cook to ~l)me extent, they Linn't nd th
t In

t5w m nU.''es en"oyment but" cookmg 15 dPaily task-mak'l'Og IIfI"t, nute:,>\VwIayne I Ih, "There'
simply no reference 10 t11elr II\'e~ to \\ h.It oJ re 11Iv !,'Te t
"~,''.',anescent, well so 1-5JtuheliabaClrleildt

culinary praCti,tI'Oner can do. It require~ a frequent restaurant-goer to e\en

begm. to t h'mk ,about that to any extent. I ' h .
"When you have cooking shows on te eVI,lon t at are reachmg IJut to

domesti,c cooks, the"" bv necessity eliminate a g"reat dea. l of skilb in order to
I't a\'al'Iable to the nonskilled home cook, he pomts out.
make No book of which we're aware (other than the one you're h~,


ever cIas'e I)· examl'ned how a culinary artist compose, hi~ or her creations,

while scores of books have exammed the creative process of painters, musi-

cians, and \\TlterS, for example-therehy helping the general puhlic t\l aprre-

ciate the level of sophi. ticated thought and COnsCillUS deign that underlIe,

their compo,ition" This ~urely enhances the le\'el of appreciation and

respect the puHic has for such artist,

In the economic hoom uf the 19__\\, diner~ grew increasingl) famil Lar

with gourmet mgreoLenr ,lOll me clming, fI.'suiring in more educated and dis-

criminatmg palare . The grO\nh m nh.:rnb('r~hlp organi:atillns ,uch as the

American In tLtute of ~ . me n I F, ..I (no The James Beard Fl1lmdatLon,

which pon r edu anonal \'en rangll1g trl m II1gredlent t,lstmg, to'recial

dinner"), rdle t n an rea 100~h phi t1l:.ltcd It\.: ntt.:lc,

Ache h I\e begun to come Into their O\\n, theIr e4ualh ,Ilh'entur-

au eu'tamer h \e enc lUr. 'cd their IOnO\'.It1on, Dmer' Vl)ICe' han'

become louder \\ Jth the, d\'ent )f nn \Imer-poll publtcatll1n ~LL(h a tht'

:ag-at urte) lIld Marcellmo ' \\hlCh ummclflze their (lpinl!ln .

There I a tnangular rei t10n hiP' m n J cheh, the tngre lienr \\ nh
whlLh the~ chou e to c ,k, nd their cu toll1crs. '0[ onl} Joe c< obl1!!'
,mbigUlt~ ~ n an tern fr m i 'uttlltanan rOot, hut d lubtle tI 0 tr III

eu tamef u ed w a hha\ e It }UlIf WI}" menta!Jt} \\hen it come to iood.

Thert~ I little r m left tur her' ere t1\ e expre Ion \\ hen thcy'n: re rond-

109 to reljue t fOf uh t1tUtl I1! nd au e "on the ide."

Gl\'en the profe lonalt m dem,mJeJ b} hotel cookmg e peCI til), II !)

Danko admit, "I d m't panicularl~ cook for m} elf .1n}m re, I h ve m\ fll\ r

pnnciple , anJ I ha\ e UI he ea >ned the \\ a} I \\t)uld e,l~on them, Jnd th

gaml he on the dl he are for me. Bur m a hotel re taurant, It I' not unll u II

for people to Come m and tan rippmg our food apart, I Jon't Imlld \\ hen reI -

pic rC\.!uest thtng Itke serving the uce on the .d" but pc ric \\111 rd r

meat dl h I l ffer \\Jth a tarrag n essence md 1 '/ d n't v. tnt t lIT I

there.' Chef reall~ h \e to learn t rem vc them' h per Ik II fr I

food. Wh n v.e 'pened, we'd get cust m rs wh r I red uttl tI


~u to under tand what you're ~eeing," says Miller One chef menti.oned how
\v '

waar~arntol tualbalrectnondcoW-0ishbeedcatuoseabI.ot hsoshld the star system for rat'Ing restaurants but

The LUli.nary community includes organizations such as The James

Beard FuundatlOn, .host of The James Beard Awards, the debut of which in

lu~l made the culinary arts the only non-performing art with its own tele-

\"Ised awards program, a,nd which have played an invaluable role in bringing

recognition to Amenca s leading chefs.

The Art of Composition As previously mentioned, the general

public is probably ill-aware of the level
of thought and care that goes into culinary artists' compositions. In the evo-
lution or elev~tton of food from a strictly utilitarian Composition: the act of composmg, or putting
realm to an epicurean one, such compositions become together a whole by combming parts, an arrange-
increasingly intricate. The moment of composition is ment of the parts of a work of art so as to form a
the point at which a chef has the opportunity for unified. harmonious whole.
expreSSIOn and to largely determine what a customer will receive. It is impor-
tant for chef~ to understand how their decisions Will mfluence the end result.

"There are some cooks who create Just for the sake of creating. But

when it comes down to eating a dish, It has to make sense," Insists Bradley

Ogden. "If one flavor is fighting with another, and too many different things

are going on, it doesn't work."

imilarly, George Germon and Johanne Killeen mention that they
heard Fauchon's pa~try chef Pierre Herme dLCU . "the architecture of taste."

t!nue that cycle, wherea~ white men po"e sed them and hroke the cycle. Then, at one point, the
Indian \~ent anJ ~tole back the gift, they'd given the white men, and that's where the term "Indian

~IVlng" came from.
All of thl helped put ~ome per pective on how our pre ent culture is so damaging to the creative

proce . In term of what chef are domg, 0 often they're trying to figure out what the current trend i
and what dm:ctlon they ~hould go 10 to rlerue a market. They're so husy orienting themselves commer-

Cially that they lo;e touch With what It i- they want to eat. For example, one of my cooks presented for
my cflt14ue a dl h of one fish rolled in another fish with forcemeat ruffed inside, then rolled In some-

thmg el e, erved With nuts and mu hrooms and herbs and lettuce leaves around it, and two butter

uce . I Imply a"ked him, "Would )()u want to eat that?"
I thmk It was Gael Greene [of Nett' York magazine] who once wrote of Aurora [a now-defunct

1 nhattan re taUTant that was opened In rhe mid-1980s by Joe Baum and Gerard Pengo), "Right now

) 're bu y tn 109 to figure out what ew Yorker want to eat. We look forward to their getting over
h rdle nd cooking what they feel like c king and what they would want to eat."


