Nothing is more daunting than someone standing in front of you, asking you to create a menu. The question ‘What kind of food do you cook?’ ‘What’s your specialty?’ falls along those same lines. Maybe my reticence to these requests is one of language–How do you say in so many words that there are multiple variables, that begin with immediate logistics and move all the way out to a position on the earth and its relation to the sun at the time the dinner will be served OR My food=x, in that x is the variable in a reciprocal determination of the various produce, animals and dairy that local farmers are producing… but how about we start with ‘Do you have any have any food restrictions?’
The answer is of course:
1. fresh–everything comes straight from the farm
2. seasonal–the quality of food is better in season AND human tastes are more receptive to seasonal foods (that is to say food tastes better in season)
3. local–food for the most part tastes better if it does not travel far
I am sure we could find exceptions to these demands (and sometimes are forced to)–But why intentionally would we! We have the freedom to cook what ever menu we want… and with this freedom we acknowledge the parameters that empower any creative process. Paradoxically, limitations are our freedoms…
Creativity for us is not the making of something from nothing but the awareness of an arrangement and the ability to discern and use productive forces while encouraging life and life processes. That is to say within an arrangement there are parts, individuals, groups, species, societies, eco-system all working on each other in no hierarchical fashion, Chefs (humans) are not outside of these networks. Reciprocal determination will almost always seem like chance, however ‘chefs in an eco-system’ understand the play of limitation and potential in the simple assembling and interpreting of sustenance.
The request for a menu can only be fulfilled by more questions. What’s the occasion? Do you know of any allergies? What time of year is the event?… The question, “What’s for dinner?” for us amounts to a radically material question: What’s Fresh, Seasonal and Local…