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Pacific Northwest

reflections on eating out

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reflections on eating out

christine | May 25, 2003 02:20 PM

It was so refreshing to see the chef of Lampreia resturaunt cooking my dinner when I was in two weeks ago. Not just mine, everyones. It seems silly to be surprised to see a chef cook. but in this day and age most chefs don't cook on the line. the souschef runs dinner, and the chef stays in the office. It seems to be a reward given to the chefs for their years cooking dinnerlines to earn chef and get to be the only one who sits down. Heck, they deserve it, they stood every night for ten plus years cooking someone elses food. but to see the chef and owner cook my dinner was striking, and welcome. somehow I trusted the food befor it even arived. the plates I recieved were complete works of art seen from concept, through shopping, cooking, plating, to my dinner by the same man. a painter wouldn't trace his work and have another apply the color. so why do we treat food that way? In other kitchens the menu is drawn by the chef and then reproduced by the line cooks, often the chef is gone. Not that professional cooks don't reproduce well. but they leave us with a reproduction meal. food forced into a mold it might not quite fit into. but close enough is most often what we are served. a ghost of the original. to see the artist care so much for his food, and for my dining plesure, was refreshing. He wasn't cooking for anyother reason than for my culinary pleasure. to me, it showed true integrity for the food. each plate tasted pure to me. flavors I had tasted so commonly in the past seemed alive to me. because the dishes creator sees it from start to finish, each plate is it's own entity. complete in itself. the food bears its soul to the chef, he listens, and together they create a masterpiece. a flaw doesn't hinder, but recreates the design. It turns most meals into an ansel adams framed poster. pleasent, and instantly gratifying, but eventually the immage fades and is forgotten. but this chef gave me, a common woman of no significance a work of art, every plate. and in an industry as stressful and thankless as cooking, it takes integrity to cook after you have paid your dues. Integrity and passion for the food. Not for his own glory, but for his foods glory. I know, I know, I am romantisizing my recent food epiphany. I may not have noticed the difference between the masterpiece and a fake, but because my eyes told me, I was able to enjoy the meal with as much passion as it was prepared thanks chef, for showing an ameture eater the line between food and art. with each bite of simple perfection, I tasted nothing i had tasted befor. the foods soul. I hope the chef knows through his faithfulness to his food his integrity and passion shine giving him more true glory than the celebrity found by leaving the kitchen. It's silly really that something as obvious as a chef cooking his own food could bring a simple woman a new clarity for food.

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