So, as we brace for more of our surrounding waterways to flow into our driveways and elbow little, old ladies away from the last remaining gallon of two percent, I figured I’d come back to the first mention of Redemption to note, as many of you may be aware, that ChefMd has left the restaurant. While I’m of the opinion that he may not be thrilled about the change, I am certain that I am not. Thus, I’ll indulge myself with a dabble into lamentation and food philosophy.
Over the years, I’ve gotten to know Mike and his preparations, at different establishments across the area. Frankly, he’s my favorite. I think there comes a point in food geekery where one begins to look at the ideas behind what’s offered on a plate, not just what each forkful offers on the palate. Though the latter is of paramount value, an ever-growing appreciation of the former permits a better understanding of one’s own tastes and beliefs.
My understanding, of both myself and my preferences, is that for all the seriousness I put into most things, I cling to a sense of humor - a dash of whimsy in a stockpot full of considered flavor. This informs my approach to my own cuisine, and the restaurants I tend to prefer patronizing. That was the brilliance on display years ago at Trinity - that was the promise that was just starting to unfold at Redemption. While we can see another example of this in a local chef like Drew Araneo at his Keyport Bistro, I always found the defined scope of what was being offered there too constrained - almost like a stand-up routine modified for a corporate audience.
The fact remains, however, that restaurants are first and foremost money-making endeavors for their financial interests. This means offering food that never strays too far from a lowest common denominator base. This means stepping back from offering premises that may challenge many - never being able to wink at the audience. It may also mean that for those of us who sincerely love the idea of seeing something we know looked upon in a different set of lights, we’re always going to be poking around for it, disenchanted by how surrounded we are by conforming mediocrity.*
Ah, fuck it all. Good luck, Chef, I’m certain there’s a kitchen waiting for you to steer (as well as thoroughly sanitize). Just keep your sense of humor and let us know when you get there? It’s just food after all.
*Although I’m not shy about mixing my metaphors, I decided against drawing comparisons to musicians. Nevertheless, if I simply mention The Radiators here, maybe someone will understand the direction of my dismissed thoughts.