Well more so that food brings family together and closer. I had a very interesting weekend and perhaps a bit enlightening. My cousin Felix had come over from San Francisco with his parents to give his fiancée a ride home back to San Francisco. While they were out here I was invited to spend time with them for 2 days in a row, even though the drive out to see them was about 30 miles each way. I figured why not, since I don't get to see much family on a regular basis any more.
I spoke with one of my chefs a couple weeks back and asked him how he felt about doing the abroad program. He thought that it would be a waste, but he was referencing Switzerland and taking Asian cuisine there. However another chance to think about studying abroad made another appearance this past Friday. I volunteered to help the guest Chef Lorenzo Polegri, which he also happened to be the Chef instructor in Italy for studying abroad. My baking Chef pushed me out there to volunteer to help cut pasta, then Chef Lorenzo catches it, and now of course I have to walk my way up to the demo station. He asked me my name and I said Jasmine, but the Chef being European and all he had to do the whole accent thing on it. It reminded of my French teacher in high school, who I did adore.
Drunken Chicken & Asian Bean Salad with Muscat Jelli
When I saw this recipe I knew I had to do it. Drunken chicken is just so Chinese, and to be able to portray it in a modern way is just way sexy. The Asian salad is made up of ginko nuts, edamame and a couple other things. The original recipe called for Shao Xing Wine granite, but because of the there is nothing to hold the ice, it will melt. The muscat wine will also be a nice sweet finish to compliment to the chicken, and will be scraped like the granite.
I consider myself very lucky. Without the support of my dad [parents] this would have been rather difficult. And if my dad hadn't suggested going into culinary I wouldn't even have thought that I would never have thought to step foot in this industry. I still wonder how he knew this was where I belong. What I do know is this was where he and my mom didn't want me to be. My dad was basically the Executive Chef of a well known Chinese Restaurant here in San Francisco, but when my great uncle retired he took that as an opportunity to leave the industry. I know he still misses it, but sometimes you take sacrifices for the whole.
So where do I go from here? The obvious choice would be to keep working hard and keep climbing to the top as quickly as possible. I think one of the most important things at this point is to better understand where I came from. No I don't mean where I was born, but deep in the roots of where my family, culture and ethnicity are from. This is where many of the answers for my quest to find what I consider the fusion of East with West, back to where it all originated. In this quest I hope to be able to spend some time in the Southern part of China to better understand the ingredients and methods of preparation of food. I also expect to have to learn to read and write Chinese which I know speaking fluently no longer means anything. It will be a long process, but hopefully I can find it in myself to push through it fast.
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