Cantu Motos Up Some Raccoon Roadkill

(Tribune photo by Alex Garcia / January 18, 2008)I know, by blog standards, I’m late to the game with this, but the Chicago Tribune story about Chef Cantu cooking up some raccoon at Moto just has to be shared with as many people as possible. Now, even being a vegetarian, I like a good meat joke. I share photos of edible meat cabins with my coworkers. I try to figure out ways to turn beer-battered, mozzarella-stuffed bacon burgers into a vegetarian meal. Hell, one of the centerpieces of my solo art show in 2000 was about “beef so good even cows like it.”

I tell you all these things, because when I first saw the presentation of the meat, and then watched “something” fall from Monica Eng’s fork, I actually went “Oh, that’s not right.” Reading the article didn’t help much.

Next, they slow braised his lean flesh in olive oil, butter, shallots, onions, garlic, rosemary, bay leaves, red wine and raccoon stock (made from his bones).

Once they pulled the meat off the bones they embarked on an inspired — some might say depraved — plating.

Okay, well, that’s not so bad. But the description in the video is far worse, discussing splitting poor Rascal open by the legs to find the best meat. The rest of the plating plays with the idea of roadkill, which makes each plated dish one of a kind!

In a facetious effort to depict a scene of roadkill…they pooled and splattered beet puree across the plate. They painted curry-tinted lane lines and even printed skid marks and a raccoon face on edible paper.

I’m always on the fence with Moto. Sometimes they’re ideas seem fun (doughnut soup, Strawberry Cheesecake Chicago Dog), and sometimes their crazy molecular ideas seem to be covering up for food that may not taste great (see above). I’m constantly entertained when I see video, or read about their new ideas; but I couldn’t see paying 165 dollars for a 20 course meal, where you know not all those dishes are going to taste great.

Of course, being a vegetarian I won’t be experience Moto anytime soon anyhoot. Of course, if Chef Cantu is reading, and wants to prepare a 20 course vegetarian meal for me to try, I’ll be there with 200 bucks and a completely open mind.

(Raccoon Roadkill Tribune photo by Alex Garcia / January 18, 2008)


(No, I wasn’t kidding about my art. I’m a sick, sick man.)
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2 Responses to Cantu Motos Up Some Raccoon Roadkill

  1. TwobitMe says:

    Chef Jones,

    I’m definitely not saying fun should be denied. My reaction was purely a visceral “ewwwww” to the plating. But that’s because most people generally associate roadkill with grotesque imagery.

    It doesn’t help that I saw something slowly ooze off her fork while she was eating. It added a little more reality to the illusion you were presenting.

    But visceral reactions aside, as an artist I give you major kudos for such an original idea. You evoked some form of reaction out of me, proving that it was a successful dish.

    If Moto decides to offer a vegetarian tasting, you must let me know. I seriously would be there with bells on.

    Thanks for posting!

  2. chris jones says:

    Alex, please I would love for you to try a 20 course vegaterian menu at Moto. The idea presents itself as a challenge the same as the Chicago Tribune giving us a dead racoon and saying “cook this make it taste good”. I truly enjoy eating and creating new food. I was raised on a farm our philosphy “nothing was wasted”. I simply try to make delicious food with what ever is availible granted I have fun, should I be denied, should anyone? The story of the animal was its funeral to coddle the whole process would be injust. A fact is always harder than the ommision of a truth.

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