Posted 06 March 2003 - 03:20 PM
Thank you so much for this interesting and inspiring Q&A. It has to be one of the best that I experienced on e-gullet, especially with the time you take to explain everything and answer every question.
My question is: Where do you get your inspiration from? Is it just a spontaneouse thing or are there certain places you go to, things you read or see that just push a certain button and tells you "hey we can mix olives with chocolate and it will taste good"?
Posted 08 March 2003 - 11:49 PM
It really starts with the commitment to forward thinking. Once you take that step your world changes without you really knowing. For instance.. the caramel popcorn amuse that we are currently serving came from seeing an old air popper at a garge sale. Instead of seeing a kitchen gadget that nobody uses anymore ( because of the microwave) I instantantly knew we could utilize it at Trio. Do you know how many things we tried to "pop" in that thing? Finally after a bit of frustration and focus we decided to look at popcorn itself and what it meant to us. I thought of making a smooth popcorn sauce for a fish dish, its nutty, buttery richness going wonderfully with skate. When we posed the question to the kitchen "what do you think of when you think of popcorn?" A reply came out.. caramel popcorn, and there it was. Trio's sous chef put it together with a technique invented at el Bulli . Wrapping sugar around a filling of various kinds ie: quail egg. Served with a chilled sercial maderia it is awesome.
Sometimes it is trial and error as the case with spice water. I played with that recipe for a long time. In my mind I knew what the end result should be, but I didn't know exactly how to get there. That is one of my fondest kitchen memories thus far, all of us tasting various recipes until we all agreed, this is the one.
Alot of it comes from analyzing ingredients themselves. What balances, what contrasts, what shares the same flavor profiles, what yeilds texture, how can we present it differently, and so on. Techniques, and equipment inspire as well.
Of course inspiration comes from are peers. We all take alittle, or not so little things from each other. Somebody may do white chocolate and wasabi, what if I do white chocolate and horseradish? One chef might dehydrate black olives to crust fish, hey ..what can I do with dehydrated olives?
Being aware of your surroundings processing them in a creative way.