Proteins and Vegetables
Here's the thing: the protein tends to steal the show. It's the center of the plate, the first thing listed on any menu description. It's expensive and it's big, in flavor and size and cooking effort. And I'm not disputing that it's delicious, but realistically a steak is a steak is a steak. Cooking proteins becomes a simple matter of heat and timing and practice.
But vegetables are fascinating. They're infinitely interesting. They can be prepared in a variety of ways, applying heat or knife skills or vinegar to change the very nature of the same thing. Raw, roasted, sautéed, charred. Cut small or large or puréed. You can influence perception, play with flavors and create an experience, by the way you prepare a vegetable.
So while I love my center of the plate, I find myself more interested in what's along the sides. The many ways I can transform a potato. The way a charred carrot couldn't be more different from a pickled one. How a sauce can make or break a plate. And how the white space in between the dishes can change the way I see the meal.