Cheap Eats?

The recession has had its perks - especially for people who love to eat. In New York City, it seems like there's a proliferation of joints opening every week: the next beer garden, pizza makers, cupcake spinsters and burger masters. And that's only the beginning.

Even celebrated and well-known chefs have turned to offering customers with more affordable options. Some have extended prix fixe specials while others have opened entire new restaurants with a more urbane appeal.

In school, we've debated what this all means for chefs. Does it mean we compromise on creativity? Or worse yet, quality? Not necessarily, chefs have told me and my classmates. On one night we talked about the all-American burger. One chef despises them. He called it an easy out to cooking, and a way to pander to American tastes. On the other hand, another chef said, "good food is good food."

So when I ate at Daniel Boulud's newly opened DBGB on a recent night, I settled the debate for myself.

First, DBGB was Daniel's first foray outside of high-end dining. Still, the restaurant is quite nice compared to many places. So I jumped to the Yankee burger right away. The bun was made from an artisan sesame bread, the beef natural and juicy, the cheese local and the mayo replaced with aioli. It didn't taste like a fancy burger but a good one. That said, can a $16 dollar be considered cheap? Maybe in New York. But I'm not so convinced this is what most people would consider cheap.

I was more than satisfied with my meal, but it still left the question in mind, "Does cheap mean good?"

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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.
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            • 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.
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            • 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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            • 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*
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            The Chef's Academy , Indianapolis
            • Listed on the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
            • Offers intern and externship placement assistance for real-world experience.
            • Offers programs in culinary arts, pastry arts, and hospitality & restaurant management.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (ACFEF).
            • 2 campus locations in Indianapolis, Indiana and Morrisville, North Carolina.
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            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
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            • 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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            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
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            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
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            • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
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