"He pointed out the idea that

there is--or sh ould be-struc-

ture as well as taste and balance

going on in a dish," they say.

"Even if there are twelve ingre-

dients in a dessert, each should

have a specific purpose-

whether it adds sweetness or

tartness or texture. And all of

them should come together to

work as a whole."
The starting point is a classical foundation: some, and preferably much,

familiarity with ingredients and techniques. Given the intemattonallarder of

ingredients and repertoire of techniques avadable to chefs, the number of dif-

ferent compositions that can result is \'lrtually limitless. History has tamed

this potential chaos through the relentless testing of vario us ingredient com-

binations and the resulting development of classical flavor combinations and

dishes that represent the most ucce . ful marriages of flavors and ingredients.

These can proVIde an I!1valuable starting point for chefs, and are explored In

great detail later in this book.

Cookmg IS for capturing the taste of the food and In adJltlon, a chef's individual preferences will,

then enhancmg It, as a composer may take a over time and in the nght circumstances (of creative

theme and then delight us WIth hIS vanatlons frt:edom), give rt,e to the chef' own personal style of

-FE'r'] nd Po nt cookl!1g. \Vhtle thb i a Cllmplex and probably largely

unconsciou proce" it 1, compn'ed of a chef's reactions to every cooking

technique he or )he ha evcr een u ed or evt:ry combination of flavors he or

he has ever tasted-and I!1stantly accepted for or rejected fw m suhseljuent

use in hi or her repertoire.

The Realm of the Senses Thc work of a chef and the appre-
ciation of a dining expenence I'

unique-and uniquely demanding-in that it draw upon eac h of the five

sen es. Whtle the sense of ta.,te i' the one mo't heav ily empha i:eJ, the

sen e of smell is just a , if not more, important. While the tongue can ta te

only four hasic flavors, the sense of smell pruviJe us with many more en-
sory impressions. Similarly, the sense of touch-and one';. ,Irpre~l<ltion ,,(

textures--comes into play not only with the finl(ertip' but ,II,,) fn m the

mouth's own en or5, not to mention the ear' apprc I:lti n (a good

crunch~ And while it may be O\'crempha ized in mode rn L okmg, a pIe,

ing visual presentation of a dish can add gre<Jti) to one\ totdi <.Ipprc Iltllln
of It.


--- -- - - -~ --- -

Bringing Creativity and Point of View
to ...Asparagus

It LllokllH! \H' re ne\'er an art, but simply a skill, you would hand five different
.:I1<'t", ,a bunch <If "a,paragus each, request that they' cook I't' and W'ind up W'ith
il\'t~ nwre llr h~" Identically cooked plates of asparagus,

But leadmg chefs bring very different points of view to the same aspara-

gUS spear, If they're skilled at their craft, they'll know how long to cook it so

th,j[ It' Cllmlstency is at its best. But how they choose to cook it, and what
they (hoose to COllk It with-these are areas where their creativity and per-
,onal preferences come into play,

:\eeJ more connncing? Then let's have some fun, Let's see if you can
match the di,he-, with the chefs who have featured them on their restaurant


I. Dun,!{eness Crab and Green Asparagus Salad uith MeJer Lemon
2. Grilled Asparagus uith Olit-e Bread Crumbs and Olit'e Oil
3. Aspara~us u'ith Dried Shrimp \ 'inai~etre
4. Watercress Salad uith Gnlled Asparagus and Red Onion
5 , AsparaKus Soup u lth a \l eet Pepper COl/lis
•• •
a. Damel Boulud-Re Ulurant Damel , I eu York City
b, Susanna Foo---Susanna Faa, Philadelphia
c. Mark Ped and Nanc)' llterwn-Campande
and La Brea Bakery, La Angeles
d. Chm chle rnger-Ea t Coast Gnll , Bo ton
e, Alree Water -Chez Pam sr , Berkeley , California

Reade familiar wuh the chef' unique tyle!' of cuisine hould have a
little ea ier time With thi ' than thoe who don't. But there are certainly
enough c1u in the above information to get you tarted. For example, are

th re regIOn, I or ethnic a ociation with any of the ingredients or tech-

nlljue mentioned? Which chef would have the mo t ready acce to them!
P mt of \'lew i not limited to the re tau rant experience, nor to the

rl teo It I e\'en expre ed through the de criprion of a single di h on a menu.

T (I ,a At

r,Hrtck O'Ctmndl remmd, u' , "Thl . bl1, me~ tford the opp rtUnItv t

draw on e\'en, ,I'ngl~~ t,'llent th1' t Yl)l1 h,\ve, but It s not vle\\cd th t \\ 1\ vet
, \,Ie\\'eJa's t,t' ,'1
It re technical e.'pertl,e.t)r <l trade, mstead ot th, e rt form
tIlat It I.S., NL1Lf't,d\"'" pushing, the outer Ilmlt~, 10 terms of v.h,lt It reall~ III

Our aim is to exam me the opportunities tor composltll)nal chOlle pen

to the chef-specifically, the compoitlOn of f/at'ors , the compo<,ition ot dl h-

es. and the comrosition of dishes into mentis-and how these ch oice CUlllU-

lati\'ely evolve into a chef's unique style of cuisine.
Whether the reader is a chef, or a home cook wishing to better under-

stand decision making in the compositlonal process, or a restaurant diner
wishmg to better understand some of what goes into the creatIon of a dmmg
experience, we hope the end result will be the. ame: a stronger appreciation
for the talent-, efforts, and accompli hments of Amenca's treasure of culmary


A Final Word B~aut\' I'> often in the eye of the beholder. Snme audi-
ence member might be moved to tears while attend-

ing the upera, \\ htle other Hung m the "llne row dre bored to te;\ r~ . Likely,

some uf them hlllg a mOT edu dte I emd kno\\le,lgeable appreciation [0 what

they are xpenen Ill.!, and 0 the e '[ <:nen(e I nllt the same! O ne' con-

~CIOU ne hm!! n Imp( nant el m nt to ,tn~ ,Ie'thetl( e.·perienle-mclud-

mg that f I dm r or hef.

