My food philosophy is certainly culled from years of experience in the culinary industry and my many adventures traveling, dining and meeting amazing people. However, it can undoubtedly be distilled to a concept I learned from the chef I truly consider my mentor, Mike Fennelly. While working under Chef Fennelly at Mecca in San Francisco, I learned what it means to approach food with the mindset of a “culinary anthropologist”. Respect, understand and appreciate the culinary traditions that underlie any particular foodstuff, product or dish. Know how that ingredient is used in its indigenous form, then use that knowledge to apply it to whatever style or method suits you. In this way, a cook can be respectful of the true nature of any food without being bound to seeing it from just one vantage point. There are times when my cooking is firmly rooted in classical methods and ideas — flavors and textures that have centuries of culinary legacy behind them. But there are also times when my cooking is very experimental, a melding of components that might not intuitively mesh, but nonetheless produce something lovely in the end. It is the combination of these approaches and the energy behind them that fuels my passion for food and for cooking and I know that as long as I treat any ingredient with the gentility and respect it deserves, that love will come through on the plate. I hope to continue learning as long as I am in a kitchen and to continue passing on that knowledge to my family, friends and clients in the form of beautiful meals.
Food at its base plays a relatively mundane role in our lives. It gives sustenance. Everyone must eat every day simply to survive. If you can take that mundane, necessary activity and turn it into something beautiful, you will find the easiest and most significant way to enhance your life. What we eat can alter or accentuate our very ability to think, to function physically, to emote, to be vibrant beings. When we eat, we literally take something from outside of our bodies and make it energetically a part of us, a component of our very fabric. The power of that relationship with food is immense. My wish is always to feed people in such a way as to expose them to that power or to intensify that feeling where it already exists. I wish you many incredible food experiences to come!