This week we lost a culinary legend. And we shouldn't be afraid to mourn this burger pioneer.
Being immersed in the world of food and working to be a highly sought after gourmet caterer in NYC -there are certain things you're not supposed to say when around the worlds greatest chefs. Though we respect them, try to learn all we can from them, and hope to take their knowledge to our customers in the food we create, we may be at odds on certain favorite foods and ideals.
I've had the opportunity to eat Burgers crafted by Daniel Boulud & Gordon Ramsey - two legends. I'd probably trade my left arm (I do most of my stirring and cutting with my right hand) to embolden a career such as theirs. But did their burgers change my life? Not Particularly.
They were amazing dishes and delicious bites but I don't remember much about the experience other than feeling lucky and full! But I remember my childhood, growing up in a relatively poor family were outings to fancy restaurants was a myth I'd only heard of. But there was always enough for McDonald's. And to this day (and my mentors probably would kick me out of their kitchen for saying so) my favorite burger is and probably always will be The Big Mac!
With the passing of Jim Delligatti, the man behind this famed burger, it made me ponder how food can be a reminder of such a happy and innocent time in our lives. Growing up I never thought I'd have Gordon Ramsay cook for me. I never thought I'd run a successful catering company in New York City of all Places - but I did have many happy and cherished moments over this famous but often shunned Burger.
When I tell my peers that my favorite burger in the world is The Big Mac, there's always snide remarks. There's always comments of how I'm supposed to be better than that as a professional chef. How my cooking and flavor profile is so much more cultured than a fast food hamburger. And it makes me wonder- why should the things we love define us. In all capacities.
I've toiled and learned, practiced and failed so many times in the kitchen to perfect a recipe or a dish I'd be proud to serve. Anyone that eats my food - all I want for them is to be happy in that moment. Most likely any bite I serve no matter how delicious won't change their lives - but if we can make them happy then our job is done. And we've done good. And I think as humans that's all we can really do. Try to do good - no matter what facet of life we walk.
Today more than ever it's important to not be ashamed of who you are. Even if people around you might think less - being true to yourself is more important than anything. No matter what, your true convictions will always rise to the top. And this includes your religious choices, your romantic preferences, your roots, your race, your true identity and your love of what others might call a guilty pleasure.
My point - the man that has brought me so much happiness during good times and sad times has passed away but his legacy lives on. And we can learn from this. His burger isn't made of the best quality meats in the world, it will never win a Michelin Star but it makes people happy. And that should be enough.
It doesn't matter if your favorite food is the Porter House at Smith and Wollensky or the endless bread sticks at The Olive Garden - all that matters is that like all of your choices in life - pick the food, the partners, the career (etc) that makes you happy, not the one that conforms to what society expects. You don't have to be the best to be the most cherished.
We will keep striving to be a respected NYC catering company. We will keep striving to satisfy our clients no matter what their requests might be. If its Lobster and Steak or Chicken Nuggets and Fries - If it made you happy, we're on it.
Stay Hungry.......but not for too long.
- What's The Kitch