Who Owns a Dish? A Discussion with Chef Stuart Lane of Spinasse

Who Owns a Dish? A Discussion with Chef Stuart Lane of Spinasse

On an episode of Chef’s Table, Netflix’s docuseries that follows prominent chefs, Grant Achatz recalls a discussion he had with chef Thomas Keller while he was a young cook at The French Laundry. Achatz had created a cantaloupe and caviar gelee dish for the restaurant’s tasting menu and chef Keller liked it and wanted to add it to the menu.

Before incorporating the dish into the menu Keller asked Achatz a question: “If this dish goes on the menu it becomes a French Laundry dish; are you okay with that?” Achatz said yes, as any young cook would, proud of creating something that his mentor deemed worthy enough of serving in his restaurant. The dish was added to The French Laundry’s tasting menu.

Every single restaurant dish starts as an idea from an executive chef or a line cook, who then works on creating that dish. In most kitchens, dishes don’t reach the menu until line cooks, sous chefs, or the executive chef taste the dish and add their opinions. It’s like editing a rough draft of an article. After everyone weighs in, the original chef or line cook that came up with dish makes changes based on the feedback and the process repeats itself. Once the dish is approved by all parties it’s added to the menu or run as a special for the night. That dish is the final draft, the one that gets published and added to the menu.

Except, in writing, finished articles usually include the name of the writer somewhere on the page. On menus, dishes are not credited to the cook who may have originally came up with the idea — instead they’re all lumped under the executive chef’s name. So, who really owns a dish? And in the case of signature dishes that become an important part of a tasting menu (a la Grant Achatz at The French Laundry) who can claim ownership?

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Sweet! 13 Top NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016 Desserts

NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016 kicks off on July 25th and runs through August 19th. Diners can save at hundreds of the city’s best restaurants with three-course $29 lunches and $42 dinners — which include dessert, arguably the best part of any meal. Here we present 13 of our top picks for meal enders sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Banana Pudding at Miss Lily’s
Chef Adam Schop created Miss Lily’s famous, creamy, and decadent banana pudding. It comes layered with freshly cut bananas and delicious vanilla wafers for some added texture. Make an NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016 reservation at Miss Lily’s.

NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016

Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée at David Burke Kitchen
The classic vanilla bean crème brûlée gets a seasonal twist from executive pastry chef Tracy Wilk with the addition of summery strawberry rhubarb jam and lemon thyme cookies. Make an NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016 reservation at David Burke Kitchen.

NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016

Devil’s Food Cake at The Dutch
The name aside, the devil’s food cake from pastry chef Summer Bailey makes us feel positively angelic. Served with an elegant quenelle of vanilla ice cream, it’s a sin to skip this one. Make an NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016 reservation at The Dutch.

NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016

Key Lime Pie at Charlie Palmer Steak
Savor the sweet and sour flavors of this summertime delight. Graham crumb, chantilly cream, and raspberry round things out in this version from executive chef Ryan Lory. Make an NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016 reservation at Charlie Palmer Steak.

NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016

Torta della Nonna at Tarallucci e Vino
This translates to grandma’s cake (and you wouldn’t want to disappoint her — or executive chef Cara Hermanson — by not ordering it). This quintessential Italian specialty is both delicate and delicious, filled with thick custard and topped with pine nuts and a sugary glaze. Make an NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016 reservation at Taralluci e Vino.

NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016

Molyvos Sundae at Molyvos
Executive chef Carlos Carretto gives the traditional ice cream sundae a Greek accent with baklava ice cream, Samos caramel, walnuts, and shredded sesame halva served in phyllo dough. Make an NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016 reservation at Molyvos.

NYC restaurant Week Summer 2016

Chocolate Genoise at The Liberty Room at Aureole
Sponge cake gets an assist from coconut marshmallow and coconut ice cream in chef Renaud Besnard’s spin on this French favorite. Make an NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016 reservation at The Liberty Room at Aureole.

NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016

Sherbet Parfait at STK Midtown
Keep things fresh with this refreshing sorbet trio with a berry compote and almond crumble – perfect for summer indulging, courtesy of executive chef Andy Kitko. Make an NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016 reservation at STK Midtown.

NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016

Maple Syrup Pie at Left Bank
It’s like breakfast for dessert with this ender from chef Laurence Edelman. Slathered in dark amber maple syrup and accompanied with cider cookies and creme fraiche, this Canadian-inspired dessert is always on the menu Left Bank. Make an NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016 reservation at Left Bank.

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Cindy Daniel on Creating the Healdsburg SHED Ecosystem

Healdsburg SHED

About 20 years ago, Cindy Daniel and Doug Lipton moved to Healdsburg to follow their dream of starting their own farm. After they achieved that dream, they set out to conquer another three years ago: Healdsburg SHED, a celebration of food and community unlike anything else.

Healdsburg SHED has the primary quality that you may see on a thriving farm ecosystem: diversity. This beautiful two-story building is home to a restaurant, fermentation bar, coffee bar, retail shop, produce, farming tools, and a community gathering space. The mission of all of these components is to create a space that celebrates “good farming, good cooking, and good eating.”

After a tour from Doug, we sat down with Cindy to talk about the inspiration, concept, and construction behind SHED, including the different components that work together to make the ecosystem thrive. Some customers may come in daily for a cup of coffee and a pastry or heirloom seeds for their home garden. Ultimately, there are many different kinds of people who can relate to SHED in different ways — here’s how she engages them all.
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Eric Ziebold’s Kinship By The Numbers

You’ll find numbers everywhere you look in restaurants – from the menu and the wine list to the purchase orders and time sheets. We wanted to take a calculated look at the numbers that add up to create the critically acclaimed Eric Ziebold’s Kinship in Washington, D.C.

Chef Ziebold first found success at the lauded-to-the-moon-and-back CityZen, where he earned a Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic from the James Beard Foundation, a Best New Chef award from Food & Wine, and a Chef of the Year award from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. His new venture in the Shaw neighborhood combines graceful elegance, spot-on execution, and dishes that range from elevated takes on simple fare – like roasted chicken – to those that are the definition of decadent indulgence, such as Maine lobster French toast. Here are the numbers behind Ziebold’s winning restaurant. (Don’t worry; you don’t have to be a math whiz for them to make you hungry!).

Eric Ziebold's Kinship

Seats: 75

Tables: 24

Year the building was built: 1904

Kitchen staff: 14

Number of hours a dining room server needs to train before becoming “live” on the floor: 80

Bottles in the wine cellar: 2,000

Largest bottle of wine in the cellar: 12 liters of Diamond Creek

Most expensive bottle of wine sold: $2,300 for a 1989 Chateau Lafite

Pieces of ceramics handmade for the restaurant when it opened: 1,200

Pounds of lobster purchased each week: 165 pounds

Eric Ziebold's Kinship

Chocolate chip cookie dough soufflés ordered last week: 70

Number of orders of the best-selling Maine lobster French toast sold last month: 612Continue Reading