Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Mind of a Chef

I have been a little obsessed with this show The Mind Of A Chef for the last few days. I watched the first season with David Chang a few months ago. David Chang is the revolutionary chef of Momofuku and associated restaurants. He's been pioneering a new class of high end restaurants which plays with super high end food and ingredients without all of the pretension of a fancy restaurant and stuffy service.

Each episode is a 45 minute long brainstorm on a single style, ingredient, or process. David Chang has been a darling of the food media for the last few years, and has created a lot of signature dishes. Momofuku Pork Buns or maybe some Cereal Milk anyone? It's very interesting to see his thought process and to actually have the chance to watch him cook. Flavor and texture are played with in dishes like Popcorn Grits

Chang's Popcorn Grits

Or fermentation is discussed with dishes like Kimchi.

Yummy Kimchi!
However I was truly blown away by the first half of Season 2. Chef Sean Brock from Charlotte North Carolina's devotion to southern food history, heritage grains and Carolina Gold Rice is infectious. The excitement with which he talks about a milling company and how he cooks a simple plate of rice is absolutely amazing. The first two seasons are on Netflix, I would highly suggest checking it out.

Then there was Sean Brock's episode about fermentation and canning simply called "Preserve". He's made over a dozen different types of Miso, and leather britches, and what the frack is that? It's rare for a food conversation to go right over my head. It's incredibly interesting and he has a deep connection to his food and his history that makes it come alive. I am just so impressed by Sean Brock. I'm excited to go back to Charleston and will definitely be making a reservation at Husk.

The second half of season two follows April Bloomfield, the English executive chef at The Spotted Pig in Manhattan. She has a more diverse program switching quickly between little known English dishes like Welsh Rarebit a guiness infused cheese sauced toast and... Italian food?

However she never deeply delves into any subject like Sean Brock does. She has a frenetic recipes rarely have much instructions and doesn't have a central theme. It's an interesting view of some rarer recipes but doesn't capture the viewer like Sean Brock sections.

This series has given me an idea for a future segment. I'm planning on working with the Conscious Carnivore to find the best pig farmer in Southern Wisconsin. I am going to go out and follow a single pig from a meeting on the farm, through a processing plant, to a butchering class at the Conscious Carnivore and onto my plate. I'll be purchasing a whole Heritage breed hog, probably a Red Waddle. This will be a multi part feature coming up this winter! So stay tuned!


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