Blue Hill Day Five: a reflective finale

Today, I went in to do pastry work. Sunday’s are all day affairs here—the crew all works lunch and dinner, so the pastry kitchen wasn’t in its normal production. Thus, the last day began with just baking off some flatbreads, spinning ice creams and sorbets, and slacking out a few hundred balls of cookie dough. During this cookie process, my mind began to numb, but it turned into a reflective moment. I’m not sure if the recent reflection came as a result of the anniversary of 9-11, but I began to ponder my life, my career, and my week at Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

What began as a trip to see this wonderful operation ended as a means to rediscovering my purpose as a chef. It comes down to three basic objectives: To cook, to teach, and to inspire.

I love cooking. The process: working directly with the farmers, discovering and rediscovering products, the respect for those ingredients, the preparation, and the customer feedback —it’s a cool symbiotic relationship. The heat and intensity of the stoves while we passionately cook with a sense of purpose during service.
It’s fulfilling.

Teaching the staff what I know and have learned is amazing. To watch them grow and gain confidence and knowing that I may play a part on their way to success makes me motivated to learn more, to teach more.

It’s rewarding.

To inspire those around me is a lofty objective. However, all I’m really trying to accomplish is to let folks know that becoming part of doing something for the common good is quite accessible. Inspire those who I work with to get better. Inspire those who make decisions about food (everyone) to make educated choices based upon the resources and information available (and in some ways, I can provide). Doing right by each other and for the bounty of resources we have is something we should all be trying to attain.

It’s responsible.

To summarize, while I feel like I have added strength in terms of my operational mindset, I believe the perspective gained on a grander scale made this trip special. It is now time for me to get back and step it up, providing the staff that I work with, the folks that dine at the restaurant, and the family and friends that support me with the best I have to give. I am humbled by the good fortune of this experience, and excited about implementing some new direction and focus t SugarToad.

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