Carrots

This is not a pulpit, only my opinions, but I think carrots are pretty cool. The health benefits of carotene and all the good things that this root vegetable does for our bodies is well-documented. Like anything, you either like them or you don’t. Some people (like my wife) only likes uncooked carrots. Despite me telling her that the most beneficial (health-wise) effects of carrots are achieved by cooking the vegetables first. Doing so releases more carotene, the source of the health benefits of carrots.

From a chef’s perspective, the carrot represents several opportunities as a garnish and as a side dish. They are relatively cheap, but to me, the best benefit from the carrot is the color. I made my bones in the industry by integrating classical French recipes with the flashy California Cuisine displays of the eighties. I had been an Executive Chef for four years when I also greatly expanded my repertoire of Spa Cuisine, which featured all types of colorful vegetables. I would make a soy-milk carrot souffle which I prepared with fresh steamed artichoke hearts, shallots, and egg whites. The bright orange of the souffle, the bright green of seasoned fresh Chinese pea pods, the bright yellow of saffron-yellow squash, the bright red of the roasted pesto-drizzled tomato alongside a spiral of Peruvian purple potatoes. And this was just for a side of vegetables. I would have gotten a ten-spot for that. That’s a beautiful thing about French food as a rule. The prices you can charge. I was fortunate enough to work as a Breakfast Chef and later Sous Chef for the French master Reneau Defond in the world-famous El Encanto resort in Santa Barbara. The Chef told me once that it all boiled down to technique. “Food is food,” he said as he held court with his cadre of eager young chefs and cooks. To a person, we considered it an honor just to be associated with Chef. “The guest pays for la technique.”  In my own kitchens I took my obligation to our customers very seriously. I made sure the there was a “wow” rule in place. Whenever a plate was presented to a guest, if they did not show “wow” eyes, or make an audible gasp, I was to be called out to the front of the house because every single one of us had failed. That should let you see the arrogance I learned under the three Europeans I studied under. So, the moral of this story is: eat your carrots.

Stay well.    

Published by maddogg09

I am an unmotivated genius with an extreme love for anything that moves the emotional needles of our lives.

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