Thursday, July 31, 2008

Update

After weeks of not really noticing much change at the sight, things have taken a huge turn. The 5 people that would normally be there have multiplied to about 15. They are now working 12 hour days and changes are beginning to happen on a daily basis.
I walked into the spot tonight and saw a restaurant!! The kitchen is about 95% complete, Matt and I will begin the process of multiple cleanings to get the kitchen ready for inspection. The FOH has the gorgeous crown molding and decorative beams running through it, and most important the toilets are in!!!!!!!
This week water, electricity and gas will be on.....Pictures will soon follow.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Quick Entry: The Perfect Meal???

What is the perfect meal?? Is it just delicious food?? I mean, I have a great meal a hundred times a year, and a small percentage of those are outstanding ones.Was it the perfect meal?? What about the addition of pleasant company??Will an o.k. meal be better with great company? Maybe....
I say, in a perfect meal, food and context conspire to reveal, to show and to instruct. There must be epiphany....

Monday, July 14, 2008

LA COCINA


Here it is! The first picture of the hot line(ok so its the whole kitchen, but it sounds good). Double staking Vulcan Convection, 8 burner Wolf range sitting on top a victory refrigerated equipment stand, my favorite piece the Jade Plancha!!! and a Viking fryolator. Simple set up but very efficient for quick small plates to fly out all night,Its all going to start to happen more quickly now...the next couple of days will include delivery of the chefs pass, some additional sinks and tables and the utility room. Does anybody see the kitchen getting smaller?? I'm getting excited!!!I can see and smell the food now, like a kid in a candy store! More pics to come soon.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

foundation



As a chef, I believe the menu is the foundation of any great restaurant, I believe many areas have to come together to create a synergy, but in my world the menu has to be one of the strongest pieces holding the foundation together.
There are many parts to a successful restaurant. First there is the ultimate vision, vague at first, but with all of the collaboration between us we have a very clear vision of where we need to go.
Next is the space, and bringing the vision to life within a space that is designed to ultimately turn a profit.
And then there is the menu,this is both the easiest and most difficult part of opening a new restaurant. The first menu is never the one that makes the final opening. The draft menu allows you to focus on several areas:
1. Kitchen Setup( how many stations and pieces of equipment will we need)
2. Labor(how many people will it take to execute)
3.Food Cost( what does it cost to put the plate in front of our guest)
4.China( how much china will we need)
5.Table Turns( how long will a guest spend while dining with us)
It seems the general public only knows about a new restaurant opening when the lights are on, and the smell of fresh food is coming from the kitchen, but they likely will never fully understand just how much planning and work it takes to get there! That's why I am sharing some insights about this process as it relates to the restaurant that we are getting ready to open.
I will over time continue to post general overviews of the creative process involved in opening a new restaurant. It takes time, dedication, patience, compromise, and all around teamwork! Here are a couple of pictures, as you can see the walk in and kitchen are coming along, Mike and I also felt the need for a quick snap shot of us in our hard hats......

Monday, July 7, 2008

Whats going on at the job site??

Well, up until this point I have not had much to say about the actual build out, I mean how much fun is it to read(or write) about the same thing day in and day out. So I have saved what has been happening for the past 6 weeks for this moment...
Everyday a group of 4-6 guys (and 1 gal) show up for work, they pound, bang, saw, drill, curse, grunt, eat and write things on the wall about the union guys.
The work they're performing is vital. Electrical, plumbing and gas lines have been installed; foundations laid; framing, seismic upgrades, roofing and HVAC (duct work for the ventilation system) work has been completed.
When I was there today, the shower board(wall covering made for easy clean up) was being installed in the kitchen, the tiles have been laid and on Wednesday, yes this Wednesday my walk in cooler will arrive and be installed. But unfortunately, how many pictures of nails and plywood do you really want to see?
But I will apologize now for not posting all of this, this build out has been kicking all of our asses around, our to do list grows as we get closer, our "extra curricular" activities, as I like to call them can be a challenge sometimes, and the dreaded "RFI list"( request for information- contractor lingo I guess) is something that I have tried desperately to not get involved with, with much luck might I add, are all things that require most of our dedicated attention. But at this point, I can finally start to write about things that are happening so quickly,I can begin to take pictures that might interest you, so stay tuned, the fun has just begun!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

4th of July Reflection of American Cuisine


What is American Cuisine? Taco stands of So Cal, fish and chips in the north east, Cuban sandwiches in Miami... all of which originated in other countries. The days of meat and potatoes is barely noticeable anymore, even casual chain eateries are featuring skirt steak sandwiches with plantains, salsa verde and chipotle aioli.
The American culinary scene is growing, and the interest of American culinary traditions is also growing along side.
One place where this is most notable, is in the urban communities where a melting pot of cultures and cuisines is beginning to expand into the suburbs of American cities. The flavors are becoming more and more standard in good old American homes. What once was an International "section" in supermarkets has now become multiple isles representing , no not international cuisine, but NEW AMERICAN CUISINE!!
Then lets consider where this American Cuisine is going. More and More restaurants are taking good ole American food, combining them with international flair and using very high end ingredients. Lets take the Burger, you cant get more USA than a BBQ burger, but now the burger is found on many upscale restaurant menus, KOBE Burger with Foie Gras and Fig Jam, Daniel Boulud has the most expensive burger, the DB Double Truffle Burger in New York, priced at $130.
In the end I guess, the melting pot of cultures is what makes America what it is today. Rich people living along side the poor, White, Black, Hispanic, Chinese, Polish, Jewish all living in the same city block, sharing ideas, culture and cuisine, that is rapidly being developed into a cuisine like no other in the world. New American Cuisine is truly a movement that will not stop, it will continue to grow and catch the attention of the world, it will continue bring together flavors and textures and ingredients like no other cuisine has, and it will continue to be done right here in the USA!!!!!