I have not forgotten you. I potentially may have underestimated how much more work being an Executive chef would be. I have been aggressively attempting to staff my kitchen with the best cooks possible, and ringing every ounce of skill out of my existing ones. The days have gotten longer, and the restaurant much busier. The movement of product through the kitchen and dining room, even for me, is mind boggling at some points. Even on my days off I make phone calls, write emails, and respond to requests at a rate which Melissa is never very excited about just because I haven't had the chance to approach them at any other time. All of the sudden I am called in to meetings with people who don't understand my work load and by kitchen standards (the only standards I know) are extremely unproductive gatherings.
Melissa and I have also made an offer that was accepted on a home in Gearhart a few miles north of where we live now, catch is that the home is only about 70% finished right now, so we are extremely busy figuring out carpets, granite, tile, paints etc, to guide the builder while he finishes. Needless to say though the kitchen will be finished to a spec I am so excited about. With solid work surfaces, and plenty of them, two ovens, gas range, some pretty cool appliances and easy access to the back patio, and a huge back yard (think brick oven in the coming months, garden, chickens!). Best case scenario we hope to be moving in late Julyish. Still a tad bit worried things could go south but we are working with an extremely motivated builder and we have been looking for so long, we are trying to keep a very positive attitude about the whole thing. Also I bought a truck that needed quite a bit of work but is in progress as well, and looks much better then it did when I picked it up last week.
I did plant some simple things in the garden here but am worried to go much more deeper then that, as the thought of ripping it all out to move is a tough one and waste of valuable time. Radishes, snap peas, and some super big pumpkins as well as some various herbs, tomatoes, and even some flowers are all absorbing sunlight and growing really well.
Last week the four chefs in the company also sat down to pencil a James Beard menu for October, and I am excited about the things we came up with. The attempt is to cook only things that were grown or harvested within a range of 100 miles from the restaurant, and to really showcase some foods that we are known for. It seems odd to be going with our same old stuff, the stuff we order, prep and sell every day but at the end of the day I think we wisely decided that those are the same foods we want to showcase in that forum. As we finalize menus and make small adjustments I will of course keep you all posted. The bios for the chefs all had to be received by the foundation last week sometime, and the menu is supposed to be approved by them by mid June so we are attempting to hustle this process as much as possible. Whatever is decided I know it will be fantastic, and again am so looking forward to the opportunity to be in NY, and cooking this dinner.
The Executive chef changes are happening as well. A new bio is being worked on for the website, an interview with the marketing person from my culinary school scheduled to use for some Internet media sources, and a press release is in the final stages of being approved by myself and the company before it is released to the local papers and trade magazines. New jackets are on back order (my chef coats take quite a bit of fabric), and my paychecks show a dollar amount I grin about. The tag on my work email still makes me laugh a bit. In a meeting with a director of Clatsop Community College as well as the principal of Seaside High School the other day to discuss the future of our budget cut prone program "Prostart" I introduced myself as the Executive chef and then quickly explained to him that I just like saying that, he laughed and made me do it again.
Progress is being made, and work is always happening. I apologize for my lack of technical posts in the last few months and hope to be getting back to talking ingredients and how my readers can approach them in a better manner. Local morel mushrooms, sturgeon, ramps, spring onions, radishes, and local asparagus are all things I am working pretty heavily with in the restaurant. This blog has definitely helped me more then I can explain to really get to the nitty gritty about what my own food is. Which is good because people are expecting to hear about it and eat it more often then ever. It has forced me to define and refine the ingredients, and techniques that I am passionate about, and when I think about why I started writing it, that is the biggest reason. Honestly- after a long haul in a kitchen I am always excited to write things that are my personal opinion, that aren't a reflection of other managers, operators, owners, or a whole company. It feels really good to be able to talk about things going on in this genius forum that blogger has given us, as I think it encourages me to talk from a much more personal level then I would with anyone else ever. Thanks for hanging in there with me.