Thursday, February 16, 2012

Action Oriented Culinary Development and Cultural Understanding

When I cook and utilize age old classical French techniques, I feel connected to Old World. Cooking is an excellent medium to reach into history and bring it to this reality. Roasting veal or chicken bones for demi, for example is an age old technique. The scent of roasting veal bones early in the morning instantly takes me to various parts of my life as a cook learning to be a chef. The smell of roasting veal bones also transports me into history because I imagine how many hundreds of thousands of Chefs throughout history have done the very same thing early in the morning and how the distinct aroma is the same for me as it was for them. Great Chefs like Fernand Point at Le Pyramide who trained other great Chefs like Jean and Peirre Troisgros at Les Freres Troigros in Roanne and Alain Chapel at Mionnay have all utilized these fundamentals that we too, use on a daily basis and more.

"The duty of a good cusinier is to transmit to the next generation everything he has learned and experienced"

Fernand Point, 1897 - 1955

French Chef born Louhans 1897; Master of la grand cuisine and "Father of Novelle Cuisine". Fernand Point was one of the greatest chefs that ever lived. His culinary teaching and mentorship left a legacy of world renowned chefs that carry his torch. They include Paul Bocuse, Alain Chapel, Francois Bise, Louis Outhier, and Jean and Pierre Froisgros. Chef Points leadership and reputation as a young turk helped him establish Restaurant de la Pyramide as an international gastronomic mecca, which he opened at age 26. His restaurant is named after a nearby Roman Pyramid that marked the turn of a chariot racetrack. He is best remembered for his culinary philosophy, the generosity he displayed towards his staff and the public; feeding people more than they'll ever expect and making it a way of life. He was also a very strong believer in the use of regional ingredients of the season.

Thomas Keller (above) was born on Camp Pendelton USMC
One of the worlds best chefs, Thomas Keller (right), of the French Laundry in Yountville CA and Per Se in Manhattan speaks of Fernand Point and refers to his books as a major influence in his life. Thomas Keller has also trained a generation of great chefs and changed the culinary world because of his commitment and generosity just like Point. I have never worked at or even been to the French Laundry but I was fortunate enough to have worked with a chef that spent two years at "the Laundry" and that alone was life changing. It was my introduction to real discipline,  culinary philosophy and the intense desire to relentlessly pursue perfection--even when we all know it doesn't exist.

The French Laundry in Yountville Ca. "Mecca"
The generational impact of cooking and culinary culture from places like The French Laundry and La Pyramide is amazing to me. I realize that I am no Thomas Keller or Fernand Point, not even close, but I do have a sense of foresight that comes from my father. I would like to think that what we do in our humble kitchen here in the White Mountains of Arizona, in the land of my/our ancestors the White Mountain Apaches is something similar. I would like to think it is a beautiful occurrence that sprang up organically and that is pursued by a group of young chefs that can feel the relentless desire to produce great food within our own abilities while honoring those that came before us.

I think the beauty of cuisine is that it reflects a specific culture. It is difficult for an outsider to see, but as the chef working with my crew on a daily basis, I can see the technical ability and strong desire of my crew to learn and get better. I see the growth and how that culinary enlightenment and character translates onto a plate. This photo at the right is of a Chef's Table Course to share, "Bone Marrow and Frybread", a real Native delicacy that is a thing of beauty to us and our families.

I mentioned in a previous blog that in this region (a region that used to be referred to as "Apacheria" and still is by a few), the influence of warfare and conflict is profound. We have, throughout history, encountered the Spanish, Mexican and American Military, not to mention warfare with the Dineh(Navajo) and other tribes in our region. I think these facts make what we do even more beautiful and amazing because our history reads like a tragedy for the amusement and storytelling of millions yet we utilize these elements in the development of a distinctive cuisine--the Apache way of creating something out of nothing.

Culinary Workshop and Sledding Excursion 2-3-12
In our effort to develop Native American Cuisine in this country today, we honor these classical culinary traditions of the Old World while utilizing ancient culinary traditions and schools of thought of the indigenous, namely the White Mountain Apache people. I believe that as White Mountain Apaches we have always possessed a keen foresight and realized the importance of our posterity. This is true even in our cuisine and this photo is evidence of that fact.

Cooking and cuisine are excellent mediums to communicate. By using classical cooking techniques and indigenous culinary ingenuity we create something unique for the professional, something educational the student and something powerful for the most important part of our culture- our posterity. We can, if we choose, affect change from a position of integrity and that, I believe, is the one of the most important elements of cuisine in our world.
Apache Head Start Culinary Demonstration and Tasting 2-3-12

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Valentine's Day Dinner Menu

We are pleased to present an intimate Valentine's Day dinner menu for couples at Sunrise Park Resort. Reservations are strongly recommended. 
Call 1-(928)-735-7669 extension 2288, to reserve your table.

Valentine’s Day Dinner Menu
Sunrise Park Resort Hotel
February 14, 2012

An Intimate Dinner Event
$45.00 per person
Includes a glass of Champagne with Dessert


Choice of
Herb Risotto Cakes stuffed with Mozzarella Cheese and Parmesan
Roasted Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp with a Lemon Herb Dipping Sauce

Soup or Salad
Hearty Sunrise Clam Chowder
with Bacon and Scallions

Caesar Salad
Cured Tomato and Pesto Crostini with a Tangy Caesar Dressing and Parmesan

Choice of Entrée

Steak and Shrimp
Thick Cut 8 oz. New York Strip Steak and Jumbo Grilled Shrimp, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Chef’s Vegetable Medley and a Peppered Cabernet Red Wine Sauce
Seafood Pasta
Pan Roasted Bay Scallops and Shrimp, Tomato Basil Cream over Fettuccini Pasta
Grilled Pesto Crouton
Fowl Course
Pan Roasted Airline Chicken Breast
Lemon Herb Risotto, Grilled Scallions and Vegetables
Lemon Butter

Dessert for Two
Chocolate Mousse Cake with Ganache
Strawberries and Champagne

Thank you for supporting White Mountain Apache Culinary Culture
Happy Valentine’s Day from Sunrise Park Resort!