Tuna wrapped in lardo, with honeydew, crystalline soy, olive oil powder, basil, and lemon.
Paul Qui and team prepare for the meal.
Tomato water dashi is poured over summer tomatoes, mussels, clams, shallots, and lemon basil. "This is pretty close to a dish I've done before," said Qui, "but I'm kind of ADD, so I never know what I'm going to do until I start getting ingredients and cooking. I found the herbs and tomatoes at the farmers' market this morning. It's a kind of lemony basil."
"We dehydrate the uni and grate it on a microplane. It's like a good hard cheese."
Sunchoke dashi with thin rolls of carrot and summer squash, squash blossoms, dehydrated uni, and thin petals of red mullet bottarga. "I didn't tell people about the bottarga because I wasn't sure if they'd be grossed out," said Qui. (You shouldn't be. It's awesome.)
The smoked trout dish, on paper.
Qui in the kitchen
Prepping the smoked trout.
Cured and smoked steelhead trout, served with a brown butter verjus foam, preserved lemon dashi puree, Japanese cucumber, and both raw and pickled onion.
The quail joins pumpernickel "dirt," roasted maitake mushrooms, and a sauce of miso, honey, mustard, and Blue Moon (prepared in an emulsification with egg yolk and oil, essentially like a mayo). On top, mint, umeboshi strawberries, and a Thai chili gastrique. "I feel like quail always needs some kind of glaze, which is what the Thai chili gastrique is there for."
Sketch of the quail
Roasted pork belly with smoked cinnamon and "a ton of fish sauce," said Qui. "I hope you guys don't mind."
Slicin' the Belly
Roasted pork belly, corn puree, raw corn, cotija cheese, pickled green onion, black lime salt, and coriander seeds. "The black lime salt is a pain. We have to dehydrate the limes then pick out the membranes with tweezers."
Starting with a caramel-vinegar/Thai chili meringue.
Dessert coming together
Bruleed meringue with raw white peaches and tapioca cooked in coconut cream
The finished dessert
A white rice sauce with pandan, toasted coconut with kaffir lime, and crispy parsnip ribbons. "I'm not a pastry chef," says Qui, "so I plan my desserts the way I plan my savory dishes, thinking about how the flavors and texture will all work together in the end, hitting the right balance of sweet, salty, and acidic."