This industry is a magnet for unexpected road bumps, reroutes, and full-stops. Though these set-backs can have uncertain and sometimes devastating consequences, every problem we face poses amazing new opportunities. Without constantly being challenged, how else are we supposed to grow at the rate we strive for? One problem arose last summer when a 60+ year old birch tree fell DIRECTLY on Jason & Kate's personal vehicle. However, the product that emerged from resourceful thinking in the face of a sudden misfortune became transformative in our entire recipe development process.
Huge billets of birch scattered the driveway, Jason & Kate's SUV was completely totaled, and we had plenty of work ahead of us. Jason & Kate replaced their personal vehicle within a couple weeks (big kudos to full coverage insurance), which just left ALL THIS WOOD to deal with! Sure we could sell it in bulk and make bank... but come on... that's not our style. OUR style sounds a lot like turning all those logs into fuel for Chef Jason's smoker... BINGO! Soon I had an idea that would become the "secret" ingredient to one of our most popular Sidedoor Menu items.
Fast-forward to the next Smoker Day, when we're prepping tomahawks for a large wedding to throw in the smoker. It's finally time to put those birch logs to use and I'm thinking to myself, "IT'S TIME." I've been keeping this idea of mine close-to-the-chest until I could bring it to fruition, and I rightfully got a confused look from Jason when I asked at the last-minute to do some testing with the smoker. I got his cautious but trusting approval and went to prepare a full tray of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Yup... just olive oil. And let me tell you, this process produced the most unforgettably smooth smoky flavor. This was a breakthrough! So often, we wished we could add a smoke flavor to dishes easily, without firing up the smoker or using the dreaded bottle of liquid-smoke. I just HAD to use this smoked oil in a dish for our menus. Thus the birth of our newest soup available for ordering: the Smoked Tomato Soup.
This soup really means something to me. It's not just a recipe I developed, and it's not just about the smoked olive oil I created either. Every time I prepare, cook, and serve this soup, I'm reminded of those birch logs scattered on Jason & Kate's driveway. I'm reminded of how a huge set-back brought forth an opportunity for a triumphant and clever concept. That of which consistently motivates me to approach problems that arise with a resourceful and innovative mindset. Not to mention the compliments from the fact this dish made it onto our main-stay menu and that people are ACTUALLY ordering it!!! I'm still in disbelief! To anyone who hasn't tried my soup..you just gotta. It's my best work...yet!