If there is something I am particular about, that has to be the origin of our ingredients. This needs to be grown in a certain area, that needs to be bought from a certain producer; I always make sure I get only the highest quality choice ingredients. And this is why anything we offer our guests will be delicious, even if presented as is.
However, offering them as is would be sort of artless, so we need to look for an alternate way to let our guests appreciate the quality of these carefully chosen ingredients. Stating their origin is extremely important, but after that it’s a matter of discernment, a matter of having the skill their quality deserves: whether they transform into an appetizing dish or an unpalatable one is up to the cook, after all.
Of course, when I talk about discernment, I am also talking about the ingredients, both when purchasing them and after. Would these taste better raw or cooked? Should we prepare them right away, or let them sit for a few days?
I believe that the fact something is fresh from the garden doesn‘t necessarily mean it will taste good no matter what you do with it. Some vegetables become sweeter as you cook them, letting some sit for a while brings out their flavor. The ability to discern this is, in my opinion, a skill all chefs require, and what proves their worth.
When it comes to cooking, less is more. I am against excessively fiddling with ingredients for the sake of aesthetics; I prefer a simple presentation. The dishes I strive for are those that surprise the guests with the food itself, the combination of flavors.
I try not to let my opinion be swayed by the general consensus. Whenever I tell people conger pike tastes better in winter, when it’s richer in oil, I tend to get a suspicious expression and the same answer: “Don’t you eat those in the summer?” However, when I believe something tastes good, and especially when it’s something not many people know about, all I want to do is share the knowledge, cook it for everyone and make them discover a new flavor.
And this is why, if you would allow me, I would like to ask all Peter Pan guests to throw away their preconceived notions of what tastes good, and try my dishes with an open mind. There is no greater happiness for me than you liking my creations. And if there is anything you happen not to like, please let me know without any hesitation.
After all, my favorite question to ask is, “What tasted the worst?”