Chefs

Cutting out the middleman

Written by Melissa McCart on

keithFrom chef  Brandon Baltzley:

Why must we so often use silverware to eat?

I couldn't tell you the last time I touched a fork or spoon when not at someone else's restaurant.

Let's skip the whole, "Ew. Gross. Manners," and so on and get down to brass tacks. Food tastes better when you touch it. It's chemical. It's factual. It's science.

You know the chef Daniel Patterson? He's got two Michelin stars and he's already written an articulate piece on using your hands to prep food and how it's important for the chef to connect with the food by physical touch.

But, what about the diner? Why aren't we ripping apart chicken carcasses and tearing through the individual grains of a steak, letting the juices run down our chins, licking drippings off our fingers like we did when we were children?

Don't think too hard because I'm about to answer my own question. We care too much about what other people think. We have lost that primal connection with our food.

Most of us don't hunt and even fewer of us still gather. The food we buy is wrapped in plastic, blood blotted dry and arranged on shelves in displays that mimic suburban housing.

Last night, I ate an entire pork butt, smothered in Dijon, with my hands. I woke up this morning with mustard under my fingernails and it didn't gross me out. It inspired me. 

It's cold outside, Pittsburgh. Go start a fire. Scorch a piece of meat. Eat with your hands. Love life.

(Brandon Baltzley is a chef behind Crux, a mobile collaborative currently based in Pittsburgh. His book "Nine Lives: A Chef's Journey from Chaos to Control" will be released in May 2013. You can follow Brandon on Twitter: @brandonbaltzley.)

Anna Laero photo

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