Simply, I believe that a successful “dish” should transcend the sum of its parts. I once called it “gestalt cuisine.” What is crucial to me is that each element that makes up the final product be individually delicious, or at least essential to the ultimate effect. Nothing on the plate is without specific purpose. Usually I begin with a vague notion of the final experience I want to create: it might be geographical, like a stroll through a Moroccan spice market, or a cold night in Belarus. Or it might simply be an emotion, like contentment. Next I break down the experience into flavors and textures, and how I want to deliver them. But enough about that… What I really want to create is excitement! Forget what’s going on in my head. The process doesn’t matter to you, just to me. Trust me. Trust us! I want you to be blown away with every bite. I want your eyes to pop, maybe make you giggle with delight. That’s why I like the sharable small plates format. You can have so many exciting experiences without getting bored. I get to make a first impression over and over again.
And I want the excitement to carry over to TUSK’s service. I want to instill in my staff a tremendous sense of pride in their work. I will show them hospitality from the top down. I want them to be enthusiastic. I want them to interact with our guests, to recognize them and their needs. And I want our guests to be social. When I look into the dining room, I expect to see smiles and hear chatter. I don’t expect strangers to make new friends with each other. I just need to know that everyone is having fun, and then I’ll be sure they’ll return.