Thoughts from a tired, happy, humbled chef.

Thoughts from a tired, happy, humbled chef.

A few weeks ago we found out we were named to the OpenTable Top 100 Restaurants in America. It’s been a whirlwind since then. Absolutely overwhelming. I can tell you the phone has not stopped ringing. The well wishes and congratulations have been monumental to Melissa and I, and The Talgos. I didn’t know I knew as many people as have reached out to pat us on the back. Damn. Here are the answers to a few questions that some folks have asked me in the last few days. “Why do you think The Tailor and the Cook has garnered such high praises?” I don’t think – I know: Our team – each and every one who calls this restaurant home, is a tirelessly dedicated hospitality professional. We start work earlier, we finish later. We work long, hard hours and we do it because we really love this restaurant life. It’s crazy, but while most are home at rest or out at play, we are here, at work. And the hours we put in are reflected in the product we put out. Plain and simple. This staff is absolutely second to none. The cream of the crop. If you have ever dined with us, you know exactly what I mean. It is really rewarding to be surrounded by people who care just as much about food and service as I do. “How does it feel to be named one of the Top 100 Restaurants in America?” It’s pretty darn cool; I’m not going to lie. But here is the thing – we were awarded this accolade by our guests. The people that we work hard to please on each visit. They are the ones...
A tree lies down.

A tree lies down.

I had the chance to help a good friend the other day. As busy as our life has become, it’s nice to find the time to help others out. And so, on this unseasonably warm November day, Fionn and I helped Deb lay the fig tree down for the winter. It’s quite a process. Now, it should be said that we arrived late to the hibernation party, and one of two fig trees was already slumbering sweetly for the long Utica winter. Are you asking what this process is all about? I will tell it to you, best I can. Fig trees grow well in CNY. They bear good fruit, but it’s the winter that they can’t handle. In native fig climes, the winters aren’t so harsh. But here, the tree needs to be protected from the deep winters we know and love. So, you dig it up. And you lay it down, prostrate to the ground. You cover it with leaves and earth, and you bid it adieu until the next spring. It really is a somber event, the last of the season’s chores. The garden is turned; its bounty has been canned, preserved, put up. The storm windows are put on, the leaves are raked. The beans have been shelled, and the wood is split and stacked for the long winter. But before the ground freezes hard, the time for the fig tree’s burial remains. And make no mistake; this is not a one person job. Which brings me to tree number two. This is a special tree. The old fig tree from Elizabeth Street. It’s the...
People’s Choice Award at Epicurean Delight

People’s Choice Award at Epicurean Delight

We had an absolute blast at Epicurean Delight this year. It’s such a great event to benefit Hospice, and we love getting out there and mingling with our friends, fans, and all the other great restaurants! Amidst tough competition and lots of great food this year, we are proud to say The Tailor and the Cook was voted People’s Choice at Epicurean Delight 2014!!...
Something is fishy in Central New York…

Something is fishy in Central New York…

When we opened the Tailor and the Cook, we committed to using local products whenever possible.  It was a choice we made for many reasons, chief among them being sustainability.  It’s important to know that the food we eat has a future, that it will keep providing for us.  To be sure that our use of it will not hinder its use again and again.  Additionally, there are health benefits to consider: absence of antibiotics and hormones, and freshness.  And what’s more, the decision to keep things local is a sound fiscal decision that keeps our dollars close to home, and circulating in our community. Recently, I was speaking to a guest who, while enjoying our dining experience, didn’t quite get the “local” thing… “I am not so sure anyone really cares about local” they told me.  With a great deal of composed professionalism, I emphatically disagreed.  People do care, and it is quite apparent to me, and all of us here at the Tailor and the Cook.  The response we have had to local foods, and the education that comes along with serving them has been tremendous.  Does local matter to everyone?  Probably not.  But it matters to enough people to create something of a sea change.  When your friends and neighbors start paying attention to something, start talking about it, start eating it… well, that is bound to turn at least a few heads.  Seeking out local, sustainable, quality ingredients matters to me, and as it turns out, quite a few of you as well. In the past year I have had the pleasure of meeting so...
Mixed feelings, mixed nuts…

Mixed feelings, mixed nuts…

Three months into this CNY culinary journey and we are really gaining steam…  Many thanks to our growing league of devoted diners! It is with great regret that I announce the departure (much too soon) of Chef Tim McQuinn.  Tim is off to the land of green mountains and really good cheese.  We wish Tim well as he heads off to North Hero, Vermont to take the helm at The North Hero House as Executive Chef.  Please congratulate Tim  as all of us here at the Tailor and the Cook do, in all of his new opportunities.  He has been a worthy component of our opening team, and his input was vital to our start up.  I can assure you that our loss is most definitely the North Hero Houses gain. Without further adieu, I am also incredibly pleased to announce the arrival of Chef Steven Arbogast to the Tailor and the Cook team.  Steve joins us as Sous Chef and brings much to the table.  We are happy to have him, and look forward to working together to produce great food and a great dining experience.   Chef Arbogast trained at the Connecticut Culinary institute and after some southern cooking in North Carolina has been perfecting his craft around our great central New York, most recently as Sous Chef at the Yahnundasis Country Club.  Steve’s history in the country club/resort fields offer our guest a great slice of customer satisfaction.  We are looking ahead to the future and great things from the Tailor and the Cook kitchen.  Please join us in welcoming him! On a completely different note, along...
Whiskey in Wine Country

Whiskey in Wine Country

On a recent sunny Sunday morning my wife and I decided to head out to the finger lakes and drink some wine.  A close friend has recently rehabilitated an old church into a winery in Lodi, NY.  Our good friend is Josh Parker of Eremita Winery.  We carry several of Josh’s wines. You can find out more at http://www.eremitawinery.com/ So with an inclination to drink some great NY state wine and a place to stay the night we hopped on the thruway and headed to wine county. Although we had some excellent wines throughout the afternoon, I’m going to focus on a couple of whiskeys that we had at Finger Lakes Distilling.   We tried several different liquors, but the two that really stood out to us were the bourbon and the rye whiskeys.  At the Tailor & the Cook we have several New York State wines but very little in the way of Local Liquors.  So after tasting these two liquors we decided they should be on our menu.  From the parking lot I called the owner Brian McKenzie who away on business and had a pleasant 10 minute conversation.  We decided that it would be a good idea to pick up a case of liquor in the morning. We had a wonderful rest of the afternoon that continued on well into the evening.  Once the wineries close, many of the industry workers head to Two Goats Brewing.  That is exactly what we did and were rewarded with great conversation and a spectacular sunset over Seneca Lake. Early the next morning we stopped by the distillery and met the...