Welcome to Appetizers, OpenTable’s new weekly column that aims to uplift, delight, surprise, and motivate with a weekly roundup of the most inspiring food-world news of the week. Start your weekend with the things that are making us laugh, cry, think, and just plain hungry for more.
Making Us … Proud
Top Chef patron saint Tom Colicchio has taken a turn from chef and TV judge to influential lobbyist. When the coronavirus pandemic initially hit, Colicchio immediately recognized the need for independent restaurants to have representation in government relief plans. So he connected with a lobbyist friend who had funding and organized with chefs around the country — including José Andrés of D.C.’s Jaleo and others, Naomi Pomeroy of Portland’s Beast, and Kwame Onwuachi of D.C.’s Kith/Kin — to found the Independent Restaurant Coalition.
The national lobby is dedicated to securing “vital protections for the nation’s 500,000 independent restaurants and the more than 11 million restaurant workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.” So far, it’s focused much of its efforts on encouraging Congress to consider independent restaurants in the CARES Act and beyond — which helped result in key expansions and extensions of provisions for restaurants to receive money. Cheers to that.
Making Us … Hungry
Pre-pandemic, Chicago restaurant Girl & the Goat was celebrated for its global small plates from acclaimed chef Stephanie Izard. Now, the restaurant has completely revamped itself to serve this moment. Cheekily named Girl & the Goat-ceries, the restaurant now houses a virtual market, sells meal kit packages, and offers cooking videos from Izard. Meal kits that the restaurant prepares for diners to finish at home change weekly, but could include all the fixings for Korean chicken tacos or a roasted pork shank for two with herb yogurt, smoked tomato, pickled rhubarb chimichurri, flatbread, green beans, and chocolate chip cookies. Dinner is served.
Making Us … Inspired
Baja Asian spring rolls could be yours to eat this weekend with an assist from San Diego chef Brian Malarkey. Watch Malarkey walk through step-by-step how to make his “afternoon snack” spring rolls, filled with crunchy vegetables, fresh herbs, and tons of flavor.
Making Us … Chill
With nowhere to go and not much to do, cooking shows are more of a balm than usual right now. This weekend is the perfect time to catch up on this season of Top Chef: All Stars, featuring top-notch chefs from Melissa King to Lee Anne Wong. To celebrate OpenTable’s participation in the Restaurant Wars episode, there’s also a whole host of extra content to dive into highlighting former cheftestants. Watch how to make Shirley Chung’s famous cheeseburger potstickers, find out how chef Gregory Gourdet makes his signature crispy chicken wings, and more.