Well today begins it all. The first time I go into someone’s home to teach the art of the dinner party, and get cooking with some awesome people here in Portland. This is the menu I’ve been testing all month. Fortunately, I get to start with my friends!
In the spirit of transparency, I am quite nervous about what will happen. I work with a healthy sense of the “unknown” when I cook, working from a place of intuition when it comes to seasoning and timing. When I cook and teach others it’s important to keep that sense alive, while providing some structure to allow it to happen again for them. Some order to the improv dance I do in the kitchen each day.
Much like jazz music or flamenco dance, of which I am both a big fan, my style of cooking embraces personal freedom within a structured form.
Each meal has an order in which free form cooking can occur.
THE RECIPE TO A DINNER MENU:
1. Set out the ingredients you want to cook with. Stay seasonal.
2. Map out a loose menu, to guide you. Consider color, texture, and flavor.
3. Decide what needs to cook first, and what needs to cook last.
4. Wash and prep all your vegetables and proteins.
5. Gather your mis en place: set up every ingredient you need, within arms reach. This is the step that allows for the freedom of improv to work!
6. Center yourself and cook from the heart. Be brave. Be intuitive. Adjust each dish until you love it.
7. Clean as you go! A clean kitchen when you finish a meal is a happy, happy thing. Let your guests help set the table. Keep it easy.
8. The magic happens at the table. Honor your food and your friends by sitting down to relax and enjoy. Your body will thank you for it.
Gratitude is the best final seasoning to any dish:)
Here are my friends enjoying a recent dinner I cooked. Silliness is a great compliment to the chef.