Much of my life was spent pickled. I made it my mission to cross the line. I pushed boundaries to a point that my memoir would make Kitchen Confidential look like Rachel Ray wrote it. Raised in Brooklyn in the 70’s, concrete and whiskey in my blood was a birthright I paraded through the 80’s cooking and playing in rock n’ roll bands in Manhattan.
I left the Big Apple in the early 90’s, and took the hard road straight to The Big Easy where the real pickling began, and the chef life blew me away like a Marshall stack. My nights were spent throwin’ TVs outta windows, and everything else went to cooking. I spent years apprenticing, learning from masters. Like a studio musician, I played each and every note they demanded. The world of fire and knives was a blade of grass I grasped as to not fall off the earth. When not shouting from rooftops, I always said “Yes Chef!’ and quietly developed my style riffing on family meals, and digging deeper on the notes that were not played. I never asked, “What does it need?” I asked, “What does it NOT need.” A rebel with a cause toward restraint, I constantly pulled back.
Strangely, the deeper and darker my downward spiral went, the cleaner my cooking became. Three Chord Cooking came about from combining a lifetime of loves. It was only when I understood the basics of cooking with fire, and mastered culinary scales to pharmaceutical-like purity that my style demanded I turn up the volume! Three things on the plate, three chords, a foundation of full & fresh flavors from subtle notes that could now cross a line to MORE! More salt! More chilies! More char! More acid! More herbs! More love!
Cooking for me, it’s like I went to Juilliard, but all I wanna play is Ramones songs.
Three Chord Chilies
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups vinegar
- 3 cups sliced cayenne* peppers, packed.
- 4 Boil vinegar & sugar, dump over sliced chilies. Salt to taste. Cover & cool.
- B side: When the chilies are all used up, use the pickling liquid for braised collards or kale
*Most long red, spicy chilies work, but fresh cayenne is killer!
Written by Chef Paul Gerard.
Chef Paul Gerard went from hidden gems in The French Quarter to popular underground Brooklyn joints and then international-cool corporate houses. Chef Paul opened his first restaurant in ‘13, and he hasn’t stopped since.