Tag: fire

Fire Cake

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Flaming piri piri marshmallow, candy coated chocolate mousse, honey caramel, candied cocoa nibs, dulce de leche crumb, pomegranate preserves.

This dessert captures the essence of the restaurant, more so than anything else I have created.  The concept of the restaurant is built around a wood burning kitchen that is open for the diners to see.  The kitchen is basically a wall of flames dancing in the backdrop of a delicious meal.  I wanted to bring a piece of that excitement to each table, I wanted to bring a slice of the action to each diner, I wanted the fire to be an integral part of the meal.

I am pretty happy with the outcome of this dish.  It is chocolate based but not too heavy.  It is not overly sweet, it is gooey, an array of textures backed by a fruit component, and a hint of spice.

To be honest, I have been working on this dish for a while, documented here Table side Effigy and here Wait for It and again here Version 1.0

Still, this dish is not done yet.  It still has to evolve into something greater, into something better, into a new identity.  It is always hard to top a winner, and the challenge leaves a lot of room for disappointment.  Nevertheless, I only see room for potential.  The evolution continues.

 

T Minus Countdown

Ok everyone, so it’s the last official day before we officially start serving the general public with their opinions and their impressions and their reviews.  Am I nervous?  I would say terrified is more appropriate of a feeling.  Am I starting out with safe desserts?  Crowd pleasers that are tried, tested, and true?  Well, no, obviously.  That would be too easy.  There is risk involved, there is a good chance of failure.

Things not helping my anxiety:  the boys are killing it with their dishes and their execution.  These are professionals with professional tongues.  Every time I taste the food, my ego is like “what the fuck are you doing here?”  I have wanted this for a very long time, I have worked very hard to get here. I have the training, the education, the creativity, the work ethic, the vision, yet still, I feel unprepared, and no amount of work will make me feel prepared.  After a 6 month build up, and 3 weeks of work til you drop, the focus of a med school student, I still feel like a wet lost dog.

Thanks for listening everyone, see you on the hot side of the counter.

Cool, Creamy, and Charred

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Tres Leeches de Coco.  A coconut lime cake soaked with 3 coconut milks, pistachio crunch, charred tequila pineapple, blood orange purée, toasted flake.

It’s about representing winter, and focusing on the wonders of natural ingredients.  It’s about representing the elemental forces in a dish, it’s about highlighting the flavors and textures of the season.  It’s about capturing the essence of fire and exploring everything that the coconut has to offer.

The cool and creamy coconut milk mimics the fresh snow both visually and texturally, the pistachio cookie mimics the crunching of the frozen snow underfoot, the charred pineapple is reminiscent of the flame produced by fire, reconnecting the consumer with the power of this primal tool.

The coconut is represented in all ways: the fresh grated flesh forms the base of the cake, the coconut milk is soaked throughout, the lightly toasted desiccated flake adds another texture and reminds the eater of warmth.  This is paired with a blood orange purée, a slightly bitter flavor that rounds out the sweet, the char, the toast, and the nut.

Together this creates a harmony, a refreshing taste after the hot and obnoxious summer.  This dish highlights the integrity of a few ingredients with minimal processing.  Nature steals the show with this dessert.

Tableside Effigy

I want to burn away the passing of the year with tableside fire.  Whatever will be served for dessert, it will be covered in flames.  I want this elemental act to physically change the dessert, to morph it into something different.  The symbolism of the effigy cleanse is translated into a better version of what was originally presented.  The dish can still subsist without the flame, just as we can subsist the way we are now, but we want to reach for something better, an updated version of ourselves.  In order to promote a better inner version, outside forces must be considered.  You influence the world and soak up what the effects have to offer.

The beginnings of the concept: fire sugar cubes over magic shell with something that will melt on the inside. I am thinking about chocolate ganache or caramel.  Cake underneath to catch the oozing filling inside the magic shell.   This dish is also preview for El Che, the new restaurant, where I really want to focus on elemental impacts in dishes.  Since the restaurant will focus largely on fire, this will be the showpiece.

Light a booze soaked marshmallow? Sugar in the raw cube?

Cherries jubilee- cherries soaked in brandy, lite that shit up.  Could be underneath like a glowing fire.

Bananas foster, think about that and rum.  The caramelized bananas are soaking in rum.

I like the idea of having a strong caramel presence to highlight the effects of high heat.  There must be chocolate, because how can you celebrate without this magical ingredient?

Wait For It…

I have perhaps the best idea ever for a dessert.  I am going to say a word that I never thought I would ever say pertaining to a dessert, especially when the word “great” or “best” or “anticipation-worthy” is involved.

So here it is: s’more.

There, I said it.  If you immediately lose interest, I understand.  I certainly would not listen past this word when someone is trying to describe an innovative product, a salivary-induced dessert, and new idea that will spark imagination and delight.

