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Eating New York: Culinary Research at Its Finest

How I nibbled my way through the Lower East Side (and Beyond)...

I recently went to New York on an eating escapade, though I like to think of it as research and development. We had only 2 ½ days to conquer New York's acclaimed dining scene. Those who know NY know this isn't even enough time to nibble through the lower east side!

Culinary Arts

Our goal was simple: look at savvy restaurant décor, lighting, furniture, and, most importantly, taste some great food. This is all part of opening a restaurant; there is nothing wrong with seeing what others are doing to spark your own creative juices!

Day 1: Kicking Things Off with Chick Peas and Jean-George

Our agenda included more than 27 stops, not to mention others we were bound to run into along the way. After arriving in NY by 11am from Dallas (and talking business the whole way up), we headed straight into an organic hummus shop called Nannoosh. We admired their very simple décor. The highlight was a unique chick pea glass fixture that ran the length of the center table, but their OUTSTANDING quinoa salad was a close second!

We scouted a handful of restaurants prior to arriving at our next dining destination, Jean-George, where we met with a friend to discuss business and enjoy a beautifully prepared lunch. We started our meeting off with a very interesting non-alcoholic drink; they have a line of flavored syrups that they make in house and inject with soda water to create a highly carbonated, flavor-packed beverage. I started with the tarragon flavor, enjoying it so much that I couldn't resist ordering the black cherry-yuzu with my lunch entrée. Ideas like this should not only spark your creativity, but also your business sense. They provide large profit margins for your beverage costs.

New York City, A La Carte

After our outstanding lunch at Jean-George we walked through the Time Warner Center, the home of world famous restaurants Per Se (Thomas Keller) and Masa (Takamya)! It was a big tease-we were able to look but not taste as all the doors were as sealed as the JFK files!

That evening we managed to conquer our list of 7 more restaurants! We started our evening tour with Allen and Delaney (former chef of Gordon Ramsey), Momofuku Noodle Bar, Falai (contemporary Italian), Katz's Deli, then wrapped up with several of Danny Meyer's restaurants.

Each restaurant that evening had a unique highlight! Some of them shined with their cuisine, some with their décor, some with the service, and even one with their bar stools. Here are some photos from our evening out!

Evenings like this are so beneficial to chefs and restaurateurs because we are not only enjoying some great food, but gaining a bit of insight into some of the country's best chefs' visions. It also gives us an opportunity to take the industry's pulse, identifying current and future trends. Be sure to ask others what they thing-it is so critical to embrace other peoples' opinions as a means to reach the final vision.

Day 2: Health Conscious Cuisine Takes the (Gluten-Free) Cake

Want to know whether diners more health conscious these days? New York is a great place to find out. We began Day 2 with some organic vegetarian restaurants. To my surprise, they were all packed! Delivery orders flying out the doors, 30 minute waits for lunch-it was unreal. I never realized there such a demand for vegetarian cuisine, and have already made adjustments to our menu based on what I saw. One of my favorite restaurants was Candle Café; try the Indian platter!

After rustling through the sleet we headed to Antho's, a fine dining Greek restaurant, which was outstanding. Then walked to the world famous Joel Robuchon's L'Atelier in the Four Seasons Hotel. This restaurant was impeccable in Japanese design and had by far the most comfortable banquette I have ever had the pleasure of sitting in. After a morning of fresh organic cuisine, I stuck with the trend and ordered vegetable-centric dishes.

Despite a journey wrenched with harsh weather conditions and crazy taxi drivers, we somehow managed to still accomplish our goal and make our reservations at Little Owl, P-Ong, Cones, Spotted Pig, Bar Fry, and WD-50 for desserts.

Digging for Culinary Treasure

New York City is a special place rich in history and diversity. As the birthplace of many concepts and progressive ideas, it has a culture of its own. Do not be shy, get out there and explore, meet new people, seek out those local restaurants, and you are bound to stumble upon some hidden treasures.

One of the most notable of these for us was the McNulty's Tea and Coffee Shop (since 1895). We met the Irish owner who shared his story and weighed our purchases on a vintage scale. These shops are a dying breed in a country flush with the Internet and the conveniences of large chain grocers. When you have the pleasure of coming across such a find, please take the time to enjoy it.

Indulgence can be a Great Thing

My recent trip to NYC was a great success. I approached with an open mind and left with new-found creativity and innovation. When traveling, do not be shy to stop by the kitchen to meet the chef. Chefs and restaurateurs are a society all their own, striving to help and support one another. My ideas were met with knowledgeable advice-the fruits of their own experiences.

Part of becoming a great chef is committing to lifelong education, and taking the time to learn from great chefs before you is no less valuable than any culinary class or certification you've considered. Neither is replacing your chef's toque with your dining hat now and again, seeing the culinary landscape through fresh eyes. Get out there and indulge once in a while-I sure did!

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            4 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            1 Program(s) Found

            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.

            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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            2 Program(s) Found
            L'Ecole Culinaire , Kansas City
            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found

            Sullivan University is a private institution of higher learning dedicated to providing educational enrichment opportunities for the intellectual, social and professional development of its students.

            SPEAK TO AN ADVISOR 1.844.285.6104