Displaying all articles tagged:

Back Of The House

Most Recent Articles

Chefs Put on Something a Little More Comfortable

Can someone remind us, again, when chefs became fashion icons? Was it when Esquire featured a spread of Simon Hammerstein and David Chang in tough-guy postures? Or maybe the Daily News“Sexiest Chef” contest was the turning point. Meanwhile, the last time we looked, chefs spent most of their time either wearing grease-splattered whites, or dressing in band t-shirts to show that they were rocking hard, and ever mod. But there’s no arguing with the genre of the chef fashion pictorial, and we have to say, this one, taken from the new Maxim, is pretty soigné. But why is Michael Psilakis wearing a suit in a refrigerator? Shouldn’t he have an overcoat on, at least? And why doesn't Craig Koketsu have a Pucci apron on, if he's butchering? And as for Sam Mason’s hippie-lothario duds, we can only nod our heads in mute, approving awe. New York City's Hottest Young Chefs [Maxim] Related: When Chefs Play Dress-Up

Sietsema Previews His Own ‘Choice Eats’

As a leadup to tonight’s Village Voice Choice Eats tasting event, Robert Sietsema gives Gothamist a lengthy interview and a barely disguised photo. Sietsema recalls his worst restaurant experience (cockroach) and explains how Frank Bruni maligned Katz’s by only giving it one star. His picks are after the jump.

Huzzah! More Ramen for the East Village!

On the theory that you can never have enough ramen bars in the East Village, Ippudo, yet another Japanese import, will open on March 31. According to Andrea Strong, Ippudo will be in “an urban-styled log cabin hut” (um, okay…) and will serve five kinds of ramen, “including their signature Shiromaru Moto-Aji (white-pork-based broth ramen) and Akamaru Shin-Aji (a bolder-flavored red broth seasoned with garlic olive oil and their secret sauce)." Will Ippudo succeed where Momofuku, Setagaya, Minca, and others have also succeeded? Why not? The liquor license and specialty sake cocktails certainly won’t hurt. This Just In: Ippudo to Open March 31st! [Strong Buzz] Related: Best of New York: Best Ramen [NYM]

New York Chefs Confront Rising Food Costs With Whip and Chair

Food costs go up and up, but prices — especially high ones — aren’t supposed to. Given that the rent in most New York restaurants isn’t going to come down anytime soon, this creates a problem for owners. The Wall Street Journal did an excellent feature on this subject on Saturday, showing how some restaurants were dealing with it — Blue Water Grill's selling beef trimmings as part of a chipotle roll, for example, or Ssäm Bar's dropping truffles. But we were curious about how some of the other chefs we know, particularly those with a well-heeled clientele, are making do. So we asked around, and here's what we heard.

Tony Bourdain Is His Own Forum Troll

A new post is up on the Bourdain blog, but there’s no need to comment yet. Bourdain, in looking back at having wrapped up the latest season of No Reservations, decided to anticipate the response by giving “a few helpful advance reviews — to save food nerds time when the shows actually air.” These prereviews (“I found the civitos at San Marco, a tiny place next to the mercado, far superior to the place Bourdain went. And the morcillas he ate are nowhere near as good as the ones at.......”) are the work of someone who has read quite a few forum posts. And, we suspect, even written a few. Past Imperfect/Future Shock [Anthony Bourdain's Blog/Travel Channel]

The Cost of Charity, Explained

A month doesn't seem to go by without some kind of charity benefit, at which every chef you've ever heard gives away his time and food. Besides the warm feeling of do-goodery, what do the chefs get out of it? Michael Ruhlman had a feature on the subject in this week's Times magazine, and the answers are interesting: Danny Meyer explains charity efficiency (“It may cost me $30,000 or $40,000 to close down a restaurant for a night, but if an organization can pull in a quarter of a million dollars, what a great investment, relative to giving a $200 gift certificate that somebody buys for $225”), and Aaron Sanchez gives a frank reason for doing all these events (“I get to catch up with my friends who are chefs”). Ruhlman cites Wolfgang Puck as the “originator of the chef-driven benefit” back in 1982. As a chef’s profile rises, so does his ability to milk beneficial bucks from not only donors but also potential future customers. Friends With Benefits [NYT]

Everything You Want to Know About ‘Top Chef’

