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Everything posted by chefg

  1. I have not yet seen any of the episodes of "into the fire" although I have them all on tape. But, I can tell you that the crew that filmed the series are good at what they do. They were very professional, passionate and shared a vision of what they wanted to express in each episode of the series. Those of you that have had the opportunity to view it in its entirety I encourage you to anylize the segments for the image that they portray. It is my understanding that they had objectives to expose in each segment. Although the nitty gritty may not be seen in each episode I feel a true expression of a vision will be witnessed in each viewing. The crew taped in Trio for 4 days straight. from the minute I unlocked the door in the morning until I locked it at night they were there. The focus of the Trio episode should be "creation". They filmed us in our thinktank meetings after service, interviewed nearly each staff member, spent endless hours talking to me about my food philosophy and even captured a candid initiation of a new extern at Trio. We have a ritual with new externs, I don't want to spoil it, but its pretty funny.. Overall they shot 64 + hours of film to be condensed into 23 minutes! I am confident they will represent Trio as it should be. I have not seen a prereleased copy, I will actually see it after all of you, as I will be in the shits when it hits airwaves in the middle of a busy service. But I will look forward to watching it Monday.
  2. Wilfred: TVFN is airing a five part documentary series that has already started (7/11/03), and runs every consecutive Friday at 9:00 PM ct??? including ...cheese cake factory. greenbriar, commanders palace,Campanile and trio, in that order. I have not seen an episode yet, but I can tell you that the Freelance production company that sold the show to the TVFN is based on integredity and passion. They were good people, with their hearts in the game. I am excited to watch the series, I just need to find the time.... I found the Rocco's show entertaining.
  3. chefg


    Jonathan: I am interested in hearing more about this as I don't recall a bread service when I was there in 2000...or maybe I didn't eat any..?
  4. chefg


    Fat Guy: That is a very valid and insightful thought. When we decided to commit to the end of a traditional bread service my focus was what bread brought to the cuisine. If we eliminated it the replacement should compliment the course like bread would (or wouldn't) An extention of the flavors seemed to to be the obvious method to build layers of complexity horizontally. I find that the thought process behind building vertical complexity is is one that seperates the forward thinking movement. ...a study of apples.....Halibut with braised fennel, fennel salad, and fennel oil....these are examples of the concepulization of dishes used by many of the 90's chefs in the horizontal fashion. Building layers of complexity vertically takes a grasp of the big picture. I feel we do this well at Trio but for some reason our initial approach was a conservative style of forward thinking. Maybe because we were dealing bread, which automatically evokes thougths of familarity, comfort, and grounding. Thank you for the seed.
  5. chefg


    I find bread complimenting with most braised dishes that contain a high level of sauce or broth.I feel even if the sauce is delicious it is enjoyed more by soaking it up with bread as opposed to taking it straight from a spoon. Examples from past Trio dishes would have to include the lobster with rosemary vapor, rootbeer of beef shortribs and the current dish of rabbit with evergreen vapor. For this reason I believe we will serve a bread with the rabbit dish until it runs its course. Thoughts have been to flavor the bread with mushrooms or juniper to echo flavors in the dish itself.
  6. Trio has been throwing around the idea of eliminating bread service for some time now. We currently serve three rolls, a sour dough, a country white, and a toasted farro sour, all of which we produce onsite and all of which I feel are good, but not in line with the cuisine in terms of inventiveness. And more importantly I challenge the fuction of the bread itself within scope of the food at Trio. Bread rarely compliments the dishes except on rare occasions. The bread service itself has been elevated due to the variety, freshness, and condiments (fresh vermont butter) but I feel it is time to move on, for the sake of the food, the experience , and the movement. So, how do you all feel about bread? Is it expected when dinning? Does the history of bread require it to be present at every meal? Is it habit? Why do you eat bread at a restaurant? Satiation? Boredom? Again, habit? What makes good bread service? What meals have you consumed without bread? After much conversation we have come up with what we think is a good replacement to bread service. Something that will facilitate satiation, combat boredom, sooth habit, and add a layer of complexity to the dinning experience. Each course will be served with a snack intended to mimic the flavors present in the dish. This snack will be left on the table while the diner waits for the next course. The idea is the snack will echo the flavors of the previous course. It would be removed just before the next course arrived. Let me give an example. Our current 4 course menu reads ... Chilled English Pea Soup eucalyptus ice cube, preserved lemon, melon with this course we would serve each guest a small bowl of crunchy eucalyptus peas to enjoy with and after they consume their soup. Wild Striped Bass bee balm, summer squashes, garlic with this course thin wafers of sweet garlic Puffed and Poached Elysian Fields Farm Lamb raw peanuts, sasafrass aroma with this course a savory sasafrass scented peanut brittle the same format would be followed with the tasting and the tour menu options. It seems like another avenue for creativity and the layering of complexity to the experinece. Any thoughts?
