The Power To Re-CR8

It seemed like a hibernation, a 2 year hiatus since my last CR8 in Seattle, Washington. My life had swayed and life’s waves had carried me to West Texas. El Paso, Texas to be exact. With this new city brought a new insight to what my next CR8 could be. Having conversations with Matthew Biancaniello, he came up with the brilliant idea of Re-CR8. What is this?

Definition of Recreate
Reproduce – Re-enact – Reinvent

The wonder of transcribing an already existing idea, piece of work, or element and bringing it under a new light by creative reconstruction.

Fusing together revealing romantic new ambiances engulfing ones being not experienced before in a dining scenario. Re thinking everything.

And so I began to look deep within myself to manifest creative concepts to explore this new endeavor.

Guest Designers:
Ersela Kripa – AGENCY Architecture
Stephen Mueller – AGENCY Architecture
Matthew Biancaniello – Eat Your Drink

Ersela Kripa and Stephen Mueller, Two incredible and talented architects with unlimited creativity connected to meaning, form and function. What an honor it was for me to actually work with these two!

Matthew Biancaniello, one of America’s most gifted cocktail specialists flew in from Los Angeles to provide a custom cocktail pairing for each magical and conceptual course. A true innovator!

Beginning ideas and concepts for the Re-CR8 dining environment.

It became a team effort.

The early tests and cuts.

 The Fab Lab played a crucial part in the making of Silenced Surface.


The empty canvas at The Venue

The project works as an acoustic baffle to muffle sound and heighten other senses, providing a temporary environmental enclosure around 12 diners. AGENCY designed a rapidly deployable friction-fit frame, comprised of over 1200 individual components, which interlock to create a rigid, freestanding, room-scale armature without the need for additional fittings or adhesives. The surface is defined by transcribing the voices of the silenced through a coded language of architectural assemblage.

The open, five-sided enclosure is kept in apparent imbalance, with leaning surfaces held upright by the matrix of lightweight structural units. Three elemental shapes define the majority of the structural units, while custom shapes create smooth transitions at the corners. The mass-produced and mass-customized units are precision-cut with a CNC-router from lightweight composite board.

A hidden message is defined by transcribing the voices of the silenced through a coded language of architectural assemblage. Milled from select pieces are excerpts of morse code, reading ‘silent tsunami,’ a term used by the World Food Bank and other agencies to describe the devastating but often overlooked effects of rampant global food shortages.

Stephen Mueller starts the laborious task!

Bring in the lighting experts! Mike Migdalis, Eric Gorham, Peter Almodovar analyze the model to begin mapping out the special lighting to accentuate the entire experience.

Ersela Kripa, architect extraordinaire.

The pillowed surface adorning the frame is comprised of foam sheets, folded to attenuate and absorb sound from the dinner, creating an acoustically neutral pocket within the relatively reflective warehouse space.


Matthew Biancaniello starting his liquid delights!

Incredible tomatoes from Los Angeles area Farmers Markets.

Matt loving the spoons designed by Andreas Fabian 

A few last minute pictures.

All the details matter!

Ready for the diners to arrive.



The dining environ during the day.

Just before people arrive.

Opening Cocktail: Aquavit, Peach, Lemon Verbena and Leek Blossoms

Fresh fig leaves play an important part in the first course.

The first course begins and is accentuated with Hering Berlin porcelain!

The idea of re-creating the sense of calm and serenity during an entire space of consuming this dish. This will initiate it’s concept as the diner walks into the diningscape. The subtle sound of a heart beat plays, the one heard by a baby when it is in the mothers womb. Alongside the music played in a specific key and frequency which instigates complete detachment from the outside world. Starting a meal with a sweet course always activates the palate immensely. The diner will be given a warm soft towel from a vessel that is steeped in vanilla bean water.

Whipped buttermilk horchata
warm fig leaf caramel, coufi olive oil, tonka bean, nicoise olives, tiger figs, fleur de sel

Cocktail:Violet Fig Infused Bourbon

Each diner had their to pour the salted fig leaf caramel from their warm spa rock onto their dish.




Matt describing his exotic ingredients.

The lighting technicians made it possible to really express emotion and feel of colors in this space. It became blue for a course called “Ice Cold”. Giving off a very cool emotion.

Ice Cold
Recreating a dish using various degrees of cold. The range spans from -78.5C to 40F. Furthermore, the concept utilizes new techniques created to “cook” the food at various temperatures, yet never exceeding 40F. To exemplify the “chill’ sensation, the cutlery will be stored at at 36F until it is placed before the diner and used to eat. The glass will be frosted for the special cocktail.

