stock up on edible holiday gifts this sunday
I’ve been a fan of Slow Food NYC for a while but have not done quite enough to support them. This Sunday, December 8th, they’re hosting a holiday market featuring local food entrepreneurs. The bonus? It’s all happening at Astor Center which is also the home of Astor Wines & Spirits where Chris and I go to stock up on delicious, affordable wines.
If you’re in town this Sunday, stop by!
You can bet that A&B American Style will be there. We may wear bells. Undecided at this point. Should we?
It wasn’t a breakthrough, it was the grind
Here’s the first of what will be an ongoing series of Price Hike interviews about how chefs at some of the world’s most expensive restaurants are reducing their reliance on (large portions of) animal proteins and instead finding luxury in vegetables and grains.
This phenomenon, which I’d argue is a magnificent one, (we’re all tired of eating giant slabs of pork belly), was the subject of my feature story in this autumn’s edition of Bloomberg Pursuits. It’s a story that’s been brewing inside me since my last meal at Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns in 2011. That dinner, priced at $208pp before wine, tax, or tip, was the first time I had a long, expensive tasting menu that was bereft of significant portions of meat. Briefly: I liked it, a lot. Even though I was a hint confused at first.
"Did I really pay that much for vegetables?," I remember thinking.
This is why Barber was one of the first chefs I turned to when researching my Pursuits piece. You’ll find him quoted throughout the story, but since he had so much to say (and since I only had 1,600 words), I thought I’d use The Price Hie to publish the first half of my July telephone interview with the nationally-renowned chef. Barber speaks about the perils of the so-called farm-to-table model, about the impact of vegetable-heavy menus on the “bank account” of the soil, and about why he serves a ton of beef in the fall.
I began my conversation with Barber by asking him to respond to this quote from David Kinch, the chef at the vegetable-heavy Manresa:
"I get asked all the time, ‘you grow your own vegetables, you must be saving money.’ We are spending three times more money than if we were shopping at farmers markets and picking up the phone and calling a produce company…What I also found out is that it’s not cheaper cooking vegetables. There is a tremendous amount of work from cleaning, cutting and prepping, just as much as with meat or fish." (Source: Find. Eat. Drink.)
Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises, don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful — be concerned with doing good work and make the right choices and protect your work. And if you build a good name, eventually, that name will be its own currency.