Tl) nke I pullf exampl ,thmk a th' "~!.lgIL Eye" plLture' th,lt ,1ppear

e"cf) \\ here Ir m the und) comll,; to let - ellmf.; hoob, If YUlt IUllk at them

one wa , the} 're merel col rtuluna ( n paper-not otfen lve, hut ,Irgu.lhly

11 t creat an, el her, But If) u knO\\ hl)\\ to 10 k mtn the pllotu re, It I ~ plh"lhle

to ~ee an 1m t maglloal thrcc-dmlen I n II Image.• ot everyone C, IO see the

3-D nnm!e; It take knowl .!c nd pr<1 tl e. But the potentlal to see It I '1!I\3}

there. And JU t hecau>c some pe pIc e It • nJ other lall't doc n't meCln

that It Joc n't eXI t. Imtlarh, 111 ~ , me omer I);IVC nc\ er h \ 1 ,) dmmg

expenenloe that ha moved them on the le\e1 of art. But tho e ,f II who h \e

been 0 mm'c I know that thl potential eXI t .

For dmer , the .ecret I to know th,J[ the potential i th re .1II I (0
oren them elve tll It. For chef, the elorcr lie 10 ~bP lfl n y to realoh th Ir

Cutomer in thl manner. "In order ro lore te \\\th (,)00, or to lre, te It ht: ,

you really have to ha\'e the end III mmd," y Jlfnlll) ldl "You ha\e

to percel\ e a pIcture or a VI Ion of whdt }llU're tr~ mg [() ere te, tnt! (hen

,our palette to paint with lin order) to create th It pictu re I } ur 10 redl

ent and} nur te hnlque~. The mgredlent re the rhmg th t r m t \

Ible, that }oU can ce, and ho\\ you put (hem III nd v. heth 'r th 'r 10 th

. . . (oE~ 8Dd I "11rina abcM "' -.~1

1IIft_•• "'...... Jefoerated by the actiftdon cl many
IMlllIOries are created the wne way. 8Dd that why~_

. .,Ill -life are very VIVid beeauae they've got all cl your ...""

look al: your food memories, and you can probably rea_a.

remember._.L"""'"_ belt med. you've ever had, you can probably
bed mrow. But tell me whal: you ate thtee weea ... Oft

....., ,.,m'1: somethinI brilliant, you probably doo'l: ten..

it.1 n it bad? No. II: just didn't create a memory. Bet:. -=

mIdiVate ex catch the attention all your aemel
mone the first things that hits. If something. not pIa-
not png to m II a lot. It doesn't mean a diIh aood
.,.a'll: amvare the &enIe c:l si&ht- Smell exaemely auc~·
man• lot !DOle rhinp
you can [rte you can only • •

. . (JMouIly. the Ide factor d.erc as well. hut beJlDl ·.. ..

II l!fEilue factor, the c:l fed. Even if you

.1,10-,reD if 104'" thiDe hot or cold to the pall....

the to inner ar; you caD acII.

iD the beckaround the

aa.tdemky 1ft really the ~

I'm n,)t -lire t,ooJ can 010\,e )_Oll ' the' l'<m e way oth er art can, the way a I,Sg_oaohda,,~p1,ICeccenotef lite ra ture or mu Il
C'r a raln[[ng can, It s a hdlty to really mo\'e reople non o•f fme art. '
In the 0

eem,-t t mhe a t

o cooking?"Is the eXis,tence eoa~flh,lay"uItedeCnlitlisfmi'aeb, loeucruelqtuurla\l<lelxenptreo..f
,hC'lIIJ there Ll'e a 'tme-art comronent food as tolk art- It s an flOe
to Ion ,
an, real Iy )U,-t1'f'Ied''It'5 ea, s). to relate to

But fine art: "

In the world of fine art, most artists don't want to be thought of as sImply a repreentatlon of thelf

ClI Irure, someth m' g man" thmk of as clo'>er to folk art. They want to be addressing broader qucstioO!'> If
J -' "

rOll look at a great rainting, for in'tance, it can mean something rrnfound to people all o\'er the world,

Oc>es food eXist on a comparable le\'el? Is that what fine dining-haltte CltL ine-i~? Or is food Ie" expre,>-

SI\'e and, by necessity, does it ha\'e to stay rooted in the culture that it come from? I'm not ,ure we\'e

come far enough to answer that l/ue"t1on,
Perhars haute cuisine is Itke opera, which e\'el)'one Seem to rec(1l!ni:e a" an art form , albeit not

uni\'ersal or easily accessible, In fact It\ pretty arcane, Though opera can be movinl!, it's an <lrt form you

have to be pretty ver,ed in to appreciate, Rarely can some ne who h,ls ne\'er heard opera heftlre unJer-

stand It right off the bat. You have to know what you're li,remng to, why they're achiennl! t hilt voice

qual in'. Thinkmg about it, I wouldn't a~ opera 1 n't an art iorm-thar it ,hllulJ be elimin,lted-iu'>t
becau e it's nnt easily acce,sible. So I could be cnn\'lnced to a the '.Hne .Ihollt halite cwsmc , thlluf.!h I'm

not totally comfortable with that conelu I n.

I think thee are thm!!. ,rudentJ m culll1lf) - h )!'-c1n) }llung people tnterc'te,1 in the pmie,-

sion-<hould thmk C1hout. They need to unJer t,md the cultuml, hI tl nc.ll, polnic,l!, ,m I an i,tic LOn-

text of their profe~'lon, I came of age 111 the IXUe , \\hen It \\a t hlO!\ahk: to ha h h(lwe Cl~ isint? a, e1lt-

that the) clre ell1 .It theIr peak. You c. n have d grt'.lt Idea , find ynu c,m plir .I

hunch of tn!!reJlcn tugether on cI I'll re, lut I lhmk th e key is gcninf.! ,111 01

them down on the plate at the

exact tIme mat \\urk perfectlv.

~ "Look, for In ranee, at

ed. It hould bc aged, oreau e
If you ate it nght away it woulJ
be terrible, Even a chicken nced
agmg; it need~ fort} -eight hour,
as oppo ed to two or three
weeks. You don't want to eat a

B y A,t ,

I t In truth, I don't thmk It has to be-in fact, it won't be-if we continue to talk about these thmgs,
to Jebate. to understand.

