Quote-Feast: Chefs' Culinary Resolutions 2011

More than 30 chefs give their culinary resolutions for the year ahead.


What's your culinary resolution?

Tired of the same old New Year's resolutions? Same here. So we reached out to more than 30 chefs in seven different cities to find out their culinary resolutions for 2011, asking them, if you had to come up with one food or drink related resolution you'd like to implement at work what would it be?

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Back to Basics

Ty Bellingham
Executive Chef, Kittichai, New York City, NY
Family-style eating. I would love to see more restaurant guests eating this way. The Thai meal is made up of different flavor components, hot, sour, sweet and salty, all meant to be eaten together, on the table at the same time (a salad, soup, curry and a relish). In addition, the tradition of Asian-style eating is about family and/or friends getting together to share time over a meal.

Ed Cotton
Chef, Plein Sud, New York City, NY
My New Year’s resolution for 2011 is to revamp the menus at my restaurant, Plein Sud. My resolution is to drive more into French classics and introduce seasonal dishes that are true to authentic French culture. We offer breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and also service at the lobby bar of the Smyth Hotel. Plein Sud is a dining destination for travelers from all over the world and I hope to capture comfort food classics that remind people of home and showcase cuisine from different parts of France. I want to keep it simple and create dishes that complement the menu's more modern offerings.

Dave Santos
Chef, Hotel Griffou, New York City, NY
My personal resolution is to make sure that everyone leaves my new place happy. I think in this day and age so many chefs are about themselves and their Twitter accounts and all that other bulls#@t. I'd like to see a movement torwards the customers. Making people happy, cooking great food and being truly proud of what you're doing. I love going into the dining room and saying hello to people and interacting. But I go out there to make sure people are happy and having a great time. To know people leave saying I can't wait to come back is my holiday resolution.

Robert Aikens
Executive Chef, The Dandelion, Philadelphia, PA
For the new year, I’d like my staff to remember to always keep what they are doing simple: food, service, everything. No need to complicate things.


Personal Bests

Ralph Brennan
Ralph’s on the Park, Redfish Grill, Bacco, New Orleans, LA
I resolve to sneak out for ice cream runs only a handful of times in 2011. This resolution becomes null and void if chocolate malt ice cream is the featured flavor.  But I still will not tell my wife!

Cesare Casella
Chef, Salumeria Rosi, New York City, NY
My restaurant resolution is to open another restaurant in 2011!

Michael Laiskonis
Pastry Chef, Le Bernardin, New York City, NY
For myself personally, I need to resolve to eat a good breakfast in the morning; too often I'm rushing out the door with a cup of coffee and that's it. With regard to my staff, it's always a priority, but I resolve to continue keeping my staff healthy, inspired, and motivated in the New Year!

Alain Sailhac
Executive Vice President, Dean Emeritus, French Culinary Institute, New York City
It's a tough question because I never make any resolutions. I'll eat less foie gras and caviar. And instead of two bottles of wine a day I'll try only two glasses.

André Soltner
Master Chef, Dean of Classic Studies at The French Culinary Institute, New York City, NY
My resolution is to ski more carefully because of my new hip.

Susan Povich, Red Hook Lobster Pound, New York City, NY
Bring down more blueberries and crab this year!

Robert Weidmaier
Chef, Marcel’s, Brasserie Beck, Brabo, Mussel Bar, Washington D.C.
My resolution started four months ago and really it should be a daily routine and a new year should only set you to have new goals. I’m 50, so my morning, so I do a set of push up and sit up for every year of my life. 42 pounds lighter and I am a new person. I ate when I was stressed and I ate when I was not stressed. Basically everything was centered around food and drink. Being a chef you can over consume and at this point I consume my time with work and play. Playtime consists of fishing, hunting, and riding my motorcycle and that revolves around family and my district hog chef buddies. Then we eat!


Do More Local/Organic

Nikki Cascone
Chef, Octavia's Porch, New York City, NY
I would like to implement more organic and green practices at my restaurant Octavia's Porch. We want to be less wasteful in the New Year and continue to grow our recycling program. I will continue to source out environmentally safe and healthy products for my customers. 

Kurt Gutenbrunner
Chef, KG-NY Group, New York City, NY
I think it is so important to pay attention to what we put into our bodies. Some Austrian wine-makers realize this importance and are producing really great organic wines.  My resolution is to add more and more of these wines to my restaurants and wine bar (The Upholstery Store). I also have been smoking my own fish and meat lately and I want to add more dishes to the menus of my restaurants that incorporate them.

Johanna Kolodny
Forager, PRINT. Restaurant, New York City, NY
My food/drink resolution would be to purchase an even greater percentage of traceable, sustainable ingredients for the restaurant.

Marco Moreira
Chef, Tocqueville and 15 East, New York City, NY
Work closer with our local farmers and fisherman.

Robert Newton
Chef, Seersucker, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, NY
One resolution is to work with even more local purveyors. We're working with several now, from Brooklyn's Blue Marble ice cream team to the North Fork winemakers to the Grazin' Angus Acres farm upstate. We're happy the Carroll Gardens greenmarket is now open year-round. It's great to have access to everyone right across the street.

