I was talking with a friend, a well-known chef and we were discussing the current food trends. As I see it, the food spectrum is made up at one end of the classical chef’s techniques, based mostly on French cuisine, and on the other end, the nouveau Spanish works of Ferran’s molecular cooking. Then those chefs who aspire to simulate those ideas with a new twist. In between there are many types of chefs, but few as distinctive.
The current day food trends (and especially Michelin) are more about impressing the client’s mouth with ‘food magic’ or ‘novelty items’ prepared to excite and surprise the client. I am not putting down any of the great masters. Many Michelin chefs have evolved into this “gastro-technical” type of chef who prepare cuisine by expanding the dimension of modern cuisine. These chefs are outstanding and work hard to create dishes that are superb, excite and maintain a degree of complexity without losing any focus.
But I am thinking about how chefs demonstrate the powers of nature unplugged. What is the best way for mainstream consumers to find a pathway to healthy eating to understand the importance of food know-how.
Today there are so many viable short cuts in the preparation of foods, often we cannot achieve the proper standards. The simple rule we use in Japanese cuisine; little to no interference and that is one reason why so many people are attracted to it. The foods are easy to grasp, look good and taste good. The balance between all works harmoniously.
The purity of raw materials is integral in food preparations and a chef’s hand must respect every little morsel and detail. The tools are such that they provide a gentle and swift cut, not a heavy hand or a pretend sharp blade that is designed to look better than it really is. A knife must fit to the cut, if you cut a small fish, the knife is for small fish and so on.
The idea of slow food is an excellent idea and has carried many good ideas to help preserve natural processes in food and industry. The problem we face is that people are not willing to take the time to invest in process, or in understanding how to achieve purity. We eat too much “crap” convenient foods to satisfy our eyes and tongues, and concurrently the food industry has become polluted with bad ideas, cheap solutions when we need just the opposite.