Turning Old

This week I turn old. To be clear I don’t actually feel old but I am certainly now at an age that my kids would consider old. As the landmark approached the question became how to mark it. For better and worse there really aren’t too many options for me so after some wrangling it was decided that we would throw a dinner party and cook some food that was a bit over the top and drink some wine we wouldn’t normally drink.

At first I combed through my fancy cookbooks picking out fancy recipes from The French Laundry, 11 Madison Park, et al.  I compiled an impressive menu but something didn’t feel right.  After a while I realized that the problem was I didn’t just want to cook other people’s food.  I came up with a plan to take favorite dishes that I’ve made or experienced and refine them in my own way.  Every course would relate to a food memory of some importance and so the planning began.

I wanted to cook a multi-course deal at as high a level as I could which meant that all of the logistics had to be taken into account during the planning.  I would need to be able to finish each course quickly enough that the “crowd” wouldn’t get restless while I worked.  I used turning old as an excuse to get two cooking devices that would help me pull it off: a vacuum chamber and a sous vide.

I spent the weekend before the event cooking a bunch of stocks as well as effectively completing one of the courses that could be frozen (ravioli above).  Then on Wednesday the preparations began in earnest with me grabbing moments to cook and prep before and after work.  I then put a full day of prep in Saturday culminating in a Blumenthal ice cream experiment (photo above) at around midnight.

Sunday was another day of cooking and finishing the house prep.  One of our dearest friends came over to lend a hand doing whatever needed to be done and proved to be quite indispensable.  I also decided to bake some rolls and make a second ice cream with spectators since I had a bit of “extra” time.  Then the table was set.  The cooking schedule was posted so I wouldn’t forget any steps as I tried to work a course ahead and the guests arrived…




Filed under Baking, Cookbooks, Cooking, Food

16 responses to “Turning Old

  1. Emily Fagans

    The meal was truly spectacular and our dinner companions were equal to the celebration. To be fair, he’s not old, just 40…which really is the new 30. Now how will he outdo himself for the 50th….

  2. I knew this post was coming.
    Rather, I hoped it was coming.
    Your Dad filled me.
    Josh’s birthday meal by Josh.

    Perfect the menu selection method.

    Fun the way you described your prep.

    Amazing a one chef endeavor.

    My hat is off.
    My applause loud.
    Bravo Chef, bravo.

  3. Dinner was incredible and the wine pairings were perfect. Thank you for including us and for putting forth all of the effort. We truly appreciated every moment spent planning, preparing and executing. I especially liked being invited over early to help you in any way I could. I even got to beat an egg and whip some cream in addition to doing the dishes! You made my day today by calling me one of your dearest friends and indispensable! Cheers to you, the Chef!

  4. Happy birthday! What a great way to celebrate. And I’m totally impressed by your organization. It’s inspiring. Here’s to your best year yet! 🙂

  5. Serious truffle at the top of the page! That can only bode well. Happy Birthday and have a great Christmas.

  6. Great post!! Happy Birthday. Can wait to read more about the food you made and served.

  7. Pingback: It’s my party and I can blog if I want to (Part 2) | joshuafagans

  8. Wow! What a way to turn old. Happy Birthday, Joshua.

  9. Pingback: It’s my party and I can blog if I want to (Part 3) | joshuafagans

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