Turbulence rocks and shifts your notion of safety. Planes for some can be an excrutiating time when your life and security are floating thousands of feet up in the air. I’m fine with that.
I didn’t crash.
I made it safely back home, liver intact, burn scars revealed. New York City you treated me well, and thank you for your hospitality and for your everything. I have a bit to post but I’m afraid that it just won’t fit into one post.
A few standout moments:
I fell in love with the Billy Reid women’s collection and met Troy from QUALITY INSPIRES. He and his fellow shopkeepers gave Daniel and I the most gracious experience. I was completely enamored with the quality and the draping of all the clothes in the NYC shop. Thank you Troy and boys. I still can’t afford these items on a cooks wages.
I also fell in love with the staff and romantic and classic ambiance at Prune Restaurant. What started off as a trail turned into an extra three nights of working on the grill. Gabrielle Hamilton and her cooks are all strong and dedicated chefs; Chef De Cuisine Ned, Rebecca, Dara, Hayley, John, Jay, Meshawma and 1 other person (sorry) each made the experience even more memorable! I made some great bonds with the cooks at Prune and am hoping that some will make their way to San Francisco for a visit. Chef Gabrielle Hamilton recently wrote a book; Blood Bones and Butter – It should be a good read.
From the folks that brought you Freeman’s , Freemans Sporting Club and PeelsNYC comes ISA!! The much-anticipated restaurant in Williamsburg. Chef Ignacio Mattos and his team were all very loving, passionate, and talented. I loved working here and I loved the professional enthusiasm from the team. The food was beautiful, delicious and well curated. There definitely was a vision in regards to the plating, the produce and all the ingredients. There was a lot of thought put into what seemed to be a well crafted story and painting that inspired every dish! Thank you to the very enlivening Chef Ignacio, Morgan who makes the best bread in NY!, Jeremiah who cooks the best cod!, Pastry Chef Emelia, Mattias, Nate, Pablo, Consalo, and all the managers and front of house crew. Everything in this restaurant is gorgeous even how the food is surreally plated. And I just can’t forget about the hand crafted wood interior, it was oh so dreamy .
The image above is from Leslie Williamson’s Blog. This is part of the interior of ISA. If you haven’t please go and buy Handcrafted Modern. A beautiful book on interiors as well as wonderful words that lay beside them written and photographed by the talented Leslie Williamson. I got this for Daniel as a birthday gift and he absolutely loves it! I had a nice surprise while I was cooking at ISA, I turned around to see a familiar face from San Francisco and low and behold it was Leslie. Leslie’s roommates are also her close friends Michelle Janezic and Chona Reyes. Chona, worked with me when I had my first catering gig, and Michelle just simply inspires me. Such amazing women!
I also worked at Anissa Chef Anita Lo was a humble and strong woman who also had a wonderful and small staff that was super nice to work with.
It was definitely a learning experience on plating and the world of fine dining, that I had never worked before. French technique and culinary expertise with lots of Asian influences and flavors. Chef Lo has recently written a cookbook-Cooking without Borders that is co-written by Charlotte Druckman, a wonderful journalist who is also writing another book on women chefs. Chef Lo’s philosophy with cooking alongside her Asian influence is something that I can relate to. Thank you Chef Lo for being a strong female chef and for creating beautiful and delicious food.
Before I got to New York my restaurant list involved about 6-8 places that I was going to stage/ trail at, but it ended up being 3. I actually split the majority of my time between 2 quality establishments, allowing time to familiarize myself with a different family of cooks and chefs. I think it was a good decision and a very stimulating one at that. As much as one can learn from each restaurant about cooking, and or technique, you can also earn more about creating a family and team. I definitely learned a lot in each kitchen, I was out of my comfort zone, inspired to cook and think differently about food all over again. I learned so much from the chefs that I have worked with through the years and it is great to know that I still can learn so much more!!!!
This trip has sparked my interest to educate and light a fire beneath myself, to cook more as well as write more about my experiences. However, most of my writings are in my personal journals, I pull these out when I was on the bus, at a coffee shop, at a grocery store…you get my point. Typing can’t always be the portal to where I let out all my thoughts.
NYC your cooks are hardworking folks with drive and passion. I certainly came back enamored with your virtues as well as your city’s energy.
There are lessons to learn, as there were lessons learned, the alphabet and numbers of the city, your avenues versus your streets-, wafting smells of urine in the subways, hot humid muggy heat, sweat, movement, and excitement.
I did a brunch for a couple of artists while I was out in NY at the ED VARIE Gallery– There are some beautiful shots and a story behind this on the next post. Heres a small picture.