Congratulations: 2014 Food + Wine Best New Chefs

alma-blog
This is not your Bubby’s brisket. It is, however, Ari Taymor”s.

Today, Food + Wine announced their picks for  Best New Chefs of 2014. The honorees are:

* Ari Taymor, Alma, Los Angeles, California

* Joe Ogrodnek and Walker Stern, Dover, Brooklyn, New York

* Eli Kulp, Fork, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

* Matt McAllister, FT33, Dallas, Texas

* Dave Beran, Next, Chicago, Illinois

* Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, Ox, Portland, Oregon

* Justin Yu, Oxheart, Houston, Texas

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1st Annual Cherry Bombe Jubilee + After-Party

On Sunday, March 30th, in Manhattan, Cherry Bombe magazine’s Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu hosted the first Cherry Bombe Jubilee, a conference in celebration of women in the world of food. Sponsored in part by OpenTable and attended by hundreds of up and comers and established names (Hello, Alice Waters!)  in the culinary realm, it was a day of learning, discussion, networking, and, of course, food. Later that evening, OpenTable hosted an after-party at Corkbuzz Wine Studio. Featuring wines curated by owner Laura Maniec, Jordan Salacityo, Beverage Director at Momofuku restaurants, Pascaline Lepeltier, Wine Director at Rouge Tomate, and Juliette Pope, Wine Director at Gramercy Tavern, the after party also featured sweet and savory treats. You can check out exclusive photos from the evening’s festivities below.

Throughout the Jubilee, some of the food world’s best and brightest weighed in on a number of topics, including:

* Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar (and inventor of the famed crack pie), spoke about being the change. “We get to choose how we exist in this industry.” She urged attendees, “Be the individual. Individuality is priceless.” She also encouraged women to “make room for someone else to come in” to your kitchen, your business, and the industry.

* Dorothy Cann Hamilton, founder of the French Culinary Institute (my alma mater!), pointed out that although there’s a perception that there are more men in the culinary field, the percentage of women attending culinary school was 59% in 2012 (up from 31% in 1992) as compared to just 41% male students. Her hypothesis as to why we aren’t seeing more female chefs dominating restaurant kitchens is that women are seeking out more entrepreneurial ventures after graduating.

* Chefs April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig), Katie Button (Cúrate), Anita Lo (Annisa), and Sarah Kramer were on a panel called “Getting Your Clog in the Door.” They all agreed that doing a stage/internship is an important first step. Kramer said, “Doing a stage is a great way to get your foot in the door at a restaurant if you want to work there.” And, it worked for Kramer; she wound up staging and, later, working at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Beyond a stage, Lo advised, “Go work at the best restaurant you can find.” She started her career at Bouley and hasn’t missed a beat since. For those newbies not living in a major culinary city, there are still plenty of opportunities. Bloomfield pointed out, “No matter where you start, it will expose you and lead you to other places.” For those unable to get into the kitchen of their dreams, Button recommends starting in the front of the house to get to the back of the house. She employed that strategy successfully at both El Bulli and José Andrés’s restaurants.Continue Reading

Celebrate Spring with #SolarVortex Dining Specials in Boston, Chicago, New York + Philadelphia!

Solar-Vortex-Logo-finalThe winter of 2013-14 was one of the most brutal in recent memories. Frigid temperatures and brutal snowstorms kept even the most devoted diners at home, curled up in comfy pants and, assumably, bingeing on House of Cards. Between the Polar Vortex, the back-to-back storms in early February, and more, restaurants in several major cities, including Boston, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia, have experienced declines in business of anywhere from 11% to a whopping 28%.

Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, confirms,”I’ve spoken with restaurateurs whose business went down 10-15%, if not more, due to the extreme winter conditions. It was also difficult for employees to get to and from work during the snowstorms and a challenge for restaurants to accept product deliveries.”

Chef Harold Dieterle, who operates acclaimed restaurants Kin Shop, Perilla, and The Marrow, and his staff braved these storms, having to shovel snow from their sidewalks regularly and even skip a few services, despite being located in the public transit oasis that is New York City. “We closed for some lunches at Kin Shop due to the storms. And, if guests aren’t coming in, while it definitely affects the restaurant’s bottom line, it also hurts the front-of-house staff who rely on tips. It’s been a challenging season for the restaurants and the staff, for sure.” Both Kin Shop and Perilla are offering #SolarVortex specials, and all three restaurants, including The Marrow have just launched exciting new spring menus. “It’s been a rough winter for sure. I’m definitely looking forward to some warm weather, even though it’s not happening today.”

Despite the chill, to help celebrate the end of winter and the arrival of spring, restaurants in Boston, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia are offering #SolarVortex dining specials today through March 28. Cooped-up diners are invited to take advantage of unique offers, from specialty cocktails, such as the ‘Rose Colored Glasses’ at Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria in Manhattan and deep discounts, including $20 off dinner visit with a $50 minimum spend at Roy’s in Chicago, to almost-free lunch, like the $7 local-focused lunch special at Route 7 Grill in Great Barrington, and even free meals, such as Brandywine Prime’s in which diners receive a free brunch for two for every two guests. Continue Reading

OpenTable Hot Tables: Pilot Program Introduces Mobile Alerts for Highly Sought-After Reservations

Hot Tables blogAt OpenTable, we recognize that there can be a greater demand for tables at a particular restaurant than there are available tables. Whether it’s folks trying to book a table for two on Saturday night at the newest hot spot in town or those planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip to a bucket-list restaurant, diners may occasionally miss out on a reservation — even after it becomes available through a last-minute cancellation.

To increase diners’ opportunities to secure coveted reservations, OpenTable is pleased to announce the launch of the Hot Tables pilot program. With this exciting new feature, you can be notified when the reservation you want becomes available. Simply set an alert for a reservation date, time, and party size at a particular restaurant. If a table becomes available, you will be notified by text message. Please note that an alert is not a guaranteed reservation, thus diners receiving alerts are advised to act immediately.

The pilot program for Hot Tables mobile alerts is limited and is currently available to select diners in Houston, Los Angeles, and New York.  If you live in one of these cities and would like an invitation to the pilot program, email us at requestalertsinvite@opentable.com.

Aditya Singh is the Senior Product Manager for Hot Tables and Gifts.