My cuisine is Mediterranean with a strong focus on country French and rustic Italian. I know the ingredients, I know how they work together and I do my best work when sticking to these flavor profiles.
My wife has been telling me this for years.
Stubbornly over the past few years I’ve dabbled in Asian flavors without really knowing enough about the various cuisines to do them justice. I started thinking strongly about this a few days ago when I was looking at a picture of an Asian inspired dish from another restaurant in town and realized that American chefs untrained in specific cuisines have no business trying to fake it. There’s so much more to these complex cooking styles than ginger, soy, scallion, wasabi, hoisin, curry powder, and a few chilis. Opening a can of coconut milk and curry paste does not qualify any of us to sell Thai anything. Sure it tastes pretty good, but let’s keep it at home.
I will work on improving my strong suit rather than wasting my time goofing around with half-assed Asian dishes that deserve more respect.
p.s. I slip a bit of good soy sauce into my French onion soup.