Category Archives: art

The Chef Sessions with Hugo Ortega – Caracol – Houston, TX

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Hugo Ortega is executive chef/co-owner of four of Houston’s top restaurants – Backstreet Cafe, Hugo’s, Caracol and Xochi, and winner of Best Chef: Southwest at the prestigious 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards.  (He was a finalist for the award for six consecutive years, 2012- 2017.)  Ortega has been recognized locally, nationally and globally for his inspirational story and his passion for sharing traditional Mexican cooking and culture.

Ortega’s American Dream story started at Backstreet Cafe, a neighborhood bistro started by Tracy Vaught in 1983. He began his career in the restaurant business first as dishwasher and busboy and later as a line cook before graduating from culinary school and later becoming Backstreet’s executive chef. He and Vaught married, and together, they have created an award-winning Houston restaurant family that also includes Hugo’s and Caracol.

Chef joins us in this episode of Let The Music Play Podcast as we discuss his journey to where he is today, how he cultivates his creativity, and his simplistic wisdom on life, relationships, and great food.

You can stream this episode and all other episodes of Let The Music Play Podcast at AshtonGustafson.com, iTunes, and Stitcher.

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The Chef Sessions No. 4 with Adana’s Shota Nakajima – Seattle, WA

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Chef Shota Nakajima began his culinary journey at the age of sixteen, working for a well-acclaimed sushi restaurant in his hometown of Seattle, WA. At the age of eighteen, Nakajima moved to Osaka, Japan to learn about the art of Japanese cuisine. In Japan, Nakajima had the opportunity to work for Michelin Star rated Chef Yasuhiko Sakamoto. As one would expect, this experience changed Chef Shota’s perspective on cooking.

Since returning to Seattle, it has been Nakajima’s dream to convey Chef Sakamoto’s approach to hospitality and Japanese cuisine in the United States.

Learn more about Chef Shota and Adana below.

You stream this episode and all other episodes of Let The Music Play Podcast in iTunes and Stitcher.

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The sting.

Regret.

It’s the most excruciating sting in the human experience.

What we didn’t say or convey. What we didn’t do or create. What we kept in our head and hearts instead of handing off to another.

These are the roots of so much that stings in our lives.

So before the clock hits 5:00,

…before you head home,

…before you turn on Jimmy Fallon and fall asleep,

…what will you do to avoid the sting?

…Who will you connect with?

…How will you touch the world, your industry, or your neighbor?

What will your verse be?

In the end, I’m glad I did > I wish I had.

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That’s Amore

 

Maybe it was a meal. One where you could graph each flavor on the fork. The wine seemed to be encoded with a holy memo. And the conversation felt as though it was tied to something that always was and always will be.

Maybe it was with a child. You saw they had no sense of yesterday or tomorrow. The moment, the now, was all that they knew. It was all there was and all they had capacity for. And they were delighted to be your teacher as you became their student.

Maybe it was a flash of a moment on an autumn walk. As golden leaves swirled above, below, and around you, you felt connected. Connected to all of it. It was like you were the point of origin for heaven and earth to conspire in the universe.

Or maybe it was walking through an airport. Strolling through faces you started to see eyes. And after you saw the eyes all you started to see was the soul and the essence of each individual. All you could take in was our unity and likeness. Uniformity was nowhere on your radar.

That’s amore.

That’s all we’ve ever lived, moved, and had our being in.

The moment.

The now.

No past.

No future.

Enjoy.

 

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A letter from what you want

Good morning.

With only 1,440 minutes available for you today, it’s best if we keep this short.

We typically are found in the realms of what is hidden and unseen.

Many call the avenues that lead to us boring and lacking with any entertainment value. Unless, of course, you understand the beauty of the human experience. If so, you’ll find our music, poems, and metaphors quite liberating.

Spamming your way to us looks like an effective approach. Trust us, it isn’t.

You won’t find us where everyone is. We hang out on the fringes where one can actually see the forest for the trees.

There’s a few things we love: seasons, humanity, sustainability, rest, connection, unity, art, friendship, and simplicity. We hope you’ll learn to love them too.

The few that have found us will always share what they feel, what they felt, and what they have found. But they won’t shout it aloud. Sharing and shouting never have danced well together. Hint…hearing starts in your eyes.

So don’t forget to ask others about us along the way.

Remember to seek beauty, flavor, meaning, love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.

Knock on many doors and know who you are so you can answer ‘Who’s there?”.

And always onnect with contribution and consistently sow with the seeds of generosity.

We hope to see you soon.

 

Truly yours,

Success – Satisfaction – Fulfillment – Wonder – Awe

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