Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just good, simple, honest food

I just got finished watching an episode of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares (the British version, not the weaker American version) on BBC America. The restaurant in need was an overpriced Italian eatery north of London. The food was crap - most of it was frozen or processed - and the chef/owner was over his head.

Ramsay asked the chef what Italian food was. The answer? Fresh ingredients cooked simply.

They threw out the pre-made sauces, the frozen vegetables and the processed pasta and began using fresh sauces and vegetables and homemade pasta. The restaurant went from being a money pit to being a money maker in a matter of weeks.

The key to fine Italian cuisine is, according to Mario Batali, simplicity in the preparation. Don't overpower the food with seasonings and sauces. Be subtle. Use seasonings to complement the food. For instance, don't drown the fish in sauce -- a little crushed black pepper, sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil is all you need to accentuate the taste of the fish.

The same lesson applies to trial work. Simplify. Distill the facts of your case into a simple story. Take out all the "lawyer words" and use plain English. Just as the key to great cuisine is what's not there, the greatest hammer you have at trial is, oftentimes, what's not said.

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