Did you say we needed one of these or two?

My name’s Allen; I’m a visual effects artist, and I like learning new things.  I’m from Kentucky originally, but live in San Francisco now. In my free time, one of the things I like to do is cook.

One of my most memorable meals was at Chicago’s Alinea restaurant, which has a fantastically-amazing cookbook that appeals exactly to my obsessive-compulsive and meticulous nature. My girlfriend Sarah gave the book to me for Christmas in December of 2008, and I flipped through it a few times, incredulous. The book struck me as some sort of bluff, as if the chefs at Alinea were saying to the world “Ok, you wanna know how we do this? Here you go, knock yourself out.” Because I’m stubborn and often slightly delusional, I thought I’d call their bluff and try making something from the book. Then I decided to try making something else. Then I just…kept going. I started this blog as sort of an online journal for myself, to keep track of what I was doing, corrections I needed to make, etc., as well as to share this little hobby with friends.

My job (as sort of a technical artist) and schooling (as a computer engineer) both veer towards the realm of precision, understanding how things work, meticulousness, and a sense of satisfaction with ‘correct’, elegant solutions to problems. That sounds boring as hell, I’m sorry. It’s really not! I just mention it because most of my artistic pursuits tend to be described by friends as “highly technical”, which never really struck me as a compliment so much as just a benign thing you say, like “hey, you got a haircut” or “you’re wearing those Tron-themed sneakers again, I see.” I like trying to find ways to turn that comment into an asset, and find the exploration of that challenge very fulfilling.

This project is providing me with lots of excuses to buy exotic kitchen equipment and ingredients and avoid doing my laundry. I also enjoy photography, so I wanted to turn an attempt to work my way through the Alinea cookbook into a cooking project, a photo project, and a writing project all in one. This blog reflects my best attempt at all of this.