The kitchen was a totally professional operation. Jamie, the head chef really cared about the meals he was sending out from the kitchen. He was pretty tough on the wait staff, but I worked hard and actually wanted to a good job. We weren't buddies, but we didn't have any issues either. Jamie NEVER let anything leave his kitchen for free. Unlike other restaurants where the employees always had their fingers in the dessert, and free cups of soup were the norm. We got our free staff meal, but everything else we paid for.
One night while previously mentioned ex-boyfriend and I were working together on a fairly busy shift, he decided he was going to walk out. This had become a nightly occurrence. He always thought that he was being screwed over by the management. It didn't matter what section this guy got, he always thought it was the worst one, he was always most miserable on the nights when he perceived my section to be better than his. On this night when he said he was leaving, as always I ignored him until later when our hostess asked where he was. Huh? He's gone, really? He actually left? A few minutes later, Jamie came to me and asked if I was ok? Then he asked me to come into his office. Then I thought, "Is he going to fire me too"? Jamie informed me that they would like to fire this guy, but they didn't want me to quit. I almost laughed out loud.
To say the least, it was one of my best nights at the restaurant. Not only did I feel a huge weight had been lifted, but I also had the best night financially because I ended up taking a bunch of extra tables as we were then one server short!
At the end of the night Jamie brought me a dish of Blackberry Lavender ice cream. It was one of my favorite desserts at the restaurant. Making this Blueberry Lavender ice cream reminded me of that night and Jamie who inspired my own Alaska version of lavender ice cream. I made mine with local honey, lavender, and wild blueberries.
Blueberry Lavender Ice Cream
Inspired by Jamison Brandt, David Lebovitz, and Lindsey Shere
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup fresh lavender flowers
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
3/4 cup blueberry puree (recipe follows)
Warm honey and lavender flowers in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once warm and runny remove from heat and let steep for at least one hour.
Heat the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula. Remove from heat and stir in the honey and lavender mixture.
Fill a large bowl half way with ice and about one cup of water and place (do not immerse) a medium size bowl on top. Pour the cream into the medium bowl and set a fine mesh strainer on top. Pour the milk and honey mixture through the strainer and into the cream. Stir until cool over the ice bath. Chill the mixture overnight in the refrigerator. The next day freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. After five minutes or when the mixture has just started to freeze up slowly add the blueberry puree. Finish mixing and eat right away or store in freezer for up to three days.
To Make Blueberry Puree:
Place 2 cups of blueberries and 1/2 cup of sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until blueberries begin to release their juices and then mash with a potato masher or mix with an immersion blender. Place in refrigerator overnight.