Dark Illuminated Forest

After the last CR8 dinners (Texture Lab), I was a bit perplexed as where to go next.  Embracing my inner voice, I trusted that concept would manifest itself.  Trying to find a concept never works for me as it feels pushed, forced and unnatural.

While home for Christmas, I got substantial rest and caught up with new ideas.  I spent alot of time with my little brother Rene who is great at bouncing ideas back and forth with me.  Maybe due to the winter season, next thing I know i’m engulfed in a world of various forests and terrains.  The metaphoric opposites of Dark and Light was charging me as well,  this is how I eventually summed it up:

 Dark Illuminated Forest


*In contrast with the brightness, is a relative absence of visible light.  It is the appearance of black in a color space.


*To brighten with light, to decorate with lights in celebration, to enlighten as with knowledge, to make illustrious as in adorn and embellish.


*Something that resembles a large, dense growth of trees, as in density, quantity, or profusion: a forest of skyscrapers; a mountainous forest

My Goal For CR8 Dinners

*Under the looking glass of dark and light, exploring the concept of opposites in presentation and contrast of flavors and diner expectations.  By sight (A completely dark room, with the only illumination coming from the forest of lights and wood around the table and the lighting from above the table) 

Hering Porcelain & water glasses and cutlery by Katja Bremkamp provide the stellar basics for launching this dining experience.

Table designed by Architect Francisco Xavier Cobiani.

I got to work with details of my vision of the dining environment and the menu.  Some of the things I saw in my head eluded me as I had no idea how I was going to do it.  I got together with Ac and Noah from my team and told them of what I envisioned.  We put our heads together and Noah said he could build the lighting element I wanted.  The grand task began on bringing to fruition this grand event and with never doing it before.  I live for these moments.

I could not find a designer to help me with the chandelier I had in mind so off I went into the wild to attempt to make it myself.  It was an adventure but one I hope not to do again.  I belong in the kitchen!

I got together with a few specialist concerning wood and other elements.  I met with Christian Geitner who is a specialist in wood works and designing.  I told him what I was thinking and he came back to me with some amazing pieces.  They really helped me to push the concept into a living element.

Diners in the midst of the dinner eating “Sleep Patterns”.  Thyme butter poached chicken and skin, malt barley puree, banana buttermilk drops, and chamomile veloute.

The menu format, using elements of staggered thought patterns towards displaying the titles.

Liquid moules frites:  Mussel bouillon, hot french fry mousse, tempura celery mussel, fired parsley, Orval Trappist Ale gelee

Thunder in the East:  Smoked pork belly, bamboo risotto and puffed crackers, lemon verbena oil, crushed spicy prawns, ginger

Faux Stout:  Black truffle veloute, Venere rice puree, Blis maple syrup sabayon

Leftover Christmas Garden: Pear in 4 textures, christmas tree oil, brillant savarin ice cream, puffed buckwheat, black walnut, arugula granita, aged sherry

Duchesses Noodle:  Foie gras noodle, dried cherry, hazelnut, black cat cappuccino, fennel, tarragon, aged balsamic, shitake, chive (Paired with Duchesse de Bourgogne Beer)

L.A’s First Snowball….Crushed coconut cream, liquid lemongrass/kaffir flower center, yogurt ice, pomegranate, dill

Xocolatl 2012: Amedei Chuao chocolate, chia-sunflower-sesame seeds, avocado gel, amaranth leaves, edible gold, chili meringue and paper, pure black Mexican vanilla, Atoli corn husk popcorn caramel


The beer lineup for March 7th.  A beer/food pairing put together with Kevin from KevinEats.  It was a night of spectacular brews.

Noah Lee, part of the CR8 Team is taking down the chandelier at the end of the event.  Noah and his girlfriend Chelsey Arabia were crucial in designing and assembling the dining event.  It helps to have such talented people on my team!

Special thanks to my sous chef Bryan Foehl, It was great to have you there and I definitely could not of pulled it off without you my friend!!

Special thanks to Jeremy from Studio 1342 for the magnificent space, I hope to do another event there and explore further creative endeavors.