I have been doing a lot of thinking about food lately. Granted, I always think about food, but this type of thinking is a bit different. I have a piece that I am going to release later this week. That piece is going to cover how I put my soul into everything I do when it comes to food. A bit of it will touch on my philosophy towards it. However, I wanted to elaborate more on that idea here.
I got caught in a "rabbit hole" of what is considered fine dining food. Coincidentally, I was watching videos of posh food in high-end restaurants. It made me start to think. When I was a student at a cookery school, that was all I wanted to do. I wanted to create beautiful amazing food. I wanted to create things that were more "intellectual" and "artistic". Good Lord, I was so full of myself then.
I thought only food that was "well thought out" was acceptable. Little did I know, that simplicity was a far better thing. I had always heard the phrase "less is more". I do not think that I actually realised what that meant.
When my uncle called me up to come to get that Irish restaurant back on track in America, I was hesitant. Sure, I knew what Irish food was. I had been surrounded by it all my life. I saw it as something that was beneath me. But, I needed work. This was a chance to start over, in a new place. This was a chance to get out of the small pond that I had been in and grow into something bigger. After all, it would not be forever. Or would it?
Little did I know that I would have a food epiphany. I started creating food that touched my soul. It opened up doors that I had long ago closed. It caused me to reflect on who and what I really was. No, it was not forever. But it was for an amount of time that was just right. I was converted. I taught myself how to create things that were the exact opposite of what I thought food should be. I was creating food that was stripped down and at its most basic. For some reason that was satisfying to me.
Food, in my opinion, does not need to be elegantly plated and contrived. It is not about micro this and using tweezers to get that garnish just right. Do I think that that kind of food is wrong? No. There is no right or wrong when it comes to food. I think it is about whatever satisfies our hunger; both physically and philosophically. Some people have the need to experience food in the most pretentious ways possible. They want food to be cerebral, much like art. If that type of food speaks to them, that is fine.
I need food to speak to me on another level. As I was watching "Worth It" on the television last night, it struck a note inside of me. The two hosts were eating a caviar souffle that cost 2500.00 American dollars. An appetiser for 2500.00! What the feic? The food I am about is not well understood in America. Then again, I do not know that any ethnic foods are well understood outside of their own confines. Sometimes even within their own confines, they are not that well understood.
It saddens me when ethnic foods are Americanised to appeal to the general palate. I watch it happen all of the time here in the States. I think that is why I needed to escape the restaurant life and the direction it was headed in. What I do is about as real as it gets. Yes, there will be native people who say what I do is not real to them. But that is because even native food changes from region to region. But here in the States, restaurants and eateries need to appeal to American palates so that they can stay open and make money. They are businesses. That is what businesses do. They need to make money.
I am taking A Kilt and a Cuppa in a different direction. I already have a decent means to make a living. So, therefore, I am creating food that is more about bringing culture to those who really appreciate it from Ireland and the U.K. It is about educating people with food that is not "dumbed down". It is about the food your Gran might have fed you if you visited her house or her farm. This is food on a small scale that touches another level. It is mostly about quality over quantity. If I make a ton of money, that would be brilliant. But I refuse to sell food just to fill someone's gullet. I am in the business to sell food to satisfy one's hunger for nostalgia. Will it be exactly as you Gran or Mum made it? No. But it sure will get feicing close.
Keep posted this week when I elaborate on putting my soul into what I do.