Sam Mason Puts Together His Crew, Decides How He Likes Them Apples

Team Tailor: Fran Derby, Sam Mason, Ryan Bartlow, and Amador Acosta.Photo: Melissa Hom

Welcome to the latest installment of the Launch, where Sam Mason, former pastry chef at wd-50, relates the ups and downs of preparing to open Tailor, the swanky restaurant and lounge coming together at 525 Broome Street.

Weve just hired our two cooks, the guys that are going to be on the line with Fran and myself. Theyre Ryan Bartlow and Amador Acosta, and weve spending a lot of time together. Ryan is from Gilt, and Amador is from Alinea in Chicago, and both guys have cooked in Biarritz in Spain, so they both share the kind of mentality we have, an approach to food that we want to nurture. We hired Amador first; we worked hard to get him. Ryan just worked out; Alex Stupak [Sams successor at wd-50] knows him and vouched for him, and so did Amador. Right now were all hanging out a lot, which is important, because I want us to be thinking the same way. And were all working on the employee handbook, which you need to have so that there are clear guidelines about whats expected of people, whats not tolerated, and stuff like that. A kind of contract, in a way. Ill probably be drinking some beers with them tonight.

Today we headed down to the Union Square Greenmarket; we need to set up our relationships with the purveyors. We know a lot of them, but we want to make sure that theyll set aside some good stuff for us. Right now mostly its just apples, and a lot of our people, like our quince guy and our honey guy, who are both great, arent here yet. Its still first come, first serve down here, but its definitely gotten easier. You used to see all these vans with restaurant logos at the crack of dawn, but I guess it got to be too much effort! One thing Im psyched about is that the good produce will have started to come in when we open. Im looking forward to getting great sweet corn and concord grapes, for instance. We can do corn-bread ice cream, a corn flan for a savory dish, perfect little corn ravioli we have a lot of ideas. Ryan and Amador do too, but itll probably be a few weeks before they start getting really creative. Well give them enough time to get acclimated so that they can say their ideas out loud without worrying that well laugh at them. In the meantime, those guys have to do all this monotonous stuff like taking a three-day course in food sanitation so that they can get their health certificates. And Ill be setting up a spreadsheet with all the purveyors and what we need from them. Soon there wont be time to do that kind of thing easily. Thats why were taking care of it now.