F J-beca,use of the fact that you ingest it and not J'ust look at I't- h as a um"que ImpressI,on on
pe~1rl('. Be(ause It goe across your tongue, because taste and smell are the most evocative of our senses
we react in strongly animal ways-these were protective devices for us for so many millenia. Taste and
smell are something we have to reckon with carefully. I mean, we're not going to put out a whole big
plate of bitter stuff for our customers, just so that they can have a strong, negative reaction to it. On the
other hanJ, if you go to a good piece of theater, you might see something incredibly ugly put in front of
you. You are intended to have a visceral, negative reaction to it. We don't do that with food, do we? Do
we have the equivalent of sad or angry or hateful flavors? If we don't, does that make food less an art
than a folk art or craft?

Could It be that bitter flavors are the equivalent of ugliness in literature or theater? Take Campari,

for Il1stance. My daughter tasted it the other day for the first time, and she washed her mouth out over

and O\'er-she thought it was the most vile stuff she'd ever tasted. She couldn't imagine that we could
sit there and drink it. I've come to enjoy that bitterness. Is that equivalent to enjoying a heavy novel or

If food is art, why haven't we developed a sophisticated way of talking about it? Why isn't it stud-
ied in art departments rather than schools that have been historically connected to vocational/techni-
cal schools? Why is there still ambivalence about whether or not it's a desired profession? I think his-

torically, worldwide--except for haute cuisine in France--cookmg has been backroom stuff, out of the

limelight, e,sentially all done by women, Ito., never been celebrated the way other pursuits have, so per-
hap' It's hard to talk about becau e we're not participating in a conversation that's gone on for eons. I
hope that by the time I'm old and gray, we'll have made some progress.

chIcken nght after it's been killed. The) 're terrible. Whether it's chicken or
beef, you want to capture it at the moment in iL cycle when It's the most
palatable-not only for flavor development, but for texture. Likewise, a veg-
etable that', pLCked--especiall'y when you're talking about herbs and such-

the be t pomt I nght then and there, that exact second.
":0, If you can collide the different ingredients you're putting together

at that tlme when they're all at their peak to create your smgular concept of
flavor, hat' the big challenge. Freshness has got a lot to do with It-some-
time. In Other ca e" things should be aged. Everything has a cycle.

"Th ecret i-: gettlng in 5'inc WIth that cycle to get the elements to col-
lid ,"hen it' most advanrageou-, to all of them."


Cuimary artlsb mu, t under<;tand the nature of th Ir
artS )f eX(lfC"C;lon~as~~dct~mevmC~'m/veecItsi medIUm. Cookmg 15 dltferent from pcrfume-making,
MedIum. A t
for example, m that chef don't mix pure flavor
or the ere ·
m. Iaboratory test tubes' and different from music-makmg in that the
essences f m. gredl'ents aren't as singular as musICal note~-they' re more hke
flavors 0
natural chords. Not only is an ingredient very often a combmatlon of flavor

but it also has other characteristics that must be taken into comlcit!ration
when cooking-its aroma, its color, its texture, and even it common aS~OCI'

ations, such as with a particular holiday or country. It is critical that cooks

become conscious of, and learn to respect, the medium of food.

In any encounter with food, taste IS proba-

Sensory Perception bly one of the last senses engaged. Because

food is something we ingest, we judge it carefully, critically, and instinctive-
ly. All of our senses are used to evaluate whether to put the food mto Our
mouths, and then whether to wallow It. First, you look at it, and then you
might smell it. Is it safe? Is it appealing? If a food appear~ h ot , for example,
you might first try to touch it to gauge Its temperature. W ill it bum your
mouth? If it pas<;es mu ter and you bite into it, your first experience is one of
texture . Is it oft? Cn,py? If It\ Crl,py, you'll probably hear the crunch m your
inner ear a plttecond before It. Havor hegins to register on your taste buds.
Su, ta ·te h methmg that I expenenced (and, one hopes, enjoyed) only

after the Other en e have ir t been ti,iie I-and it b where our attention
ha the pleasure of IlOgering.

A~ Mark Miller POint out, "TH te 1 an eXl'otenttal, sensual experience.
We don't really unde tan I it. Language I what We u~e for taste, and yet the
bod~' g ~, through thi temper,ll pr ce ; there arc highs and lows, tntensities,
duration, complexitie . Ta te I ,I very, very complex thing in the boJ),
where it unlfle a number of factor ."

Unoerstan ing the magnitude of the fa re experience ha IInport:lnt

impltcattoru. for d 19nmg food .

"When you de Ign [food) for
people, you have to be much
more aware of the body's expert-
ence, and not get caught In
either looking at (he ohject or
thinking of how they experience
it or u ing language," ay Mtller.
"Language I de Crtptlve and
analytical; It i n t about the
expertence Itself."




SPRING chervil guavas ~callion
CitrUS fruit;;, esrecially hali],ut
artich~ kes honeydew mek'ns sea bass
asparagus bh)od or,mges, Meyer
,l\'ocaJo'i lamb shad and shad roe
reans, fa\'a lemon, lettuce shallots
beet greens clams mint
beets cra],s, soft-shell mi:uma snl'W peas
blueberries morels sorrel
carfish crayfish nettles strawberries
chard cucumhers onions, Vidalia suckling pig
dandelion greens papa,"as
fava beans sugar snar rea,
fiddle head ferns peas vanilla
potatoes, new veal
frogs' leg~ radishe~ water chestnuts
garlic, especially green watercress
green~-arugula. chervil. rhubarb :ucchini

mustard .almon

grouper arJine~

SUMMER cherrie Inchl nut hallots
apncots chickpea I 1- It;r herbet
arugula squashes. summer
b-asil claJru mn
beans. green min tomatoc
bernes com mu kmcl n tropical fruit
cra~. ) t- hell ncCl.Jrtnc tuna
blackberrie cucumber watermelon
blueberries curr,lnt okra zucchini
canteloupe eggplant peppers
celery plums
fl pc. rCIO!
hantercll potatoe • new
fr • Ie raspberrie
garlic rataroutlle
g Jat red currant
g bern sardmes
h(meydew melons
Ice cream

• The.~.... moat characIeristic of the 88.ea.,. are rtdicated by bol'''' type While many Ingredients are 10 fact

