Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Food Philosophy

I thought I would share something I sent to a friend recently that tries to articulate my current views on food and cooking. My comments are in response to her suggesting we be conscious in revolutionizing how people eat in New Mexico (she said the state, I would be happy with my customers in town). Here it goes:

So, revolutionizing the state. I’m all for it. I’m not sure how, but I know I’m all for it. I’ve spent most of my night playing around at the Alinea Mosaic website feeling a bit trapped by my lack of knowledge, but knowing there is nothing that he’s doing that I couldn’t with some tools and time. I have spent a lot of today thinking about how I’m the only restaurant at the farmers market, and how I’m making pennies doing it. But then I have customers who say things like, “I’ve been a vegan for years, but your sandwich gives me a reason to cheat.” Our conversation turned to how my food has taste when it seems that no others do. I haven’t eaten out in longer than I can remember because its all boring, bland tripe. I’m sick of that shit.

I don’t know what all this means, but I know that I want to be an Alinea toned down to 80% with truly local foods ramped up to 60%. I love all the fun things I’m doing with prickly pear tunas. I love how I have a basket of perfectly ripe juniper berries sitting on my table waiting for inspiration (will they become gin if I don’t touch them? That works for me to!). Alinea is great, but it loses touch with essence. I want to keep essence. I want someone to push away from my meal and say, “How the hell did he make all of that from foods out in our woods?” That’s what I want.


Manggy said...

Our conversation turned to how my food has taste when it seems that no others do.
Oh, don't be humble, Rob! Ha ha ha. Of course, all of this springs forth from a love of food and flavor, and might I add, a touch of wanting to make other people happy? I think that is the essence of a good chef. It's actually quite easy to identify these qualities in the food that you eat.

(Don't ask me why I still like McDonald's food. I think that's my baser instincts taking over from time to time, and the simple joy of salt upon fat upon salt.)

Gfron1 said...

Actually, I don't see it as being cocky. I know so few people who cook from scratch. My food distributor said I am the only one in town cooking from scratch (I know there is one exception that he wasn't thinking of). So it's not so much to say how great my food tastes, rather, it's a sad commentary on how our culture has abandoned cooking for convenience. I, however, don't think those two concepts are in conflict.

Tri2Cook said...

I hear ya Rob. I find myself in frequent battles at work over this very subject. The owner is constantly being pushed on quicker and easier by the vendors (because that stuff puts more money in their pockets) and I'm constantly pushing the other direction. Fortunately I win these battles when they're important to me, losing them would mean having to move on to another place.