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Jason Perlow

Tight Spaces

8 posts in this topic

I was wondering if you could talk a little about what its like going from a gigantic kitchen at Craft (with the lovely Diva de Provence ranges -- which I understand Tom has yanked in favor of more commercial-type equipment) to the tightly enclosed space that is your kitchen now. Also, what sort of appliance/equipment choices and sacrifices did you have to make with your new setup at Hearth given the space you have to work with?


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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i can add that marco has plenty of experience with tight spaces in his years at la cucina. most any kitchen after that would be large; but i'll let him give the real goods

cheers


h. alexander talbot

chef and author

Levittown, PA

ideasinfood

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Something I realized after my first couple of nights of work at Hearth was how fortunate I was to have worked in such a large, well-lit kitchen when I was at Craft. In the daily grind of things, I had lost sight of how lucky I was to be working there. Like many things in life, it was not until I had left the Craft kitchen behind that I truly came to appreciate it.

At Hearth, we are working with four fewer ovens, which is difficult because it's not like we are doing that much less business than Craft. While the lack of ovens initially posed a big logistical problem, we have learned to compensate by making smaller batches of everything on a more frequent basis.

When Paul and I were talking about how we were going to use the money that we raised for Hearth, we decided to funnel most of it towards the front of the house where customers could appreciate it more. I agreed to make do with the existing kitchen and its appliances, which were a couple of years old when we opened. Some day it would be great to renovate, but in the meantime I am doing my best to adapt. Ultimately, I believe that you need to accept the kitchen that you can afford and make it work. A lot of kitchens out there are a lot smaller than the one at Hearth and many of them are putting out great dishes. The bottom line is that a large, well-equipped kitchen does not necessarily make for good food.

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In retrospect, after actually operating for a while in the space, what would you have done differently in the kitchen, and the front of the house? What's on your wish list now?

Anything planned to help the noise level in the front room?

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I look forward to the day I get to redo the entire kitchen because the overall quality of all the appliances is pretty mediocre. I would love to replace everything with brand-new, top-of-the-line equipment, but overall the kitchen's current layout and design have been serving us very well.

In terms of front of the house improvements, Paul and I both agree that eating in a noisy dining room where you can barely carry on a conversation with the person sitting across the table from you is awful. We contemplated installing sound-proof ceiling tiles in the dining room when we were remodeling that room and I really wish we had, but at the time, they were a huge line item and we did not think we could afford them.

In an effort to deal with the noise problem, we just extended the white felt that previously only covered half of one of the main dining room's walls. We also installed two sound-proof panels on the back wall. These changes just went into effect last Monday but hopefully when our next busy night rolls around, there will be a noticeable difference in the noise level.

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I salute you for caring enough to try to lower the noise level. So many restaurants intentionally make the noise level high, which many of us find very annoying, just as you do.

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thank you for taking the time to be here with us. I lok forward to trying your restaurant the next time I am in town! With regard to your noise issues in the front of the house, the felt and sound panels will not do a whole lot to allieviate the system as you know. Certainly sound proof ceiling tiles would help, but you might want to consider a sound masking system. SOund masking systems were designed with the advent of the cubicle office are are designed to dampen the sound in wide open spaces. Without actually seeing your space (I'm a facility manager by profession :smile: ) this sort of system might work for you. Anyway, it's something to consider when you look at fixing the problem :smile:

I apologize if this has been asked elsewhere, but do you have a favourite dish you like to prepare?

Thanks again!


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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