I know I constantly talk about how things seem as if they are not moving fast enough. Of course I want everything to be finished now and if you are there everyday checking up on things it obviously seems like the changes are not as drastic as they really are. I decided to take a step back and look at the pictures I took 10 days ago and then look at the pictures I took today. After that little exercise, I feel a lot better about how everything is progressing.
The stripping is finished and the raw walls have been sealed with limewater. The painting has begun and you can really start to get a feel for the room. That is not to say that there haven’t been some challenges along the way. Rooms being painted the wrong color, delays on certain pieces of machinery, and music festivals that close the roads down to make it inaccessible to the builders.
This weekend there will be a music festival out on the island that will bring thousands of people to the area. I, along with a few other soldiers, will be camping out in the garden to protect it against feisty festival guests. When you write it, it actually sounds like it will be a good time (And Josh, we are just warming the spot up for you to camp in during MAD).
Speaking of the garden, it is really starting to come to life. We have 60-plus planters and we have set it up so we can double its size over the next year. I think that this year will really be one of trial and error. We need to figure out what will grow the best in this wind-swept landscape. The temperature fluctuates pretty drastically from day to night. We are really exposed to the elements out here, but I guess that what comes with such an amazing view.
I have really started to take dialogue with the purveyors lately. The last few months have been so intense relating to everything but cooking. My escape from the madness has been to shut off my phone, sit with a pad and pencil, and explore the kind of food that we will be cooking at Amass. I decided early on that the focus of the kitchen should be to cook as spontaneously as possible, but still being very calculated in our decisions. In order to do this, it will take a lot of work and a solid line of communication between our purveyors, farmers and the dining room. I have been whispering in the ears of the purveyors that I want them to tell me what to cook based on the products coming in that contain the most flavor and are at the height of their season. I cannot tell you how happy I was when Jesper stopped me on the street yesterday and said “I am working on some amazing King Mackerel for you for the opening. It will be at the height of the season and I have already put the word out to the fisherman.” I walked away from that conversation with the biggest grin on my face. I feel as if it is a complete cycle and that we are working together as opposed to them working for me. I am sure some scum-bag will take advantage of the situation someday, but he will know exactly what he did and will have to live with it.
You know who you are!!!!!!!!
I have loads of ideas written on paper and in my phone, but it is just recently that I actually started sketching them out. I don’t have a kitchen to test them yet so this is the closest I can get. I did a few test dinners last month. A dish and a few good ideas came out of them. There are so many old techniques that you don’t want to let go of, yet there are new flavor profiles that you are always searching for. Why not apply some of those older techniques in a completely different context and with different flavors? It is always a struggle with chefs, because you are always searching for the newest thing but you don’t want to neglect the past for fear of losing its tradition. I’m rambling a bit here, but the point is that I think it’s a hard spot for any chef to be in – how do you do something new and old at the same time? In the meanwhile, I think we’ll try our best to be cooking new and exciting cuisine always with a little reminder that we will never forget where we came from.