If You’ve Cooked in Michelin-starred Kitchens, What Do You Serve at Your Wedding?

kitchensurfing:

Most people can count the number of times they’ve had good food at a wedding on one hand. So, how do you predict a catering disaster? Easy: beware the needlessly complicated menu in an unfamiliar environment. Fancy and good are not synonyms. More than two different entrées being served? Bad idea. Dishes that require precise timing to get the temperature right? Bad idea. Professional cooks know this because cooks see the carefully-orchestrated chaos that is dinner service every day of the week. If good cooks know this, what do they serve at their own wedding?

First, the bride: Jessica Yang is a pastry chef who’s spent time at three exquisite restaurants: Per Se, Guy Savoy, and Chef’s Table. She grew up in California and studied chemical engineering and art history at Berkeley—and has since turned that scientist’s precision toward pastry. She met Robert in Paris while they were both working at the three Michelin-starred Guy Savoy.

Second, the groom: Robert Compagnon is the less-sweet side of the duo, and developed his culinary skills at Guy Savoy, Ko, Alain Ducasse’s Le Jules Verne, and Brushstroke. Robert grew up between Paris, London, and New York and studied Japanese at Columbia University in New York—which lead to one of his first professional cooking jobs at a ramen shop in Japan. He spent four years cooking in some of Paris’ best kitchens before returning to New York.

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“If you’ve never experienced it, “free” just seems like a lower number on a slider that has “half-price” in the middle. But free is not a number…

“Free” is something different than “less.” And free is not less than cheap. It’s something else entirely.

Instead of education, try thinking about love. There are people who pay for love. Some pay a lot, some pay a little. But let’s be honest: everyone knows that the moment you start paying anything, it’s not just love plus money. It’s something else entirely, and the problems in paying aren’t solved by paying less than others.”

Free is not for Nothing. - Kevin Slavin

My friend, Kevin, is a graduate of the Cooper Union—which provided a tuition free education for 150 years. He wrote something both wonderful and sad about the principles that make a thing a thing as he’s been deeply involved in the fight to try and keep the Cooper Union free.

A History of the Sky - Ken Murphy

This is a year-long time-lapse study of the sky. A camera installed on the roof of the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco captured an image of the sky every 10 seconds. From these images, I created a mosaic of time-lapse movies, each showing a single day. The days are arranged in chronological order. My intent was to reveal the patterns of light and weather over the course of a year.

“Showing up to the party of the year may give you a head full of great memories. But feeling like you are co-hosting this event changes something inside you. Being of service tunes you in to a level of purpose that changes you – or recharges you – in truly profound ways.”
“We’re in this interesting time. With technology, everyone knows everything now. So information has been commoditized, and what’s important now is knowledge. And the difference between information and knowledge is that knowledge is about having a point of view based on what we know.”

Jeremy Zimmer, the co-founder and CEO of United Talent Agency, in an interview with Adam Bryant.

I think this is a great way to frame the difference between information and knowledge.

(via parislemon)

(via dpstyles)

Alexis Ohanion of Reddit-fame is doing a new series on the Verge called Small Empires and came by to do a segment on Kitchensurfing. Fun day.

Small factoid: Alexis actually speaks a little bit of German.

“I was born the day after President Kennedy was assassinated — likely the moment the heroism bubble burst — in those primitive days when the power of the media machine was small and centralized and contained, and have been content to make do with admiring small acts of courage and beauty and conviction wherever they’re to be found. Social media has allowed unknown greatness to surface, but has also created a lot of icons better left unknown.”
Meet Stephen Muscarella: Reclaimed wood creations

The folks at CustomMade just put up a nice feature on my brother and the things he’s been building.

Meet Stephen Muscarella: Reclaimed wood creations

The folks at CustomMade just put up a nice feature on my brother and the things he’s been building.

““Let us not kid ourselves,” Professor Vladimir Nabokov reminds us. “Let us remember that literature is of no practical value whatsoever. … ” But practical value isn’t the only kind of value. Ours is a mixed economy, with the gift economy of the arts existing (if not exactly flourishing) within the inhospitable conditions of a market economy, like the fragile black market in human decency that keeps civilization going despite the pitiless dictates of self-interest.”
22 Hours in Balthazar - Willy Staley, NY Times:
Over the course of what I will be repeatedly told is a slow day, 1,247 people will eat here. (Normally, it’s about 1,500.) But within a narrow range, Balthazar knows how many people will come through its doors every single day of the week, and it can predict roughly what it will sell during every meal. It mass-produces high-quality food and pushes it out to customers, and its production numbers are as predictable as the system that churns out the food itself. Just about everyone who works at Balthazar calls it a machine.

Roughly one in 10 people who enter Balthazar orders the steak frites. It is far and away the restaurant’s best-selling dish, and Balthazar can sell as many as 200 on a busy day. A plate of steak and potatoes requires a tremendous input of labor if you’re going to charge $38 for it. At a smaller restaurant, cooks are typically responsible for setting up their own mise-en-place — preparing food for their stations — before each service begins, but at Balthazar, things are necessarily more atomized. The fries, for example, go through numerous steps of prep, done by a few different people, before they wind up on a plate.

Balthazar changed downtown dining in the late 90s and pushing twenty years old, it’s become a New York institution. This is a great look into how a service business can stay at the top of it’s game.

22 Hours in Balthazar - Willy Staley, NY Times:

Over the course of what I will be repeatedly told is a slow day, 1,247 people will eat here. (Normally, it’s about 1,500.) But within a narrow range, Balthazar knows how many people will come through its doors every single day of the week, and it can predict roughly what it will sell during every meal. It mass-produces high-quality food and pushes it out to customers, and its production numbers are as predictable as the system that churns out the food itself. Just about everyone who works at Balthazar calls it a machine.

Roughly one in 10 people who enter Balthazar orders the steak frites. It is far and away the restaurant’s best-selling dish, and Balthazar can sell as many as 200 on a busy day. A plate of steak and potatoes requires a tremendous input of labor if you’re going to charge $38 for it. At a smaller restaurant, cooks are typically responsible for setting up their own mise-en-place — preparing food for their stations — before each service begins, but at Balthazar, things are necessarily more atomized. The fries, for example, go through numerous steps of prep, done by a few different people, before they wind up on a plate.

Balthazar changed downtown dining in the late 90s and pushing twenty years old, it’s become a New York institution. This is a great look into how a service business can stay at the top of it’s game.

“My working theory is that consumer [startup] ideas are both art and engineering. The art component either takes in the mind of the consumer or it doesn’t. Like movies or music, sort of. Lots of great engineering teams can’t get the art to work with high probability, and even the great consumer internet artists swing and miss as often as they hit (eg odeo vs twitter). And if the art doesn’t take, the engineering won’t save you.”
“Why Uber/Lyft market is so much bigger than people think: it’s not a substitute for cabs, it’s a substitute for driving.”
David Sacks, CEO of Yammer / Paypal Mafia

Bunkers filled with sand and art.

Ft. Tilden, 2013