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Chef's mistake becomes a hit

We all have our hits and misses.

In Food Arts, writer Carolyn Jung talks to five chefs who've learned from their successes and failures.

Among them: Chip Roman, owner of Blackfish in Conshohocken and Mica in Chestnut Hill, as well as co-owner of Ela in Queen Village.

Roman talks about his hit, which came by accident: Oysters with carbonated Meyer lemons. "It was an appetizer I did four years ago at Blackfish—shucked raw oysters. We put lemon juice, sugar, and gum powder into a whipped cream gun charged with carbon dioxide. We were trying to do something else and accidentally put the wrong kind of gas into the canister. It came out like shaving cream, but carbonated. I think we were just trying to make an emulsion. When it came out fizzy, it just caught our attention. It's a fairly simple dish. People really liked that sparkling feeling. We sold a lot. We'd go through 1,000 oysters a week. We still get requests for it now. The surprise to me is that it was all a mistake. It wasn't something we tried to do."

His "failure" was bone marrow & caviar, what he described as a "kind of a playful surf and turf": "We all loved it at Mica, but we would sell maybe 10 a week and that was few and far between. The bones were split and roasted, then topped with brook trout roe and parsley. ... Maybe it was too out there. ... It might have gone over better in New York City or Chicago, where diners are more adventurous."

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