Seasonality is something that is cherished in our industry. The seasons bring all types of flavors, colors, and textures. Seasons are the big call to arms to change your menu, re-imagine and evolve your cuisine or restaurant and to get back to your roots as a Chef.
The seasons are special. The all bring something unique to our profession. The spring brings delicate intense flavors, ramps, fiddleheads, artichokes, fava beans, peas. Spring is fresh, Spring feels like new life and the excitement of the growing season. All of the seasons, to me, and people like me see the seasons as something new and exciting, another chance at success, a new opportunity to discover and create.
The seasons go way beyond vegetables, there is a season to almost everything. Fish, deer, grains. We have done a fantastic job at making most things available almost all of the time, but the quality usually suffers pretty hard. Salmon that is farmed is fed dye to make it pink, fruit is shipped from Guatemala for days on trucks. There is an incredible amount of this, and they don’t taste good. If you want something really delicious, go to the farmers market and get an artichoke during the height of
If you want something really delicious, go to the farmers market and get an artichoke during the height of its season. Go find your favorite vegetable and eat it when it’s really, really good. and It’s been picked a couple of miles away and you’ll be blown away. This is the secret to all of those fancy restaurants. When you use incredibly fresh food, of course, it tastes better.
Good food is expensive. Buying from the farm takes a lot of time and energy. It means that instead of having one big box delivery, you have multiple smaller deliveries. I’ve seen as many as 18 different purveyors and that doesn’t include alcohol. Ordering gets incredibly complex and intensive. Restaurants live on a shoestring budget and a lot of restaurants order for the day. That means a late truck or a missed order will royally fuck your day up.
Seasons can be hard. There are a lot of options and people tend to go back to familiar dishes. This isn’t a bad thing, Creating in a restaurant setting is difficult. Making something new takes days, weeks, or even months of planning. You could have this perfect Idea for a new dish and then it just doesn’t work. It’s rough, it’s exhausting, and worst of all, it’s incredibly grating.
Creating a menu, even changing a couple of pieces is a pretty complicated process. On a traditional menu, you must have a couple of things. There has to be a dish that satiates everyone and anyone, vegetarian, fish, pork, beef, vegan, you have to have something. If you don’t, you hear about it.
Seasons are fun, Some food just tastes better in different seasons. Stew in the winter, an incredibly fresh salad in the spring. They bring you back to your roots, and they remind us that pickles happened because nothing grows in winter. Beautiful things happen when we struggle, we have so many amazing techniques and processes because of the seasons.
The seasons are a chance to dig into our history to learn something new and grow with our community. A lot of love and effort goes into a restaurant months before a season hits, and when it’s done right, It’s a beautiful thing.