Should you have faith in your waiter? Absolutely not, says the New York Post. A number of anonymous New York restaurant staffers have fessed up to being "actors" who "sell you the most expensive item" and admit to using psychological pressure tactics on customers in order to make another buck. This type of evidence is unnerving, since I'm the type who loves to ask waiters what their favorite things are on the menu. Do you tend to believe what servers are telling you?
According to the New York Post, more men in Manhattan are cooking at home. The story cites the Food Network, the recession, and a desire to impress females as reasons why more guys are putting on aprons and manning the stove. Some males even consider it a talent along the likes of being well-traveled or speaking two languages. While my dad has always been the head chef in my family, I would have to agree with the article. My older brother has recently developed an interest in cooking and jumps at the chance to help me in the kitchen! How about you?
Interesting news: at the same time America experiences an inpouring of celebrity chef influence, Food Network ended the year with a drop in ratings. According to the New York Post, the cable network posted a 10.3 percent drop among viewers age 25 to 54 and "isn't keeping pace with hot competitors' shows like Bravo's Top Chef." Primetime ratings are especially down among women, which makes me wonder if all of you are watching Bravo or PBS instead. Are you still tuning in?
Yesterday, the New York Post ran an article about the rise of dining and dashing. In the last year, the amount of people who eat at an establishment and leave without paying has increased by 20 percent. The story describes several popular New York City restaurants that have been recently hit by diners who dash; the people who do it are, surprisingly, well-dressed, non-teens, and parents. I'll be the first to admit that I've dined and dashed, but only once, in Europe, at a place where the service was atrocious. I've never done it here in the US. How about you?
From serving spiced-up burgers to offering cheaper premium steaks, restaurants are trying every trick in the book to bolster sluggish sales. Some, seeing little improvement, have turned to a strategy that was perhaps once unimaginable: haggling.
A reporter from the New York Post, who felt there was nothing to lose and only some to gain through negotiating, decided to put her theory to the test by bargaining at various Manhattan stores. The result of her experiment? She saved nearly $35 in one day by bartering at stores, including coffee shops, neighborhood restaurants, wine merchants, and even casual lunch chains. At Starbucks, a barista slashed 25 percent off the cost of a caramel macchiato "without batting an eye." When the reporter told a manager at sandwich and salad chain Cosí that she was trying to save money, she got a 10 percent discount. A local café was willing to give her a 20 percent "starving artists discount" off of a $50 table.
I'm a little dumbstruck, as America really doesn't embrace haggling. I haven't bargained for anything — let alone food — since my last trip to a foreign country. But, for the food service industry, could the best way to see change at the register be with flexibility in price? What do you think? Is bargaining something you've ever tried at a restaurant? If not, then given the current economic climate, would it be something you'd be willing to consider?
Twins are sometimes the result of older mothers and IVF, but in the Big Apple, impatient women who don't have fertility issues are rushing to clinics when the old fashioned way of conceiving takes too long. In a jaw dropping New York Post piece, mamas spoke out about "twofers", twins for the price of one round of fertility treatments and cutting down on their number of pregnancies and ability to get their pre-baby bod back by aspiring (via the doctor's office) for multiples. Since 1980, twin rates in America have increased 70 percent. It said:
"I have my body back," says a Gramercy Park mom with 3-year-old twin girls (who asked to remain anonymous to protect her family's privacy). "And while my friends are bracing themselves for baby number two and all the sleep deprivation and chaos that comes with it, we are planning a family trip to Hawaii."
Do you appreciate these multitasking mamas take on motherhood?
Although the fifth season of Hell's Kitchen debuts this Thursday on Fox, Gordon Ramsay's empire may be crumbling. According to the New York Post, the celebrity chef's company is "finding life pretty tough at the moment."
In the past couple of months the celebrity chef has faced many challenges. One of his restaurant's lost two Michelin stars and another establishment dramatically cut back its hours. The overall price of dining at a Gordon Ramsay eatery has dropped as well, to only $21 a head. Top that off with two years worth of unpaid back taxes, an alleged 7-year affair, and you end up with one burnt Ramsay. In an attempt to solve his problems, he's fired his public relations guru.
However, if Ramsay's luck runs out as a restaurant chef, he's always got his television career to fall back on.
Do you think Ramsay will survive the setbacks?
Yesterday Giada De Laurentiis was on the cover of the New York Post magazine. The article discusses her life as a new mother and her role as one of the industry's sexiest chefs. Giada refuses to describe her cooking style as a form of porn, but admits that her show is different:
The way we shot close-ups, I just wanted the food to look beautiful. I thought that's what Americans loved about Italy — that it is so sensual and romantic. It's not PBS-style cooking. Lidia Bastianich, sorry, but she's kind of boring. I mean, I love Lidia, but you can fall asleep watching her. And Mario Batali? I love Mario to death...but he's not romantic or sensual. Those are the things I bring to the table.
I find it hard to believe that Giada would so quickly put down her peers and am curious to see what you think of the matter. Do you agree with Giada? Are Mario and Lidia boring? Which celebrity chef has the best Italian cooking show?
While most eighth graders whittled away this Summer at swim camp, one young man became the hottest rising caterer in the Hamptons.
Meet Greg Grossman, a 13-year-old chef prodigy from East Hampton, NY. Recently profiled in the New York Post, Grossman so far this Summer has "seared 75 pounds of scallops, cured 30 pounds of salmon, plated 200 micro-green salads and reduced at least 20 bottles of red wine" while catering for parties.
Despite the "killer" truffles and fish soufflés he made for a recent gallery opening, Grossman's not old enough to qualify for a catering license, so clients must employ him as a "personal chef." While his parents say he "practically teethed at Nobu, Cipriani and the Four Seasons Hotel in Palm Beach," they knew he was really something when he presented them with pan-seared sea scallops under a balsamic vinegar glaze with a wild-mushroom medley at the ripe old age of 10.
I don't know what to make of this preteen personal chef. On the one hand, I think it's an incredible feat; on the other hand, I think that true culinary mastery requires a bit of maturity. What say you? Would you hire him to cater your events?
If you win Hell's Kitchen, you're supposed to get the title of executive chef at a fancy pants restaurant. So, it's interesting to note that neither the season 1 or season 2 winners are executive chefs anywhere. - New York Post