Be Bold and Unexpected

I don’t know if you were a fan of Queen back in the day but whether you were or not, I really hope you’ve seen Bohemian Rhapsody.  The film chronicles the band’s rise to fame and clearly shows the captain of the rocket ship to be the ever unique, flamboyant and insanely talented Freddie Mercury.

His voice was unlike any we’d heard before and his music danced us all into an uncharted territory we were happy to explore.   Record executives scoffed at his idea for an operetta.  Who’s going to listen to that?  It’s too long!  It’ll never fly.  But fly it did.  More than 40 years later, the music still holds up.   It’s played at sporting events, on the radio, used in films and we all still know every word, gleefully singing every part during road trips.

He also was from a family and a culture that, at the time, not only had a problem with him choosing the music business over a more traditional career like medicine or law, but really frowned on his sexuality.    I SO admire him for having the balls to be and celebrate who he really was and the confidence to ignore the naysayers and create something really different.

A chef friend of mine and I like to frequent a restaurant in Leesburg called The Conche.  In fact, I think we ate there the night we went to see Bohemian Rhapsody!  The Conche is an exclusive chocolate themed boutique restaurant featuring an array of artisan handmade chocolate confections, desserts and chocolate infused savory cuisine, hand crafted cocktails – most containing some form of chocolate or cocoa.

There’s a burger with Black Angus beef, braised short ribs, fried cheese fritter, creamed cheddar spinach, shallot jam, Applewood smoked bacon and a chocolate barbecue sauce . . . . Hello, lover!  How about the rack of lamb which comes cacao nib & herb crusted with maple roasted pumpkin puree, raspberry pepper jam, mint gel and peppercorn sauce?  You’d never expect Sriracha rub seasoned fries with a Sriracha chipotle chocolate dip, but yum!  These dishes don’t necessarily register chocolate when you eat them but instead just have a certain richness and mouth feel you just can’t put your finger on.

There’s a great Chocolate Mayo Cake recipe my younger daughter made for her sister’s birthday one year.  We were savoring the incredible moistness of the cake when she blurted out, “and guess what’s in it . . . . MAYO!”  Her older sister, who has a major mayo aversion, chased her around the house threatening her life for a good while afterward.  She should have just left well enough alone.  It was awesome cake!  But you know, siblings.

And what seems stranger than Fresh Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar, but have you given it a try?  Then there was the Olive Oil Cake with Red Grapes another chef friend of mine shared with our cooking class students one evening at my old shop.  It sounded a bit strange but was unusual, not overly sweet and uniquely delicious.

In your kitchen and in your life, don’t be afraid to be bold.  Take that safari.  Move to another state to start anew.  Go on a date with someone who you think is not really “your type”.  Put a bit of cocoa powder into that chili recipe or a little sea salt on your melon.  It could be a massive flop, that’s true.  Or you could discover something really exceptional.  Channel your inner Freddie Mercury and do something bold and unexpected.





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