Texture Lab Activated

In the course of finding inspiration for my CR8 dinner concepts, I sometimes toil and turn to find something that resonates with me.  That was not the case this time.    I resisted it at first because I thought it was a bit strange and off.  It almost didn’t make sense for  a dinner concept.  But my intuition led me back so I gave in.   So I was looking through a magazine and came across a picture of two curtains in two different colors.  I stared at it and it moved me.  Upon further investigation, I realized that they were also two different textures and that’s when I went off.

I went into an intense conceptual analysis and really wanted to experiment.  These are just a few lines of several pages and notes:

Texture Lab

Rough   Scaly   Bumpy   Silky   Creamy   Crunchy   Feathery  Smooth    Sticky    Velvet    Spongy   Hard   Greasy    Soft  Wet  Bouncy  Dry  Fluffy  Hairy  Slimy  Oily

Definition of Texture

*The feel, appearance, or consistency of a surface or a substance 

Definition of Lab

*A place for practice, observation, and testing. 

A place where experiments of an idea, and the process of the assembly of procedures, lead through trial and error, attempt to prove the idea and manifest it into an expected outcome.

 My Goal For the CR8 Dinner

*The experimentation and exploitation of textures in harmonic and non harmonic balances”, creating an unfamiliar direction of serving and visual stimulation. 


If the hand is the window to the mind then the mouth is the gateway to the soul.

Upon textural inflictions, a palate of various emotional associations transform in subtle and not so subtle ways.  The power of textures lies in it’s potential to touch upon every sense. 

I was feeling quite playful with the menu and decided to push some ideas that once again, might be a bit different.  Each course had to say something deeper and more thematic than just a plate of food.  Many of the course were experiments that I had never done before, after all that is was the whole purpose of this series.

I met with interior designer Lisa Sloan of Los Angeles to help me create a space around the dining table known as Lab 2.  Since I was originally inspired by curtains and fabric, I had to use this element to create a feel and texture.

Adam taking care of the details just before the guests arrive

Tablescape from a far with a light mist above the candles.  I was a bit tired of the flower on the tables approach that is almost always present in a table setting.  Large candles felt quite raw and more with the feel and theme of this series.

  Table designed by Architect Francisco Xavier Cobiani of Home Designsamusebouche: unsandwich, liquid sourdough, frothy corned beef, fried egg, crunchy swiss, aioli

Two of the evening’s courses: Left: Jidori “Ortolon Ceremony”, Right: Winter Minted Crab… Photos by Andrea Bricco  

I have always been fascinated with the Ortolon’s rich and historic gastronomical folklore.  I myself had never tasted one.  I decided to pay homage to this tiny songbird.  I know how the bird it caught and fattened and drowned and cooked.  Taking this into consideration, I decided to mimic the flavor of the bird and elements of it’s diet.  I spoke with Dennis Mao of JIDORI chickens and he sent me some beautiful birds.  I separated them and made a confit from the legs cooked in duck fat and then made into rillettes.  I took the breast and cooked them sous vide and topped them with fried skin.  For the offals, I incorporated a silky foie gras and made a rich roasted stock from the bones infused with it’s innards.  An armagnac gelee, hazelnuts, fig orb, and pressure cooked millet in brown butter.  It wasn’t supposed to replace the Ortolon, but instead a playful homage. 

Apple texture discovery; fuji apple panna cotta, ginger shallot pinenut marmalade, thai basil, arkansas black peel meringue, smoked pork belly veloute, clove...the 2 Photos on the right by Andrea Bricco

Texture Roll, my textural play on a tempura sushi roll, including a rice cream with the flavors of sushi rice.

Artistically speaking, I can’t even draw a stick figure.  Yet, I am really moved by Friday Kahlo’s work.  I wanted to make an artistic accent to a dish that I had in mind.  So I created a tray for each diner in which I would place a Hering plate on top of.  This would add to the experience of the dish.

Painted Kahlo Flavors: Herb black cod, chile ancho escabeche, puffed red quinoa, cider canela pineapple butter, sous vide-caramelized endive.

for dessert, Velvet tenderness!


In the midst of the action with Philippe from Events by Philippe























Diners toasting to a lovely evening.

Special thanks to my CR8 crew, Adam-AC-Noah, I have the best team and could not pull off these visions without them!

Thanks to Felix of kitchen 105, the space was great thank you!

I’m looking forward to the next CR8 concept of unlimited boundaries!