Aldea Chef George Mendes … Portuguese heart, Picasso’s soul!

george plating 2

… to be next to George Mendes when he’s plating up a dish is like standing shoulder to shoulder with Picasso …

A blank white plate is for me a canvas, as a white canvas is for an artist. They are going to paint what it is that they are feeling, what they are inspired about or what is in their mind at the moment. I like that there are so many great artists out there and that their emotions are written all over the canvas. It’s just brilliant. I think really good chefs are able to express who they are through their food. – George Mendes

George is beyond passionate about his plates … he’s a mixture of warmth and intensity in the kitchen … making sure that the depth of flavor on each plate is perfect before leaving his hands …

The colors on his plate and the succulence of his pork belly and little neck clam dish are breathtaking … you literally want to chew your food really slowly so that the juiciness of the flavor lingers in your mouth …

My aunt’s suckling pig. Just the succulent meat, the juiciness, the fat, the flavor, the crispy skin was just like that when i was a kid and i can still remember that day today. – George Mendes

… George squeezing fresh lemons just before his plate leaves the kitchen, brightening up the flavor and adding a beautiful element of citrus to the dish!

You’re eating within this truly serene, modern and earthy space ( or at the more kinetic chefs counter ), so there’s good reason to take it all in and just enjoy the culinary journey George and his team are taking you on … it’s the story of his childhood, so he wants to make sure that you warmly remember it too!

Prepping for service as seen from the chefs counter, known for it’s stunning cinematic views and for being so close to the raw heat and energy of service action, yet from the safety of your air-conditioned seat … it’s the best show in town — always live!

Sous chef Aaron Silverman at Aldea, formerly at Momofuku and now in Sean Brock’s killer Southern kitchen, McCrady’s, setting up mise en place for prep and service. Watching the total focus and intensity on Aaron’s face is informative … showcasing the ways in which great chefs work with their talented sous chefs and line cooks in creating an amazing culinary experience that transcends the moment … there’s so much the home cook could be absorbing by just being there and ” really watching ” as this orchestrated action is taking place.

George plating up his incredible Foie … i’m of the strong belief that really great chefs are in their kitchens, with their hearts, wild creativity and their hands physically making your plates … pouring out love and creativity.

I feel that we are expressing ourselves and our personalities and our emotions and we are showing it off onto a plate. By the way it is plated, by the given ingredients, by the mood and the colors.

- George Mendes

George plating his beautiful lamb with peas and ramps … great chefs are modern day fine-artists, creating emotional beauty for all our senses to fully absorb. Enjoying this level of cooking and experience gives us a genuine vacation from the stresses of modern day to day life.

Really great chefs have the ability to give us the kinds of memories we can hold onto forever …

written and photographed by Jeff Scott

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One Response to Aldea Chef George Mendes … Portuguese heart, Picasso’s soul!

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