Almost every chef I know has a fetish like relationship with the cuisine of the Asian continent. Whether it’s Vietnamese Pho or Korean Bulgolgi, there’s just something about those bold exotic flavors that excite the palate like the finale of a 4th of July fireworks display, 1812 overture and all. On discovering Thai food, Anthony Bourdain once said, “it was like discovering a whole new box of crayons”. From the first dish I tried, I have constantly been drawn to the rich flavors of curry, lemongrass, coconut milk, and spicy peppers. The depth of flavor can be considered unmatched compared to other global cuisine. Thai food seems to strike a perfect balance of sweet, salty, spicy, and umami.
Early in my career I managed the kitchen at a small bed and breakfast in the Appalachian Mountains of southwest Virginia. During this tenure I had the chance to meet several traveling business types that would ask me to recreate the food from their trips. One such request in particular was for the iconic Cajun stew better known as Gumbo.
Valentine’s Day, a completely overhyped commercialized holiday that forces the public to buy flowers, overpriced cards, and cheesy heart-shaped boxes of cheap chocolate. Far too many people fall into the trap of meaningless gifts to try to display their affection, forgetting that the best way to show someone who you love is from the heart. To do this, I would recommend the path through the stomach, it has worked for myself and so many others. In this recipe I deliver the “one-two punch” of the classic French vanilla custard topped with a window pane of sugar and a foundation of rich caramel sauce, better known as Creme Brulé.