Imagine a place. Now imagine a kitchen in this place. Now imagine this kitchen exactly one year from today. What do you think it would look like?
Would the stove’s flames be fueled completely by birch wood and other aromatics like pines and oaks? Will all the porcelain in the world have vanished, leaving only handmade, artisanal stone veneered plates which the chef uses as the base to a dish comprised of nothing but a single parsley leaf, glazed in its own lightly sweetened, hunter green juice?
In this place there is probably no electrical equipment, right? I mean, god forbid you use a blender to purée things as opposed to a mortar and pestle in 2013. I mean, come on, get with the future, man. Technology is for the non-human, the Cylon. I’m assuming this place has retired its Paco Jet, or Taylor ice cream machine in favor of a manual churner with rock salt that was hand picked off the roads outside the previous winter.
Does the place your mind has conjured get their dandelion greens from the abandoned shooting gallery up in Detroit’s Northeast neighborhood? Mine does. My imaginary cooks are told to wash those three times though, you know, for the piss and blood. In my imaginary restaurant wonderland, fish are only caught by hand, deep-south-catfish-style, because we all know that improves the taste drastically. I’m actually thinking that we will pay a guy a full year’s salary to just hang out in brooks and spend his days trying to hand-catch trout. If he only makes it back with three a day it’ll be fine, we can just charge a sixty dollar supplement on the beet salad with smoked trout.
In my head, I’m thinking that anytime we photograph a plate of food we will make sure that it is a head-on shot done from directly above the center of the dish. That dish would feature what looks like 26 components, but -in fact- the entirety of the dish is made of one, lone component: mayonnaise.
It’s pretty clear that all eyes are on Nordic cuisine at the moment, and for good reason. In truth, my restaurant model emphasizes many of the same values and principles. As I peruse my twitter feed, I can’t help but notice that over on this side of the ocean, we are so caught up with what Scandinavia is doing that we seem to have forgotten that our national and regional heritage is just as interesting and can be just as rustic and primitive. So I ask you not to veer away from this type of cuisine, but rather to refocus your attention on what you have in your natural environment and not chase the musk ox and reindeer of your Nordic fantasies.