Also, I will not say “deconstructed” because the dish is not deconstructed, it is reconstructed.  But that word will not appear in the name or even in the description based on principal- the principal that deconstructed is an overdone and a cliché concept.  Anything resembling that terribly passé word will be lumped into that same, shameful category.

I am thinking about calling it “Fireside” or perhaps “The Rebirth of S’more.”

I don’t want dull childhood memories of this store-bought mélange of ingredients to come across as misleadingly simple or contrived.  This ‘new best idea ever dish’ amplifies the best part of the s’more while also improving upon the aspects that are underwhelming.

I can’t say too many details about this idea without giving away too much.  You have to wait for it.  The intended restaurant where this is to début is not open for business yet.  The doors are not open, the fires are not lit, the tables are not yet set.  Until then menus are printed, until the water glasses filled, until your cocktail shaken, until the music spinning, full disclosure on “Fireside” is clandestine.

The best part of this over used childhood treat is in the applying of heart to transform the ordinary into the somewhat extravagant.  The parts themselves are simple, but together they transform into a classic.  Since the best part about the s’more concept is the interactive involvement of everyone, a active role will play a part in the enjoyment of this dessert.

The underwhelming part of the this treat is the reason why I don’t even think that the s’more is good.  It is this gooey glob with a single note sweetness.  Let’s be honest, it’s boring.  Outside of the bonfire, it’s bland.  The novelty trumps taste, the overall impression being lack luster.  There are only two flavor profiles, being chocolate and graham.  I think I can do better.

Unfortunately this is call I can tell you until El Che opens its doors, until there is wood for the hearth, until someone can slide your credit card.  Until then, keep your tongues anxious and your minds curious.

Whimsical Nature

To behave like a child again.  To believe in magic.  To let go of time, forget about money, loose all sense of shame and embarrassment, but still take care of oneself.  Radical self reliance is the concept.  Everyone gives and everyone shares, but you are expected to take care of your basic needs and try to help out anyone when the opportunity arises.  You make sure you are fed and sheltered and happy, then you explore a world where imagination and fun are fueled by fire and energy.  Its a magical place.  Magic and connection exist here.  I felt magic and delight come together in an adult playground.  There are swings that are built tall so that you can swing as high as you did when you were a child.  There are all type of swings:  long pendulums, various bench swings, a large circle swing suspended from the middle at the top that sways slowly in the wind, dancing to the constant drum beat from the loud camps, another circle swing, this one built for just one, hidden in the forest.  There were all multitudes of hammocks, along the shore and floating on a barge in the lake.  I got to swing in a tutu with a long scarf dragging behind me, as I sway high and twirl around the heavy chains, with my toes pointed and legs fashioned in sweeping grace.  I also got to sway in my Indian princess dress, feeling like queen.  Magical.

The swinging was one of my favorite parts.  Another was a giant, throbbing pink heart that you could sit in.  The heart was made out of thin wood with 4 cut-outs ranging from red to light pink.  Behind each heart were rope lights that light up singularly, blinking backwards toward the largest inner heart.  Afar in the darkness, the heart looked like it was throbbing.  Behind the largest heart, there was a spot for two people to sit facing each other.  There were two heart shaped pillows for each person, one for your back and out for your head. It was very peaceful in there.  I had three great moments in there.  One of the best moments was when that magical man appeared out of nowhere just to catch my eye.  He light a cigarette and in the space between the cut-out hearts, his eyes smirked a fiery hello, greeted with my refreshing glaze.  That twinkle is the magic that I seek.  Its more than a sparkle, its a twinkle, a small yet hot spark.

The flame.  Everywhere the flame.  The cumulative burn is on the last night, when this giant, beautiful wooden structure is set ablaze, a literal burning of ideas and concepts that are your own personal restraint, a concept that can free one’s mind to behave again like a child.  To not be burdened by stature, looks, dress code, financial status, popularity, skin or gender or sexuality, hair type, shoe size, breast size, pant size, style, trend level, emotional problems.  Its less complicated then that.  Its like when you were 6 and you wanted to wear mismatched cloths, your friends were all in the neighborhood and nobody had any idea what their parents did for money.  Except here it is better, because you know who you are and how to take care of oneself.  Its magical.

Aside from the magnificent and epic burning of the effigy, fire is a constant theme throughout the camps. It is embodied in many shapes, but mostly coming hot and fast through iron pipes.  Some spit fire balls high into the air, the heat being felt strongly below.  Some are laced close to the ground, circling the dance floor.  Some are the top of an art sculpture.  Another interpretation of flame was slinking along a black ceiling,  creating a fire flower affect.  There were fires in iron barrels that had stencils cut out identifying the camp.  Of course there was a fire pit at the camp ground, which was the base for our camp home.

I felt a smirk of magic there, and I hope to keep some of that feeling here in the real world.  I left that magic man in the fairy tale, because its best to end at the last page in the story.  I will take home the simplicity and the whimsical, the content to not want anymore that what the imagination can provide.