Sometimes an extra set of hands is so much more than just another two hands in the kitchen. We started this blog many moons ago partially as a digital notebook where we could record our culinary experiments and improvisation, and partially as a form of motivation for ourselves. As a start-up with owners who were not experienced in the hotel business there were a few hiccups, the biggest ones occuring in the marketing and PR departments. We never knew that you need to hire the public relations firm months before construction is finished and that someone needs to be out there selling and marketing your brand for up to a year before the actual opening. We've all learned a lot since the days when this place was just a glint in Barbara's eye. We were hired long before that first PR firm and lived through many days and evenings with no one to feed and no arriving guests in sight. A chef needs someone to cook for and so we decided to create a blog. This was so that we could have an audience in cyberspace to sustain us until the actual guests began to arrive.
Since then things have become increasingly busy, both on Ideas in Food and in the Guest House. Our flow of guests at Keyah Grande is not consistent yet and so we have not been able to justify hiring any extra staff in the kitchen. It's a catch-22 because although there are long stretches of fifteen hour days without a break, there are also periods where between us we can handle the load without excessive strain and periods when we have no guests at all. It may not always be pretty behind closed doors but we can always get the job done.
Chris came to visit us a twice in the last few weeks. Although we were hesitant to bring him down from Denver, it turned out to be a windfall for us and hopefully a good learning experience for him. We were both reminded of something that we had lost during these many months alone in our kitchen. We had forgotten that the soul of a chef is fed by more than just cooking. We need to create delicious and beautiful food, we need to nourish others and make them feel cosseted and indulged when they visit our establishments, and we need to share our skills with others. We need to teach.
Chris made it easy to restablish a classroom mentality as he poesses a lively curiousity and a definite affinity for food and cooking. We both spent time thinking of new things for him to do and techniques that we felt were important for him to experience. Chris himself had some questions born from Ideas in Food and the things he saw and read about here. Looking at cooking from another, less experienced cook's point of view was a refreshing change of pace. It reminded me of the demonstrations we did on the Amsterdam and how much fun we had teaching new things to our audience and learning new things from them in return. That exchange of unique ideas and perspectives is something that has been missing in our kitchen for too long. We have long discussions about food with one another but we are well acquainted with each other's capabilities and prejudices. We are always pushing each other to try new things but that's different from an interaction with someone who poesses totally different experiences and perspectives. The comments and emails that we receive through Ideas in Food are a huge inspiration. We've met some amazing people and we've learned something from each one of them. We wanted to take a moment to say thank you for that. Whether it is an extra set of hands in our kitchen or tapping away on a keyboard, you have all helped us stay inspired to try new things, take better photos, document recipes, share ideas and learn about food together.