Archive for May, 2011
This was one of the most amazing events I have ever done. 170 guests, outside event with a live acoustic set by Ben Harper after dinner was amazing. To have Ben dedicate and sing me into a song was a priceless moment I will never forget. Thanks to all the amazing staff of chefs and great friends who helped me cook this event. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
Pairings unites the world’s premier musical artists, chefs and winemakers in the creation of once-in-a-lifetime events and live performances across the globe. Visit DOWNLOAD THEIR DINNER PARTY PLAYLIST (WITH SELECTIONS FROM NORAH JONES TO COLDPLAY AND THE PROPELLERHEADS), created especially by us for Napa Pairings with Chris Cosentino, Ben Harper and Franciscan Winery.
It was our pleasure to have Kylie as our guest in the kitchen for this years head to tail. Her essay is spot on, thanks again for all your help.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Hi Chef and crew of Incanto!
It’s hard to believe that a month and then some has past since I had to honor of taking part in your nose to tail dinner. Thank you for inviting me into your lives and giving me such an unbelievable experience.
I took many things away from my time with you. But after some serious reflection, I think what I was most impressed with was the absolute camaraderie that we as cooks (and restaurant people in general), have the privilege to enjoy on a day-to-day basis.
I knew coming into the experience that the food would be great and that I would learn new techniques and tricks and skills and tips in the kitchen. But I did not expect to discover what it really is that creates a successful working restaurant machine; that is, above all, teamwork.
This was my first stage and, nerves aside, I was anxious walking into Incanto, solely because I didn’t know what to expect from it’s inhabitants. But from the first second I set foot in your kitchen, it was evident that we cooks are all one unique sub species of human. We have our own language, our own jokes and definitely our own sense of humor. We take things seriously in a way that really proves our devotion and passion and, most importantly, respect for our craft. I was inspired in this way, by every one of you, at every turn.
I think as cooks, we can be overly eager to prove ourselves to each other. I will openly admit to being guilty of this. It was a welcome and humbling experience to turn this off, in a sense, and just absorb and embrace the things that were happening around me. For this reason, I will continue to search out new stages and experiences which may make me uncomfortable at first, but will establish lessons that I couldn’t possibly gain without the drive to constantly learn about food, where it comes from and what it brings to every person in our world.
Thanks again. And please, pass on high fives to all the beautiful people of Incanto!
All I can say is it was our pleasure to have you mike, you are welcome back anytime!!! Read what mike has to say about his experience with us, I was speech less when I got this. Thank you.
As cooks, we are bound to the mundane. It is not so much by choice, but by nature; a sear performed with every order and a brunoise precisely cut before every service. It is within this repetition that lies the keys to our success as cooks – before the art comes the craft.
However, every once in a while we have a definitive moment in our careers. We, as cooks, fervently wait for these opportunities to present themselves – sometimes it blooms from a successful night on the line, or maybe it’s a seasoned chef giving you weathered advice that guides your career down a certain path. Yet, these chances prove difficult to anticipate, nor can they be planned. For this young cook, cooking for a week at Incanto was a crucial moment in my career, and one that will have a lasting impression on the way I cook, think and lead in the kitchen.
If you have a keen eye when you come to Incanto to work, you’ll see it’s not entirely about guts. It’s certainly not about ego or recognition either, even though Chef Cosentino and his stellar crew perform at the highest level every night and have received numerous accolades and nods from every successful chef in the industry. From my experience, the Incanto kitchen revolves around cooking and the thought behind every dish. Why do a venison liver crudo? Because the product is ridiculously fresh, the flavors go perfectly together, and well, nobody else is doing it. Literally – nobody else. Why pair pig snouts with snails and watercress? Well, pigs live on farms, right? And what do farms have? Creeks! And what grows near creeks? Snails and watercress!
To a cook like me – this was mind-blowing. It took the idea of terroir to an entirely different solar system. The once popular term, if it grows together it goes together, immediately shot back into my brain after years of dormancy. At the end of the day, Chef Cosentino’s food tastes fantastic. Some dishes are unctuous and rich, others have layers of flavor to peel back, and all are decidedly delicious. Plus, the food will make you think – maybe not right at the table, but perhaps days after you’ll realize why there’s a lemon fluid gel on the rim of that plate featuring kidneys and asparagus.
Throughout my time at Incanto, I sliced a good amount of beef stomach, braised pigskin, peeled liver, and seared quite a bit of lamb tongue. But like I said, it wasn’t all about the guts, but also about relationships. I became a part of the team at Incanto, and for that I am most grateful. Chef Cosentino has compiled some of the best young cooks I’ve come across, and some of the funniest as well. Their kindness and assistance throughout my time in their kitchen is indicative of the way they work, and the way Incanto operates.
It is a difficult task to calculate the impact of an experience so soon after it occurs. I didn’t want to leave Incanto on my last night cooking. I basically had to be escorted out to change and enjoy the dinner we all had worked so hard on creating. Upon landing in Washington DC, I still yearned to be back in San Francisco and even now I look forward to cooking there again very soon.
As cooks, we are bound to the mundane. But every once in a while, we are reminded why we are in this profession and why we work as hard as we all do. I thank you, Incanto – you and your team have reminded me that I truly love my job.