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PORTLAND PRESS HERALD DARKROOM
Chef Sketches

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    Chef Sketches - Photo courtesy of Damian Sansonetti | of | Share this photo

    Chaval/Piccolo chef/owner Damian Sansonetti used to draw his food in black composition notebooks, but he switched to legal pads because they give him more space, plus he can easily tear the drawings out. He says he has drawn his entire life. As a child and teen, he took art classes at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, and he won a high school scholarship for art.

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    Chef Sketches - Photo courtesy of Damian Sansonetti | of | Share this photo

    Chaval makes its own scrapple, a famous (some would say infamous) Pennsylvania Dutch pork loaf that Pennsylvania-bred Sansonetti describes as "almost like a mix of a warm pâté and a hash." The spoon was designed by world-famous chef Gray Kunz and is, Sansonetti says, "the ultimate saucing spoon."

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    Chef Sketches - Photo courtesy of Damian Sansonetti | of | Share this photo

    Some of his dishes are so compressed, Sansonetti says, that he uses his sketches as though expanding an accordion, to allow his cooks to see every particular. "We're chiffonading the lettuce, not just dicing it or anything else," he says. "Also, we might have two or three kinds of bacon in the house. It's that bacon – so the team knows."

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    Chef Sketches - Photo courtesy of Damian Sansonetti | of | Share this photo

    Sansonetti says he typically makes his sketches in "five minutes or less," often at the end of the shift as the cooks are prepping for the next day. Sometimes the staff watches him draw.

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    Chef Sketches - Photo courtesy of Damian Sansonetti | of | Share this photo

    "Whenever you dine with us, you are coming into our home. That's for both me and Ilma" (wife/partner Ilma Lopez). That's one reason the couple favor vintage mismatched dishware, such as this "grandma's bowl."

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    Chef Sketches - Photo Courtesy of Ali Waks-Adams | of | Share this photo

    Moules frites was one of the first dishes chef Ali Waks-Adams put on the menu at Coast Bar + Bistro, "as it is something I absolutely love love love!"

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    Chef Sketches - Photo courtesy of Ali Waks-Adams | of | Share this photo

    This sketch, like the others, comes from a packet that Waks-Adams gave to her cooks "so they can see how it's plated and get an idea why." Waks-Adams says sketching her dishes "helps me to see them. I taste them in my head – sort of like hearing a piece of music."

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    Chef Sketches - Photo courtesy of Ali Waks-Adams | of | Share this photo

    Waks-Adams says she usually starts with a pencil sketch or a "quick weird doodle with a Sharpie," but if she is home, say, with her art supplies, she will add color, too.

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    Chef Sketches - Photo courtesy of Josh Berry | of | Share this photo

    Here's how Union chef Josh Berry imagined his Chilled Pea Soup, which was on the menu for Mother's Day this year. Berry draws new dishes on a whiteboard when he meets with his sous chefs. The sous chefs then copy new dishes into their notebooks. "We want to be consistent and we all want to be on the same page," Berry says.

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    Chef Sketches - Photo courtesy of Josh Berry | of | Share this photo

    And here is a photo of the actual dish, which had a lot going on: lardo, truffle, crab, bacon fat and mint.

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    Chef Sketches - Photo courtesy of Josh Berry | of | Share this photo

    Here's the sketch for a roast local lamb dish that appeared on the menu at Union in spring 2019. It cost $26.

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    Chef Sketches - Photo courtesy of Josh Berry | of | Share this photo

    From page to plate – this is what the roast lamb looked like on the plate.

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    Chef Sketches - Photo courtesy of Christian Hayes | of | Share this photo

    These dishes appeared on The Garrison's opening menu. Chef/proprietor Christian Hayes says he typically starts with the main ingredient, comes up with "complementary and contrasting flavors, colors, textures, etc. on paper, then sketch out how I think I would want to lay it out."

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    Chef Sketches - Photo courtesy of Christian Hayes | of | Share this photo

    Hayes says he has no training in art, but "I've always drawn, and used it as an expression, especially as a kid. I drew and redrew the restaurant so many times, all to scale and extremely detailed. So. Many. Times."

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    Chef Sketches - Photo courtesy of Christian Hayes | of | Share this photo

    The food Hayes has listed in this sketch indicates the areas where the "mise en place" for those dishes awaits cooking. In other words, all the prepped ingredients and necessary equipment to make those dishes will be ready in that spot when an order comes in. The numbers 1 through 4 represent specific cooks and their kitchen stations.

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