Cooking and Magic from a Magician and Chef
I have been cooking most of my life and if there’s one thing I’ve noticed that is similar to magic, it’s that food can make people very emotional. Food can baffle you, it can blow your mind, it can be very stimulating, expanding the mind, body and soul. Both magic and food can bring back childhood memories as well as create a new experience. Some people go through their whole life eating out of necessity hence not experiencing food’s fascinations, and some go through their whole lives not experiencing great magic. Both can be life-changing, I know this because they have both changed my life on so many levels.
There are so many things happening when we eat food. Let me break it down for you and then I'll tell you a story.
A lot of people think eating is a conversation between one's mouth and stomach, that’s not true at all. We actually only have five different types of tastes in the mouth: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami. A big part of eating are textures and mouthfeel. All other flavors are actually experienced through our sense of smell, that’s why when you're sick you can’t really taste anything. The mouth, nose, memory, body and brain all work together to create unique eating experiences. I can go deep in details but as long as you understand there is a lot going on when you eat, you can know as a chef I can manipulate food to stimulate all these factors. To me, that’s magical as F#@*.
Storytime – Food as a mind-blowing experience.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been interested in food for a really long time, around the same time I fell in love with Magic, at the age of nine. I used to love watching my parents cook and I was always happy to help; peeling garlic, crushing tomatoes and cutting things with sharp objects. Many different things happening simultaneously. I was fascinated by seeing fire, hearing strange sounds like sizzling, crackling, popping and chopping, smelling all these beautiful scents. Watching things start from one thing and ending in another, totally transforming as an object and its taste was fascinating. Wow! My mind was truly blown.
One day my father brought home a few live chickens, I had to kill, de-feather, butcher, cook and eat what was once a live chicken in my bare hands, WTF! I was 10 at the time and I must admit it didn’t gross me out one bit, In fact, I respected food so much more after that. I learned never to waste any part of the animal, and to respect what we take for granted, life. Till this present day that was one of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned. I really feel humans are completely disconnected from the food that we consume & I truly think that all of us need to go through that process, to connect deeply with the food chain. Above all, I noticed at a young age food made people very happy. It brings us closer together, it can force you to be in the moment. And I can truly same the same about magic. Both are very powerful elements of my life.
Flash forward to my first really rewarding cooking jobs. I had applied to work at Le Francais many times and dreamed of working for Chef Roland Liccioni. Le Francais was the best French restaurant in the USA at one point. People flew in from all the states to eat there. One day I got the call to come in and work part-time, I was currently working at a fish grilling restaurant and was climbing to the top really fast. With no hesitation, I handed in my resignation and started at Le Francais. I had been astonished by food many times by that point in my life, but what I was about to experience was a new level of astonishment that nothing could have prepared me for. It's the difference of watching a great magician and being blown away, then sitting with someone like Tamariz, nothing could have prepared you for Tamariz.
Chef Roland was a true master. He woke up every morning at 4 am, picked fresh vegetables from his home garden and came into work till midnight 6 days a week. I went in on my first day and met this young cook named Chris, he showed me around and got me situated. I felt this guy was very excited for me – for some reason I could sense a hidden smile on his face. For a second, I thought I was going to be pranked or bullied. I couldn’t understand it at the time but later I learnt why he was so suspicious to me. He knew what I was getting myself into, and that he was once in my position with a virgin taste palette. The first thing he did was pull out a whipped-cream dispenser that was filled with potato truffle soup and filled a large spoon full of this foam and I put into my mouth, FUCK!!!!!!!!! My eyes forced shut, my brain tingled, the moment felt like it lasted forever, my nose and mouth danced and every neuron in my brain shot off into electric bliss, as I opened my eyes, all I saw was this boy in his chef's whites smiling back at me. That’s when I realized I was being pranked in the most wonderful way, this guy was the magician/chef’s assistant. He would be the cook/magician that blew my mind for the coming weeks. From then on he was sneaking me bits and pieces of lamb, venison, duck, wagyu beef that had been cooked for days, spoons full of fine sauces that require weeks to prepare, blowing my mind over and over and over as he laughed in the understanding of what I was going through. I love that guy. Chris truly enjoyed seeing me blown away and to me, he was definitely a kind of magician, just with no sleight of hand. Next, I would work side by side full time with chef Roland – the master, the Tamariz of food. And you know shit went down even crazier the following years to come.
To conclude, magic and food both bring people closer together. They both blow minds, they both require a lifetime of practice and dexterity, they both make people happy, they both force you to live in the moment, and they both require a perfect recipe of many things to establish one goal, to stimulate the part of you that is full of wonder. Both taught me that with practice you can achieve almost anything. That idea alone is so powerful to understand, at any age. If there is one thing I would want people to take from this, it’s that you can shape your life, you can be what you want. Practising and having a craft is one of the keys to living a fuller life. Sometimes it’s hard in the beginning but we have to understand that there can’t be evolution without pain. The pain never lasts, all that lasts is the skill, which carries over to everything you do in life. It’s an unstoppable cycle; pain – gained skill – appreciation/thankfulness which gives you energy to work harder – pain – more appreciation – happiness for hardwork – more skill gained – energy to work harder. A beautiful never-ending unstoppable cycle for those who choose to work hard and are not afraid of a bit of pain.
Advice – Go eat at a 3 Michelin star restaurant and it will help you understand that food is magic. I’m not saying you can’t experience magical food at home or at any small restaurant in strip malls, I'm just saying go let a true chef that has worked all his or her life to achieve one goal, pleasure your taste buds. It will change you! I'll tell you what, contact me through Instagram and I'll help guide you to a restaurant in your city. As I said, it does not have to be Michelin star, I’ll help you find something. Only for the Nobody Knows peeps.
Love you all, remember to live well and treat yourself to many enjoyments in life. Go eat amazing food, watch a magic show, enjoy nature, and above all take care of your health AND BE GOOD TO ONE ANOTHER!
Love, Peace and sleights for life.
Reach out to Fatty on Instagram @fattydabs