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Z Kitchen


BryanZ
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However, speaking for myself, the main reason I would not jump to frequent a place like yours is that I have no desire to return to a college dorm/apartment to do it!

Yes, it's bad enough when she has to slum it at my house!

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Oh, the assurance of youth. How wonderful to be nineteen and invulnerable. Best wishes for your endeavor, Bryan, and I hope when you reach my age , 66, you'll be looking back on it with a smile and wondering "How the hell did I get away with it?"

"A fool", he said, "would have swallowed it". Samuel Johnson

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this north cackalackian is ready for this kind of food & experience. I have already cut and pasted the url for this thread to share with a friend and my father. There is a scene for this, I think you'll have to though, spread the word outside of the college community and into the rest of the triangle. Go hang out at some restaurant bars, give waitstaff your card...I say post a cryptic message here and there. I also suggest deleting this thread and perhaps posting something about your cooking, and the regular folks will know to tell others.

As far as people selling food out of thier own kitchens, I think it happens more than we realise. Like this man who used to sell breakfast at my office. Every day he'd show up with biscuits, danishes and hardboiled eggs--IN A SUITCASE!!!

-----------------

AMUSE ME

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Bryan, though somewhat tactless/overly-generalizing by saying "they are not used to this kind of food and not all that experimental in their tastes," did in fact say earlier that he isn't sure about how adventurous or not the people from his surrounding area are ("I'm not sure if NC is ready for this. I would love to be shown that it is"). I think we can forgive him for this harmless over-generalization, especially as it turns out less offensive read in a larger context.

Good luck with your venture Bryan-its nice to seem someone somewhat younger (as I myself am--being most likely less than 5 years older than you) have such an interest in food.

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"4) Surrounding area has money, but I have no way to reach them (see #1) and they are not used to this kind of food and not all that experimental in their tastes"

As a resident of the surrounding area that is both into food and experimental in my taste, I must say I am somewhat offended by your assessment of the area.  We have had incredible what you would call "experimental " dishes multiple times in other city's and in other people's homes locally.  However, speaking for myself, the main reason I would not jump to frequent a place like yours is that I have no desire to return to a college dorm/apartment to do it!

I understand how my statement could have been construed as crass and even offensive. Of course, statements like that aren't directed to members of the eG community, who obviously are deeply invested in all food-related pursuits. On the whole, however, diners in the South and Midwest (save Chicago itself) are less open to new cuisines/ideas/etc. I realize this is again a generalization, but as a generalization, on the aggregate, I fervently believe it's the truth. This has been unofficially documented here on eG in countless threads.

Just look at the brilliant chefs at the Keyah Grande (ideasinfood). I'm not speaking for them, but it does say volumes that they're looking to move *east* to set up their own destination restaurant.

Conversely, look at StudioKitchen, located in metropolitan Philadelphia. The food there, roughly similar to that of the Keyah Grande, received ardent support from that local foodie community.

I realize these aren't necessarily analagous examples, but I do believe regional geography does have something to do with it. To make matters worse, I don't have the means to focus my "marketing" to those in the surrounding area who do have ambitious tastes. It blows my mind how people still call Magnolia Grill extremely creative. To say nothing of the quality of the food and experience that that venerable restaurant provides, I cannot say that it represents truly creative food today. Again, I respect the restaurant immensely for its influence on the Triangle's dining scene, but we NEED something other than New Southern.

In my opinion, Bin 54, a steakhouse of all things, is currently offering one of the most modern and creative dining experiences in the area. I think this says something about the dining market (though not neccearily just in NC).

I stand by my original statement and hope that those who I am able to reach who do care enough are adventurous enough to try something new (be it cuisine, location, experience).

ETA: One could also aruge (as has been done many times over) that people everywhere aren't ready for this type of food; though honestly (as I've said many times over) the stuff I do is NOT all that out there). Regardless, that's a risk I'm willing to take. So while I am somewhat singling out Triangle area, my statements could theoretically be expanded to include, well, everywhere. That said, there is a chance a project like this may be more successful in somewhere like NYC or Philadelphia for a variety of factors (population density, public transporation, affluence, more adventurous diners on the aggregate).

