What’s with the recent backlash against the word “foodie”?? A recent issue of one of our favorite cooking magazines recently went on a minor diatribe about this “catchall word for people who appreciate a great meal and what goes into it” and it’s not the first we’ve seen…The editor claims that the word is “goofy” and “infantilizing” and he prefers the term “culinary enthusiasts.”
Where’s the problem? We love this word precisely for it’s fun and silly overtones: one thing that we have never done in our careers as food professionals or culinary enthusiasts or whatever you want to call us is take ourselves too seriously. While our compulsion to cook lots of food for lots of people in a very short amount of time — known as a normal dinner service in a restaurant — comes from a complete place of masochism, our belief in food as delicious, important and fun is elemental. That’s why you’ll never see us micro-oxygenating your dinner; or adding chemicals to make it appear like somethings it’s not (though this, in the right hands, sounds like fun, it’s something completely different, like spray-painting graffiti vs. oil painting on canvas).
We love it when people come into our restaurant and self-identify as “foodies.” Of course, we’re happy and grateful when anyone comes into our place just to sit down and fuel up, too. When someone describes themselves as a foodie it’s a signal to us that they want to have some fun — they want to enjoy being surprised by the unusual and delicious results of poaching fish in red wine and serving it with a buttery and zing-y port sauce. They like to be blown away by the real taste of local summer zucchini in a soup… a taste that winters of spongy-mass produced zucchini had erased. They want to dig down to the bottom of their blondie sundae, right to where the rum, the salty caramel, the ice cream and the warm blondie have merged together to create their own ultimate sweet euphoria. And these foodie guests want to talk to us about food: about what they’re cooking, and what they’re tasting, and usually, what’s going on in food politics, too. It’s evident to everyone why they want to support an independent, chef-owned restaurant and not pull into a drive-through.
These foodies get why we’re here, they validate our work, and they’re fun. We hope that this term lives on with pride for all of us who appreciate real food cooked right and with pleasure. If you don’t want to be called a foodie, no problem, we’ll still love serving you a great meal and perhaps having a little “food-inspired” chat over a simple, delicious and nourishing dish, as well!
Braised Chicken with Olives and Peppers
Foodies and non-foodies alike all know that a great dish doesn’t need to be complicated. This simple chicken dish brings together a few easy French techniques with some everyday ingredients and will bring all of the warmth and good smells and satisfaction into your kitchen that you could want, without a tremendous amount of effort or time. We also love how raiding the olive counter at the supermarket can bring a taste of sunshine to a wintery dinner. Make this dish ahead of time if you’re one of those organized, cook-for-the-week-ahead- people. It’ll reheat perfectly when you’re ready for it.
4 portions – can serve with rice or couscous
1 3-4 lb. organic chicken, cut into 4 pieces: 2 breast, 2 leg/thigh; save carcass for stock
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
½ c green olives, pitted and sliced in half
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 roma tomatoes, diced ( or 1/2 c diced canned tomato)
1 qt chicken stock
1 c white wine
1 branch thyme
1 branch rosemary
2 T plain oil
2 T olive oil
Heat in a wide sauté pan (preferably one with a cover) 2 T plain oil over high heat. Season chicken pieces liberally with salt and pepper and place in pan to brown. Turn over and brown the other side. Remove chicken pieces with tongs to a plate. Pour out the old oil and replace pan on the burner without washing it. Add olive oil and the onion and peppers. Cook over high heat, stirring, to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Deglaze pan with the wine, stirring to scrape the pan. Add the chicken, stock, olives, thyme, rosemary and tomato and bring to simmer. Cover and let cook through over low heat, about 20-30 minutes. Check for seasoning.