I woke up this morning and recieved an email with a key question; what distinguishes us? I thought long and hard about it and the words then came. Being that I wrote the response letter, I felt I could include it here, for it got me to think about who we are and what we do.
The combination of two different sensibilities is the cornerstone in our culinary procedures and development. We look at food and ingredients from not always opposing angles but certainly different ones. Because we come to the table with a variety of views our culinary discussions may then result in a greater whole.
Similarly, in being in a remote part of the country in an intimate setting we are free from rules and preconceptions. We just have conversations with purveyors, each other, acquaintances and then cook. Later on we combine ingredients. But the freedom of no rules to a creative is key. We can travel any path, make a mistake and realize we have discovered something new. That resulted in our fat crackers.
We are currently fielding questions about our chicken skin and bacon crackers. To our knowledge, no one is making them yet. We figured out how to do it. On another note, check out the Shrimp photo album, it has slow cooked shrimp, margarita jelly and cocktail sauce crackers. It is like sitting at the bar on a hot summers day enjoying the best of life, all in one dish..simple, to the point.
With regards to our food blog, it is a digital notebook. It has ideas, thoughts, concepts, pictures, interactions and inspirations. And it is open for all to see. How often can you get into the mind of two opposing chefs, who are married, that work together and produce a final product. Think about it, without tension there would be no suspension bridges.
What we make in the kitchen is a result of our interplay, experiences and whatever comes to mind. The smoked sea trout roe came from our smoked salt. After that we came up with vanilla, habanero-mezcal, sake, and maple-smoked roes. But, we could not have come up with them if we were not dealing with a great producer like Steve Stallard at blis caviar who was willing to take a leap of faith with our ideas.
Our vinegars came about because we had left over wine. Why put it down the drain? It was good to drink so why not turn it to vinegar. One vinegar worked so then we opened the doors. I wanted and had never seen maple vinegar, so we made it. Port vinegar was just something I knew we could make rather than pay top dollar, and Tequila vinegar is ground breaking. The stuff is amazing, even in its infant state.
We do not make soy sauce in our kitchen, rather we manipulate it. The first was smoked soy sauce, the next infused with vanilla, then habanero, then cocoa nibs--which became pureed to form a miso like product--and most recently coffee.
The vinegar martini was experienced based. We had just had ice wine martinis in aspen, and when the drinking vinegar showed up we tasted it and figured it would be an interesting extrapolation of ideas. The addition of the walnut oil in one case balances the vinegar and also adds a rich undertone to the drink.
At the end of the day the list that distinguishes us can be paired down to the simple fact that our ideas and food is a distillation of two minds working both in harmony and complete tension. Volatile and loving relationships produce greatness, when the two are intertwined who knows what is possible.