Streams

How to Create a Menu

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Now that we’re in midwinter...how do New York’s best chefs come up with fresh menus, when local produce is pretty much limited to root vegetables? Chef Jonathan Waxman and Gourmet magazine’s Ruth Reichl explain how chefs put together their menus, season-by-season.

Weigh in: When you cook, how do you put together your menus? Tell us what inspires you to create a meal.

Guests:

Ruth Reichl and Jonathan Waxman

Comments [5]

stephen hunter laurette from new york city

Ms. Reichl's remark stating, in effect, "... those are the prices because that's what food costs'" demonstrates that she is stupid, un- (or poorly) informed or, most probably lying through every pore on her face.

My wife, her mother and, on occasion, I myself, shop for food exclusively in Manhattan Chinatown (we live in an extremely unfashionable area of Brooklyn) and I can tell you that if ANY food that she bought on a regular basis had a price that would obviously support some ludicrous price Ms. Reichl quoted for an entre, we would be on a plane back to Guangzhou rather quickly.

Also, we have a close friend - also Chinese - who does restaurant supply and there are a huge number of small, medium and large restaurants with perfectly reasonable prices, which he supplies, located around the city. The notion that if you are unwilling or able to drop a couple of hundred dollars on an evening meal in a decent eatery is part of the effort to drive anyone who makes less than $200 thousand per annum out of New York.

Of course, maybe is merely crazy.

Feb. 05 2008 02:10 PM
Sue from North Salem, NY

Gene, I agree, I have a tiny stomach and I would love to see more "half-portions" available in restaurants. After an appetizer and salad, I just can't manage a big entree.

Feb. 05 2008 01:49 PM
Gene

We started splitting an entree and an appetizer when restaurants started piling food on the plate unmercifully. And _still_ we'd often take half the order home. Ordering 2 entrees would have been a repellant invitation to porcine engorgement.

On salads--once in a while you hit a restaurant that can make a really, really _good_ house salad(!) Much better than I could make at home.

Feb. 05 2008 01:40 PM
anne

I find appetizers/small plates to be more inventive and often tastier than main courses. The number I have gone to restaurants and said to my companions "I really loved the starters but the entrees were just ok."

Feb. 05 2008 01:31 PM
chestine from NY

Thank you Leonard for being a foodie and giving this topic air time. Meals - oh the changes - first i stopped eating meat (but I eat fish, not morally a veggie, just got disgusted by one meat at a time, maybe intitively, I wonder, now that i learn about grass-fed everything) Now I am a big Weston Price person and want to stay local - so imagine all the changes! love roasted root vegetables! love soups made with traditional (fish in my case) gelatin broth/stock and gorgeous raw cream. Don't have the energy for the big productions I learned to do (martyes never cater!) growing up but I miss those too. (Size matters) So I guess what gives me direction in making meals is the advice of Mary Enig and Sally Fallon - and my favorite cookbook authors (Mapie de Toulouse Lautrec, Deborah Madison, Nina Simonds, J-B Reboul...)

Feb. 05 2008 11:10 AM

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