When I cook, two ingredients are a “must.” Quality and intent. The quality of the ingredients almost always impact the quality of the final product, and there must be a reason (intent) for every ingredient in my recipes. I do not casually toss in this and that because it might good. There must be a reason for every ingredient and every procedural step. It must be done right using the right techniques to produce a quality product/dish.
I would like to share a recent experience where quality and intent played significantly in creating a delightful experience for Debbie and me.
A couple weeks ago I taught my second class at the “Inn on Oak Creek” in Sedona, AZ. This is the most delightful B&B (bed and breakfast) Debbie and I have stayed in, and it is definitely the best in Sedona, if not Arizona. It is owned by Jim Maty, a wonderful man with a whimsical sense of humor. He not only engineered and built a great B&B, but he also creates a relaxed and peaceful environment anyone would enjoy.
No detail was left out or left undone. Every room is uniquely decorated and done so to near perfection. Debbie and I stayed in the Rose Arbor room which has its own balcony overlooking Oak Creek. No detail was left out, all the way down to the Q-tips and cotton balls in the nice decanter in the bathroom. Just outside the main lobby, there is a large deck overlooking the creek decorated with plenty of flora. You will typically find a large pitcher of citrus water to cool you down after your walk back from the Tlaquepaque shopping area just a 4 minute walk from the inn.
There is a refrigerator available upstairs to the guests. This is of course important to Debbie as she always travels with her gluten-free food that must be kept cold.
Now let’s talk about Jim’s “Teaching Kitchen,” the home of “The Art of Cooking.” Jim is a true blue foodie that not only enjoys cooking, understands culinary theory, but Jim also has a keen eye for design. The design of his kitchen is not only beautiful but is incredibly functional as well. Again, “quality” and “intent” are readily apparent in his design and execution of the build of the kitchen. The kitchen sports a huge granite countertop around which twelve (yes twelve) students gather to do their prep work. In the center of the countertop is a huge Viking stove, more than adequate for classes of this size. The kitchen is also equipped with a double oven and plenty of space in which to move around. At the other end of the spacious room that houses the kitchen you will find a nice deck and grill for outdoor cooking as well. Nothing is left to chance as everything in his design serves a function, and it functions well. Again, everything is done with quality and intent, taking no shortcuts or cutting corners.
As for the food – The two breakfasts I have enjoyed were not only very filling, but were very creative. I am not a big fan of scones because they are typically bone dry. However, the jalapeño and cheese scone (I saved it for the ride home because I was too stuffed to eat) was nothing less than a party in my mouth. Jim makes his own granola and provides the guest with his wonderful recipe. With enough advance notice, Jim can offer gluten-free options. Debbie (who eats gluten-free) got perfectly poached eggs, roasted vegetables with home fries and a large plate of fresh fruit. I had Eggs Benedict, fresh fruit, granola with yogurt and of course the huge scone. Neither of us left hungry. Being a chef, I am critical of food that is less than what I would expect. My expectations, based on my past experiences with B&Bs, were not high, at least initially. However, both of my breakfasts were nothing less than outstanding! I look forward to teaching a grilling class in late June, because I love teaching, and I look forward to my next breakfast at the Inn on Oak Creek (and seeing my new friend Jim Maty again).
Quality and Intent – These two ingredients are critical in providing unparalleled service, facilities and food for the bed-and-breakfast industry and in the food industry. This experience was a gentle reminder to me about how “quality” and “intent” should play a significant role in my thought processes and decisions. Investing quality time and thought into my decisions, then acting with purposeful intent produces better results than shooting from the hip and hoping for a good outcome.
Jim and his staff are “hitting on all cylinders.” They provided Debbie and me a superb little retreat from our hectic daily grinds. You can find out more about the Inn on Oak Creek by going to http://www.innonoakcreek.com/
Be well and treat others well.
Chef David Hall