When speaking about hospitality and my life in the hotel world I often remind people that what we do isn't brain surgery. We haven't cut into someone head to take a peek around. As a result you don't have to be born a genius to succeed in this industry. You do need one key characteristic.
You have to like to please/serve others.
In this day and age I find that to be a tall order. With everyone entitled to be served, there aren't a lot of people left to do the serving. On that most recent facebook quiz regarding Downton Abbey I came out as Violet, to know me is to love. In my heart of hearts I see myself as more of a Mrs. Hughes from downstairs.
My point to all of this is, Einstein or Madame Curie I am not. I AM very good at making people feel at home and ensuring they have everything they need to have a lovely time. When I step into a kitchen, however, I feel a little like a scientist. I understand how certain flavors work together and how to get certain reactions from different foods. A roux thickened sauce dark and dense, vs. a corn starch thickened saucy, glossy and shiny. Butter vs Shortening in you pie crust. Emulsifier in a salad dressing. I get it.
Thought this is officially a French food blog, you may have noticed I stray at times. I love the French classics, but I must confess... I love to stray. I love to try my hand and the French neighbors who put things together just a little bit differently. I love to see how Americans have bastardized French classics and made them their own...in many occasions just as tasty if not more so. I love to step completely out of my comfort zone and try something brand new.
Do a little research, play with the ideas in my head of what I think a cultures food is, take that classic French side of me and understand what they are trying to accomplish with the flavors and the preparation. Then take that American side of me and boldly try it out. Bastardize it like a true American, without apology, and see what happens.
There are times it is an utter FAIL. Sometimes I will go back and try it again. Sometimes I give up (at least for a little while). Sometimes it is a glorious success.
So this weekend, I am again hijacking my friend, Katrina's kitchen and making dinner for a mutual friend. The groceries are bought. I've read through a dozen different recipes for three dishes and am going to try something new. I am skipping over to South East Asia, the food I know the least about.
Several months ago I was out and had some Korean BBQ style chicken wings. They were sweet and sticky and burned my lips off. They were good, the rest of the meal at this new restaurant, meh, but these I would go back for. I have no idea if they remotely resembled a true Korean BBQ. I am going to take those flavors and braise some country style pork ribs and glaze them at the last minute. To add to the party going to do a simple carrot and pea pod stir fry and an "Asian" flavored slaw. Is any of this true to the culture...I have no idea, but I am going into the kitchen to play, to try my hand a genius and Madame Curie for a moment, and I am going to have a great time.
Stay tuned to see if any pictures turn up and if our guests have a good time too.