...., year-round they are I.ed under their MaaOi'lBl peak(S)

arrlt'.. cauliflower grape" Muscat pumpkins
celer' root herring quail
reafi.- leeks quinces
han, !:Teen and lima cere' lemons, Meyer rabbits
lobster radicchio
hlood or:m!!c' chJmerelle~ maple syrup radishes
mushrooms shellfish
hoccoh che,mut.' mussels squab
hx:coh rabe coconut, onions
cranherrie., papayas swordfish
rru"d- "rout partndges tangerines
cJbha:.ce dalkol1 pears turkey
capon date, peppers truffles, white
persimmons venison
duck phea,ams walnuts
eel., pomegranates

fennel r ark

(Ole gras


!.!ari ic


balUn ch tnut leek rutar.egas
he n, 1--1 ck nd r mto cmu fruits-Hood lenttb .. aIs ify

broccl It oran 'e, r,lp fruit. lobster ",all;-.,age~
kumquat, ie er
bru el prout' mflche 'Col r.'I"
lemon sea urchm
hoc \\heat clementme monHI h qu,hhc." wimer

cabbage cod mu eI quid
d,ukon tar fruit
\-1-- "I\ 0, dned fruit nut sweet potatoes
endive t,mgermc
Cn e ar Ie nut OIl Hople,11 fruit

\ IOU rapcfrult or m!!c truftlt • bl
'reen , colllfJ and mus- oran"e • hlood
C Icroy r It turnip
t rei par nips
p Ion fruit "c,ll hank
kiWI fruit ratt: vms

r dlcchlo
ro cmaf)'

Perhaps no fond I' more stimulat ing to the 'en c, and In

Seasonality such an appealing way than that wh ich I" made irom

ingredients at their seasonal peak. Seasonaltty h as emerged .1' the mantrd of

the leading chefs we ll1terviewed.
Gary Danko POll1ts out, "If you are using ingred ien t> grown in "ea on,

you're going to have the maximum amount of fl avor those products can deltv-

er. Tomatoes grown in the summer have much more fla vor than the one. yllu

get in the winter that have been picked orange , gassed, shipped to their de -

tination, and quite frankly taste like cardboard or cellulose. There\ no flavor

in them whatsoever. A good cook might be ahle to doctor them with a little

bit of sugar to cut the acid, add some salt and some herbs to bring out what-

ever flavor is there, and might be able to make a decent sauce. But there's no

comparison to the flavor you can get out of a seasonal product bv Jomg less

to it, which Will also satiate the palate better."

The rhythm of the seasons IS wonderful. It has While seasonality is mmt freq uently aSSOCIated

inspired pamters and musiCians for centuries. with fruits and vegetables, there IS a season to other

and If does the same for me ingredients as well. "We used to get , almon from all

-JeanLoUiS Pc. ad f) O\'er the place, a nd nnw we know that the local

almon IS the best ta [mg, and we Just ll\l: locell .almon when It\ aV<lllahle-
the sea' n can run from the end of Aprd thwugh ~ eptember," ,ay~ Alice
Water. "\X'e ne\ er 'er\'t~ It .my mher [line of ·ear."

The rea on for Looking e,) on.dl} clre not nnly [oPted m ,ei:mg ,m

ingredient' peak fI, \or, arl rna, ,Ild teo (Ure, .dthuugh th ese re,bon, .tre

mo t llnporrant. C okm!! \\ I[h the e,l on .d (1 h,I" the power to "Hlsfy
mnate or learne I lood cravtng . "In ,I htl! ctt~ envtrunmen r, with mter-

nattnnal commerce. it' 1",\ \ for <I rc raur.Il1[ tll I!~nllre thee <lSlln~. Rut l1Ut
boJle ~eem to know rhem and to r.we e. n d 1I1f.;redH:nh the ",Hllt' wa\,

we want to wear lmen~ m the urnrncrtlll1C an I wllolen .. 111 the wmter," "lyS

~1tchdel Romano. "And It' ~ooJ for chef til I the one ttl POlt1t the ,e,l-
_on, out to people. That' wh~ )Oll won't tmd me ervinl! pumpkm ra\'11 II

m Au!!ust (r berne m the mtJdle oi WlI\ter, ,mJ } OU wo n't ee cI rardgu on

my menu an) tlIne except 'prmg. If )OU II ten to ~ ( ur loel y. It wIiI tell "till

what to c ok."

A, we'll ee in the flllloWIl1l! chapter o n comp 1'111 ' 111\'(>r • c(l(lkl!1,l!

~ea~onally can al (J pro\ ' lU.1I:. a h onclH to CIl Ilila!) clrtl r eeklll~ the Hill t Il.1t-
monlOu ~omhlnatilln. of ingredIent .Ill I flavor. ''Ju t \\ orklllg II ItIt the C I'

sons, )OU re half \/oay there," pOint Ollt Terr In e Brennan .

Aromas orne expert cre Itt drom. With IInp run 1 nlU h (] tH r

the actual ta te It If. It' Import lilt r <. h f t) lind N J

the role and effeLt uf vanou trom on a d. h. (liven th r IW r r


Culinary Artists on

the Inspirations of the Seasons

Jean-Louis Palladin


Te7Tine of Smoked Salmon. Spinach, and Anchmry Butter
or Fresh Cream of Pea Soup with Maine Shrimp and QueneUes
Soft-SheU Crab with PancetUl Butcer or Rockfish Sauteed with Basquaise

Farm-Raised Rabbit with Herbs and PortobelJo Mushrooms
or Veal Loin Roasted with Faoo and Ham RagoUt

Coconut Milk Tapioca CrousciUant with Saffron Coulis and Pineapple Sherbet

utntn r

Coconut Soup with Maine Ralar Clams, Vegetables, and QueneUes

Fresh Maine Abalones WIth Pea Fondue and Saffion

Fresh Duck Fote Gras WIth Rhubarb
Fresh Sturgeon WIth Arachoke Barigowle

Farm-Raised Guinea Hen Roasted With HeTbs and Green ~ Rop1t
Peach Tan With Peach Uquewr CoWis and Apricoc herbet

