How does Charlie Trotter infuse simplicity and creativity into his cuisine?
Regarding creativity, it’s sort of meshing things together that you think might ultimately taste delightful. It’s not just, “Here’s one dish,” and then, “OK, here’s another dish.” But every dish must make sense, vis-à-vis the preceding dish and the subsequent dishes. You’re really composing a whole thing. And there you can’t have any redundancy of the textures or foodstuffs or anything like that.
Regarding simplicity — that’s a funny word. And there are different ways to define simplicity. I think if you really let the foodstuffs do the talking, but you find a way to put a subtle twist on something, or prepare something in a way where someone has never quite seen it before, or you may have had oysters and mignonette sauce, but maybe now, here are oysters but the mignonette is not in the form of a little loose juice that you spoon on, but maybe the mignonette is in a form of a — it’s more of a purée. It's because you’re using more of the onion product, and then it’s underneath the oyster.
It’s still familiar but it’s done a little bit differently, or maybe the mignonette is in the form of a jelly and there are little cubes of it, and they’re tossed with a type of a pickled onion and then on top of the oyster or something. So it’s walking a fine line where there is the familiar, but there’s the new at the same time.