I was looking for a food artist to feature in this Magazine and one of my best friends referred me to Pat, come to find out we have so many mutual friends, we run in the same circles but have never met or seen each other. I contacted him and right away he made plans to make dinner for me and my friend… and what taste bud journey this guy put us through. We did a Q&A interview so here it is.
PAT: What you have in front of you ladies is shaved carrot and shaved cucumber and radish, basil dressing with a bunch of nasturtium flowers, bon appetite!
This dish is called “Corn- corn- corn shrimp” Liquid polenta with charred corn, teriyaki chicken meatball, shrimp with garlic, ginger, scallion, wine butter, and corn pop powder… Corn Pop cereal, blended it up and put it on top, that’s the other corn element.
BFLY: Mmmm, don’t you think people should be able to hire you to make this?
PAT: Oh yeah…
BFLY: What would be the main goal for Another Pat Creation, [your private chef company]?
PAT: Try to touch people’s palettes one dish at a time. I want to give them an experience. A lot of people go to their favorite restaurant and they order the same thing, with Another Pat Creation I want them to tell me what they like and dislike. Actually, more of what they dislike so I can understand my range of creativity for them. I’d like to make a dish and give them an experience through food.
A lot of people eat just for nourishment or because they need to. For me and my friends, we eat because we love to. Some people eat to live, we live to eat. For me as a chef, that’s how I look at and see the world… through food. That’s how I tell it like a story and give them an experience that is just, wow. Through crazy combinations, just wow. I like to give something familiar and something unfamiliar to them at once for the learning experience, a journey.
BFLY: Wow. Mmmm. Let’s just say that the foodie culture is reading this now, and they want to know how to get you to make them these dishes. Do we have to wait for a pop-up event?
PAT: You can. Or I’m open to doing many types of public and private events. I’m just looking for a venue for the next pop-up.
BFLY: Can someone hire you as a private chef?
PAT: Yes. Near where I live in Pasadena, I’m grateful to have been recently hired to do private events for the CPA of a law firm out in Sierra Madre, a beautiful neighborhood. We’ve done several events, some private dinners for his clients, and some cooking classes with his friends. They’ve been going really well. I have my friends that are sommeliers pair wines with my courses. I always have a dessert with each meal, as well. One favorite requested dessert was my version of carrot cake. I used an old recipe from my nanny that took care of me for many years, who we called Mama Ruth. First, I made her old fashioned carrot cake. I took the frosting element and I made a vanilla cream cheese ice cream. Then, I made a rum, pineapple, caramel sauce and finished with compressed pineapple, sugar and salt. That was a pretty solid dessert. I customize each meal according to their palette and taste.
BFLY: I love how passionate you are when you describe your ingredients. Do you think about them before you start? Like an artist, do they float in to your mind or do you write them down or? How do come up with these ideas and how do they evolve?
PAT: I think that whatever you do, as an artist, it comes when you have inspiration. Like when a DJ thinks about their set, they start with an idea in mind of what they want to play. You start with something, but then you don’t plan the rest as much as it comes to you organically.
For instance, tonight, I had some corn on the cob, and some polenta. I wanted to do something with hose ingredients with what I was making, the shrimp. This is my play on shrimp and grits.
I also will build menus on seasonality and the inspiration from that when shopping and finding ingredients you don’t see all the time. It’s best to use ingredients in season because they just taste better. So, really, all of these factors inspire me when I’m creating my dishes. From all aspects of my whole life, music, dancing, the things I encounter daily, my work in the food industry, how I grew up, who I’ve been and who I am now. All of it. From the moment I wake up, I think about food. Everything is about food.
BFLY: So, when we spoke I briefly mentioned how one of my other friends, who is a DJ, was speaking on the importance of stringing his set together like a story. Like it has to go together from beginning to end. Can you speak on that?
PAT: Yes, I, like a DJ, am expressing myself through my own medium. Them through music, me through food. I continue to get inspiration through practicing my craft, and from who I surround myself with. I live for that moment to please those around me when they enjoy my food. To take them on that individual ride and journey through the story I’ve created just for them.
BFLY: I think the cool thing about this arts issue is that we are focusing on the essence of the artist. And if you think about it, this is an art that uses all senses, delves in to sensory perceptions other arts can’t. It can touch almost all of our senses at once. It’s a multi-sensory experience using edible art and plating as a medium. Yes?
PAT: Absolutely. From how you plate the food, the colors. The sounds of crackling or searing, or the vapor sound and sight if someone used liquid nitrogen on a dish. The tastes, the textures. So yes, we get visual, auditory, taste, feel… it’s all at once. It’s experiential. One bite of a dish can take you back to a very specific time and place. Like when I made a traditional curry for my Muay Thai coach, it took him right back to Thailand. We had a bonding moment. It’s about giving new experiences, as well as triggering nostalgia. Like time travel.
This dessert I made for you is vanilla ice cream, with almond cookie crumble over strawberries with togarashi caramel and sweet condensed milk. Togarashi is a spicy Japanese chili. The ice cream and condensed milk should balance the spice out.
BFLY: Mmm, this is soo good. Thank you.