Yes, You Are Too Old, and I Don’t Want You in My KitchenWe recently got a letter from Keith, a 45-year-old reader who hated his job and asked us, “Am I just too old” to become a chef? A number of letters have come in, encouraging the guy in his dream: “On my 62nd birthday,” wrote one, “I retired from a long-time corporate career in risk management to follow my daydream of becoming a cook … and now, three years later, work as a prep cook at Amalia.” But lest Keith get the idea that the cooking world as a whole is filled with love and understanding, here’s a wake-up call from chef Dawn Fornear of Vessel restaurant in Seattle. Fornear writes:
In the Magazine
New York’s Restaurant Jungle Grows a Little Lusher
When spring comes, branches and leaves appear in the most unexpected places. This week’s food coverage is like that: There are no huge openings, analogous to maples or firs springing up overnight, but rather a rich carpet of new sprouts and saplings. Rob and Robin glory in the pig-out that is Resto, the new Belgian restaurant on Park Avenue South; Gael Greene stops in to enjoy the immense, spanking-new Landmarc in the Time Warner Center; David Chang knows just what to do with the long-awaited, precious ramps in In Season; and other unexpected treats, from a waterside barbecue in one of the Short Lists to a slew of spring Openings fill out the foliage.
Tonight’s Beard Awards: a Referendum on Haute Cuisine
Times are changing in the restaurant world – but just how fast? Tonight’s James Beard Awards will help answer the question of whether the traditional tablecloth restaurants, which seem to be on the way out, still wield their old clout in the gastronomic Establishment.
Revisiting the Hallowed Stalls at Bar 89
Unless you’ve blocked out your raver phase, you probably remember Fun, the club where video feeds allowed the boys to spy on the girls’ room and vice versa. Those were the days when a restroom that makes you go “(p)oo-la-la!” could make or break a nightspot, and the most celebrated holdover from that era is Bar 89, a.k.a. “that place in Soho with the cool bathrooms.” Obviously, we don’t go there much and we’re guessing you don’t either, since the once novel aspects of the place’s décor have been dampened by almost a decade of beer funk. So how exactly have the restrooms held up?
100 Students to Protest Saigon Grill
Update, 6:14 p.m.: Sit-in ends after 45 minutes, with the NYPD ordering protestors out of the Vietnamese eatery. Jamie Chen, who we spoke with earlier, tells us that she and her fellow students took over most of the tables on first floor. There were no arrests. The protestors joined noisy demonstrators outside, chanting “Boycott Saigon Grill.”
Update, 5:49 p.m.: Students, many wearing red, have taken over a number of tables inside the restaurant while television cameras whir.
In a planned demonstration reminiscent of sixties campus radicalism, at least 100 students citywide are expected to stage a protest shortly after 5 p.m. today in front of the trendy Saigon Grill on University Place. The demonstration is a statement against the lockout of some 33 delivery workers who refused to sign in March what they claimed was an illegal contract from owner Simon Nget, a Chinese-Cambodian refugee who also runs an Upper West Side Asian eatery by the same name. The protest is “definitely student generated and initiated,” says Jamie Chen, 20, a Columbia student reached during finals. She says her fellow activist Christina Chen,19, held a teach-in at Columbia’s Hamilton Hall a couple of weeks ago “to talk about the abuses” at the restaurant “and a lot of people want to do something about it.”