by Jordan Quidachay
‘Good cooking is the accumulation of small details done to perfection.’
– Michel Bourdin
Thank you, Chef Robert Corey for introducing this quote to me. Although, we as humans, may never reach perfection, it pertinent to always strive for perfection. An individual’s potential is cultivated through their capacity for excellence. For a culinarian, every detail matters or at least it should because every detail leads to perfection. No detail is too small, no task is too menial.
Perfection. Excellence. I went face to face with both this past weekend. Soft openings at The Kitchen Denver were in full swing and I can only imagine the pressure our Chef de Cuisine, Eric Lee, felt because quite frankly, it was the longest three days of my life and I’m just a cook.
Friday night, the restaurant held an industry party and I made some new friends. Oysters. Well over 200 of them. I manned the raw bar and shucked oysters non-stop for close to four hours. The little bivalve mollusks were clearly the night’s rage, because servers couldn’t even make it around the bar before their platters were wiped clean. So I shucked the night away with the loud and jovial atmosphere at my back and the little nicks on my fingers reveal a hard day’s work. That, and the smell of the ocean that permeated my hands by the end of the night.
Saturday night was slightly different. I was stationed on the line, so my mise en place included several items to be plated for hors d’ oeuvres for service. And all night I was constantly grilled by my chef, CONSTANTLY. There are many times in the kitchen when the fastest isn’t fast enough. Keep composure and embrace every single word of coercion. Perfection. Excellence. Thank you, Chef Eric.
Sunday night’s service was a glance at the real deal. Full blown service with a limited menu. I, however, found myself not on the line, but in the back prep area doing prep. As soon as the tickets started rolling in, they seem to have never stopped coming. My prep work was accompanied by the echoes of orders and the hustle and bustle of the line. In moments, I became a part of the hustle and bustle. Racing to restock every station’s needs becoming a crucial part of the line’s strides towards perfection. Remember, no detail is too small and no task is too menial. And at The Kitchen Denver every single task you do is acknowledged and appreciated. Thank you, Kitchen family.
Anyone can shuck an oyster or 1000 oysters, but no matter what, make every single detail matter. No matter how small, no matter how redundant. Precision: the meticulousness of making sure no shell fragments or other unpleasant factors are present in an oyster. Efficiency: doing the previously stated your fastest to accommodate demand. Remember, sometimes the fastest isn’t fast enough, but you make it work. Perfection: guest with oyster in hand and a simple, undisturbed slurp of salty goodness that’ll bring someone back to their fondest memories of breathing in the ocean air or the taste of the ocean water or the feeling of sand between toes.
In any situation, no matter the circumstances, always strive for perfection. No single detail should ever be over looked because every act is a gateway to perfection.
In Veritate Et Caritate