  7. chefg


    I am very curious to the answers of these questions as well Chef.
  8. Yes we actively pursue the flavor/smell/memory aspect to exhance dinning at Trio. It adds a layer of unparalelled complexity to the overall experience . A few of our dishes hinge on it; like the cheese 'n cracker, salad, and pizza. Take a step back from roasting the perfect piece of meat or searing the flawless piece of foie gras, and think about taste, and how we process it. 9 out of 10 people will swear cheese 'n cracker tastes like veleeta, but in fact we use an artisan Cheddar from Wisconsin. I like it that way. Who doesn't want to travel back to a pleasant memory? Of course it could go the other way. The bottle of cognac of your old man's that you got sick off of probably makes you wince every time you smell it now. That is the essence of the power. Forget about perfect execution and seasoning, those are a given at a certain level. Even introducing someone to a new flavor or flavor combination takes second seat to memory. ( Unless you are a cook) Add dimension, layers, and fun to the dinning experience, that is what we aim for, that is exciting. I commonly talk to guests,it is interesting to listen to people comment on their favorite dishes. Some people hate the salad, other think it is brillant. Goes to show you...... Interestingly I realized something today as I had lunch at Trio. My first time in the dinning room. I dinned with Debera Pickett from the Chicago Sun Times. She was doing her popular column "lunch with...." As I sat in the dinning room at Trio and recieved the food I realized i didn't enjoy it as most people do. Imagine knowing the plot line and the ending of Matrix Reloaded before you saw the movie. I watched Debera smile as she consumed the cheese 'n cracker, ponder as she let the pizza dissolve on her palette, and giggle as she bite into the black truffle explosion.The whole time I remained stoic upon recieving the same food. I knew the surprizes, I had viewed the presentations, I had experineced the memory. How many other cooks find their food less enjoyable than most?
  9. What is? And explain its sucessful evolution from it's predecesor, and how that differs from the current movement in food.
  10. It is a Trio dish Mike. The intent is less to take you to a place and more to reintroduce the dinning public to a flavor (pine) that has been mostly forgotten over the years. With the execption of pine nuts, juniper, rosemary, cedar planks, maple syrup to name the few on the top of my head.
  11. For the record I felt like the piece portrayed me as an egotistical, shallow person, with little respect for Chef Trotter or Chef Keller. I respect both chefs immensely for their contributions to the culinary world and would never intentionally bad-mouth them in any way.
  12. Robert: That example is one I can't live with. That being said all chefs would be driving down the same expressway, heading in the same direction, with the same destination in mind? I have a hard time with that. Maybe we need to go backwards and ask ourselves what style is? To me, and all of the chefs that I know, it is personality. The food we create is a direct result of each chef's personality. It is what Adria wants his food to say to you and me that makes his food what it is. And that is a direct result of his mind. There has to be a style to every artistic expression. He is painting, signing (whatever analogy you want to use) every plate without doing it intentionally. His food is him, he is his personality, his personality is his individualism as a person ...as a chef. To me that is style. An individuals' expression in an artistic medium. It is impossible to not have one.
  13. Am I the only one who feels "approaches" define a "style"?
  14. I disagree. Because el Bulli avoids repetition of dishes does not make them void of a style. It is impossible to be void of style in cooking. Because of the uniqueness of his food it is very easy to spot at the moment. Give Keller, Gagnaire, Adria, Trotter, and Bras a mystery basket of the same ingredients I would bet most people on this site would be able to correctly match each chef to their dish. The signature is apparent in the food. As time goes on it will become more difficult to identify, as more and more chefs use bits and pieces of it. After the release of the French Laundry cookbook every chef and their brothers had and have butter poached lobster, torchon and corents on their menus. This makes Thomas' style easier to identify for those that know his food well, but for a newcomer they may assocciate the cornet with some other chef that happens to be doing it. Everyone seems to focus on the foams, as soon as you pick up a N02 gun you are cooking in the style of Adria. Let's identify chefs' styles by their food personality not the techniques they use. It's more about the minds and less about the tools.