Pumpkin Soup With Tas ArvIouille, and ~~s

Sea Scallops ... th SqWd Ink oodk and p~ CowJis

Rd napptT With Lnnon fit, Block DIMs, u.".ers,

T~ , Ba.sil and Lnnon 0lWe Oil

Venuon ...un Fnm Cantu and pmadt- twffed Pear

u.Wt Port and Red W~ EsstnCe

COl""CMcoIow Tart u.Wt Gianduia SJ...btr and ChocoIau

fmIt Ocsulilt Soup . . So4fed Squab l..ep and QwndIa

SetN & If w.« . . MGint Lobst.n and EmMbion

Fiala o..dc Oral u.Wt Quince

Fiala Tllihoc ..... Enola wlbooms and Enoici CO'cIis

0..",..,.w Fed ali. r lib ..,. edt" Rooc RliCc"
MG__ T_ b ere "..d Wild DL teli'

Anne Rosen;:v.:eig

rrll1 '

Pasta with Mint-Cured Salmon, Cucumbers, Lemon, and Cream
Sauteed Duck Fillets with Rhubarb Sauce and Cracklings
on a Bed of Arugula with Asparagus
Macadamia Nut Tarts with Coconut Whipped Cream

Com Cakes with Creme Frakhe and Caviars
Chimney-Smoked Lobster with Tarragon Butter

and Summer Squash and Potato Fntter
Lemon Curd Mousse uith Fresh Summer Berries in Almond Tuiles

Warm FIgs tl'irh Gorgon:;:ola and \'(!alnuts on Greens

Roast Qlwil uith Sm'o), Cahba,ge and Kasha
Chocolate Bread Pudding tl'lch Brandy Custard Sauce

tnt r

W/tld I 111 hroom Tart
Roast Lamb u nh Celery Root Gratm and Tomato/Red Pepper Casserole

Pear Timbales u rh Slick Caramel 'au e and Sugar BIscuits

stimulate and ar u e, It' perhap one of the mo t underutdi:cd tool at the

culinary art! t' dIS 1. An aroma i c JI h' bUIlt-in appetizer.

A ba} leaf drorred lnto a pot of tew pre duce an earthy, w\:ct aruma.
Cinnamon ad a different, but till earthy and wcer, aroma to baked weet
ranging from pa trie to custard. The mel! of garltc advcrti e:. a fOhn t tolll,l-
to -auee. And truffles add a heady perfume that can clcvate even Imple
ingredient5 like pa -ta and potatoes to the realm of the sublime!

Jean-George Vongenchten plans to rap the power of aTOm ,It hi next

restaurant by bringing more mells into thc dining nx)m. "Half the JI he on

the menu WIll be erved tableslde," he a} . Vongenchten belIeve th t !nU h
of the experience of carving a freshly roa ted bird, for example, 1 the (ra-

grance that escapes when it is fir t cut open, and that custome h uld be
alJowed to enJoy chi senso,"} experience.

Dieter Schomer


Han'ey's Lemon Tart with Raspberry Coulis
Rhubarb Tart ..dth Cinnamon Sugar

SUl111l11 r

Oeufs a la Neige (Floating Island) with Lemon Sherbet

Dutch Rice Flan with Berries

F \1

Plum Tart In Brioche Dough
Alsatian Apple Tart uith Vanilla Ice Cream

Tart of Quinces with Lingonberries
Poached White Peaches filled u,!th Chestnut Mousse and Zabaione

~ IOter
Japonaise-Ver)' Cmp and Thin Hazelnut Meringue

filled uith Ha"elnut Buttercream
Vachenn-Menngue Idled unh Blood Oran~e Sherbet

Apple Pie a la Saw)' Hotel-Sened m a Soup Tureen COt ered u'ith

CookIe Dough along «1m Vanilla Ice Cream

The chef we interviewed are hl!:!hl ttuned to the aroma at \'anou
food and take them into can ideratt n v;hen com _lOg a dl,h or a menu, or
even-m Von enchten' Ca5e-a re tauram I elf. Favonte ingredient are
even de enbed a havmg pertume In te d of mere roma!

Textures Even texture can communtcate. Many food thought of a

comfort food have a oft texture to them-rna hed potatoe ,
apple auce, pudding. Food~ with thl texture can be thought of a' h meyand
nurtunng. On the other hand, a lot of na k foods are cri py-porato ChiP,
preuel . Because of the loud crunch they're capable of producmg when eaten,

here be certain informahty, even a n e of fun, to cri py food . A fned
I u r chip add both the mtere t of crunch and of the vegetable' natur-

Anyone who's ever gotten a whiff of (re,h r pbern

Emotions been immediately transported back to one's chtlJh

yard, happily pulling the berries off a bush, knows that food can mJee tng-
ger memories and emotions and other subjective connotations.

Certain holidays are inextricably linked with certain (0 d, lIch a
Thanksgiving with turkey, Christmas with eggnog, and Valentme' Day With
chocolates. Chocolate is one of several foods ranging from champagne to
oysters which have a long history as suspected aphrodiasiacs, credited With
stimulating romantic feelings. The question of whether there IS an actual,
physical effect on the body that takes place upon consuming such food~, or
whether the power of suggestion is enough to stimulate such (eeling , is

In addition, ingredients may have as ociations that are cultural. Jean-

Georges Vongerichten recalls the time he was cooking at an up~cale hotel

restaurant in Bangkok and tned to add a pineapple tart to the menu. "It cre-
ated a scandal," he recalls. "At the time, pineapple wa· considered food eaten

only by the poor." Vongerichten was a ked to substitute apple tart on the
menu, despite the (act that apple were neither local nor fresh.

(If the above cenarioound- far-fetched, then it should be remem-

bered that at one point in United ~rate history, lob;,ter was considered like-
WI e, leading to the pa .'age of legi,btion regulating how often loh;,ter c(1uld

be forced u n pn oner and ery lOt !)

