“We’ve just hired our two cooks, the guys that are going to be on the line with Fran and myself. They’re Ryan Bartlow and Amador Acosta, and we’ve 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 [Sam’s successor at wd-50] knows him and vouched for him, and so did Amador. Right now we’re all hanging out a lot, which is important, because I want us to be thinking the same way. And we’re all working on the employee handbook, which you need to have so that there are clear guidelines about what’s expected of people, what’s not tolerated, and stuff like that. A kind of contract, in a way. I’ll 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 they’ll set aside some good stuff for us. Right now mostly it’s just apples, and a lot of our people, like our quince guy and our honey guy, who are both great, aren’t here yet. It’s still first come, first serve down here, but it’s 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 I’m psyched about is that the good produce will have started to come in when we open. I’m 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 it’ll probably be a few weeks before they start getting really creative. We’ll give them enough time to get acclimated so that they can say their ideas out loud without worrying that we’ll 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 I’ll be setting up a spreadsheet with all the purveyors and what we need from them. Soon there won’t be time to do that kind of thing easily. That’s why we’re taking care of it now.”