Sam Mason Gets His Own Special Island

You haven't been using this oven, right?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.

I'm here at a restaurant supply company on the Bowery thats fabricating a special island for me. My own special island! We need it because the kitchen is kind of tight, and when we looked at the plans, we said, This is not going to work. You need 36 inches to move around. We figured out ways to save space, like having sliding doors rather than swing-out doors beneath. We have a shelf hanging from the ceiling over it, which I call the cloud. There are so many complications, between the plumbing and the electricity and the design. I just hope my measurements are right.

Then theres the equipment. Im here today to look at a used combi oven. It was only in use for two or three months, and were getting a great price on it. And Im still thinking about tiles. If theres one place you can have some artistic influence on a room, its the floor. But they cant be a high-gloss, slippery tile; we need some abrasiveness, some grit. I want it to look and feel like a real kitchen.

Ive always promised I wouldnt open early. Ive been to too many early openings. You can always see what theyve left undone. I remember friends and family at Gordon Ramsay. There was so much shit hanging out of the walls, no sconces, no fixtures, sawdust everywhere. I dont want that. People open and say, Alright, well finish that next week. But then it gets hectic, and they never get to it. At all. I know theres something to be said about opening up and generating revenue. But that extra week isnt going to kill me.