Alessandro Porcelli of Cook It Raw on Collaboration, Mentorship + How to End Bullying in the Kitchen

Blog Cook It Raw

If you’re not familiar with the name Alessandro Porcelli, you may have heard of some of his close collaborators: David Chang, Daniel Patterson, and Rene Redzepi, to name a few.

Alessandro is the founder and director of Cook It Raw, an annual gathering of the restaurant industry’s top talent aimed at sharing ideas and innovations in the world of food. Every year groups of chefs come together to explore ingredients and where they come from; learn historic and regional cooking methods; and exchange new, creative ways to talk about and share food with the world. Check out the #rawtalks hashtag on Twitter to follow the conversation.

In creating the organization Alessandro has made it his mission to bring collaboration and sharing to the forefront of an industry famed for its competitiveness (and often, intimidation). The latest issue of Lucky Peach magazine featured articles by David Chang and Rene Redzepi about the legacy of abuse and fear in professional kitchens, recognizing the need for a cultural shift.

Here, we ask Alessandro all about Cook It Raw, how chefs are working together, and how the industry is evolving to create better leaders and a better community overall.

Continue reading…Continue Reading

A Taste of the Past: 5 Heritage Ingredients Making a Comeback

Not every taste withstands the test of time. Plenty of vegetables, herbs, and grains popular in the past have either gone of out style and are no longer cultivated on a mass scale or have had key flavors altered through breeding. Lucky for present-day diners, chefs are rediscovering and reviving these lost heirloom plants in contemporary cuisine. Here are five heritage ingredients making a comeback that will give you a taste of history.

Benne Seeds
You’re probably already somewhat familiar with benne seeds since they are the forefathers to modern sesame. The ovate seeds have a nutty character and add an umami quality to the dishes they’re featured in. They’re the backbone of Sean Brock of Husk’s Charleston Ice Cream, which is a warm savory starter made with Carolina Gold Rice, not a cold sweet finale. The seeds are incredibly versatile. Bourbon Steak’s executive chef Joe Palma used them to dapple a yeast doughnut, which served as a bun for his Big American burger topped with bacon, pimento cheese, and sweet ‘n’ spicy pickle relish .

Bourbon Steak Burger

Though it’s part of the grass family and can be used as a grain, sorghum is best known for being transformed into a dark syrup popular below the Mason-Dixon line. Tasting like a cross between molasses and maple syrup, it’s often used interchangeably with the two, either as a sweetener or drizzled on to flapjacks and biscuits. At Washington, D.C.’s Vidalia, it’s incorporated into the standout sweet potato sourdough in the restaurant’s complimentary bread basket. Conversely, it adds Southern-style sweetness to the butter accompanying the cast iron cornbread at Food, Wine & Co. in Bethesda, Maryland. Chef Erik Niel of Easy Bistro & Bar, Chattanooga, Tennessee, goes a different route entirely, using popped sorghum to garnish his tuna tartare (pictured below).

Blog Easy Bistro copy

This winter root vegetable’s nickname is the “oyster plant,” because it supposedly expresses that flavor when it’s cooked – though some think it tastes more like an artichoke. A relative of the parsnip, it works best when boiled, mashed, or fried. Gabriel Kreuther of New York City’s Gabriel Kreuther has used it in a decadent gratin made with plenty of butter, half-and-half, Gruyere, Monterey Jack, and a pinch of nutmeg. At City Perch in North Bethesda, Maryland, executive chef Matt Baker has showcased salsify in a seared scallops dish given a luxe lift with shaved black truffles.Continue Reading

Save $15 on Business Dining When You Pay with OpenTable This Week #likeaboss

PAY_twitter-businesslunch-r2aScore points with management this week by saving $15 on business dining. When you book a table and pay through the OpenTable app* for your next business meal on Monday, September 14 through Friday, September 18, you’ll save $15** on your experience — how’s that for mixing business with pleasure? Here’s how it works:

* Make a reservation and dine September 14-18 at a restaurant that accepts OpenTable mobile payments.

* Add the promo code likeaboss in the top right when you view your check in the app. (You can only use it once!)

* And there you have it —  $15 credit toward your bill. Now, who’s the boss? (Hint: It’s not Tony Danza.)

View participating restaurants in ChicagoMinneapolis, New YorkSan Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Find all participating restaurants here. Book a reservation today to save $15 on business dining when you Pay with OpenTable!Continue Reading

7 Restaurant Trends OpenTable Diners Are Loving Now

7 Trends

Last week OpenTable released our annual list of the 100 Best Restaurants in America for Foodies, based on more than five million reviews from verified diners in our network. Once the list was complete, our team combed through it looking for new themes and similarities between restaurants to see what restaurant experiences foodies are craving today.

Overall, casual dining experiences are increasingly favored by guests (it’s no secret the white tablecloth is out), and we’re seeing that evolution play out in a few different ways, with restaurants catering more to their neighborhoods and communities. Chefs are still partial to local ingredients, but flavors and techniques are inspired by Spain, Israel, Japan, France, and beyond. And, many of these hot restaurants are the brainchilds of not just one star chef/owner, but two.

From menus to teams and dining styles, here are 7 restaurant trends we spotted.

Continue reading…

Olivia Terenzio is the Content Marketing Manager at OpenTable and editor of Open for BusinessContinue Reading