On last week's This American Life podcast, chef Dan Barber shared the story of Eduardo Sousa, who is producing foie gras in Spain by natural means (i.e. not through force-feeding). Barber also gave a talk about this at Taste3 a few years ago.
Four chefs talk about how their kitchens are laid out in this month's Metropolis. Here's Dan Barber talking about his role at Blue Hill at Stone Barns:
At the same time, I don't think the cooks look at me as a real community member. I'm not that cozy paternal figure. I'm always doing different things, and it creates this atmosphere where the cooks are on the balls of their feet. They're thinking, Where's he going next, what's happening next? There's a little bit of confusion. I think that's good. It's hard to articulate, because you think of the kitchen as very organized; and, like I said, the more control you have, the better. But a little bit of chaos creates tension. And that creates energy and passion, and it tends to make you season something the right way or reach for something that would add this, that, or the other thing.
The other chefs are Alice Waters, Grant Achatz, and Wylie Dufresne. The one thing they all talked about is the importance of open sight lines, both between the dining room and kitchen and among the chefs in the kitchen.
Chef Dan Barber, proprietor of NYC's Blue Hill, is planning on writing a book or two. I still fondly remember Barber's Food Without Fear op-ed in the NY Times in 2004.
Dan Barber on the embraced chaos of working in David Bouley's kitchen. Barber, who runs the excellent Blue Hill, contributed this essay to the new book, Don't Try This at Home (eGullet chatter).