Where did this weekend go? Between chores and setting ourselves up for the week ahead, we felt like it flew by. Recently, though, we’ve noticed the beginnings of a content rut slowly creeping up on us. Every so often, we find ourselves in one of these confusing and annoying moments where you feel like you’re at a standstill, not knowing what to do next, what to write about, what to promote on social channels, or even where to travel to next. At these moments, we try to find ways to become rejuvenated, reinspired, and renewed—watching uplifting movies or docu-series, visiting museums, consuming other blogs or vlogs, sifting through other social media accounts, or spending time with other creatives in different fields. Luckily for us, we had time in our calendar to visit one of these sources for imaginativeness on Saturday.
Phil’s brother, Chris, owns Greenleaf, a local, award-winning restaurant in Milford, NH serving up some of the most innovative and beautiful﹘not to mention delicious﹘ farm-to-table dishes in the area. Chris and his co-owner Keith asked Phil a few weeks ago to photograph some of the amazing seasonal dishes that are currently being served in the winter. Be sure to check back here and follow Greenleaf for some of our final photos! Some of the shots were staged compositions of the main dishes and small plates, while others got the crew in action. From chopping vegetables during prep time and kneading bread for fresh homemade loaves, to sauteeing gnocchi and squash or mixing up the latest libation, it was so exhilarating to be around these visionaries using their perfectly crafted skills to serve up one-of-a-kind dishes to happy customers. After our play time was over, we got to watch them cook meals for us, right in front of us at the chef’s table.
We believe one of the most captivating professions to watch unfold is within the culinary world; we both admire chefs and bakers, and choose to be around them any chance we get. These individuals truly care. Chris, through the co-ownership of his restaurant Greenleaf and participation in The Farmer’s Dinner events, has exposed us to dozens of other culinary artists. One of their most impressive traits is their commitment to serving the newest and freshest menus they can think of, whether it be incorporating a new ingredient or using a cutting-edge technique. The menus they conceive are from scratch each time, a new challenge they are not only ready to take on, but love to attack.
Devising an original, authentic array of options for paying customers is a motivating process to observe, starting with determining what they want to serve, how they are going to highlight certain aspects of fresh, seasonal ingredients, and how to make it different from what someone may have eaten in the past. Seeing how a chef goes from an imaginative idea to scrumptious reality is not only fascinating, but truly inspiring. A chef’s mind is constantly moving, thinking about the unique variations of what they want to serve along and what spices, sides, or even drinks would pair well with each meal. Through trial and error, and seeing what works and what could be improved upon, they can perfect their offerings until it is the perfect array of items to put in front of a diner.
Here are a few key takeaways that we learned from spending time with the staff at Greenleaf:
- Preparation is crucial: Having an idea of what you want to accomplish and how to get there is imperative when trying new plates. The same is true for creative, or even personal, goals. Set your vision. Come up with steps that could help you attain that final product. Accept that trial and error are a part of the process, and come up with a way to keep yourself motivated when things slide off course. Don’t forget to laugh and have fun along the way.
- Try something new: Chefs are constantly tinkering. Even with all the recipes out there, there is still always an opportunity to construct something new, or enhance a meal in a different way. For us, there are so many topics we can write about and different places and moments to capture. Different workouts and new diets we want to try. New interior staging and styling tips we’d love to take a crack at. Don’t shy away from trying new things or passions.
- Sometimes you need a break: It’s not only acceptable, but normal to feel like pursuing a specific goal or dream is too much. So take that time to be sure to slow down, reflect, and celebrate your accomplishment in getting this far.