Jump to content

clark wolf

participating member
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Contact Methods

  • Website URL

Profile Information

  • Location
    New York, Las Vegas & Sonoma (Russian River)
  1. It's certainly true that the deep and broad ranging supply of real, trained and educated talent now available in this country has and will contribute to the growth of good professional and non-professional cooking. That's really good news, and accomplished in less than 20 years. Cooking schools are profitable and seem fun to own so they are an appealing new venture, especially for crossover technical school owners who lost Federal funding about a dozen years ago. This, along with more specialty food retail (Whole Foods leading the way) and a busier, more urban life, even in bedroom communitie
  2. My hope for the near future is to see the rise of more celebratory and what some call refined dining that includes the flavors of India, Greece, the Middle East and many points Latin, at the very least. It's a good step towards tipping our vestigial hats to other cultures and including the world at our table. I guess I also hope that special cooking and dining will come back into the American home, at least from time to time. If children get to learn where food actually comes from and how it gets magically to a transcendent state at the table their lives will be enriched, and so will ours. S
  3. I'm glad to read much of this. What we're all talking about is culture, which is a living, growing, changing thing. Each element has it's place. Chains are not monolithic. They are very different from each other. Starbucks has been good for American in a lot of ways. It has taught a whole new generation or two that serving food can include personality (and maybe blue hair and an eyebrow pierce...) and that being warm and friendly can actually be a smart choice. They also happen to support a lot of good movements. Micky D can empty a forrest if it chooses a new paper product. Starbucks
  4. Gourmet, as James Beard used to say, is a magazine. He was poking fun but he had a point. Being a gourmet has long been seen as a leisure class pass time sometimes best enjoyed as a bedtime read of exotic far away gastronomic adventures. For some it's more the idea, the image than the food itself. Really knowing and enjoying good food seems, happily, to have more depth and more solid value these day, one of those trends that I hope will hold steady. The showoff connoisseur is really rather passé'. We regard them fondly, pat them on the head and wish them well. Then we open a bottle of somethi
  5. People who like lots of sound vote with their credit cards. They go a lot. Lower light just makes people look younger and smoother, which can often be a nice change. But these are certainly not top restaurants. They're expensive hot spots. After the 80's indulgence people went to clubs less but still wanted the club feel. And while nightclub food had historically been less than wonderful - or often awful - it was time to upgrade and crossbreed. The result was fairly clubby restaurants where the food was better than expected. Good restaurants have light enough to see. You're talking about "f
  6. I hear the concern but do not share it. If by artisan we mean servant then it's certainly time to end that run. Alain Senderens and other greats have come to realize that it is neither economically possible nor culturally necessary to stay at the stove for a lifetime. Western culture celebrates the talented and those stars in turn expect to make a good living and have a nice home, life, third wife... And after all, who would you rather have as owner of a slew of restaurants? A wildly talented and accomplished chef or a real estate or money syndicate of greedy thugs? A really good chef, like t
  7. On Monday evening I hosted a panel in San Francisco about the History, Dynamics and Ethics of Luxury Dining. Its part of a series I’ve been doing bi-coastally for a few years. My favorite line came from a wonderful woman, a Culinary Anthropologist from India and a heck of a cooking teacher. Her name is Niloufer King. She addressed this whole globalization thing by saying something like “perhaps we’ll have globalization of ideas and a localization of food.” It was kinda swell. When I complained about chefs cooking in baggies and not sharing good kitchen smells with line cooks, Harvey Steinman o
  8. Food and the world of professional cooking, which seems to be at the heart of our discussion, is an intimate act between human beings. It’s the largest industry in the world and the one most often ill described or little understood. This is not entirely a bad thing as much of it is instinctual, visceral, physical, critical (as in, I gotta eat or I’m dead) and offers such possibilities to delight, satisfy or disturb as to be wildly enlivening or comfortably – (or painfully) dull. Dining, at its best, as Alice Waters has often said, is “more than the sum of its parts” (so too for cooking, if
  9. While I think the piece was fairly well done (collage book report style) but I find the entire topic smacks of desperation: on the part of these chefs who find it easier to focus flavor in a baggie than to find really good ingredients and bring the flovor forth naturally, on the part of AH and the Times Mag trying to catch up and join the conversation that their own Dining section has long led. Those "lost smells" are actually a priceless part of the whole experience of cooking. The kitchen should provide it's own magical rewards to those in it. I really don't want to eat lab food. And wh
  • Create New...