This Is Love

Why do we put in 14 hour days next to a hot flame? Why do we peel mushrooms for hours at a time? Why do we put up with the burns and cuts and go on like nothing ever happened?  This is why.  For a truly transforming experience.  For making sure that the ingredient on that plate is honored to its fullest.  Because at the end of the night you can walk home and say ‘I was a part of that.’  This is love.

Tonight, I ate my first meal at Alinea.  Thank you chefs.

I took a few pictures but it didn’t take long before the food pulled me in and I forgot that such thing as a camera existed.  I am happy about that.  This experience can not be expressed through photographs.

A New Town

Moving can be quite exciting.  Especially when it is across the country.  Chicago is an incredible city and I am very excited for all that it has to offer.  My first day at Alinea is Friday.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

- St. Augustine

Posted in: Creation by Simon 2 Comments

Dinner 8-15-09

Posted in: Creation, Events, Playgrounds, Technique by Simon 1 Comment

Last Night

I would like to thank all who came to the dinner last night.  Without you it would not have been possible.  I would also like to thank Chef Ken, Chef Luke, Chef Ela, and Chef Lauren for working so hard to make sure that it all came together perfectly.  We are working on getting the pictures together and you should expect them up in the next week.

Posted in: Events by Simon No Comments

Conjuring a Dinner

Conjuring Food Dinner

9 course tasting


Portland, OR

Saturday, August 15th

please contact for details

Posted in: Events by Simon 5 Comments

It’s Good to Slow Down

In this case it’s pork shoulder braised for nine hours.  Fork tender, juicy deliciousness.




First off I would like to apologize for not posting in a while.  Life has been coming from all directions and I must say it has been quite fun; unfortunately, the blog got set aside for the last couple of weeks. 

I just got back from an incredible stage at Alinea.  Over the weekend I learned a great deal about the restaurant, the ingredients used and myself.  On the second day, as I was picking the tips of fennel fronds for a lilac and shellfish dish, I had a great realization.  Although it seemed like a small task at first (in fact, I was a little frustrated) by the time I was done I really got how important it was to the dish as a whole.  I am honored to have worked with such a great crew and look forward to working with them again soon.  Thank you to the chefs of Alinea for their commitment to great food and for having me there to be a part of it.

Posted in: Inspiration by Simon 1 Comment

Potato-Smoked Salmon Belly

Many people trim and discard salmon belly not realizing that it is the fattiest and tastiest part of the fish.  In fact, I had quite a bit of trouble getting my hands on some belly this week.    After spending the weekend refining the potato smoking technique, I decided to potato-smoke some salmon belly and it turned out quite tasty.  The aromatic of the potato comes through very well and adds a nice depth to the flavor of the smoke.  The dijonaise  in the dish pictured below has been whisked vigorously and stabilized with a little soy lecithin; the result is a rich sauce that is light on the pallet and melts in your mouth.

Potato-Smoked Salmon Belly, Garlic Scapes, Frothed Dijonaise, Carbonated Lemon

Potato-Smoked Salmon Belly, Garlic Scapes, Frothed Dijonaise, Carbonated Lemon

  • Potato-Smoked Salmon Belly
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Frothed Dijonaise
  • Carbonated Lemon
Posted in: Creation by Simon 2 Comments

Garlic Scapes

Garlic Scapes

Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes, when cooked, have a very mild garlic flavor with a texture and taste comparable to asparagus.  They can also be served raw and pack a much spicier punch this way.  The whole stalk can be eaten and they are cooked the same way one would cook asparagus.

Posted in: Ingredients by Simon No Comments

Potato Smoke (the idea)


Potato Smoking "Chips"

Potato Smoking "Chips"

The idea is to take potatoes, dehydrate them, and use the “chips” as a kindle for smoking.  The thought came from a smoked salmon and potato dish that I had. Why not use the potato to smoke the salmon? Will the flavor of potato come through?

Today I took some Yukon Gold Potatoes and made the the dehydrated “chips”, broke them into small pieces and added a small amount of sugar and rice.  I took a salmon fillet and lightly smoked it.  Although the smoke was slightly on the harsh side, it carried the aromatics of potato very well.  The salmon was smoky and had a hint of potato. Now for refining and improving on the technique and a dish is in the works.

Posted in: Technique by Simon No Comments