Restaurants are Tight Knit Families – Appreciate Them

I do not personally know Heston Blumenthal, yet I do know him in a larger way.  As I read today that two of Heston’s culinary brigade were tragically killed in a car crash in Hong Kong, I felt some of his pain.  Restaurants are tight knit families of hard working, dedicated, fun-loving professionals.  These restaurant teams spend more time together than most biological families and as such view other restaurant families as cousins sharing in the same secret code of togetherness.

Heston is a chef/leader who has a mission that goes beyond and above what some would consider, “just food”.  He is a chef who is committed to appreciation of science and art, evident in his cuisine at the Fat Duck.  His team members are his followers who aspire to the same mission that he holds close to his heart.

I went to my office and opened the Fat Duck Cookbook that I added to my collection a few years back.  For those who have not read this incredible ten-pound encyclopedia of food, be prepared; it is first and foremost, a work of art.  The first 128 pages reflect on the history of the Fat Duck idea and how the restaurant came to fruition.  The remaining 400 pages are a testament to research and development, trial and error and what evolved into the recipes for “Heston Cuisine”.

As I opened the book I first was drawn to a prominent quote by Escoffier that sums up my feelings today:  “ Cooking is a science and an art, and the man (or woman) who puts all his (her) heart into satisfying his (her) fellow man or woman deserves consideration.”

This thing that we do is not “just food” it is a calling to appreciate earth’s bounty, the wonder of flavor, the importance of nutrition, the exactness of science, and the character of those who cook.  I feel for Heston, his team and the families who lost loved ones in this tragedy and would hope that each of us would take the time to thank our team members and be aware of how important they are.  Our team completes us.

The following is the Heston mantra for those who choose to be a part of his team.  We can all learn from their dedication:

[] Three basic principles guide our cooking:  Excellence, openness, and integrity

 

[] Our cooking values tradition, builds on it, and along with tradition is part of the ongoing evolution of our craft.

 

[] We embrace innovation – new ingredients, techniques, appliances, information and ideas – whenever it can make a real contribution to our cooking.

 

[] We believe that cooking can affect people in profound ways, and that a spirit of collaboration and sharing is essential to true progress in developing this potential.

*Statement on New Cookery

*The Fat Duck Cookbook

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