You'd be hard pressed these days to pick up an issue of your favorite food magazine and not find a couple of articles about how this restaurant or that chef is sourcing locally – providing seasonal ingredients and sustainable meat and fish.
This movement has become less of a novelty and more the exemplar of "new" American cuisine. As chefs and restaurants angle to solicit their targeted markets, the industry edict of sustainability has brought with it a pomp and pizzazz that has effectively gilded many restaurant concepts. As a marketing tool, however, it has begun to seem superfluous because, in many places, it has simply become the customer's expectation.
This is a good thing.
The popularity of books and movies that have unearthed the truth behind the food we eat has given the movement a full head of steam. Chefs (myself among them) are moving away from primary vendor relationships to other "mom and pop" distributors that enthusiastically specialize in just a few things and disclose all...
For some reason, the world of the culinary arts has always been a boys' club. Puzzling as it may be, refined and thoughtful dishes are created in professional kitchens by louts that are categorically unrefined and crass. In fact, we in the business wear this irony like a badge of honor.
Depravity, in both words and actions, comes so naturally in this trade that to enter a kitchen where people are polite and proper might seem strange and even creepy.
Female chefs in recent decades have carved out a more than sizable stake for themselves in this hairy-chested industry; but, they have not done so by tendering a soft feminine approach. They've had to step loudly in order to be heard and wield sharp knives along with even sharper skills in order to be respected, making sure to "give" as good as they got and adopt a decidedly male ego.
I've always maintained throughout my cooking career that I would rather lead a staff of women for two reasons. First: they work harder than men because men often...
So, you're out at a casual restaurant or low-key bar with some friends. There's a new guy – a friend of a friend – who's sitting at the end of the table. You can faintly hear him rambling some nonsense about politics or art but you can't bring yourself to pay attention. He's deliberately styled, wearing thin little glasses despite his 20/20 vision and sporting a t-shirt/leisure suit/jacket combo and sipping some dark, burgundy-colored wine.
Then it happens.
Someone who is drinking that same wine says, "This is good." He retorts with a parking lot full of garbage about its flat bouquet, its poor year and the uninspiring aromas. He might say that it's "flabby" or unrefined. Then he starts talking about the most amazing cabernet he had while studying in Paris. And you're like, "This guy sucks."
If I seem as though I'm drawing this scenario from a specific personal experience, I'm not. But, you get the point.
If you've never seen the movie "Sideways," first of all, you should, and second of al...