Have you had your fill of pre-season-four Top Chef hype yet? No? Well, fix yourself a cup of coffee and settle in for a good, long read. Hosts Tom Colicchio and Padma Lakshmi did a loooong conference call with reporters yesterday, and the results can be found in a six-page post on Monsters and Critics, among other places. Among the highlights: Tom saying that he never has a conversation with the contestants outside of the kitchen, and Padma adding “And actually, I really don’t want to.” We were also pleased to learn that the single worst thing Padma ate in the four seasons of Top Chef was made by none other than Ilan Hall. (Though she points out that he made one of the best dishes, too.) It's not the same as watching the show, but it should hold you until the premiere on March 12. A Chat with Bravo's 'Top Chef' Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio [Monsters and Critics] Related: Grub Street's complete coverage of Top Chef

The Moondance Diner Gets a Happy Ending After All

Given our tragic view of the restaurant world — and in fact, “the sorry scheme of things entire,” as the Rubaiyat has it — we were only too ready to believe that the Moondance Diner’s move to the far west would end in ignominy and failure. (That’s certainly the way it looked the last time we saw it, broken down and caved in amid the desolate plains.) But it turns out we were wrong! According to AM New York, the diner has been rebuilt and renovated in LaBarge, Montana, right down to its iconic rotating moon sign, which will be reinforced against the fierce Montana winds. "We're hoping we can very much be a destination diner for the town and bring something new and exciting to LaBarge," the diner’s new owner, Cheryl Pierce, says. And what could be a nobler goal than that? Owner: Moondance Diner on track to open in Wyoming [amNY] Related: The Moondance Diner, Neglected in Wyoming, Now a Shell of Itself

Dr. Vino Brings First View of Wine Madhouse Terroir

Dr. Vino, one of our favorite wine blogs, drops the first images of the newly opened Terroir today. The wine bar owned by Marco Canora and Paul Grieco opened last night, and to judge by the pictures, it hit the ground running. As expected, the place reflects Grieco’s precarious sanity. Writes Dr. Vino: “The wine list is in a three-ring binder, which the designer described to me as being like the school notebook of ‘a 16 year-old boy’s whose obsession is not with cars or girls but obscure grape varieties,’ including one with Aglianico written on it multiple times.” Just wait til they look in the crawlspace! Hipster wine bar, Terroir, now open! Wine by the glass starts at $2.75 [Dr. Vino] Related: What You'll Eat and Drink at Terroir

David Chang on the Secret of Ko: ‘We Have No Idea’

David Chang never claims to be a mastermind; he’s just treated that way by the food press. Or maybe he is a mastermind, and that’s all part of the plan. We can never tell. Anyway, he couldn’t be much more frank than he was with Time Out New York today: “Everyone thinks I’m bullshitting when I say this: We have no idea what the fuck we’re doing.” But if that were true, would he really say it? We still can’t figure it out. David Chang to descend from heavens…again [TONY] Related: Grub Street’s complete coverage of Momofuku Ko

Adam Platt on Best of New York: “It's a Matter of Taste, Cutty!”

Having pawed and pondered this week's Best of New York issue endlessly, we knew that the only way we could possibly make up our minds about it was to pester Adam Platt into giving us his thoughts on why he made his picks, who he had to leave out, and what his reasoning was. Since Platt is always readily available on IM, the following chat answered our questions and made our peace with his picks.

Fake Ramsay Takes On Fraudulent Robert Irvine in Pseudo-Blog

We usually enjoy Newsgroper’s Gordon Ramsay blog considerably more than the man himself, but the current entry, in which “Ramsay” gives it to counterfeit knight Robert Irvine, is especially enjoyable. As Irvine was just fired from the Food Network for his impostures, and Ramsay himself is something of a put-on, a guy pretending to be Ramsay berating Irvine for pretending to be a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order just seems right. Gordon Ramsay's Blog: Liar, liar your apron’s on fire [Newsgroper]

Danny Meyer Looks Ready to Get A-Shake-Shacking

Having created the most successful burger restaurant in New York (1,000 burgers a day by his estimation), Danny Meyer seems ready to go into the Shake Shack business in a big way, as he tells Bloomberg in an inspiring interview today. “In almost 23 years as a restaurateur, I've never done the same thing twice,” Meyer tells Bloomberg. “But I have a huge hankering to do this one another time. We've thought about this for a number of years and we're finally structured in my company so that instead of just dreaming, we can do it.” The translation? Expect more Shake Shacks. Meyer also talks burgers in some detail, expressing admirably orthodox views on gourmet burgers, American cheese, and his all-time favorite burger growing up (and ours), Steak 'n Shake. Why Danny Meyer Is Adding Another Shake Shack [Bloomberg] Related: Shake Shack Coming to Upper West Side, Plus More Shake Shack News

