In the course of my career and my travels, I have been blessed to experience so many flavors that I never could have even dreamed of when I was young. From the endless crisp greens of the California farmlands to the heaps of spices in the markets of India, my palate and my life have been enriched by traveling as far as I am able, and saying yes to every opportunity I am given to experience and to taste something new.
Of all the flavors in my life, there is one magical combination that I cherish above all others for its immediate ability to bring me back home to my childhood in Switzerland: milk and honey. When I was young, my mother would prepare the warm milk and wildflower honey for me before bedtime, just as her mother had done for her years before.
After the sun went down, my mother would glide effortlessly around the kitchen, gathering the honey and fleur de sel, while fresh milk from the farm simmered on the stove in a copper pot. When the milk reached the perfect temperature and a light foam developed on top, she would pour it into my mug and come join me at the table. As we talked about the day, she would drizzle the honey into the milk, and to finish, she’d add just a pinch of the salt. Those conversations were sacred to me. My mother’s wisdom and optimism carried me through many challenges and obstacles in my life, and I treasure those evenings we spent together sharing this simple treat.
It’s not necessarily the flavor itself that is so special to me, but the memories that come rushing back with the taste. Flavors are as personal as memories and as transportive as music, with the power to bring you back to where you were and who you were when you first experienced it. To this day, milk and honey are enchanted tastes to me, and have inspired many different desserts at all my restaurants.