  15. It puzzles me as to why everyone is quick to jump to this conclusion about new techniques brought forth recently. Was there such a backlash in the early stages of the current style that you can find in nearly every restaurant in this country? How many restaurants can you find a "torchon" of foie gras, butter poached lobster, braised pork belly, and the list goes on and on....They are all the same. It's boring. Of course they will always be situations where people lose focus or never understand the focus to begin with, and food styles will get a bad wrap. But tell me how recieving a flavorless bone marrow foam that is so broken it looks like cottage cheese is different than being served an oxidizied piece of torchon, or overcooked butter poached lobster? It's not a question of the wand ...it's the wizzards that are at fault. What style they are cooking in is irrelevant. As I said before the ones that do it well, with integredity, will be successful.....the others will just look silly.
  16. These techiques and the mindsets that produce them are the future of fine dining. Evolution.
  17. Chef Godbout dinned at Trio in the late summer of the past year. It's all good. He was a nice guy.
  18. A bit of info: Ironically as of today Trio began installing live webcams into the kitchen to be broadcast on the Trio website. Should be fun, or not. Also TVFN is doing a six piece documentary on different types of food service outlets, Trio will be featured. To air 1st week of June. Who needs big networks and commercials?
  19. I feel the high end dinning segment is already in subculture status. Instead of looking at the forward thinking movement as microculture, I see it as the rejuvenation of the high end dinning subculture.
  20. My personal exposure to other chefs is very limited outside dinning in their restaurants. We are open to stages at Trio to a degree, and I pursue stages for the other chefs in the kitchen at restaurants I feel will inspire. The idea of a group of chefs conferencing to discuss new ideas and philosophy is ideal, but highly unlikely. With the exception being a forum like egullet. The competitive nature of the business, time restraints, and ego would seemingly crush any attempt to form a union. It could possibly be harmful to creativity, as new techniques, pairings, and thought processes would become a common denominator for many chefs, making it difficult to form a personal style, and unique experiences. A world of cloned chefs and restaurants? It would take a very special group of peers to execute summits like this, unless the issues at hand were less creative driven and focused more towards issues. Supporting small farmers, taking stances against or for certain practices, operational mechanics etc...
  21. Can a personality define regionalism? Where is Plotnicki on this one? The creativeness of high end restaurants in Spain cannot dictate a label for cuisine type. I feel it is based on ingredients indigeous to the region, dishes that embody the country...paella, beouf de bourgonne ect... and in some cases menu formate, not a way of thinking creatively. Until a term is concieved to define the forward thinking movement, chefs and restaurants will struggle with how to describe their cuisine, grasping to familar terms that their patrons can indentify with. Just like fusion, contemporary, eclectic, continental, and so on. If you look at el Bulli's menu it clearly states a portion of the menu into"snacks" and then "tapas" which of course is very Spainish. It is also a very regional restaurant utilizing products from the immediate area. So it is, after all, a very modern Spainish restaurant. Trio does not use the term tapas or necessarily prescribe to the thought of a portion of the menu being in the tapas formate, and we use ingredients indigenous to places outside the midwest. Techniques are a mixture of all, some old, some new, but I find it hard to call Trio a Spainish or even a "Spainish style" restaurant because we use techniques developed in Spain. The word is still missing. I would liken the menu formate more to the menu Jonathan posted, except longer, but the outline seems to be similar, which was a surprize to me honestly. Per this discussion we have changed the cuisine type on our website, or it will be shortly, depending on when you read this, to avant-garde. Is it a more acturate description of the food served at Trio? I think so. But the problem now lies in people reading that, and asking themselves..."what the hell is avant-garde food?" If we say modern french with global influences people at least get a picture in their head, it may be wrong, but at least they can visualize something. This is a problem for us, one which Plotnicki brought up a few weeks ago. Until the movement becomes more popular and a term or phrase is coined it will be hard to describe our food. Let's not limit it to one country, it can't be. Isn't it ok to just use AG? (avant-garde)
