The "I ate at El Bulli" essay named the food-writer's cliché of the past decade has been supplanted by the endlessly repeated "I foraged with Rene Redzepi" article. The media has annointed Redzepi, the chef of Noma in Copenhagen, this decade's iconic chef for his poetic, intellectual pursuit of the flavors that can be eked out of the landscape around him.
But in its January issue, Food & Wine has turned the table on the cliché, accompanying Redzepi as he travels to the Bay Area to forage and cook with Coi's chef, Daniel Patterson. Patterson and Redzepi have a similar cast of mind, and they cook together at the California chef's home for the magazine in order to talk about the process of creating a dish.
Poaching scrambled eggs to serve with nasturtium and rosemary flowers from Patterson's front yard, making sauce from pyracantha berries picked in a public park, roasting squash in coffee beans, the two talk and concoct. "...You work toward some type of perfection, if it exists," Redzepi tells author Peter Meehan. "And then when you reach something that you're happy with--you can spend four years reaching that point--then it's over. The whole thing is process." And then what do the chefs eat for dinner after two days of cooking? Chicken breasts and stir-fried veggies.