People not in involved with the restaurant industry have inordinately high expectations of brand new establishments. For instance, the diner just opened for business a week ago and is still technically in a soft open. They have yet to roll out the full menu as it takes a little while to get all your vendor deliveries coordinated.
Until you open your doors, you can never be fully prepared for service. No matter how long you have to prep your staff, they are going to be flustered until a routine is established. These things take time and yet people expect everything to be perfect from the moment the doors open.
Here’s a tip: if a restaurant is brand new, wait about a month before visiting OR temper your expectations. If you walk in right away, know that your servers might not know the exact details of every dish and things will likely take extra time. The music won’t be dialed in quite yet, the kitchen is going to mess up more orders than they’d like, and the hostess might not have all the tables memorized.
I drew Mario Batali as a golden statue for the September issue of GQ. You have to check it out in print — David Chang’s article about ordering tasting menus rules, and the page is so fun.
I love going to Batali’s restaurant Otto Enoteca, and I’m dying to try Del Posto. This is most certainly in honor of his Croc-wearing self and delicious food.
Many thanks to Chelsea Cardinal for the art direction and this crazy awesome assignment. I like smiling while I draw :)
In honor of the 20th anniversary of Thomas Keller’s legendary Napa restaurant, The French Laundry, F&W’s Kate Krader and Chelsea Morse have collected reminiscences and lessons from some of the chefs who worship him. Here are a few of his teachings.
Travis Hood is raising a rare species of pig called the Red Wattle. He’s part of a small but growing movement across the country to hold on to biodiversity and save heritage breeds.
Red Wattle are particularly delicious pigs and I am thankful there are those farmers who are working tirelessly to expand the populations of heritage breed animals.
Sliced roast beef atop dressed greens and sliced yellow tomatoes.