Universe...I'd like to place an order / by Joan Chamberlain

Recent events - a presidential election, for anyone who has just awoken from a cryogenic nap - have me reflecting on the fact that nothing is guaranteed. Part of my daily practice is to accept the reality that the day may hold surprises, good or bad, that will change one's anticipated trajectory. Without getting too far down the philosophical path, this heightened awareness has me thinking that it's time to put some thoughts into the public space. Attention universe, I have a dream that I need your help with.

Anyone who's familiar with my Hands Project, and if you aren't please click on that page when we're through here, knows that I am passionate about building a portfolio of drawings that focus on chef's hands. Do I have any idea what I want to do with it? No, not really, but I'm a firm believer in ready, fire, aim. Get started and correct as you go. Put it out there and see what develops.

So, here's what's developed. As it turns out, people like to look at drawings of chef's hands. That's part of the fun of sitting at the bar in a restaurant - watching the bartender deftly craft a wicked-good cocktail. If you're lucky and have a view into the kitchen, all the better. That got me thinking of how intriguing it would be to have a hand "portrait" gallery in a restaurant. Wake up, universe, this is the dream part.

So, picture it: You're at a restaurant, enjoying the delicious food and relaxing ambiance, and you notice a wall of handsomely framed sketches. You walk over to find that it's a gallery of hand sketches of their staff: the executive chef plating an appetizer, the sous chef ladling a savory soup into a tureen, the pastry chef piping a meringue onto a cookie sheet, the bartender stirring a seasonal cocktail, the sommelier uncorking a bottle of cabernet. Come on, that would grab your attention, right?

Consider this my vision board. It's a mock-up of a potential gallery.

Consider this my vision board. It's a mock-up of a potential gallery.

What better way to honor the incredibly hard-working folks who create and serve the amazing food we eat at so many restaurants all over the world. In the hands of skilled chefs, the creations that end up on our plates are art and science, combined with skill, love, and hard-ass work.

Are there restaurants out there who "get" my vision? Who wants to be the first to create a gallery of beautiful sketches that celebrate their chefs? I'm open to a surprise.