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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What It Takes to Work in Hospitality; Paper-free Checks Fight Credit Card Theft + More

Fools rush in — to the hotel minibar.

Dining news from around the world and the web…

* And then there were none. The Village Voice‘s sole restaurant critic exits stage left. [NY Times]

* Nevermind the minibar. In-room dining at the hottest hotels is getting less expensive. [Business Week]

* Think thin. That doesn’t really work, but try these five tips for staying slim while dining out. [Fox News]

* C’mon, get happy! If you want to work in restaurants, you’d better enjoy pleasing people. []

* Paper-free checks vex thieves. A new digital payment system can reduce credit card theft at restaurants. [USA TodayContinue Reading

Pop-Up Restaurants Hit a Peak; Tasting Menu Discourse Courses on + More News

Taking a Roman holiday? Dining etiquette tips, a Vespa, and someone as dashing as Gregory Peck are definitely in order to make the most of your trip.

Food and dining news from around the web and the world…

* Fill a prescription and fill up on food? Drugstores are getting into the dining game. [SF Gate]

* Destination dining hits a peak atop Mount Kilimanjaro. Literally. [Toledo Blade]

* Hotel dining moves far beyond room service and stodgy menus. Find out how they’re catering to today’s travelers. [USA Today]

* When in Rome: Dining etiquette in Italy. [The Telegraph]

* This is the coolest menu in the world. Design-wise, at least. [Eater]

* Hungry for more discourse on courses? The tasting menu backlash continues. [Reuters]

* Don’t skip out on your check in India. Ever. [The Raw Story]

* Top chefs aren’t the only ones who find success in restaurants. Get some career advice from a top server at Manny’s Steakhouse in Minneapolis. [Star Tribune]

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Restaurant News: Good Patios, Bad Reinventions, and French Chefs in London

* French chefs say “Oui!” to London restaurants. [The Guardian]

* Chain restaurants set their sights on Manhattan. [Wall Street Journal]

* Hotel restaurants are favoring function over form. [USA Today]

* Naming a restaurant isn’t easy as you’d think. [The Atlantic]

* Here’s what became of some of the country’s most famous restaurants of the last century. []

* Not surprisingly, Los Angeles restaurants have some pretty chic patios. [Los Angeles Times]

* Speaking of the City of Angels, actor Casey Affleck is rumored to be opening his own restaurant there. [Ecorazzi]

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