Alex Atala is a punk rock fan with tattoos decorating both arms, and he runs his kitchen like a monastery.
“You won’t hear shouting. People are very concentrated,” he said as he welcomed us into his Sao Paulo restaurant D.O.M.
Atala has built D.O.M into Latin America’s top restaurant by featuring native ingredients in meticulously created dishes that even include insects. Recently, it was ranked sixth in the world on the 2013 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
Chefs with Issues is a platform for chefs and farmers we love, fired up for causes about which they're passionate. Jason Bond is the chef at Bondir in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Follow him on Twitter @jwadebond.
The day started with the Boston Marathon and a state holiday. It ended in tragedy and left residents, like me, with so many unanswered questions.
Why would someone attack an event that was about celebration, one where many of the thousands of participants were raising money for over two thousand charities? Why would they use such a ferocious method as bombs packed with ball bearings and nails?
In the span of 15 seconds, three people lost their lives. Hundreds of others, from the injured and their families to those who witnessed the blast firsthand, were cruelly ripped from the lives they'd always known and forced into a darker view of the world. The residents of Boston were shocked, sickened and even pissed off.
Most of us felt helpless, but wanted to be of use. The city and its people quickly mobilized to help each other. Boston is tight and takes care of its own.
We realized that we each help by doing what we do; medics medicate, journalists report, the police protect. As a restaurateur I did what I do, which is care for people and provide sustenance and healing.
The identity of a second victim of the Boston terror attack was revealed Tuesday. Krystle Campbell, an employee of Jimmy's Steer House in Arlington Heights, died in the bombings, Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn said. Campbell, 29, recently left her position as general manager of Summer Shack restaurant's now-shuttered Hingham location, and her former employer paid tribute to her in a Facebook post, which read in part:
When it comes to putting your money where your mouth is, Los Angeles restaurant Red Medicine takes the old adage quite literally. On March 13, the restaurant dealt with that evening's reservation no-shows in a very unique way: by calling out the delinquent diners by name via their official Twitter account.
The outspoken dining spot took flak for their transmission almost instantly, but they also gained some praise. "These so called 'customers' could have the decency to cancel their res instead of no showing. Empty seats cost $$$," a New Jersey restaurant tweeted in return.
Editor's note: Saru Jayaraman is the co-founder of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, an advocacy organization, director of the UC Berkeley Food Labor Research Center and author of the forthcoming book "Behind the Kitchen Door" (Cornell University Press, Feb. 2013).
Like millions of Americans this winter, my toddler has the flu. The good news is that, unlike most of our nation's restaurant workers, my baby doesn't have to go to work sick.
Before making the career jump to journalism, I worked in the service industry for several years as a server - or waitress, depending on what generation you’re from. While I loved my job most of the time (great guests and cheap food whenever I wanted it), I quickly realized that some people didn’t quite understand the difference between server and servant.
Like every server, I had my fair share of horror stories: a 25-cent tip on a $19 bill, men who felt it was socially appropriate to pinch me as I walked past and, of course, the customer who was never wrong (even if they sent their steak back more than twice). So while I adhered to the idea that the customer was always right, that didn’t give the customer free rein to act like a jerk.
It appears that not everyone shares my opinion, though. After dining at an Applebee’s in St. Louis, Missouri, one customer not only left no tip, but also wrote a snarky comment on her bill.
Chelsea Welch, another server in the restaurant, snapped a picture of the receipt and posted it to the social media-sharing website Reddit. The Consumerist later picked up the story, if only for Welch’s equally snarky picture title, “My mistake sir, I’m sure Jesus will pay for my rent and groceries.”
I have absolutely no business reviewing restaurants. Consider the facts: I like Ramen noodles. I burn my meat. And I'm pretty sure the Klondike Bar is the pinnacle of modern cuisine.
I've also heard good things about Applebee's.
But when it comes to restaurant feedback, someone like me can just go online and write literally anything. And people might actually read it.
This is the inaugural installment of "Eat This List" - a regularly recurring list of things chefs, farmers, writers and other food experts think you ought to know about.
As managing editor of Eatocracy, I'm lucky enough to get to travel and eat all over the country, both for work and because it's what I love to do. I've seen some trends (in addition to the ubiquitous charcuterie, pickles, aged cocktails, salted caramel desserts, and foraged tidbits) start popping up in restaurants from coast to coast, and in 2013, here are a few I'm hoping will catch on.
1. Lots and lots and lots of tater tots
Just have fun with great house-made sauces, toppings, herbs and flavorful oils. The Company Burger in New Orleans (tots pictured above) hand-makes a bunch of different flavored mayos, ketchup, mustard and other toppings every day, and they're insanely delicious. Restaurateurs - please consider hopping on the tot train.