Edited by BryanZ (log)
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I think your residence may be a major turnoff for many people. Have you considered simply traveling to your customers' homes? That's fairly common with caterers and chefs.

This is a very valid point, but I think going somewhere new and out of the ordinary adds to the experience or, at the least, makes it more memorable.

In the future, however, I may be able to do this. We shall see.

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The question of whether or not the triangle is "ready for this" is a rather silly notion. We are, after all, not talking about someone investing a bunch of money, signing a lease, and hoping at least 50 people choose to shell out the type of money it takes to eat at Moto, Manresa, etc. each night. We're talking about maybe 8 people each week. or a total of about 100 people over the next few months. That will be no problem.

For those taking issue with the location, you need to chill. When I was about Bryan's age, I did the same thing out of my apartment in Berkeley (though in 1990 we didn't bring centrifuges, etc. into the kitchen). At any rate, the rather unusual venue brings with it a level of charm. The clandestine element, more still. I, for one, am looking forward to it.

As for an area supporting a place like this on a larger scale, a large population base is paramount. This is not "everyday food" even for those who take dining very seriously. I love to check out places that really push the envelope... like maybe a few times a year. The rest of the time, I'd just as soon as eat a carnitas taco. Sp you need 10s of thousands of diehard foodies to support such a place. Thus, big cities.

In fact, last time I was back home in CA, some friends and I went to Manresa in Los Gatos. David has worked with Ferran Adria and is completely in the middle of the movement around this type of food. We had a very memorable 35 course meal. That said, I was grabbing snack at home about a week later. Leftover roast chicken with some mayonaise as I recall. I called my buddy who shared the meal with me and we discussed how, as wonderful an experience Manresa was, none of the courses were really any better than the chicken and mayo snack that I was eating. He agreed completely and he'd spent some time as the sous chef there.

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Just look at the brilliant chefs at the Keyah Grande (ideasinfood).  I'm not speaking for them, but it does say volumes that they're looking to move *east* to set up their own destination restaurant.

Conversely, look at StudioKitchen, located in metropolitan Philadelphia.  The food there, roughly similar to that of the Keyah Grande, received ardent support from that local foodie community.

I realize these aren't necessarily analagous examples, but I do believe regional geography does have something to do with it. 

Just want to point out that this comparison is absurd. Sure, geography has something to do with it, but not in the condescending way, your post seems to imply. We're talking about an isolated resort whose closest town is Pagosa Springs, a town of roughly, 1628. StudioKitchen was in a city of 1,500,000, an hour and twenty minute trip from another 8 million people. The fact that the cooking at Keyah Grande can even exist is a miracle.

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It was more from a sytlistic standpoint. I think it does say something that they're looking to move east (to, yes, more people, but perhaps also to more adventurous gullets). That's all.

I also agree this isn't everyday food. I'm not trying to change the way people eat, I just want them to have the opportunity to be exposed to new techniques and ideas.

But enough of this...

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Bryan:

What year are you in college?

Do you like what you're studying?

Do you enjoy taking classes on subjects unfamiliar to you for the sake of exploring new things? Do they ever change your mind, challenge long-held values and opinions you formed before going to Duke?

Do you discover anything you value by reading, writing, performing experiments, viewing, watching, analyzing data and so forth?

When a professor or friend offers a new perspective, an alternative way of seeing that differs from your own, or if either corrects you, do you ever learn something new, agree, or find new ways to express your own, original, personal insights?

Are you in North Carolina because Duke University is a good school and at Duke because you personally agree with your parents that having a degree from a prestigious institution is a professional credential? Did you choose the school at all out of an interest to know anything about unfamiliar regions of the USA?

I ask these questions because I wonder if you really want to be in school now.

Why not take time off and seriously devote yourself to cooking in kitchens you admire in parts of the world that suit you more than North Carolina?

