Have you ever....

Joined Dec 8, 1999
Have you ever made something that was soooo good you felt that you had gone outside yourself and some higher power had taken over? A couple of weeks ago, one of the owners had their holiday party at our place. We use a cabernet demi on our steaks, and NY strip was one of the items on that banquet. I've made this sauce many times before, always with good results. This time, though, it was unbelievable. Complex, rich, perfect texture and seasoning. Words couldn't do it justice. I'm a decent enough cook, but I can't help but believe that something else was at work with me that day. Anybody else, or am I just getting crazy?
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Nice thread Greg.

maybe they were the elfs that put their finger in your pan ;)

I am waiting to read what the other chefs will post!!
Joined Nov 19, 1999
I've had days like that. It seems like you can't do anything wrong in the kitchen on those days, but then we have those 'other' ones. At least, I do. :D What did you do to your New York strip steaks?
Joined Mar 4, 2000
That makes up for all the days when you burned yourself, dropped things, forgot something in the oven...

I've had days like that, too. I love when I make a recipe, and it yields EXACTLY the amount that I need! Or when I'm not quite sure if an experiment is going to work at all, and it's amazing.:bounce:


Joined Apr 4, 2000
On some days ingredients have a way of coming together, and the final result is out of this world.
Joined Nov 20, 2000
Quite often I've had days that went well and everything was perfect But as the post asked, a dish that was perfect. Yes I have had one that stands out to me. I posted it in this months forum, but I didn't realize I was limited in text so it didn't all come out.
I had made a special, not on the menu, dinner for my sister and bro-in-law wedding anniversary at the fine dining restaurant I used to work in. It was the soup course.
I took baby sugar pumpkins and scooped out the inside. I sweated it with whole butter, shallots and a little bit of thyme. I finished it with a bit of cream and chicken stock. I removed the thyme, pureed it, passed it through a fine chinoise, Barely seasoned with white pepper and salt and finished it with large chunks of barely warmed chunks of fresh SWEET Alaskan King Crab meat. Served back in the warm pumpkin with its lid. I tell you it was by far the absolute best dish I EVER made. The soup was as delicate as a fine silk web the flavor fleeting off your tongue to be grabbed just in time by the Crab which was a sweet and fresh tasting as the ocean could offer. Mother Nature and I outdid ourselves that day!!!:chef:
Joined Jul 31, 2000

Great thread.

I notice under your avatar something interesting,It was infact "me"looking over you guideing you through your reduction :D (sorry) couldn't help it.

You know,We as chefs at times move so fast that we don't always take the time to really appreciate what "we"have prepared. We taste,we adjust and we serve. Over and over and over again. But,There sre those times that we taste something we are preparing and something stops us in our tracks. "****"we say, That is really *******good. Now what did I do different?

Everyone who posted before me had similar things to say, But all paid tribute to ingredients and technique. This is what I call my "culinary Triangle" Talent,Technique and Ingrediants.

When these three things come together you are destined to please.

A dish that comes to mind for me is one I did over 10 years ago and people still love it.

I bone out a lion of lamb and trim it totaly clean of fat and sinu.
I brush it with a paste of roast garlic and olive oil,season with sea salt and milled black pepper. The I roll the loin in a mixture of crushed pistachios,fresh mint and chopped chives. I sear it and then quickly roast the loin to rosey pink.I serve this with a essence of cabernet,kiln dried cherries,lavender and rosemary reduced with a fine lamb stock. With this went a warm flan of gorgonzola cheese. Crispy souffle potatoes finished the plate.

With this I serve a big,rich,complex cab...I tell you the savoury flavores intermingling with the tart sweetness of the cherries and the perfume of the lavender and the nutty and herbel nuiances of the lamb was enough to send me into overdrive :chef:
Joined Jul 31, 2000
You lost me,

Although CT is not the "World Capital" of Lamb, I do enjoy buying and preparing the finest lamb money can buy. I prefer Rosen from Colorado.
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Personally, Cape Chef,

I do not care how you spell it but how you cook it!
When I read recipes like this one the Lion awakes in me ...

