New fall menu
Appetizer: Cauliflower Cheesecake (goat cheese, locatelli, cauliflower, served with grapes in dijon vinaigrette)
Entree: Burgundy braised Lamb Shank (free range Australian) (herb roasted potato, green beans)
You may recognize these menu items from specials earlier in the year. That's how I develop the new menus, I always test drive new items to see how they are received and tune the recipes so I can execute when its show and tell time. October 5th was the 11th anniversary of Antelao. Not bad for a 20 seat byob given 6 months to live by the local cognoscenti upon birth.
Not gloating folks just glad for the chance to keep cooking. Its now 1 a.m. and I need to be in Shoprite at 8 as I am completely booked this weekend, having done 51 dinners tonight, I need some produce and seafood. I took the picture of the Turkey Vultures walking to work today, they were on my neighbors roof. It looks like they are doing some kind of Easter reenactment but I know they are atheist and what you see is how they dry their wings in the morning.
I was told by a long time guest today that I do a terrible job promoting myself. No kidding. Maybe my zero effort might have something to do with that perception. My promotion is on the plate. From 1979 to 1981 I worked for a chef named Jauques Metraillier. Jauques ran his kitchen with a combination of crusty old frenchmen and young apprentice C.I.A. guys. One frenchman for every 4 american kid seemed to be the right ratio of knowledge and energy. He also enjoyed listening to them call us "cochon" or "bicycle mechanic" or "shoemaker" or whatever the insult du jour would be. The mantra in his kitchen was you are only as good as your last plate. I absorbed that and have lived by it ever since. I do get annoyed when today's culture seems to think one needs a press agent to tell people you can cook. Chefs buy right into this crap, using the catch phrase of the day such as "I have passion" and so forth. If you look in the dictionary the word passion is defined as a violent emotion, enthusiasm. Passionate is "violently emotional". Why not just be committed to properly representing your profession. People seem to have a paranoid fear of being considered ordinary, and in doing so miss the beauty of the ordinary. The great chef F. Point once said the "difference between good cooking and great cuisine is many small things done well".
Why do we need a euphemism to qualify the "many small things done well". Accepting responsibility for doing something well can elevate whatever it is you are doing to something exceptional. I blame Anthony Bordain for hijacking the word passionate. He did a show on the food scene in Portland, Oregon and was interviewing the young chefs all claiming to "have passion". I was looking at these kids thinking man are you going to regret that tattoo pal. I feel myself getting off course here but I will tell you what I think. Tomorrow there will be 40+ people coming to have dinner, some maybe for the first time. If I'm not on my game, if everything is not as best as I can make it, you know what they will think? They will think that I suck as a cook and they will be right. They will be right because I'm only as good as my last plate.
Good night pilgrims,