You are young. Once you have refined your skills, feel as confident as a baker as you do in the other forms of food preparation that interest you, you can always return to academic or pre-professional studies.

I don't think the CIA is the answer for you either. You seem to need to be away from the classroom at least for a little while.

Return to Duke if you want or transfer to a place where you won't have to depend on mail-order or trips back to NYC for supplies.

Consider designing your own major if the school permits, culling from established discipines to master the skills in business, chemistry, history, math, languages, Graphic Design and writing that would suit your own agenda and professional goals. (I also think there should be some courses in non-professional fields to shape personal goals.) Through Independent Studies and a creative Senior Thesis, you might be able to devote more effort to the project now underway, though such an effort might hold less appeal after racking up professional credentials.

Given your personal loves in cooking, if you're not fluent in Spanish and Japanese already, you might consider more formal training in either or each to make cooking in kitchens abroad more feasible.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Is Duke still a hotbed of abstruse literary theory? I can't help thinking those people would love your cuisine. (Not that I think you food looks like theory without substance or anything-- to me, it looks delicious. But it is intellectual food.)

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Pontormo, I definitely staying in school, no doubt. This is just another project of mine. I like doing my own thing, so I create opportunities for myself with varying degrees of success.

Tess, the food is intellectual; that's one of the aims. The problem is getting people to hear about it. I have a good deal of interest but people seem unwilling to take the plunge, so to speak.

Viable suggestions anyone?

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The problem is getting people to hear about it. I have a good deal of interest but people seem unwilling to take the plunge, so to speak.

That's the problem with intellectual cuisine, and you might as well meet it head-on. Wylie said somewhere recently, maybe on eGullet, that he's jealous that Chicago can support two "intellectual" restaurants and he's fighting an uphill balltle in NYC with one. Babe, you're not working in New York, Chicago or Barcelona -- you're operating in a college town in the Carolinas. Molecular Gastromomy , avant-garde cuisine -- it's a hard sell in very sophisticated markets. Just charge ahead, and do what's right for you.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Who knows what the Triangle is ready to support as a full-scale restaurant, but I'm pretty sure there are enough of us excited about / interested in innovative food to support something like this! Bryan -- what about marketing this as an alternative for students with dining money to blow at the end of the year (is there even a way for you to work getting paid with dining points?)?

So... anyone up for organizing an egullet night at Z kitchen? I'd volunteer but I'm up to my ears in schoolwork right now (and on a TAs salary :/).

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Bryan -- what about marketing this as an alternative for students with dining money to blow at the end of the year (is there even a way for you to work getting paid with dining points?)?

This would be a great thing for me to do but given my current circumstances it's impossible. I chair the dining advisory committe at my school, so I'm intimately in tune with the tax issues that the dining services faces when money/points start moving around. Even if I could, the equipment is very expensive (ie card reader, printer, etc).

So... anyone up for organizing an egullet night at Z kitchen? I'd volunteer but I'm up to my ears in schoolwork right now (and on a TAs salary :/).

I'm up to my ears in schoolwork and writing for the newspaper and trying to start a consulting firm. You should come anyway. It'll be a good break.

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Tess, the food is intellectual; that's one of the aims.  The problem is getting people to hear about it.  I have a good deal of interest but people seem unwilling to take the plunge, so to speak.

Viable suggestions anyone?

Let's see-- in addition to the academics, you have a lot of fairly well-heeled retired people down there, don't you? I find that people of that age group are often very interested in new experiences, plus they have more time to devote to dining out. When I go to cooking demos, a lot of the people there seem to be guys about retirement age. (Hey, maybe you could do a cooking demo at a senior residence or something.)