Ruth Reichl Pens First of Many Love Notes to Momofuku Ko

It didn’t take long for the Momofuku Ko bandwagon to start rolling, did it? Ruth Reichl has filed a panegyric to her dinner there on the Gourmet Website, and it’s only a matter of time until her fellow food-media elders do likewise. Every other chef can only sit back and watch: Chang has become the official sanctioned face of the gastronomic Now, even though he’s not really even the primary chef at Ko, as he is always the first to admit. (The names of co-chefs Tien Ho and Joaquin Baca don't even appear in the post.) Chang comes off as some kind of combination of Escoffier and the Dalai Lama in this review: Reichl writes of eating “the richest, silkiest short rib you have ever tasted,” “translucent petals of silky fluke folded into a soft pink puddle of buttermilk and Sriracha,” and “drum roll please — a bowl of lychees topped with grated frozen foie gras is set before you. It reconstitutes in your mouth in the most amazing way as you take one bite, then another, fascinated by these textures.” (Ew!) Batten down the hatches and prepare to get a little cynical: A veritable onslaught of acclamation is coming your way. Odds are you'll be very weary of reading them — and very desirous of getting a Momofuku Ko reservation, probably in about the same proportion. First Taste: Momofuku Ko [Gourmet]

Ron Ciavolino Gives It To You Straight on Wine Bars

Sometimes you read an interview and immediately you wish you were friends with the subject. Such is the case with Metromix’s sit-down with Ron Ciavolino, the head of wine studies at the Institute of Culinary Education, and a man who speaks his mind. Our favorite quotes: • On modern bartenders: “Most bartenders feel like they’re giving away something for nothing if they’re charming. I want schmaltz. There’s no schmaltz.” • On the downtown wine scene: “You go to those wine bars in Soho, they’re more bowling alleys — there’s no romance. Everybody’s 12 years old.” • What happens when a bartender allows ice to melt in a shaker: “You hemorrhage through all of your apertures.” Days of Wine and Poses [Metromix NY]

‘Top Chef’ Contestants a Tame, Lame Bunch

nikki cascone and manuel treviso
Metromix does a nice job of fleshing out the backgrounds of the New York cheftestants on the upcoming season of Top Chef. But reading the not very scandalous “dirt” on these guys make us wonder if there weren’t five or ten or a thousand more interesting cooks in the city that could have been on the show. Manuel Trevino of Dos Caminos likes football? Whoa! Nikki Cascone of 24 Prince keeps Italian greyhounds? Quel scandal! Given the propensity of New York cooks for drinking, copulating, getting into street fights, and even hitting the dummy pipe, this all strikes us as kind of tame. 'Top Chef' Season Four: We’ve got the dirt on this year’s crop of NYC contestants [Metromix] Related: What to Expect From the New ‘Top Chef’

Surprise, Surprise: Robert Irvine Gets the Boot From the Food Network

This must come as a surprise to no one, but the Food Network has officially given Dinner Impossible host Robert Irvine the mitten. Irvine, you may remember, was the TV chef who went around telling everybody that he was not just a knight, but Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, the penultimate rank of one of England's major chivalric orders. Various other dubious claims were dispelled once someone checked the facts, and Irvine’s career then entered its Milli Vanilli phase. The Food Network stresses that he really is a good cook, though! Our favorite part of Irvine’s statement? “I was wrong to exaggerate in statements related to my experiences regarding the Royal Family.” It’s okay, Bob — it could happen to anybody. Irvine resolution, part 1 [Mouth of Tampa Bay, via Serious Eats]

Joël Robuchon Dislikes Blogs and Fancy Dishes

Joel Robuchon
Eater L.A. posted an interesting interview with Joël Robuchon yesterday afternoon, conducted by Las Vegas public-radio host John Curtas, one of that city’s top food journalists. Of special note is Robuchon’s predictably hostile stance toward food bloggers (“Too often the Internet can be used as revenge tool by people who have something against the chef or restaurant”). Like, say, paying $800 for a disappointing lunch? Robuchon also weighs in on what he considers “the most dangerous thing you can do as a chef”: overthinking and trying too hard to impress customers. (Which, again, you have to do if you’re going to charge the cost of airfare to China for lunch.) In any case, it’s a good, and short, read. Maybe too short: Is Curtas saving the outtakes for his radio show? Joël Robuchon and the Dangers of the Foodblogging Age [Eater L.A.]