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.
|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"|
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.
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|