Elmar Prambs
Executive Chef, TRIO, Austin, TX
"As a restaurant, we've supported local growers and suppliers for years. Going forward, we're resolved to continue to seek out and purchase as many ingredients as possible from local and sustainable sources. Along those lines, we would also like to experiment more with ingredients to show our guests that "healthy" doesn't have to come at the expense of flavor. For example, I make a roasted cauliflower with fresh garlic, olive oil and sea salt that's delicious. Another favorite is zucchini with olive oil, salt, pepper and a fine drizzle of balsamic vinegar."


New Dishes, New Menus, New Drinks

Ratha Chaupoly
Chef, Num Pang, New York City, NY
One of our traditions now is to have Peking duck for the Holidays.  Peking Duck Numpang would be a great sandwich! This would be my all-time resolution, we wouldn't have the room, nor the skills to make the correct Peking duck here now, but it's a great goal for the future.

Tony Mantuano
Chef/Partner, Spiaggia, Chicago, IL
In 2011, I would like for us to continue to re-invent Spiaggia and Cafe Spiaggia through new ideas acquired through travel. We always tend to bring back a handful ideas from our trips abroad that make their way onto the menu, and I want to see us do more of that in 2011. For example, we’ve seen an increase in artisanal beers in Italy that we’ve begun offering by the bottle at Spiaggia and on draft at Cafe Spiaggia. This will be even bigger for us in 2011. We’re looking at re-inventing the Spiaggia bar in 2011 with new food and beverage programs and a slight re-design and we know this will be heavily inspired by our trips to Italy.

Jehangir Mehta
Chef, Graffiti and Mehtaphor, New York City, NY
To include more pomegranate in my dishes.

David Felton
Chef, Ninety Acres at Natirar, Peapack-Gladstone, NJ
My New Year's resolution for the restaurant is to start to produce our own barrel-aged liquors, vinegars, maple syrups and hot sauce.

Marc Forgione
Chef, Marc Forgione, New York City
I would like to incorporate more bacon fat into my cooking/dishes at the restaurant in the new year.

Alexandra Guarnaschelli
Chef, Butter and The Darby, New York, NY
My one drink-related resolution is to arrive at a cocktail list that rides the line between sour and sweet perfectly. To me, sour awakens the palate and the right amount of sugar makes us want to eat! Food resolutions are endless, ever-changing and too abundant to count. In a restaurant, you never stop learning.


Better Practices

Brendan Fyldes
Chef, The Stafford London By Kempinski, London, England
In my kitchen every January, we make a point of making fruit smoothies for the staff. Those dull winter mornings seem a lot brighter with a fruit smoothie. We use fruit which might be bruised or not in perfect condition for our clients. Blended up with Ann Forshaws Lancashire natural yoghurt and topped with Granola, it is perfect for getting some much needed vitamins into the staff after such a busy period of the year!

Ben Daitz
Owner, Num Pang and The Vanderbilt, New York City, NY
My resolutions from the New Year are simple. I hope for consistency in both establishments, including consistent growth.

Richard Sandoval
Chef, Zengo and Pampano, New York City, Washington D.C.
Make Zengo's gluten-free menu a habit for those whose lifestyle requires it (available in D.C., Denver, New York, Santa Monica).

Chris Siversen
Executive Chef/Owner, Maritime Parc, New York City
A resolution I would implement at Maritime Parc would be to feature a new farm and all of its bounty every month.

Franklin Becker
Chef, Abe & Arthur's, New York City
I would like to create lighter, healthier options for diners. I would also like to create a special farm-to-table menu that is served prix fixe and changes weekly.


Wishful Thinking

Dale Talde
Executive Sous Chef, Buddakan NY, New York City
One New Year’s resolution is that as a kitchen we stop drinking so much alcohol, but that will probably not stop.

Amanda Cohen
Chef, Dirt Candy, New York City, NY
Well, that's the same as it is every year: to replace myself with a giant robot arm that has 75 points of articulation.

David Guas
Pastry Chef, Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery, Washington, D.C.
Being a New Orleanian it is virtually impossible to have a resolution where food and alcohol are in the mix starting January 1! There is always a celebration until the ashes get crossed on your forehead...Ash Wednesday of course, that is if your Catholic. You roll from Christmas to New Year’s, then you can have your resolution last only five days because the festivities begin all over again on January 6th with King’s Day. But really that is the kick-off for the Mardi Gras season.  So you got your king cakes and your king cake parties which do not stop until Mardi Gras day! Then throw in Valentine’s, family birthdays, and the list goes on. So it is not worth it as you always give in! Then liquor consumption drops as Lent begins! That’s the resolution for ya.

David Seigal
Chef, The Tangled Vine, New York City, NY
"I'd like to have the front of house staff make the family meal for the back of house once in a while.  We pride ourselves on serving a really good staff meal — something that I believe is very rare in New York City, and a big difference I noticed when I was cooking in Europe, where they served elaborate one hour-long staff meals with wine! Many of our front of house staff claim that they have some great recipes that span a range of ethnicities, so it would be nice to have them cook for us for a change."

Adam Woodfield
Chef, Betel, New York City, NY
For customers to be more adventures when it comes to ordering, to try things that you don’t know what it is or can’t pronounce it.

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