It was going to be a big leap - until then I had only ever worked under someone as sous chef extraordinaire, dutifully following direction, maintaining the chef's vision and fielding questions from the rest of the cooks. And then, two years ago, I had the opportunity, thanks to the faith of Devon & Nathan Yanko, to lead my own kitchen. I am so happy I took that leap.
There is nothing more personal than sharing a menu with the public. The first few weeks we were open were nerve wracking - watching customers come in the door, pick up the menu and peruse it for what seemed like eons. Some left. Dagger to the heart. Some came up and asked a million questions to the often clueless (in those first days) counter staff. I jumped in to help with descriptions, paint a picture of the dish, by evoking a mint tinted Moroccan feast or a light afternoon picnic by the shore. After they painstakingly made their decision I would try to appear casual, while secretly watching them eat, trying to draw pleasure or disappointment from their expressions, and inspect the finished plates in the bus tub to see what had been left uneaten. Sound creepy? Sorry. On the spectrum of chefs, between cocky and sensitive, I probably hit more on the sensitive side. I KNOW it tastes good. But I still want you to think so too. And give me a hug.
To further complicate things, chefs often put items on the menu that customers have never seen before and cannot define. Then we cooks struggle to get the waitstaff to understand what it is and be able to intelligently describe it to said confused customers. I would argue that my chicken terrine is one of the more difficult things I have put on a menu to date. How does one beautifully describe what is essentially a chicken loaf held together with gelatin? Sounds pretty gross. But believe me, it's delicious. Now we're getting personal.
I put the recipe up here. Expect to make it a day before you want to eat it. You will be knocked out with the lemony herby brightness of this humble looking dish. You will want to lather a thick slice of bread with aioli, mustard and a big ol' slab of terrine for a mighty fine sandwich. Or go ahead and roast up a pile of beets to serve alongside with pickled shallots, avocado and grilled bread like I used to at MHBB. And hopefully, licking your lips, you will fall in love with it and praise it's creator. I won't mind.