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I'd Google/troll around looking for cooking clubs and suggest a group discount or brief demo:

Cooking Light Community: Supper Club in Raleigh/Wake Forest

At least they're interested in cooking....

mem

Edited by markemorse (log)
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one of the benefits of the university environment is the vast network of formed communities

my suggestion would be to target "groups"

within the university (greek system, faculty, student body, athletic department)

and market as a team building experience

you would definitely have some takers in the public policy and leadership department;

even more if you could link to a social good/public works project

critics are like eunuchs

they write because they cannot do

paul bocuse

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I dont think most know what they are ready for untill it has passed them by. Having said that, dont listen to any naysayers. the "predictors" and "analyzers", like Bocuse said "...write because they can't do".

Do it!!!! the world is ready for a FUN night on the town doing ANYTHING besides wasting money at a mediocre restaurant and a mediocre movie. THIS IS ONE OF THE SINGLE BIGGEST PROBLEMS IN THE TRIANGLE.

We are bestowed with great music and arts, but not everyone is "in" to that. Some people want to go out and have a GREAT time doing something new and different. There is very little in the way of original fun, especially for intellectuals.

I think this or these types of restaurants would be successful anywhere. The key is doing it well.

If we were to take ALINEA or El Bulli and transplant them to the triangle would they be less busy? I think not, people make reservations months in advance and travel half way around the country/world for these experiences. They have highly trained and dedicated STAFFS .

I feel that this the biggest issue, building a team of people that share a similar vision.

It is a great risk, however there will be no great reward without it.

My idea is to go legit. Get a TAX ID. Find a spot(maybe in a house, perhaps we should talk). Organize a dinner. Send out invitations, Advertise in the Independent, and wait. If you build it they will come.

The complexity of flavor is a token of durable appreciation. Each Time you taste it, each time it's a different story, but each time it's not so different." Paul Verlaine

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I dont think most know what they are ready for untill it has passed them by. Having said that, dont listen to any naysayers. the "predictors" and "analyzers", like Bocuse said "...write because they can't do".

Do it!!!! the world is ready for a FUN night on the town doing ANYTHING besides wasting money at a mediocre restaurant and a mediocre movie. THIS IS ONE OF THE SINGLE BIGGEST PROBLEMS IN THE TRIANGLE.

We are bestowed with great music and arts, but not everyone is "in" to that. Some people want to go out and have a GREAT time doing something new and different. There is very little in the way of original fun, especially for intellectuals.

I think this or these types of restaurants would be successful anywhere. The key is doing it well.

If we were to take ALINEA or El Bulli and transplant them to the triangle would they be less busy? I think not, people make reservations months in advance and travel half way around the country/world for these experiences. They have highly trained and dedicated STAFFS .

I feel that this the biggest issue, building a team of people that share a similar vision. 

It is a great risk, however there will be no great reward without it.

My idea is to go legit. Get a TAX ID. Find a spot(maybe in a house, perhaps we should talk). Organize a dinner. Send out invitations, Advertise in the Independent, and wait. If you build it they will come.

Honestly, I'm getting rather annoyed with all the reference to all the alleged naysayers. The person most openly questioning whether the triangle is "ready" for this food is Bryan himself. Frankly, I find this to be the only off-putting element to his venture. I support the notion entirely but think he's not very well served to comment so much about whether or not the audience is worthy. Perhaps that is not his intention, but that's exactly how it is percieved.

Mind you, this is not an acclaimed chef making the bold statement that a certain demographic wouldn't understand his food but rather a 20ish year old college student. Plenty of us have experienced great food from stellar kitchens (perhaps, in fact, the very food. from the very chefs that Bryan is emulating) so we find the challenge to be tollerable only because we've come to expect such brashness from men/boys his age.

As I mentioned before, it is valid to question whether the triangle would support a full scale version of what Bryan is doing, but that is hardly the case with this. For what it's worth I do doubt the validity of doing such a venture here. Yes people do travel across the globe to go to El Bulli but it also happens to be not far outside of Barcalona which is, itself very much a destination. Who makes a point to come here if not for hoops? Is there some massive b-ball fanatic/foodie demographic that I'm unaware of? (Please spare me the list of cool other reasons to visit the triangle. Let's just say it trails Barcalona on the holiday destination list by a stretch and leave it at that.)

