Mistakes are completely encouraged, as that’s where unknown flavor lives, where mysteries of umami develop and come alive. The future of sensory experience for the diner and for chefs alike will take place here … in this perfect idea space, in this isolated place of the unknown. Ideas will pass from this room then out to chefs in Dave’s restaurants, where ideas and new questions about flavor will then emerge/evolve, and then the process will take unknown flavor reformations, be freshly inspired in ever new directions, and will change and evolve again. A cycle repeats.
One of the days I was in the lab, Dave was working on a dish he was to cook in the coming week, it was a serious showpiece dish and he was working to perfect. Dave was working on making a chickpea puree to serve with some prawns and he wasn’t happy with the results. He was working over a pot and just kept staring into it, almost trancelike, thinking, adjusting the contents of the pot. He was asking himself if he had soaked them ( chickpeas ) long enough, he believed he did, did he cook them long enough, again, yes. Were the chickpea’s too starchy, do they need to be passed through another grade tamis, was there enough salt in the water? The consistency of the puree just wasn’t coming together as he desired and so he patiently worked and reworked his ideas, he spoke with his team … he pulled back time and again and I captured him just thinking. Dave speaks at great length in Volume Three of all these different critical nuances that need to be carefully considered for just this one element of this one dish, as still he wasn’t getting the results he was after during the entire day. It was to require more ideas, more trials, more thought. He was trying to find this perfect ( imperfect ) balance, but it was going to need much more work in the days ahead. So he was left with a pretty critical and glaring idea from the day, that doing simple is really insanely hard.
Notes From A Kitchen Volume Three is about these critical ideas and probing questions; about better understanding failure and the ongoing evolution of a new idea; about nature and how our finest chefs think, feel and react … it’s a brutally honest documentation of creative fluidity.