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« Pastry Chef Conference, night 2 | Main | Pastry Chef Conference, day 2, chef 2 »

27 April 2007

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Your conversation about tradition is very interesting. Tradition can be a wonderfully grounding force, a source of comfort, or regularity, of continuity and of allegiance to those that have come before and with whom you share a self-identification.
It can also be paralyzing.
In some sense, I think California is creating a type of culinary tradition, perhaps more on the savory than the sweet side. This process has created a cooking community that works together with common values, and a group of diners that have become highly informed and educated about certain farming, producing and culinary practices.
However, this new "tradition" has generated menu after menu that look exactly the same and a general fear of adventure, experimentation and inventive thinking.
Are tradition and invention at odds? Can you work within a tradition? Is deviation an inherently spurnful act?

Just got home from work (cooking!) and read your words about the CIA conference. THANK YOU for including us!! There's nothing like talking shop with other chefs and bouncing ideas off each other. This must be insanely inspiring to you. Enjoy the rest of your time.

Aaron,

Right before getting back the hotel to read this comment of yours, I had a conversation with some dinner mates about these exact ideas. Most especially Elizabeth Falkner. She likened tradition to a tightly clenched fist. Of course tradition is immeasurably important, but like monogamy, it should be an intentional choice, not one made because supposedly it's the "norm."

Laurie,

well you're welcome. Glad to know someone had appreciated my efforts here!

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