  22. If you were to dine at Trio the first six months I was there you would have linked the cuisine to the TFL very quickly. After spending over four years at the French Laundry the thought processes of Thomas were becoming my own. As I said before, we all tried to "be the man", after all, it is what he wanted. As I began to think differently I realized I needed to move on, my curious personality was apparent, which led Chef to pursue a stage at el Bulli for me. As fate would have it, the experience in Spain proved to reshape my outlook on cuisine. It went beyond the way I had been thinking and executing food to that point. It tapped into a side of my personality that had been apparent all along, just never explored. Existing was place that encouraged creativity with almost no ceiling. I saw a chef that knew no boundries, and I was inspired. More than learning technique in the short amount of time I was at el Bulli, I became to understand that it was ok to experiment, to challenge, and to express the way I processed food. As it turned out I was fortunate to have mentored under one of the greatest chefs of our time. Chef Keller generously gave to me all any young cook could ask for. A display of passion, ethic, art, creativity, technique and openness that is the single most persuasive element in my being, as a chef today. Through him I learned how to cook, how to create, how to manage, how to work, and how to think. He even gave me the opportunity to see the next most important aspect of my development, the acceptance of expression. Apon experiencing el Bulli I knew I found myself in it's food. All of a sudden it was ok to dissolve the boundries that I had grown up with. My cuisine could be exactly what I wanted it to be. The only rule that existed was the same satisfaction that had been apart of my up-bringing from the begining. As I began to develop my style at Trio in the early stages I found it hard to break from the TFL thought processes. I knew that if I wanted to express my own style I would need to deliberatly avoid the stylistic personality that I had adopted over the last four years. The commitment was made and the evolution began. I feel once we took that initial pledge our world changed. The early days of Trio under my leadership could be linked to my lineage very easily. But as we became more comfortable with who we were, and what we had to say food -wise, the cuisine became unique, innovative, and exciting. From that point it was our indentity to be different, to be avant-garde. We rarely have to stop ourselves and say "that isn't new enough" or "that isn't what we do", we do not process food in that way anymore. Most of the ideas and thoughts about food originate from a forward thinking mind, so all of the dated material is hardly brought forth. Of course we examine and respect the past to see if we can use it in our cuisine. Each time we make changes to the menu I feel we evolve greatly. The next change scheduled for this week is especially exciting, as I feel we have developed new, and explored existing techniques that will allow us to take steps forward in cuisine, at least in our identity. We have not reached our peak at Trio. I feel we are still very much on a path that will lead us on a long journey. Michael Rhulman did a great job of showing us how a chef's personality dictates their cooking style in the book SOUL OF A CHEF. He analyzes three chefs and paralelles their personality to their respective cuisine. At Trio, and most restaurants in the world, this is not only true of the chef, but the staff itself. Sure, Steve Vai is a great guitarist, and Jordan is an awesome ball player, but they alone do not make the music or win the games. Trio's food is the identity of all nine of us, combined into one. The food is king, and despite our differences, our language is the food... for all of us. This is a huge factor is the personality of the food at Trio. And beyond me, and the staff of Trio, and all others who practice it, is the movement itself. Like a religion, it goes beyond the devoted, and becomes an identity of its own.
  23. The entire Trio menu will change this coming week (friday) to an early spring menu. We have talked as a group about the thoughts brought up during the Q&A, and have made some commintments to the dessert sequencing philosophy. It will be only be used in the TDF menu as I feel the length of the menu dictates the need for this formate. Some intersting ideas have been brought forth ..largely in part to the thought provoking questions and discussions on egullet.Some of the things we are excited to bring to life: Lamb shabu shabu style - dried figs, fennel, niciose olives, licorice aroma. (using the technique applied in the lobster rosemary vapor and the scallop orange rind vapor but making the aroma more complex by adding elements of molassas, star anise, licorice root, vanilla, and juniper to produce a black licorice aroma that we feel will compliment especailly to the nicoise olives. Caramelized dairy , grapefruit, puffed lobster- with sweet spices. White pekin duck, poached breast, crispy skin, rhubarb, and lavender losange. The use of a intense lavender losange eaten before the course arrives to coat the palatte with the herb , there by flavoring the dish while it is eaten. Roasted foie gras - dandelion greens and jelly, honey, strawberries English pea soup presented differently - eucalyptus sorbet, meyer lemon, pepino melon Textures of Manchego of course there are more but I am excited about these in particular.
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