There's an old saying about curiosity killing the cat. I don't know about cats but curiosity has always served me well. Waiting for a Caesar salad to-go, I pondered out loud about the squash anchoring the festive fall decorations sitting on the bar at Lidia's Kansas City. You see it was rather large for an indoor pumpkin. So I asked the hostess what they were going to do with it once Fall was over. "Well, the chefs will take it back to the kitchen and make pumpkin raviolis out of it." How great was that? So great that I asked if I could watch and by "watch" I meant be the photographic fly on the kitchen wall while they broke down the massive 80 pound pumpkin. After a flurry of emails with busy Chef de Cuisine Cody Hogan and Executive Chef Dan Swinney, I found myself squeezed into some tight kitchen spaces to witness The Pumpkin Butchering.
Now it would be much easier and probably more cost effective to buy a big can of pumpkin at the Restaurant Depot and call it a day. But that's the difference between OK restaurants and great restaurants. They take tremendous pride in their food, from seeking out the best local fresh ingredients to using those ingredients to make simple luscious well seasoned and balanced dishes. I can tell you that the best compliment I could give to the chefs that day was an grateful empty plate.