~ me cui lUre have dhtmct \\ 3), of thinking about fllmiliar mgredl-
ent . For example, the ChlOe e culture ha~ cia ified certain fll~l Is as either

ym or ran!? Ym re er to the p Ive, negatl\'C universal energy force, cncllm-

T)plcaI DI he
Valentine' Da
Aphro<h ill like canar, chocolate, loh rer, o} ter
t. Patnek' Day
Cabbage, corned beef
Ham, hard-bollL-d gg, lamb
Fourth of July
Barbecue, trawberry hortcake
Cranberry auce, rna hed poratl'le , pumrkm pi
Chn tmas tuffmg, \l,eet potae , turkey

Chn tma puddmg, c lOlct ,eggn g , m
phea nt, r t beef, Y; rk hire puJdm


"'mOl II tic Pnnu! gnlled ,teak
Arhr ,d1S1 K :
caviar, champagne, cmnamon, cloves, game, ginger,
lohter, morel>, nutmeg, offal, oysters, pepper, ,affron,
truffles, \'anilla

C halleHl!mg: anchovie,; stinky cheese
creamy mashed potatoes

E,uthy: grilled mushrooms
Femmme: fruit, tlramisu
thick-cut steak or chops

PLl\-tul : lamb's tongue with lamb', lettuce
ra\'io h

pa~smg foods such as sugar; yang denote the actin!, positive force, encom-

passmg food~ uch as chiles.
In another example, Asian cultures hd\'e an'lh':ed and c,lteg\lri:ed var-

ious tla\'l)[S and food tuff, relating them [0 the (l\'e ba,1C elemt:nh.

Bmeme s, along \\'ith ingn:dlent' like lpn at , mutton, Lmd ..: Ilion, b a"()-

ciated With the element of fire . nd the ea n f ummer, which rcpre ent,

growth. weeme's, and mgredlent ltk beet an date . I as 0 I ned \\ Ith the

element oi earth and the 1.'.1 on ot In han ,ummer, aid to repr nt tr.1Il for-

mati In. Pungenc\', and ingredient' ranglIlg fr )m OIllon tt: pedche , IS a 1-

ared With the element of metal .md the elan f, lItumn, md to repre t: nt

h<l[\'e,t. Saltine", and such Il1greJllnt b hearn, green, an I pork, I ,\ Jel-

, ted \\ Ith the element of Welter. and the e on ot \\ IOter. a tlml or wrage.

And ,oume " along with ingn:dlem like lee'. lum and ultry, lrC a

clateJ With the clement 01 \\'l I Lmd the e >n f nn', lid to rcpre ent


Be~ond thl'. Lertall1 food, eem to trigger more uhltmlIlal i tl n.

"Ravlo\t connote a certam pla)fulne , nJ m, t~cmatt()n \\ Ith them prob-

abl~ extenJ tar beyond the fact th t i e d to eat them d a chtll," a~

Wa)ne , 'I h. "It' the Imle pack.d~e ,the urpn e; It' Itke bemg 'I little kid at
Chn trna time, geltlng a little rack I~e mJ eclng \\hat' in Ide."

Food 1 a medIUm rIch \\ Ith potential for Cl.lmmUllIcaun ' In man~ dlf-

ferem \\a \\lth the per n \\h I eat It-I! 1 cullllal) ani t h t learn

nd t k the lan.!u ge'

Valentine's Day Menu
February 14, 1996

Barbecued Rabbit Turnovers
Smoked Oyster Canapes


A Demitasse of Sweet Red Bell Pepper Soup


Two Eggs in an Egg
(Cat:iar and Scrambled Eggs in an Eggshell)

• ••
Natil,:e Rockfish Roasred with Whire Wine, Tomato, and Black Oli'l.'es

on Toasted Couscous

•• •
Grilled Quail With Homemade Blackberry Vinegar

on a Crispy Potato Galerte

Pear and Pepper Sorber u1th PoiTe \X'ilham


Rack of Baby Lamb on Roasted. leu PotatOe
ulth Pearl Barle) and \X lid iu hroom


A MlIlIatllre CroqHe 10nsleur

on Field Greens u rth pled Walnut


A • 1ascarpone Chee e Coeur a la Creme U1th Ra pberry Sauce

Warm Chocolate Cake U Hh Roasted Banana Ice Cream


Cojfee or Tea

Chocolate Bonbon

Th c en e f ingredients-which encom,

pas e thelr appearance, aroma, and texture

as well a' their flavor-is the starting point -
of all cuisme. Culinary artists go to great

lengths to understand their ingredients as c:::
well as possible-everything from their his~
torical ongms and uses to exactly how en. _

they're grown or raised.

Only when you under tand and

respect the essence of an ingredient can

you properly come to enhance it- flavor
through cooking. This takes place m two
pnmary ways: through the application of

cooking techniques which erve to change

ould be tl10se of (and, one hopes, enhance) the char cten tiC of n
perfe t mgredlents ingredient, and through combmmg fla\ or h rm -
mously and even synergistically with other ingredi-
Ferrand POint

ent whose properties serve to enhance one another.
But the best cooking of all is when ingredients taste like them elve . A

culinary artist must respect the essence of ingredient, and take care to choo e

those of the highest possible quality.
"There's a lot more to it than just learning how to cook well, and then

cooking," says Jasper White. "A lot of what determines the qualtty of the

final product ha to do with buying-what you buy, and what your ::.tan-

dards are."
Jean-LoUIs Palladin agrees. "The products we use are all important-

and we only use top-level products," he say. "When you've got a perfect fi h,

it' a crime to kill it and hide it! However, thi. is nor a 'ushi re taurant,O we

have to do something to it, but we take cme to give it the flavor the fi. h

deserves. "
"Great co lkin!! really ha" a lot to j() With how perfect the ingredient,

are," a) Johanne Killeen. Her hu ,md coukmg partner George

Germon Jump In \\lth an e.'ampl . "T.lkc I Ir ley from the m,Hket, and then

take par I) ut of UT \\ mdo\\ III f cl 1 nt, nd ll"t:~ them Side by Side.

You'll dl ver th dlfi eren e," h \\e r . "After a fe\\ Jay .It the upermar-

ket, It till I nd It till cert 101· h t.l te, ut \\ hen you take It (Iff

a plant nd JU t U It n ht \\ ,th rt:' n mp n n." Ktllecn .d I , "Once

It' I t th til ... ~ U b k uu{ thmg ha\'c n me. Ll If

Y I he with, nly d \.'\\ mgredl~nt, then

wn. Ea It h I he g(1 I by It elL"

c mmument to > n Ilt~ and th II 111 ,lOd

r ectlO the the I I In redl n , ulmdr}. rtl t Jitter

much do m th \' ~ th y pro h the pr e f c mp) I-

Otnt of c n III 1 n. There I cer-

taml no c U, of ere ttvlty that I a ch (

neath fr m tl n to ftnl 111ed pIte. • ut hor,

.... e don't mean t) ug 'e t ne In r enttn Ie dmg eh 'Idea on the [ pi

dl eu d an chron I ~ of our own d \I mg-th t ( tartmg .... tth rh

malic t elemen (the com iuon f t1 "l)r ) contanumg thrt u h their c rn-

hmatlon mto c mposed JI he nd menus-but It' g .... U} ) .... 1m \\
of to tart!

