Dear Grub Street,
I read what you wrote about Craft’s ingredient-centric influence the other day, and I think you’re way off. Didn’t you ever hear of Chez Panisse, Alice Waters’s hugely influential Berkeley restaurant? Is it gauche for American cuisine to have a history longer than fifteen minutes? Or is this a New York thing? I’m seriously asking, as a former Bay Area resident who feels that some of the food values of that region aren’t fully appreciated here — or, if they are, they get fetishized as new discoveries.
New York would take credit for inventing the wheel if it could. But, with all due respect to Alice’s restaurant, Chez Panisse can’t be said to be exerting direct influence on the restaurants that have opened here in the last four years — particularly the ones staffed by Craft or Gramercy Tavern alumni. And let’s not forget that the cooking at Chez Panisse, while undoubtedly the source of the fresh-food aesthetic, is French, and not programmatically sparse in the same way as Craft. Someday we’ll admit that French cuisine got its start in Europe
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