Joined Aug 11, 2000
CC as always amazing!!! About 4 years ago I made a bombe with pecan jelly roll formed into a bowl with a white chocolate, Grand Marnier, whipped cream, gelitin, OJ, filling....white choc icing....one of a kind....amazing!!
Or the smoked turkey with root salad and cranberry chutney on ciabatta....I knew it'd be good, just didn't realize how good.
Alot of mine come from thinking out the flavors and combining techniques that I've not read about....still incredible when it is just so FINE on the initial making.
Joined Oct 15, 2000
Mine was a very simple pasta I made one day over ten years ago. Sauteed peppers with good sausage, good olive oil, ultra fresh garlic, good imported plum tomatoes and parmasan Reggiano. I enjoyed this with an old friend and a nice bottle of Chianti. I've made this a thousand times since that day and although it is still a fave and always very good, it has never matched that day that the Gods smiled on me and allowed it to be perfect.
Joined Dec 7, 2001
Folks, this is what I like to call the Like Water For Chocolate Syndrome. Yes it is the ingredients; Yes it is the technique; Yes it is the ambient ions present etc.; BUT MOST OF ALL, it is you and your attitude, your LOVE at that precise moment that you impart to the food, the preparation. The care you felt in your heart that brought everything together into an amazing culmination of BLISS (of course you might say I ALWAYS care, but you don't alwyas give it directly to the food). If you practice with this thought in mind, you will be able to capture what you think only happens from time to time.

......ya know, cooking has less to do with food than we all think.



love is all you need
Joined Mar 6, 2001
Artists have that same feeling. We actually become like athletes chasing a repeat performance, same thing holds true in the kitchen. Superstitions start as we chase after that perfect performance.

I'm not certain everyone can relate to this (if you haven't found this you'll think I'm nuts)! But people in creative or performance jobs always do. Personally for me it's sort of being "on" or "in tune" with what your doing. I can't hit it if I'm distracted my personal issues or direct conversation.

But when I'm "on" I almost become trance like, I suppose it's close to meditating, time doesn't exist, yet your totally in tune with everything. If someone talks to me I'm usually startled by their presence. You just know you hit it right on, you couldn't have made it any better, for me it's a dance, a performance, a art in the kitchen....sometimes I look up and people are staring at me and I didn't realize it, then I'm just plain embarrased.
Joined Jun 28, 2001
Ah yes . Being in the zone. Those nights when you are insanely busy and almost in the weeds constantly.But then everything just flows together and it is the most amazing felling in the world.
These nights don't happen to me much anymore(all of my good staff are gone now and I have some fairly green newbies,but they have what it takes)

I just love those nights.I had one not to long ago as a matter of fact.It was my day off and the saute cook came down with the flu about an hour before we opened.I of course got the call to work (as always). We were busy as **** and it was really noisy in the kitchen early in the night. About halfway through service (2 hours or so into it) i noticed that it was kinda quite for us being as busy as we were.I couldn't stop to see what was going on--I had like 10 different things in pans at the time,pastas,sauted mushrooms broiled fish,boiling shrimp etc.I turn to get something from under the line and out of the corner of my eye I see most of the waitstaff just staring in aw at all the **** I have going on at one time. I gave a quick smile and a wink and just continued plowing ahead.

I LOVE those types of nights.


Joined Dec 8, 1999
I definitely have to go with Flash and CC on this. It's what one of my instructors at J&W called "the human element". He said it was the common ingredient in anything ever cooked by anybody. If someone were to ask me the definition of "epiphany", I would tell them about when Chef Nogle said that, and the effect it had on me.
Joined Sep 21, 2001
I tell everyone I have a bin of "Secret Ingredient N24" which makes everything I cook taste like it came from a restaurant!
Joined Oct 27, 2001
Love is an important ingredient, but I did make the pizza from **** about a decade ago and it was made with love. Love went into the base as I made the recipe up and got a dreadful result, love went into the topping along with everything else that i could find in my kitchen at the time.
Result; Love came right back up to greet me around 3 in the morning along with the rest of the pizza. Around the same time, my fellow diners were having the same experience and were not thinking of me with love!
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