This Plugrá Gourmet Club menu focuses on Progressive American Cuisine. For many, "American" as a cuisine means nothing. Or in fine dining terms, it means the same dishes can be found on any menu across the United States. However, with great chefs like the Garrelts and many others, there is a defined movement to classify American Cuisine by the tastes and techniques that are commonly attributed to it based on the region where they live, such as the Midwest for the chefs of Bluestem.
The definition of progressive is change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are. For cuisine, progressive means to reconstruct and add a level of refinement to the flavors and presentation of the dish. It allows chefs to stay close to their roots, while adding a modern touch.
Progressive American Cuisine is known for taking the traditional cooking techniques and applying new learnings and ingredients indigenous to the creator's region. The James Beard Foundation asked food enthusiasts if they considered American to be a type of cuisine. A solid 90.8% said YES, there is an American Cuisine. When further asked how they would define it, region/regional and culture were the top two responses.
The Garrelts take to heart the regionality of food when developing new recipes or menus for their restaurant. Since they are located in Kansas City, Missouri, their American cuisine is based on the simple, straightforwardness of the Midwest. Chef Colby infuses regional focus with the art of molecular gastronomy, creating the perfect balance of simple flavors and gourmet-level cooking. As the seasons change, so do his cooking techniques. Chef Colby states, "As chefs, we live for summer. Owing to its length and intensity, summer in the Midwest is a celebration of abundance. In this season, we focus on lighter, cleaner flavors and simpler cooking techniques to highlight the natural flavors in the produce."