Frank Chimero nailed it, he talks about a chef doing a cameo on a show—his name is David Chang, and he’s the head chef at a restaurant in New York called Momofuku. He’s talking to his sous-chef, and basically the sous-chef tries to cut a corner. What he says is: “We don’t work like that here. We do things the long, hard, stupid way.” So in the kitchen, that means that they don’t use yesterday’s bread; it means that they make their own broth: they just do everything themselves.
I fell in love with the phrase; the long, hard, stupid way. Because that’s the way all of us here at Pure Joy do things. Sure, we strive for efficiency, after all, we are not running a little restaurant turning out 4 dinners at a time. We successfully serve hundreds of people in an average of 22 minutes out of a small tent in a vineyard. We do artisanal cocktails for the entire guest count in less than 10 minutes, no lines at the bar. I’ve sat in fine dining establishments all over the world wondering for the love of God how can you take that long to make 4 drinks?!
But, that said, every single time we make something we do it from scratch, no corner cutting – it never enters our minds. We break down our own chickens, so we always have bones for stock with fresh herbs, that we grow, simmering away, we make all of our own dough, dressings, crusts, pastries, jams, marinades, cocktails. I do the homework, go to India, Italy, Thailand, Japan, all over the world & study the culture, the food and the way they do it. And you know what? They do it the long, hard, stupid way. It’s not a new concept.
Many years ago I was at a massive catering convention sitting in a room with thousands of caterers. The man at the podium asked, “How many of you do weddings?” more than half the room raised their hands. Then he asked, “How many of you like catering weddings?” and I think there was two of us still raising our hand. I remember being shocked, why are they caterers if they don’t like weddings? Weddings are THE BEST! I love love, love celebrating it, I love the stories, I love the people, I love finding a way to honor these two people; their heritage – celebrate who they are - with a unique menu and an unforgettable evening. We love that it can take many months to plan a genuinely special event - regardless of the budget, it’s a common thread in our team.
At Pure Joy we don’t just take orders and show up with cooked food. We’ve devised detailed standards to know the correct size of dance floor, the amount of each item needed, the best staff ratio for each event, we’re not guessing, we’ve tracked the data on thousands of events and, yes, we do it the long hard stupid way. We want to know every tiny bit of the plan, every rental item, every aspect of the time line, the venue, the priorities, the décor, a million details that help us collaborate with the client and the others involved so we are fully prepared and in sync.
The result is a culmination of the process, the journey, and that’s where we find the joy. There’s massive satisfaction to be had in cooking and planning the long, hard, stupid way. I personally think that’s why we love catering weddings, because we get so much pleasure out of doing it right.
Lynette La Mere, Pure Joy Catering Executive Chef
cooking on location can make for long but satisfying days
The perfect cocktail garnish can take up to a week to make
2 trips to Nashville = the perfect way to make Delicious Waffles & Fried Chicken
We had Brazilian grills and swords made for our fire grilled bacon wrapped chicken
buying and building our own location... the long, hard, stupid way ;)
Persian Kuku made with 6 cups of fresh herbs and a tomato tart with the first favas of spring and an incredibly flaky crust