Why can't the endevour just be seen for what it is, a young aspiring chef expanding his talents. Why does he have to leave school or go public? Why can't dude just cook some dinners out of his apartment? Having spoken to Bryan about a possible dinner, I've gotten the sense that this is certainly taking a back seat to his studies, which is exactly what it should be doing.

Edited by detlefchef (log)
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Aw...I've been holding off on this, and don't really have time to do it justice at the moment, but: I agree with almost everything else you say, detlefchef, especially that dude should be able to just cook dinners out of his apartment....

However, I myself have been dismayed at the naysaying of the "alleged naysayers". I almost said something at the outset but didn't. Re-reading the posts, I don't know why I found them so negative, there are only a couple....I just got a harsh vibe. I would've been disappointed if I'd been Bryan, but maybe that's me.

As for Bryan's questioning of whether or not "his audience is ready"...That's absolutely the prerogative of anyone who's going to invest time and creative energy into an endeavor, isn't it: will there be anyone to appreciate it? And having spent plenty of time in Bryan's neck of the woods, I understand his concerns. I would've said the same thing he did, and I'm not a man/boy his age. I'd say it about most cities. This is not a dis of non-megalopolis diners, this is an assessment of the potential audience for an alternative creative effort: something outside of what people are used to. And about his age...at what age does a chef become qualified to gauge the potential receptiveness of the city he lives in to his food?

mem

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Aw...I've been holding off on this, and don't really have time to do it justice at the moment, but: I agree with almost everything else you say, detlefchef, especially that dude should be able to just cook dinners out of his apartment....

However, I myself have been dismayed at the naysaying of the "alleged naysayers". I almost said something at the outset but didn't. Re-reading the posts, I don't know why I found them so negative, there are only a couple....I just got a harsh vibe. I would've been disappointed if I'd been Bryan, but maybe that's me.

As for Bryan's questioning of whether or not "his audience is ready"...That's absolutely the prerogative of anyone who's going to invest time and creative energy into an endeavor, isn't it: will there be anyone to appreciate it? And having spent plenty of time in Bryan's neck of the woods, I understand his concerns. I would've said the same thing he did, and I'm not a man/boy his age. I'd say it about most cities. This is not a dis of non-megalopolis diners, this is an assessment of the potential audience for an alternative creative effort: something outside of what people are used to. And about his age...at what age does a chef become qualified to gauge the potential receptiveness of the city he lives in to his food?

mem

I don't question his right to wonder if people will be into what he's doing but I'm assuming that this forum was intended to be much of his target customers. Wondering if those of us in the triangle are "ready" can very easily be seen as a challenge. One made by someone who's got little to his resume but a cool website and an obvious love and penchant for cooking. Again, this wont stop me from coming and I think what Bryan is doing is immensly cool. From a sports analogy, though, it's a lot like a rookie coming up and telling people that he's all that. Dude usually gets hit pretty hard week one. That's all.

Now if, say, Ferran Adria or one of the other chef's Bryan credits as his inspirations made a simillar public statement, it would carry a bit more weight (but would still likely be perceived by many as a bit of a slight). All in all, people don't tend to appreciate the insinuation that they might not be ready for or understand someone's art. This might be the reason some have snapped back with bits about not wanting to eat at his apartment, etc.

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I don't question his right to wonder if people will be into what he's doing but I'm assuming that this forum was intended to be much of his target customers.  Wondering if those of us in the triangle are "ready" can very easily be seen as a challenge. 

Right on, but this "us" thing...I'm almost sure he wasn't talking about eGulleters from the triangle when he wondered if NC was ready. That would've been not only brash but counterproductive and well, not very smart. Maybe he should've said "I don't mean you guys", but I thought that was implied...

Anyway...can't wait to hear the reviews. Is there a actually an eGullet night @ Z Kitchen planned, or did that get sidetracked?

mem

Edited by markemorse (log)
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