It's not really the life of cooking that's hard - it's what you make of it and what level you push yourself to.
People like to think the creative process is romantic. The artist drifts to sleep at night, to be awakened by the subliminal echoes of his or her next brilliant idea. The truth, for me at least, is that creativity is primarily the result of hard work and study.
Anything that could ever prevent me from achieving a goal, I put in a box, tape it up, throw it over my shoulder. You aim for a goal and attain it. Then you look to the next one.
Food can be expressive and therefore food can be art.
Food is a necessary component to life. People can live without Renoir, Mozart, Gaudi, Beckett, but they cannot live without food.
I lived my whole life in the kitchen. Not only that, but it's the passion, it's the love for cooking and food. It's dictated my entire life — every aspect of it. So, in some ways, the thought of not being able to do that anymore radically affects your life.
If I had one piece of advice for people - if they are cooking from the Alinea cookbook, the Betty Crocker cookbook or the back of the box - read through the entire recipe first before reaching for any ingredients, and then read again and execute the directions.
It is critical to have a sound understanding of traditional culinary principles before attempting to push boundaries in cuisine. Larousse Gastronomique helps me execute the progressive cooking we do at Alinea.
My personality was always such that I always look straight forward, never behind or to the side.
I had D minuses in chemistry and all of the sciences, and now I'm known as a molecular gastronomist.
We all eat two to six times a day. Why? Because we are supposed to, we are programmed to, we want to.
What makes the food that we do at Alinea so interesting on the outside is that we really don't let ourselves say no to an idea.
To me, every kitchen appliance is useful and nothing's overrated. When I look at my little espresso machine, I don't see coffee. I see a steaming valve as an opportunity to make amazing creme brulee.
In a lot of ways, a lot of smells that aren't necessarily edible smell good, and they remind you of certain aspects of food. So making those associations with what smells good or smells a certain way and pairing that with actual edible ingredients is one avenue that we take creatively.
The popularity of the Internet and using it as an available resource has really changed the way chefs kind of gather information and look for inspiration. To me, a food trend is potentially a lot of people following an idea.
Most smoked salts are made with liquid smoke, which is a condensate, but really, really good smoked salt is literally smoked.
Over the years, Céline Labaune has been constantly seeking to source the highest quality truffles; her diligence and expertise truly set her apart.
I hate stuff in my pockets, can't stand it. I'll carry stuff in my hands rather than put it in my pockets.
My father would always tell me that creativity didn't matter at the diner. When I was probably 14 or 15, I would put - I mean, it was a no-nonsense place - but I would try to put a sprig of parsley or orange curl on the omelets, or something like that. He'd be like "Don't do that!"
I wish that food trucks could exist here in Chicago like they do in Brooklyn and in New York, where you're actually cooking off the truck.
My home kitchen is airy, with a gas stove, a stainless-steel island table in the center and granite countertops. It's very modest but there's tons of counter space, so you can slap down three or four cutting boards.
Part of becoming a little bit older and having the opportunities that I have, you want to start giving back to people who have been influential and helped you along the way.
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