We told you on Wednesday that Nicole Kaplan was leaving Del Posto for the Plaza, and today we can tell you why: She’s not crazy about cooking Italian food. “I guess I just missed my style; I wasn’t loving Italian food as much as I thought I would. My style is American food with a strong French–training influence.”
Major developments on the pastry front: Del Posto's head pastry chef, Nicole Kaplan, who soared to fame as the chef at Eleven Madison Park (and, incidentally, as the creator of the Shake Shack's custard), has left the restaurant. We had heard that it was to head the dessert program at the St. Regis Hotel or, possibly, one of its restaurants, but the hotel denies this. (We’re still trying to reach Kaplan.) Del Posto GM Alfredo Ruiz confirms that Kaplan has been gone since January 1, but that her full staff is still in place and doing her menu as before. Co-owner Joe Bastianich says, “The split was amicable, and we wish Nicole nothing but the best in everything she does.” Bastianich added that the restaurant is looking at a couple of people and that, when the hire does happen, it will be “big news.”
The South Beach Wine & Food Festival was such a big hit that a New York spinoff was probably inevitable — and it will be thus! The local incarnation will begin with Sweet on November 16. And what's Sweet, you may ask? Oh, just a "late-night dessert party" for 1,500 guests on the waterfront, featuring all the city’s top pastry chefs: Grub Street buddy Johnny Zs of Jean Georges, Michael Laiskonis of Le Bernardin, Karen DeMasco of Craft, and Nicole Kaplan of Del Posto. More pastry gods and goddesses will be added to the list in coming months.
But there's more, as Sweet is just a warm-up for the New York City Wine & Food Festival (their site just went live). It’ll be held next fall, and we’re predicting that it will be huge, even more of a hedonistic binge and bacchanal than the Miami original. In the meantime, Sweet should be a pretty good dry run.
New York City Wine and Food Festival [Official Site]
Chelsea: 25 women chefs including Anita Lo and Del Posto pastry chef Nicole Kaplan will cook at a cancer benefit at Pier 60 on Monday. [Restaurant Girl]
Related: Women Chefs Come Out in Force For BenefitFlatiron: Hill Country hosts 4-Foodies on September 18 for the online group’s second tasting event. [4-Foodies]
Harlem: Mexican street vendors will prepare the fare at Restaurante La Hacienda on September 19 for a Tamale and Tequila Tasting organized by the non-profit group Esperanza del Barrio. [Uptown Flavor]
Lower East Side: Tailor gets high marks from opening-night diners who may not have understood the menu, but appreciated the results. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Midtown West: A food cart on 46th Street at Sixth Avenue is serving up special Ramadan “break-the-fast” boxes. [Midtown Lunch]
Tribeca: Cognac week at Brandy Library means free tastings every night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. through Saturday.
It’s often remarked, and with some justice, that the New York restaurant business is a man’s world, with women having to claw and scratch for every bit of recognition. (At least, that was Keith McNally’s view.) A Second Helping of Life, though, a big benefit event for breast-and ovarian-cancer survivors, boasts a pretty heady lineup of stars, and all of the female persuasion: Prune’s Gabrielle Hamilton, Del Posto’s Nicole Kaplan, Butter’s Alexandra Guarnaschelli, Amalia’s Ivy Stark, and Rebecca Charles, inventor of the lobster roll, will all be present and accounted for, along with such founding mothers of the New York food scene as Gourmet’s Ruth Reichl, and the formidable Ariane Daguin of D'Artagnan. Tickets are $300 for the event, to be held on September 17 on Chelsea Piers. Visit sharecancersupport.org for more information.
When last we heard from Nicole Kaplan, the well-respected pastry chef was just about to quit her post at Eleven Madison Park. Turns out she has been hired at Del Posto, a place already well known for its desserts — like the rum-and-chocolate pairing we highlighted in yesterday’s installment of the Annotated Dish. “We’re excited to have Nicole take our dessert program to an even higher level,” Joe Bastianich tells us. “We think she’s a really exciting chef.” Kaplan, who can take credit, among other things, for the Shake Shack’s world-class frozen custard, started work Monday night.
Earlier:Nicole Kaplan Ditching Eleven Madison Park [Grub Street]
One of the city's top pastry chefs is on the move: Nicole Kaplan, who served under two chefs at Eleven Madison Park and helped create the custard at Shake Shack, has given her notice. "I'm leaving sometime before the end of the year," she tells us. "I'm looking at pastry-chef positions at several good restaurants and hotels." Is there any temptation, we asked, to go the way of Will Goldfarb, Pichet Ong, and Francois Payard, and open her own dessert restaurant? "I'm not quite there yet," Kaplan says. "I wish I was. But my husband" — Sea Grill chef de cuisine Jawn Chasteen — "and I have two kids and a big mortgage!" Kaplan says that wherever she goes, she plans on sticking to her style, which she describes as "three- or four-star comfort food." "Dessert tastes don't really change over time. Nobody is looking to eat a dessert they have to think about," she says.