almost ready to let everyone in to tartine afterhours, may 12, 2010

in sanskrit, purnatva means something like divine fullness or completeness. i sort of understand it as something like a deep awareness at any moment that everything is just as it should be.

though i've been working more than i have ever worked before lately (something i didn't think could be possible after the crazy hours i worked at eccolo), i've also been feeling the purnatva more. my happiness seems to depend less on externalities and more on following my heart.

for me, cooking (and eating) is becoming less and less about the food. as long as the food has been raised and cooked with a certain level of care, it doesn't really matter to me what it is i'm eating or cooking. i care equally about every meal i make, and when i'm feeding others, i care about the circumstances and details of the meal--who's sitting at the table, how the table is set, the plates we use, etc.

i've been cooking long enough to know that for me, the way i cook is deeply informed by the way things have been done for hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of years. when i think about that, there's not much room left for my ego to get involved.

i had the chance to observe a bread shift at tartine with chad and his bakers lori and nate in march, and i was struck more than anything else by the lack of ego involved. they are motivated above all else by love and understanding of their craft, something so rare in the cooking world.

it was this beauty that made me want to collaborate with them. the reason i cook is to create community, to bring people together at the table to share a simple meal, conversation, each other, maybe wine and music. i want to create experiences for people whose memory will endure much longer than any flavor could linger on the tongue. it's this delightful yet grounding connection, to each other, to the earth, and to the food we eat, that i want to create for people.

the other night we had our first tartine afterhours dinner, and it was magical. all day, i was in a state of purnatva. the normally crazed samin was nowhere to be found. i don't know what happened, but i want it to happen all of the time. the amazing thing is that i think it really showed through in the food, the setting, the atmosphere and everything else about it. i wanted to help create something really special for people, and i think we managed to do it. i can't wait to do it again.