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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            • 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.
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            Baker College is the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. Our mission is to prepare you for meaningful employment.

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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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            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
            • Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
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            • Has been training students in the culinary arts since 1946.
            • Teaches hands-on culinary training in French, Asian, Mediterranean, Latin and American cooking, along with professional baking and pastry techniques.
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            • Offers an Italian Culinary Arts program where students get to externship in Italy.
            • Its instructors are respected chefs who put their dedication and life experiences into their instruction.
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            Salter College , West Boylston
            • Offers training programs in preparation for professional careers in business, health care, and computers.
            • Provides associate and certificate programs in medical assisting, massage therapy, culinary arts, and more.
            • Places students in externships to gain real world experience before completing their respective program.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
            • 2 campuses in Chicopee and West Boylston, Massachusetts.
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            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. The institution offers career-focused curricula with increasing rigor from the certificate through diploma, associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree levels. Throughout those curricula, the university seeks to promote the development of critical thinking, effective verbal and written communication, computer literacy, and teamwork as well as an appreciation for life-long learning, cultural diversity and the expression of professionalism in all activities. At the graduate level, the university also seeks to promote a culture of research.