Last night we were at Canvas , a new restaurant in Lake Nona where, when given the option to sit outside, at a table or at the chef’s counter, I jumped on the chance to watch cooks in action. Chef’s counter please. I love to see what they are doing right so I can emulate it at home. No matter that I regularly say to Z, ‘I’m struggling here.” as I cook dinner. I am going to be clear, just because I enjoy cooking most of the time doesn’t mean I rock it out on any kind of daily basis. Thursday night I was working on a project for a new cookbook for work and actually bailed mid-stream sending an email to my co-workers regarding my attempt and it’s new home in the trash can. Keeping it real.
But, last night, at Canvas, which is basically within walking distance of the dirt, I sat and watched the line cooks make my short rib, tomato jam, Taleggio cheese and dressed arugula flatbread while sipping a Pink Flower (Hendricks gin? Yes please.) makes me think I should keep trying. We watched the cook, about 2-3 feet in front of us spread the tomato jam on the crisp pre-prepped flatbread, and take a pre-portioned amount of braised short ribs and then deftly drop on hunks of what our server cautioned me was strong cheese. His comments about the cheese drove me to order this item. It also reminds me that everyone has a different palate and to appreciate my own. A second person who works shoulder to shoulder in front of a hot oven, dressed the greens. He plated by cutting on a board and then sending it 10 feet or so to the chef to check and clear. Our server then picked up and brought it back to me. So fascinating the journey of a simple flatbread. I imagine that at least 6 and more like 8 different people worked on that plate of food. Nevermind Z’s Cuban and fries which came from both separate part of the kitchen and the fryer 25 feet down the line. I wonder at my own struggle to produce (or try) restaurant quality food at home and this comforts me. I’m only one or sometimes two if I ask Z to help. I think about the fact of food quality, food cost, the number of people in a kitchen, people who complain over food costs without thinking of the human interaction and cost, literal lives spent ‘on the line’ making me dinner. I hope I never stop appreciating these things.
That said, I loved my flatbread. I’d eat another one today. So far, we’ve eaten at Canvas four times and I’ve tried four different menu items along with tastes of 3 other meals. I judged them on their burger-good, the grouper Rueben with kimchi (GREAT) and tasted the shrimp Mofongo. I’m excited about it’s entry into our neighborhood and hopefully the future meals and conversation and engagement I’ll get by going.