Ice Cold Dungeness crab
lemongrass sabayon, sake cured steelhead roe, chives, green melon,
lemon balm, pickled mustard seeds, fresh cream

Cocktail: Sea Moss Tequila with Pistachio Milk and Spice

This wonderful piece was designed by Agency architecture as well. It holds the egg shells that carry the 4 main forest ingredients to be poured on the bread.

Forest Bread 2017
I have a need to express a bread course in a context that truly honors how amazing bread can be. This one uses the forest elements in the entire dish. It is an accumulation of ingredients solely found in various forests from around the world. This gives proper creativity to what a bread course can be.
Washington State, Sweden, Oregon, Norway

Viking barley roll
lammas fayre scandinavian grains, liquid holmquist hazelnut butter, chive,
and arugula blossoms, forest violet, lingonberry beet syrup, wild rosemary oil



Chef Frida Kahlo

What if Frida Kahlo was chef instead of a painter? Reinventing Frida with all of her pain, passion and talent and expressing her creativity through food. Her favorite flavors and regional ingredients from her beloved Mexico. Channeling through her, this dish was born. The rose petal mole is made of 36 ingredients. Honoring the complexity of her through the rose petal mole.

Rose petal mole
lobster cooked in charred banana leaves, bound coconut, wild scallion roots, candied walnut, flowers in blood colors

Each diner received their dish on top of a tray that was a replica of Frida Kahlo’s actual dining room table in Mexico. Created by Martin Bencomo

Rose petal mole
lobster cooked in charred banana leaves, bound coconut, wild scallion roots, candied walnut, flowers in blood colors



The Heirloom Coffee Project; Pura Cepa Edition
This coffee is quite possibly the most precious coffee in the world. It is a careful blend of 80yr old Heirloom Bourbon trees and the high altitude Caturra cherries. To make things even more special, this is a hand picked limited edition
called Pura Cepa.

This is the newest crop of 2017 and the flavors are of wet moss, almonds, honeycomb, plum, blueberry, cocoa nib, mild peach, mild molasses..
A complete homage to the coffee, delightfully expressed in appreciation of culinary flavors that enhance and embrace the preciousness of this truly unique coffee.

The coffee comes from the farm FINCA VISTA HERMOSA under the parent
company called ONYX by Edwin Martinez.

The following dish was to be eaten with this amazing coffee!

Amish chicken skin
natural yeast fermented tamaki haiga mai rice, buttermilk, honshimeji mushrooms in rich poultry bouillon, peach stone lacquer, strawberry popcorn milk, cocoa nibs, okayama peach


Hono is the Japanese word for flame of a fire. Every element of a fire is reproduced and captured as part of this dish. Utilizing Japanese elements and techniques to highlight the dish. Embers-ash-wood-smoke-flame-spark

Smoked black cod
birch miso glazed french toast, sour ember katsuobushi broth, charcoal black garlic & raisin puree, snowflake celery in kale oil

Cocktail:Mezcal, flowering marjoram, white balsamic and pepper

Pristine black cod provided by Chefshop

The making of homemade Tofu Misozuke. A 2 month process to create a flavor of “faux gras” to the duck dish.

Hearth duck deception
Rohan duck breast, burnt satsuma, parsnip, anise, “faux gras”, black sesame, rye bourbon honeycomb jus, bitter greens

Cocktail: Vanilla Infused Mezcal with a side of reduced blueberry juice with turmeric infused chia seeds on top


The Mind
Our brain is thought to be divided into 2 very different hemispheres. The left side is know for it’s logic and the right side is known for it’s creativity. Recreating the actual idea of how it works, creating a dish that expresses both sides at the same time. In this process we taste what the left side thinks and the right side feels.

Porcelana ornamental
left: Amedei porcelana cremeaux
right: juniper cherries, black muscat, walnut oil, tarragon oil, sheep yogurt, brandy oat milk,
Decor: dehydrated yogurt crisps

Cocktail: Cassis, Espresso with Corn infused Whip Cream

Special thanks to the Hunt Family Foundation for helping to make this amazing art installation a reality!

Very special thanks to my amazing crew. Griselle, Adan, Rene, Ciara, Brianda, Daniel, Luis, Gabriel, Anthony

  My amazing sous chef Andrea Heras with her skills to help me execute this incredibly intense menu!

My other amazing sous chef Stephen Aguirre with his much needed focus and hard work!

Me and my culinary brother from another mother.

Very special thanks to Kristin Masters and The Venue  for the fantastic space and providing everything I needed to make this the wonderful event that it was!