A MaHer of Taste Both the r nt\( nd th enJ rn nt f

center ar un th p tat Th UT tl3S1C ld~V'

that can be per elve on the ton ue ar we t, It, ur mJ bitt r

ut. "In Chma, there are five-there's also 'hot.' In southeast
la, th re' .11'0 'aromatic.' There's also 'pungent'-something like fish paste
\\ hlCh I not ur or bitter. but its sour. bitter, sweet, and salty."

~ary Danko mentions yet another "fifth flavor": "It's called umami.
Tne be-t \\ a\' to Illutrate it would be the taste of the combination MSG and
\\ater. Thoe are amino acid-like protems. Or another example would be to
fut a raW O\·ter in your mouth. The feel or taste is of the sort of numbness in
your mouth. It's hard ro describe.

"If 'ou close your nose when you start to eat, those five flavors are the only
things you can taste," says Danko. "A pure taste is something that goes from your
palate to your brain immediately, Without going through your olfactory sensors
and then filtenng up. It' an immediate ensation from tongue to brain."

How can chefs use this knowledge to improve their cooking? "You hear
a lot about balancmg the four points of the tongue," says Danko. "There are
people who ay, 'If you just add more lemon JUICe, you won't need so much
alt.' But I would disagree with that. I look at it more as a balance-you need
a little bit of thi , and a little bit of that, and these are all essential in satiat-
Ing you. You can leave a huge meal 'hungry' if your palate was not atiated.

On the other hand, you can be atl fied With Ie ... food if you've had good, bal-

anced flavor coming Into your m uth."

In thmking about food, cook houlJ 1m to become can, lOU, of what\

going on in a particular dt h. Wlllch 10 rediem r contnhutin J t the dish's

weetne ,or Inne ,or ur on , r bitter n te ? Thr u_h un 1er t,mding

a particular ingredient' fla' r pr rtI. a he can m re exp Ttly h. nJle

that ingredient and c mhme It \\ Ith ther, hem w re ,·he t the ingredi-

ent I contributing to ( dl h.

Affec ing Flavors The natur I ch, nge-

u rmm r \\ mgr It!nt.. m w ~ that m

tml:e n nl fla\'or but en)o ment. Ther • r two pnm r. w} t I thl:

thr u_h the ppltc non 0 tim, I c 100 echnt u , n thr u h h r-

m III u mbmatlon 0 tl3\; r. \X'lule It c n be lea ur ble t e t. perfect

ra\\ carrot, for exam Ie, 10 h mtddl winter It n be even m re tI ry-

tn to e t th t am carr t h t, perhap ure or a up. An th wh

en) y he tlav r of \.:. rr t may flO It e\ en m re appealin d ttl n

p t f butter, or« quee:e a lem n or orange.

h f mu take the e n e n 10 re(hent lOt

Idln wh t to 0 WIth It It t \ Ital or che t bc·rn...." nllllar With

Iff, rent t hnl I-

um d I r c UI tn "
I nr Ihl

k we hav£, the nght to enhance or the process of cooking changes the flavor and textur
A avors but we do not have the fight of the ingredients being cooked.

to destroy therr; Take sugar, for example, which 1 a recogntzable

--,Ioel Robuct)OI flavor in and of itself. Yet if it is heated to a certain

pom. t, 't wtll begin to brown and melt- the process of carameitzatlon

1 "

Through the application of cookmg techmques to sugar alone, new flavors

and textures can be created.
The same is true for nuts. Taste a walnut fresh from its shell. Then toast

some walnuts in the oven, or in a saute pan, until they begin to brown slight-

ly, and you'll find that a deeper flavor and crunchine are released. Toa tlng

may also increase the perceived bitterness of walnuts as well as of aromatics

such as caraway or mustard seeds.
Roasting, on the other hand, can increase the sweetness of a dish

through the carmeltzatlon process. "There's omething called the 'Maillard

effect' that occur when the natural sugars in food are exposed to high tem-

peratures in the pre ence of aCid, which reult in a natural carmeli:ation,"

explain Jimmy chmidt. "When you roa t thing like garlic or on ions, it cre-

ates broader flavor with more depth than the mgredlents would have raw or

even cooked at a lower temperatun::. Through roa ring, certain gelatinous

vegetable_, uch hallot and p.1r mp', break down. giving the dish a naw-

rally rich mouth-! el."

Techmqu a tnt nly th ctu I flav r hut abo the perceived fla-

vor of a I h. F rex mpl ,heatln n increa e Ib perceIved weetne s,

whIle chlllm It mak I eeme er eptthle. A a ca c m point, the

mIxture a ut to be poured Into n Ice ere III maker often tastes unbearahly

weer. HO\ ever, once fro:en Into I e cre m, the arne ingredients taste mere-

ly plea ntly weet.

A partl ular mgre Icn n I char tcn ttl: wtll metlme~ ug 'e t u~e

of a particular re hOlque. "If)OU have perfect I h rcr, you prob hly J n't want

to do anythmg m re than bOll r team It," ay J per White. "But If y IIr lob-

ter aren't fabulous, au [TIl ht want to tum them into a bISque. To get the

m t flavor out of the lob ter, I' not mg to c me fr m the meat, which

might be bland that particular time of year; It' g 109 to c me from I wly Im-

menng the carcasse and makmg a really tron br th With them. And If th

season IS prmg, and it' chilly, wup I appropnate. Plu~, lob rer I an exp Ive
mgredlent, and makmg a soup with it i a great wa~ to tretch It "

Different bnds of fl h lend them lye to different rneth
tion. "You can't gnll black cod, for example, lr Chtlean

fall apart," explatn Mary ue MIlltken and u an Fem cr. "But the 'r rh

great pan- eanng fl h. It' Just that their re ture I n t n hr r h nil nd

you'd I all that JUice, mee the} 're th JUlq fl h. Tun n f h re

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