So I have now and constantly thinking of why I cook. One of my favorite chefs, Thomas Keller, has a quote that I thought but never really put into words. "When you acknowledge, as you must, that there is no such thing as perfect food, only the idea of it, then the real purpose of striving toward perfection becomes clear: to make people happy, that is what cooking is all about." You see despite being a chef I don't like to cook if there is no people involved. I think it is a way of connecting to people intimately without a commitment, and if I'm good then we both have a great evening with no strings attached. And this makes sense to me. I don't necessarily care to be known or have some name brand, and by that I mean that I realize the importance of money. My favorite moments and as follows; having a young couple come in and splurge their few nickels and dimes on a meal and service I provide is an amazing feeling. To eat is one of the oldest ways to communicate with each other ever since caves held the latest decor. As I think about this the average person goes to a five star restaurant with entertainment on their mind, like a broadway show. And that is where most people have their perspective angled from. They never see the endless hours of work it takes to cook an amazing multi-course meal, or what it takes to keep a kitchen spotless during and after that meal. But to me the work is part of the enjoyment. It is like a secret that only me and my friends in the white coats know about. We may not recognize it in the middle but near the end the haze pulls away knowing what happened in the past few hours. I was part of a two stage process of harvesting and making memories.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
God Fearing Epicurean
So a quick note to those expecting a story, this is not the page for that. I have been actually having a bit of time for thought, which has not happened for at least a couple months. So I begun the process of the "How and Why" of being a chef again in Japan. I think this is different for everyone crazy enough to take on this career. It seems that my thoughts on my business in this business, and even japan for that matter, revolve around the philosophy I have developed over the last ten years, kicking and screaming. I can't say that the thought of being a chef is pleasant, at all. As a matter of fact I looked desperately to find something more suitable so that I could keep my family holidays. But something is not just drawing me to this career but has seduced me to become something of an addict. And this year prove it as I have been doing over one-hundred hours of work a week, away from family for the best two holidays, and all the while trying to stay sane in maybe the only kitchen that is the same temperature as outside. (A slowly numbing 40 degrees F on average.)