The Waldorf Salad: History, New Twists on a Classic + a Refresh Recipe Contest

The Waldorf salad has a history almost as storied as that of its namesake hotel, and it is an enduring item on the menus at Bull & Bear Steakhouse, Oscar’s, and Peacock Alley at the Waldorf Astoria in New YorkDive into the salad’s delicious past and learn about new dishes and drink inspired by this sublime salad. Then, get details on the “California Walnuts Waldorf Salad Refresh Recipe Contest” happening on Pinterest for a chance to win $5,000 and a trip to New York City — and to have your recipe featured on the legendary Waldorf Astoria menu!

When I was growing up, my maternal grandmother kept a framed illustration of a Waldorf salad recipe on the wall of her cozy Bronx kitchen. Even though her picture dated back to the seventies, my younger self was surprised to learn the dish predated it by many decades. My nana, as we called her, never made me the apple-celery-walnut-and-mayonnaise salad in the picture, but when I first sampled a forkful of its crisp, cool, and creamy goodness at a restaurant, I was hooked, just like other eaters have been for more than a century. It reminded me of a sweet-ish version of another culinary stalwart I adore: the savory Olivier salad with its diced potatoes, carrots, peas, and — yep! — mayonnaise. Olivier salad dates from the mid-nineteenth century, and it’s entirely plausible that it inspired the Waldorf salad thirty short years later.

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Just three years after the Waldorf Hotel opened its doors in 1893 in its original location, and a year prior to joining with the Astoria Hotel (connected then by Peacock Alley), maître d’hôtel Oscar Tschirsky (1866-1950), known as Oscar of the Waldorf, invented the namesake Waldorf salad for its first-ever banquet. The recipe was also included in his cookbook published in the same year. The original recipe, written in a very Escoffier-esque way (pictured above). called for diced apples and celery dressed with mayonnaise. It apparently proved popular with the famed French chef, as he created his own version that, according to current Waldorf Astoria executive chef David Garcelon, included walnuts.

Since the superfood that is walnuts first added their crunch to this beloved salad, the dish has undergone several iterations in the 100 years it has been continuously served on all of the hotel restaurant menus. Garcelon says, “I believe it was my predecessor, chef John Doherty, who added black truffle and used crème fraîche in the dressing, as well as the combination of red and green apples.” Garcelon revisited the recipe again in 2012 — with care and caution. “My foremost concern in refreshing the recipe is that it is, by far, our biggest selling dish in every outlet. So I wanted to update it but not make a drastic change. Also, I think it is important to keep the foundation of the dish rooted in the original version,” he says.

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Tweet of the Week: Win a Supreme Trip for Six!

Do you want to win a trip for six? Of course you do! So does @BrassyLibrarian, who shared her Vacation Supremacy giveaway entry tweet. Here’s the deal: You and five friends fly out to the destination of your choice, stay three nights in swank digs, and indulge in delicious food and drink, all courtesy of AirBnB, UrbanDaddy, and OpenTable. Entering is as easy as sharing your email address and zip code; you can increase your chances of winning by sharing the contest with friends. This will also probably increase your chances of getting invited on the trip if one of those friends wins! Read more here. Then, enter here through July 29, 2013!



The Big (Grilled) Cheese: Enter Artisanal’s 3rd Annual Grilled Cheese Contest!

For your appreciation: The 2012 winning Artisanal Grilled Cheese — “Drunken” Raclette Grilled Cheese! Can you top it?

Are you a grilled cheese grillmaster? Does your version of this melted sammie melt hearts? If you think your grilled cheese recipe is the one recipe to rule them all, enter Artisanal’s Third Annual Grilled Cheese Contest! The winner will have her/his award-winning grilled cheese sandwich placed on Artisanal‘s menu, with 10% of all proceeds of the winning sandwiches sales being donated to the charity of the winner’s choice, receive a special five-course dinner for two in Artisanal’s private cheese cave, and an autographed copy of Chef Terrance Brennan’s book Artisanal Cooking.

To enter, like Artisanal’s Facebook page. It’s easy to enter, click here to submit your recipe: before Sunday, March 31, 2013, at 11:59PM EDT. Read the full submissions guidelines. Six finalists will be selected and announced on Facebook on Friday, April 5, 2013. Final judging will take place on National Grilled Cheese Day — Friday, April 12, 2013 — at The Cutting Room, just across the street from Artisanal.

Located in Manhattan, Artisanal Fromagerie, Bistro and Wine Bar has been regarded as a champion of hand-craftsmanship since opening its doors more than a decade ago. Offering the largest selection of exceptionally made cheeses, the restaurant is committed to honoring the traditions of cheese masters and offering guests a unique yet always approachable dining experience. Join them as they celebrate their passion by recognizing a dish that people of all ages can appreciate: the grilled cheese.

Enter today for a chance to win the title, terrific prizes — and some serious culinary bragging rights!


Artisanal Fromagerie in NYC Seeks the Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe!

I adore cheese, so it's probably not a surprise that I adore Artisanal Bistro!

Do you make the best grilled sandwich ever? If so, please send me one. Also, enter today for a chance to win the Artisanal Grilled Cheese Contest! Entering is simple. Like Artisanal Fromagerie Bistro & Wine Bar on Facebook, and then visit their contest page. The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2012, at 5PM EST.

Grilled cheese has weathered many a diet craze and cuts across an array of cuisines, and they are now more popular than ever. Chef Brennan explains, “Grilled cheeses are hot right now for several reasons. First, everyone can relate to the sandwich from their childhood, so it evokes nostalgic emotions. Also, everyone has made one! And, with talented chefs now getting into the game and using Artisanal,  high-quality products, it’s bringing this humble sandwich to another level. Plus, given the economic climate,  it’s an affordable luxury.” Artisanal’s features several variations on grilled cheese sandwiches. We’ve had them on the menu for about eight years, and it is one of our most popular sellers. My favorite is the ‘Frenchie,’ with the ‘Spaniard’ being a close second.”