To know me is to eat me, or rather eat my food, which is an extension of myself since my identity is composed of various ingredients. I am Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Viking Swede, English, Irish, German, Austrian, Prussian, and Russian. I am verbose, inquisitive, ravenous and opinionated and queer. In short, a mutt.
What is it I cook?
Pressed to label my style of cooking I would have to call it simply Fresh American.
What is that supposed to be then, you might ask? Bear with me here- I want you to imagine an American, someone from your hometown or a stranger you saw on the train. What does she look like? Is he Asian? Latino? Caucasian?
Does her personality pop out at you or is he subtle and layered? Now picture that same person 150 years in the past. Would they still be considered American? Or 150 years from today- how different is s/he from the rest of the populus? American today is a mix of time and place, of cultures near and far.
So what does this have to do with Food you might ask? Well, just as those crowds appear radically changed from the past to the present, and the cultural backgrounds of every person you meet on the train is layered to a unique perfection, so are the meals that make up my menus. There might be Maine lobster served with a bright tomatillo salsa or Sockeye salmon roasted in banana leaves with coconut sticky rice. As Americans our appearances are as diverse as our cultural backgrounds. Our dishes reflect that; peanut soup and brisket and clay pot cassarole and tinga stews.
Ecuadorians, Senegalese, Afghani and Georgians all make up the American mosiac. Irish, Mexican, Egyptian and Russian do as well. As their spices become a part of my pantry and their cooking methods become part of my arsenal, I find that I become enjoined in their cultures, and my American “mutt” status suddenly seems to make sense in the story of my life.
As I discover new flavors from around the world, they become new friends that I want to know everything about. And that is my passion: the conversation of international flavors and how they can make up something unique, from past to present, from passionate to quietly evocative. And that is the best of what American cuisine is today.